OMG where do we start!! Sorry for us not blogging for the last week or so but we have had some problems with Al 's dad.. He was admitted into hospital close to his home at Farnborough by the doctor and Al had to rush down from Rushdon, getting the bus to Wellingborough for the train, and Del stayed with Derwent6...
Things went from bad to worse and Al was at his bedside while Del was stuck on the river Nene..
It got to the weekend and Alf just got worse, in fact he had lost so much weight he was looking like he wouldn't make the weekend. Bernie ( Del's mate) said he would take some days off work and help Del move Derwent6 back onto the Grand Union. David, Bernie's son kindly brought Bernie up to Derwent6 and after a night in Irthlingborough they set off early..
Derwent6 was in need of a pumpout and we headed for Wellingborough but just as we got through our first lock the domestic alternator light came on, could things get any worse!
Well yes they could: We stopped at the services at Wellingborough to find out the locks on the pump out had been vandalised and it was out of use so it was down to the manual pumpout fitted on Derwent6.. Bernie walked to Tesco's and Del started the pumpout to then find that wouldn't work either, Damn! so we both pushed on knowing we only had two days left in the tank and peeing in the hedge would have to be a must!
So after nine locks and eighteen miles we pulled over at Cogenhoe..
The locks are very tricky going up and you have to take things very slowly and Bernie was doing a great job.. At Cogenhoe we needed a hot meal and couldn't use any battery power due to the alternator fault. So we walked a couple of miles up to a pub in the village to then find that they had a hen night going on and no food was available, we were staving. So we walked back to a small pub on the campsite where they had some hot pies which went down well with a beer and they even laid on some entertainment for us, they made us feel so welcome after we told them our story so far.. We had a great night which took our mind off things a bit..
It was another early start for us and we crept away still with the light on. We put on the generator and used the full charging setting on the inverter to put a little into the batteries.
We had fifteen miles today and 24 locks.. It was Sunday morning and still very quiet on the Nene so we sneaked through Northampton with only a couple of watchers and soon got to the Northampton Arm.
It was good and bad, things were easier with the single locks but the weed was so bad the Axion Prop came back into play.
It was all going well until we got to lock 13 when a lock gate wouldn't open fully. We had the pole and plank out and found a boulder jamming the gate and after half an hour managed to move it enough to get the gate open and scrape Derwent6 down the gunwales. Phew!
It was then the flight of twelve locks to do and luck was now with us meeting two boats coming down, the first we had seen. We then got to Gayton Marina and we were brimming on the waste tank. It was good to see the gauge showing empty as we set off to see how far we could get.. We reached Bugsbrooke and manged to get a slot right outside the pub there, we deserved it! Chilli and chips were the reward for a good days work.. We cruised early again the following day and it was strange to be passing boats every ten minutes but a relief to be on the canal system and not checking the weather.. After a few hours we got to the bottom of the Buckby flight where we had to queue for the first time this year... It made it easier with another boat but they were novices so Bernie, with full experience now, showed them how to do things and got the next lock ready for both boats.. At the top we found a mooring and gathered all our things to rush down to the hospital.. Thanks David and Bernie for all your help!!
Al got to the stage where she was just watching her dad wasting away, and as she was not sleeping, trawled the Internet for some answers.. Farnborough was treating her dad as a cancer patient and doing scans and things to look for secondary cancer on his back where he had the most pain.. His weight was just falling off him and he couldn't eat or drink, it was like they had given up on him.. In desperation she found out that all his symptoms pointed to a kidney infection and thyroid problem and the next day pleaded with the doctors to do blood tests to prove her wrong.. She even showed them these two photos to show cancer couldn't do this in five weeks, they agreed. Before!
They did them in front of her and when checked all hell broke lose. Alf was put on IV antibiotics and fluids and within hours you could see a recovery..
Al also had the problem of who would care for her mum, as her sister Jo also wanted to go in to see her dad. Between the two of them they managed to get in to see him and Brian (Jo's husband), neighbours and carers helped till Del managed to get back to take over..
Within days you could see Alf coming back as his weight slowly went back on his face and arms.. When an overactive thyroid was confirmed we even got a "well done you" from one of the doctors, but no one is accepting responsibility for their incorrect diagnosis.
We still had the problem of Derwent6 and Del went back after a few days to sort things out..
Whilst down in Kent, Del planned to strip the domestic alternator and ordered some brushes in the hope that maybe it would solve things. The fault was intermittent with it working ok from cold for about ten minutes till the engine warmed up, and the light came back on..
Del took off the alternator and stripped and removed the brushes to find one was lower then the other, a good sign.
When fitting back together he soon found out that the brush set he had was different and the earth point was a different height. After some thought, a 6mm nut was used to fill the gap and make a good connection. It worked! and Derwent6 was charging again. Then the pump out was looked at and a full service kit was fitted to the pump. As the tank was empty this can't be tested so watch this space..
So where are we!! Al is staying with her dad in hospital during the day, with carers and her sister looking after her mum, and then returning to look after her mum through the night, while Del goes backwards and forwards to Derwent6 helping out when he can.. Alf is making a miraculous recovery and we hope he will be home soon. Things have had to change at home and Al has made the changes, with Del doing the maintenance around the house and garden.. Its at moments like this you find out who your friends are and we would like to thank everyone who has phoned, offered support, visited us, and gone in to see Alf.... A big thank you to Rosemary who has been driving Del back to Kent from Derwent6.. Everybody wishes you well Alf and we can't wait for you to come home!