Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I am Back

I awoke this morning in my lovely warm comfortable bed something that I have not experienced for the past 11 weeks Oh what joy. I lay there listening to the the distinctive shrill of Robins as they bully the Bluetits for every scrap of available food. Looking out of the port hole that is almost level with the bed and gives me a commanding view of the full length of the marina. I can see a few boaters are up early as they have a grey plume rising from the black and polished brass chimneys. So characteristic of a well kept NB (don’t look at mine) the ducks have heard me rise and are paddling like hell to be first at the kitchen hatch where they know they will get a share of my morning toast, All is well in this magical world and it seems I have never been away everything thing seems to be welcoming me back, even Herby my Heron put in an appearance yesterday as if to say hi Al welcome back, This beautiful tranquil back water that I now inhabit will surely speed my recovery how could anyone not appreciate what life has to offer being surrounded by so much of Gods good grace. I am back for one of the nicest seasons of the year autumn when the summer starts to loose its grip, a few months now and I will watch all the birds from Martin mere and the western marshes fly over head making their way to better feeding grounds for the winter. What a sight to see three or more skeins of geese numbering hundreds fly past we are right under the flight path. The noise can be heard for miles

We may have our problems on the cut but the sacrifices of this serene unspoilt way of life are worth the reward .

The Marina have made a grand job of our new garden, Noreen has bought the new garden furniture Mat has done the landscaping so all is ready for me to relax and enjoy the rest of the summer / autumn and hopefully have lots friends around. When I arrived yesterday I was overwhelmed with the garden its the first time I had seen it, many hours are going to be spent relaxing in it

May your God go with you

pics of our new Boat / Mooring Garden

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Buggerlugs is back

Buggerlugs is Back

Buggerlugs is back on her mooring at Fettlers to a great relieve of Noreen she has done a superb job with the help of Kath and John who I cannot praise enough, It must have been difficult for John as John’s boat is a lot shorter than Buggerlugs. Also buggerlugs is a very heavy boat with a big deep draught, consequently it takes a lot to turn her round something that John experienced in the first few 100 yards as the boat had to be turned to head for Birmingham, as usual the winding hole was to small for a 60ft but John persevered and managed to turn her using aa 96 point turn but he did it and where better to get familiar with the handling of a boat than a very tight winding hole after that familiarisation it was then foot down to Birmingham gas street it was then on to the Wolverhampton flight which they accomplished in a record 2hrs and 15 minutes even though the penultimate lock was broke as the back gate would not close they called BW but before they arrived John had persuaded it to close (brute force) then as far as the Audlem flight was quite uneventful though I was amazed at the amount of miles they were covering in a day John had a bit of an embarrassing moment at Audlem we all no how congested it gets around the water point there is never anywhere to wait. Anyway he managed to get around that little problem and they set forth to Middlewitch, all credit to john all those terrible locks and tight turns around kings lockwere negotiated without and bump and without the use of buggerlugs bow thrusters. Kath has developed a new style of getting off the boat its called the Buggerlugs Para Roll it entails jumping 6ft onto the bank and rolling onto your shoulder whilst bringing your legs into the upright position. Something I intend to practise when all my fractures are healed?????? I think with could these methods of getting off the boat, diving into the water and blacking inspection, we revolutionise Boating to become a Olympic sport ???????

Mr Bamber joined the crew at Anderton (we say Mr Bamber because having two Johns on board things gets very confusing. Mr B however wanted to know just how powerful buggerlugs was and when his turn for the helm came he decided to try and get Buggerlugs to climb a tree something Buggerlugs refused to even contemplate. The rest of the trip was almost uneventful except Boothstown having no deisel and getting back to Rufford on fresh air.

I must also put in here a thanks to Alan Hall for transporting every one around

I cannot thank the Johns and Kath enough for their help in bringing Buggerlugs home

As I have said before Canal folk are a special breed and are always willing to pitch in and get the job done


Sunday, 17 July 2011


Happy Birthday Big

I awoke this morning looked up and said a big thank you I have made it to another birthday this year one that I did not thick I would make. As a treat I read all your comments on the blogg they are so inspiring to me you lot are the driving force of my recovery . I then started to think of what my life has consisted of so far. And the jobs I have done . I have been a news paper seller, a plant Operator, a bridge builder, a firewood chopper and seller, a House remover, Tarmac layer, and poacher,. I have climbed mount Kenya, tramped the jungles of south America and Borneo/Malaya. Crossed the desserts of the Persian Gulf and Arabia, I have been a chef catering manager, general dogs body and now to that list I can add Boat blacking inspector. I forgot about being a soldier I can not divulge much about that as I signed the official secrets act ?????
I have had a great day Mat collected me this morning I managed to get a day pass. we had a great day a lovely lunch and a smashing chilli tea Maryanne arrived and everything was set for a real family day. 
The above all blend into insignificance against the reality of life the best and most important things I have done and been is a father , husband and friend these hold the best memories and achievements for me the rest sound exciting and romantic but the real test of how you have conducted your life is the family and friends that still enjoy your company .

64 years I have survived (only just) with the friends and family I have, I cannot see why I should not be able to annoy you all for a great deal longer. So beware I am continuing the blog even if it is a bit monotonous at the moment . I apologise for the content at the moment but this accident has made me think outside the box and brought a lot of issues to the fore.

Just as a foot note Noreen is going like a fly boat she set off last Monday afternoon from Kings Norton came up through Birmingham, Wolverhampton Audlem and today 6days on she will be in Lyme what a skipper I pity the crew they must be knackered she also says she will be in Rufford by Tues night don’t flag her down she is stopping for no one ????????????

Big Al

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A very quiet place

I am really struggling for something to report. Her at Rakehead rehab life has a very sedate pace , nursing care here is centred on getting patients ready to be independent . Bothe physically and mentally .

As I said things here go at a much slower place, there are a lot of ill people here so I do not intend to make light of the place by making improper jokes I can joke about my own condition but it seems wrong to joke of others illnesses lets face it my episode became a joke from the moment I fell off the safety chain.

Part of my occupational therapy, I was asked to join the cooking club,I was very reluctant to say yes but I was cajoled into accepting , I started by tearing up the recipe and doing my own thing the instructors / therapists moved to one side and allowed me to take over the class we completed the task in record time and now have curry and rice for 12 patients dinner tonight (I hope I am getting paid .???????

Rakehead is great for visitors quite unlike a hospital we have a large day room were we eat and entertain our visitors of which I must say I have plenty . Margaret came yesterday and she said something that stopped me in my tracks she said “ most people have to wait until the die to find out how much people held them in regard I have experienced that knowledge in the present tense and I am very humbled by the experience.

Noreen has now got the boat to the bottom of thw Wolverhampton flight and is taking that on first thing in the morning so she is making good time and on schedule. If you pass her or she passes you give her a wave she is doing a great job.

As things progress I will get back to more interesting and humours blog please stay with me normal service will resumed soon.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

I am Back

Hi Friends

Well here I am back in the land of the living. Before I give you a resume of what happened and how things are now I want to thank everyone for their kindness not just to me but the family as well the cards letters and prayers have been most humbling , you truly are wonderful people.

Here goes As most will know I was as usual trying to save a few bob by scraping and blackening the boat myself. All was going well the boat was blacked the roof painted and ready for the water. It was then I decided to inspect my handy work by jumping backwards into the dry dock and doing the inspection on my way down. What I did not know is that the inspection would leave me with 10 broken rib, broken left clavicle and a slight hole in my head . The matter was soon resolved with the arrival of the air ambulance who soon had me lashed down and whizzed off to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

I was immediately put into ICU, I did not respond to any treatment so it was decided to place me in a induced coma and there I stayed for the next 19 days . Whilst in the coma it was thought I may not come out the other side and if I did I would loose speech and mobility But they did not put into the equation the Hodgkinson fighting spirit and the fact that I did my training on the streets of Openshaw Manchester. After the 19 days coma they started to bring me round very slowly here I must apologise to Noreen for giving her a hard time I was not aware of how rude I was. In my defence I was quite poorly when I did come round I was transferred to a normal ward where I was taught how to walk and talk and some manners. That is basically how it went though for the full story you will have to ask Noreen as she was by my side all the way and to who I indeed owe so much.

Right It was decided that the QE could do no more for me the bleed on the brain had stopped and I was mobile with speech therefore I have been transferred up to Burnley into the Rakeshead rehabilitation centre. I still have all the broken bones but I am grateful for all the work that has been put in to get me this far I owe a lot of people a lot of thanks even the two lady ambulance drivers who yesterday drove me through some awful weather from Birmingham to Burnley here at Rakeshead it is hoped next week that they will sort out my broken bones get me physically ready for going back to the boat, hopefully mid Aug . Prior to that the occupational therapy team will have to visit the boat to see that I can at least get on her we see no problems,

This enforced rest period in my life has thrown up a lot of mysterious questions, Whilst coming out of the coma my brain visited some very dark places from my past, places I never wanted to be in the first place and where I do no want to return these have been sitting in the back of my mind for years but now I have faced up to them and find myself able to move on so who knows maybe there is a reason for everything

I hope that this very short résumé has answered any questions Yes at one time it was touch and go and I could see you all searching for you black coats But thanks be to God I have cheated again give me a couple weeks and I will be back in Rufford showing our kid how to catch the big one .

God bless you all again I cannot thank you enough I am not going to start thanking individuals that would be silly but here I am going to give a special thanks to Fettlers Wharf Alan Daniel and Sarah they have been most kind and helpful to Noreen

Noreen has pressed ganged her crew and will start bringing the boat back to Rufford next Monday Noreen has turned out to be a bloody good skipper she now handles the boat as well as I ever did

Being in hospital has not all been doom and gloom being Big Al I have seen the funny side of things .

I was referred to as a head trauma now for the nurses to assess you especial first thing in a morning they will wake you and ask; on the face of it very stupid questions for instance How old are you? where are you? Who is the Queen; That’s fine they are just checking that you have not suffered a stroke in the night. However the crunch came when a doctor with his entourage stood at the end of my bed held up a pencil and asked what is this. My reply was if you don’t know then you should not be drilling holes in my head . Maybe not the smartest answer for he and his team just walked off without discussing my case but hey what do they expect.

Bed Pans and commodes these were invented by the Victorians to humiliate degrade and embarrass patients into submission for further invasive treatment, this policy is still carried out today and there is only one escape and that is mobility for if a patient can walk they no longer need the services of the above torture devices. I have many a tail to tell about such processes but they are not really publishable material.

Food in hospital has always been the scorn of stand up comedians and on reflection they could have had plenty of material with our meals, not just the quality but the way they set menus and group food together. How about lentil crumble and baked beans (remember you are stuck in bed) shepherds pie Baked beans and onion gravy? The concoctions continued in that routine You were able to select you choice the day before however what turned up was a guessing game . It did provide us many a laugh .

As you progressed through treatment and became more independent you were moved from ward to ward always getting closer to that ultimate goal discharge Yet in my case I eventually ended up yes near the exit but it was only a wall separating my ward and my bed from the morgue . After a few days the ward was commonly known as the naughty boys ward as I shared it with three other real characters Lee Head injury Dean mugged in Birmingham and left in the gutter head injury, John brain Tumour we based ourselves on characters from the film The Great Escape if you can remember that far back I became little Jock he went mad tried to scale the fence and was shot ????? Our best stunt was in visiting time we would form a line march up and down the ward with out crutches, walking frames and sticks whistling the Great Escape the nursing staff did not understand our humour and we were escorted back to bed by security .

I still maintain that if you can see the funny side of things you will recover better and quicker. No matter what I say about hospitals and especially QE they managed to humpty dumpty together again and I shall always be eternally grateful God bless all nursing staff and their ability to cope with patients like me