What You Waiting For?

1st – 7th July pottering about, killing time

We left Packet Boat late morning, after a grocery delivery which I’d managed to book, to see us through the week. It was a lock free section so I could move the boat along myself. Once again we headed back towards Rickmansworth – away from London. We’ll know this stretch like the back of our hands by the time we leave here, after our visit home!

We moored below Cowley lock, intending to move on later in the day. it was the dingy spot where we had moored before cruising on down to Packet Boat last week. A little later, Paul remembered that he had a conference call with the US, starting at five, which rather scuppered that plan, sadly. But we had full batteries, so a bit of dinge didn’t bother us.

It was a busy spot with dog walkers and boaters walking to dump rubbish, empty toilets or get water in containers (to save moving their boats) but it quietened down at night.

We spent Tuesday morning there and set off at lunchtime to cruise up to just above Uxbridge lock. It was frankly cold – a coat’s worth of cold! And spitting with rain. Not at all like summer! Indeed as we left, I noticed a chimney smoking on one of the neighbouring boats – they must have lit their stove!

As I cruised solo to our destination, I saw what I think is the smallest narrowboat ever. So cute. Just needs a bit of TLC. We could tow it behind us and turn into Paul’s office!

We found a nice spot, roughly where we’d planned, and pulled over. The sun came out in the afternoon and gave us a nice little boost of solar. There is just the slightest hint of road roar but nothing too intrusive.

Wednesday was a pretty duff day – grey and also drizzly from time to time. We decided to stay put. I seem to have picked up a cold. Feeling a bit groggy – headachey and out of sorts. I hope it will pass quickly. Colds are the pits.

Thursday was sunny and breezy, so I took the opportunity to do a couple of loads of washing. Still feeling below par and to add the icing on the cake, my face swelled up. I knew exactly what it was – a blocked salivary gland. I have had it before – although this one was particularly bad. The swelling was larger than my fist – the photo does not really illustrate it fully. Notwithstanding, we moved the boat back down two locks and moored in our by now customary spot below Cowley lock, stopping to do services

I was in some pain by the time we tied up. The treatment for a blocked salivary gland is to eat stuff to make you salivate – like a lemon – and apply hot poultices. I could do without it, I can tell you. I spent the evening sucking sherbert lemons (thanks to Paul & Sue for leaving them on board!) while Paul supplied me with a hot facecloth every few minutes. Boo.

I didn’t sleep too well Thursday night – it was pretty uncomfortable – despite the pain-killers I had taken. When I woke up on Friday morning, it had subsided a little, but as soon as I ate my porridge, causing salivation, it ballooned again. I was pretty fed up.

We set off after brekker, down past the entrance to the Slough arm and on to the Tesco moorings, where we had a Click and Collect booked. Of course – as you might expect – the moorings were full of people who looked like they had been there some while. I think CRT need to make them a Stop and Shop mooring?

There was space on the bank but it was very shallow, (which is probably why the space was there) with some nasty looking rocks so Paul went ashore while I held the boat offshore, though tied on. Not ideal. He soon returned though, my favourite hunter-gatherer, and we set off towards Bull’s Bridge junction, where the Paddington Arm peels off, to carry you into Central London.

It was on this section that we spotted a London bus, a tube train (overground) and – and this was particularly unusual – a canalside Pimms bar. I say! Doing a fair trade, too. 0

We wanted to get some more water – we’d rushed it the previous night because dinner was (more than) ready – but there was a wide beam on one section of the bank by the water point – apparently taking on water – and then a sunken boat on the other section. Helpful! We were just dithering about how to do it when we got something round our screw, disabling reverse. Arrgghh,

We carried on – towards Brentford and up to the winding hole – only to find some moron moored on the turning arc for the winding hole. Annoying and stupid. And as Paul was making his turn, very gingerly, so as not to to hit Dopey Dan, the skies opened. It was really not our day!

We moored alongside the widebeam – apparently still watering – and topped up before setting off back towards the Slough Arm. We don’t particularly enjoy killing time, but needs must – especially as it’s for our best boy! And after this weekend, it’s only 3 more days to kill.

Having successfully watered, we set off again and found a far from ideal mooring, but we’d had enough of Friday, so it would just have to do.

I got very little sleep Friday night – pain from swelling. It felt like like my throat was closing up. We decided to leave at dawn and get back to the Tesco mooring. I phoned 111 and they said to go the UTC at Hillingdon Hospital. I had to go alone as Paul needed to stay with the dogs. Grabbed an Uber and checked into the UTC at 06:34. It was empty. They very quickly did a triage, gave me some Paracetamol and said I needed to go to A+E, which was just next door.

A+ E was nearly empty – they did BP etc and then put in a cannula for bloods. and sent me away to wait. After 4/12 hours, the pain was quite intense so I asked for more painkillers. It took 50 minutes to get them to me. I had not eaten since the night before (and then only meagrely) and was pretty hungry. I daren’t leave to get food and the vending machines only had crisps, and as chewing was painful, were no good. I made do with a bottle of water.

At around the 8 hour mark, I got called. The doc agreed with my diagnosis, but wanted her senior to have a look. He too agreed and suggested the possibility of a stone, which was what I suspected. This would require a scan, which wasn’t happening that day. As I hadn’t eaten, he prescribed a drip. I was put in an area about the size of the saloon on the boat with 5 other people on drips. Rubbing shoulders with them – and with the lady next to me vomiting into a kidney bowl. Pretty hellish.

The drip was interminable – v slow. Eventually, the doc came back and said she would arrange a scan for me – but could not say when – and gave me some antibiotics. She’d told me to continue taking the Paracetamol/Ibuprofen and would also arrange for a nurse to disconnect me and remove the cannula. I arrived home at 5 pm. Ten and a half hours after I’d left – no further forward but a whole lot more fed up.

On a scale of 1 to Never Again, it was right up there on max. I appreciate that I was not dying, or even seriously ill, but the lack of info and seemingly endless, dreary wait on my own was soul-destroying. And my eye has now swelled up too – or the skin underneath it has. It really looks as if I’ve gone 10 rounds with Tyson Fury! And it’s raining. Heavily. And thundering – and there are flood warnings for this area! Deep joy.

Thus, we leave you this week on a slightly less than positive note (sorry).  Normal service will shortly be resumed – although it might be a bit sketchy, as we just have three days to kill before we return to Packet Boat. We’ll pick up a car on Friday and drive home, where we’ll stay for a week.

In the meantime, we think we’ll give the Slough arm a whirl, which should be interesting as it has a slightly bad rep for weed – not the smoking kind, I hasten to add!. Although you can smell that everywhere around these parts. It’s only 5 miles end to end so will be a short trip. The last time we both went down the Slough arm was in July 1985. Almost 40 years.ago – when we were first “courting”. Awwwww. It was pretty grim then and we gave up. Much work has been done – some fairly recently – so we hope to get to the terminus, if possible, this time.  

2 Replies to “What You Waiting For?”

  1. Sorry to hear about your hospital experience. Over 8 hours seems about the norm these days. 🙁
    We passed you as we left Uxbridge Lock Thursday lunchtime.
    We tried to get down the Slough Arm last week (https://oleanna.co.uk/2024/07/07/wed-better-turn-at-bridge-nine-3rd-july/) but didn’t make it. We gave up at bridge 10. The weed was thick, made up of lots of thin fibrous stuff that wrapped itself tightly round the shaft and stopped the prop doing anything. It took us all day to get from the moorings just past the marina to as far as we got and back again.
    I have heard of another NB that did get down there the next day so maybe jointly we’ve cleared enough weed to give you a fighting chance of making it to the end. Good luck and I look forward to reading about your expedition

    NB Oleanna

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