Saturday, November 10, 2018

To Lose A Precious Friend...

2018 hasn't been the best of years for me. It happens, everybody has to go through heartache in life it seems to be a requirement.

Relationship breakdowns are never easy regardless of the reasons...I am one of the unfortunate people who take a while to get over things, but then that's just me.

The shock of very nearly losing Jan one of my closest friends scared me witless, happily she is recovering, slowly.

To now lose another close friend has saddened me beyond words..

My lovely genuine Kind Wizard has died, I can't quite get my head around just how quickly he has been taken from us due to that dreaded disease, cancer.

He shielded me from it for such a long time, as was his way. He didn't want his close friends knowing just how bad it really was to save us the heartache I guess. What a kind thing to do, but then that was him all over.

He was the kindest most genuine person you could ever wish to meet and I am honoured to have known him, my only regret was I hadn't met him earlier in life. Jerry was the kind of friend everybody should have but not everybody is as lucky as me and I never took that fact for granted.

There are very few people who know me inside out and what makes me tick, in fact, I don't think anybody knew me as well as he did, because he took the time to get to the bottom of this loose cannonball, who very rarely knows her arse from her elbow a lot of the time, he seemed to get how my crazy mind worked. He just knew when I needed his support when going through tough times and he would be there unconditionally as I know he was for his family and other close friends. What made this even more special for me was he didn't make friends easily, a fact he told me himself. I have no idea why but we became firm friends over the years and it was comfortable, it was a safe place for me, I knew he would never judge regardless what situation I got myself into, and believe me we went through a lot of those situations.

Every time I lost my way for whatever reason he would be there. His emails were a constant source of reassurance a constant reminder that I was nuts but not a bad person just a crazy mixed up one, he got that, he got me. He could send an email that consisted of one sentence which would tell me all I needed to know, another person would have to write a page to get the same message across but he just had that special gift. He told it as it was, straight to the point no frills and I loved him for that.

We had a special bond and it was lovely. He hated it when I was sad and he would be here like a shot to sort my head out and he did on so many occasions I will truly,truly miss him for that.

We shared a wicked sense of humour too, we laughed at the daftest things. I would wind him up mercifully for being an Ebay Junkie, he was a sod for ordering the most diverse things off there, so random it would boggle my mind and made me giggle on many occasions, it got that way that nothing he ordered would surprise me in the end! Just like his one sentence emails that would arrive at the oddest of times and would make me laugh out loud and wonder what planet he was on that particular day!! We both had that in common I am quite often on another planet, hard for people to grasp but Jerry did.

He was the most eccentric person I knew and it was great, he fascinated me the way his mind worked, he would delve into history and try and make sense of it all. We had lots of conversations about that, a lot of which I didn't understand but he would explain in a way to make it easier to get where he was coming from, he was passionate about the things he looked into.

The closeness he had with his family was a pleasure to behold and I was very honoured to be included for meals with them, always great company and I was always made to feel they really wanted me there. Such a lovely bunch of people so easy to get on with and very genuine which can be a rarity in this world.

As sad as I am at losing this lovely friend their sadness must be off the scale, Jerry was such a huge part in their lives and I know wholeheartedly how much they will miss him. They will have so many lovely memories of him enough to last many lifetimes but he will be missed every day. I hope in time,  the memories will make them smile rather than cry, I hope that for me too. I know for a fact Jerry would only ever want us all to be ok and happy.

So, to precious memories of Jerry that will always bring a smile to my face.
The very first time we met, a first date so to speak. He invited me to join him and his family for their regular Sunday lunch get together. Who does that?? On a first date!! Jerry did and it was such a lovely day. He told me afterwards that he was impressed I was happy to just jump in feet first and meet them all. It was well worth jumping in feet first, it was an absolute pleasure to meet them all!

The way his glasses were always perched on the end of his nose, I could never fathom how he did that without them slipping off!
His long white hair that got him the Wizard name!
His long black leather coat that he loved and actually suited too!
His legendary emails, all of which I still have and I will read often to remind me of the daft conversations we had and often in-depth ones too.

The way he magically saved all my photos off my old laptop that just died, I thought all my precious photos had gone forever but he saved them all!

He downloaded every episode of Game Of Thrones and sent them to me on usb sticks. I will forever blame him for my obsession with that series. I loved it!

The time we all went out on the boat Jerry, Carole Tina and I. we had a lovely meal at the Ship Inn but stayed far too long and had to sail back in the pitch dark! Jerry came to the rescue by standing on the front deck with a 99p torch from Home Bargains. He saved the day and saved Tickety Boo's bow getting scraped along the bridge walls we had to go under in the darkness! I can still see him standing there holding this tiny torch!! A hero!

The day Jerry decided he liked the idea of living on a boat so bought one! It was a yacht. I thought he was mad, and he was for buying it!!I remember going to see it and just turning to him and saying, ''yep you're mad'' he just gave me a smirk and we laughed. He pretty soon came to his senses and decided on a Narrowboat he named it Choo Choo because he said it reminded him of a railway carriage!! He needed help sailing it to his home mooring I was more than happy to help. We set off and all was going swimmingly until we reached the bottom of the Wigan flight only to find we had something mammoth wrapped around the prop. It turned out it was a tyre, the worst thing ever to have wrapped. It took another boater hours to cut it away by which time we just had to leave the boat there. I think Matt, Jerrys Son took it the rest of the way.
Jerry never ever let me live that down, he would remind me of it at every opportunity much to his amusement! He would say I went out of my way to go over that damn tyre!

Ironically it turned out that Choo Choo was originally Bally Bunion that belonged to another friend of mine. We hadn't realised at the time as somebody else had bought it and then Jerry bought it off them by which time it had changed colour and layout. It was only when Jerry was going through photos of mine that he recognised a photo I had of Bally Bunion, such a huge coincidence!!

I will always remember the first time we met. It was a date through a dating site. We hit it off immediately and did lots of laughing and chatting, something we carried on doing over the years. There was never anything romantic about us but the love was there through friendship and it was a genuine love a comfortable feeling between two people who knew they could be 100% themselves and talk about anything, more importantly, we both knew we were just there and always would be.
I never ever imagined there would be a day that he wouldn't be..

I also remember you inviting me to your house!! I was gobsmacked. I vividly remember saying to you it was like stepping into an ebay warehouse which you thought was really then got your narrowboat which was just a smaller ebay warehouse by all accounts!

It's funny that Jerry was the first person I turned to when my relationship broke down, probably because I knew his support would be a great help and it was. His reassurance that everything would be ok was a huge comfort and he continued to give that support even while he was ill. I feel saddened that I didn't know until recently just how ill he was. He did eventually tell me which I am so glad about because he wanted me to know when the time was ready. The swiftness of him passing so soon after he told me has been a complete shock. I am so happy his lovely little family were with him, they assured me it was peaceful so you couldn't really wish for more than that.

 The only thing I do wish for with all my heart is that you were still here, but one thing I do know for a fact is that there are not many people who leave this world who have had such a huge impact on peoples lives like you did! When I say you were special that doesn't even begin to cover it. You were on a par with my Grandad Jack which is the best compliment I can give you, he too was very special. You were one in a million. The people who were in your life were truly honoured to have known you I certainly was!

One of the last times we met you came to visit we spent the whole day together. You knew I was in such a bad place. We sat on the back deck in the sunshine and I talked you listened. We then drove into Southport and had a lovely meal together we chatted laughed and put the world to rights. I remember that day saying something to you that made you really laugh, you know a real belly laugh and it was lovely. When you left you gave me the biggest tightest hug ever. You will never know how much your support meant that day...then again maybe you did, you knew me well. I will cherish the memory of that hug, one of many. Little did I know it would be the last so I am happy it sticks in my mind as much as it does.

You took a photo of me once it was the funniest photo ever, you teased me that you would make it public, we laughed a lot about that, but kindly you never did! It was the day we went to see your impulse buy yacht, you took a photo just as the wind caught my hair and I pulled a face. You loved it I didn't!!

My pledge to your memory is to do my best to be the happy person you wanted me to be.
The strength you gave me when I was at my worst is a strength I will carry with me in your memory.
Thank you.

               You crazy, lovely funny Kind wizard. I will miss you always.

    Heaven help them if there is an Ebay up there!! xxx

Jerry x

Sunday, November 04, 2018

All Painted Out....And Pooped!

Well, I finally had to put the paint rollers and brushes down till next spring!
I have painted, sanded and painted some more since August.
I have now run out of suitable painting weather and energy! If I am honest I am happy the weather change has forced me to stop, enough is enough! Green hands and nails plus dusty hair and a dirty face isn't really a good look! Tickety Boo is looking so much better but not completely finished. She looks loved and cared for again so even though I am disappointed I didn't finish her to the standard I wanted,  I am proud of just how much I did get done in between working. Next Spring will be just a few more top coats and I will be happy. The painting I enjoyed the prep not so much but worth it in the end. I have made a promise to myself never, ever to let her get in such a bad state again. Now that I have put all the blood sweat and tears in I will be damned if I will let the upkeep slide again, if I keep on top of it she will never look neglected again. It made me really sad to see her looking scruffy and abandoned! I haven't fought all these years to keep my boat to see her go to rack and ruin!

I am now back on my own mooring and to say I am happy to be back is an understatement! While it is great to have a designated area for prep and painting on the Marina, it was a bit lonely and isolated there, so lovely to be back! I love seeing Tickety all freshly painted with her now cream doors to match her roof, it makes all the hard work of the last couple of months worthwhile...I think!

The Start of the job, a bit of freaking out when I realised the amount of work I had ahead of me!

                   The rust patches ground down to the metal and treated before undercoat.                                                                                                        


The first side undercoated and feeling a bit more relaxed about the whole thing, still slightly overwhelmed. You only realise how big your boat is when you start to paint!!
The roof sanded undercoated and filled ready for another undercoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, this bit I enjoyed, the first glimpse of the colour going you the incentive to carry on! I was nervous about the colour as I had it mixed and it wasn't cheap so I was relieved I loved the colour!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tickety Boo's bow looking tatty and weathered.                     

              A bit alarming when the first coat goes on as it's patchy!
                             A second coat makes all the difference you can really see the depth of the colour now in the photo below a nice feeling, especially when you are relieved you like the colour!
                        Couldn't wait to see the back of the stained doors. 
                         They looked hideous yellow, but all ready for
                          cream top coat, no going back now!

At this stage wasn't sure if I had done the right thing painting the doors?

       Now to the back deck! I come on and off the boat at the stern so was heartily sick of seeing how tatty it all looked. You can see how damaged the back rail was, all the joints split and the pegs holding it together all rotten.

 Mark being the miracle worker he is, took away the back rail and brought it back looking brand spanking new. I couldn't believe it was the same rail, it has never looked this good all the time I have had the boat! Truly grateful for his hard work.Thanks, Scooby x

                          As Mark had done such a great job on the rail it was only fair that I should revamp the stern patio furniture....
                                         and the back deck boards.
      The back deck looking all spic and span! 


                Scruffy old back door.


The back door now cream too. I am pleased with the decision to paint the doors it makes a nice change. It brightens up the green and compliments the roof.

Nice clean cream roof with mushrooms painted green.

So Tickety Boo at the stage I had to stop painting. She looks clean and neat so I am very happy with my progress! A few more top coats next spring and her graphics applied I will have the smart boat I dreamed of, then the fun can begin enjoying taking her out again!

These two have watched my every move while doing the boat like they were supervising to make sure I was doing a good job of our home! They have been so good.

                Just a few finishing touches...the seahorse is a gift my Son Dean bought me when he was around 12 it has been on the inside of the stern door in my bedroom so I decided it would be nice to paint it green and have it on my new cream door on the outside. A new brass handle to pull the door shut and all done....for now!

               I think he finishes off the back door nicely.

I can now relax in my cosy boat for Winter. I like the decor indoors but have plans for a complete change next year....I don't think Kit and Pixie mind what colour the decor is they are quite at home on board and they have made the boat even more of a home for me! Apart from the back rail and some grinding on the stern steps that Mark did, I am proud to say I did all the work myself, my aching bones and none existent nails are testimony to that!!

                 Watch this space.....

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Lessons Learned...

So, just had two weeks off work to start the revamp on Tickety Boo. Very much overdue I am ashamed to admit, but now I have my head back on straight...ish, it's time to do some serious work on her! I did paint her a few years ago but the preparation I did on her was not good enough and the pleasing result at the time sadly didn't last long!

Being in a relationship with somebody who really had no interest in the boat, amongst other things, really didn't help the situation!! My dream was to find somebody with my passion, who would have enjoyed working on her, to have a happy future together living afloat. I thought maybe I had, but sadly not, but you learn, you move on and put it all down to life experiences, it's tough, but time, good genuine caring friends and family are a huge help in making you realise you can be happy even when  your dream is whipped away! That's exactly what it was...a dream that didn't come true. In hindsight, it wasn't just the boat situation that ended the was a realisation that we just didn't work for lots of reasons. We tried, we failed we move on! I am still living MY dream and it's lovely.

Well, the weather hasn't really helped, lots of rain and my back going two days in, really didn't help either. Walking like I had pooped my pants while trying to grind the rust off the boat was not too attractive, to say the least! Being introduced to a grinder with wire brush attachment has been a godsend! It quickly takes rust spots back to metal that can then be treated, filled and have undercoat applied ready for painting.

The last time I painted the boat I used Weather Sheild paint. To be fair to the paint, if I had prepped the boat properly the paint would have probably lasted, which it has in most places, but rust crept through in a lot of patches, so after advice, really good advice from a friend, I am using better paint this time. I will report back once the boat is finished!

I knew to transform Tickety Boo was going to be a big job...but I had no clue just how big!!
As I want to be more thorough this time it will take longer but will be so worth it!
The marina I am in has pontoons designated as working pontoons where you can moor while you work on your boat...I will be here a while!! Things are moving slowly but it is taking shape, not that you would notice to look at her! I have been moored next to Mark whilst working on the boat, he has been an absolute brick, lots of advice that quite frankly I would have been lost fact I would be lost without him full stop! We go back some years and I trust him implicitly. A friend who has is and always will be there for me, and me him. He has been so supportive even more so these past few months. He kicks ass and that's what I need. His enthusiasm for the boats and this lifestyle is also lovely and just what I need just now. He constantly makes me laugh and keeps me cheerful too!

To date, I have ground, sanded, treated rust, filled dints, undercoated roof and one side and managed to put the first top coat on half of one cabin side before it lashed down with rain! Rain has stopped play a lot this past two weeks, very frustrating but I have just resigned myself that T. Boo will be moored here for a while to get the job finished. There are other boats that have been here longer than expected due to the weather too so I don't feel I am the only frustrated painter!

 And so it begins

My Poor roof!

Banana boat!

 First glimpse of nice new Teal colour, loving the way my kneel pad matches the undercoat!!

The whole experience up to now has been at times a bit overwhelming, but I am relaxing more about the whole situation. I am doing the work myself and I feel quite proud of that fact. The one thing that is keeping me going is when Tickety Boo is back to her former glory with her name back on, I can stand back and admire my work with the satisfaction that I got there! I can then enjoy the revamp on the inside, which will be so much more enjoyable. I have ideas for a new colour scheme and revamp! Next year a lot more travelling on her, haven't done much of that for a good while and I miss it. I will be so nice taking a newly painted smart boat out that I can be proud of and hopefully take a pride in once again.

My two fluffballs have been so well behaved while all this work has been going on. I was worried that the noise of the grinder and sander would freak them out! They soon got used to the noise and it doesn't seem to be phasing them at all, such good little Cats!

This morning I woke to rain lashing down on the roof, a noise I never tire of, I love it! The weatherman has promised it will brighten up, so I am happy I will get some more sanding done later, and maybe more top coat. Every little helps, as a well known super market claims! I am sitting up in bed, tv on in the background nice cup of coffee, laptop on knee and two kitties curled up contently on the bed. I love my mornings like this, with the odd messages off friends doing much the same before their plans for the day start!

I am back to work Tuesday so it will be evenings and my three day weekends to get the job finished! It's nearly September!! Even writing that last sentence has shocked me as to how fast, yet again, this year has gone! Not really the best of years in a lot of ways, but 2018 hasn't been all bad. The revelation of just who I need in my life and just who I don't has given me the reassurance that I have a happy future to look forward to. I have had the strength to make decisions and stick to them, helped by friends and family who have proved to me their value in my life more than ever recently! To say they have restored my confidence is an understatement! No apologies for repeating that fact again!

Something else that has really boosted my dented confidence has been my nomination as regional merchandiser award at work!! I am going to a convention and a posh awards ceremony in September and I can't wait. All expenses paid, including an overnight stay in a hotel with designated car parking space...get me!! Even if I don't win, the taking part is something I am really looking forward to! Happy to have got this far if I am honest! I enjoy my job now, it's more interesting than it has been in a while due to the good team we have in store. If you have to work you might as well enjoy it!

Something totally unexpected that has shaken me to the core this year has been the total and utter fear that I was going to lose one of my dearest friends. Jan who I have known for many years and is a really close friend had two bleeds on the brain. She was admitted to the hospital and operated on all in a matter of days. She spoke to me on the phone days before her op, she sounded so unwell and I was terrified at the prospect of losing her. This devastating news coincided with an email I  received which was soul destroying. It was hurtful and uncalled for and just confirmed to me I had made the right decision in ending the relationship. I could have quite easily slung mud because I was hurting too, but I chose not to, that fact allowed me to walk away with my head held high. Things I was accused of in that email were totally untrue and the writer knows that....  never will I address this matter again...

More importantly, Jan had her op and was in an induced coma for a while, nerve-wracking time for her family, her friends and ME! Once she was awake I went in to visit her...I cried all the way home, my lovely, funny vibrant Jan was like a small bewildered child, it broke my heart. However each time I have visited her since, I can see my old gorgeous friend coming back slowly, it's going to be a long haul but Jan has that fight in her I know she will get there. She has a fabulous family and friends who will kick ass and cheer her on every step of the way?  What I have gone through this past few months has been put into perspective through Jans experience. Jan is precious to me, as my friend, confidant, the person I can talk to about anything and everything! The last time I visited, her improvement was great, she is still quite muddled but it did make us giggle, and she astounded me by getting out of bed and walking to the loo! Something we all take for granted but it made my day!

The rain has stopped, the sun is coming out so I am going to make a start, fingers crossed I get a good few hours in today, tomorrow is forecast rain again...oh hang on, it's just started raining again, but the sun is still out so promise of a rainbow. Gotta love the British weather!

I can't wait to get back to my own pontoon in the Marina but it's not all bad here, There is a family of King Fishers in the trees overhanging the water nearby, it's lovely watching them dart in and out catching fish!

I feel my, 'happy' coming back, I have a lot to be grateful for. Being sad is not one of my favourite pass times, being happy and content is far nicer!

I try to go through life not regretting anything, and I don't. All my life experiences have brought me to where I am now and quite honestly...I like where I am...well maybe happier when all the painting is done!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Eight Legs, Two Tails and Lots Of Whisker's !

After losing my beloved little Scotty dog a few years ago Tickety Boo has not felt the same without a pet on board. I toyed with the idea of another dog but soon realised it wouldn't be fair to leave a dog for nine hours a day for four days.I then thought a cat may be a better as I have to work. I forgot the idea for a while but always felt there was something missing from my life. That is until I heard of kittens on the way! Through face book I had seen a lovely photo of a kitten called Pugwash, he was adorable and belonged to a fellow boater, it made me think again about a cat as a pet. The seed was firmly planted when Pugwash's owner told me that his Mum, Mia was having Kittens again! I contacted Mias owners to tell them I was interested in giving one of the Kittens a home! Once I had made that decision the countdown began! I was literally counting the sleeps! Mia would be pregnant for nine weeks, then I would wait for around eight to nine weeks to get my Kitten!

Mia's owners were kind enough to keep me updated with progress and they let me know when the kittens were born, photos followed and I just got more excited with each day and update. I think it was Pugwash's owner who said why not have two kittens? I hadn't actually thought of having two but the more I thought about it the more it made sense! if I had two they would keep each other company while I was out at work. I mentioned it to Mia's owners and they were happy to let me have two!

On the 29th October 2017 Mia had four kittens, sadly one didn't make it but the other three were doing well.

I was to have Sisters that I have named Kit and Pixie.

 This to date is one of the funniest photos of the partners in crime!! Looks like Pixie is giving Kit a leg up! These two balls of fluff have enhanced my life no end. They are such good company and constantly make me smile. I don't know what I did without them!

Yes I have to hoover more often, wipe around more often with anti bacterial spray. Yes my curtains have lots of claw holes in them, my shower tray is home to a litter tray. my pristine shower curtain is now full of pulls and my lovely white duvet cover is now fur coated, sticky rollers rule! The boat resembles a cat gym with toys strewn around the floor. A huge cat tree takes up space in the saloon. I can't turn my back for too long if I am preparing food, and I wouldn't change any of it! My boat is their home now I am just a lodger in their gaff! I had forgotten how nice it was to have pets about.
I love the greeting I get when arriving home from work. I don't even mind my really early wake ups in the morning, when the two little darlings tear arse around the boat which is akin to the wall of death when you see motor bikes in a cage!

 These two turbo charged fluff balls leave me in awe at their speed when chasing each other!! After waking me at silly o clock with their antics and me getting up to feed them, they then curl up and go back to sleep, leaving me wide awake at 5am! However they are forgiven as they are so darned cute!

I wobbled a bit when I wondered if I was doing the right thing getting two Kittens but it has to be one of my better decisions. I absolutely love how they have brightened my life! They are adorable and give so much unconditional love not to mention their duo comedy act, priceless!

Yes I am a smitten crazy cat lady and it's great! How could you not fall in love with these two?