When I was a child my parents used to watch a program on TV, hosted by David Frost with the rather apt tile of ‘That was the week that was’

Well it certainly was for me last week for sure.

Having lived as a continuous cruiser on my NB Morning Star for the past 4 months it came as quite a shock to venture forth into the world of people again!

First there was the train journeys to contend with, to be fair the train to South Wales was not so bad and went very smoothly. The onward train journey though was anything but straightforward 🙁

The hospital check-up, as far as I am aware, went well although for some reason you have to wait for the x-ray results. Mind, one of the benefits of a pandemic appears to be that you go for your appointment at a pre-arranged time, see the consultants and then walk straight back out again. Why can it not always be like that I wonder?

If there is one thing I dread more than anything is the DENTIST!! While on the cut I fitted solar panels to my boat. To celebrate I walked up into the village and treated myself to some of those jumbo liquorice comfort torpedoes. First bite and I split one of my teeth. Panic ensued, I can tell you.

I managed to get an emergency appointment at a dentist, along the cut in a nearby town. They did a repair, but it only lasted 10 days :-(. Knowing that I had a hospital appointment coming up, I organised for me own dentist to have a go, while I was down, and that call took an awful lot of guts on my part, I can assure you.

So anyway, into the dental surgery which again was a weird experience. Firstly it was a ring the doorbell and wait outside until called in. Wonder what happens if it was raining, I guess you just get wet!

Having prised my mouth open and reviewed the damage it was decided to drill it all out and refill with a proper hard filling moulded to look like a tooth, so that my smile could be restored.

Not like previous visits, first they had to prepare a ‘spare’ room to do the deed, then they had to dress up in full PPE. For my part I had to wear plastic bags over my shoes along with a plastic bib and safety glasses. I do wish dentist would stop asking silly questions while they are drilling away at your open mouth. How on earth are you supposed to answer?

Having arranged my own ‘bank loan’, I finally left feeling a lot happier than I had done so over the past 3 weeks and with the knowledge that tomorrow my right hand side of my mouth could once again feel the sensation of food on its teeth.

Talking of food, I had been invited out for dinner that evening. Have you ever tried eating a roast dinner on only one side of your mouth? It was so very yummy and tasty it was worth every munch I can tell you.

Thanks to my best mate, who acted as my own personal chauffeur for my visit, I even managed to squeeze in a hair cut so the celebrated pandemic hair cutting bowl was no longer needed and neither was the straggle of hair that I missed over my left ear! As for the state of my eyebrows, well what can I say, remember Denis Healey the Labour politician of  the 1980’s?

So after a terrible nights sleep in a nearby Premier Inn, being kept awake by the lady in the next room until 3.30am – who was obviously having a really good time, it was off to the rail station for the second part of my venture out into civilisation.

This did not start well. Due to a sad incident of a train hitting a person it meant a car travel to the main Cardiff station. Thanks again to my best mate without whom I would certainly have missed that train.

Once on the train and eventually the ticket inspector arrives, sorry sir, he starts with me wondering what I had done wrong, due to a broken down train we shall be delayed at Bristol. In the event the delay was not too long and I eventually arrived in Southampton, complete with my heavy suitcase, and made my way to the designated platform.

My last train and then the not unexpected announcement. The train due to arrive on platform 4 has been delayed by 22 minutes due to a points failure at Winchester. You could hear the sigh of the crowded platform but that was insignificant compared with the next announcement.

The delayed train to Bournemouth, is now approaching Platform 3. Bearing in  mind we were on Platform 4, this meant a scrabble for the lifts and stairs to get over to the next platform concourse. We all arrived, just in time to see the train arrive on Platform 2!!  Still this was a simple walk across the concourse. Could it get any worse, you might ask, well not for me but the next announcement confirming that this train will only stop at Bournemouth, meant those on the train wanting intermediate stations, had to get off before we could get on.

Thankfully the train did arrive in Bournemouth, and I was able to finally make my brothers 60th birthday tea, socially distanced of course.

Finally after a few days where I was able to meet most of my grandchildren at a socially distanced back garden meet, spend some quality time with my 91 year old father and install solar panels on my sisters caravan,  it was time to return to my home afloat.

Oh the peace and tranquillity broken only by speeding cyclists on the towpath, ducks having an argument alongside in the early hours and a pump-out that for once went really well.

Such bliss 🙂