Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Tuesday 27th July 2010

3 miles, no locks

A rather coolish sort of day – I needed to fill the water tank – although it wasn’t low it is better to keep it topped, so off I went down to the winding hole just north of Clifton Cruisers, winded and then back up to the water point – had trouble trying to sort out the connections, but eventually got there. By my estimates it would take a good 220-240 litres, so it took a little while. All filled, it was off to the winding hole further up – except that I used the small arm to Willow Wren boats as I didn’t see the hole further on – got grief from Paul on Piston Broke (only joking around). Moored up again.
Off in the afternoon to see Lynne and Paul – the boat has become a work in progress as Paul prepares for the lengthening. He had struck his index finger hard enough to open a nasty gash and was in need of some attention from Lynne. Nice cup of tea and then back to the boat.

Wednesday 28th July 2010

8 miles, 3 locks (I am not going to total these until there is at least a reasonable amount to tell about)

D-Day – the return of Andrew the boat examiner – all passed AOK , so we are no ready to go. Didn’t waste any time about it either – Andrew was gone and so was I.
It was a transformation really to be free of the static mooring and actually moving with an intent to go somewhere else.
Got through Hillmorton locks with help from some other boaters – didn’t catch all of the details, but very helpful indeed – taking pity on a lone boater.
I was heading along just south of Bridge 78 when I spotted someone I knew – coming the other way on MuchGigglin was Tone and Julie with whom we had shared the Hatton flight two years ago.
We stopped and had a good chat about everything. I think that they were surprised to see that we had a boat so soon as we had told them 2012, so it was a very good chance to explain why.
Carried on to moor just before bridge 88 in a nice quiet rural location (aren’t they all?)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Monday 26th July 2010

Awoke this morning to find that there had been a misty rain overnight and was in fact still the same.
More work today; a walk into Rugby to post some letters and pick up a few bits as well as a top-up for the phone to continue my contact with the world at large.

Sunday 25th July 2010

I will be here until at least Wednesday – waiting for the boat examiner, Andrew Phasey to return to do the final check and sign off for the Safety Certificate.
I have confirmed with Andrew that he will be here at 9:30 on Wednesday – it is not expected to take long – an hour at most.
I am glad that I asked Derek to do this as talking to Andrew during his initial check allowed me to find out what he is looking for and most importantly why.
I will move back over on Wednesday morning to allow Andrew that same easy access from the carpark.
The day has been spent working and not much else.

Saturday 24th July 2010

No movement today.
After an interrupted night’s sleep – it is always difficult getting used to a different bed – I start a new life.
One more trip to Tesco’s to complete the list and I am done – time to get down to some work to help pay the bills.
Dot and Derek are due some time this morning – it is fairly open – they will call if they anticipate being any later then 12.
There are some more questions to ask of both when they finally do arrive.
Derek finished packing the car with the final load and whilst that happens, Lynne and Paul from nb Piston Broke appear after shopping, so it is inside for coffee and a bit of a chat.
After Dot and Derek have left I move the boat to the opposite side of the canal where it is 14 day moorings.

Friday 23rd July 2010

Today is the day that I finally take over the boat – not something that has only been in waiting since the sale was agreed, but something that has been about 6 years in full planning.
It is not a day during which I wish to rush Dot and Derek off the boat as this has been their life for just under 4 years and there will be a little sadness on their part.
I finally call them at 2:30pm to see how everything is going – they are not far from Brownsover after completing their first trip to move their worldly possessions to their new location in March (Cambs.), so we can start the movement aboard.
After packing the car with a second load (a smaller third load will be necessary, but that can wait until tomorrow), Lynne and Paul from nb Piston Broke wander down to farewell them ad wish them all the best.
At not much after 4pm, I can finally start to settle in and unpack the suitcase and carry bag which are, at the moment, the extent of my belongings.
I undertake 2 separate trips to Tesco’s to begin stocking up on provisiosn, and luckily on the second trip find a trolley which doesn’t automatically lock 15 meters from the Tesco’s front door – so I can “easily” move everything back to the boat – it does of course mean a trip back to Tesco’s to return the trolley.

Background – Part 4

So I landed at Heathrow on 22nd June with my task to find a boat.
I needed to get a few things done first – like open a bank account, sort out internet connection, but with that done and the hire car all sorted it was off.
I saw/inspected over 30 boats in about 6 or 7 days – some were absolute rubbish and the descriptions were downright laughable when compared to the end product, whilst others were quite good.
In the end it boiled down to two – of which one was Gypsy Rover – I have to say that before I left Australia it was not my number one pick, but having seen it in person I realised that my concerns were not as severe as at first.
Sure there will be things that we may/will change but these will be done in time – after we have lived with them.
One that will have to be done is the cross-over bed will need to be rotating 90degrees.
At 189cm, I just cannot fit – no problem for the time being – I will sleep diagonally in the bed.
I have to say that meeting and speaking with Dot and Derek showed me things in the boat that I couldn’t see in any others and to top it all they are really nice people.
I could tell that there will be a great deal of sadness at moving from the boat.
The day was set at 23rd July and we made sure that there was no delay in payments to be made for the boat.

Background – Part 3

Now the decision was when do we do all of this – we had to obviously make sure that the kids were going to be OK without us, so we had originally opted for 2012 as the year that we would make the move.
They, however, seemed quite OK with everything that was happening and was going to happen; so we brought forward the move by 12 months to April 2011.
Who can predict anything in this world – with the lasting effects of the GFC and the Australian economy doing so very well, we both agreed that we couldn’t waste an opportunity to strike in the market whilst we had this advantage, so the date was brought forward to June 2010.

Background – Part 2

So having decided that we thought that this might be a life choice that we wished to investigate further we undertook a trip to the UK and to mainland Europe with the intention to hire a boat for an extended period of time – we were able to pick up a boat for a 6-week period from Canal Cruising Co in Stone who were very good.
We meandered through 400 miles and countless lock over that period and I continued to work; Diane found things that she could do whilst I did that; we wandered through new town; cities and villages to us and could not find a problem with what we did.
Next – we had to sell our 2 houses and find a “smaller” place for our two children to be live in whilst we were away and which still had plenty of room for us to live and stay in when needed.
We had allowed ourselves 3 years to achieve all of this, but within 12 months it had all been done.

Sunday, 25 July 2010


We first gave thought to people living aboard narrowboats full time back in December 2000 and it was to stay with me for another 2 1/2 years before it occurred that this might be a lifestyle that would encompass many of the things that we would want to do.
A change of pace; a chance to travel further afield than just shorter holidays of 4 weeks; a chance to see the side of English life that underlined the English psyche; and to see more of a very beautiful country.
Over the years, changes in lifestyle, changes in my work, changes in what we looked at doing were governed by an overall end goal of what we are about to embark upon.
What has now grown is something that initially looked at a two year project to something that we are sure will be much longer than that timeframe and will widen to include more subjects and places.
We are looking forward to the adventure of our lifetime - how far we go, we will find out in time.
Diane will join me in about 12 months time and I will continue to work full time.