The Long Journey Home – Part 1

The Long Journey Home – Part 1

Thursday 31 May 2018

Baptism of Fire

It was always going to be a trek, so in The long journey home – Part 1 we set off. We left Whilton Marina at 12:40 with two members of the Whilton Marina sales team on board to help us manoeuvre backwards off the pontoon and turn in the marina, to exit under the marina bridge onto the Grand Union Canal. We chickened out on attempting this ourselves in honour of the other resident’s boats – we wanted to leave them intact.

Lock 13

Long Journey Home - Part 1 - Lock 13 - our first lock image
The First One!

We turned left under the marina bridge (well, the Whilton Marina sales team member did) straight up to Lock 13 of the Buckby Lock Flight (Whilton Lock). A mere 100 yards. I jumped off with one of the team to watch how the locks were operated (mu was already there), whilst the other member brought Mirrless into the lock.

“So, how do you operate a lock then? You don’t open the gate paddles first, do you?”.

“I don’t know. I haven’t actually operated a lock before”.

🙂

The boat was in the lock with another narrowboat (this conserves water in a double width lock). Their hand was doing all the work.

“We need the Windlass” (thats the lock handle you use to open the lock – no Windlass, no lock access).

“It’s on the boat!” Which was now sitting at the bottom of a deep lock, waiting to be filled.

Too Many Cooks

By now, we had now been joined by another Whilton Marina sales team member; Adrian so, the sight of 5 people on a boat, stood around while one person operated the lock must have looked bad. It was all taken in good jest once the lock buddy understood we were novices, we were being shown how to helm the boat, this was our maiden voyage, and we were 2 minutes in and out first lock, ever!

Once through, the Whilton Marina sales team left but not before taking a photo of us, off on our journey.

At this point, I had got back on the boat and was actually driving the boat. This was good as this would be my role for the foreseeable future. Mu seemed to have got the hang of the locks straight off. If only the same applied to my helming the craft…

We went up 6 locks with the couple in the other narrowboat and both learned a lot in a short time. This is where they left us and mu operated the 7th lock on her own. We carried on, past Norton Junction and on to the Braunston Tunnel.

The Bowels of the Canal

Pulling into the side (meaning the bushes and shallows) to prepare for the tunnel of doom (sorry Ben), another boat drove straight past and in. I was being overly cautious in case a boat was already coming through. It turns out that this pinhole of a tunnel was wide enough for two narrowboats to pass. The tunnel was wide enough for two narrowboats to pass? I turned on the headlight (it literally is a car headlight) and followed the boat that had slipped in.

Into the dark, dripping bowels of the canal system. It was a long bowel section. Neither was it straight. It looked like it had been resected several times (from the little you could see of it in the dark). It must have been at least 45 minutes to travel through the 2042 yard long tunnel and it wasn’t without incident. The dark, the dripping water, the cool aspect were fine, it was the clanging off the brickwork sides and bouncing off a boat half way through that came at speed.

“So sorry”.

“It’s OK, it’s a contact sport”

Eventually the green light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t hallucination, it was actually the way out. Made it!

Out, in the glorious sunshine we pushed on a little further to moor up, just outside the tunnel, at Top Lock No. 6. for a well-earned cup of tea.

Long Journey Home - Part 1 - View of the Day 1 image
Out of the Window

Refreshed, we decided to push on further and pass through another 6 locks; the last four mu had to fill and operate alone so by the end, she and I were exhausted.

The Boathouse

We moored up in Braunston, outside The Boathouse Marston’s pub, across the canal. We enjoyed well-earned pints, sitting outside looking across at Mirrless but then the rain started, so we decided to adjourn inside and listened to Northern Soul in an empty pub, with no-one but the cleaners.

The rain came to nothing but lightening and thunder behind the clouds carried on for a while, drifted into the far distance and then fizzled out. We put up the funnel on the chimney and covered it with a metal waste paper bin, making it look like a very strange wizard (we’d lost it’s natty little tin cap in one of several incidents with bushes.

The great thing was, the Wifi from The Boathouse extended across the canal to Mirrless 🙂

Long Journey Home - Part 1 - Mirrless outside The Boathouse image
Mirrless at Braunston

Thanks to all at Whilton Marina; Fred, Harvey, Adrian, John and Nigel to name a few, for their excellent support.

Thanks to The Rock of Gibraltar pub for the Wifi for the upload.

Here completes The Long Journey Home – Part 1.

rp – peace and narrowboats

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 5

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 5

I’m going to use Part 5 to try and catch up to date…

Friday 25 May 2018

Friday, we broke the routine that had built up over the last few days by watching Frazier in the morning! lol. Still unsure of whether the boat would be ready or not so we were once again, waiting to ring the marina.

Yes! Good news. They said to check out of the hotel and they arranged to pick us up at 12:00 (High Noon) to save walking as it had been raining. The towpath would have been wet and muddy. They would obtain an update from the workshop at 13:00.

Arrival

We arrived at the marina in style i.e. not walking, not out of breath nor hot or sweating. Once again, we were offered the now customary vouchers (it’s the gift that keeps on giving…), which we gratefully took. Time passed as we sat and watched engineers, electricians, the Marine Surveyor and maybe others pass back and forth along the gunnels once again. Waiting, waiting…

Upon our return to the office (sated from our fill at the Whilton Marina Cafe) we were told “It will be ready at 18:00, you will be able to sleep on Mirrless tonight. If you come back at 17:30, we’ll load the van and take your stuff down to where she’ll be moored”. This was it, a final sit and wait.

17:20 came, mu’s patience got the better of her and she raced over to the office. We loaded the van. Our stuff had been stored in the warehouse, next to the office and comments like “Is this your first narrowboat? Thought so” ensued. We clearly fitted the bill for ‘all the gear, no idea – of where to put it’ 🙂

This Was It

This really was it but nothing could go smoothly could it? Let’s face it, where would be the fun in that?

We took our stuff onboard via the front door (it’s our home so we’re allowed to use a non-nautical term at this point) whilst people were feverishly working on the stern (nautical term). We were trudging through the wet dock stepping over oiled objects with no idea of their use, carrying bag after box after storage container whilst two of the nicest engineers you could wish to meet were offering to help, moving out of the way and moving obstacles whist still trying to get the boat ship shape and liveaboardable (made up term).

Please bear in mind that this was a Friday before a Bank Holiday and everyone was wanting to get off, onto their boats and out onto the cut for the weekend.

Trojans

Time passed, they continued to work; 18:00, 18:30, 19,00… It was coming up to 20:00 when we heard an engine burst into life, its echoes reverberating around the wet dock shelter. It had to be ours. No-one was working on anything else this late. Narrowboat Mirrless ‘made way’ out of the wet dock, turned a sharp right, sorry to port with ease and pulled into the second pontoon from the dock. They moored her up and we were finally let aboard.

Trojans. The workforce, not the batteries.

We carried out some basic cleaning and sorting and time flew. Before log it was approaching 01:00 we fell into bed, exhausted.

What follows now is a potted history of the ensuing days to bring us up to date…

Saturday 26 May 2018

Saturday, it’s my birthday and I wake up aboard our very own narrowboat – not your typical birthday. I opened two presents of Yes CD’s; Time and a Word & Union but unfortunately had nothing to play them on (such frivolities come later). What a great day – a day of anticipation.

The Banks are on Holiday

This being a Bank Holiday weekend, we were holidaying at the marina for a few days until the workforce returned on Tuesday. There was just the matter of a joiner fitting boarding over the engine so we wouldn’t have to stand astraddle of what is basically a large truck engine. Someone mentioned safety or something.

The only thing of note nearby is a Garden Centre. So I got to have a Latte. The first for some time now. Sat out in their garden overlooking the canal beyond which, you could just make out motorbike racing at Silverstone.

This was considerably better than the other thing of possible note; the carpet centre 😉

Electrical Storm

This was the night of the biggest electrical storm we have ever experienced. Thankfully it wasn’t one in the engine bay but nature flinging its weight about. Not to mention our narrowboat. The Starboard was the side moored to the pontoon, we have two bouys attached to the side, unfortunately we need three. The rear end which is where the bedroom is, banged against the pontoon most of the night. Thankfully the odd rumble of thunder drowned this out.

By the morning, we had survived our first storm. We weren’t even out of the marina yet!

Sunday 27 May 2018

Throughout the holiday weekend, the sales staff were working, people we had gotten to know quite well by know. The sales of narrowboats is booming and Whilton sell approximately 24 per month which is incredible.

A Shortcut to Mushrooms (in Batter)

We were settling into marina life now and each day Mirrless got a little cleaner and a little tidier. Each day, we walked as the surrounding area is just stunningly beautiful. We decided that we would find The White Horse Inn & Chippy at Norton. “It’s mere footsteps away”. OK, it turned out to be more than a couple of footsteps.

We were heading into what looked like a stormy sky but the weather was mild and humid. As we entered the outskirts of Norton, it started to spot with rain. For such a small village, it had an inordinately large ‘outskirt’ and before we could reach the a-forenamed hostelry, the heavens opened and we were in the storm proper. Bursting open the door of the old White Horse Inn shaking water everywhere, we stepped into a cross between a Chinese Restaurant and an old village pub. The barman laughed.

And Back Again

Great pint of Courage Director’s bitter, draft cider cheered up mu after the drowning (“I told you it was going to rain, I knew it was a lot further…”) excellent food with a massive range of Vegetarian options. Great barman. The rain stopped as soon as it had started. We rolled out of the pub later into the humid night and looked around the village, then made our trek back home. It was a much better walk back, seemed a lot quicker. I wonder why?

Monday 28 May 2018

Bank Holiday Monday, still no workforce as they were still enjoying the holiday.

Monday has traditionally been washday and continuing the tradition (holiday or no) mu decided to attempt washing our clothes ‘al fresco’. We will have to get used to a more basic lifestyle as a washing machine is a luxury we (nor the inverter) can afford. Washing machines require a pure sine wave inverter. Our Sterling inverter is currently a ‘modified’ sine wave inverter so a washing machine’s electronics will struggle with it. The washing went well, mu did a sterling (no pun intended) job.

Air drying in this great weather’s not a problem.

Another Pub

After more cleaning we decided to walk to find another pub – yes, there were two within walking distance. We set off, it was just beyond the next bridge. “Oh’ it must be the next one. Ah, this was a small bridge, it’s the larger one, next”. I was struggling with Google maps, mu pointed out “you’re going the wrong way!”

Yes, I admit it. Maps had zoomed me in to where we were and I’d set off in the wrong direction. We were walking away from it rather than towards it! Arghhh!

No drink tonight. We would try again tomorrow.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

We were up, the joiner arrived and started work on the engine floor as planned and one of the engineers came and finished few other bits and pieces.

Elsan Blues

I got to clean the toilet. Well, to be precise, two toilets. When you live on a narrowboat you are responsible for everything and I mean everything. You consume and you are responsible for getting that on board and thus you are responsible for removing waste. This simple little term encompasses rubbish bin rubbish, recyclables and ‘waste’. The Canal & River Trust and marinas provide what are termed Elsan Points. These are basically holes in the ground that you can empty your toilet waste into the sewage system. They are very nice holes in the ground.

Cleaner than Clean

We brought our own, small capacity toilet with us and we inherited one. It had been cleaned but it hadn’t been ‘cleaned’. After ferrying the toilets from the narrowboat, around virtually the whole marina, to the Elsan Point, emptying, cleaning then making the long walk back to the narrowboat, there is a calm that descends.

I then ‘cleaned’ until I could clean no more.

This is the glamorous side of narrowboating…

I really had earned a pint today so we set off, this time in the correct direction. We walked along the towpath of the Buckby locks to the seventh lock and there stood The new Inn. It is situated on the Buckby Top Lock and is the home of the Buckby can – the can that narrowboaters used to hold the day’s water for when they were out on the cut.

A New Inn

The food at The new Inn is great; various vegetarian options of good honest pub food and the bar had an excellent range of beers; Brackspear Oxford Gold & Shipyard American India Pale Ale on draught.

Our first experience of narrowboating will be straight onto the Buckby Lock Flight of seven locks. We had walked them, now all we had to do was narrowboat through them – simple 🙂

Would we be setting off Wednesday? We went to sleep this night with A New Hope

Wednesday 30 May 2018

We are now permanent fixtures at Whilton Marina. Everyone knows us; the cafe, the Chandlery, the office, the workshop, we talk to a great couple on narrowboat May Queen on a daily basis. The workshop are taking bets on whether or not we will bash our way out of the marina when we leave 🙂

Is today the day?

Papers Please

It could have been. However, there were papers to attend to and they are indeed being attended to. We’re now insured. These things take time. However, it did mean we got a further few jobs attended to by the ever amenable Nigel, along with some invaluable advice that we would have missed.

We also did get to drive the boat. We had a ‘lesson’ with two of the sales people to take the boat out onto the cut and fill up with diesel and then back. It’s an awesome experience, there’s a lot to learn, there are loads of dials and levers and stuff – we just have to get competent at using the stuff.

We will leave Whilton Marina tomorrow; Thursday 31 May 2018, make the Buckby Lock Flight and head to Braunston Tunnel – if you see us coming – i’d run 🙂

Pictures to follow so check back

The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 4
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 3
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 2
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 1
rp – peace and narrowboats

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 4

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 4

Thursday 24 May 2018

Thursday, at The Crossroads in an even nicer room (especially as we weren’t paying for it). We walked to the marina to be greeted with more free vouchers for brunch at Whilton Marina Cafe. Free food in hand, we sat watching a horde of people working on Mirrless. It was gratifying to see. People were walking in and out of the stern, along the gunnels, some with tools, others with papers in hand. We walked back to our hotel which made this day’s tally a 6 mile round trip. Once again, the scenery and more importantly, the weather were gorgeous.

Dining Out

We actually ate the the Heart of England in the evening as it was ‘Two for One’ and we had a hot hot curry.. As previously mentioned frugal had become our byword.

The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 3
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 2
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 1
rp – peace and narrowboats

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 3

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 3

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Wednesday, we were refreshed and made our own breakfast from a combination of Tesco and Budgens (it was hardly dining on mince and pieces of quince but it was pleasantly passable). Frugal was to be the order of the day. And the subsequent ones to come.

The narrowboat was to be ready today, surely? Again, the day played out similarly to before; have to vacate by 12:00 Noon (should that be High Noon?), call marina at 10:30, they need to get an update, resources dwindle further (let’s be honest, there were no resources), start to approach witzend (again!).

The Long Road

Mu decided that the only way to approach this was to walk to Whilton Marina and ask to stay on the boat. We would throw ourselves on their mercy or in the marina.

Road to Mirrless - Part 3 - The Walk image
The Walk

Mu and I had planned to walk to Whilton, it was 2.9 miles and following the canal towpath was a lot better than following the main road. A long path rather than a long road to Mirrless. We set off, in full sun once again, it took an hour (or maybe just over) and we passed through some of the most beautiful countryside there is.

Upon arriving at the marina, announcing we were purchasing narrowboat Mirrless, room-less, penny-less, energy-less, breathless and every other kind of less, Fred; a marina sales person said he would see if we could stay aboard. Just before he left to walk down, from the office to the marina workshop (a walk he would make many times), he gave us vouchers to go and get a hot drink and a sandwich on Whilton Marina. We sat outside the cafe, victuals reviving our flagging spirits, waiting for news of narrowboat Mirrless’ progress in respect to sleeping aboard, rather than sleeping outside.

Road to Mirrless - Part 3 - Whilton Marina Cafe image
A great cafe

The Good News

After a bit of time had passed, across came a colleague of Fred

“You two look like you could do with some good news”. We could.

“The boat isn’t ready quite yet, there are still some things to be done and a Boat Safety Scheme certificate hasn’t been signed off as yet. We can’t let you stay on board but we have booked two nights at The Crossroads hotel, at the marina’s expense. We’ll drive you there when you’re ready, there’s no rush and we aim to have the boat ready by Friday”.

A delay to moving on board but for the right reasons – our issues melted away…

We were chauffeured by VW Transporter to the hotel (the one we had vacated earlier this morning 🙂 ) We decided to enjoy our forced holiday.

A relieving day

The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 2
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 1
rp – peace and narrowboats

What’s In a Name?

Boat with no Name image
The Boat with no Name

What’s In a Name?

You may be wondering about all this talk of Mirrless, especially after my previous posts discussing the naming of the narrowboat in Hold the Front Page & The First Thing. I’ll try and explain. Get a cup of tea or coffee (or something stronger), you’re going to need it.

In Name Only

We spent a lot of time coming up with a unique name for our narrowboat and I mean, a lot of time. If you recall (see above), we had originally planned on calling the boat Out of the Blue until we found several others named that. We wanted to come up with something unique if at all possible.

After much thought we amended this slightly to Out of the Mist and we were happy with it as a name. It was a bit ethereal, a bit more allied to the earth. It was us. However, that was until we arrived at the marina to take possession.

A Narrowboat Named Mirr-something

The narrowboat is named Mirrless. Well, it’s not actually named Mirrless, it’s named Mirrlees, on the side of the boat. But it is actually called Mirrless because that is the name under which the marina have sold it to us. It is registered with the Canal and River Trust as such. But every time you look at the boat, you see Mirrlees.

Confused? Yes, thought so.

At the marina, talking with the sales crew, engineers and electricians they all talk of Mirrless (I’m not sure it’s all favourable now, after all the time they’ve spent on it but more of that in a later blog). In fact, I feel there are very few people on the marina who will not be aware of Mirrless. It has been given a totally new lease of life here.

But What Does it all Mean?

What does Mirrlees mean? What does Mirrless mean?

Well, Mirrlees means I have psychic power! I may have but it must be only a small amount 😉 It also is the name of a Scottish Economist and an engine; the Mirrlees Blackstone. There is also an author called Hope Mirrlees who wrote a very early fantasy story.

Mirrless is a little more difficult to track down. Did I say little? I’m sorry, I meant impossible. A Google search defaults to Mirrlees which is less than helpful as it’s how we got into this problem in the first place. You read the names interchangeably in your mind, thinking one is the other. You also get all the results for mirrorless! Google also confuses as a link to Hope Mirrless turns out to be a transcription error for Hope Mirrlees!

Mirrless? The only thing I can find is The Mirrless Works Band on Spotify

It’s a brass band. It’s Northern, celebrates the good honest people of the Mirrless factory and they won an award back in the mists of time (’70’s).

I Name This Boat

The narrowboat will remain named Mirrless. What can I say? It’s certainly unique!

 

rp – peace and narrowboats

 

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 2

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 2

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Tuesday, we awoke, went out and found the canal. We explored a small stretch, walking toward Heyford from Weedon. We didn’t venture far as the standard rule about vacating hotel rooms was in effect; be out by 12:00. I wanted to wait as long as we could before ringing the marina. When we finally did, we had to wait for a call back so we sat in the garden of the Heart of England, surrounded by our bags, looking like refugees. It was another glorious day though. Waiting was becoming commonplace. Eventually we called back but found that the boat wouldn’t be ready so, as planned (I felt it might not be, upon seeing the engine on the floor, rather than in the boat yesterday afternoon) set off in search of another room for the night.

No Room at the Inn (or Pub or Hotel…)

Where we had stayed the previous night was fully booked. Never mind, there was another hotel across the road The Crossroads (cue cheesy music. No, not the one of famed TV Series Crossroads). At 13:00 there was a room but the clerk was unable to book it. “Wait until my Supervisor gets on at 15:00”. So we sat in the sun (again, getting a lovely tan by now) in a pleasant location for one and a half hours. At 15:00, the Supervisor looked into booking the room for us. “Can’t book this last room for one night, it has to be two or more, £160”. “But we only want it for one!”. “Sorry”.

Road to Mirrless - Part 2 - Walking image
Walking

We set off in search of a pub; The Narrow Boat. We were assured it was in walking distance. It was but up a hill, in sweltering heat. Never mind, on past a wonderful 1920’s garage that sold sweets in jars and up to the Grand Union Canal and one of the most picturesque pubs in the area. This would be perfect (if a little expensive) but only one night before we were to stay on our narrowboat.

Road to Mirrless - Part 2 - An old garage image
An old Garage

“Sorry, fully booked”.

“What?”.

“There’s a hotel not far away; the Holiday Inn, it says they have rooms available for tonight, from £55″. (The not far away was another one and a half miles!)

“Is it far?”.

“No, not far. It’s in Flore, just back down the way you came. Within walking distance”.

Back to Where We Started

Off we set again, this time with less enthusiasm, less stamina and less banter… Finally, we arrived at the Holiday Inn, after a very large hill and a rest stop in a sheltered bus stop.

Road to Mirrless - Part 2 - Bus Stop image
View from a Bus Stop in Flore (boring)

“We hear you have rooms available for £55 a night”.

“Oh, no Madam. This is a Premium hotel and our room price is £159 per night” said the Concierge, pointing at a suitably large Corporate sign on the wall, shouting ‘£159 per room, per night’.

“There are no rooms available. We are fully booked” he added indignantly.

“There is nothing available. Tuesday night is the busiest night for the hotel business trade!”.

“Aarrgghhh!”.

To be fair, the chap did ring round every hotel within a 100 mile radius (remember, we were on foot, heavily loaded). We set off once again now thoroughly dejected, hardly speaking to each other, the sun still beating down, with thoughts of having to sleep rough in a field somewhere.

On the trek back to the crossroads (the location, not the hotel) I rang Whilton Marina, explained the situation. They went away but rang straight back with news that there was a room available at The Crossroads (the hotel, and the location. Cue music – not funny this time, not funny before either).

“But, But…”

“There are rooms available”.

Crossroads

At this point we had just made it back to the crossroads and thus, The Crossroads hotel.

This crossroads is in the middle of nowhere, with very little by way of entertainment (except for ‘fully-booked hotel lotto’ in the early part of the week). The Crossroads is smack bang in the middle of the crossroads – you can’t miss it.

Cancellation

The Supervisor now told us there had been a cancellation, so a room could be freed up for one night. We grabbed it. It was more expensive than it should have been but it was a room. We didn’t have to stay out all night. Hurrah!

The room was fine, the restaurant was great with an excellent vegetarian menu and much needed Beers, Wines & Spirits of distinction.

A stressful day.

 

Road to Mirrless - Part 2 - Grand Union Canal image
One day, we’ll boat on here. One day…
The Long Road to Mirrless - Part 1
rp – peace and narrowboats

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 1

The Long Road to Mirrless – Part 1

Monday 21 May 2018

Monday, the engine was going in after the stern gland assembly, of course. But of course, you all knew that. We had the chance of a lift from my brother-in-law to Northamptonshire, rather than incurring the expense (and hassle) of a hire car. He was travelling ‘up North’ and a short detour to Whilton Marina was doable.

A Lift

We travelled, at speed; A303, A34, A5. What you have to realise is that for years now, the vehicles we have owned either couldn’t or weren’t allowed to go above 50mph – Land Rover Defender CSW (50mph if it could make it), Land Rover Defender HT (50mph, Commercial vehicle limit), VW Transporter (50mph, Commercial vehicle limit). The run up to Whilton for us was like being in The Gumball Rally! It took about half the time it took us previously 🙂 I must add, no rules were broken in the writing of this blog post.

At The Marina

Long Road to Mirrless - Part 1 - marina image
Mirrless – across from the Wet Dock

Brilliant sunshine, went through the narrowboat detail, paid for it (ouch), saw the boat; the stern gland assembly was in and looking shiny & new, we were told in detail, how the engine bay had been modified to update it to take shiny reconditioned one. However, the engine in all its glory was by the side of the boat. It wasn’t in yet. “Going in next!” shouted an engineer. Basically it will have all new running gear from start to finish. We got a lift to the hotel we had booked; the Heart of England.

We sat out in the garden, drinks in hand (Marstons Pedigree – it was a Marstons pub), relaxing but little knowing the canal was but inches away from us, down a bank, behind the garden. We found that out the next morning.

Long Road to Mirrless - Part 1 - Easter Island
Have we strayed too far?

 

A Relaxing Day.

 

rp – peace and narrowboats

 

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Not long now! We travel to Northampton on Monday for the last time. That is, to pick up our narrowboat.

The Long Haul

It’s been a long haul; from initially deciding last year to going to look at narrowboats (we’d never been on one up until that point), to going to Whilton Marina because someone mentioned “they have a lot of boats and you can look around them”, to finding ‘the one’ and putting an offer in and it being accepted, to visiting the boat in the depth of Winter when it was cold and wet, to visiting it in when it was cold and wet, to it finally starting to get worked upon, to now!

Life will change. We’ll have to chop wood and carry water among many other new tasks and we’re really looking forward to it. To tackle these tasks we need tools and mu’s been busy renovating and cleaning

Chop Wood, Carry Water - Tools image

Some will make the cut, some won’t.

Things

Chop wood, carry water - Things I image

Of course there are other things, far too many things bearing in mind we have to make a one way trip and it’s in no way certain that the boat will be ready. We could be sat by the marina, surrounded by our things, as some engineer is trying to shoehorn our new engine into the backend of the narrowboat!

Chop wood, carry water - things image

 

Chop Wood, Carry Water

After the dust has settled (I thought I would have been saying ‘shaken the mud from my boots’ but the weather’s wonderful) and we settle into the pace of canal life, I’m sure this chaos of move will dissipate. One of the first things we’ll do is chop wood and carry water. And after we’ve gained an understanding narrowboat life? We’ll chop wood and carry water*

 

*Zen saying – Zen Questions by Robert Allen

rp – peace and narrowboat

Working Hard

Working Hard

It’s so close now, we can almost taste the salt air canal water!

Greeted on Instagram, on the way home from work tonight, with a photo of our soon to be narrowboat being worked upon in the marina at Whilton.

The annual leave is booked, the room’s full of junk, sorry essentials ready to take aboard and we can’t wait. Seeing someone down in the engine bay suddenly makes it seem a lot more real. The only problem is, that will be me in the engine bay, very soon. The difference will be that I won’t have a clue what I’m doing 🙂

 

rp – peace and narrowboats

Soon. Oh, Soon the Light

Soon…

Patience

Patience is a virtue…

This is what has been said. It is however difficult. To wait, be close and then be told to have to wait some more. It bites at the soul and all one can do is endure.

We are so close! The replacement engine (see previous blog) arrived Friday the 4th (May the 4th…), which is great news. It is however punctuated by a Bank Holiday which means; holidays (yay!), no work on the boat (Boo!).

It does mean there is more time for preparation but how much time do you need. On the one hand there is never enough, on the other there comes a point when, no matter how much time you have, you’ll never use it to any greater advantage.

By the Canal

So, waiting… Soon… Went for a walk by the canal…

Soon - V image
Somerset Coal Canal

The Somerset Coal Canal is a short arm off the Kennet and Avon Canal and on the beautiful sunny day that it was, patience was gained and soon seemed not that far away…

 

rp – peace and narrowboats