Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Two Offers and Two Rejections

We are still thinking about Narrowboat Bob, ideal in so many ways but do we really want to spend 6.5k over our top budget? We are also a bit hazy on the finer details of this boat, as we viewed so many other boats on the same day. We know we felt really positive about her, but we can't recall exactly why she felt right.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The search continues...

Four days after returning from our first boat shopping trip we are on the road again, this time to Droitwitch, then on to Braunston and Crick. We get off to a frustratingly slow start, despite our 6am departure time. When arrive in Droitwich in time for opening at 9am, yet there is no sign of life at the brokerage. When they do finally open it is a further 10 minutes before they can help us out. The saleswoman is already stressed and flustered and only asks a few questions about our requirements, and so somehow it is not communicated that the maximum length of boat we want is 58’. She sends us off down the canal as the boats are moored at a marina a little way away. She arranges to meet us there in 15 minutes. Half an hour later she finally turns up, explaining that she couldn’t get the printer to work. Extra frustrating for us, as we don’t need a print out of the specifications, all details printed on those things are always available only anyway. The next hurdle is that she can’t get through the gate and into the marina, as the combination for the lock has been changed. Yet more waiting while she calls a number of people, before finally getting the four digit code from one of the boaters who lives in the marina. Finally, an hour after arriving at the marina we can start looking at boats, none are great prospects but they are all automatic no’s as they are over 60’ long anyway.  And because it is 5 minute drive for her to go back to the office she is not really showing any interest in getting additional keys. A waste of time for us, but then the morning turns into a disaster for her as she slips on one of the pontoons and seriously damages her wrist by landing on it. A marina worker has arrived by now and helps her into the office to call for assistance, and then drops into conversation that it took him three years for him to find his boat, not exactly the kind of encouragement we need to hear after less than a week into our search. We wish her a speedy recovery and then wonder back down the tow path to retrieve our car.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Our first Narrowboat shopping trip

We have been back in England for a week when we set of on our first narrowboat hunt. On the eve of the shopping trip we studied the shortlist of the 50 or so available boats that I had compiled, rating them for suitability, out of five, to work out which boat we should prioritise seeing, and which geographical area to start in. The potential boats were were spread across the country, from London to Cheshire and up to Yorkshire; we were planning to spend two days visiting the brokerages and wanted to make the most of our time. In hindsight, when narrowing down the shortlist, we were too preoccupied with the furnishings and aesthetics, and completely overlooked some , of what turns out to be, our fundamental requirements. The shortlisting was fairly stressful, as all the boats in our price range seemed older, scruffier and more expensive than we thought they should have been, making us worry that prices were rising wondering and if, in fact, there is a boat out there for us that we could afford.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Day One of 2017 - Coulsdon, England.

By design or coincidence, for us, 2017 begins with a decent into Heathrow Airport, at around noon, on the first day of the year. I haven’t set foot on English soil, for 366 day, when I set of to join Michael in Los Angeles on 31st December 2015. Michael hasn’t been in England since the summer of 2014, when we both left to live in New Zealand. New Year, new start. The holiday is over for now.