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.

Time is of the essence, as it gets dark at four, and there are lots more boats we want to see today. Next stop is Braunston, where in the rain we see many weird and wonderful boats; one old working style boat is a masterpiece but, again, it is just to low for Michael. We also see a really interesting inspection boat that you can steer from the front; it has a lovely glass covered bow, a diesel stove and, some prisms that let in the light, it would make a fantastic cruising boat but is not really practical as a live aboard for us. We see some more standard boats that are priced just that bit higher than we want to spend, then head on to another marina near Crick. We are made really welcome at Crick and our requirements are discussed in full; we view Rocyn and Bob, both over budget but both actual contenders. We ponder on Bob for quite a while, and Michael is pretty animated by the possibilities; she has everything we need, actually more than we need, a huge inverter, a washing machine, she is 10 years old but could pass as brand new. Her one major drawback is that she doesn’t have central heating. This would be expensive to install; no problem on a cheaper boat, but this boat’s purchase price would already push us over budget.

Last stop of the day is at a kind of used car lot for narrowboats. There are lots of people looking here and the boats seem unloved and overpriced. This marina seems like another waste of our time; we view 6 boats, which are all instant nos. The sun has set and we have no choice but to head south, Bob in our minds and so discussed all the way home.