Monday, 30 November 2009

How it all started

Just thought it was worth mentioning that, like many of the best things in life, this all happened by chance.
My daughter Sarah wanted to rummage around the Emmaus second hand warehouse near Waterbeach so I offered her a lift. When she'd finished we went for lunch at The Lazy Otter, a pub I'd seen advertised nearby but never visited. Arriving with time to spare we wandered down to gaze at the boats and saw a for sale sign. "How much are narrow boats?" asked Sarah. Not having a clue I pulled out my mobile and rang the number on the sign.
By chance the owner was on board and kindly showed us round.
That got my interest going and led in only a short time to a conversation with my friend John, an engineer now with some time on his hands who himself visited the boat. As it happened this boat was quickly sold to someone else, but he told us of another boat for sale just yards away and that is how Patience came to our attention.
All because Sarah needed a lift. And thanks to The Lazy Otter.

Ready for a Survey

We're now booked in a for a survey with a marine surveyor. We've set great trust in Alan who's selling Patience, but it's important to know the state of Patience's bottom (ouch!) and whether there is any serious maintenance required.
Alan and John will put her into dry dock for the inspection and if the results are favourable we can decide firstly whether to buy her and secondly whether she needs work, such as blacking her bottom. Depending on water conditions a narrow boat may need blacking every two or three years. We must also find out about her "sacrificial anode". This is defined as "An anode attached to a metal object, such as a boat or underground tank, to inhibit the object's corrosion. The anode is electrolytically decomposed while the object remains free of damage." So it sounds like a good idea to have one, though it's tough on an innocent anode ....
And if all that works out we might then get on with choosing a solar panel, changing the sleeping arrangements and winterising her for the cold days ahead. Not to mention paying for her mooring, insurance, cruising certificate and other things about which we currently know little.
But it makes it easier to suggest things for us this Christmas. A little something from the chandlery collection perhaps?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Life in the Slow Lane

No I'm not really having a mid-life crisis but ... my friend John and I have just decided to buy a narrow boat and our wives have doubts about our common sense. The boat is named Patience and she's 45 feet long with a cruising stern, cosy accommodation for four and a wood burning stove.

In fact we're pretty sensible blokes looking for a project - and what could be more sensible than a narrow boat? Not for us the red Ferrari or a subscription to a lap dancing club; not a mistress or a motor bike or a speed boat in sight. Just a slow moving little caravan on water. We can, individually or together, chug down the river at 4mph, stop at a waterside pub for a pint and a sandwich, browse the local sites or bookshops then set off again at a sedate pace.
We've both been on narrow boat holidays, so we have a general idea of what it's about, but I think we might have a lot to learn about the ways of the water.
We are moored at The Lazy Otter between Cambridge and Ely on a part of the river Ouse called "The Old West River". We plan to spend the winter rearranging the accommodation on Patience and perhaps improving the electrical system. She needs a survey and we'll probably have to paint her bottom ("blacking") but by early Spring we hope to be out there on the Ouse spending time navigating the eastern waterways.
Watch this space ....