Sunday, 20 September 2009

Unproductive trip to Gloucester

Andrew and I are back from a trip to Gloucester and Hereford - Andrew had shows in Hereford yesterday- and no closer to our quest for a boat! We didn't have lots of time to look, and aside from checking out the docks at Gloucester, we really didn't spend much time looking at all.

Instead, we are planning a few days trip in October to properly hunt for boats - but on advice from a narrowboat online chat group, we are also going to start hunting pretty hard for a mooring. I'd love advice from any narrowboaters who might follow this blog in the future - but from what we gather, finding a boat is the easy bit (!) but finding a mooring is much more difficult.

We are still planning to be live-aboards, so require a residential mooring. So far, we've identified 2 near Wolverhampton that we are interested in checking out.

We are realistic, though, and know we will need to be flexible. We don't really need to moor in any particular place - just somewhere in the midlands - any ideas welcome!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Rainy Day in London Town

The rain is falling, the skies are grey - I'm thinking lots about boats today!

We're off to a puppet show this weekend and scanning narrow boat sites online to see if we can, as in previous weekends, combine a puppet show with a bit of boat hunting. We're going up to Hertfordshire - with some potential stops along the way.

Not much news to report on the narrow boat front, though - still looking, still hoping. We've decided to increase our budget to hopefully find something a bit better suited to our needs - but still, we are hunting for a bargain as neither me nor my partner have lots of money tucked away, and the purchase will require a loan.

That said, I'm watching a few other Narrow Boat Bloggers jealously as I see their pictures and updates. I wonder whether cabin fever will set in, though, as winter and bad weather approaches...

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

An educational first attempt at narrowboat buying!

Option 1 - not a winner, but a good learning experience!

My husband and I (wow - that sounds regal!) were in the midlands last weekend and decided that, before heading off to his puppet show performance, we would go to Norbury Junction ( to check out a narrowboat we had seen on their website that was for sale for the bargain (we thought) price of £7,500.

Well, we learned that, as with most things, you get what you pay for and for £7,500 you don't get a hell of a lot.

The whole process of finding, buying, and living on a narrowboat will be a huge learning curve for us both - and neither of us have any pretense that we know much about what makes a good boat and what makes the nautical equivalent of a Ford Edsel! I do, though, know a tiny little bit about engines, and before our visit to Norbury Junction, we spent some time looking into what one should ask and look for when buying a narrowboat.

The boat had been advertised as having been adapted by an "undiscovered inventor". I read that as "lots of weird gadgets and perhaps dodgy wiring!". When we got there, we found that there weren't that many weird gadgets (aside from an electric rising bed) but the circuit board looked like a piece of modern art with wires of all colours springing out - taped, glued, and even blu-tacked together. The engine, though clean looking, sat in filthy bilge water and featured the odd wire hanging directly into the water. All very bad signs that even amateurs like us could spot!

We quickly decided that this was not the boat for us, and checked out a few others that were on offer, but out of our price range. This was useful as it gave us an idea of what a good boat should look like, and also gave me a chance to see properly how an engine should be fitted.

We left the boatyard a bit wiser and with a better idea of how much money we might need to spend, a clearer idea of what we want from our boat in terms of layout, equiptment, and design, and still excited about the prospect of becoming liveaboards in the near future.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Really? A Narrowboat?

Well, perhaps, really! We've thought about it and have decided that there is no harm in going to inspect one while we are in Shropshire - so we've made an appointment and will be visiting Norbury Junction to check out a little 36' Narrowboat. I've spent the afternoon online looking up questions I should ask and the answers I should get when inspecting the boat. Hopefully I won't make a stupid mistake and ask a question which very clearly shows that I have no idea what I am talking about.

So far, aside from the obvious, I've investigated the engine type online - it's a Lister SR2 from - I think - 1975 - and tried to see what people say. Folks are generally positive about it, with a few people complaining that it overheats and others that oil gets in the sump....

Putting aside money for a good survey will obviously be important - should we decide we can actually downsize from a small (but not 36'!!) London flat into a Narrowboat. Aside from that, I think we'll just have to look, ask, and wonder when we visit the boatyard this Saturday.