Tuesday, 29 December 2009

2 steps forward, one step back!

That seems to be the rhythm of the narrowboat dance! After freezing and fighting damp and ice in Iver boatyard, we finally decided it was time to make a move. This was despite the fact that RCR (narrowboat equivalent of the AA) made an error and didn't process my credit card payment for breakdown cover, hence we are not covered yet - (must wait until 2 Jan) - and a persistent problem with batteries that would not charge. After 3 days of eating by candlelight and freezing, we thought, let's just bite the bullet and head off, buy some new batteries, and hope it was just down to the boat not being used for a long time and the batteries being old.

So, we winded (turned around) and headed towards the Grand Union, stopping for a pump out at the marina in Iver and to try to get a lead on the batteries. While waiting, I started to disconnect the old batteries and hey presto found a red lead that didn't seem to go anywhere. That seemed odd - and so I looked around for where it came from - the alternator - and where it might go - and thank God- found that it had fallen of the split charge box (which enables charging of both engine and boat batteries). Hooked that back up and wham! Power! Charging! Energy! Finally a success! Bouyed by that, we headed out into the ice.

The ice was incredibly thick, but we need to be up the Grand Union to avoid being blocked by stoppages, so we pressed on, stopping between Iver and where the Slough Arm of the Grand Union joins the Grand Union proper. Nerves frayed from the horrible sound the boat makes when crunching ice, we moored up, had a few too many brandies, and slept very well.

The next morning, we scrabbled up the bank next to our mooring in search of civilisation, and found it in the town of Iver - (though the boatyard we had been at early was called "Iver" it was actually nearer Langley). Refreshed, with newspaper in hand, we headed off towards the Grand Union again.

More thick ice - and more! Just when we thought of stopping again as it was so thick, and praying for warmer weather the next day, we saw a boat, and a boatyard, so pressed on. Hallelujah! The ICE FREE Grand Union.

We carried on up to Cowley, where we are now, moored, and having a day of rest.

Happy New Year to all in case I don't update this before then - and dear GOD may the canal stay ice free!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Baby it's cold outside

Well, we arrived to NB Friendship on Friday, and carried on our move. That night, our neighbour said "how long are you staying here"? We were planning on moving on the 26th - probably a few pounds heavier - but the weather seems to have other ideas. We are entirely surrounded by ice now - it started forming Friday night, and has gotten thicker each day. Yesterday it looked like it might melt a bit - this morning I left when it was still dark for my last day of work in London so didn't get a good look - but I am hoping on my return to see a noticeable change for the better.

We're on the Slough Branch of the GU canal - so not much traffic - and hence no one to follow who might act as icebreaker for us novices.

Pray for sun and warm weather - no white Christmas for me please!!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Narrowboat Friendship - our new home! (Don't look too closely at the doors - they need repainting - and we've already sorted out the rain hat for the chimney!)

Where did we get all this stuff????

Bank statements going back until 1999 - old wallpaper samples, lots of beautiful pictures, and what seems like thousands of books! All stuff which is "up for eviction" as we go into "Narrowboat -1" day.

We've been pretty good. All the furniture has been sold on eBay, we've chucked out loads of stuff we don't need, and a fair bit of stuff we like, but realise we won't be able to fit in our new home.

I think everyone should have to reduce their lives to "Narrowboat size" every few years. It really makes you think about why you have hung on to so much stuff! Sentimentality, fear of what will happen if you throw it away, and in most cases, a (sometimes mistaken) belief that "that will come in handy one day". I've been quite surprised at the stuff I have been brave enough to throw away - and the stuff that I've not been able to bear parting with.

Tomorrow is our last day in our flat - we make one more run up the M4 to Ivor after work, and then have an "everything else" run planned for Saturday - and that's it. Our first night on the boat is tomorrow.

Can I also say, it's great to see some people are following this blog! I thought I would keep it going even if no one followed as it would make a nice record of our move and time on the boat - but seeing as there are now people following the blog - and, hey, I had to sell my TV so I have a lot more time on my hands now - I will be updating this blog much more regularly.

Now .... where the hell did I put my.....?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

We've done it!

Andrew and I are now the proud owners of NB Friendship - a 52' narrowboat currently moored in Iver, Bucks. Over the past few weeks we've negotiated the minefield of borrowing a huge amount of money, buying a boat, and are now setting it up so we can live on it from 18 December.

Now that we have a boat, this blog will be updated much more regularly! Watch for updates on where we are so that, if we are in your area, you can pop round for a cup of tea or something stronger!

NB Friendship - may God bless her and all who sail in her!