Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Has Come and Gone!

I cooked Christmas dinner which everyone loved, but I always enjoy it more when I don't have to cook it. Our Christmas pud didn't survive the microwave- despite following the instructions of the pack- it was like a brick! We had to all have gateaux instead. I can't believe how quickly Christmas is over, and there is still piles of food left. We always seem to buy too much food and then fancy something like a curry or fish and chips because we're fed up of party food. We had some lovely presents, thanks to everyone! My husband has been out to take our daughter home and seen a queue of little old ladies with M&S carrier bags at the bus stop, off to change their Christmas presents. No doubt M&S will be packed! Our flat overlooks the motorway and all we can see is very slow moving traffic, so everyone much be off to the sales. We will enjoy a quiet day - just to two of us- and Eric can even have a pint or two after spending the last few days as taxi driver!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Boat News

Just a little blog to say the boat is now at 'halfway through final fit-out stage' and we are going to pay her a visit on the 3rd of January- We can't wait to see her floating on the Trent & Mersey Canal complete with sign writing. I am actually quite excited as this means we are nearly there! We now have to choose curtains, carpets and tiles for our floating home. We can also take some more pictures to share with those who read my blog. Until then Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Is Nine Sleeps Away!

The title reminds me of the children at my old school, everything was calculated in sleeps, for example their birthday was in two sleeps. Well we have been looking around the shops and garden centres for a real tree as they can be recycled after Christmas rather than stored. We gave our girls the artificial one we had due to the limited amount of storage space we will have on the boat. The real tree came from Homebase-it's only five foot but it looks lovely now it's decorated and the lights are twinkling!! I love Christmas but this year the run up to it has been very different- last year I was really busy at school with the Christmas bazaar and the nativity plays. This year I miss the excitement of all those children. I always enjoyed it when my girls were small and now time has flown by and there's just the two of us again. Nobody wakes us up on Christmas morning !

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why Did We Join The European Union?

We can't believe the EU is getting it's own way again. They've going to stop the cheap red diesel for recreational boaters!! My husband is evil- with the prospect of much bigger fuel costs for our continuous cruising. It's a recognised fact that a lot of boaters are retired on low fixed incomes and have no means of increasing their income, yet the prices are going up and up just as we are ready to live as we choose. It's been cheap red diesel for years, why change it NOW when we are about to live the dream. The farmer's can still get it- it's just not fair!!
The only good thing is we can cruise continuously and do not pay a yearly mooring fee for a mooring in a marina where they want your cash ,but they really don't want you to actually live on your boat. Nobody would suggest you could only live in your house for 4 days a week!! Then there's boat insurance, whether you intend to live on it, is a deciding factor - many insurers are not interested !! We also need politicians who work for us, with a backbone, not lapdogs who seem afraid to stand up for British citizens. After all we pay their wages !!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

First Blog For December

I feel really pleased with myself- I've done all my present buying after a day out in Gloucester. We went to Gloucester to get some maps and cruising guides from the National Waterways Museum Shop. There were some lovely painted canalware but we resisted temptation! We signed the petition at the Museum to make this a free entry museum. It was nice to walk around the quays and see some narrowboats even if they weren't going anywhere. I also bought a lightweight long handled windlass and collected the form for a boat licence from British Waterway's at Gloucester docks. Another delightful form to fill in- I hate forms. How do I know how long the boat is including the fenders!! We are waiting to hear from the boat builder and it seems like an age since we saw our narrowboat, but patience is a virtue!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What's Happening Today

Today our boat is hitting the water for the first time, so the next time we see it it'll be floating on the Trent and Mersey canal at Sandbach. We decided to visit it next when we have to choose the curtains, carpets and tiles-decisions decisions! The builder told us it would be finished January/February but he has now told us it should be the beginning of January, but we'll just have to wait and see! So this will be our last Christmas with a dry land base of our own, I know it'll be strange being 'houseless' but we are not going to be homeless. All we have to do then is pack the boxes (again) and we are ready to go.
This month we are sorting out dentist checkups and doctor's prescriptions ready for our travels. We need a landbased address to keep a doctor and dentist, so Eric's sister is allowing us to use her address. She is going to keep our mail for us until we pick it up, on our visits to Newport. If anyone needs to contact us urgently then they'll have to use email or our mobile phone. How times have changed! I can remember many boating holidays where we had to find a working phone box.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another Visit To Widnes

We arrived at Widnes to find the builders very busy on our boat, some were rubbing down paintwork in preparation for another coat of paint, others were busy inside lining the interior. The interior had been spray foamed for insulation and there were wires and cables everywhere. The floor and bulkheads were in and we went aboard to have a look!

The Beta Marine 43 engine was fitted and wired up ready for its first watery journey to Sandbach. First it will be hoisted on a very long lorry and transported by road to Wincham Wharf where it will be hoisted off and floated for the first time.
We then went down to Sandbach to drop off the washing machine, so that it's there ready for the fitout. We look forward to our next visit to Sandbach about halfway through the fitout. Then the paint job will be completed with a visit from the signwriter and it won't be long before our adventure begins.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feeding The Birds Or Littering!

I've just been reading in the paper about people not being allowed to feed the birds in some areas as its considered to be an offence to throw litter. It says that throwing bread to feed the birds can be classed as 'littering' as it means uncollected food is left lying around. The RSPB disagrees as there is no reference to feeding birds in the legislation. I feed the geese to use up the stale bread and as you can see they take it from my hands, so I am not throwing litter and there is no food left lying around as they eat every crumb!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Some Shell Photos!!

This is the stern showing the extra large hatch on the traditional shell.

A photo to show the very long boat, it's 57 feet!

The interior with the floor being painted.

The bow showing the steel doors.

I added these photos to show anyone interested what the shell looks like now. Next week it will be insulated and lined, so Eric will take more photos when we go up to Cheshire to see it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We Have A Shell!

The letter came at last, inviting us to visit our boat shell. We travelled to Widnes, Cheshire to the shell fabrication arm of the Northwich Boat Company. We had a good look at our boat, admiring the great lines and traditional style of the shell. Eric took some photos including the one above. We are really pleased at the smooth finish of the welds and look forward to visiting next week to see work in progress. The shell is due to have further coats of primer and blacking and then it will be painted with cobalt blue as the exterior paint colour with gold coachlines.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New Blog For November

In case you think I've given up blogging I thought I'd better update you! For the last two weeks we have had no boat news and have been impatiently waiting to hear. I know we'll get the call to visit when more cash is needed to continue so I must just wait!!
What have we been doing you ask? I have actually started knitting again after many years of not having much time when I was working. I finished my waistcoat quickly- I hadn't forgotten how to knit after my 15 year lapse. Now I'm making a woolly hat for those cold winter days on the boat, mainly because there was loads of wool left after I knitted the waistcoat!
On Saturday we had a lovely day, we went to the wedding of Caroline and Allen in Usk. It was a lovely friendly service and it was great as it stayed dry for them too. They needed dry weather as Caroline arrived at the chapel in a horse and carriage. She looked lovely. The reception was a good chance to catch up with the news from my old school pals. It's amazing I miss work! Not for the job but the company- I miss the adult chat and all those lovely children.
Yesterday we went to Brecon , it was actually very cold and windy up there. It's much warmer in Newport. I enjoyed the scenery on the way - I loved seeing the mountains- actually the Brecon Beacons and lots of autumnal trees.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dodging The Rain

A Rainbow Picture (By Eric)

We went out today to Roath Park. We dodged the rain by sheltering under a big tree and Eric took this photograph of the lake with a huge rainbow in the sky. The original photo was clearer but far too big a file for the blog. Very few people were out walking- the weather must have put them off.
As soon as we started to walk around the lake the geese followed us as they obviously recognised the blue bag contained food! I fed them and I still have all my fingers! We managed to walk around the lake, without getting wet. After that we headed home for some lunch and a lazy afternoon reading boater's blogs and watching TV. Oh the joy of being retired! Sorry no boat news yet!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

How Do You Upload Photos? (I Did It!!)

They're coming to get me! (photo by Eric)

I have spent hours trying to upload a few photos but have had no joy! I have read all the help files about it but still can't get it to work so I admit defeat for today anyway. What a way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
An hour later and I tried again and it worked- yippee! So that is why there is a picture of Roath Park geese here! I did intend them to be by the blog where I mentioned Roath Park, but it won't let me add pictures to an earlier blog for some unknown reason.

Roadpro finally delivered the parcel on Friday, they were waiting for the satellite dish to come in- they could have told us , we don't like staying in waiting days for parcels. So now we have all we need for TV on the boat. All we need now is our narrowboat!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Delay In Starting Our Boat

Well we finally got in touch with the boatbuilder only to be told the boat has not been started as he had some welders leave. The base plate has gone down today and the shell should be complete in three weeks. This puts the expected delivery date back to January 2007, but we don't mind as we planned to be in Newport for Christmas anyway. So we are still waiting to see the completed shell and then pay the next stage payment, as you are invoiced on completion of each stage of the build.
We did consider a Lees Narrowboat last year and I am so glad we chose the Anderton from Northwich Boats. Artie Chalmers was very helpful when it came to planning the extras we wanted and continues to be easy to talk to. They have added a new boat to their range. It's a back galley/front bedroom option which was on view at Beale Park, but we felt the Anderton gave us a more open boat and although the same length, it seemed more spacious. I am writing this as I wait for the delivery of our Kerstan satellite dish from Roadpro. Unfortunately they do not give a specific day for delivery, so maybe we'll get it today! As you can see I have just discovered hyperlinks!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another Week's Gone By

Another week has gone by and no news from the boatbuilder. It's only five weeks since we went to the boat show but it seems much longer. If you saw 'Esther' at the boat show then that's built by Northwich Boat Company, who are our boatbuilders. There was also a monthly write up in 'Canals and Rivers' on the building of Esther, which made good reading as the new owners are delighted with their new boat, and have nothing but praise for the boatbuilders.
We have bought the washer drier we need for the boat. It's a Candy because their water consumption is lower than other machines, which is worth consideration when you have to fill up with water from water points. After sufing the net to find a good deal, I have also ordered a 17 inch LCD TV which runs on 12 volts or 240 volts which will be great for the boat too. All we have to get now is a satellite dish as we already have a sky digibox and a freesat card.
We have trying to improve our fitness in readiness for our new life by daily walks in various parts of our local area- south Wales. It has been strange being out and about when the children are back in school. Porthcawl in term time is over run with the silver haired brigade- many on mobility scooters whizzing around with music blaring! But it hasn't stopped us enjoying a long walk along the promenade and the weather has been lovely.
Roath Park in Cardiff has also provided us with a good place for a nice long walk, there's even entertainment from the ducks, geese and swans, as long as you duck when the geese decide to all take off together- what a row too! The swans provided the usual bottoms up entertainment and the geese waddled by hoping to be fed.
I do miss the daily routines working in a school brings and the daily contact with the children and staff at the Milton Infants School. So last week I went for a quick visit to catch up with all the news and was there for two hours. I had loads of hugs off the children and they all wanted to know about the boat! I told them it was still being built and told them I would put pictures on my blog when I had taken some. Hopefully we'll hear from the boatbuilders soon as we're dying to visit the boat and take some pictures.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Some Boat Details

For anyone interested I thought I'd tell you a bit about the boat we are having built. Unfortunately I have no pictures yet but there are some pictures on the builders web site which is It's basically a 57 foot mid-galley traditional narrowboat, as I wanted it to be as open plan as possible, I can be claustrobic! My husband Eric is a bit worried about our new venture because of this. I am sure it'll be fine.
It has got a 43hp Beta Marine engine with an engine mounted generator which provides travel power! Various extras added include aquadrive for less noise and vibration. We decided on a larger shower with glass door as basically we need the room, neither of us are twiggy and a bed extension to increase the width of the bed to 5 foot for the same reason. On various holidays with Black Prince and a 4 foot bed I always felt that if I moved I'd fall out of bed and spent more time walking in the saloon than sleeping in the bed. Good job my husband can sleep through anything! I have been known to hoover around him.
We are having a breakfast bar to keep the saloon larger and a bed settee with a sprung mattress from Ikea for comfort and as an occasional bed for visitors- if they find us! I have three grown up daughters so I am sure we will get visitors. I expect we'll find it quiet at first, so if you see us on the cut please say hello.
We have downsized to a furnished flat from a 4 bedroom house and it took months to get rid off the accumulated goods of 35 years of marriage. Two of our daughters bought a house together and were pleased to get the furniture we no longer needed, as it was only two years old. When we replaced our furniture we didn't even have an inkling that we would be retiring early to live on a boat.
We still have to be a bit ruthless as there will no room to move on the boat if the number of boxes in the spare room is anything to go by. You keep things just in case, and never use them so they will have to go. We will have to visit the charity shop again, they'll know us by name we visit so often leaving them bags of stuff. After all my husband says who need stuff.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Living The Dream

The house sale is finally completed after a year of hassle and we live in an apartment (posh name for flat) awaiting completion of our narrowboat 'Bendigedig'. The name of our narrowboat is welsh and means wonderful or blessed as we thought it would be wonderful to have our own boat after many, many narrowboat holidays. After lots of research on the internet we chose the Northwich Boat Company to build us a 57 foot traditional narrowboat, as we wanted a british built boat. We found them very helpful when we met them at the Preston Brook IWA Show last August 2005. We booked a build slot and put the house on the market. It finally sold in February 2006 but delay after delay within the chain meant we had to put back the start of the boat until August 2006. The shell is now being built in Cheshire and we look forward to seeing it completed at the end of this month.