A weekend around Northants

As the boat we ‘had our eye on’ has now been sold (Grrr) we spent the weekend based at my sister’s in Rushden and checked out some of the local brokers. We saw a couple of ‘possibles’ and one we quite liked, so that was good. Still need to sell our house though and saw another estate agent today who thinks a good way to sell our house is to knock £12,000 off the price.
Yeah right… I could give it away too. To accept a reduction for a cash offer is one thing, but to move the goalposts that far would leave no room to negotiate.

He also has a narrowboat on his books which we viewed today, but thought that was overpriced too!

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House Viewers & Boat Viewers

It must be Spring, or nearly, because we have nearly had two viewings of our house recently, I say nearly as the second lot didn’t turn up, which was infuriating for the memsahib who was in the middle of turning out a cupboard in the lounge and had to put it all away again and engage in an orgy of cleaning and tidying instead. Not Best Pleased would be an understatement!

m_s-boat-006Encouraged by our viewings we took the opportunity to look at a used (ex hire) boat at Amber Boats up in Evesham.

Quite a nice one but not quite right for us, so if anyone’s interested here it is.

Amber Boats

My Birthday

Saturday was my birthday and I had been promised a day out in Bath, fate however determined that that was not to be as the queue of traffic going into the city started before the slip road leaving the A46. We therefore made a decision to go to Chippenham instead and the Birthday Boy is now the proud owner of a Logitech Laser Mouse which is far more responsive than my HP bluetooth mouse, which seemed-a-good-idea-at-the-time.

dsc02247Back to canal stuff, we had arranged to meet family at the George, Bathampton in the afternoon and the traffic had abated somewhat by then (but not much!) so we managed to get there and take a stroll down the towpath in beautiful sunshine with my son, daughter in law and the grandchildren.

The plan was to have an early meal together at the George but once again we were thwarted by an hour wait for food even at 4pm!
They were advertising for staff…. Good, we may get a meal there one day!

We ended up with a good meal at the Compass, Tormarton which was as quiet as the George was busy!

Bathampton – Kennet & Avon

Today’s canal fix saw us driving the 35 minute journey to Bath and investing 50p to cross the Bathampton Toll Bridge and visit The George for a pint and a bite of lunch.

A pint of Bombardier was forthcoming but madame’s request for cider was not fulfilled so easily as they only had chilled Strongbow; preferring not to drink the stuff cold or with artificial sweeteners added she had to settle for a Bulmer’s Pear Cider (sic) Whatever happened to the proper term Perry?

The Raft Cafe Boat
The Raft Cafe Boat
The place was fairly heaving with customers so our idea of a quick snack went out of the window, as there was an hour’s wait for food! We decided therefore that we would get something later after taking a stroll down the towpath. We needn’t have worried as just the other side of Bathampton Bridge we happened upon The Raft Cafe Boat a floating coffee shop on widebeam boat, excellent! A couple of paninis materialised in a few minutes, the best filter coffee I’ve had in ages (can’t stand that espresso stuff) and a hot chocolate made with soya milk to cater for Joy’s dairy intolerance. There were loads of yummy looking home made cakes and a well appointed loo too.
Inside the Raft Cafe Boat
Inside the Raft Cafe Boat

We resisted the temptation of the cakes and walked off the calories (well, if you can’t kid yourself…..) by walking down to Holcombe swing bridge and back. A nice selection of wide and narrowbeams along this stretch ranging from shiny broadbeams to a butty conversion, a converted lifeboat (I think) to a mahogany launch moored under a floating canvas ‘garage’ (should have taken a photo)

Finished by getting some shopping at Bath Morrisions (their ‘Best’ fizzy drinks are very good – no artificial additives) before returning home.

Diglis Basin – Worcester

Yesterday afternoon being sunny if a little chilly and finding ourselves in need of a little fresh air after the Christmas break we took ourselves up the M5 to Worcester and investigated Diglis Basin. The basin has recently been developed into a marina with waterside housing surrounding it and seems pleasant enough. There were little signs of activity except from smoke from the chimneys on a few boats in which sensible souls were keeping warm in front of their woodburners as there were sheets of ice floating on the water. The inner part of the marina was filled with fairly standard narrowboats whilst the outer part contained a more eclectic selection of craft.

We wandered up the Worcester & Birmingham canal as far as Blockhouse Lock seeing only one boat moored on the way once we had passed under the bridge carrying the main road into the town centre. We meandered our way back through a few backstreets to the town just in time to miss a boat pass through Sidbury Lock & disappear under the road bridge. By that time warm drinks were in order which we found nearby at Charlies Cafe Bar along with home made rock cakes & flapjack. They also stock Fairtrade products and offer veggy & gluten-free options.

We sat and enjoyed our tea on comfy sofas by the window enjoying the last of the afternoon sun and then headed for home, we almost got back in daylight too, not bad for a January afternoon!

2009…

Well here we are in 2009 now and I hope that the New Year brings everyone’s hopes and dreams into reality, I certainly hope that ours come into being.

We have known which boat we would like to buy for quite some time; it is still there waiting for us and the price has even come down a little, so all we want is a buyer for our house!

In the meantime our good friends Barry and Sue let us visit them on their boat ‘Esther’ whenever we need a canal ‘fix’ and always make us welcome in that snug saloon with the wood-burner pumping out it’s welcome warmth as a portent of days to come.

Happy New Year to you all!

Life as Liveaboards