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The story so far ……………as told by Dick & Alison (well, mostly Dick)

Chapter 1

So why did we want to buy a narrowboat in the first place ? We'd never really done any narrowboat cruising, never been to any of the boat shows, never shown any interest in canals and locks, never read any of the associated press and to be honest we just weren’t interested…... I think we'd better start at the beginning.

Alison and I run our own company in Nottingham. We stage conferences and events, produce videos and develop websites. We're called MEDIAmaker and that's the advert over. Our hobbies include flying, and as we have our own light aircraft and both fly, one of our favourite holidays is to trundle down to Menorca for a couple of weeks and then charter a motor cruiser. We've been doing that for the last four or five years. Last year we went to Greece, so I guess you could say we like blue skies, blue seas, fast boats and fast living.

But now there's a change of plan. We're now all set for grey skies, muddy canals, slow boats and slow living and have decided to commission a narrow boat built by Fernwood. Who can we blame for this change of heart ? How did the interest begin ? Who's the culprit ? It's the TV programme on channel three " Water World ".

Now, as I'm sure you can imagine, this wasn't an immediate change of heart, I mean the programme isn't that fast moving, is it ? And who'd want to give up a life of luxury on the Med anyway? But it did create a bit of a spark which we found ourselves re-kindling each week as the programme was screened. We thought we'd better try this out for ourselves. Out came the laptop, in went the search names for canal boat hire companies and the next week end we saw ourselves on the Oxford canal in a 70' narrow boat.

The weather was appalling. Freezing cold, cloudy and grey. The boat was totally different to any that we'd experienced on the Med, that at first we thought we'd made a mistake. There was an old coal burning stove in the corner, and the carpets bore evidence of over enthusiastic filling of the stove trying to keep the boat warm. The TV didn't work, the bed was a nightmare to put up and the generator was noisy.

Anyway after a bit of tuition and a trip through a lock with our handover skipper we were off. And do you know what ? We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I say experience because I think that's what it was. At times it did get to bordering on excitement, with our first lock and our first night moored up on the canal side in the middle of nowhere. So much so, that at the end of the weekend we were exhausted. We'd said hello to more people than we'd ever said hello to before, we'd sat in front of a fire, with no TV for company, and just dozed and nodded, we'd had a nap in the afternoon too, because that's just what we'd fancied doing. Gone was the mad 30kt dash out to sea, switch off engines and sunbathe all day. In its place, the 4kt chug on a muddy canal, the prop churning on the bottom and stopping every 5 minutes to negotiate a lock. It was a weekend of constant activity, we'd enjoyed it, and I guess we were sort of bitten.

Read part two...