Steppin’Out; Second opinion, does everything work, trial run.

It seems to have been a long day today. Up at 7am and a couple of hours to get to Manchester then a couple of hours on the boat in the fresh air and a couple of hours back and a strange “oh dear me. What have I done?” feeling. I’ve just put a small deposit down on a boat pending a survey. But worse than that, I want this boat. I have spent the last two ruddy years decidint this is what I want to do yet there is a little voice saying “are you really doing the right thing”. I don’t know but I’m sure as apples is apples going to find out.

A little light snow as we travelled over the pennines, a friend of mine, Andy, had volunteered to drive me up there. I had asked him to come and give me his opinion as he is honest and will give me his truthful opinion and isn’t swayed much by sentiment. When we got there the fire was lit and it was warming up the cabin nicely. We checked the cooker rings, grill and oven worked. Checked the lights, 12v but not led. Fired up the gas central heating and he explained a few bits about that. Checked on the amount of storage again. There should be enough and if there isn’t then things will just have to go overboard. Material possesions are a concept of the bourgeoisie or something. Was it Marie Anne Toinnette er er Tounette or whatever her name was said something like that at one of them fancy parties where they eat cake and chop peoples heads off. Oh history isn’t my strong suit if you hadn’t noticed.

He explained what the switches were and the fuses and went over the controls and oil pressure gauge and things and some of it went over my head still but some of started to sink in. As with most things that are new to us it is no good expecting to pick everything up all at once and not at my age either. We lifted the cover over the engine compartment and it didn’t look quite as clean as it had done the first time but still good.

A little different to the norm.

A little different to the norm.

     1 starter battery and 3 leisure with some kind of battery management system. I’m not totally forgetful but I’m beginning to flag a little now. I wasn’t disappointed with how things looked on this second visit. It all still looked in excellent condition and Andy after a good fertle round couldn’t find anything to really pick fault with. All seems to be as it should and how it looks. This I think bodes well for a good survey and then we can pay up, look happy and sail off into the exotic sunset heading for Manchester.

The engine fired up nicely and off we went. He’d come up with a good idea, which others may have used too, he’d made a shorter tiller for use when other people are on the stern with him. this did mean steering could be done with out moving peopl about too much and if you were there on your own you can put the long one on and stand at the rear doors. It was pretty cold and the pram hood was left up but the sides rolled up so we had a little protection from the elements.

The experience of cruising is still very new to me and standing at the tiller of what I think is a beautiful boat which could soon be mine was a wonderful experience. Is this the life I want to lead, is this really where I want to be. I think the answer is still yes, yes and yes.

Living Space

Living Space

I’d better start trying to find a crew member to help with bringing the boat down from Manchester to Derby. At least a crash course of 4 or 5 days straight cruising should be a good start to my boat handling experience although another friend of mine has offered a days cruising with him next week to give me some kind of clue before my maiden voyage. I guess one thing to consider is who can I actually put with in a small space for a week or who can put up with me. How much excitement can they take. Ho ho.

Well I think that ends todays post. Now we have to wait and see if everything goes according to plan. A little nervous as I’m getting closer to my goal but still not quite there and it could still fall through but looking good.

Take care and God bless you.


Useful Information
Our Nige

55 years old. I work in registered care as a care assistant and have my house up for sale and when sold will be buying a narrowboat of some kind to live on. Been a bit of a dream of mine for many years. Don't know for certain if I'll like it but I'm really looking forward to it and think that I will. I have been looking at boats and reading and talking to people over the last 6 to 9 monts and sometimes I feel like I might know what layout I want. I will be on a restricted budget of about 25 to 35k and will be looking for advice and tips to help me make a fair start on the water.

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Paul Smith - Thursday,28 March, 2013

Good stuff Nige. I hope you get on OK with the pram cover. Personally I can’t stand them. I know they give you a little protection from the elements but, for me, being out in the elements is what boating is all about. What I really don’t like about them though is the practicalities of cruising with them on. They restrict your visibility and your access to the every so important centre rope. They’re very good though for additional storage space when you’re on your mooring.


Our Nige - Thursday,28 March, 2013

Hi Paul we probably travelled about an hour all together and I found it quite good on visibility, but I don’t have much experience of travelling without a hood up, but Brian had put the centre ropes stretched out on the top on both sides so as soon as you went out the side opening they were there. He did emphasise that this needed doing before you set off, especially if on your own, otherwise it made things very difficult. On the way back it started snowing and this certainly made visibility quite poor so I can understand what you’re saying about that. We didn’t see another boat while we were out either so visibility wasn’t as important as it would be if things were busy. I shall defer opinion on the joys of travelling open to the elements till I’ve more experience of being frozen to the tiller or removing soggy clothing in confined spaces while checking for frostbite. No doubt these are experiences that will accumulate quickly once I get on board and start cruising. 

Hope it’s not too cold out there today Paul.

Many thanks



Paul Smith - Thursday,28 March, 2013

The weather is cold, but I’m not. There’s still a fierce easterly wind blowing and if my online weather report is to be believed, there’s a wind chill of minus four. However, as I’m throwing some railway sleepers around to landscape a border, I’m far from cold.

Cruising in the cold and the rain? What’s that all about? If you’re on board full time, you can pick when you want to cruise and when you just want to moor up, throw some more coal on the fire, and get a good book out (or update your blog).


Wendy - Friday,29 March, 2013

Hi Nige, I know the feeling, the kids have moved out, the house is up for sale, and Im looking at boats, I have this awful feeling that I will finally get on board and think ‘what now?’  How do I start the engine, top up the water, light the fire…..am I doing the right thing.   lol  Hopefully the kids will be able to help on my first cruise, but the more people I talk to I find the narrowboaters are a really friendly lot and are willing to answer any questions. Good luck and have fun….


Our Nige - Saturday,30 March, 2013

Hi Wendy I’m new to most of this with very limited experience and I don’t totally know if I’m going to love it or hate it. But sometimes you have to take a chance and do something you feel is right. Take your time and look at as many boats as possible, it makes a good day out at some of the marinas where they sell boats and you get to learn quite a lot just noseying around and opening cupboards and checking for little leaks on windows and vents and things. Hope it goes well for you and the kids help out too. Look forward to hearing more from you as you progress.



aclibsex - Saturday,11 May, 2013

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