Went over to the Bro’s in Cheshire last week and on Wednesday decided we’d pop out for a mooch around a couple of boatyards just to see what’s what. Stepped aboard the first boat from my “to see” list and promptly began the process of buying the wee beastie. Stuck a deposit down there and then (using the bro’s credit card, thank you Bro)!
It’s a bit like buying a house – offer, negotiation, survey, contracts – and should take about six weeks to complete, assuming that the survey finds no horrors.
This one felt solid and friendly from the first, has 6′ 6″ of headroom (handy when you’re 6′ 2″ on a good day) and ticked all of the boxes regarding layout, engine (Isuzu diesel, 38hp), gearbox (hydraulic, PRM150), shower (proper cubicle, no icky curtain jobbies), kitchen (minimal, splendidly simple), Victron inverter/charger (good capacity), new(ish) batteries and on and on… The blunt end is a “semi-trad” which suits me just fine – a halfway house between an open cruiser deck and the less-friendly/sociable fully trad. The back is somewhere to get out of wet and muddy clobber. The sharp end is chunky and businesslike (and just needs a cover).
The interior wants for a spot of wood flooring to replace the carpet, some carpet installing on the sides up to the gunwales and some wooden venetian blinds to replace the curtains. The “dining” area is not to my joy but it is in the right place to be easily half taken away and half replaced with a proper desk/study/working area. Somewhere to get my finger out and to come up with a few canal-related stories too… This on top of publishing The Dog With The Bakelite Nose in the next couple of months!
Once the buying is done with I will be doing some initial maintenance jobs – blacking the hull, hugging the engine, giving some smoochies to the heating and plumbing. Oh yup – then buy my CRT licence, new Boat Safety Certificate test (the equivalent of an MoT), boat and contents insurance… Then it’s move aboard and begin the learning curve, the steep one that leads to not looking like a complete plonker at locks, on rivers, mooring up…
Interwebnet access will be by dint of Huawei gizmo, booster aerial and England’s somewhat capricious mobile PAYG network. Gawds alone know what a chap does about post, prescriptions, NHS quacks, dentists and so forth. I’m sure that something will occur.
Now, I also need to arrange to be adopted asap by a hound from a rescue home, preferably a big butch mutt that’s au fait with tiller-work, ropes and putting knots in boy scouts. One that can perform man-overboard procedures when I fall in, is experienced with a VHF radio, cleans for fun and makes decent coffee.
We also need a new name; the boat’s current name is not one that appeals. I suppose that this will involve officialdom, a small bucket of paint and a large bucket of champagne over the bow. Will probably get Canterbury and a couple of other denominations to mutter a few maritime words, that sort of thing. Maybe a fly-past from the Red Arrows and then let off some Chinese fire-crackers.
The current list of contenders for a new name include “Porterhouse Blue” (Tom Sharpe reference); “Poonah in ’43 or ’44”; “Darjeeling Station” and “Cardinal Wolsey”. Still thinking, no rush.
I have decided to award myself the rank of Admiral, so that makes me Major-General Wing-Commander Admiral Sir Hutson D.S.O., D.D.T., I.T.V. & Vitamin B by The Bar. Any more and I’d have to have fold-out business cards, so it makes sense for the moment.
Let the exploration and inspection of the English canal system commence – lots of aquaducts and long tunnels to be braved, locks and connecting river stretches to be mastered. This bearing in mind that (at the moment) I can’t swim a stroke and some of my worst recurring nightmares are deep-water related, thus proving beyond doubt my absolute insanity.
Sherry and warm cherry cake on the poop deck, soonest.
Run the cabin-boy up the mast, splice anything that’s not pre-spliced and open the gun-ports, run out the cannon. I wonder if I should fit torpedo tubes? Would that be sociable? Depth-charge launchers mayhap, and one of those burp-burp guns that fires a trillion rounds a second and takes out incoming missiles automatically before they hit…
Have I mentioned that I am tickled pink, quite beside even myself and jumping up and down with the need to shout HUZZAH! every five minutes?
Well, I am. Fingers crossed. Chin-chin.