How do you solve a “problem” like Moorea? #narrowboat #england

AP1050047Despite my Bro’ adding the final nail to the name by singing the The Sound of Music lyric ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria…’ while I completed the purchase, Moorea is in fact the best narrowboat and home in the universe and not a problem at all.

I changed the name toot sweet (sic) to something less obviously open to ribaldry and to something less indicative of my personal vision of Hell. Moorea, or Mo’orea is, apparently, an island in French Polynesia… even if they do “Call the wind Moorea” while singing “Moorea, I just met a girl named Moorea”… aaargh – earworms!

Mo’orea is a South Pacific island, part of French Polynesia’s Society Islands archipelago. It’s known for its jagged volcanic mountains and sandy beaches. In the north, Mount Rotui overlooks picturesque Ōpūnohu Bay and the settlements around Cook’s Bay. Inland, hiking trails wind through rainforest on the slopes of Mount Tohivea. The Belvedere Lookout has panoramic views of the island’s peaks and Tahiti beyond.

Hot, sweaty, blazing-sun and humid places are not my idea of a good time, no matter that the Trade Winds may occasionally send wimps seeking “a light pullover or jacket in the evening”. Had Mooorea been named after a nice, cold, rainy, windswept Scottish island or something then the name may have stuck.

Job done, Cardinal Wolsey is his new name of record. I am, however, awaiting both dry weather and opportunity to paint out the old name and add the new. And paint, I am awaiting Mauritius Blue paint. Paint and opportunity, with weather.

Why buy a boat with a name I didn’t like? Well, the Cardinal is a damned good boat – well built, good quality and a nice design. Rather like myself, he just needs a bit of TLC. There are things that need checking, details that need tweaking and stuff and wotnots to be added. We’re all entitled to a bit of wear and tear. I’m almost full-time on the Cardinal now, although the jobs and work though will continue for a month or three. Here are some photos of things that they never show you in the brochures – the dark corners, the things behind panels… some of the bits that quite reasonably need a poke with a sharp stick before I can sail off into the sunset. Those ruddy wall-lights have got to go!

The instrument panel needs replacing, the switch panel for the tunnel lights and horn needs replacing (and, oddly, a horn fitting), the plumbing needs tickling, the electrics needs checking from end to end, the engine needs servicing, the engine bay needs cleaning and painting, the batteries need moving a bit and adding to, some light switches have no fewer than four wires attached, all the same colour (which is which and does what?)…

Then, once the TLC has been spread, the solar panels need fitting and hooking up, the isolation transformer needs wiring in, the rinky-dinky battery monitor and display need fitting, the mushroom vents are to be replaced with “Breezies”… and… and… and…

…and gas (LPG) alarms (two, entirely separate systems) and combined smoke/CO detectors in place of the current smoke-only detectors and the “dinette” area needs some woodwork to convert it into a study area, not to mention that I need more bookshelves…

Meantime, I’m also slowly engaged in swapping curtains (really don’t like curtains!) for blinds, swapping carpet (ditto dislike floor-carpet) for wood, adding one-way reflective privacy film to the portholes and windows…

Then of course, at the end of the month the gas cooker and diesel central-heating get some love and attention from a chap with appropriate qualifications… then the folk are coming to measure up for, to fabricate and fit my cratch and pram covers… then the Cardinal goes in for blacking and some new, additional anodes…

Aside from that, it was see – buy – step aboard and enjoy tea and cherry-cake on the poop deck.

The poop deck needs a scrub.

If I have bored you rigid with mention of technicalities, fear not, for among future posts will be more romantic sea-going (not!) tales of the nicer, less DIY side of life aboard (as well as lots more how/who/what done its about the technicalities) and the… opportunities of moving onto the Cardinal full-time.

Soon enough, I hope, I will begin the devilish task of messing around in boats, of exploring the canals and of climbing the near-vertical learning curve of single-handing locks…

Then I might actually be able to get back to writing – The near-complete The Dog With The Bakelite Nose is burning a hole in my files, and I have other plots coming out of my ears. That reminds me, I must go to the Doctor and ask what it is that is coming out of my ears.

I think it may be Moorea.



    1. A small South American marsupial that lives in packets of Cornflakes if stored orientated east-west and at a temperature between “ooh-yeah” and “gosh that’s good”… 😉 Seriously, it does sound like a dirty word but it’s at the pointy bit of a narrowboat, the bit with those odd triangular upright boards in front of the well deck. Basically tis a nose cover for the boat! A cratch cover makes that part of the boat more useful during inclement weather. In nb parlance it’s a tent on the front of a narrowboat…


  1. Congratulations Ian.And to Cardinal Wolsey well done on a (possible) successful sex change. I hope all the trivial details keep you occupied without driving you insane, and that you get the blinds you want and flooring. Personally I think you’re a spoilsport for not letting me peep through your one way reflective portholes to see your home. I would have promised to ignore any sexual activity accidentally spied upon.
    I wish you a speedy resolution of all the problems and a happy cruise upon the 7 seas ( or alternatively the 7 stretches between locks).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure about the one way reflective portholes, traditionally nets can be used, much more pleasing. About the sexual activity, there is a well known saying stating ‘Don’t come a knocking,- if the boat is a-rocking’


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