The adventure ends

One adventure ends, another begins. On 15 December we delivered NB Lazy Days to Hilperton where she is up for sale. On 17 December we moved into our new house in Somerset. It’s a far cry from our pre boat life in Hertfordshire, a life that we couldn’t have returned to after the canal experience.

We spent our first night in Lazy Days under the M1 Motorway waiting for the Watford Locks to open. Our last night was similarly eventful. We had remained at the Semington Moorings for the last few days, polishing and sorting and taking a couple of loads back to the storage and others to the dump. On Wednesday, the wind blew into a gale and the boat was buffeted all night. I was awake before 6.00 listening to the crashes when there was a hard bang against the boat. At first I thought that it might have been the wind blowing us against the bank. Then I wondered if the boat moored behind had banged into us. (It was a vast Dutch Barge. I had a great surprise when I went out the back hatch the previous day to find them looming over us, moored so close that their bow was overlapping our stern. Even more surprising when they had two empty mooring rings behind them! Fortunately we also had an empty ring ahead and had moved forward.)
Alan went out to check and found not one boat behind us, but two. The drifting boat that had banged into us was now against the side of the Dutch barge. As we watched it went back to the off side and towards the bridge. Alan wondered if he should go out to try to grab its ropes. I thought not because it was pitch dark and he wouldn’t be able to get near it as the opposite bank was so marshy. At 8.00 I went along to see where it had got to, along with the Dutch barge owner who only realised that anything had happened when I told him. To our surprise we found that the drifter had managed to pass under the bridge and was now moored behind NB Party Animal, owned by Leb, who had blacked our boat. To our disappointment it hadn’t managed to enter the open lock behind it (both gates left open by the lazy Dutch barge owners. Hmmm, the pound above had drained in similar circumstances the week before.) Leb was out unhappily surveying the damage to his boat. We had come off unscathed but he had scrapings all along his running strakes. Not a great disaster you would think, but Leb is very boat proud and his strakes were painted yellow to contrast with the smart blacking. The boat is called Party Animal!

Just before 10.00 when we were about to pull away a lady carrying bits of cleaning equipment came along the towpath, looking puzzled. “I can’t seem to find my boat”, she said. I told her where it was, that it had passed two other boats before it reached us and that it had banged into us on its way. “But it can’t have, it was fine last night”. I pointed out that as it started a considerable way in front of us and was now the same distance behind us and on the other side of a bridge clearly something had gone wrong. Finally she was convinced that her boat really was where I said it was and went off to be reunited with the vagrant, leaving me still waiting for any enquiry about whether damage had been done to our boat.

I walked along to see Alan through the swing bridge and he took Lazy Days on solo while I drove round to Hilperton to meet him. Then it was just a matter of mooring up and completing the paperwork and we were free to head over to Watford to start the move.

Along with the chaos of the removal of all the house contents from storage a week before Christmas we also had to go back to the boat three times to transfer the rest of our possessions. We had thought that it might be done in one trip. It’s amazing how much you can fit into a boat, especially when you think of all the books and clothes that we had already moved!

We have had a wonderful seven years with Lazy Days, half spent as liveaboards. We have travelled most of the system and had adventures that have stretched us, given us great enjoyment and kept us agile and alive! We have discovered many places that we would never have visited otherwise and we have realised how lucky we have been to be able to live as wandering waterways folk. And also how fortunate we are to be able to choose the right time to move on to something else. The pleasure of spending our days slowly travelling through our wonderful countryside was a marvellous bridge between our working lives and our new future as retired people.

I realise that many readers of this blog may have given up on us given the irregularity of postings over the past few months, but to those of you who may read this, it has been a great joy to meet so many wonderful people through the blog. You, along with the other friends for life that we have encountered on the canals, have been the icing on the cake of our boating experience.

Finally, NB Lazy Days is for sale at Hilperton Marina. She’s done us proud, given us a comfortable home and transported us around the system with total reliability. We have every confidence that she will give her next owner equal happiness.

We have a very poor internet connection at present but when we finally get around to sorting out our broadband I will put up some pictures of our highlights from the last three and half years. – Alan

Final Journey 15/12/11 2.69 Miles and 1 Swing Bridge

Statistics so far:-

3060.62 Miles, 2051 Locks, 198 Swing Bridges, 118 Lift Bridges, 58 Tunnels

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10 Responses to The adventure ends

  1. Ali & John says:

    Very best wishes for the future, we have enjoyed reading your blog over the last few years.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Halfie says:

    Best wishes from us too. What will happen to the blog? Will you still write here or will you start another blog?

  3. carrie says:

    A suitably eventful last night afloat :-)
    Best of luck in the next adventure!
    Carrie x

  4. Nev Wells says:

    Thank you for sharing your life afloat with us, it is a real privilege to be allowed an insight into all things living afloat. Good luck in whatever you do next,

    Nev NB Waterlily

  5. John says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with everyone, and for a thoroughly enjoyable blog.

  6. Blue Point says:

    Sad that you have gone off the water, but we are house sitting again in ASCOT from Friday for a week. Will try and come and see the new home. I have already looked on google great countryside. See you soon.

  7. nblazydays says:

    Sorry for not repling earlier to the comments buit we have had no internet connection to speak of until now.

    Thank you all for your comments. Yea we will miss the boat but we are now embarking on a new journey, growing our own food and hopefully leading the good life. We have spent the day clearing a patch of garden for raised beds. I ordered a chicken coop kit this morning and only need to get myself on a bee keeping course to kick start our life off the boat. I will keep following the blogs and may start a new one on our life in a Somerset village.

    We will always treasure our time on the waterways and hopefully we can still keep in touch with the many friends that we have made during our journey around the canal system.

    Best regards
    Alan

  8. Hope you both enjoy your new life on land. It was lovely meeting you both aon those numerous occasions. Looking forward to reading about your new life all the best to you both Lynne and Paul

  9. Del & Al says:

    Very best wishes for your new phase in life. We will miss bumping into you on the cut, and would love to hear all about your new way of life in Somerset. Good luck, Del & Al x

  10. Jo says:

    Just heard that you are on a new adventure. We wish you both all the luck in the world with your new life. If your ever on the towpath and see us moored up, please come and say hello, I will have a kettle on the boil.
    Good luck Jo & Keith x

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