Saturday, 9 October 2010

In the Beginning………

CAVEAT.  There will be few photograph at the beginning of this blog. Primarily because work has yet to commence on construction of the boat!
Where to start? Actually I blame FMIL (Favourite Mother-in-law). In July 2000 I spent four weeks backpacking my way through South America and on my return suggested to my darling wife (Jan) that the following year that she should select our next holiday destination. She subsequently informed me the destination was to be the UK and so I started planning our trip with input from FMIL. We would hire a car and B&B around England, Wales and Scotland. All very interesting, however I was looking for something extra, an adventure, and then I noticed the canals on a website. FMIL was agreeable although Jan had reservations as she isn’t fond of water. Nevertheless, we booked a one week canal boat holiday on the Llangollen Canal. All too soon we were departing from the Antipodes heading towards Singapore where we were joined by FMIL for the long flight to Heathrow.
The first week passed very quickly and before long two of us were excitedly standing in the marina car park looking at the boats. Jan was already declaring herself sea-sick just staring at the water. All too soon we were aboard and attempting to steer out of the marina. I rapidly learned a long thin pencil made of steel with a small engine at the rear doesn’t steer that well. No doubt the dents in the marina banks are still there. But they’re not all mine! Having made the tight turn onto the straight portion of the canal I was able to open the throttle and see if I could get this boat to plane. The first thing I realised was how noisy the engine was, I could hardly hear myself! Then I could hear Jan and FMIL screaming at me from the bow. I couldn’t hear what they were saying over the roar of the engine but they were furiously pointing in the direction of the marina. Looking back I could see marina staff also waving and shouting. Oh; they wanted me to slow down! I cut the engine rev’s to idle (well the boat was never going the plane) and received a right bollocking from Jan. No one told me you had to go slowly! Actually travelling slowly was quite relaxing; although I couldn’t look at the scenery. The moment I took my eyes off the bow the damned boat would develop a mind of its own and attempt to ram the banks. I was also concerned about Jan. Would she develop sea-sickness and suffer a week of misery. An hour later my fears were allayed.  If she had dropped dead at that moment it would have taken the mortician a week to get the smile off her face. We were both hooked and at the end of the week had agreed we must do it again. Every second year for the next decade we made the long journey from the far side of the world to spend time on a hired canal boat. Moreover, with each trip the hire period became longer. Finally we decided it was silly to keep making the journey. Let’s have our own boat built and do it full time for a number of years. And that’s how it started.

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