Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sea Trials (well, river trials anyway)

On Tuesday we went up to meet Roy and Valerie (present owners) on Herbie to have a test drive and go over the boat noting where everything was and how it worked. It was a freezing (literally) cold day, but we were glad to find that Herbie was warm and cosy inside. This was the first time we had seen Herbie without the rear hood erected, and is how she will look when cruising.

Pulling out of the marina we turned up stream and motored as far as Ware, something just under an hour I guess. The boat performed beautifully and Kath and I both had a go on the tiller finding the boat easy to steer. Ware has quiet and pleasant moorings in the town, some by a pub and others handy for the shops.

Roy (shown above) did a very impressive job at turning the boat round and when we got back performed an amazing feat of turning the boat and backing it into its mooring space. Look at the picture, notice the narrowness of the river here and you'll see what we mean.

We then went over the boat with a fine tooth comb learning all the little storage spaces, where all the maintenance and electric, gas and water points were and setting out and testing the guest sofa bed. Everything was fine and we now feel very comfortable about taking Herbie on.
Now we have to get all the necessary kitchen stuff, pots, pans, kettle, crockery, cutlery and so on. A good job the January sales are still in full flow. We also need a couple of folding chairs and a nice folding table for the saloon. I feel a visit to IKEA coming on!

Monday, January 16, 2006

handover date agreed

February 9th is the magic day! Well be getting the keys and staying on Herbie that night as Kath is going on a course in Knebworth the following day. Very convenient as Herbie is only about 20 mins from Knebworth.

We will be moored above Stanstead lock for at least until 17th Feb as that lock is undergoing a British Waterways refurbishment, so we can't get through until they finish and reopen the lock. The broker we're buying through says "we're talking BW dates here so don't hold your breath. " She has offered us free moorings in their marina until the lock reopens. We'll just have to tootle up to Ware and Hertford and back in the meantime. Just an hour or two I think.

Next Tuesday (24 Jan) were off up to Herbie to get shown the ropes by the previous owners and to sort out the handover inventory. Well take some more pics then for the blog.

Thanks to all those friends who have send their congratulations, encouragement and requests for a ride sometime. Hang in there.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

One more pic

When we went to view Herbie it was a bitterly cold afternoon, but inside with the solid fuel stove on it was really warm and cosy. The radiator you can see is separately run from a diesel fuelled heater which lives in the engine compartment. There are other rads in the loo and in the bedroom at the front.

Apparently you don't need the rads if the fire is lit, but they should be handy for a quick burst of heat either when its not worth lighting the fire or while you're setting the fire. On the right you can see the light coming through the open side hatch. Forget the nick nacks, the video etc - they don't come with the boat. Kath has alreay decided to replace the curtains and cushions with something less cottagey.

Herbie's backside!

The stern end with the all weather hood up. Most of the time we'll fold this down so you won't see it.

More pictures of Herbie

Herbie has a rear galley and a saloon (with a side hatch) in the middle. The galley has the usual cooker and fridge and instant hot water!
Look at all the shelving the previous owner ( a retired boat fitter) put in
A nice loo and a shower too.

Introduction to Herbie

Neil and Kath have placed a deposit on Herbie, a 50ft semi trad narrowboat! Herbie is just over 4 years old and in terrific condition thanks to his/her? previous owners who have not only kept the boat neat and tidy, but have skillfully built in lots of extra features such as masses of built in storage, and secondary double glazing (only plastic, but effective). The engine a BMC1.8 diesel is spotless and very smooth running, having been regularly maintained.

We particularly wanted a boat that could accommodate friends as well as ourselves, and Herbie can comfortably sleep four adults, and there is room for us all on the rear deck when we're cruising. Herbie has too many features to list them all here, but lets just say she has plenty of mod cons and leave you to look at some of the photos.

These photos show the boat as it has been lived on by the previous owners, so when we move on don't expect it to look so "chintzy".

At present Herbie is on the river Lee in Hertfordshire which is where we'll take over. We'll probably hang around there for a few weeks as it's a nice area, then we'll move to our proposed permanent base at Iver on the Slough arm of the Grand Union Canal. Our first significant trip will of course be to bring the boat "home" which involves going down the Lee to London, across the Regents Canal and the Paddington arm of the Grand Union, and a short hop up to Iver. About 20 hours cruising we're told.