Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Phoebe meets Herbie

After picking up Rick and Marilyn off the train in Hertford we set off down the Lee towards the Stort. We’ve never been on the Stort before and it was nice when we turned at the junction and set off up this narrow little river. We were even a bit excited. Fifteen minutes later we were much more excited because there, moored up on a bend was narrow boat Phoebe.

We knew that Phoebe was the boat belonging to Roy and Val who were Herbie’s previous owners, so we pulled in (with some difficulty on a shallow bend, in the wind and current). They were really pleased to see Herbie and we were all soon aboard Phoebe and the kettle was on. Roy and Val had boat their boat as an ex hire boat and converted it superbly into a live aboard.

Looking over Phoebe we were reminded how much of Herbie’s internal fitting is Roy’s work. There were the same shelves and cupboards all with Roy’s distinctive trim. He is not a young man but has loads of energy and seems un afraid of any woodworking challenge. He’d totally redone the galley and fitted a Houdini hatch in the roof, all to professional standards. Rick, a keen DIYer, was dead impressed and recognised Roy as a soul mate.

We took Roy over Herbie and he kept saying “Ooh, I’d forgotten I did that” , but was unable to remember why sometimes! There is a rail over the side hatch that we have never been able to work out the purpose of, and Roy couldn’t remember either. Eventually, Val remembered it was what she hung shirts on when she was ironing. Herbie is full of clever little nick nacks like that, all neatly done by Roy.

A lovely visit, which reminded us on how nice it was to buy Herbie from people who had lavished so much care on her.

We needed to moor up somewhere for the night and on Roy’s advice we stopped by a chicken farm just outside Roydon. Roy says it’s where Jamie Oliver gets his chickens. I can report that they are all happily scratching around in a big field and having a lovely life.

I’m writing this just before we set off on Wednesday morning. In five minutes we attempt the lowest of the Stort’s notoriously low bridges. The camera is ready.

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