In recent weeks speculation has been rife on the interweb - the Herbies say they're planning a move, but where will they go and when? Well all can now be revealed. Negotiations at either end have been undertaken, inspections of a new home have been undertaken and a dotted line has been signed upon.
Sometime in the spring, amongst much wailing and gnashing of teeth, Herbie will be leaving our lovey mooring at Cropredy and heading north past Braunston, past Hawkesbury, past Fazeley, past Fradley and into her new berth at Kings Bromley Marina near Lichfield on the Trent and Mersey canal.
We went up there (by car) to have a look around yesterday and now we're excited to get the move done. The marina holds almost exactly the same number of boats as Cropredy, but it feels very different - a much more cosy and higgledy piggledy layout than Cropredy's huge rectangular pond and more sheltered. We've been offered a berth on a herringbone jetty which at first we weren't enthusiastic about, but when we discovered the jetty led to a little grassy island with a round covered log shelter and benches outside and trees for shade (all only a few yards from the boat) we soon saw the benefit.
Kings Bromley marina belongs to the same group that now owns Cropredy marina so that makes the transfer a bit more straightforward and the lovely managers at both ends have generously given us flexibility about exactly when we make the move - probably late March / early April.
Even though it was a flying visit yesterday, we had to find a bite to eat for us and for our "sounding boards" Rick and Marilyn who came with us, so we went off to find the nearest pub in the village (the Royal Oak) and we're happy to report a) that it's a very good pub with good food and beer (Marstons in that area of course, being not far from Burton on Trent), and b) that as we hoped, prices are a good bit below those we suffer in the south. Interestingly we also noticed that the general run of the boats in the marina were less up-market than at Cropredy which has a lot of swanky boats, so we'll move up the shinyness pecking order a bit.
So we'll have fresh waters to explore and we hope new friends to make. before then though we have to deal with the small matter of a disintegrating engine mount on Herbie, but fear not, that's all in hand and we'll be having it done at the iconic Tooley's Boatyard in the not too distant future along with a general engine look over. Wer'e currently waiting for a "slot". There's something nice about having your boat fixed at Tooley's as any canal history enthusiast will know.
Looking forward to an exciting 2020. Tag along why don't you.