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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday 9 September 2023

A difficult decision.

Those of you that have read this blog may have wondered why so much work was being carried out on Waka Huia. I can now enlightened you all.

 Today I have been asked by David and Marilyn to explain why.  Some of you may have guessed the true reason, some may think it's because they are flying back to NZ in 10 days time and want the boat in tip-top shape for their return next year, but the truth is that Waka Huia is to be sold. So to meet up and have a final cruise together was very important to Ian and me, it didn't matter that we were going in the wrong direction, we just knew it had to happen. Helping with those jobs that would be hard for them both to do, was an easy decision to make.

Marilyn will, in time, explain the reasons for their decision, it was an incredibly difficult one to make and took a lot of thinking through, it's not my place to explain why, though. I will leave that to Marilyn and David when they have the time to blog. What I will tell you is the boat is looking magnificent, you have seen the amount of hard work that's been done and for anyone wanting a well cared for and loved boat, this is the one for you. As soon as I get the link from Marilyn to the brokerage website I will put it on my sidebar. If in the meantime anyone wants further information before it is left on brokerage please comment on Marilyn's blog nbwakahuia.blogspot.com

 So to continue......

Friday 9th Sept

Remember that rat? Well... M&D had left FS by about 8 pm, we were all yawning but they more so than us. We had settled in front of the TV when a rattling sound was heard from the back deck. Ian went to investigate, open the hatch slide and was just in time to see the rat disappearing down one of our fenders!

That wasn't the end of the rat's tale. I told the story to Marilyn, she too had heard noises but it was only by my telling of the tale did she put two and two together and deduced that blooming rat had got into the curry set aside on the seat on their stern. So why was that curry on the back deck, I hear you ask? To cool down, of course, before placing it in the fridge, but with us getting together last night on FS, it had been forgotten. So all night it stayed outside covered in cling film. In the morning the cling film had been ripped opened probably by that rat. So said curry intended for another evening meal ended up being thrown in the cut for fish food!

We had decided moving nearer to Hillmorton would be a good idea. Not that we didn't like this place, (apart from the rat) but a plan was formed about Ian sealing a couple of the windows with silicone on the port side. And for those that know of Hillmorton locks, you will remember that both sides of the canal can be used in between locks 4 and 5 and 6 and 7. For us, though, there will be no going up the flight, we will wind and then head back the way we came to Huddlesford for a heritage gathering

Once again we were about to shove off when two boats appeared. David was on bow rope duty at FS, Ian would travel with Marilyn.  Eventually we pulled away, David got on at our bow and walked along the gunwale to the stern. Heart was in my mouth because our fenders were up and in the past Ian had had a dunking by accidentally standing on one. Anyway I needn't have worried, the middle fender was missing and the stern fender was rapidly knocked down by my giving it a quick kick.

At Clifton Cruisers it was change over day and many of their boats were in. The channel width is severely restricted by the breasted up hire boats and when Marilyn put Waka Huia in reverse I guessed we had an oncoming boat. What an awkward place to meet being on a blind bend with only enough room for the one boat. Anyway Marilyn got underway again as that boat passed but I wasn't sure if I could see the bow of another boat so hung back. Nothing appeared so on I went. But unbeknownst by me and nestled against the hire boats, a boat was waiting. Blast... I couldn't apologised enough for not holding back, said I didn't realise another boat was coming but the view was so restricted that all I could see was his head and I thought that was from one of the hire company staff. He was very gracious, said he could see me even if I couldn't see him and let it go at that.


It was that guy in the light blue T-Shirt that was waiting. That blue boat was from the hire fleet and not his boat..

And I thought him one of the staff.

Within 10 minutes Marilyn pulled over at another shady spot. Hillmorton was but 15 minutes further up the canal. She was determined to finish putting the undercoat on the handrails and blue stripes along the centre of the roof. 

 We had another card game of 'up and down the river' on FS. This time I did not come last...I took great delight in pretending how sorry I was when it turned out to be Marilyn. ๐Ÿ˜

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