40 Years on ….Take2

We have arrived.

Who would have guessed it’s 8.15 am on Easter Sunday morning…..Happy Easter by the way,….. sun is shinning I have the regulation cuppa sitting beside me while I sit on the front of our canal boat writing this blog.

This is really peaceful but I am getting slightly nervous about firing up the boat and heading downstream, but more of that shortly.

The flight over with Emirates was great, we were in with all the regulars….remember we have a budget…. but I have to say I was impressed. Christchurch via Sydney to Dubai, one night stop over there then onto Manchester.  The Christchurch – Sydney leg had Hannah and Margaret from Harcourts both on the same flight, and off to Sydney for their respective breaks great to see some old work colleagues. By the time you get to Dubai you have had close to 20 hours of flying and a stop over, so to get out there still feeling remarkable fresh at my advancing old age says something for the airline.  Good seats, good food, and close to 1400 movies to watch….outstanding.

Arrived in Manchester around noon yesterday and straight through immigration, the customs man asked us if we were now retired that we were there for so long, take what you like out of that.  We had no trouble finding the train and getting ourselves tickets to Stone where we pick up the boat.

Lesson number 1,   Take note fellow would be travellers thinking you might like to follow in our footsteps.   Think carefully about your baggage.  Got to say Emirates allows you 30 kg of baggage so we packed accordingly, and along with the fact we are away for 12-18 months some of you will be thinking  you need more than that to carry your life around with you.   Well I can tell you, ….you don’t, …..carting two bags each plus a few carry on handbags and man bags is bloody difficult when you get to British Train stations. It was just a down right pain.

But eventually we got to Stone and the boat yard.  Carey Ginger is the boats name. You can google it to see more details of the beast. 60 ft of narrowness and close confines.  I took one look at it and thought we have to steer this thing out onto the Canal, and as soon as we leave our mooring in less than 30 meters we hit our first lock,  another 100 meters past that, is lock number two. Now this 2nd lock has a pub on either side of it, both with beer gardens so the punters can enjoy the sport of new boaters experiencing their first locks……what joy.

Needless to say I chickened out of heading out late Saturday arvo following our briefing while the pubs are full. Instead we thought Easter Sunday and quiet before the pubs are open with the traditional Sunday lunch crowd. So we are heading off soon while it’s peaceful quiet and no one is around except a few joggers who don’t like Easter eggs, we definitely feel the need to beat any watching crowds for our first locks.

In reality there is not even enough space to at least get a wee feel how this thing steers, stops and moves before we are in the lock.   I feel a few bumps coming on, so it’s a good job this is a steel boat me thinks.

Fast forward five hours …. we are now semi experienced boaters, four locks down, multiple bridges plus other boats passed, however have to say this is a beast at 60 ft long.


Lesson #2…. get a shorter boat,

We just have to hope the wind doesn’t, come up while we are boating because it really will be a hand full.

We stopped around 2 pm at a lock with another boating couple Geoff and Karen, after helping each other thru the lock, we got talked into visiting the local pub for a Sunday arvo tipple. I was adamant we should continue but Karen said no…… Needless to say we are still here, think we will park up for the night and just look to continue on tomorrow.

Day one and I am in love with UK canal boating, even if it did cause a bit of nerves earlier today.

Stay tuned.

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