Yes, it’s now official, and feels really weird. This is our home, and we’re leaving here for pastures new, well, that’s the plan…
When the broker made the video, my heart was in my mouth, in fact it even sank (excuse pun). We’ve had 4 years of fun aboard this boat, and memories came flooding back.
I re-lived the parties that went on into the early hours with our friends and could hear the laughter, felt the ache I used to get in my ribs from laughing TOO much at the daft things we got up to.
We all used to end up on board TT because of the space, even when the cooking had been done aboard other boats, it was carried round here in tinfoil. Could’ve opened a kitchen utensil shop if we hadn’t returned all the plates and stuff people forgot to take back. One night we had a BBQ and 14 people turned up! Everybody always contributed, they’d even buy stuff to cook here when we were all out on the cut.
Under normal circumstances there were 6 of us:
“Heth the Feth” here and “Dave the Rope” PLUS:
“Liz the Wiz” and “Mark Bee.”
“Mark the Spark” and “Bin.”
Best of friends, absolute nutters and proud of it too. Just don’t ask how the name thing happened, simple as
we are it sounds – too complex! [Remember the card game Happy Families??]
It was a wonderful 4 years of life we’ll never forget. I’m talking in the past sense, because that’s when we were at St Mary’s marina on the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool canal.
However, life goes on, circumstances change and we all got “itchy feet” or “itchy anodes” (as I called it) around the same time. In boating terms, we were fed up with having to go through 7 rickety dangerous locks on a branch canal just to “get out.”
So we looked around for a marina with more to offer re; boating, and found Mercia Marina the best in that respect. With the added bonus of saving £1000 per year on mooring fees (not paying for the gap at the side of us). And better weather further south??? But we’d miss our friends. We were also aware that being social types, it would be very difficult making new friends somewhere different in winter…
Meanwhile our friends put their boats up for sale. One couple moved into a new house, and the others sold up and bought a widebeam, which is now moored where TT was!
In early December 2011, TT was craned out of the water, and plonked back in here at Mercia. Around 40 people turned up to say goodbye at Rufford and there were tears all round. It was the end of a golden era for all of us. We discovered that even though it’s very difficult, you can’t stay in a location you don’t want to be in anymore, even if your friends mean the world to you. We haven’t lost touch and two of them were at their villa in Spain while we were there, long way away though! In fact they’re still over there. They hate the weather here as much as we do.
When we arrived at Mercia there was an empty boat next door to us all winter. We heard the owners were from New Zealand and coming over here in March to live on their boat. When they arrived we got talking and realised we were all on the same (daft) wavelength. More firm friends were made and they’ve been here a year now, how time flies!
Mercia Marina also has lots of social events put on by the staff too, including quiz nights and various party nights. This was a new phenomenon to us! A marina that caters for everything and everyone??? It’s been great meeting people off other piers (never the twain shall meet in some marinas). There’s a quiz night coming up soon, bet some of them will wonder where we’ve been. Even the marina manager was sad to hear we’re selling up. We get the same reaction from everyone, they can’t believe it…
However, in hindsight now, we wish we’d never moved away from our dear friends. But on the bright side we may never have decided to move to another country.
And to add to complications, it’s so much more difficult than selling the house was. 30 odd years we’d lived there, it was a lovely family home when we had the kids, but once they’d flown the nest with their various careers, good memories remained, but it lost it’s charm. We rattled around the place for a while, always happy together, we’re soul mates, always have been, always will be. (Ahh)
So it was decision time, do we stay here in a house that’s just a shell to us and stagnate? Or do we move on to a better life? We’ve both seen it many times, people retire and stay put. They have the means to move on to something new, but they can’t see outside the box so they “stay safe.” Later on in life they then find themselves asking the question “what if?” Or even “if only?” When we finally sold up at a loss of 30 grand in 2 years, it was a relief, we had the boat, but the house was a burden gone.
So the big difference with this sale is that TT is NOT a burden, she’s got bags of charm, she’s also got character galore, which makes this particular move very difficult.
I admire anyone who’s made the leap from bricks and mortar to living a different lifestyle with no regrets. We might be looking to make another leap now and move on again, but we have no regrets about our life afloat. It’s been wonderful.
So why make another “leap” towards another lifestyle? Well basically, as you probably know, it’s all about the weather. Nothing to do with the boat at all, she’s always toasty warm even at minus whatever.
What finally tipped the balance for us was the economy in Britain. Yes, people may say Spain is in a worse state than we are. But there’s a big difference, here it’s everywhere, the whole country is in a big mess.
In Spain it’s regional, which means places like Benidorm and all the quiet “Costa’s” in the Med, with their Blue Flag beaches were well established before the banking crisis. The secret key to relative immunity? Just a tad different to coastal Blackpool eh? Over there they also have two major positive factors, the weather and low prices. Which combined are a stimulant to future prosperity…
As another BIG bonus, the police have cracked down on the “yob” culture in Benidorm which put other visitors off for a couple of years. Apparently the dickheads are now all going to Ibiza, which is no great loss! There is still one area that’s Brit yob owned (at night), a small place called “the old town” but don’t go near it and you won’t hear it.
However, we’ve seen both sides of the coin, just 4 kilometres from Benidorm, there’s a place called Finestrat. Absolutely beautiful with a beach to match. But it’s really sad to walk round there, apartments, hotels and shops were planned. It was all being built when construction went down the pan. Some apartment blocks are finished and very impressive too, yet most lie half built with cranes still in place. Even the plant hire firms went bust.
Huge areas of land remain cordoned off where impressive buildings were supposed to be, even their names are written on boards hanging off safety cordons. Stood there, it’s easy to imagine what it was supposed to look like, but it’s desolate. Timing gone wrong…
However, that’s a minority situation, not a majority like we’re all led to believe here.
So here’s where we’re at right now, everything I’ve told you about our wonderful life afloat has already been blogged over the years. But change is on the way however long it takes.
Believe it or not, this post is just a few “key words” in the grand scheme of things. Sorry, I didn’t mean to prattle on this long, but whoever, whenever, someone else buys TT they’d best look after her, she’s special…