Treading Water

2007: Unchartered Waters!

Living the dream takes many forms. But suddenly finding one that’s achievable, yet never even been considered before is like a new awakening! Doesn’t make it simple though, oh far from it. (Well for some of us).

We idled our way through early 2007, still went out and had fun, walked miles at weekends along towpaths. Called in at marina cafe’s for toasted teacakes. But during all that time, the thought of owning a canal boat never entered our heads. It just wasn’t on the list of previously ruled out options. (They were still there in spirit but not in mind). In general, if dreams have been ruled out, no point dwelling on them, it’s too frustrating.

~~~

One day we went out for one of our towpath walks, but it almost never happened, I had a dickey tummy and wasn’t keen on the idea of walking far. So we went out, but just to our favourite marina, by the time we got there a toasted tea cake was on the table acceptable.

As we were walking back to the car park, Dave noticed a boat for sale on the end of a pier. He stopped walking and I carried on. Strange that, when it comes to shopping in department stores it’s the other way round.

I really wasn’t interested at first, and remember saying “Dream On” but it wasn’t even our dream? Then as Dave started walking away I noticed the owner walking down the jetty, “come on then, it’s worth a look.” Says me. At that point we would have been classed as “time wasters.” (People who want to look round a boat, inquisitive, but with no intention of buying whilst pretending they do).

As the guy came to the security gate we both commented in unison “Oh look, it’s wider than the others!” (Still no real interest), but when we went on board we were gobsmacked. Ended up being enchanted by the idea, we sat there for four hours chatting with the owners. During which time we saw all the possibilities, the reality, the dream. The boat was only a year old, but due to personal circumstance beyond their control, they had no choice abut putting it up for sale.

That was June 2007, on the way home in the car we were like two school kids, “We can do this, We can do this, We can do this.” The mortgage on the house was paid off, so we could borrow against it. Feet on the ground, stay grounded, work it all out first. We were focused now. Was this fate?

Meantime we looked round at other widebeams but none of them matched up, and neither of us could entertain the idea of a wobbly narrowboat. But two major obstacles stood in the way:

  • Someone else was already interested big style, had a business to sell first. But she was already calling “our” TT their boat.
  • More importantly the banking crisis set in good style, it followed us home from Florida deliberately.

Fortunately we had an excellent financial advisor, but it still slowed down the process considerably. Everything had been approved. But we were informed that paperwork was just being left to stack up on desks in the banking world. Finally 6 weeks later the funds came through. But those 6 weeks were incredibly slow and stressful as each bank collapsed one after another. Our timing with everything is just spiffing old bean.

Philosophy: NEVER give up on something that’s realistically possible for you in life, whatever obstacles arise.

Eventually we reached our goal, but nothing ever worth it is easy. (Philosophy again).

The sale went through and Dave’s birthday (October 1st) was “handover day.” During those four long months the previous owners had taught us everything. How to drive the boat and canal courtesy were but minor items on list.

We were ecstatic, that day was surreal…

BUT:

In 2007 the house was valued for a pretty good price considering the global financial strain, however, we knew no-one would buy it. Not when it needed cosmetic, yet expensive work doing. We honestly thought the value would go up after we’d taken care of a few things, alas no, we were totally screwed.…

And the boat wasn’t all plain sailing either, far from it, the first thing to fail was the boiler…

A couple of the earliest photos we took of TT once she was ours, she’s been through a LOT of changes since then…

37

Check out the ultra naff “Camelot Style” back cabin on the left there…

46

Anyone around 6 feet tall used to bang their head on the crossbeam in the middle. It just had to go but wasn’t a priority. So the Camelot thing was put on the back burner, would’ve made a lovely bonfire… We spent the back end of 2007 ploughing all our cash into getting the house ready to sell, whilst living part time on the boat.

Worse was to come in 2008, the “year of disasters.” 

More tomorrow, my fingers have seized up…

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