Treading Water

2008: The disaster zone

You’ll have to bear with me on this one, not all of it was published on the blog. So some of it could be synchronised incorrectly due to my memory being crap, no word of a lie though…

In February, the house went up for sale, we’d spent over 10 grand on making it perfect.

  • New sloping roof on the extension at the back. Previous to that it was flat, and bits were flying off it in the breeze.
  • New staircase.
  • New bathroom.
  • New carpets in the open plan dining room and upstairs on the landing.
  • New damp course in the dining room.
  • Redecorating here and there.

Sounds like the place was previously a wreck but really it wasn’t!! Well, it was for a while when all the work was being done. I remember the dining room having no wallpaper and a bare floor for quite a while through various stages of reconstruction.

Great excuse for not having to cater for everyone at Christmas (2007). We had no dining room table or chairs for a while there. If I remember rightly it was our turn to do the family Yuletide thing too, so got out of that one nicely.

Forget decorating and catering on a building sight, it was the boat that got all tarted up instead…! But she was starting with her own problems by then, sometimes the central heating wouldn’t come on, yet in the first week of ownership we’d had the boiler serviced. Hmm…

Yes, February was a bad month, when we had the house re-valued, after all the time, effort and money we’d spent. It was now worth 35 grand LESS THAN THE YEAR BEFORE (when it needed work doing on it that was already done). So let’s see now, that’s a total potential loss of over 45 grand, we were leaving it fully furnished too, minus all personal stuff of course… Gobsmacked, we put it up for sale anyway, but nobody was buying anything at the time.

Meanwhile back at the boat, in the same month the boiler packed up completely. As newbies we called the wrong guy out to “fix it.” We were skint at the time, couldn’t afford a new one so he fiddled about with it and reckoned it would last another 6 months. It lasted just 48 hours and we got a bill of 550 quid. I kid ye not. Only later did we find out he was a cowboy and had a very bad reputation. Oh dear, so we didn’t pay up.

It was too cold to go to the boat without any heating, so we had the double dilemma of living in a house that was up for sale Where we didn’t even want to be we were stuck, such is fate. It was like a ghost house. All our personal possessions were already at the boat. This definitely wasn’t the plan, it was all ass about tit.

By April we could go to the boat for a few days a week simply because the weather warmed up. We had no immersion heater at the time, so we still had to run the engine for hot water. It’s not the “done thing” on a marina, but people understood our plight. At least one good thing happened, we got a double mooring on the pier where all our friends were. (It’s not what you know, it’s who you know – well in there). But it didn’t solve our problem.

In June, the cowboy sent a nasty text to Dave saying:

“Your boiler is now in my possession.”

Sure enough when we went to the boat later in the week our broken boiler was gone, he’d stolen it because we hadn’t paid his outrageous bill. But why wait 4 months to rob someone’s boat? Yes we were “robbed” good style. Things got worse.  

In the same month we’d already booked to cross the Ribble Estuary for the “Preston Riversway Festival in July. We didn’t care about the mess we were in, determination set in. So we followed some friends across in their boat and had a great time. I tell you it’s weird when you look left and see fishing boats out at sea! Turn right! Turn right! Even so, you have to actually turn right in the exact right spot, or risk getting your boat’s ass stuck on a huge sandbank, no shortcuts.

Somehow we managed to put what had happened out of our minds. We’d face it when we got back, and decided to pay cowboy just to get shut of the stress involved. He could keep the boiler, by that time we had enough dosh to buy a new one anyway. But not from him.

No let up though: When we arrived back at our marina mooring we bumped into the rip off merchant. He threatened us with court action, said he’d took the boiler away to fix it, (liar), and the bill was now 750 quid just for taking it to bits on a bench. But we never asked him to do that!

We knew a court case would probably go in our favour, and bully boy was probably bluffing, but we paid up for peace of mind. Within a year his reputation was so bad he got kicked off the marina. (Not just ours, others too). We didn’t care by then, but it was justice for other folks that counted.

Meanwhile, after doing a lot of research, we found ourselves a REAL Webasto engineer. He knew of the cowboy’s reputation and on the 18th of July fitted the CORRECT boiler (Webasto 5.5 marine). It cost about £2,000 and was worth every penny. He even waved his travelling fee and gave us a discount, in exchange for the old boiler which was still in the cowboy’s possession at the time!

Oh Joy! Hot water and central heating at last! The latter not being necessary in July, it didn’t matter, we were free…

We’ve never had a problem with this boiler, and of course we have it serviced every year. Yes our (REAL) boat engineer later became a good friend of ours.

~~~

We gave up with selling the house. Took it off the market in October, and rented it out in November.

After a year like that, it was good news, but not what we’d hoped for. The house was still a weight ON the shoulders.

Good grief, I’m exhausted just talking about that year, must be double boring to read about it…

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