Saturday, 31 July 2010

From Start to Finish.

The following photo’s aptly describe our narrowboat adventure from beginning to end coincidently in March Cambridgeshire.

Articfox2 This is where it all began back in September 1995 with a Fox hire boat “Arctic Fox”

middle level 010-1 Gypsy Rover moored in March at the town moorings in May 2008

St Ives 001

15 years later our apartment in March which is only a 10 minute walk from the town moorings shown in the second photo. We will be living here while we await our motorhome at the end of the year.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Settling in.

Bit by bit we are slowly getting ourselves sorted out. After doing a load of washing and the washing finishing up dirtier than it was previously necessitated a thorough inspection of the washing machine. It turned out that the filter was blocked and the machine was badly caked with lime scale and detergent. Two hot washes with Calgon and no clothing seems to have improved the situation but we will have to check the filter regularly.

After unsuccessfully scouring the Op shops for a table and chairs we finished up buying one on line for £71 from Argos which was delivered today. Much to Dot’s surprise I did read the assembly instructions before assembling the table and 2 chairs. As the chairs are just a hard wooden seat we found Lidl had some tie on cushions on special so we walked around to the local store and purchased a pair of brown cushions which  work a treat.

Letheringsett Church

Cromar 037 Letheringsett Church Norfolk, with it's distinctive round bell tower.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

RNLI Cromer.

Cromar 029

The Cromer Lifeboat Station at the end of the pier

Cromer Lifeboat of the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) is one of the busiest on the Norfolk coastline and is still manned by members of the same families that have been manning the lifeboat for over a hundred years. Henry Blogg was the most famous and highly decorated skipper of the Cromer lifeboat and his name lives on at the Lifeboat museum.

Cromar 030Inside Cromer life boat station.

The main lifeboat is housed on the end of the pier where it is launched directly into the sea. There is also a small runabout launched by tractor and trailer housed in the No 2 lifeboat shed next to the Henry Blogg Museum on the edge of the beach.

Cromar 033

The latest Cromer lifeboat launched 2008.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Vauxhall Meriva 2009

march 003

Our lovely rental car outside our new home in March, for the first time since adolescence we are now with no means of transport except for shanks pony.  Oh well, it will keep us fit, although the main shopping street is only 10 minutes walk.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Norfolk coastline looking South from Cromer Pier.

Cromar 025

A Trip to the Seaside.

Cromar 001 Cromer's mascot taken to the Soccer World Cup 2010 proudly displayed in the Blue Danube coffee lounge.

Since Friday we have been as busy as a hive full of bee’s. After collecting the rental car on Friday morning we did 2 return trip’s Rugby to March before calling it a day. We returned to Rugby on Saturday morning for the final load, it’s amazing how much stuff we had gathered over three and a half years. We were very lucky with the rental car as we had booked a class “C” Economy car but were up graded by at least 3 grades to a small people mover as Enterprise Cars wanted it returned to Huntingdon where we wanted to drop the car off on Monday.

Cromar 003 Cromer's narrow streets above the sandy beaches.

As we had spent 2 days in the moving process we decided it would be nice to have a break and take a trip to the seaside before we handed the rental car back tomorrow. The closest option finished up to Cromer as we had visited Hunstanton previously. Despite the weather forecast we couldn’t have picked a better day, warm and sunny. We were lucky to find a park behind the church opposite the Blue Danube coffee lounge where we had Crab salad’s for lunch, Cromer being a crab fishing town, yum.

Cromar 005Cromer Pier.

After a walk along the promenade where we again witnessed the decline in the waterfront boarding houses all standing empty and forlorn. A visit to the seaside wouldn’t be complete without a walk along the pier where we inspected the latest RNLI Lifeboat launched in 2008. After this it was ice cream time before heading home back to March.

Cromar 022 What used to be busy  boarding houses above Cromer beach. Now most are empty and neglected.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Goodbye Gypsy Rover.

Now ashore in March Cambridgeshire.

It was with great sadness today that we parted company with our home for the last 3 years and 9 months. We are quite chuffed to think that there will be Antipodeans on board carrying on the lifestyle we have set in our time aboard. Gypsy Rover will now sport an Australian flag.

We wish Ray and Diane every happiness in their time aboard and look forward to their weblog on their adventures.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Final Statistics!

2233 locks, 4335.88 miles, 96 tunnels, 131 swing bridges, 58 lift bridges and 6314.5 engine hours since our adventure began. Wow now that's something to remember.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The final cruise.

0 Locks, 6.28 Miles. 2 tunnels Now moored at Brownsover

Brownsover 014 Derek making the most of our final cruise.

Since the end of last week we have cruised from Brownsover to Newbold via Clifton Wharf mainly to achieve some washing. Today we pulled out of Newbold and headed up to Lime Farm Marina for our final pump out. From there it was back to the Barley Mow pub for water and then down to Brownsover in readiness for Friday's hand over.

Brownsover 019 Dot making the most of our final cruise.

In between times we have had visits from Iain and Myra on Nb Martlett, Paul and Lynne on Nb Piston Broke and spoken to Baden and Ros on Nb Pania. Our email box has also been receiving many emails from friends and acquaintances we have met on “The Cut” all wishing us every success with our next life’s experience.

Brownsover 021 Steam tug Laplander out of the water for blacking.

The next 6 months being landlubbers will take a bit of getting used too but at least we will have the motorhome to look forward too. Then it will be the open road rather than open waterways.

Brownsover 024 BW Dredger heading for Ansty.

Since mooring up we have been passed by a BW dredger and 2 BW tugs and barges loaded with sand, gravel, cement and those environmentally friendly willow edging rolls. They are headed for Ansty to undergo some repairs on either the towpath or the offside bank.

Brownsover 026 BW tug with a load of sand, gravel and cement.

Brownsover 028Another BW tug loaded with willow edging rolls for bank repairs, they are going to be busy!

2233 locks, 4335.88 miles, 96 tunnels, 131 swing bridges and 58 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Friday, 16 July 2010

What happened to Summer?

When we arrived here on Saturday a Ford Mondeo car appeared in the adjacent car park overnight. After it had been here for a day and a half I went and had a look at it and found the road tax was expired. After a phone call to the police to ensure they had no interest in it they told me that it was a council problem and they would pass the information on.

Brownsover 006Council official overseeing removal of an unlicenced abandoned car at Brownsover.

Yesterday a council employee along with a tow truck came and removed the car before the local idiots decided to trash it or even burn it. With school holidays pending that was a distinct possibility.

Brownsover 008 

Well the weather has certainly taken a turn for the worst with heavy rain and several thunder storm’s in the last 36 hour’s.

Brownsover 009 Away to the council yard and probably the crusher if nobody claims it.

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Gravel Run!

0 Locks, 1.26 Miles. Now moored at Brownsover.

Newbold 018

The great gravel run. Archimedes and Ara carting gravel from Paddington Arm to Atherstone.

Before we left Newbold we had the pleasure of watching the old working barges carrying the gravel from the Paddington Arm to Atherstone. Apparently this cargo carrying convoy was creating a great deal of interest with enthusiast’s following them all the way from Paddington taking photo’s where ever they could. It was real convoy with a single barge leading the way with Archimedes and butty Ara  following behind. The latter 2 we saw at the Braunston festival a couple of weeks ago fully laden with coal.

Newbold 019 Butty Ara fully laden with gravel.

A short while later another single barge came past but the last barge and butty didn’t arrive until Sunday morning. Fully laden these boats were sitting very low in the water (mud) and were having extreme difficulties on bends and bridge holes especially the butty’s continually grounding. (BW please note, dredging required) As the butty ‘Joe’ passed us Chris on the helm commented  to Dot “It’s a long time since I saw your boat on the River Wey”. He last saw it on the River Wey in 2006, that's what I call a good memory.  After staying the night at Newbold the plan was to get to Atherstone Sunday night, haven’t heard whether they made it or not.

Newbold 020 Archimedes and Ara at Newbold heading to Atherstone loaded with gravel.

2233 locks, 4326.56 miles, 94 tunnels, 131 swing bridges and 58 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Sunday, 11 July 2010


For the past 2 night’s there has been a motorhome parked up behind the Barley Mow pub on what is apparently BW land. Yesterday morning when we stopped for water the occupants came and spoke to us as they were aware that we will be changing over to a motorhome later this year. They very kindly donated an out of date  copy of the Caravan Club’s handbook.

Yesterday afternoon was spent browsing through it and checking out any websites that were listed. We can see ourselves having quite a different adventure to that on the boat with so many different places of interest to visit. Things are starting to sort themselves out and remove some of our concerns.

Growing Up!

Newbold 009

New feathers are just starting to grow if you look carefully. One of the family that comes to visit Gypsy Rover 2-3 times a day for a feed.

Just a wee cruise.

0 Locks, 2.52 Miles. Now moored back at Newbold.

This morning we were up earlier than usual so that we could do a washing run up to Lime farm Marina for a much needed pump out. A quick stop by the Barley Mow pub for water on both our outward journey and the return trip ensures we have enough water for a while.

Newbold 014Dot at the tiller on one of our last cruises on Gypsy Rover

Upon our return to Newbold the place was deserted so we are moored pretty close to where we were before although this will only be for 1 night. We have to move down to Brownsover by Tuesday for a BSC examination (part of the sale contract) by Andrew Phasey who did our last BSC 2 years ago.

Once the BSC has been completed we will have 1 last chance for a bit of cruising before hand over date of the 23rd probably at Brownsover or Newbold by the Barley Mow where we can get a rental car close by to unload the boat.

2233 locks, 4325.30 miles, 94 tunnels, 131 swing bridges and 58 lift bridges since Nov 2006

Monday, 5 July 2010

We’re No Longer Homeless!

This week-end has been spent trying to arrange some accommodation from the time we part company with Gypsy Rover  and the time we take delivery of our motorhome. The latter is due around November but apparently these delivery dates are only approximate and subject to change.

St Ives 001Our March apartment.

Well we can happily report that we now have a lovely fully furnished apartment in March, Cambridgeshire which is only 10 minutes walk from the town moorings so we won’t be completely cut off from our old water born lifestyle.

As we had stayed overnight at our new apartment, the landlord is a very obliging sort of fella, we carried on to St Ives where we knew narrowboat’s Matilda Rose and Caxton were moored. The plan was a BBQ but unfortunately the wind was too strong and the BBQ wouldn’t heat up so Jill and Lesley had to set to and cook up everything on the boats. All was not lost as we did manage to eat outside until the clouds started to accumulate and the temperature dropped.

St Ives 016Jill, Graham, Joe, and Lesley as well as canines Floyd and Fletcher from Nb's Caxton and Matilda Rose.

We would have loved to have stayed longer but we had a long drive ahead of us back to Rugby. We needed to be back aboard by about 7pm so that we could run the engine and top up the batteries which hadn't been charged since early Saturday morning. We needn’t have worried as the meter was still showing 12.4v but we ran the engine to heat up some water.

St Ives 017 Strange place for a duck to perch.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Red Sky at Night!

Newbold 005 Shepherds DelightNewbold 006

Early start tomorrow as we have a rental car booked for the weekend to go and view a flat/apartment that may become our home for the next few months.  Fingers Crossed, looks and sounds perfect.

Slowly getting organised.

Moving off the boat is just like house moving with sorting out what stays and what goes except there is less of it. We are slowly working through all the cupboards and drawers and sorting into 4 categories, keep, leave, dump or op shop.

Work stopped today as Dot had her appointment at University Hospital for an MRI scan. This didn’t go as well as we had hoped as she had a coughing fit part way through, but she finally got there.

On the way home on the bus we were very lucky to reach Newbold as there had been a fatal accident between Newbold and Rugby and the bus was diverted at Newbold. Walking past Larry’s Chippie solved tonight’s evening meal, good ole Fish and Chips.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Boat’s Sold.We’re Homeless!

0 Locks, 3.81 Miles. Now moored at Newbold.

Another phase of our nomadic lifestyle is coming to an end with the sale of Gypsy Rover. Ironically there will still be a similarity in the new owners with Ray and Diane originating from Australia and Watford whereas Dot and I come from New Zealand and Watford.There are other similarities which are so uncanny that it seems like a case of “It’s meant to be.” We hope that Ray and Diane have as many happy hours aboard Gypsy Rover as we have had. So after the 23rd July you will see Ray at the helm, so give him a friendly wave and smile as you pass.

Until our motorhome is available in November/December we are temporarily homeless so we are available for house,boat or caravan sitting. Any offers or idea’s out there?

2233 locks, 4322.78 miles, 94 tunnels, 131 swing bridges and 58 lift bridges since Nov 2006