Monday, 2 November 2015

Why and How???

Saturday 25th October 2015

I have decided to add an entry here to explain how and why we have ended up at this point in our lives.

October 2012

It all began in October 2012 when a group of Dave's friends decided to surprise him with a day on the Basingstoke Canal on a narrowboat.

Champagne flutes at the ready!

This was to celebrate Dave's 60th birthday. Dave and his friends had been narrowboating when they were much younger and long before I met Dave.  I had never been on a narrowboat before!

Lift bridge being raised for us.

The Basingstoke Canal doesn't have any locks on the section we did,  but it does have lift bridges, I was very excited to see this happening.

Steering under the lift bridge.

When I was allowed to have a go at steering the boat I was very excited and loved every minute!

Looking the wrong way!!

So pleased to get through, forgot to look where we were going!!

Graham and I

Graham, known affectionately as 'the skipper' giving me some tuition on handling the boat.

Elaine, Steve and Dave

Being watched from the bow, quite daunting!!

Graham opening the champagne

Part of the outing included champagne and the most delicious canapes before a trip to the pub and an amazing lunch of bread and cheese! 

I found sitting in the bow a stunning experience, despite the noise from the engine 54' away it was delightfully peaceful and the constantly changing view of the canal was captivating.

Reading from canal log.

Graham, Madeleine and Dave used to go on narrowboat holidays when they were much younger and Graham kept a log of each of their journeys.  

March 2013

Following on from my first trip aboard a narrowboat, I wanted to try out a holiday with just Dave and myself.  We booked a boat called Ruby Tuesday from Claymore Canal Holidays at Preston Brook for March 2013.

Ruby Tuesday

If you cast your minds back to March 2013 it was one of the coldest ones on record, the people who had hired the boat before us had given up on their cruise and abandoned the boat at Scholar Green rather than getting it back to Preston Brook.  Hence at the last moment we had to begin our cruise at a totally different start point.

Snow on the canal side

The temperatures were bitterly cold, barely getting above freezing during the day. but the scenery was stunning!

Wrapped up warm

Warm clothing

You might have thought that the freezing temperatures would have put us off, but no, I was completely captivated and once we were home from this trip I began looking into ways in which we could spend more time on the canals.  

April 2013

I discovered that you could buy a share in a narrowboat and get 3 - 4 weeks a year on your own narrowboat that you shared with a group of owners.  So in April we paid a visit to Bromley Wharf on the Trent and Mersey Canal and viewed a narrowboat called Minuet.

Alan and Anne Wood on Minuet
Alan and Anne welcomed us on board and explained how the process worked and how the boat operated.  Minuet has a cruiser style stern and is very light throughout the boat. Dave was armed with a mountain of questions which Alan and Anne answered patiently throughout our visit.  

So the next step was taken, we became the proud owners of shares in Minuet!!  The only problem was that we couldn't actually have any time on Minuet until October, so we booked a week's holiday with Claymore Canal Holidays in July.

July 2013

Heading towards Wigan!!

The weather was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed a cruise heading north of Preston Brook. 

Wigan Pier

We cruised on past Wigan and then turned the boat round and returned to Preston Brook.

We enjoyed many hours cruising on Minuet, covering the canals linking to the Trent and Mersey Canal.  

December 2013
n/b Charlotte

In December 2013 we were lucky enough to have three weeks aboard Minuet over the Christmas period.  As we were cruising through Rode Heath we came across this narrowboat moored outside the Broughton Arms. 

We spoke to the builders who were having their lunch at the pub and they invited us aboard to have a look round.  It was then that we decided that if we ever had our own boat built then we would like these people to do it.  At that time it was a pipe dream!!

Somewhere on the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal near Stafford I turned to Dave and announced that I could give up work, sell up the house, have a boat built and live on it!!

By February 2014 we had sold our house in Basingstoke, bought a house in Market Drayton and placed an order for a narrowboat from Bourne Boat Builders.

Our aim is to spend as much time as possible on the boat during the spring, summer and autumn and spend time in the house during the colder months.

n/b Ella
Why Ella?  Our surname is Eyre and our daughters are called Lizzie, Laura and Annabel, which spells ELLA.  It is also a common phrase used in Greece where we enjoy spending our summer holiday, and it means 'come'.

Long term we intend to cruise the waterways of England and Wales and then we would like to take the boat across the channel and cruise the waterways of France.

We can only dream and so far many of our dreams have come true, so who knows....


  1. A great story and well done for having the confidence to make such a great life change. We followed the same, hire/shared ownership/buying route. We are now on our third boat and Percy will be the last one as she is the best. Enjoy the extended cruising. Nev Nb Percy

  2. Hmmm, your photos of Ruby Tuesday have brought back some memories, we hired the same boat in 2008, unfortunately it wasn't the 'luxury' boat advertised then as a previous hirer had sunk it in a lock, the boat was still drying out when we got on board, however we'd hired it to see how the rear galley would work for us. The worry of water coming into the engine bay due to the bent prop after the lock incident will stay with me for a long time. we also got to experience a really bad list due to the waste tank not being emptied by the previous hire, We're certainly carefully thinking about the position of the waste tank in our boat. not to mention topping and tailing in the 3ft9" bed, hence we're having a larger bed :-)