Thursday 23 September 2010

A visit to England

We're both really excited to be heading off to England.  We'll spend some time looking at narrowboats and getting a better idea of what we'll be able to afford when the time comes to buy our own boat.  We're armed with a list of marinas (thanks Ray) and hope we'll refine our priority list of what features are important to us in a boat.  And... we'll try to meet up with a couple of the narrowboat bloggers we've been in touch with.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Frankfurt to visit my long time friend in Germany and then the week after Mick will join me in London for a couple of weeks in England.  We are also looking forward to spending some time with Mick's half brother who we only met for the first time on our 2007 trip to England.

We'll have some new narrowboat photos to add to our blog soon!

Friday 17 September 2010

We'll have to sell our house!

It took us some time to get our heads around the idea of selling our house in order to finance our narrowboat plans.  It’s been a real labour of love (mostly Mick’s) to renovate this house.   What started as a barely livable wreck 11 years ago took 7 years to become the much loved home we have today.

What made the decision easier was the fact that the first sections of our renovation were looking in need of renovation!  This is partly because the first couple of years that we had this house it was intended as a weekender that we might one day retire to.  The fairly basic cooking facilities would suit us fine until the time came that we wanted to move here full time.  Little did we know that in not much more than 3 years we would have sold up in Melbourne and be living here permanently. 

Now the kitchen has had its second update and some repainting has been done.  The more we look around the more we can see that it will be a never ending process.  Weatherboard houses just don’t stay looking good without constant maintenance.

So we’re hoping our next house will require a little less maintenance.  We won’t be so choosy about it being an historic house this time.  As long as we have enough space for a vegetable garden we’ll be happy.  We’d still like a house with some sort of character.

We have a bit of a unique position in our town.  We are only a 10 minute walk from the shops, our land is less than 1 acre, yet it is difficult to see a neighbouring house.  Our property is bounded by only the road and crown land that will never be built on.  We know we won’t find this again and we will very much miss the lovely private location.



Saturday 11 September 2010

The beginning

In our 40’s now, and knowing for 10 years now that we were unable to have children, we’ve tried to make the most of our circumstances.  We’ve moved out of the city, reduced our working hours and travelled.

Following a visit to England in 2007 (and a very successful and enjoyable narrowboat hire) we started to consider the idea of spending a year or more cruising the canals.  We began reading narrowboating blogs, watching DVD’s, reading books and magazines.  The idea appealed to us more and more.  But how could we finance it? 

Eventually we came up with a plan.  We will sell our house and buy a cheaper one to free up money to finance the trip.  We’ll rent out our house while we are away (the cheaper one that is) which will cover costs back here in Australia.  We plan to free up enough money to buy a second hand boat and to live for a year.  We’ve allowed for everyday living costs, boat running costs and a kitty for emergency repairs etc.  If we manage to pick up some odd jobs along the way, and we survive our first English Winter, then maybe we’ll stay longer.  That’s the plan, now we’re looking for the right house.  We are aiming to be ready to go in about 2 years from now.  We have an elderly labrador to consider so it may be longer than that before we can leave.

Planning a year on a narrowboat in the UK, when you live on the other side of the world, isn’t easy.  We’re grateful for the email advice we’ve received from narrowboat bloggers we’ve made contact with over the last few years.

We thought it might be good to remember this process in years to come by keeping a blog ourselves.  It might also be of some assistance to other Australians or New Zealanders thinking of doing this too.  At first I thought it seemed a bit premature to be blogging about a dream but was pleased to see we aren’t alone.  I googled “narrowboat dream” and discovered someone else blogging about their dream : Narrowboat Dream

We won’t have regular narrowboat photos to post to our blog but hope other narrowboaters might contribute comments on the various topics we will talk about during this process.  We look forward to “meeting” you.

2007 : our favourite holiday memory