Thursday 28 September 2023

And the boating ends and the journey home begins

Port and sherry, plus lime and lemonade at Foxton Locks Inn on Sunday evening.

It was bittersweet heading from Foxton back to Debdale on Monday morning. We were ready to let go but even so, doing so was tough. I can't remember where it was a few weeks ago that we saw and stopped to hug and chat with Alison and Mick on 3 No Trumps, as they too were on their way to put their boat on brokerage. Mick's comment at the time was that it was important to give up the boat while still loving it. And he was right, we think. As some actor/comedian said ' leave them wanting more.' 

Before we headed away from Foxton, I made cheese scones for the Debdale team - it was going to be my last opportunity to do so.

We puttered along slowly feeling sad and nostalgic, and I think for the first time, I registered how lovely the countryside is here.

I think this was the penultimate bridge before Debdale - hate to moan, but see those bloody reeds spreading out across the cut?

Chilly, but still wearing shorts. It's a lovely stretch of canal, this.
Lovely countryside and sky

The ubiquitous reeds but also the lovely fields and trees.
Serenity - me, I mean ...
See, we could still smile

It did require a kiss - how I managed to selfie that and steer, I am not sure. No other boats in sight though and I was in tickover, so that all helped ...

The building in the distance visible directly above the boat, is Debdale's very large workshop. Not very far to go now.

Approaching Debdale Wharf, slowing down to moor behind the boat just through the bridge.

I had phoned Rachel to ask where they wanted us to moor up and she said for us just to tie up at their service area. She reckoned it would be easier for us given we were going to have lots of stuff to unload from the boat, i.e. everything! Things were going to the charity shops or into our bags for coming home, and there was heaps of foodstuff to offload as well. The decision to sell this season had been made when the pantry lockers were still quite full...

Soon after we arrived, I headed off in an Uber to Aylestone to collect the rental car. I can't remember what it was but it was a very big SUV - excellent for the task of getting all of the bags to Gatwick!

We had Julia and Maggie coming for dinner that night, so in the spirit of using up at least 3 cans from the crate, veg from the cupboard, and some of the spices, I made a curry with lentils, onions, sweet potato and potato, canned tomatoes and coconut milk. I also used up a bag of frozen berries and some of the flour, butter and sugar, some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds and flaked coconut, and cinnamon in a berry crumble - and I used a can of custard! God, I'm good. The only thing I had bought was a bunch of coriander - fresh coriander is yum!

Even so, when I started bagging up food for Julia and Maggie to take away either for themselves or friends or a foodbank, Julia gave me heaps about not having run supplies down... I did explain to her that most of the canned stuff would have survived till next boating season, as would all the spices and chutneys if we had not decided to sell. I don't think she was convinced though. I had to give away my very vigorous sourdough starter - even though I had brought it from NZ because while you can take almost anything into the UK, you can take almost no food into NZ - we are much stricter about biosecurity. Note to self: follow up and ask if the friend they were giving it to actually wanted it or if it has been washed down the sink ...

We had made lists of what needed to be done to leave the boat in clean and tidy condition, so the next morning, we got on with the tasks. 

As the wind rose, I realised that given we were moored very close to where the guys pressure wash boats before they get taken to the workshop or on to the hard or get blacked, and given the wind was blowing the spray of algae towards us, Waka Huia was becoming very dirty, particularly on the port side and also on the roof - my precious new paint!!!

So we rang and asked Jim where we could move the boat to. Back to where we had been before we headed away in May, he said. So, off we went. David gave me instructions (!?) that I was to be aggressive. A strange request from he who is usually counselling being tentative, I thought ...

The strong wind assisted me getting in through the marina entrance but I still went like the clappers around the side of the marina - if I'd got caught by the wind it could have been disastrous. So I was going flat out in a big sweeping lefthand curve before straightening up and aiming for an opening of about 8 feet between a moored boat and the jetty we were to tie up to. I swear, if I'd been being watched, I would have messed it up, but the weather was crap, it was raining and blowing a gale and no one was out. A slight bump on the moored boat as I slowed down. 😬 And we were in! And fortunately the moored boat was unoccupied ... 😏

And then it was on with the tasks so we could leave in a reasonable timeframe. We had allocated the tasks with a reasonably even numerical spread at David's insistence... There were about 15 tasks on the list, and I did about 12 of them, in spite of the allocation, because ACP is absolutely incapable of rushing, and the engine bay and gas locker needed to be very very very tidy.  Obviously...

It was very very very difficult for me to keep my cool as I raced around doing wardrobe emptying, bagging up remaining food to give to the Debdale team, cupboard cleaning, fridge/freezer/washing machine cleaning, bleaching the butler's sink, finishing off packing suitcases, wiping surfaces, gathering up charity shop items for Julia to come and take away, sweeping the floor yet again... I knew that losing it before he had finished the engine bay and gas locker would only delay things because only one of us cleans and tidies while conducting an argument. (I have to keep moving while furious - it helps dissipate my desire to vent my frustration by screaming ...)

But once he had finished, I finally exploded in what was clearly very righteous indignation.  Then calmed myself down by going out and hosing the roof and cleaning the sides. I got thoroughly wet, ranted to myself the whole time, refused to stop hosing to talk to ACP after the initial explosion (note, he was sensible enough not to follow me outside - he hates cold water on him and I would definitely have hosed him down). 

I felt much better at the end of it. Cold water will do that for me, as will frenetic activity; and if the frenetic activity involves hauling on and swearing at an unwieldy hose, swooshing bloody autumn leaves and twigs and seed heads off the roof, getting the roof and sides clean while, for at least one side, tromping along a wet gunwale in wet boots, all the better!

Please note that I was the one who apologised for losing my temper so spectacularly (obviously righteously though ...) so we could move on and leave the boat for the last time in a serene but sad state of mind rather than with unnecessary angst... And also please note that since then ACP has litigated that some tasks are longer/bigger than others. I agree. However, an engine bay with about 3 square metres of surface area and about 5 things (OK, maybe 10) to be arranged on said surface area, and a gas locker with less than 1 square metre should not require 3-4 hours of effort and do not in any way equate to 30 square metres of cabin space with multi layers to be attended to - cupboards, wardrobes, appliances, suitcases ...

Ready to go
Me too - I'd changed out of my wet boat washing/painting clothes, thrown them away and I'm prepared for the weather... And I'm not looking murderous either!

See, he had a happy smiley face in the lovely dinette

A goodbye pat

Looking clean and shiny as we leave for the last time.

This photo is for Irene - she is a nature lover. I don't know what that snail is but I'd had to eject one from the bathroom just before we left the boat as it had made its way in through the open window. This one at least was on shore on the driveway up to where I had parked the beast of a rental car.

We had intended to leave by about noon, but eventually left at about 3pm, having hugged the Debdale team and thanked them for all their help and kindness over the years. And after promising Rachel I'd send her the cheese scone recipe ...

We knew that noon was unrealistic for us (well, if you don't understand why, re-read the section above) so we had planned not to drive too far that day and had booked to stay the night at the Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough.  We had an early dinner with Richard and Emma - I had worked with Richard in the Home Office back in 2005. It was lovely to catch up with them, and then it was across the courtyard and back to our room for an early night.

And in the morning, we re-organised the suitcases so everything fitted and we could discard the shopping bags that some stuff had travelled to MH in. We had brekkie, and then I went to Wesses Bakery to buy yummy stuff for lunch, and then it was off down the M1 and on to the M25 to Leatherhead - mostly in pouring rain and not pleasant driving. The rain was not the issue really - it was the spray from trucks and cars that significantly reduced visibility. And I am always wary in rainy conditions because motorists don't seem to slow down or maintain long enough following distances to take account of the weather.

Leatherhead is where my lovely Aunty Molly lives and we hadn't warned her we were coming - she's 95, and a half, she declares. She always reminds me of a little kid when she says 'And a half.' Makes me smile every time.

Molly has macular degeneration and is almost blind apart from some peripheral vision. But she still cooks and cleans for herself. She is amazing. Her brain is still sharp, she is funny and kind.
Beautiful woman.
We love her.

Then it was back to Gatwick to check in and unload the cases (6 of them: 3 large and 3 small) at the hotel. David undertook to do this by himself in the rain. As I am a kind woman I insisted he wore my coat. For some reason, he doesn't believe in having his own coat at hand in the car, it's much more useful to have it in a suitcase in the boot...

Once we had carted the cases along what seemed like at least a kilometre of hotel corridor, we braved the weather and returned the car to Enterprise in the rain and then walked back to the hotel, also in the rain, taking our lives in our hands (well, David's because I was the one making sure we were not walking into oncoming traffic as we crossed 3 and 4 lane roads ...) Once we had crossed twice, we were on paths all the way and it was quite pleasant being outside - I know I'm weird in that I have always liked walking in the rain. And this would be pretty much my last opportunity for English rain for a fairly substantial period!

We had arranged for Lesley to come and join us for dinner but even though I like walking in the rain, motorway driving in it in the dark is a different story. So I suggested she take a raincheck. We will catch up on WhatsApp instead once the lag of the jet has released me from its grip!

We had eaten dinner by 6pm and we were pooped - well, of course we were. Frenetic/unrushed cleaning, motorway driving/passenging in the rain and saying goodbye to Molly for probably the last time had all taken their toll - and there was the accumulated tiredness from weeks of painting and polishing and cleaning and clearing. Those business class seats were beckoning ...

Monday 25 September 2023

Wonderful friends are a gift - a delayed post, as is my wont at times...

Bloody hell! It is now 26 September, we are back home in Waikanae, and the jetlag still has us in its grip - it's 3.17am, we have just had a ciabatta roll with coleslaw and tomato and a cup of tea. The blogpost that I am updating here was written about Kirsty's birthday (3 Sept) and the days following...

2IJ had hurried down the Ashby, having eschewed an invitation to stay longer with their daughter because they wanted to spend the time with us. They were the first people we told that we are putting Waka Huia up for sale, so they were hurrying to join us in part for the last of our cruising, but also because they are helping us to get the boat ready for sale. Yes, we are selling Waka Huia. But more about that in the post that I put up this morning but wrote after this one. Clear as mud?

As regular readers will know, Ian is known as the man who can - Irene calls him her man who can, but actually he is also our man who can. He, like the wonderful Ed Shiers, is a treasure: kind, helpful, a great problem solver, and very definitely a man who can. 

2IJ are wonderful friends and we feel so lucky to have them in our lives - and all because I moved Waka Huia when they were hovering hopefully near where we had moored on the Thames back in 2015. I even interrupted giving David a haircut to do so. Of such small events are lovely and loving friendships born. 💖💖 Of course, Irene will tell you that we had moored right in the middle of the clear patch, and I would counter by saying that there were big holes in the bank fore and aft and I was avoiding a broken ankle that would result in taking a precious bed and medical time from other people in the nearest NHS hospital ...


So on Monday morning, we headed away from Hawkesbury Jct at very early o'clock. Well, 7am which hardly counts as the crack of dawn, does it? We went down and watered up at the slow taps, and we didn't quite fill up, but thought we would be fine. (I had set one load of washing going and David got another one going another en route - it's important to have clean clothes!)

Then it was a 340 deg turn under the bridge at the junction, past the Greyhound and into the stop lock. I made it with a couple of applications of reverse to bring the stern around while limiting forward momentum. Of course, the only person who was watching from 50 yards the other side of the lock was Irene ... And of course, if I'd been doing the turn in the middle of the day with countless gongoozlers outside the pub, I am sure I would most certainly have messed it up! The lack of audience is very helpful when it comes to performance anxiety ...

It was a lovely morning for cruising and due to be a scorcher. We were on a mission though - get to the moorings just north of All Oaks Wood and get stuck in to the angle grinding and sanding of the rust spots on the roof prior to repainting it with applications of spot primer, full undercoat and topcoat.

It was a really hot afternoon and I did think of the song about mad dogs and Englishmen... But the task was completed: David and Ian detached and moved the big solar panel so we could check what if anything was required underneath it,  Ian was on angle grinding and sanding (the runnels are always vulnerable), Irene followed along with the duster, damp cloth and chamois, and I came next with the fertan. Irene was also designated as paparazzi and drinks bearer. David keyed the roof and handrail paint. The whole roof is going to be repainted, so good prep is required.

I was using Irene's duster and it needed clearing out. Apart from the side of the boat, the only available place to whack it was Ian's bum.
The even buttock treatment ...

By god, it was hot. Many men on the sterns of passing boats were only wearing shorts with their large reddening beer bellies proudly displayed ... 

So the wet shirt was a requirement for me and a sensible way to deal with the heat and sun. David had taken one of his shirts straight from the washing machine and put it on. He usually eschews the wet shirt trick, so I knew it was hot. I used a long sleeved shirt - protecting from sunburn as well as staying cooler. It did need at least one extra dunk under the cold tap during the afternoon.

At one point Ian was looking very flushed - he was wearing goggles, ear muffs and his leather hat - and a dark shirt. I ran his shirt under the cold tap and I think he was pleased with the result. Irene complained that she was hot so I helped her out by tipping part of her glass of cold water over her neck and down the back of her T shirt. Was she grateful? No definitely not, but then once she had stopped shrieking, yes she was.

Dinner - an important meal:

As we had travelled along, David had prepped the veg for roasting so I could make a Thai green curry. Not really the day for roasting as it was hot inside the boat anyway. But I did need to make sure Ian was fed with food he likes ... 

While Ian was getting a head start on the angle grinding, I made the green curry paste with the ingredients I had rather than all the ones in Donna Hay's recipe. I had to use ginger instead of galangal, lemon zest instead of lime leaves, lemon juice instead of lemongrass, fish sauce instead of shrimp paste. And I didn't have any fresh coriander. Not to worry, it tasted pretty good, I think. Or so they all said ...

As we had cruised down from Hawkebury Junction, Irene had made a delicious raspberry cheesecake - and took the opportunity to sit in the cratch and read as Ian steered.

So dinner was excellent and preceded by nibbles - and I ate too much blue cheese and red currant jelly to be able to finish the main and dessert. But David helped me out. He is good like that ...


On Tuesday we moved on from All Oak's Wood in search of a shady mooring - we had agreed we would head off at 8.30am, so I did a quick wash of the roof before we left.

I've given up lifting buckets of water from below my body because the last time (2019) I did it cost me about £100 in osteopath fees near Kilby Bridge. So David delivered multiple buckets of water to me; and then the damn water pump would not stop. We thought it had air in the pipes. We turned off the pump and decided to totally fill with water and see if we could sort it. An hour or so further down the cut, at about the same time but on different boats, Irene and I came to the realisation we had probably run out of water and the pump was doing what it does when there's no water available ... Doh!! Of course, we'd not fully filled at Hawkesbury the previous morning, we'd done two loads of washing, had two cool and longer than usual showers, I'd done several loads of dishes throughout the day and I'd been doing lots of washing of the roof both in the afternoon and the following morning. No wonder the tank was empty.👎💩

It was due to be in the high 20s and I need the roof to be cool for painting, so shade was critical! And there is no way to stand comfortably against the dark blue sides of the boat - that is one of the key heat sources as we worked on the roof. I am so pleased we changed the roof from black to ivory a few years back - it has made such a difference to the temperature inside the boat.

It was a beautiful cruise - through the woods in the dappled sunlight. Sunglasses on and a sunhat because the sunlight gets in over the top of my glasses! And an approaching boat waited for us at one bridge - I thought the profiles of the two people on the stern looked familiar: one very tall person, one much shorter person with long blonde hair. Yay!! Del and Al on Derwent 6. Neither of us had anywhere to moor for a proper catch up but it was lovely to see them both. 

We stopped for a pumpout and diesel at Armada - Jane there does the best pumpout we've had, and we've done 3 there this season. Highly recommend them.

The cattle knew it was too hot to be on dry land...

We filled with water at Newbold and miraculously the pump worked ...

I beetled off to the Coop there for some shopping and while I was in the shop for 15 minutes or so, the temperature outside rose from bearable to bloody hot!

Onwards to Rugby so I could drop David off at the town bridge - he needed to go to Vodafone and the 3 shop to sort out making sure we can have both phone service and internet in the last few days of our time here. Irene was just coming from the path to where they had moored, towing her trolley and carrying a large bag. There was a toot from an approaching boat and I deployed the Mack truck horn. For some reason the approaching boat was in the middle of the channel - avoiding the big willow tree. But he reversed to a stop so I could pass and he could use the centre after me. And then a dog jumped into the canal in front of Waka Huia - the dog clearly wanted to be in the water as he'd just been fished out and jumped straight back in.

Mashed dog a la propeller was not on my menu, so I barped the Mack truck horn again and the dog swam to the side. Not stupid, that animal...

However another boater approaching from around the corner, ignoring the Mack truck horn and having stayed away from the RHS so he didn't go under the trees on the offside, then expected that I would position Waka Huia inside the saloons of boats moored on my RHS, so he could have the centre of the channel. Nope.

He asked if I'd seen him coming. Yes, I said. Did you see me? Yes, but you should have let me through, he said and you should have moved over, he said. He told me I was a bloody idiot. I replied that I had thought the same of him.

Apparently the woman sitting in the front well deck complained to Irene that I didn't know what I was doing and that I was a bloody foreigner. Lovely Irene said 'She's my friend.' Sudden silence ... 👭💓👏

I had been designated as shade mooring finder, so on I went, thinking about the moorings next to the golf course. But then I found a place David had looked at when we last came through Rugby. Perfect, lots of shade with trees on both sides of the cut - the compass showed the orientation was right - no late afternoon burning sun!

I sent a WhatsApp pin to 2IJ and a pin to David.

All good except 2IJ's spot was right beside a wasps' nest very close to the armco. Fortunately the only other boat moored there moved off as soon as its hirers came back from a museum visit - no wasps' nest there.

I know we did some work that afternoon, but I cannot remember what - rust treatment, applying primer, Irene applied and removed paint restorer to the starboard side. Drinks and nibbles on the towpath, dinner (cheese tart) and a game of cards. I may have won, but most probably it was Ian or David - definitely not Irene...

Nibbles on the towpath in the all important shade!

Wednesday and Thursday

We stayed at that mooring for 2 more nights and got quite a lot of work done. Undercoating the white parts of the roof that had needed priming, undercoating the dark blue spots that had needed priming. Sorting out the seals on the starboard side windows - they and the bottom of window frames needed cleaning and seals re-inserting.


One day David was on heating the additional cheese tart for lunch. He got it out of the fridge and put it on the bench, he got it covered in baking paper, then he got squirrelled because there it stayed for some time...

One morning David and I shouted breakfast for 2IJ at the cafe at the Clifton Cruisers yard. Very nice and a very reasonable price. So do call in if you are nearby. There is an ornamental fish shop on site and guess who had to go and have a look while waiting for her brekkie? I had forbidden her to look on the way to the cafe - I was HUNGRY!!

Irene looking longingly at the fish tank - I think that one had koi carp in - ghastly invasive things...
Our workings out of how much window sealer we would need for 5 windows (we have 4 but a spare is always useful). New seals would only be required if we couldn't clean and reinstall the current ones - and we could so we did and no new seals required. Note to other window seal restorers: put them in hot water to clean and soften. Worked wonderfully!

Irene did a sterling job of cutting and then polishing the starboard side of the boat - it looks amazing. And when we moor with the port-side by the towpath, we will replicate her performance.


David and Ian ubered to Midland Chandlers (much faster than going by boat ...) to pick up the new gas hob. I wish we had got it a few years ago. The Vanette one did sterling service for all of its life, but the new one is ace! And the man who can fitted it. Here he is instructing David in how to light the hobs.
Well earned cups of tea and see the sanded and fertaned runnel/handrail.

I painted, Irene cut and polished the starboard side of the boat, Irene and I sanded the table top outside and I coated it with Danish oil. (I've now done it 4 times, so perhaps just one more coat will be enough protection.)

As you can see, the day was filled with more work, drinks and nibbles and then dinner.

Food has been a feature as I was determined to make sure 2IJ were well fed. I know that one night we had chickpea, squash and potato curry, and another night mushroom sauce with pasta; and desserts (Irene's province) have been trifle without the jelly, meringues with cream and berries. All very yummy. I did make dessert one evening:  nectarines roasted in white wine, honey and lemon juice (a Joy Bilby recipe - it is superb. Usually I use a range of stone fruit but all that Irene had were 4 unripe nectarines - state of ripeness didn't matter!)

David did the honours a couple of evenings - we had shared the cooking and he was on serving up as I was almost comatose in the chair outside!

Irene with her new haircut and her bottle of wine - well, it saved walking back to their boat for a top up, after all. Economy of effort was a requirement given how hard we were all working!


When we decided to move on from the shady place before Clifton Cruisers (therefore still in Rugby) we had thought we would head for Hillmorton. But it was SO DAMN HOT that I could not cope with the thought of mooring anywhere with sun. So about 15 minutes tops down the cut, I decided to stop near Rugby Golf Course which is not far from Hillmorton. A lovely mooring, wide towpath, no wasps nests, and space for more work and more eating and more cards - only one game per evening because we were all pretty pooped.

It was too hot to close the windows and too buggy to turn on the lights. David resorted to his head torch to see his cards. He wasn't allowed to point it forwards as it blinded the rest of us. Interesting movie scary person effects, I thought!


2IJ needed to get on their way back the way we had come as they are heading for a boat gathering, so we decided that we needed to cut the umbilical cord and part. Before we headed away, I finished one section of undercoating and then we were off.

There was one more job for Ian to do that required being able to moor on the port side. We accomplished that between the second and third sets of locks at Hillmorton. As Ian worked and the rest of us did other chores, Waka Huia developed more and more of a list to starboard - there were lots of boats coming down the locks and with every lock load of water leaving the pound, there was less and less clearance under the stern... It's a very disconcerting feeling being inside the boat when it's listing - it's very hard to walk without lurching into the side and it feels very dodgy!

But a lock load of water, a giant push with the bargepole by David and strenuous heaving by Ian and me and we were off. The bump down into the deeper water was significant and also funny!

Up into the third lock, expertly steered by Ian as I was sorting out something else, and then once we were temporarily tied up, it was a quick re-trim of Irene's hair. I had cut it for her when we were near Clifton, but realised I had left the back section a bit heavy. I had prepped the sourdough loaves and put one loaf into Irene's loaf tin for her to bake onboard Free Spirit. The other two sat proving above the freezer on Waka Huia.

Lots of hugs, some tears and promises to see each other again asap, and a commitment to playing cards by WhatsApp, as per our lockdown habit. Then they waved and waved and we waved and waved and headed off.

A huge day of boating for us: we had started at the golf course, 15 minutes into Hillmorton, up the locks and then all the way to Braunston, a stop for water, rubbish and Elsan and a shop at Midland Chandlers (oil, cratch cover cleaner and waterproofer), and I put the bread in to bake before we headed away from the waterpoint - there'd be time while we did the locks before we got to the tunnel. (I quickly dashed into the wee shop and got Magnums, milk and cheese) and then it was on through the tunnel.

We moored just outside the tunnel yesterday late afternoon, and sat outside in the beautiful shade of the overhanging trees. I was pooped - but for some reason I got a second wind, and at about 6pm after a dinner of freshly baked sourdough I started painting - after all there was only about 2/3 of the port side and the centre blue panels that needed undercoating. However, discretion was the better part of painting in the approaching dark and I decided to leave the centre panels which I can hardly reach (i.e. not reach at all) with the solar panels in place, and just focus on the runnels.


This morning, I washed the whole roof, then dried it off and sanded the runnels and centre panels. And then the rain came down. So painting stopped.

Instead we did inside cleaning and when the rain stopped I went out and cleaned one side of the cratch cover. I think the stuff I got at Midland Chandlers has worked pretty well - there was a fair amount of green stuff being scrubbed off anyway! I have checked it a couple of times after multiple rinses, but it needs to dry out more so I can clarify if the inevitable green stuff has been banished!

Fried rice for dinner and the second mint magnum each from the shop at the first Braunston lock. A cup of tea and early bed.


We had thought about staying at the same mooring because the shade was superb for painting, but it also meant the roof would take ages to dry and, being autumn, we were being leafed... So we got up early and headed for Norton Junction, planning to take on water there. However after we had moored up, hooked up the hose and rolled it out, we discovered the tap was not delivering water - doh! So on we trundled to the bottom of the Watford flight, discussing as we went how we would handle queuing and getting water. Well, no problems: no one else was waiting below, and the lockie sat and chatted with us while we filled with water, then off up the locks we scooted.  While we were ascending, the other boaters walked up to register, and it wasn't until we were leaving the top lock that a boat appeared at the top ready to descend - where was everyone?

We decided that it was best to get through Crick tunnel and moor up - no point in painting and then having seeping ground water spoil the work by dripping down from above.

We painted and got hot, David walked into the Coop, and that evening we took the recommendation of Jen and Scotty on the boat moored behind us and went for dinner at The Wheatsheaf - given I'd been on my feet most of the day - steering or standing on the gunwales while painting - my feet were really sore and the walk felt very very long ... It wasn't or otherwise something magical happened and the walk back was shorter 😆.

It rained again overnight, so painting had to be delayed. And because it didn't matter if I washed it while wet (?!) I cleaned the portside of the cratch cover. Lots more green stuff came off ... Amazing how it grows. I reckon that along with rats, cockroaches, bindweed/convolvulus, algae will outlast everything after a nuclear holocaust or global warming knocks us all off ...

 The next morning we got up ready to move regardless of the weather and found that while we had been inside the previous evening, Jen and Scotty had returned from their Welford Arm saunter and were moored in front of us. Lovely.

We headed away looking for somewhere we could continue with the painting and found a nice long patch of armco - for a change we were looking for sunshine as the weather had cooled. More painting - it's interminable ...

At the end of the day I asked David to set up the chairs in the shade of the boat as I needed to cool down. Better than that, he said, look out the front - and there in the far distance, he had set up the chairs in the shade of a tree. It was a very very long way to totter on sore feet and legs. It was another early night and I have to own that the standard of catering left a lot to be desired by that stage of the journey! Boiled eggs, cans of soup - they fill a gap but they are definitely not gordon blue, that's for real.

And so we moved on to the top of Foxton Locks the next morning, not hugely early; and we had the usual discussion re where would we be able to moor while queuing - but once again, there was no one waiting at the locks! It turns out they had been very quiet for ages because of the Lock 42 failure in Leicester. 

Earlier we had thought for nostalgia's sake, we would moor up for the day and night at the top of the locks, but changed our minds and went down. It was quite emotional, especially for David. I'm hard, me.

We moored there for two nights and I waterproofed the cratch cover with Fabsil and finished the painting - in that order because the Fabsil needed a clear 8 hours of drying time.

We had lunch from Bridge 61 on the day we arrived at the bottom of the locks, then dinner the next night at Foxton Locks Inn, we wondered about the moral compass of the owners of two boats who moored right on the waterpoints for the whole 2 days we were moored just forward of the signage. I know we are goody two shoes about this stuff, but what makes people think the rules don't apply to them?

All painting was done so we could head back to Debdale. More later...

Thursday 14 September 2023

Boat for sale: photos of nb Waka Huia

 I wrote about our putting nb Waka Huia up for sale on this post:

This post shows the photographs. You can see why we called the boat Waka Huia, the Treasure Box. John and Trish Woods who had the boat built and fitted it out, did an amazing job of it. And we have done our best to look after it while we have owned it. Its condition certainly belies its age, don't you think?


The pram cover was new this year. The tunnel bands will be repainted in the next week or so.


The cratch and its cover were replaced in 2019. The bow flashes are being replaced this week.

The solar panels on display.



The galley, view to the stern steps. On the port side, the butler's sink and freezer, stove and hob. Cupboards under the bench on the starboard side.

Cupboards over the bench. Larder fridge. Corridor to dinette.

The larder fridge, purchased in 2018. And the Zanussi Studioline washing machine that hasn't missed a beat since we've owned the boat.


We have 735 watts of solar, in an array of 4 panels x 100w and 1 x 335w panel.


The dinette. The table drops down to form a bed. Each bench seat has two lockers under. We can fit 6 people at the table because there is an additional piece of flooring that fits in the corridor with room for 2 stools.

The dinette converts to a double bed. Two duvulay mattresses make it extremely comfortable.


Pumpout toilet and vanity unit. Cupboards below and cupboards over.

Victorian hip bath (apparently) with shower over.


Looking down the corridor past the bedroom to the saloon.

The bedroom, looking back towards the bathroom and galley.

Double wardrobe with shelving


The saloon. The sofa is a single bed. It has 4 lockers under the seats and upright lockers behind the seat backs. There is a corner cupboard on the port side and a removable seat/locker on the starboard side on the former hearth - that was left in place in case any new owner wanted to install a solid fuel stove or diesel heater. Mel, the goat, is not part of the fixtures and fittings or chattels - he is coming back to NZ with us and, in fact, is already in his suitcase...

Shelving for TV and books

Room for TV and a mini computer. and a set of small odds and ends drawers.


From the saloon looking into the cratch

A lovely place to sit on sunny days or in the rain! With fold down table and seating on side lockers.