Monday, 30 May 2011

And the runner up at Crick 2011 is?

We have had a great bank holiday weekend at the Crick Boat Show, with so many positive and lovely comments from people.

There were still lots of people at the show today despite the rain which continued most of the day.

The big surprise for us at the end of the show was that Chance was voted runner up in the Best of Show.  We would just like to thank so many of you who took the time and trouble to vote for us!  and those who came up to us to say they had voted for us, it was a complete surprise and we are feeling really chuffed that people thought so much of Chance. 

The winning boat was William Piper narrow boats Ltd – “Barolo”

2nd Place runner up MGM Boats Ltd.'s  - “CHANCE”

3rd Place Braidbar narrow boats – “Bunnies Warren”

No pictures today, as we are very tired after the wet day. We celebrated the end of the weekend with a bottle of champagne on NB Toulouse  (Piper Boats) our neighbours and new friends for the last few days.

Crick Boat Show!

We have been extremely busy for the last few days hence the lack of blogging!  We are on the final day of the Crick Boat Show, and what an amazing show it has been this year. Thankfully the weather has been kind so far with just a couple of showers on Saturday but the afternoon being really sunny.  Sunday was dry all day and the sun came out at times as well! 

Chance has had people viewing continuously all weekend and we have had so many fantastic and lovely comments and met up with many people who follow this blog. Thank you for coming up and saying Hello to us, we really appreciate it.

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The numbers at the show this year seem to be higher than ever. Today we hope to have a look around the show ourselves as we haven’t had ‘chance’ so far!  We hope to treat ourselves to a few things from the chandlery.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

A wet and windy day at Crick!

The day started off bright and sunny, but by mid morning the showers began and continued on and off through the afternoon with strong winds, well it is Crick!  So we’ve  had a day inside, cleaning and getting ready for the show.  As we have been asked for some finished internal shots of Chance by many followers, this morning we took a few photos as it is now.  We have been so busy since moving aboard we actually forgot to take some and post them here.

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Completed cupboards above the bed.

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Bedroom wardrobe and door to stern.

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One corner of the bathroom.

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The other corner!  Shower and storage for linen and towels.

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View from saloon area to galley (and through into bathroom).

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View from saloon showing dinette and galley.

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View from galley showing saloon and doors out to the well deck (bow).

It’s all just about finished now and ready for the show.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Calm before the storm!

We awoke to a lovely sunny day at Crick Marina. We walked Oscar along the towpath outside the marina and met up with Bruce and Sheila on Sanity Again.  Who gave us some useful information on having a show boat at Crick.


A quiet Crick Marina with Chance on its pontoon -  by this evening the marina is almost full with 8 boats being craned in and many more arriving by canal.  Its been interesting watching all the goings on and the show being set up.  We are now no longer alone – having a large wide beam boat on one side and 70 foot long very traditional narrow boat on the other side.  To fill in some time James has been polishing and varnishing and then polishing again!


This evening we met up with our neighbours on the Piper Show boat next to us  at The Red Lion in Crick village for a very enjoyable pub meal.  Oscar came as well, as any mention of the ‘pub’ seems to summon extra enthusiasm to walk! 

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Foxton Locks to Crick

We have arrived at Crick Marina and are on the pontoon for the Crick Boat show at the weekend.  We had a really good journey today, we left at 10am and went up the Foxton Locks flight.

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At Foxton top lock - we then had 5 hours cruising without any locks to Crick!  Foxton was very quiet – we came straight up without boats top or bottom.  Oscar was much better today after he fell off a wall at a lock yesterday!  Although he’s slightly limping on a front leg he’s still game for all we throw at him.  A large dose of metacam seems  to be helping him out and he has felt much better today as you can see!

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We’ve had lovely weather all day today, even though showers were forecast.

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This is us having just passed into the Northamptonshire countryside – lovely wooded cuttings.  We passed under the M1, how glad we were that we were on our narrow boat!  (Peace versus Tempest!)

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Do those mugs match the boat?

And finally we arrived at Crick Marina at 4.30pm.  We were helped onto our berth and have been watching other show boats craned into the marina.  It looks like we might be in for an exciting weekend!!  We can’t wait!  (Pics to follow)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Kilby Bridge to Foxton

After yesterdays 14 locks and 8 hours cruising we had an early night!  This morning we walked into Wigston to pick up a few items we needed and then carried on towards Foxton. 

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After 6 hours and 12 locks today, we have moored at the bottom of Foxton locks on the Market Harborough Arm ready to go up the flight in the morning.  James tried out the weed hatch for the second time (string, dish cloth and a boot lace!) – it took Doug to say “there’s a terrible vibration inside the boat, you’ve got something round the prop!”  It rained for part of the afternoon after being very windy all morning.  Anyway a quick wipe down and ‘Chance’ is as good as ever.

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Chance moored up on the Market Harborough Arm.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

On our way to Crick

We set off early just before 7am to start our journey to Crick for the Boat show next weekend.


Leaving MGM Boats at Thurmaston making our way to Kilby Bridge for our first nights’ mooring.  We travelled through Leicester and we were surprised how much better the canal and river are through the city and suburbs since we came through three years ago on our previous boat.  There was much less rubbish in the water and on the footpaths, and we found the day to be much more enjoyable than we had expected, the weather stayed fine all day it tried to spit with rain at one stage but came to nothing and by the afternoon we were slapping on the sun lotion!


Kings Lock, just outside Leicester.  Oscar really seemed to enjoy being back on the boat again, he got off at most of the locks and had the odd walk when he felt like it!  We only passed three boats going in the opposite direction (and none going our way!!).  We snapped the rope holding the loop fender on the left side coming out of Gees Lock and we got the best part of a tarpaulin round the prop. at Belgrave Lock.  Sods’ law said that it had to happen only feet from the lock entrance and , without any steerage and power we hit the lock entrance with an alarming clunk!  A dab of black on the shoulder when we get to Crick and no one will be any the wiser. (James was at the tiller!)


We are now moored at Kilby Bridge and looking forward to having a roast dinner on board tonight.  I am trying out the new roasting bags I was recommended to use, so the oven stays clean for the Crick Show!  It is still windy this evening– as per the whole day.  Funny how wind masks the effect of bright sunshine! – sore foreheads for both. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Chance’s Maiden Voyage

Well, finally we untied Chance at 8am this morning and travelled north on the River Soar for an hour each way to give Chance her “maiden voyage”  before heading to Crick on Sunday.  The weather was wonderful and we enjoyed the trip very much. 

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Everything went really well, with Oscar trotting alongside me on the towpath! it was like the two years on dry land had never happened!

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We are so looking forward to setting off on Sunday for a few days travelling to Crick!!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Getting Settled In!

We have been living aboard for a few days now and we have settled in really well, even Oscar is behaving as though he has never left the cut!   There are still a few jobs to be finished, but generally everything is fine and we are enjoying living aboard “Chance”

We haven’t been out on the cut yet as the seating at the stern has still not been completed but it should be ready on Monday.

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Our first visitors were daughter Vicki and  partner Tom who came up to see us and Chance for the weekend.  We have had a lovely weekend with them, there seems to be so much space for four of us on this boat compared to our last one!  We all went out to Mountsorrel for a lovely Sunday lunch in the village pub,  after spending the evening on board last night.


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As you can see its looking a little more homely now!!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Our “Chance” has come!

We have been on Chance now for 2 days and at last beginning to relax on this Friday evening.  We have had 2 days of hectic moving in and jobs to be completed on the boat.   James has been lacquering table tops and bits and pieces and fitting fenders, whilst Doug has been unpacking, sorting out galley blinds which were wrong and had to be returned, and organising the boat.
Mark, Martin and Rachel have pulled out all the stops to get the last few jobs completed, they have been absolutely amazing!
Today, Doug sorted out the boat registration number and license which normally takes weeks!  but managed to get it in a day, our number is 520080!
Our eldest daughter Vicki and partner Tom, are coming up to see us for the for the weekend, so will try and post some pictures tomorrow.
Many thanks to everyone for all their good wishes. We have had some lovely comments - this is a really exciting time for us and we are looking forward to the Crick Boat Show and meeting up with friends and fellow bloggers!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tomorrow is moving day!

Finally, after months of planning we move onto “Chance” tomorrow.  We have been busy packing and organising ourselves for a few days now, and after speaking to Mark and Martin at MGM today, Chance is ready for us to move aboard……..  We can’t wait it all seems to have happened so quickly when we look back, the carpet in the saloon was laid today which was almost the final job to be done, there are still a few minor jobs to sort out but that can be done later this week.   So tomorrow we will set off from the south coast and  head north to Leicestershire.   I will try and post some pictures later in the week.

A Blog courtesy of Captain Ahab!!

We were so overwhelmed by the wonderful blog Captain Ahab wrote about Chance on his blog, we asked his kind permission to publish it on ours, as we especially loved the comment on a “ J Lo” stern!!  Thanks again Andy for a great posting…..
Nothing by Chance

A Chance Meeting

19 April 2011

I like unexpected surprises, but I suppose that by definition, all surprises are unexpected.

I once went to a gig (but in the days when it was probably advertised as a concert) to hear a band called Nothing By Chance in Digbeth's Irish Centre.

I remember the event because I went without and real expectations and suddenly the Gilly Derbey entered from the back singing in a haunting voice which sent shivers down my spine. I have long since lost my recording of the event but surprises like that don't come round every day.

Belle, Doug and James - I think I had just asked Doug to stand up !

I mentioned a few days ago that we were surprised by the way the guys from MGM Boat builders ran round to set Thurmaston lock in our favour. Well, the fact was that they weren't employees at all but were Doug and James, visiting the boat yard to check on the progress of their new narrow boat Chance.

Doug stood on the edge edge of the lock and looked down commenting "so, you must be Belle".

Its strange when you meet someone whose blog you have been following. You feel you know them but of course you only get to see the limited aspect they chose to write about. What I hadn't permeated my grey matter was that Chance was being built on the Soar.

We were invited to go and inspect the progress being made on Chance and what lovely hosts Doug and James proved to be. James proudly showed me all the engineering bits (he is an engineer by trade) whilst Doug had Belle in ecstasy with the quality of the internal fit out.

Chance's oh so perfect Josher bows

Chance is indeed shaping up to be a most impressive craft, with subtle but beautiful steelwork mated with some of the very best carpentry I have seen. I wouldn't say that I was jealous, but instead I can honestly say that I had deep joy for the lads and the floating object of beauty they are creating.

Belle gets excited in the galley

The attention to detail in the steelwork was impressive. The bows are Josher but executed in the subtlest way with just the right hint of a reverse curve - all a far cry form the over pinched look so many boat builders seem to favour.

Then there is the stern - innovative without being radical. They have gone for a cruiser stern because they value sociability over all (an argument I have come to appreciate on Wand'ring Bark) and to maximise the space the stern is fuller than a semi circle, but less than a square with the corners rounded off. Maybe you should think of this an a floating J.Lo - a craft with a slightly more than ample rear end, but a derriere which is no less attractive for its abundance.

That J.Lo stern

Then there is the interior. The woodwork is simply sumptuous, all beautifully crafted and adorned with a stunning array of technology. Belle went into raptures over the mini led lights, the white leather settee and the curved granite work surfaces.

At the time of our visit it was all a work in progress and the guys at MGM were working hell for leather, as Chance is scheduled to be on display at Crick at the end of May. At least this means Doug and James can be certain that they will get a  boat built to the highest showboat standard and delivered on time too.

The saloon

If you want to see more of this boat you will either need to go to Crick or if, like me, you are busy participating in the BCN marathon, you can always catch the review in Canal Boat which they hope Adam will undertake later in the year.

MGM - you may have a show winner on your hands here. If we ever strike it rich I think it is very likely that we will be knocking on your door and give you a Chance to build Wand'ring Bark 2.

Doug and James - Thanks for the tour. We look forward to seeing the three of you (including Chance) somewhere on the cut.

Posted by Captain Ahab

Friday, 6 May 2011

Finishing Touches!

With, hopefully, a week to go before “Chance” is finished we are busy packing boxes and getting ready to move onto her. Our motorhome was sold and collected last week. So we are nearly ready to start our new adventure!

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The roman blinds have been made and fitted – and look very good indeed.  We’ve aimed for a fairly restful feel inside – with the occasional highlight and we’re very happy with the results so far!

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The radiator covers and shelves are complete and they transform the inside feel.

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Both side hatches now have their internal glass doors fitted.  It’ll be real luxury to have light and no draughts. 

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The galley is almost complete with doors and handles now fitted. It’s worth saying again that the standard of finish and care which Martin and Mark offer is amazing.  All the cupboard doors, including the main doors to the bathroom and all external door linings, are solid wood.  The galley wall cupboards have LED rope lighting concealed underneath (and the bathroom cabinet!)

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The bathroom needs a few minor things for completion.  The  shaped mirror makes a nice feature and adds to feel of space.

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The port holes now have their wooden internal trims.

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Thursday, 5 May 2011

At last a view of Chance!

As Chance has been fitted out in a floating shed, we have never seen what the boat looks like from a distance or how the paintwork looks, at last today we had the “chance” to see.

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“Chance” looks amazing, with the colour and the chrome fittings we are so thrilled with the result.

The sign writer Kevin Regan, ( has done a fantastic job of the signwriting. The dark blue shadowing really works with the design.

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