We have been poring over details of dozens of narrowboats in the last few weeks, stepping up our hunt for the right boat. Jan and I still have slightly(!) differing views on the ideal boat, but I might be coming round to her way of thinking. I have always fancied a boat with a traditional back cabin and separate engine room with a nice slow-revving engine. But I'm prepared to concede that this might not be the way to go (yet).
I have also been persuaded that diesel central heating isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Here is the story so far: At Christmas we looked at a boat with a lovely old Lister engine, but the boat was a little on the short and grotty side. Jan didn't get on with the speed wheel and push/pull gearbox control. And where the back cabin should have been was the galley with limited headroom.
A few weeks later we thought we might have found the one. A boat which had been on Apollo Duck for a while grew on us more and more, and our daughter and her husband went to see it for us. The report back was very favourable, and we had been getting quite excited, but, while they had been looking round it, they were told that it was already "under offer". So that was that. The broker told us that the seller had accepted an offer, and I wasn't interested in gazumping.
More ad browsing threw up another interesting boat: back cabin, engine room, fine engine, good length, virtually unused ... but unfinished. This would probably make someone an excellent boat - but not us. We do not want a "project boat". It would be all right, I suppose, if you live nearby and have lots of time and money/expertise.
Now here's the latest: I've just arranged to view a boat on my next day off, Wednesday. It's a conventionally laid out trad which looks good from the photos. Unfortunately I'll have to go on my own, but if I like it, I'll fix up to return with Jan. And I'm going to see if I can view another boat on my way back.
I'll let you know how I get on.
Whatever happens, we won't be saying goodbye to Shadow (photo above) just yet. The plan is still that Ally and Ben will live on the boat in MK for a couple of years.