As well as selling house during a pandemic not being easy neither was buying a boat…. The brokerages were all closed to visitors so we couldn’t go and see any boats (all un-necessary travel was banned and we could only leave the caravan for essential trips to the shops).
Luckily for us ABNB, the brokerage at Crick, were incredibly helpful. I know what the cynics will say, they just want to sell boats, but they did go out of their way to help us. They went along to the boat we had fallen in love with and took additional photos for us of things we had either not looked at or couldn’t remember.
We decided to put in an offer and after some negotiation we agreed on a price. The next step was to pay the deposit and arrange for a survey.
Luckily we were able to find a surveyor still working and the boatyard at Crick were able to take the boat out of the water for us so a full survey could be carried out. We decided to have the boat blacked while it was out of the water. Although we hadn’t yet bought it we agreed to pay for this anyway, it did mean we wouldn’t need to pay to get the boat out of the water again when we had completed on the purchase.
The survey showed no major problems and certainly nothing that we thought was an issue so, on the 1st May 2020 we became the owners of “Doo Lalli Ali” – a 62ft narrowboat that was going to be our home.
At this point I had still never been on a moving narrowboat yet alone stayed on one overnight !
The next step of our journey was to find a mooring and move onboard. Again everyone in the narrowboat community has been really helpful, Mark, the marina manager at Crick was able to fit us in the marina on the condition that we spent a week in quarantine on the sales mooring at ABNB first. This is something that ABNB wouldn’t normally do but one thing I think this pandemic has shown us is that just sometimes anything is possible.
On the 2nd May we were due to start moving everything that hadn’t gone in to storage on to our new floating home. That day Phill’s car developed a problem…. It is times like this that you do wonder what else might happen…. Luckily for us we were able to leave Phill’s car at my parents house and borrow their car for the move and, over two days, we managed to get almost everything we needed up to the boat at Crick.
There are a few things that I found a bit upsetting. We didn’t really have a chance to say goodbye to all our friends in Steyning, especially the running group that I used to coach and we didn’t have the chance to have a last family get together in our old family home before lockdown started (it was going to be the following weekend). I also found it hard saying goodbye to our children and grandchildren without knowing when we would all be able to get together again.
On the 3rd May 2020 I spent my first ever night aboard a narrowboat. There really was no going back !