Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Nine miles off one thousand!!

When we were travelling around the canals and rivers of Britain writing our blog, we chose not to keep a track of how many miles/locks/swing bridges we were going through.  After a while though, Barry did meticulously update our whereabouts on the google map, which has proven to be a very useful tool!  He's now counted the distance we accomplished and the work involved, and it looks like this:

  • 990.6125 miles
  • 539 locks
  • 99 swing/lift bridges

Damn!  If we'd realised that we'd have taken a little detour somewhere along the way and made sure we'd hit the thousand mile mark!  Maybe we'll do it differently next year?

We've almost paid off our debts from our trip, so just the NZ wedding to pay for and then we'll be down to some serious saving ready for returning around May 2010.  Barry has applied for a seasonal job with one of the local wineries, so fingers crossed that he gets that to work from February to April.  It's going to depend on how much we save as to how long we can get back for to return to Northern Pride and 'do' the south.  We really must do some research into travelling down the Bristol Channel from Sharpness.

I'm very excited that a story I submitted to the Australia/New Zealand Reader's Digest is going to be published in February 2010, along with a photograph of our English wedding - yaay!  It was a story about 'the kindness of strangers' and I wrote about the two narrowboats and their fabulous occupants who came to our rescue and jump started Northern Pride when our battery was flat - our guardian angels.

I have just under three weeks to work in my current role, before I leave and take a holiday for three weeks (again, I know, it's so greedy having so much time off!) over Christmas and New Year, and of course the 'real' wedding.  The material for my wedding dress only arrived this week and is still on the table at the dress-maker's, hopefully it'll be transformed into a stunning creation in the very near future!

P1170088 Wainui Beach  - shot from our NZ wedding location

Friday, 13 November 2009

Farewell to Frank

Barry's father passed away peacefully on the morning of Saturday 7 November.  It was spooky how he seemed to wait until he had all of his family in Gisborne; his daughter and younger son arrived from Australia on Thursday and Friday respectively.  The funeral was held on Wednesday, with over a hundred mourners present, and was a fitting tribute to celebrate the life of a great and gentle man.  Barry and his brothers and sister spoke of their memories of his life, and then presented a very slickly put together (what else would you expect from Barry?!) slide-show of photographs of Frank and his friends and family which roused those present to applause loudly at the finale - we're not sure if that's appropriate behaviour at a funeral, but it certainly felt 'right' that Frank's 89 year presence on this earth had been acknowledged in such a heartfelt way.


Frank Teutenberg

25 September 1920 - 7 November 2009

I can still vividly recall the phone call from Barry's brother Ray, on 20 May this year, informing us that Frank had suddenly been taken ill and subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumour.  We were on the River Avon, having just left Tewkesbury and arrived at Eckington a delightful little village.  Due to the unfolding events and the need for Barry to return to New Zealand, we then skipped swiftly past places such as Wyre Piddle and Pershore on our way to Evesham to find a mooring that we could stay at, as that was going to be a good place for Barry to catch a train from and me to stay during his absence.  Maybe we'll return along the Lower Avon Navigation in 2010 to visit those places and take good look around and also see our newly found friends Chris and Joan, the Evesham Lock-keepers, who looked after me so well while Northern Pride and I 'lodged' with them for a couple of weeks!

We almost booked our return tickets to England last weekend as there appeared to be a really good deal on Air New Zealand.  Once we'd thought about it and gone back to the site later however, the deal had gone - bugger!  Don't you just hate it when that happens?  You just have to grab life's opportunities when you see them, no use hanging around thinking about it for a couple of hours.  Hopefully we'll find another one and be more ready to grasp it!

Narrowboat Gypsy Rover cruised past Northern Pride last week and posted a photo on their blog bless them.  She's looking happy having her winter break, and will need to conserve all her energy for Barry's return next year!  He's already talking about going back a few weeks or so before me and possibly persuading/cajoling a mate to come along too to help with the rest of the painting.  Meanwhile I'll be here earning the cents to turn to pounds to see us through the summer - he's a damn lucky man isn't he?!

The wedding arrangements are sort of coming along, though we've been rather caught up with Frank for the past couple of weeks; we still have to organise the catering and the booze!  I'm sure it'll be alright on the night though, as the first one was ...

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Carpe Diem - seize the day

It's almost two weeks since I've written a blog.  Life certainly takes on a different meaning when you're working full time, and it's challenging to find some quality time to do the things, and be with the people, you love.  I feel so lucky to have had the experience of being on Northern Pride with Barry, and to have been able to stop and smell the roses for a while - unfortunately it has meant that we spent all our savings and now are on pay-back!  But that's OK, we'll be back on track soon ...

Barry's father is very poorly, but comfortable, in hospital, and it's just a matter of time before he leaves us bless him.  On the same day that he was admitted, a dear friend of mine arrived in the emergency department too and is having major heart surgery tomorrow.  So our thoughts turn to 'seizing the day' and appreciating what we have, as one never knows what's in store as each new day dawns.

Last weekend Barry and I seized a great Gisborne day out at the local Wine and Food festival, and drank rather too much wine in the glorious sunshine!  Barry was fine (he's had a lot more practice than me!), but I managed to embarrass myself by stumbling over in a car park and had a gravel rash down my face, and was then ill (apparently, as I have no recollection of the events!) in the local Fishing Club - not a good look!  I would put a photo of us earlier in the day on, but Barry hasn't been using his camera much since we've been back and the photos I took with my phone we can't find the programme to put them onto the computer!

So back to our favourite places from our soiree in England ...

The first canal we went onto, the Llangollen,  was definitely one of the best - and as we travelled in April and May, wasn't too crowded. 

P1000703The view from our first mooring on the Llangollen Canal, just outside of Wrenbury

I recall that Barry was in awe of the bright colours of the foliage, they were so fresh and green as spring brought new life to the canal.  The trees in New Zealand are mostly deciduous so we don't have the same contrasts of the seasons.  In fact, a fellow Brit who also emigrated here, said the other day that he thinks we have just two seasons in Gisborne - winter and summer!  

The Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts were incredible experiences, and of course since we traversed the latter it has become a World Heritage site - and rightly so.  It's the most amazing structure, and to think it was constructed over 200 years ago.  Breathtaking.  And I do recall my breath being taken away the night after driving over it when I thought of the 38 metre drop I'd had at my side, but funnily enough actually going over it wasn't a problem as I was just in awe of the beauty around me.

P1010342 Kath and Tim brave the Pontcysyllte - don't look down!

Llangollen itself was such a quaint and friendly town, despite the wet weather.  It was where we found the largest collection of ducklings in what appeared to be one 'brood' - we counted 29!

P1010151 Scrambling for a morsel of bread - we couldn't quite get them all into one shot!

We spent over a week on the Llangollen Canal, our first 'real' experience of living on a narrowboat.  Barry didn't take any persuading to be 'hooked' on the experience, and though I was certainly enjoying the time, I couldn't say I was persuaded of the merits of the alternative lifestyle at that stage - in fact that didn't happen until much later, and then so subtley that I'm not sure I could pinpoint the exact moment it happened ....