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 ...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Leaving London and putting Northern Pride up for sale

All's good here in Gisborne.  Barry's mum seems to be on the mend, and the sun is shining after a few days of heavy rain.

We've had a couple of offers on Northern Pride since we left in November, but as yet we haven't had one that reflects her value and we're willing to accept, hoping that over the next couple of months with the new season on its way that offer will arrive!

Saturday 2 October

After an incredible ten hours of sleep, we finally left our precious mooring at Paddington Basin after a stay of eight nights (whoops, one more than 'allowed', but nowhere near the time that most other boats are sitting in the basin!).  

P1390011-Panorama1 Feeling a little claustrophobic now after 8 days in Paddington 

P1390016A Emerging into Little Venice Junction, then under the blue bridge heading west onto The Grand Union Canal

We'd completely run out of water by this time, so stopped and filled up - as it'd gone so low there was an air pocket in system which seemed to take ages to get sorted.  I left Barry to his man's job while I did the womanly thing and went to Sainsbury's to stock up on groceries. 

We managed to get a blog on to advertise the boat for sale last night; sad but inevitable, and armed with the knowledge we'll always be grateful for the myriad of happy memories from our journeys with Northern Pride.


A short stop at the water point for a top up ...


before exiting London, leaving Archimedes and Ara behind (or so we thought)

P1390036What an adorable way to reside in central London ... 


... you couldn't live much closer to the water than this!

Once Barry had fixed the water, we headed west out of London passing some extremely gloomy surroundings - it wasn't a pleasant facade of London along the canal with graffiti everywhere, broken down buildings, flotsam and jetsom in the water, and to top it all it drizzled constantly all afternoon. 

What an awful impression of London it gave, we were so pleased we'd approached from the east with Tom on board!  On a positive note however, there were no locks today which we were most grateful for as it was a very wet one.

In the afternoon we'd had a phone call from Pete who recommended a pub to visit en-route.  Barry told me about it and the fact that it has strippers every evening, feigning amazement that I'd absolutely no interest in visiting the establishment with him! 


The canal goes through some non-descript industrial areas the further out you get ...


... though once through Bulls Bridge it starts to improve

It was late in the day when we moored close to 'The Woolpack', in Hayes - definitely not the one from Emmerdale Farm.  The Nicolson Guide states - 'real ale and a diet of striptease artistes from lunchtime onwards - unsuitable for children' - I'd never have guessed, lol!  Despite the dreadful weather, Barry said he was obliged to visit the pub for Pete - yeah right!  "Off you go then," said I, "I'll stay indoors where it's dry thanks." 

He returned a short while later, rather damp, reporting that it, wasn't terribly salubrious (surprise, surprise!), but he did get to watch a bit of pool - though I suspected that was just a rouse, lol!

We had an early night, back to catching up on blogging once again.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Last days in London - Northern Glory?

While Britain remains chilly, albeit warmer than it has been, we've been sweltering in Gisborne with temperatures in the low 30's and not a lot of relief even in the night-time.  The past few days has brought some 'welcome' (to the farmers apparently and those who rely on rainwater for their supply, not to me!) rain and cooler weather.

Barry's had an exhibition of some of his photographs in his brother's cafe 'Verve' in Gisborne, called 'The Old Country'.  Following this, he's been interviewed by a journalist from our local paper 'The Gisborne Herald' to produce a feature in their 'Entertainment Guide' on 20th January about our canal adventures which is awesome - except that the young writer managed to state that our boat was called 'Northern Glory' despite the photo being of us standing right next to the sign on the boat saying 'Northern Pride' - hilarious!

Four of Barry's photos have sold to date, and he's been busily putting a web-site collection of his amazing images from our travels together for postcards and prints to purchase anywhere in the world - more on that to follow.

In the meantime, here's another short post from our last trip ...

Thursday 30 September & Friday 1 October

After such a frantic but fabulous few days, we all got up rather late.  We'd suggested Tom may want to visit Brighton on the train for the day (couldn't afford for us all to go!) but the weather forecast wasn't up to much.  Tom and Barry had a quiet day pottering around the boat while I went to Oxford Street to try and spend birthday money on a pair of 'Fit-Flops but was sadly unsuccessful, it seems the main place you can buy them is on-line, though I know I've seen some along the way when I didn't have the money to buy them!  It's typical that you see things you desire when you have no money and not when you do!

Tom and Barry met me later in the day at Leicester Square, where we'd arranged to meet up with Barry's friend Keith's son Brendan for a few drinks.  He took us to a neat pub called Waxy O'Connor's.  I'd been there previously with my daughter in 2006, but would never have known where it was to show Barry without the help of Brendan!  The pub is on a number of floors and has tree branches running through it - very cool and always packed!  From the outside it just looks like a doorway, sort of like a Dr Who's Tardis when you get inside though ...


 Tom poses for a typical 'English' scene with red telephone boxes 











 Love the boxes - and the eclectic mix of people you find sitting in Leicester Square 


 Brendan, Barry & Sandra at Waxy O'Connors


Tree branches intermingle with punters throughout the premises

Having said he'd only have time for one or two drinks, I had to drag Barry and Tom away to get back to the boat as we were meeting up with Jamie for Tom's last night in England.  Fortunately the working boats Ara and Archimedes were passing the Basin so we were able to top up with some gas as well.

We had just a couple of glasses of wine each as all our boat brew had been drunk last weekend with all the guests we'd had, and enjoyed a few competitive games of 'Six handed rummy'. 

Jamie was up for work at 0730hrs the next day, and of course it's one up all up in boat as small as Northern Pride with two guests on board!

After a breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs, we left for Heathrow at 1230hrs.  The fastest way of getting there is on the Heathrow Express from Paddington, but it was too costly at £18 one way or £32 return.  Naturally we chose to take the tube which took 45 minutes compared to 16, as it meant we could all go and see him safely into departures after a drink and sandwich (very naughtily, I took home-made sandwiches and we ate them surreptitiously under the table!).


 Tom's last tube ride for this adventure - wonder when/whether he'll be back in London ...


Farewell for now Tom, safe journey

For the first time in over three weeks there was just me and Barry back on the boat - a bit of a shock after so much excitement.

There's just over four weeks to go now before we also fly back to NZ, and we've so much to do before then.  It's time to get organised and sort everything out and aim to think positive thoughts about someone buying our beloved floating home ...

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Canal Boat Magazine Article September 2010

"Best of Both Worlds"

This is a copy of the article published in 'Canal Boat' magazine about our travels in 2009, for anyone who hasn't read it. Though not the best of reproductions you should get the idea.

 Canalboat Magazine 1


Canalboat Magazine 2

Canalboat Magazine 3

Canalboat Magazine 4

Canalboat Magazine 5

Canalboat Magazine 6

Canalboat Magazine 7

Canalboat Magazine 8

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Happy New Year - guess what Barry found in Paris? A French canal!

We're not getting on very well with completing our 2010 blog diary are we?  Xmas was a bit of a challenge for us this year, Barry's mum was very unwell and we spent the early hours to mid-afternoon in the hospital with her.  Luckily her daughter Jenny came a couple of days later from Australia to help out - we'd already rented our house from 28 December to 2 January and went camping 'up the coast' whilst we both continued working - there's no phone coverage there ...

IMG_1954 Our tent is on the right - just metres away from the ocean


Freedom camping, East Coast style, on Pouawa Beach

She was discharged on 30 December (shortage of beds!) and is recovering slowly at home now, so fingers crossed that will continue.

We welcomed in 2011 from the campsite, playing 'six handed rummy' until midnight.  No loud music and partying for us, we left that to the 25,000 youngsters who'd been in town for a few days for the 'Rhythm and Vines' music festival!

We're back in our house and sorted again now, so able to continue blogging - Happy New Year to all of our readers, and may 2011 bring you much love, happiness and less need to acquire anymore unnecessary 'stuff' - let's all learn to live more simply and appreciate the good things that life has to offer us.

Talking of which ...

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Having only got until 2100hrs tonight in Paris we wanted to make the most of the day, but still didn't manage to get up and dressed until 0830hrs! 

After filling up on a continental breakfast and securing our bags once again in the hotel, we walked to Gare D'est to find the open top bus stop - it still took us a while to find it but having discovered a leaflet about it in the hotel at least we had an address for each stop now, lol!

We dug out our tickets and caught the next bus but weren't able to get settled for long as after one stop we heard on the commentary that there was a canal nearby the following stop - Barry's face lit up!  Oh no, thought I!  We've only just found the bus and now we'll have to get off again!  The whole idea of these tours is that they're a 'hop on, hop off' excursion, despite it being rather frustrating when we have so little time and the buses only stop every 25 minutes on the route - so of course we were obliged to exit and discover the delights of a French Canal.

We were incredibly lucky that there was a tourist boat just coming to the lock when we arrived, there were two staircase locks then a tunnel which takes the boat back to the River Seine.  It was interesting to compare the canal and lock to the British versions - I think that most locks are manned in Europe, which is one of the reasons why it's not appealed to us to experience them, but who knows what may happen in the future ...  P1380825-Panorama1A After our little excitement, we jumped back on a bus and carried on to the Louvre, walking a distance and making a detour for a coffee on the way - once again it was very expensive but some things are truly priceless - Tom and I love good coffee - he chose one with vanilla and a caramel flavour which was wicked.

P1380830B Lots of mopeds speeding around the streets of Paris - must be the fastest mode of transport on the heavily congested roads 










I was trying out my schoolgirl French in the cafes and shops, hilariously getting a tad confused when I said 'Bonjour' instead of 'Au revoir' in one place, but the French people are always appreciative if you attempt to converse in their language - and rightly so!

Reaching the Louvre, we left Tom in the queue, and continued to do a walking tour of Notre Dame (with Discover Walks).  The tour was facilitated by a vivacious 20 year old Parisian student who hopes to become a famous musician, and was really interesting - we heard lots of snippets of details about the Cathedral and it's surroundings. 















 Quaint side-streets where we found a cafe for a lunch spot


 The imposing structure of Notre Dame, made famous by the book 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' completed in 1831 by Victor Hugo











 Stunning architecture


 These gargoyles disguise the drain pipes!














Not just a cathedral tour, but the back streets surrounding it were full of stories from the past brought to life by our enthusiastic young guide 


 The cathedral is on the side of the Seine 


 Beautiful French louvered windows










The famous Flying Buttress of Notre Dame - Gothic architecture at its best













 Some of the house boats on the Seine 


 A bridge of love - supposedly if you but a padlock on the bridge with you and your lover's name carved/etched/written on it and each have a key your love will last forever - bless!


 The epitome of Paris - artists line the river


 A tour boat passes us by ...











...and the ring of a very large boat from days gone by - and an alternative view of Notre Dame


Autumn in Paris














 Notre Dame - and a 'blind' man?

Following our walk we returned to the front of the cathedral and considered going in to have a look but didn't have much time before we were meeting Tom there - at that point there was just a small queue of people, but by the time Tom arrived it had grown to humongous proportions so we had to give it a miss - another opportunity lost!

We'd been told by the guide that there are often beggars outside the cathedral who prey on tourists consciences - and we saw one with our own eyes.  The 'blind' man in the photo above looks genuine enough, but after someone gave him a note we saw him looking down at it before putting it in his pocket - checking what number was written on there no doubt!

Returning to the open top bus once again, we did the 'orange' route, then completed our sightseeing by strolling to the Eiffel Tower to see it in it's daytime magnificence and walk through the gardens ...















 Typical Parisian scenes


 A very cool shot of a woman taking her bike dog for a ride


 Pavement cafes at every turn ...


 ... and the old blends in with the modern


 A city of art and artists - this being an exhibition of toilets from around the world ...
















 ... as well as breath-taking buildings 



 Always bustling with locals and tourists 















'Hotels des Invalids' - the Military Hospital, ornately decorated and guarded

Reaching the Tower we stopped for a few photos before walking beneath its vastness incredulously - and we discovered that it's only just over 13 Euros to make the ascent, which sounded very reasonable and I so wished we'd had a chance to go up; it's a good reason to return one day.  Maybe Tom will treat us to a trip for my 60th birthday, which will be two days after our 10th (UK) wedding anniversary - he's got nine years to save up, lol!



















 Le Tour Eiffel from the 'Parc du Champs du Mars' ...















... and looking back over the River Seine from the 'Palais de Chaillot'

We caught the Metro back to the hotel with just enough time to nip into a local store and buy some French wine, collect our bags, then return to the Gare Du Nord. 

We had a fantastic time, and Tom was so enthralled by the experience that he decided he now wants to live in Paris at some point in the future.  Amazingly for most British people, it was the first time he's visited a  country where people don't speak English.

Our trip back on the Eurostar was a little subdued after all the excitement, then we jumped on the underground and arrived back on Northern Pride around 2300hrs, totally worn out!