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 ...

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Back to reality and leaving Bishop's Stortford

It was a long trip back to Gisborne, via Sydney and Auckland, but we arrived home on Friday 5 November.  Since then we've been unpacking, retrieving our belongings from under the house, tidying up the garden from the winter and getting our phone and internet back - it took Telecom five days before we were back on line!

Sandra's returned to work as a 'casual' midwife, and Barry is working on getting the blog up to date as well as numerous other projects.

No news to report on selling Northern Pride as yet, for details of the specification on the New and Used Boat Company site, click here.

Hopefully we'll soon catch up on and publish the last six weeks or so of our time in England ...

Tuesday 21 September

The day began bright and sunny, though being moored in Bishop's Stortford Basin it was difficult to tell as the boat was under so many trees.  We had a more comprehensive stroll around the town before setting off, gaining some local knowledge initially from the Information Centre.  It's a lovely little town ... P1370410A





St Michael's Church in Bishop's Stortford

























 The graveyard with the Boar's Head pub and the interior of St Michael's Church


Lovely carved pews














Plenty of black and white buildings around the town


 The Black Lion pub on Bridge Street

One of our aims was to visit the remains of Waytemore Castle and Motte so we headed that way but found the gate locked.  As luck would have it a council worker drove by just as we were walking away and let us in, giving us strict instructions to re-attach the padlock when we were finished.  While we were up in the motte though another council worker came by and called us to come back down saying that the other one shouldn't have let us in as previously someone had fallen down the hill and injured themselves so they didn't want the responsibility! 

You can access the motte by requesting a key from the Information Centre, but of course you then have to return it to them as well.  The stupid part is that the hedge around the motte has many gaps in it where anyone can walk in and climb up, so basically it doesn't matter if the grounds are a hazard and someone goes through hedge and then falls down, that's their responsibility, but if council have let them in then the fear is that someone will sue them - what a shame that Britain follows America in such circumstances, suing for compensation at the drop of a hat!

P1370413  The remaining motte from the original Waytemore Castle allegedly built by the Normans and destroyed after 1545 


 P1370421 The limit of navigation on the Stort

P1370433 The winding hole with the end of the canal to the right 

P1370446A Unusual footbridge crossing the canal - probably one of the UK's many "millennium bridges"

We departed from Bishop's Stortford just after midday, travelling for two and a half hours to the affluent town of Sawbridgeworth (or 'Sawbo' as current residents affectionately call it!) where we stopped for lunch and another walk about.  P1370450




An inventive way of recycling an old boat




  P1370456A Another shot of Little Hallingbury Mill at Tednambury 











Tom's back on lock duty, while Sandra manages the helm

Around the time of the Norman Conquest, Sawbridgeworth's rich farming land was as fully developed for cultivation as possible and became the richest village community in the country.  It's reportedly now the 'best kept town in the country' and unsurprisingly boasts amongst their residents Posh and Becks.

Much of the town centre is a conservation area, with many of the buildings dating from the Tudor, Stuart and Georgian periods that are now mixed sensitively with modern buildings.










We passed the 'active' bowling club on the way into the village of Sawbridgeworth


Tom and Sandra checking out Christine's cakes in search of custard doughnuts!

A selection of some of the varied architecture around Sawbridgeworth























































Once we'd had our fill of the town we set off again and soon came upon glimpses of the mansion Beckingham Palace peeking above the tree tops.  Of course they spend most of their time in Los Angeles now, and apparently are considering remaining there indefinitely - maybe they rent it out for an extortionate sum?

Blissfully the locks were all in our favour again  which saves so much time, and of course having three people on board makes a difference too so we managed to go a fair distance despite also mooching around the towns today.


 A fine day for cruising the river

P1370517AA glimpse of Posh and Becks' little bungalow 'Beckingham Palace', just outside Sawbridgeworth 


 Approaching Harlow Lock and the A1184 bridge

P1370528 Tom managed to get a bit of reading in between locks


 Looking spookily similar to a certain Harry Potter character











Very rural stretch of canal passing Harlow but not actually touching the town 


What a great spot for fishing - though I suspect it was a bit smelly in the boat with all the rubbish that had been thrown into it

We moored for the night near to Harlow, having managed to negotiate around eight miles and ten locks.


  1. I have looked on the advert but I cant seem to see the still!!!!
    Glad you got back safely.

  2. Welcome home! I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms. Hooroo.