Wednesday, 11 May 2016


It’s not a race to achieve distance and it is beneficial to stop and smell the roses. Hang on, it is seasonally not time for the roses. So it is spring and the countryside is full of bluebells, daisies, dandelions and blossoming trees. 

Kegworth Deep Lock round the bend

After leaving Barrow-on-Soar we passed through Loughborough and moored above the Kegworth Deep Lock under the East Midlands Airport Flight Path. The plane traffic is few and far between, not like the continuous 2 minute gap of craft coming in to land at Heathrow Airport. Mostly the planes are domestic flights (the Kegworth Air Disaster occurred on 8 January 1989) as well as Easyjet and Ryanair and others from the ‘homogenised’ countries of Europe.
St. Andrews Church, Kegworth

But no time for plane-spotting, there was rural walking to do with Della and interior finishing and decorating works to be done on DB. We have been living aboard DB for 2 years, now, and we need to get her finished indoors! I had a meltdown trying to get the surfaces prepared to a suitable standard so I could paint them. 
Good mooring while working on DB

Chris took over the task, and got the job moving. It’s not the first time I have had to ‘make good’ work but I was struggling with the tube of filler where the filler was reluctant to leave the tube, if you get my drift. 
Gotta be done

But the epiphany was when I was handed the filler’s filler dream. It fills cracks, followed along with a nail-free fingertip to smooth it and finally a damp cloth to smooth it more and the job is done ready for painting. It’s a kind magic. A result and no more tears of frustration and inadequacy!

Result, the bedroom is finished and the bathroom is almost done.


Enough for a pat on the back and agree to leave the River Soar and cruise to the Trent and Mersey Canal. I think it is one of the joys of boat life where the decision to move impulsively is carried out without obstacles. It took us a day to get to Stenson Lock. 

Stenson Lock


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A brief history

This is a blog set up by Chris and Sarah so family and friends can catch up with their travels on the British waterways in the summer of 2011. In 2010, I went to England with the idea of getting a narrow boat built. I had specific requirements so I thought that a new build may be the way to go. I e mailed to numerous boat builders, a great percentage of whom ignored me. The problem of having a family name of Laycock is that hotmail and a few others think that I am a porn star. At an early age you learn not to put C Laycock on your school books. But I guess that my nephew Paul did worse. Anyway I spent a very pleasant few weeks driving around the beautiful English countryside visiting boatyards, marinas, boat builders and just a few pubs. I had narrowed it down to two builders and in the last week I was in Devizes Wiltshire when I came across "Avalon Mist" 54 feet of throbbing neglected narrow boat. The past owner had lost interest, hadn’t maintained her and to add insult to injury had been made redundant. After a very short negotiation I was able to buy her for a pretty fair price. On the day the sale took place I had to beg her to take her trainers and a few rather suspect items of clothing, in other words she left everything. Lock stock and barrel.

Soon after the purchase I flew to California to meet Sarah and have a short holiday. Once back in NZ I started to try and organize works. The first thing that I learnt was that the marina does not allow any contractor on site, only their chosen ones, the excuse given is a concern about insurance, the suspicion is, graft, pay back, baksheesh, call it what you like. It is possible to take the boat off the marina to have the work done, but not really practical.

The first job to be tackled was to “winterize” the boat, i.e. drain off all the water, check the anti freeze in the engine and central heating and fit an automatic bilge pump.

No real problem there except communication, the mechanic just didn’t answer e mails. Difficult to do business like that.

The nice marina lady had a quiet word with him, and things did improve, thanks Debs you have been a star through out . He later confided in me the reason for this was that he was dyslexic, apparently a malady [he] claims affects a lot of mechanics.[It turns out that he is a great mechanic and a nice guy to boot].

That goes pretty high on my list of lame excuses, the top one being a really nice Irish guy Pat, who I had employed as a carpenter years ago when I lived in London. He was always a bit late for work, when I finally collared him about it; he said he could never decide what to wear to work.

Nice one Pat.

I digress, the boat was winterized, which was just as well as it was a cold one and the whole marina froze over.

Next job was to have her taken out of the water, have the hull stripped back to bare metal and have a bit of over plating done. There were a couple of areas where there was pitting, and I though if she’s out of the water, may as well do the job right, so a small amount of over plating and then the hull was blacked, and the engine bay partially de-rusted and then back in the water.

Seems like a good job was done, I had the marine surveyor who had done the original survey, check out all the major works and give me written reports and photos, so all good except once again communications.

I then came across a great guy, the partner of the woman who runs the marina and a carpenter/narrow boat fitter outer .He replaced the stern deck and did a great job, also did a great job on de-greasing, de-rusting and painting the engine compartment. A job I should have done myself, but I just didn’t fancy it, not only that be was great with communications and chasing other people up

So that takes us up to present.

There needs to be a bit of electrical work, not much. The outside is badly in need of paint, Sarah and I can do that and a bit of a tidy up inside, and then she will be a really nice boat.