Friday, 23 June 2017


Dolcima Dewdrop the Demon Dogette & Bently Blue the Beastie Boy (photo R S Abbott)

Words can only hint at the feeling of freedom living on the ‘Cut’. It is a joy to be back living our cruising lifestyle on our bespoke DolcieBlue. Yes, it sounds like luxury but it is being able to live in our living-with-less- but-having-close-to-everything ‘four walls’ floating and cruising the water without getting caught in the trap of having to spend money every time we open the door! I don’t have to have land-based transport to go to the shop, even to take an interesting walk; I plan so I don’t need to spend money every day and I’ve got legs. Are we lucky? It could be seen that way but we made a choice to move into this lifestyle. As with all choices in our life together, the indicators are needs, wants, challenges and a ‘can-do’ approach. Money helps but we worked hard within our means. 

Chris and I met in London in 1992, I was ready for a life partner and, fate decided, Chris got the job! I could write this in romantic phrasing but I’m not going to. That is for the book!! In the early 80’s had bought a donkey stable with terraced land in Portugal. Within weeks of meeting Chris we visited the Algarve, together, and he took me to the aforementioned Casa do Burro in Ribeira das Canas and I said “Let’s give it a go!” That was the start of our first shared dream. There was no electricity to the valley, no telephone line in the valley, no mains water in the valley, oh and we had to live in a tent and cook on the open fire and shower under the olive tree..... Sounds basic but it was the good life. To afford this life we had to identify and meet our needs which meant curtailing our wants. The most important ingredient is love.

What became of the Donkey Stable?!!

We are past Dream No.1 and all I can say is the ability to dream is free, and we are fortunate we can live the dream. We have worked hard to be where we are today and now we are living the dream on DolcieBlue.

I really like being a water gypsy. I have struggled with being a hormonally challenged woman and saddened with some moves from ‘happy’ places but I think happiness will stay with me forever. The DB experience gets better and better and I am in no hurry for the bubble to burst. I always say creativity is sanity and soon her ‘Random’ installation will be completed. What fun it has been to stick coloured vinyl squares on her body, in a fitting random fashion! 

How our 'random' began....what colour? (Aug 2016)
Let's start 'random' at the very beginning....(Aug 2016)
After the stern rail got grabbed,... (Sept 2016)
Sticking goes on in Kinver... (Oct 2016)
Stern rail back in situ, (May 2017)
Elvis and the Hula Lady  May 2017

Sticky fills in more space...May 2017

Side hatch finished almost. (June 2017)

Moving stickers into the stern (June 2017)

Bow wow!! 

Colour lights up a grey sky (June 2017)

 Every day we get positive passing comments about the colour, artistry and look.

“Wow that looks amazing.”
“I love it. I just love it.”
“The colours make me feel happy. I love colours.”
“My daughter says it looks like Elmer.”

We had not heard of Elmer so a Google search was informative. All I can say is there is no elephant on DB.

DB says it all

The colours of DB define our random lifestyle, there is no knowing what will happen next but it is certainly colouring our world bringing a smile to us and faces passing by as well as positive words being shared with us. 

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. I too LOVE DB's new look, I also love your pramtop colour.
    See soon
    NB WaL


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.