Moored up at Mercia Marina for the winter

It’s been a busy three weeks for me since I last posted on 11th October.

I’ve been down to Brighton for a long weekend to see my youngest daughter, and up to Malpas for a week to see my eldest daughter and two gorgeous grandsons.

Meanwhile Barry’s traded at his last festival for 2015 at The Bonded Wharehouse in Stourbridge (thanks for the photos Dave – fantastic to catch up with you again), and moved the boat from there up to Mercia Marina where we arrived this afternoon.


Settling in for the winter

We toyed with cruising the cut the whole season like hardy narrow boaters do, and were strangely looking forward to the challenge.

However, a couple of months ago, we received an unexpected (and welcome) invitation from Mercia Marina, in Willington, Derbyshire, to take up one of their five trading moorings. It’s the largest inland marina in Europe no less, so after some consideration we decided to take the plunge and see how successful it could be for The Home Brew Boat.

There’s lots of advantages to staying still for a few months.

  • Building up a new customer base – exposure to new people, especially boaters
  • Simpler to organise couriers to send orders, and receive stock
  • Customers (and friends and family of course!) can come to us, knowing we’re here for a while
  • Electric hook up so we can use the oven and washing machine anytime we want to (currently we can only do this when the engine is running on full speed to get 240v)
  • Water on tap alongside the boat (so long as it doesn’t freeze which is less likely on a large body of water)
  • Easy access to public transport for me to travel to family – and accessible for Enterprise car hire pick up as needed
  • Few internet connection vagaries for my Life Coaching business and online meetings
  • Meeting new people and making interesting connections
  • Barry may find a local badminton club to play at (something he used to do weekly in NZ and really misses)
  • There may be other things we can get involved with locally
  • Barry will have lots of people around when I leave him to return to NZ for a holiday, with my mum, for five weeks on 10th January!
The Home Brew Boat

Moored up on the trade moorings by The Boardwalk, at Mercia Marina

Of course the main disadvantage is the cost of the mooring out of our meagre budget. Continuously cruising the cut during the winter would be cheaper, but we’d still need to run the engine around three hours a day to charge our domestic batteries, which uses diesel. Our gamble is that the increased trading opportunities will outweigh this. If it works, we’ll definitely consider it again.

I’ve recently posted a page on ‘The costs of living on a narrowboat‘ if anyone’s interested, and will be updating/amending it in the light of feedback and new information. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to some people (and by the comments received after only one day it seems it already is …).

The best in the world

Of course I couldn’t NOT post about our joy of The All Blacks being World Champions – again!

When I emigrated to NZ in 2005, watching any kind of sport had never featured in my list of interests. Admittedly I’d always enjoyed watching the Haka anytime I’d fortuitously seen it performed.

Meeting Barry changed all that.

He and his friends are avid supporters, and I recall many happy evenings spent cheering and cajoling players and referees in someone’s house. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it – but I am totally biased on the thrill of watching this team perform, and no other. It could have something to do with Richie McCaw. Not just his looks, or physique (which are admittedly in themselves enough to warrant watching!), but for his leadership and general top of the range good-bloke-ness. He reportedly declined a knighthood a few years ago, saying he wasn’t finished yet. It’s likely he’ll be retiring from the game now, as he reaches the grand age of 35 in December. Maybe he’ll get another offer and take it …

Rugby World Cup

Barry poses by the Rugby World Cup in Birmingham in September

Richie holds the Rugby World Cup victoriously after beating our 'neighbours'

Richie holds the Rugby World Cup victoriously after beating our ‘neighbours’

4 thoughts on “Moored up at Mercia Marina for the winter

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Thriving And Surviving As Liveaboards In Winter | Adventures Aboard AreandAre

  2. Pingback: Settling into our winter space at Mercia | Adventures Aboard AreandAre

  3. Hi Phil
    Lovely to hear from you, sorry we never got to catch up while you were here.
    We’ve been to Willington previously, Andrew Denny lives here too, aka Granny Buttons. It is a lovely village, we’re looking forward to getting better acquainted with it.
    How interesting that you have so many connections locally. We’ll aim to post lots of photos!
    Yes there’s a few massive wide-beams here, not sure if they ever leave the Marina, maybe just a neat way to live amongst what seems to be a very friendly community.
    Enjoy the Gisborne sunshine – I’ll be back in the New Year with my mum, sadly Barry isn’t coming too.

  4. That’s close to where we used to live and we went there for an afternoon when we were back in Derbyshire in June/July! I actually worked at Willington School for a while and we have loads of friends nearby – I’ll have to tell them to look you up! Willington is a nice village with a couple of really good pubs and the one at the Marina is ok too, good food as well. Have a walk along the canal to Stenson and visit ‘The Bubble’. I used to go fishing there when I was a boy with my dad. Good railway access from Willington too and easy to get to the M1 and M42 if you hire a car. I look forward to some more photos. We were looking at the second hand boats when we were there and also the huge ‘houseboats’ for 170,000 pounds!!!!!

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