I’ve had a bit of a break from blogging here for a few weeks while Barry’s been posting his favourite photos of 2015 – hopefully he’ll be taking heaps more images in 2016 to delight you.
It’s been an interesting experience having a fixed trading mooring at Mercia Marina – an opportunity we’re very happy we embraced.
However we can’t justify remaining here and paying another month’s mooring fee, as the return in The Home Brew Boat sales doesn’t justify it to our accountant (actually that’s us at the moment!). Admittedly the dreadful wet and windy weather in November wasn’t helpful in encouraging shoppers to visit.
We’ll be heading back out onto the cut on Tuesday 5th January, staying in Willington until I leave Barry and head to New Zealand for five weeks with my mum on 10th January.
The staff in the Marina Office have been outstandingly supportive and we’re extremely grateful to them for all their help and encouragement. We’ve also met some really lovely new friends and customers who we hope will continue to shop with us online.
A few ‘old’ mates have also visited which has been wonderful. Andrew Denny has popped in a couple of times, Barry’s dear friend Fred who kept him company and wined and dined him for his 60th while I was busy facepainting at Malvern, Dave and Angie from NB Lady Esther have dropped in for a cuppa as their beloved boat was here being sold (hopefully it’s all gone through?), and a lovely couple we’d met at Hebden Bridge visited Barry – again while I was away sadly. We were honoured too that Jenna and Duncan fitted us into their busy schedule whilst in UK on their holiday from New Zealand, bringing their dad Tony with them which was very special.
Whilst here I’ve facepainted at many land-based Christmas events in Lichfield, Aldridge, Malvern, Tamworth and Worcester so I’ve not enjoyed that much ‘sitting still’. I did have a FUNtastic day on board with a very talented facepainting colleague in November – thanks so much for your presence and sharing your knowledge and skills Sarah from ‘Painting Smiles UK‘.
Whilst we’ve been here Barry’s successfully engaged a new supplier, one he’d attempted to get when he first started his business so he’s inordinantly pleased. He’s working on a fantastic new beer starter kit targeted at boaters with limited room – watch this space for more details coming soon.
The events committee here, ably led by Louise Davies, have been amazing – from organising a ‘Brewing on a boat’ evening with Barry to starting up a photography group, Barry’s initiation into the fineries and fun of playing Bingo (and winning always helps!), a couple of quiz nights that we fortunately failed to win (as we’d then have had to facilitate the subsequent ones and could never compare to the formidable rounds we’ve experienced), a superb ‘Christmas Fuddle’ of shared plates, music and revelry, and next week a planned trip to The Bridge Inn in Burton for a Skittles evening which we’re very much looking forward to.
The view from our port windows onto the Marina has been a marvellous way to start each day. We’ve been blessed seeing an abundance of wildlife – and our first sight of ‘tufted ducks’ brought much excitement (you’ll have noticed the male is the featured image for this post).
The Marina has justifiably won a number of David Bellamy Awards for conservation, and it’s been a joy to experience how happy and proud the live aboard boaters appear to be in this environment.
Where to next?
You’ll know by now I’m flying back to New Zealand for five weeks on 10th January, returning on 16th February.
I have absolutely no idea where Barry will be by the time I come back – except it’ll be somewhere between Willington and Bugsworth Basin where our first booked festival of 2016 is being held at Easter weekend – the Buxworth Gala.
We’re looking forward to re-connecting with many floating traders in the coming weeks and months, we’ve missed being part of the roving community of narrowboaters.