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Lock on the Kennet and Avon
Lock on the Kennet and Avon

It’s been 2 months since I last posted, and a lot has happened in my life on the Kennet and Avon Canal – both from a job perspective, and with our boat buying journey.

I have settled into the job of supervising the turn around procedure of the hire boat fleet. Much more active than I realised! I get up to 30000 steps on a busy day. And most turnaround days are busy, with as many as 12 boats returning in the morning. Each needs to be cleaned, re-fuelled, pumped out, engine serviced, thoroughly checked and handed over to the next client in about 4 ½ to 5 hours!

The  hire boat fleet
The hire boat fleet

My employer has been extremely accommodating while I am temporarily “homeless”, and I am living aboard his Dutch barge which is moored here in their marina. Very handy as it is literally a few steps to go to work. No commuting – wonderful!

My temporary home
My temporary home

And the boat buying journey has been much quicker than I expected! Having trawled the brokerage websites we had identified about 12 possible craft, and planned a whole lot of boat viewings all over the UK. We did visit a few, but after seeing Shirley Anne in Windsor, (our favourite), we decided to just go for it! We put in an offer which was accepted. We took her for a brief trial run a couple of weeks ago, and with all the paperwork now signed, we take ownership next week. We are thrilled and excited. Next step is to get her from Windsor, up the Thames, and down the Kennet and Avon Canal to near Devizes.

Shirley Anne - soon to be Shangri La
Shirley Anne – soon to be Shangri La

It is certainly very peaceful staying on a boat on the canal. I have never lived so rural before. No traffic noise. Gentle tweeting of birds in the background. Occasional walkers or cyclist on the towpath on the opposite side of the canal, and of course a fairly steady stream of canal boats chugging past.

Passing canal boats
Passing canal boats

It was spring a while ago which is when the animal kingdom give birth to their young, and now there are lambs in the fields, and ducklings, cygnets and goslings cruising past the boat. I have even had a swan poking his (or her?) head through the side window!

Swans with their babies
Swans with their babies

And there are a couple of pubs not too far away. The 3 Magpies is about a 15 min walk down stream, while the Black Horse is in the other direction at the top of the Caen Hill Lock Flight. Bit of a walk, but at least coming back is downhill!

Drinks at the 3 Magpies
Drinks at the 3 Magpies

Next post will be the start of a proper Waterway Wanderer adventure – moving Shirley Anne (soon to be renamed Shangri La – after our previous boat) from Windsor and up the Thames to a marina near the start of the K and A Canal. (Yes – I know it is supposed to be bad luck to change the name of a boat. Funnily enough, the name Shirley Anne has not been painted or marked anywhere, which I take as an omen, and I am sure there is a suitable ritual to pacify King Neptune!)

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