Saturday, 22 August 2009



This is my first attempt at blogging, but I have been inspired by all the other bloggers who are converting their barges, so I thought I would have a go.

We bought Bonnie from a chap called John in Scotland. As we approached Gare Loch Head for our first sighting of Bonnie, the tide was just turning and she turned 180 degrees. Talk about showing off from the start! We fell in love as soon as we boarded her and bought her on the spot. (Okay we know it was taking a chance without a survey etc). Bonnie is an ex-ammunitions barge and is 58ft x 17.5ft.

Our first problem was to get her down south. She needed too much work to bring her down under her own steam, so the only logical way was by road. It was either that or commute to Scotland from Essex on a weekly basis to work on her!! We had to cut 18 ins off the coach roof so that she would fit under all the bridges on the way down. My husband was like an expectant father on the day she was moved, but it was really exciting when she arrived. She is now in Ipswich on dry land, whilst we concentrate to getting the hull done before she is launched again and bought home to Essex.

We held our breaths when the survey was done, but it turned out just fine, 8 mm minimum under the waterline and 10 mm minimum above. Ian Anderson (a great surveyor, recommended) enthused about the solidity of her and the way she was so well built. The engine started first time (a bonus). We knew she was going to be a great barge.

We are just about to have the hull shot blasted and primed. Didn't realise quite how expensive that was going to be, but from what I understand everything from now on will cost more than we thought! Once we get Bonnie home, the real work in fitting her out will start. However, we cannot wait to get started for real. I have already had great fun touring the salvage yards, buying butler sinks, rayburn etc.

The aim is to use as many reclaimed materials as possible and be as self sufficient as we possibly can. Then we plan to navigate the Dutch and Belgium canals in our retirement.

The other blogs have taught us a lot already and we look forward to reading more and perhaps keeping in touch with like minded (mad) people. I hope that by the next posting I will have worked out how to put the pictures in properly!


  1. ciao in florence 39 degrees hot and humid i would like to be with you on the lake

  2. Hi Fran

    Go to it!!!!

    I struggled with the idea of a big part of my life being very public in the beginning, but found having a blog helps in all kinds of ways.

    The points that immediately spring to mind are:

    1) You get to meet with like minded people you would not otherwise get to know.

    2) You get help from all kinds of folks. The help is in the form of kind words and encouragement, just as much as the more technical stuff.

    3) As a diary, it also serves as a reminder of all you have been through - the good and the bad.

    4) This might sound odd but you'll see. The blog itself sometimes also serves to motivate me. As I'm toiling away at something, I often think about what I'll write on my blog in the following week. If I do nothing, I have to pad the blog out with other stuff.

    I look forward to following your progress...

    Also, if you have any particular questions, or need help with something, feel free to email me. My email address is in the about me section on my blog.

    Best regards


  3. Thanks Tim,

    Look forward to your blog and to keeping in touch.

    Best wishes

  4. I'm here through Margy's blog and am I ever glad she mentioned you! This is the first post I've read on your blog and I'm going to read them all in order. I'm excited about your project and want to follow along!