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!