Thursday 8 June 2023


Well, the time has come. Erin Mae has given us 12 years of boating experiences – intriguing moments, fascinating people, scary incidents. But the time has come – time to acknowledge that we cannot do all that we could, and cannot really keep up with the necessary maintenance. So the time has come to sell.

But we had a problem. At the end of our cruising last year we came to light a fire in our Squirrel solid fuel stove, and found it had half an inch of water inside, which had rusted some of the internal pieces. It was in the summer of 2021 that Streethay Wharf had fitted a new chimney, and clearly something had leaked. I didn't want to put the boat up for sale with a dodgy flue. When I contacted Streethay earlier this year, they suggested I bring the boat down for them to look at. Unfortunately, that was 13 locks away, and locks are currently a bit tricky.

Enter our friend Phil. When we were having coffee with him and his wife a couple of months ago, he volunteered to learn windlass skills, and it was all fixed up. He came up on Monday, took us down the Atherstone flight on Tuesday, and accompanied us to Streethay on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

He naturally enjoyed a cuppa on the towpath, and recorded his new experiences in time-honoured fashion.

We couldn't have done the trip without him – you're a star, Phil!

So, today, Streethay looked at the flue, drew some conclusions about how water had managed to ingress, and set about sealing it up. The biggest surprise was the person who came to do the work. It was our friend Ant who, with Emma his wife and Domino the not-so-much-a-puppy-now, have the berth next to ours at Mancetter marina. He was a help to us in various ways over the last two years, but it was extraordinary to see him arriving with tools in hand!

He sealed the chimney, and he sealed the flue around the stove, and then he set to work fixing the rear hatch which has been sticking. Great job, Ant – and great to see you again, albeit probably for the last time.

Because the end of the tale is that Erin Mae is up for sale, and we're sorting out the contract with the brokerage at Kings Orchard marina, just a quarter of a mile from Streethay. We've berthed her there for the night, and tomorrow will hopefully conclude all the paperwork.

It's been a wonderful adventure, for which we are grateful to God. And if anyone fancies a 16 year-old Aqualine Madison…


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