My love for the water began with canoeing in the scouts. In 1976 Dad spent all winter in the shed building me a canoe from mahogany wood. Launched in 1977 and named Jubilee 77 she is beautiful, a testament to Dad’s carpentry skill and patience. Today she looks and handles as good as the first day she went in the water.
Angela and I shared a love of the water be it windsurfing, canoeing, dinghy sailing, boating holidays or boozy day trips with work mates.
Ange and I often talked about buying a boat, this varied from narrowboat, coastal day cruiser to sailing dinghies. In 2008 we visited the London Boat show. In amongst the overpriced Gin Palaces and Superyachts in the inland water section we first saw a replica Dutch Barge. Built by Otter Sea Boats (sadly no longer in business) this was in comparison to the narrow boats around it huge. Twice the width and height the inside was more like a modern apartment. We were amazed and smitten. Shortly after the show we went to Sea Otters factory in Chesterfield for a closer look. We put the house on the market with the intention of downsizing and buying one of these barges. The canals and rivers of the north of England around our home are large enough to accommodate a barge. We also considered that I could live in her in Scotland after my job moved there in 2010. Unfortunately the housing market put a temporary stop to our dream so we put plans on hold. The dream never went away and was always in our retirement plans.
Sadly in October 2014 after 10 and a half fantastic years together Angela was lost in a road traffic accident, 8 weeks before our wedding day.
Trying to come to terms with losing Ange has not been at all easy. I reflect on what a lovely life we had together, the fun, love and laughs. She’s left me with many magnificent memories and dreams, I am privileged to have known and loved her.
As I considered my future and after making some mistakes it began to dawn on me that the way forward was obvious, a boat.