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The crew are Pam and Dave, who originate from Bedford, now living in a small Bedfordshire hamlet in the country, shared with living aboard for six months.
We are both 'sixtyseveral' years old and as goes with age, nursing aches and pains with a smile, as from fifty its a slippery slope downhill!

2003, we decided to bib1ecome narrowboaters...the idea being to buy second hand and renovate, however, looking at second user boats it became apparent that most smelt of dogs and cigarette smoke, were also dark and mostly dirty.
As we intended to spend 7months afloat it needed to be a home from home, so we, or rather I, decided that only a new build would suit our needs.

2004, Dave decided on a 62ft cruiser stern, Colecraft hull and we both decided on a Darren Aldridge fitout..

2005, in May we took delivery of the 'Iron Butterfly' . The boat was everything we had dreamed of, it met all our needs and more, infact it was perfect and oused quality. Over the next 3 seasons we traveled most of the British waterways.

2007, we decided that we had done all the routes open to us and it was time to start another adventure, so we put the boat up for sale, it was snapped up by Paul and Lyn who would be continuous cruisers and full time live aboards. The name was changed to 'Piston Broke'.

Our next adventure would be the French and Dutch canals

2008 was spent looking for a Dutch Barge, they turned out to be a very mixed bunch indeed, but we did make offers on two; both had been for sale for a long time as they were overpriced, but needless to say both offers were refused; in the mean time I was having second thoughts. I loved the exercise and social side of boating on the British canals and rivers, abroad, the locks are all manned and as we don't speak French or Dutch we would feel isolated, on top of this I was a little nervous of the sheer size of a barge.
I kept quiet for some time as I knew Dave would be disappointed, then decided that I needed to speak up, luckily he wasn't too put out and we agreed that we would have another narrowboat built and stay in England.

As we had been so pleased with our first boat why go anywhere else...
This time a 60ft Colecraft cruiser stern and the fitout by Lockmaster Boats Limited, formally Darren Aldridge Boats Ltd.

2008, the hull was delivered to Darren's floating dock at Braunston Marina in October.

2009, the fitout started in January, the layout is a little different this time with a walk through bathroom and galley kitchen, anib2d of course, we have lost 2 feet in length.

2010, January and nothing had gone to plan. The boat was still in Darren's floating dock with work to be done, alongside another shell, half fitted. He promised us March 1st delivery, we finally took the boat on May 1st, not completely finished, allot of small nigley things, but we decided to sort them ourselves or another season would be missed.

2011/12, two years of blissful cruising once we had sorted out a few problems. We were so pleased with our second boat, good looking, comfortable and again, top quality.

2013, another season of leisurely cruising, but our daughter, Jody, had had a baby in February and I didn't want to miss her growing up. I suggested, much to Daves horror, that we should sell the boat and stay at home for a few years to enjoy our granddaughter.
A month or so later on, out of the blue and after much thought, Dave said he thought I was right and we should sell up. So in November we put her up for sale with Rugby Boat Sales at Stowe Hill.

2014, the boat was bought by a young lady who wanted to live aboard in Roydon Marina. Although the boat was alot more money than she wanted to spend, the quality shone through and the sale finalised in February.
We settled down to life on dry land but after a few months I was getting cruising withdrawals telling Dave I thought we should get another boat. He was surprised, reminding me of the reasons we had sold the last one, but after a chat, he agreed.

In May we placed an order for a 60ft cruiser stern shell with Colecraft, they started the shell on 28th September; the fabrication takes four weeks, Darren will then fit it out for delivery in March 2015, or that was the plan!

Colecraft finnished the fabrication at the end of October, it them moved into the fitting shed for Darren to start the fit out. On schedule so far!

Mid November, Darren started to fit out the interior. Delivery was set for March 2015.

2015, the best laid plans dont always work out...and ours didnt, big time.

By January the fitout was falling behind and as the months passed it got worse and worse. We tried everything to chivvy Darren along but to no avail, with days off and no urgency on his part, it's his way or no way.

We finally took delive of our beautiful boat on November 9th, just in time to put her on a winter mooring until next year; only seven months late, a whole summer wasted.

We knew Darren was a disaster with time keeping and comitment, as each build has been more stressful than the last, but the wait is sooo worth it with the most impressive, quality finnish.

Would we do it again...who knows!.

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