Following on from our previous blog post which you can find here, today I will tell you how our test drive went! So, we had gone back the following weekend with one of our friends as, let’s be honest, we didn’t know how to drive a narrowboat! When we arrived for the allotted time, there she was in all her glory! We pulled up and couldn’t take our eyes off her! She was so shiny! The lovely guy came and met us from Braunston marina, he was ace. He went through everything, explained how to manoeuvre her and how to do the ropes and tonnes more. He really had put my mind at rest, Adam’s face was one of glee! I think by this point, the narrowboat dream was starting to sink in and that we were buying one. A lot of emotions were running through me, I couldn’t sleep the night before as I was too excited, nervous, terrified, anxious, joyous and more.
He took us onto the narrowboat, started the engine, helped us untie her and explained what to do with the ropes. Once we were moving slowly, he was demonstrating how she moved with the tiller, how we ‘break’ (hit reverse), how to do tight corners. First to take the tiller was Adam, his first learning curve was quick as he had to do a really hard left turn. It was a 90 degree turn whilst going under a bridge. No problem (right!?). He did fab though and we didn’t hit anything… phew! We cruised for around 10 minutes until we came to a REALLY difficult part, we had to turn around… Now, this wasn’t a case of just turning her on the stretch of canal we were on, we had to turn into the first bridge we came to on the left, reverse her through the next bridge and turn sharply straight after…
After a few bumps, feet pushing along the side of the bank to keep us away, a hitch-hiking duck which flew onto the front and waddled it’s way to us at the back, Adam got us through it! Bearing in mind this is our first ever go! *I’m not worthy*. As we started to head back, I was given the tiller… no pressure! I meandered us down the canal back towards the entrance of the marina. As the bridge and turn crept upon me, I smiled sweetly and handed back the tiller to the lovely guy who giggled. I was NOT ready for anything too crazy today. He gentle brought us round and back to where she was moored up. We hopped off and helped with the ropes, engine off and had the hugest, stupid grins on our faces. That was the most thrilling experience I had ever had at 2mph! You could actually walk faster than we were moving and people were lol. However to us, it felt a lot faster, whether it was the wind, water rippling, I don’t know.
Once the test drive was done, we had another look and poke around before we went into the office to check the progress of everything. We were arranging for someone to do the survey on the boat as soon as possible. Adam had a few days booked off in a few weeks time and with the way his work was, we couldn’t move it, we just had to try and get things done quickly. The survey was fascinating, to anyone thinking about getting a narrowboat, do not buy one without a full survey! You never know what issues the narrowboat maybe hiding. We found out so much about our boat, which I will get into next time for you. In the meantime, here are some photo’s from our test drive!