Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Lodger

The rat on top of the fridge and the cockroaches were a bit too much, so Elaine's nephew Anthony, is going to move in with us till late September.

We will pick him up tonight, he will have his own room plus he gets to travel on the Manly Ferry (click here to see pics !) to work and back.

The last week or so the seas have been huge so you can get a free roller coaster ride as well.  Doesn't happen very often and its now all calm again.

When we first came to Australia in the early 80s when the seas were rough we would ride the Manly Ferry back and forwards to the city just for the buzz!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Relative Weekend

Saturday morning 5.00am and we were at Sydney airport picking up Elaine's nephew Anthony from Macclesfield UK.

He is in Sydney for 4 months as in intern at a Sydney finance firm. We spent Saturday going shopping and setting him up with a mobile phone plus getting him some essentials for his stay in his digs.  We took him to his digs on Saturday night and met some of the other Italian, Brazilian and German students who are also staying in the lodge whilst they are in Sydney working, studying and learning  English etc.

We are trying to get him to stay with us as the lodge is a bit of a dump, but the people there seem ok.  It would mean a daily 1 hour commute from our place to his work on a bus, ferry and train but at least he would have his own room here and a bit of comfort.

Today is Anthony's 21st birthday so we took him out to Hugos restaurant in Manly which is a very nice joint right on the wharf, afterwards we went to the Manly Wharf Hotel, which is a trendy bar for the beautiful young people so Elaine and I fit in there very well!  Then the good old jetlag kicked in so we took Anthony back to his digs for a good night's sleep before he starts work in the morning. Felt a bit buggered myself as I was up at 4.15 am this morning watching Man Utd getting flogged by Barcelona 3-1  :(

So nothing about narrow boats apart from we told Anthony he is most welcome to visit us on the boat when we have a big flight of locks coming up....21 young and fit you know what I mean!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Income whilst narrow-boating

We are trying to decide where we shall receive our income when we move onto a narrow boat early next year, our options at the moment are....
1. Keep our house here in Australia and rent it out.
Pros ...we keep a nice house to return to and it should carry on increasing in value.
Cons... it is a old house and with a swimming  pool, which is very high maintenance and therefore too much of a risk and expense.  (So we have ruled out option 1).

2. Sell the house and buy a smaller town house or unit and put the rest of the cash into a term deposit which at the moment in OZ are paying approx 6.5%
Pros...should get a good rental return and property should increase in value and not a bad term deposit rate.
Cons...cost associated with renting out a town house or unit as in Strata fees, landlord insurance, rates and risk of property remaining vacant.  If the exchange rate between the Aussie dollar and British Peso swings the other way we could be go a bit short in the UK.

3. Sell the house and buy nothing and invest the money in a term deposit etc.
Pros...guaranteed income and safe.
Cons...no capital gain on property.

4.Buy a house or unit in the UK and invest the remaining cash in Oz in a term deposit etc .
Pros...the income on the UK rental will not be affected by currency swings, as we will be living in the same country as our investment. If we buy in the UK the property could increase in value and if the exchange rate swung the other way it would be a double whammy effect if we return to live in OZ.
Cons...we don't  know the UK housing market... ??will the English property market carry on dropping.

So there you go!  What to do ?!  Of course the other thing is we don't know if we will return to OZ to live after our little adventure, but that will be another post.  :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sanctuary Cove Boatshow 2011

Just got back from 4 days at the Sanctuary Cove  boat show, we had a good show with plenty of good leads.

Sanctuary Cove is on the Gold Coast in Queensland.  Personally,  I cant see the attraction of the Gold Coast -  it is the Botox capital of Australia and a lot of the women can be only be described as "flash trash" as in mostly white clothes, huge gaudy sun glasses, dripping in gold and with over-inflated silicon-enhanced assets! The men are the same but without the silicon assets. 

The houses are described as McMansions and are a tribute to bad taste.  I'm not sure if there is anywhere like it in the UK; Miami in the states is similar. 

We stayed in a hotel a few kms outside of Sanctuary Cove and travelled to and from the show by boat which was nice, plus they had a bar on board!

So if all goes to plan that will be my last show in Australia.

I am really looking forward to living the life on the cut and enjoying the natural beauty it offers, and the only silicon will be for sealing up windows!  

Palm Beach Picnic cruiser, we supply most of  the engine room parts for them

Motley Crew !
Police boat 
Nice Catamaran
$15,000,000 Boat!!

You could buy approx 58 narrowboats for 1 of these.
The Show
The Show
The Show
Sanctuary Cove
Sanctuary Cove Terrace Houses
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Good News re Jaffa !

Update on Jaffa's Rabies Vaccination status ... he has passed this time with flying colours !  Yay !  That was another $500 well spent !!
Jaffa and Bella-Bun !
Now I am working on visualising a lovely home for Bella-Bun when we finally depart!

Electric Blankets

Does anyone out there use electric blankets on their boats?
We are a bit girly down here, and use them when the temperature plummets to below 10 degrees C :-)
Looks like they only draw about 60-80w. If you were hooked up to shore power it wouldn't be a problem and I am pretty sure a 3000 watt inverter would be ok as well?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sanctuary Cove Boat Show

Busy time at work as we are exhibiting at this weekend at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show.  2 of the lads left today in a 5 ton truck carrying a range of our marine spare parts and motors.
The boss and I fly up Thursday morning and the rest of the staff fly up Friday afternoon after work.
Altogether there will be 12 of us from the store-men right up to the MD. We also treat it as a work bonding session, which translates to a long weekend of eating and drinking.
The weather is generally pretty fantastic up in Queensland at this time of year, so should be good fun, I will post some pics next week.    

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wedding Anniversary Weekend

This weekend was our wedding anniversary so we spent the weekend in the city. We stayed at a very nice hotel (The Shangri-La) with fantastic views from our room, plus there was a bar on the top floor with even better views of Sydney and its suburbs. The hotel is situated in the Rocks area of Sydney, which is where Sydney was first inhabited by the pommie convicts in 1788.  The area in now a tourist Mecca, with a multitude of shops, market, pubs, restaurants etc.
Whilst were in the Rocks we bought Elaine a Driza-bone coat which we are sure will come into full use in England!  It also fits me (Paul) - so we can share it in the rain! 
For our anniversary next year we will be spending it in a canalside pub - it will be interesting to compare the pictures from now and then ! :) 
Our room

Elaine posing in window

Original Aussie Pub

Say no more (it's a sign !!!!!)

Our hotel on right

Elaine Modelling her new Driza-Bone coat

View from our room

View from our room

Manly ferry arriving at the city 

Does it need a description

Bridge at night

Early morning on the bridge
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Elaine here !  I am having a 'post-op' bludge day today - having had knee surgery yesterday!

When we decided to get going with our plan to go Narrowboating earlier this year, I went into a bit of a panic about my knees - which had been pretty shonky for many years (actually, back from the days of doing Aerobics a la Jane Fonda style .. there, that has shown my age !). So -  I commenced getting them re-looked at.  Anyway - it culminated in my having one sorted out yesterday ... not a big operation but just allowing the ITB muscle to release my knee cap so it can sit straight - and so that the spur that had evolved on the edge of it will stop grating against it !

Anyway, I am up and about again today - not sure if I am really supposed to be up and about but it's not hurting, so I guess it's OK!  I am actually making some creams up for some clients - exactly what you do on your post-op day eh?  Nuts or what ?!  I guess it is therapeutic for me - so that is the best medicine - that, and being home with my boys all day !

I'm off to the physio tomorrow for some intensive re-training of my knee muscles - ouch !  Hopefully when I get them sorted out I will be feeling more confident about climbing in and out of that boat and strutting my stuff along the towpaths !   Fingers crossed !

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Narrowboat article in today's Aussie paper!

There was an article on Narrowboat holidays in the Travel Section of today's Sun Herald Newspaper !
Hopefully, some of our Aussie mates have read it as we have great difficulty in trying to explain 'our plan' to them - but we think this article illustrates the charm - and the lure - of the cut ! 
Click on it to enlarge the article

Click on it to enlarge the article

Surfs Up

Saturday was one of those perfect autumn days days for surfers, 22 degrees, a very slight off shore breeze and a good, but not massive swell.  There were hundreds of them down there when we went for our morning walk with the mutts.  
Offshore breeze creates the spray

Bobbing around in their wetsuits waiting for the next set of waves
Elaine and doggies checking out the surf
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 2, 2011

Clothing for the UK winter !

So, what clothing do we buy in preparation for the UK winter?

We haven't lived there for over 30 years and then I went from centrally heated house to heated car to heated pub etc. Never used public transport.

So now we envisage a lot of time spent walking along the towpath and standing on the stern of a boat in "chilly" weather.

So far we have bought a couple of Goose/Duck feather filled coats from Kathmandu which are very light and supposedly very warm; makes us look very Michellin Man, mind you I (Paul) don't need the coat  to look like him!  We are also buying thermals, and are also considering the Driza-Bone full length riding coats - the problem being that I think we might look a couple of nobs with matching Driza-Bones. It gets worse, they also do Driza-bone dog coats!!  Elaine's brother thought the Driza-Bone thing might be a bit excessive but Elaine is - as they say up North - quite 'Nesh' - so the warmer I can keep her, the better my life will be !

So any suggestions would be appreciated re clothing, boots and socks etc. - remembering we will not have a lot of storage space!