Tag Archives: Tales from the Bilge

A New Squirrel

26 May 2020

A New Squirrel

murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - A New Squirrel - squirrel image

Just got news that the stove aboard Nb Silverdale has to be replaced – with a new one!

As part of the Boat Safety Scheme certificate, the multi-fuel stove comes under its purview. Ours fails as it’s not up to scratch so, Whilton Marina are fitting a new one. They are awaiting its arrival and it may delay the move aboard but this is good news.

A stove forms an integral part of the narrowboating experience, it becomes the heart of the boat. Whether it’s burning foraged wood, smokeless coal or briquettes made from recycled waste wood. Only a small amount is required to warm a 50-something foot long, 6 foot 10 inches wide metal tube. Its temperature can be regulated by using the vent in conjunction with a thermometer. It results in a smaller footprint of use.

We’re thrilled it’s being addressed and we get a new squirrel as it means we probably have another day for that final preparation.

We had a similar stove on our previous narrowboat – MIRRLESS (see Tales from the Bilge – Is it Cold on a Narrowboat?) so it will be like meeting an old friend…

murpworks - The Tales of Silverdale - A New Squirrel - Multi-fuel Stove image

rp – peace and narrowboats

Does It Float?

Friday 13 March 2020

murpworks - Does It Float? - Nb Silverdale interior image

Does It Float?

Buying a second hand boat is fraught with problems.

  • “Does the person selling it, own it?”
  • “Has it been looked after?”
  • “Will everything that seems to be working now, just breakdown as soon as you sail off into the sunset?”
  • “You do know they say that BOAT stands for ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’, don’t you?”

So, how do we sleep at night?

We are purchasing Nb Silverdale from a broker – Whilton Marina. Our previous narrowboat: Nb MIRRLESS was purchased from there also, in 2018 (see Tales from the Bilge for some detail). We are return customers.


The reason we chose a broker rather than a private sale is because we believe there is a level of assurance afforded by this. You will generally have to pay more in the beginning but it could pay for itself in the long run. A second reason is that you can see several boats in one place. This cuts down on multiple jaunts across the country.

The reason we chose Whilton Marina again was because of the staff. We wanted to go back and give them our business because they are great people. No boat will be perfect, no matter how much you pay. Things will go wrong but the experience Whilton provided was to enable us to pursue our goal of owning a narrowboat. They have a selection of narrowboats and a turnover that ensures

So, what was the reason we chose Nb Silverdale? We didn’t, it chose us. Just like a cat…


I live by this boating mantra

Does It Float? Does It Leak?, Does it Go?

You got three ticks? Your’re good to go. Anything else is just background chatter…

rp – peace and narrowboats

Searching for Silverdale

An Early Start

Saturday 25 January 2020

It’s Saturday 25 January 2020 and we’re on our way up to Whilton Marina in Northamptonshire. A month ago, if you had told me we would have been driving back up to look at narrowboats, we wouldn’t have believed you. It was the furthest things from our mind.

We decided on the 2nd January 2020 that we were going to buy another boat and promptly went to Saul Marina on the 3rd with a mind to potentially finding a mooring there and what a journey to Bristol would be like.

Searching for Silverdale - an early start

The journey to Whilton, via the Solstice Services at Amesbury for porridge took in a grey day but no amount of drizzle could dampen our excitement. Our times at Whilton purchasing Nb MIRRLESS are documented in Tales from the Bilge and the great memories of our times there came flooding back. Even though it was only a year before, they had been packed tightly away at the back of our minds. The thoughts of having to sell MIRRLESS and return back to land, our daughter’s wedding and the day to day of work seemed to push the thoughts of boating adrift.

We’re only here to look

mu searching for Silverdale

We looked at three narrowboats that potentially met our criteria: Early Bird, Sara Louise and Dippy Too but they didn’t seem to suit. They were too dark or too old-fashioned (as opposed to Traditional) and just didn’t have that ‘thing’. We learned from living aboard MIRRLESS what worked, what didn’t and what we would like so we were a lot more choosy this time around. We were only here to look.


Searching for Silverdale - Whilton Marina Cafe

First stop was a visit to Whilton Marina Cafe and the lovely people there. We then went over and met Harvey and Fred in the Sales office – they remembered us! We chatted about old times and how things were and about what we were looking for. Fred explained that there was a boat, it was on hard-standing at the end of the marina that would seem to fit our bill. It had had a hull survey completed and would be over-plated. It was called Silverdale – a cool, Lord of the Rings-sounding name to my mind. We asked if it was possible to take a look and after a bit of discussion with the engineers and staff at the wet dock, it was. After all, we were only here to look.

Searching for Silverdale - Nb Silverdale

mu and I walked down the length of the marina, past where Nb MIRRLESS has been moored when we purchased it, to the hard-standing area. Nb Silverdale, maroon in colour stood on huge blocks of wood, towered above us. Blue movable steps had to be moved into position for us to get aboard. They barely reached the side above the gunnel but we scrambled on and into Nb Silverdale. We entered via the Cruiser stern to a modern bright interior. Each of the windows (of which there were a lot) were louvred. I loved this look and it was one of the things I wanted a potential future narrowboat to have – this had 11 of them!

This is the One

We liked what we saw, it had some great features like 12v sockets easily accessible, a safe and built in staging for books and things.

Back at the Sales office we explained that

“We’re only here to look”

but ummed and arrhed…

We knew it would ‘go’. As yet, it wasn’t on the books but it would be on Monday morning and it would sell (one boat we had seen on the website and had planned to look at had already been sold and was gone. A week’s turnaround.

We arrhed and ummed as we were only here to look…

But in the end, we bought it! Little did we know we were searching for Silverdale.

We put down a deposit to secure Nb Silverdale. Our search for ‘the narrowboat had ended barely before it had began. We had found it. It seems that since the decision to buy a narrowboat had popped into our heads, we had been searching for Silverdale. And we had found it. It was longer than our previous boat, by a full two feet! A Cruiser stern as mentioned, ticked another box. It a had a large Galley. It had storage and it had those louvred windows. The colour was still to grow on us. We talked about re-painting it Olive Green or Midnight Blue as we drove to Northampton to stay the night at the Travelodge there. We were making the most of our trip and walked over to the comfortably placed Sixfields pub for a pint and then on to Frankie & Benny’s.

The Next Day

The next day we awoke excited at our purchase. Bang had gone the idea of visiting all the marinas possible to look at all the possible boats. We had bought one.

After vacating the Travelodge (basic but adequate), we travelled into Banbury under miserable weather. Cafe Nero beckoned for Brunch. After said nourishment, we stood and watched a narrowboat come up through the Town lock. It brought memories flooding back. We had travelled down through that lock and stopped at the facilities there on our Long Journey Home.

The drive home was wet. We stopped at Amesbury to complete the journey. Once home, we watched The Narrowboat Experience and an episode about painting their narrowboat. We were painting Nb Silverdale in our heads.

Our searching for Silverdale was over. So much for “We’re only here to look”.

Searching for Silverdale - Nb Silverdale

rp – peace and narrowboats

Hello world – we’re buying another narrowboat

Hello world – we’re buying another narrowboat

Hello world. We’re buying another narrowboat. Yes, always gluttons for punishment but after a landborne hiatus we can’t bear it anymore – we’re off back to the canals…

We are buying narrowboat Silverdale – a 59 ft Cruiser stern, ‘pre-loved’ floating home on shallow water.

Initially we won’t be fully off-grid as we plan to be based in a marina. Our plan has been foisted upon us due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, which has everywhere in lockdown. However, we will eventually continuously cruise the canal network of England & Wales. Our previous endevour in Nb MIRRLESS (see Tales from the Bilge) saw us traverse a small section of canal: from the Grand Union, down the Oxford, around the Thames and onto the Kennett & Avon. We will at some point be repeating this journey but our eventual aim is to set off and roam…

The countdown is underway, we aim to own Nb Silverdale from the 27 May 2020. Whether or not we will be able to move aboard is another matter. One thing these strange times has taught us is expect the unexpected. We’re keeping upbeat but it’s not easy.

If you’re interested – step aboard but you’ll probably be press-ganged into pumping out the bilge, changing the engine oil or emptying the toilet – Mmmm, appealing…

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Hello World - Nb Silverdale image
An early preview

rp – peace and narrowboats