We got quite a few responses to the Apollo Duck advert for Warrior, and Jim has spent the last couple of weeks answering questions, uploading photographs and searching out engine videos for the favoured few, whilst fending off, with various degrees of politeness (ahem) the less favoured many. Only one - who asked whether it was moored in Brighton Marina - actually had the phone put down on him. Anyway, he got it down to four likely candidates, and two of them were lined up to visit Bill Fen at the weekend, with one other still trying to arrange to come.
We arrived at Bill Fen on Friday night, having delayed our departure owing to the house's boiler deciding to stop being unreliable and simply stop working instead, and to reinforce the point by depositing a large quantity of water on the kitchen floor. Fortunately, being boaters, we are not deterred by the absence of hot running water, and it is just about warm enough now not to miss the heating. Hopefully it will be fixed tomorrow.
So, with the first viewers due on Sunday morning, we had all day Saturday to clean and polish, and Warrior looked an absolute treat. Naturally we were a bit concerned about what John and Lyn would have to say about us selling 'their' boat but they took it pretty well, consiodering, John's opening greeting to Jim being a cheery 'Traitor!' We must have been forgiven though as we were invited along to the Railway that evening where there was a band on. That's the sort of offer you don't refuse, so along we went. We enjoyed the band.... from the other bar, where the noise level was just about bearable, and spent the evening chatting to two Welsh guys who were trying to persuade me that sailing is a good idea.
Come Sunday morning, a quick wash of the floor and Jim went off to fetch the paper. Before he returned, I was hailed in a Yorkshire accent by a man with a pipe. Clearly a good sign. Adrian and Linda had arrived, and shortly afterwards, Jim returned. We had a cup of tea, and then they looked over the boat - by arrangement, we hid the engine from Adrian until everything else had been inspected, less it cloud his judgement. Then the engine was revealed, started, and we set off towards Ramsey Forty Foot. We went a way beyond the village, winded, and met Moomin coming the other way before stopping outside the George and tying to the tree in time honoured fashion. In the George we had a couple of pints and a roast Sunday dinner, and inspected the guest book where Warrior's maiden voyage (December 23rd 1995) is recorded - as well, we noted this time, as many, many other visits. Then back we went to Bill Fen, enjoyed another cup of tea - and were then taken quite by surprise when Adrian said it was their ideal boat and offered us the asking price! What a wonderful outcome, and to see it go to two such lovely people too, and the first people to ring up to boot - within minutes, almost, of the advert going up.
So we parted as new friends; Jim rang the chap who was coming today and told him the bad (for him) news, and we headed straight for home. So a very successful day, but a sad one too of course, thinking of parting with the boat that we've put so much time and work and thought into - but mollified greatly by the thought of it going into such good and appreciative hands.
I wish that I knew then what I know now.
5 hours ago