Crick Boat Show 2018
The last time we came to Crick was 2004. Shaun's mum had only recently passed away, and her early passing had spurred us on to go out and enjoy life while we had the time, health and money to do it.
Between March and May 2004 We visited a few boat builders, and for us Crick was the ideal opportunity to see loads of boats, builders, brokerages, and of course, boaters! We were blown away by the choice, but it was there when we saw, and ultimately bought our first boat, an Aqualine Manhattan, 57ft Semi-Trad Narrowboat that we called 'The Great Escape'.
Back to May 2018 and it hadn't felt like fourteen years had passed between our two visits.
In fact, the New & Used Boat Co were in the same position they had been all that time ago!
It was great to bump in to Chris Hill, who sold us our first boat, after all this time. We had a good chat and all these years later he passed on some more good advice, thanks Chris :)
Crick 2018 has been a very different experience. The reasons for us being here are the same as they were in 2004. We're selling our house (again) so that we can buy a narrowboat and live on the canals (again). But this time it just felt different, it felt right, we felt more at home.
In regards to the perfect narrowboat, we know in our minds what we want, despite a lot of people telling us we will never find exactly what we're looking for. We (respectfully) disagree. We're not in a rush and we don't have to settle for something that ticks certain boxes. We have the luxury of time, a flexible budget, and we're waiting for the right boat to find us. That's why it felt different this time. No pressure, we could enjoy the show and everything it had to offer.
Another massive change since the last time we were here in 2004 is the introduction and evolution of social media. There are thousands of boaters, builders, tradesmen, marinas, and every other type of person with an interest in boating on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
This is priceless for new boaters, or people like us who are coming back to the canal after an extended break. The amount of support, information, advice and just good old banter is refreshing, and it doesn't make boat life so isolated any more. We've been so lucky to make so many new 'boater' friends, and all before we've even moved back onto the canal!
Another change from 2004 is the rise of YouTube. Quite a few boaters now post video blogs (Vlogs), and it was watching boaters such as Jo & Michael from 'Minimal List' that spurred us on to move back onto a narrowboat. Meeting them at Crick was definitely one of our highlights!
Safe to say we saw a LOT of narrowboats this year. We spent two days (staying overnight at a nearby hotel) wandering around, chatting to lots of people and hearing every opinion you can imagine.
We came away from Crick with more knowledge than we went with, but our principle idea of our ideal boat remains the same, albeit with a few extra bells and whistles that we can now add, such as solar panels.