Yesterday we accompanied Ali and Neil to Midland Chandlers at Penkridge to choose some of the fixtures and fittings for Windsong - wall lights, bathroom basin etc. It also gave us the opportunity to get a few things that we needed at trade discount. We bought an eco-fan, a sea-searcher magnet, a long throw windlass for me, and some piling hooks, along with the BW keys and, of course a floating cork ball keyring (can't possibly go boating without one of those!)
As soon as we arrived I had this horrible, wobbly feeling in my tummy. We started our boat-owning career from this very spot about 12 years ago - well, Teddesley's yard next door, actually. To cut a very long story short, we had bought our very first second hand boat from a broker a little way further along the Staffs and Worcester, and were having it re-fitted by a bloke (who shall remain nameless, but with the initials LL) who was recommended to us by the broker. LL was renting space from Teddesley to do the work. We should have been warned by the very reasonable (cheap!!) price he quoted us, but, as complete novices at the time , we had no real idea idea of the cost of this sort of thing. Suffice to say, he did a bit of work, and then did a runner.
The first we knew of it was when Teddesley's manager (can't remember his name) phoned us and informed us that LL was removing stuff from the boat, and we'd better come. When we arrived, he'd already legged it, taking everything movable off the boat, just leaving the bulkheads, plumbing and gas fitting etc. We were gutted!!! All we could think of was to get the boat away before he came back for more. He had even taken the start-up battery, so Rog went and bought one at Midland, and off we chugged - down the canal to our already arranged (luckily) mooring at Hatherton. When we worked it out, we hadn't lost any money, because all we had given him so far was the money to re-plate the bottom, which we know for a fact that he did, the rest was payable on completion. We suspect that he owed loads of money to Teddesley, and that they were about to take him to court and that was why he'd done a runner. We bought all the stuff and finished the boat ourselves.
It nearly put us off boating for life, but after we had fitted it out (not very professionally!) we were in love all over again. We loved our old Harborough Marine ex-hire boat named, by us 'Teasel' (Greygal - note the Swallows and Amazons connection!) but had to admit defeat and sell her several years later when she really did become a hole in the water that we poured money into. We had many enjoyable holidays on her though, and certainly learned a lot about boating, and about boat design.
We have cruised past the spot numerous times since that horrible day, and I always get that sinking feeling when we do! Perhaps it will go away when we are at last 'living the dream'. I do hope so.