Timeline of Construction of Augurs Well

These pages show photographs from around Easter 2010 when the decision to buy some kind of narrow boat of was made.

NB - Reverse Dates !
Anyone coming new to this page wanting to read the story needs to start at the beginning, which is at the bottom !!!

Date What was happening Click the photo
to see more of this topic
Fri 22 Oct
Wed 1 Dec

Post Delivery but pre-cratch fitting trips. During this time we have been fitting various items ourselves (mirors, longer curtain rails, aux lighting, kitchen bits etc). Meanwhile Wilsons have been to fit the cratch board & pram hood rails, then returning to fit the cratch cover & measure for the rear cover and finally (1 Dec) to fit the rear cover.
1st "trip" was just an hour down the canal to show the boat to Corinne (Jan's daughter), Tim & baby William who were visiting.
2nd trip was an excellent & extremely enjoyable weekend in Bugsworth.
3rd was a 4 day trip down to Harecastle tunnel. We had originally planned to go through the tunnel but due to a late start and poor weather we just went to the northern portal.
4th was another trip to Bugsworth.

8 sets of photos + 14 min & x min videos

Sat 16
Tues 19 Oct
Maiden Voyage. Inevitably we set off late! So as not to end up with a car at Orchard, friend Phil took us to Orchard with his Land Rover very full of stuff. The first task was getting the Wilson's sofa in, then we discovered that the fridge was not working (wiring issue quickly resolved by Sandra), no aerial had been fitted (John stay late & fitted it) and that no provision had been made to lock the boat. Gary welded & drilled so that a padlock (not provided) could be fitted.
At about 2pm we set off on a beautiful autumn day. The video shows more detail, but we navigated all through the Middlewich locks etc and moored up about 1 hr short of Wheelock.
Sunday was another beautiful day, we stopped at Wheelock to meet friends and continued on with a full crew. Due to the number of helpers, by Sunday evening we were well ahead of schedule, already on the Macc Canal. We, and all the visitors, think Augie is wonderful...
Monday (heavy overcast but dry) we continued through Bosley locks and left just the flat < 4 hrs trip up to Vicy Pit to do on a very wet Tuesday.

67 photos + 18 min video

Wed 13 &
Thur 14 Oct

Channel Glaze pulled out all the stops and had all the windows ready for Orchard to collect first thing Thursday morning. But, rather a big BUT, Gary's claim that we could sign the mortgage documents at Harral turned out to be incorrect (he had been thus informed 2 weeks previous). No easy alternative, at now the last minute, existed, mainly due to an unprofessional attitude by Collingwood "management" (although the words Liverpool & Professional are probably mutually exclusive ?). In the end Brian was forced on Thursday morning to drive to Oxford and back .
46 photos
Fri 8 Oct Jan had missed out on the previous 3 visits so today we had an extensive look around ! AW is nearly finished, and indeed could have been finished by now were it not for the Channel Glaze windows' ordering "misunderstanding". Gary even claimed it could have been finished by Thurs evening although his staff do not concur !!!
Hard to convey just how good both the exterior painting and the interior woodwork looks. We have described AW as our country cottage, but inside it looks more like an Edwardian gentleman's yacht (well a narrow one anyway).

72 photos + 18min video
Tues 5 Oct Best not say what initiated this visit, nevertheless Augie is looking superb and Gary has obtained an excellent & very suitable brass light & horn.
The video shows the sign-writer John Pilkington at work - along with, Orchard's: John the painter, Mike the joiner and Sandra the electrician. The granite is installed and the oak floor is being fitted.

20 photos + 8min video
Wed 29 Sept &
Sat 2 Oct
Discovered that the granite chosen for the worktops is no longer available. So went to Orchard (whilst Jan at work) to collect a sample of the "new version" of the one we had selected, along with the original sample for comparison.
Boat looking superb - really coming together now. T&G ceiling nearly complete, radiators fitted, electrics nearing completion. 1st undercoat painted.
By Saturday the exterior had all been rubbed down and a coat of red applied. Interior fit-out progress included the fire surround & engine installation!

26 photos
Wed 22 &
Sat 25 Sept
Visited Wed to deliver the AV kit (TV, DVD player/amp/radio, speakers, satellite system). Photos show the kitchen cupboard bases, including the table top storage, and the engine which had recently arrived.
by Sat much more woodwork and wiring had been completed. The dinette was virtually complete. The bedroom was substantially done (although the cross-bed needed some corrections). Templates for the kitchen & bathroom grate surfaces can be seen. Electrically the inverter and battery bank were installed.

48 photos
Sat 18 Sept End of week 1 at Orchard. AW is in the short dock, the bottom hull section has been blacked. Various holes have been cut in the steelwork and an amazingly large amount of wiring and interior woodwork installed. No one was working at Orchard today so Gary had arranged for Paul to let us in to look around. (Brian's mum had also come along for a ride out).
23 photos + 7min video
Mon 13 Sept

AW finally arrives at Orchard (the day of his conception, as we view it!). The original schedule was for arrival on 20 Aug, 3 weeks ago.
But whatever the thoughts on Collingwood / Orchard's planning & project management "skills", the boat itself looks excellent. All extras are as specified and the general line of the boot looks superb. We notice the beautifully upswept rear (which not all Collingwood boats have) and a good shape to the bow. The windows are very large, so the kitchen / dinning / sitting areas should be light.
The boat was moved from Liverpool by low-loader truck, craned into the canal then towed to Orchard. When visited it had had about half the ballast bricks put in. Once this is completed it will go inside and stay there for the rest of the fit out. (It had been battened & insulation foamed in Liverpool last week).

32 photos + 5min video
31 Aug &
6 Sept

Tues 31 Aug we were taken by Gary to Collingwood to see our hull. However we were all very shocked & disappointed (& in Gary's case - embarrassed) to see nothing more than the base plate lying on the floor. Yet another weeks' delay ...
The following Monday (6 Sept) returned to see the boat as it should have been the previous week. But whatever Collingwood's obvious deficiencies in project management, the skill of their welders, at least in the shop where AW was being made, is clear. The steelwork looks excellent.

21 photos
July, Aug &
5 Sept
One of the many decisions to be made is where to park AW. We looked at Lyme View Marina (near Miners Arms) and Victoria Pit (near Boars Head & Braidbar, formerly called "Marineville"). Much prefer Vicy Pit and agree to moor AW there. The site is in 2 parts, with the section further from the entrance having once been separated from the canal with a long parallel pier. We much prefer the nearer section.
On 5 Sept we visit Vicy Pit to pay for the first 4mths mooring, and get shown the actual mooring position of AW - right in the middle of the first half, it is perfect !

16 photos
June, July
Make several visits to Orchard to discuss and finalise the design. Also spend considerable time researching various equipment suppliers, spend time looking at other boats for ideas etc.
By mid July the design is finalised and Gary has given us a delivery date of mid-September.
Unfortunately August is spent with the hull being delivered to Orchard "next week" for 3 weeks running. These delays cause Jan to have to re-arrange holiday plans for a delivery to us now expected early October.
Buy masses of stuff for AW. The house dinning room becomes completely full of the stuff !

33 photos total, on same page as 2 below
29 - 31 May Crick Show. We are there for all 3 days of the show, staying in a local hotel the 2 nights. Come to feel buying a boat without having "done" Crick first would have been a big mistake !
Visit numerous suppliers of equipment, are impressed with: ChannelGlaze windows (Jan discovery), Vacuflush loo (Gary suggestion), Wilson covers & sofas (Jan selects fabric), Shoreline fridges & freezers, Vetus in general, along with various engine & electrics etc manufacturers.
Visit all the "bespoke" boat builders. Conclude that although they have some very beautiful & clever features, they are not worth £130k cf £70k for the equivalent spec from Orchard.
On the basis of a "free bow-thruster for sales at the show" offer, we commit and give Gary a deposit.

33 photos total, on same page as above & below
(14th onwards)
Jan arrives in England and during the 2 or 3 weeks before starting work at Assettz, many canal & narrow boat sites are visited. Initially several second-hand boats are viewed, but even at this early stage it looks like a boat built to our own design is not much different in price from an "acceptable" second-hand one.
So the decision is made to definitely go for a new boat, even if that delays when we can buy it. Multiple visits to Braidbar, Pendle Narrowboats & Orchard Marina are made. Braidbar are too expensive & we don't like their heavy "ecclesiastical" style. Although Pendle very enthusiastic & good craftsmen, we doubt they have the necessary skills on boat equipment. Orchard are looking good, Gary has excellent knowledge & ideas. Get into initial design stage discussions with them.

33 photos total, on same page as 2 above

Feb - Mar At the NEC Caravan & Boat show, 26 Feb, Jan & Brian first discovered their joint obsession with narrow boats. There were 3 or 4 narrow boats at the show, including one from Orchard !