One really great thing about all the work that needs doing on my boat is that it’s currently moored at Taylor’s Boatyard, in Chester. Built in 1845, this is one of the oldest working boatyards in the country, though it was disused from the 70s until Yvette and Pete Askey took it over a couple of years ago.
They’re working hard to restore it to its former glory: it was once the main hub of the Shropshire Union Canal with services such as a foundry, carpentry shops, paint stores and more (you can read the boatyard history here). There’s a hell of a lot to do, and, as it’s a listed building, everything has to be done to exacting specifications – precise window positioning, cast-iron guttering, heritage paints and so on.
Still, I really love coming to Chester each weekend to work on the boat – it’s a shame it won’t be going on longer. There’s a lovely, laid-back, friendly, helpful crowd who can usually be found hanging around the yard (more often than not on a tea break…) – Pete giving me engine advice, Colin teaching me canalboat lingo, Tim fixing my lock, hatch, roof and anything else metal-related and Yvette running about making sure everyone has what they need… plus Pete and Yvette’s over-excited 8-month-old border collie Tess.