Liberty is sold.
Five years to the week after we set off on our liveaboard adventure, our lovely boat has gone to a new owner. Pleasingly, for us anyway, that person is French, and we wish him bonne chance and bon courage. I say 'pleasingly' for two reasons; one is that during our year travelling around the inland waterways of France we didn't meet many French people with boats at all, so for the new owner to be 'a native' is welcome.
Secondly, it's highly likely that many British potential buyers would have been frightened off with the uncertainty of Brexit, and what it will do to our relationship with France. The bureaucracy of owning a boat in France might alter for those who live outside the EU when the divorce becomes decree nisi, but the new French owner will have none of those fears.
Liz and I are sorry to see Liberty go, but the time had come, and as mentioned in these blogs previously, we haven't really had enough time to enjoy her to the full. But we aren't too upset because we've already bought our next boat! She's not a liveaboard, and really couldn't be more different to Liberty. She's an - originally - circa 1911 Edwardian 'Gentleman's Boat', also known in her day as an Inspection Boat.
However, a bit like the 'Irishman's axe', which, with a replacement head and handle. was as good as new, Violette has been pretty much rebuilt from the keel up; there's not much left that dates back to Edwardian times. But her shape evokes the era, as do her large viewing windows (for 'inspecting' the river banks and waterside features), and her canopy suggests bygone days of striped blazers, boaters and glasses of Pimms.
With just a single-cylinder Yanmar 11hp diesel engine we won't be doing any extended trips, but the beauty of Violette (soon to be renamed 'Sunberry') is that her modest draft of 45cms allows us to moor her at the bottom of our garden on the Thames. Instead of a seven-hour drive into deepest France to get to our boat we will have a ten-second walk!
Frustratingly the 2018 summer and heatwave is over and autumn is well on its way, so we will have to wait for next year to fully enjoy our new boat. It will give us plenty of time to buy straw boaters and striped blazers... and stock up on Pimms.