Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

So close, yet so far away ...

“The Unknown is scary, the Unknown can also be exciting. Your life could change in an instant anytime. But sometimes, that change is the best thing that will ever happen to you. Maybe I don’t have to know what my fate is to know that everything will be okay. Maybe the not knowing is how we move forward. Wherever I’m headed, I know it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.” ~ Susane Colasanti

Well it's less than three weeks to go now before we fly to England for the next exciting chapter in our lives!  Lots of things are moving, one is stubbornly staying the same ...

Selling ezimade seemed like it was going to be easy from the moment Barry opened the shop. He had a list of people who came in saying how amazing it was and how much they'd considered doing just what he had but not quite had the courage/got round to it, and would be interested in buying the business once he was ready to sell.

A few of these people have been in and talked about buying, but to date no-one has made an offer or made any sort of commitment. Why not?  It's such a great business, and is growing daily, I can't figure out where the blockage is. Barry has now listed it on Trade Me - so check it out and if you know anyone interested get them to call him asap! He did call a Real Estate Agent last week and met up with him - but was unconvinced that they would be committed enough or work hard enough to earn the ridiculous sum of money in commission they charge for selling a business.

It's OK, we have someone who will manage the shop once we leave if it's not sold, so we're not panicking, but it would be so much better to be able to let it go and move forward. However, Barry has to return to NZ in August anyway to apply for his visa, so maybe he's meant to come back and sell it then?

In the meantime, we've had another garage/yard sale:

So much 'stuff'!
This one wasn't quite as successful as the first one, but a lot of the same people came. Additionally, during the afternoon I discovered that someone had 'walked away' with a set of golf clubs that had been at the back of the house - Barry's mum's. I was initially angry that someone would do such a thing, then realised that it wouldn't help anything by giving my energy to that, and turning it around saw that whoever took them must be pretty desperate to have to steal from someone else, so it actually made me feel very lucky - so thank you thief!

The weekend before this, we had the auction for Barry's photography. It was such a fun afternoon, and all but I think two of his pictures sold to the people that came, and a few telephone bidders. Since then so many people who didn't manage to come for a variety of reasons have said how much they wish they had, and those who bought his pictures keep saying how much they love them. So it's all good, Barry will be remembered in Gisborne for a long time to come - and he saw how much people value his work as it was converted into cash.

Lee and Alice get Barry's most prized and treasured shot - a country lane near to West Felton, UK, taken in 2007
Sally buys so many photos - and adores them!
Gavin the amazingly audacious auctioneer - what a star!
Jeremy, Jim and Kerri - some of the beautiful people who bidded (I know, it's not a proper word!) and bought!
Our furniture is slowly moving out of the house, bit by bit, and with the photos gone too it's starting to look empty and we are 'letting go' of it, feeling grateful we've lived somewhere so amazing even for a short time, and looking forward so much to travelling to UK and buying another narrowboat. That's what keeps us going, knowing that we WILL get where we want to be, despite the challenges, and then there will be other lovely journeys to plan and look forward to.

Barry has taken some things to his daughter Jamie in Hamilton and will take some to Tom in Wellington in a couple of weeks. He isn't saying goodbye for ages to them yet, because he knows he'll be back in August and be here until he gets his UK visa. Leaving his mum will be something else to challenge us both though - but we can call her and hopefully Skype her with the help of Barry's brother Ray ...

Of course it's through our struggles that we most grow - if life was simple and easy all the time it would be boring don't you think?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Five weeks and counting ...

'Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.' ~ Andre Gide

Well courage is definitely something Barry and I are needing in abundance at the moment as we navigate the massive changes we're sailing through to de-clutter and let go of people, places and things.  I've been through this process previously when I immigrated to New Zealand in early 2005, but it's still challenging.

It is however, also very cathartic.  The amount of 'stuff' we 've collected between us is staggering - much of it was stored under the house.  We managed to sell almost all our furniture within four days in January - though a lot of it is still with us until a week or so before we leave.  One or two things that are precious will be stored here by people - personal photographs and memories of Barry's for instance, and a recycled Rimu coffee table that I made at woodwork classes here before I met Barry - priceless but far too big and heavy to ship back to UK.  Some friends who have just built an eco friendly home will care for it lovingly, and even though I may never have it with me again, I'll always know it's 'mine'.

The garage sale was a huge success and we made around $500 - there's still a heap of 'stuff' left, and discovered following the sale after further sorting, so we're having another one on 23rd February.  Following that it'll be Trade-Me (New Zealand's answer to Ebay), the local buy and sell publication 'The Trader', charity 'Op' shops, Second Hand Sunday on 3rd March, or the council dump/tip!

One of our cars has been sold and taken, and a couple of people are interested in the other one.  The bike is sold - but we need to hold onto that until just before we go so we each have a mode of transport apart from walking.

This Sunday, 17th February, we're having an auction of Barry's superb photography collection.  Lots of people had been asking me if they could buy one of his pieces before we left, so to make it fair we decided we'd ask a friend who's a trained auctioneer, if he'd help us out.  It promises to be a fun afternoon and hopefully we'll make some more funds towards our future water gypsy lifestyle!  If anyone wants a catalogue of what's available, email Sandra or Barry.  We can ship overseas, but obviously you'd need to pay the postage.

A leaving party has been arranged by some friends for us, to be held on Friday 8th March.  It'll be fabulous to have around 100 people to come and say a fond fare-thee-well-for-now, though I know it'll be tinged with sadness too, especially for me, as I don't know if or when I'll return to Gisborne or New Zealand.  Barry will be back in August to apply for his UK visa.

Barry's business 'ezimade' hasn't sold as yet, but there's a few people who've expressed an interest.  We have a contingency plan if it doesn't sell before we go - which will stop people who may be waiting until they think we're 'desperate' and then putting in a silly offer!  It's such a great little business that Barry has put his heart and soul into, and has a large, dedicated, enthusiastic and growing customer database - once someone buys a still or a beer making kit, there's a high chance they'll be back for more supplies!  Everyone who comes into the shop says how amazing it is - especially people from out of town who don't have anything with so much variety.  We're just waiting for the right person to come and make us an acceptable offer - any day now ...

The information needed for Barry's visa is being collated, and the required money is in the bank in UK - so six months from 5th February will be D-Day, depending on when Barry re-enters New Zealand.  We've put together lots of evidence of our relationship and marriage that will need to be sent off - though I think all they really need to do would be to read this blog?!  What more proof would you need of our commitment to each other and returning to UK to live on the waterways?

Last Sunday at a friend's beach wedding