Battle of the marinas

I am long overdue a good narrowboat blog list. Many of my favourite blog entries have been in list form (with the exception of the greatest toilet story ever told) and I am itching to return to the format. So to settle the long-debated question of whether Castle Marina is better than Sawley Marina (this ending a decades, if not centuries, old argument) I will draw up a list. Starting with one of my favourite topics.

1. Showers

Have I mentioned my love of the Sawley Marina showers before? That perfect combination of heat and water pressure? Even in my dotage (I am unsure at what age that starts, or, if I’m being absolutely honest, what it actually entails. But I think it’s something to do with being old.) As I was saying, even in my dotage, I will think on those showers fondly. The communal showers at Castle Marina , by comparison, are merely adequate. They get the job done but I have no wish to prolong the showering experience.

Sawley 1-0 Castle

2. Space

There is undeniably less space at Castle. Less space for manoeuvring (pity my neighbours as I take the boat out for the first time. Or maybe fear for them), less space for storage , less space for pontoons. I no longer have my own pontoon, which has necessitated the rear parking.

Sawley 2-0 Castle

3. Location

I have a 9 minute cycle to work. After a night shift I can be in bed at 07.40 (when previously at that time I would be trying very hard to not fall asleep at the wheel on the way back to North-East Leicestershire). Plus there are all the fast food outlets you can think of in the vicinity. And a plethora of pubs. A clear win for Castle.

Sawley 2-1 Castle

4. Laundry

Laundrette use was included in the mooring fee at Sawley, whereas it is not at Castle. However the machines are bigger and more efficient at my new home. And both come equipped with an excellent library. A score draw.

Sawley 3-2 Castle

5. Cost

My central Nottingham location is about £100 more per year than my rural one. But as I’m no longer using as much diesel, or paying for a work parking permit, Castle comes out on top. (Though it’s possible I am eating and drinking the saving away.)

Sawley 3-3 Castle

6. Neighbours

Double Fracture would no longer be afloat if it weren’t for the help of my Sawley neighbours. I may have been increasingly antisocial during my time there, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate everything that was done for me, from fixing my water pump, to including me in the bulk coal order to making particular space for my bike in the bike rack. And all the little kindnesses in between too numerous to succinctly include. My neighbours here seem nice, though I’ve yet to meet many of them. In time they may prove to be as lovely as the previous lot, but right now it’s the Sawley bunch who get the point.

Sawley 4-3 Castle

On paper it seems like I made the wrong move. And yet, my mood has been a little brighter since I sailed down the river. I’ve spent more time outdoors and less time in a car. I’ve seen more of my favourite people. I’ve slept better. And so, with a dodgy penalty and an injury time winner, the final score:

Sawley 4-5 Castle

This blog post was brought to you by ‘Albert went out to see rock bands’ by Gavin Osborn.


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