King of the Road

In the run up to launch day, we have been staying at the rather wonderful “Monarch’s Barn” in Rushock, Worcestershire, a mere 4 minute drive from where Old Nick is being built. Couldn’t be closer! The barn is named after the nearby “Monarch’s Way”, which is a 625-mile long footpath. The path is said to replicate the escape route taken by King Charles II in 1651, after being defeated at the Battle of Worcester. It runs from Worcester via Bristol and Yeovil to Shoreham.

The barn sleeps 4, with one super-king bed (very comfy) and shower room upstairs and one king-size, downstairs, with bath and shower over.

It is very tastefully decorated, scrupulously clean and lacks nothing. I genuinely would not change a thing. The immediate outside space at the back is fenced – great for dogs (yes they are dog friendly!) and also for kids.

There is a further 10 acres to wander at will, complete with picnic bench, copse and fire pit. Delightful!

Sally, the owner, is very friendly and welcoming and also quick to respond to any queries you might have. There are some lovely touches too. The welcome basket was a joy (I won’t spoil the surprise but let’s just say the boys weren’t disappointed and neither were we!) and there was a pretty, little, lit Christmas tree on the patio. Sally said she hadn’t “gone the whole hog” with decs as it was a bit early. I agree. But lovely to see the tree – oh and a standard bay tree at the front, also lit.

I can’t think of a nicer place to stay to be honest! It’s highly recommended and a great base for exploring the delights of beautiful, rural Worcestershire. It can be rented through Sykes Cottages. Here’s a link to the property.

Thursday 20th December

And then, suddenly it was launch day! The weather was fine and the well-drilled Ortomarine team swung into action and before we knew it, Old Nick was sitting very comfortably on the water at beautiful Droitwich Spa Marina.

The team at the Marina are so friendly and helpful – they even gave us a welcome bottle of wine. Such a nice touch. They permitted us to stay on a service mooring ready for our van to arrive the next day, which was very helpful.

To be honest, launch day was a bit of a blur! It’s like your wedding day – so much planning and then the day itself goes in a flash. And it’s very tiring. We were shattered. But we managed to go out to The Chequers, in nearby Cutnall Green, where we had sausage and mash, by way of a celebratory meal. The sausages were allegedly “award winning” and we did speculate, before they arrived, about what that award had actually been for. “Worst Sausage Ever”, perhaps? But they were delicious, so the award must have been taste-related. Not your average snag by any means.

Friday 11th December

Our son George arrived at around 9:30 with a van full of stuff. We worked hard and by 1:30 had unloaded everything and stowed it all away – mostly. Now I doubt if much of our things have been placed in their “forever home”, but we can tidy and rationalise and cull, where necessary, at our leisure.

It was another tiring day and, rather than cook, we decided on that rare treat – fish and chips. We ordered them online from Queen’s Chippy as we left the Marina and picked them up a couple of minutes later. Freshly cooked and piping hot! Excellent. We dashed back to the cottage and fell upon them. The fish was more like a small whale and the large portion of chips would easily have fed four. Eaten with lashings of salt and vinegar and a side of mushy peas, they really hit the spot.

And here are the internal shots – taken before she left the Ortomarine unit – before we added all our worldly goods! We are beyond delighted. We think Old Nick is an absolute beauty and the level of attention to detail and finish could not be surpassed.






Finally, here are a few external shots and some of the spotless engine room. We love the livery and think that Old Nick is – well – as smart as paint!

There were, almost inevitably, a few tears on launch day. I really wish Mum, and particularly Dad (Nick) could have been around to see the realisation of our dream. I hope he would approve. I’m pretty sure he would.

It remains for us to thank everyone at Ortomarine, for creating our perfect boat, to Nick and the team at Droitwich Marina for their assistance during the launch and for providing us a mooring over Christmas and to all of you for reading this blog and sharing in our dream. We hope you will continue to accompany us on our travels and that many of you will come and visit us, once this wretched pandemic has been closed down. The kettle is always on!

18 Replies to “King of the Road”

  1. Looks beautiful and love the quality of engineering. One of the neatest engine bays I have seen. Thanks for taking time to have a chat on Friday, look forward to seeing more.

    1. Thanks Andy. Nice to chat to you too. Ortomarine have exceeded our expectations in spades. It’s a dream come true. See you around at the Marina. Pop in for a cuppa some time.

  2. Wow. I can’t imagine the pages of plans, ideas, samples, blood, sweat and tears you must have left in the trash can to make this happen!
    You should be very proud of yourselves and I hope that the platform that is Old Nick proves to be everything and more to propel yourselves into the next stage of your lives.

    Great writing Kay …

  3. What can be said… other than WOW!!!! It’s absolutely stunning. Enjoy every darn moment (as I’m sure you will ). Love you both 😘

  4. It just looks amazing! Wishing you the best life with Paul and the boys. Will definitely meet you when you are not too far away. Have a lovely Christmas and here’s to a less eventful 2021 xx

  5. Congratulations on your stunning boat….another perfect example of how good Ortomarine are…..must admit they are streets ahead of others in my opinion…had ours for 2yrs now, and I researched loads of builders, and visited around 6 of them, and Ortomarine were head and shoulders above everyone else….I know you will have the time of your lives aboard!!

    1. Thank you Paul. We did a similar exercise and could not be happier than to have chosen Ortomarine to realise our dreams. We are so pleased with Old Nick.

  6. It all sounds and looks wonderful Kay – after all your ups and downs over the last couple of years, this is what it has come to and I’m sure it’s worth it. Wishing you long happy and healthy travels. Can’t wait to read all about it – and hope to catch up with you somewhere along the way! Keep writing. That way we won’t miss you quite so much! Lots of love Xxx

  7. Congratulations to you both Paul and Kay, the boat looks fantastic, you must be feeling so pleased with what you’ve achieved.
    Such meticulous planning and an expert, caring boatbuilder, have given you a state of the art vessel, you must be feeling so pleased and proud.
    Thanks for documenting your journey so well too, what a life changing few months you’ve had.
    You’re probably ready to relax a little!
    Best wishes to you both (and congratulations to George and his wife!)

    1. Hi Lance, thank you so much for your kind message, it feels so good to finally reach this point and after three nights onboard we are starting to get in to the new way of life.
      We would be glad to welcome you onboard anytime, so you can test your new charts of the canals! Happy Christmas to you and your family.

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