Originally posted on the Dutch Barge Association’s website forum by Ian & Lyn Lones and reproduced here with their permission.
Hello one and all, and especially all our friends we have met along the way over the last 13 years.
With mixed feelings Lynn and I have to say goodbye to Avontuur and her watery world, and in due course the DBA; as of today we are ex-bargees; sadly no more tales from Avontuur's Log. It's been a wonderful albeit sometimes frustrating (Oh the bureaucracy!) and often expensive experience, but one we would never have wanted to miss out on. Gladly, lest they have reached some of you, I can say that rumours of my imminent demise are greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless health problems have been part of our decision. Whilst my 'get out of jail' card still seems to work, and we still have life and energy within us we are in the throes of buying one of those self propelled white boxes on wheels and heading for the mountains. Perhaps we will bump into each other in one of those little ports along the Meuse where barges and motorhomes 'moor' alongside.
I feel I really must say a few words of recommendation for Graham Wharmby of Boatshed Bourgogne who handled our sale. After a year or more of getting no-where trying to sell our barge through adverts in DBA website and in the hands of another broker all we had got was a few desultory nibbles from time-wasters, wheel kickers and those who didn't even know whether they wanted a barge, never mind could afford one. We had even arranged to be places where nobody showed up.
Within three months of putting Avontuur in Grahams hands we had a buyer without having to drop our price any further than we already had. Grahams service was quite impressive compared with our other experiences, and certainly compared with the tales of woe we have heard from others. Even though we were somewhat outside his normal territory (Burgundy and the Midi) he came, took detailed particulars, took copious quantities of detailed pictures of the barge and two walk-round walk-through videos in English and French to post on his website. He insists on all prospective buyers being accompanied, does not hand out keys, does not expect the vendor to show people round. He also carefully vets people before bringing them, and only brings those who clearly know that the barge represents what they are looking for and have the means to pay. I had agreed to go to the barge for handover and to show the buyer the ropes and how everything works. As it transpired I was indisposed and unable to travel. Graham handled everything in our absence with efficiency and a minimum of fuss, and insisted on staying over to show the buyer everything in our stead. He even negotiated sale of the things we were unable to go and collect, and is arranging the dispatch of our few treasured paintings back to us in UK. I can't recommend more highly.
Best regards to all
Ian and Lynn Lones