Colin – The Skipper Of The Bird Box And Jenny Wren

Colin was brought up in a village in North Yorkshire. Aged eleven, his parents moved to a farm on the outskirts of Easingwold.

In his early twenties he got the chance to go and work in Montana on a ranch so with suitcase packed off he went and had the most wonderful time.

Colin returned to the family farm after 18 months in America to work alongside his Dad and Uncle, running and working the family farms.

Colin had always had a boat as hobby, starting off with a small sailing dingy and working his way up to a Dawncraft then onto a Freeman. All his boating acquisitions were in sorry states when buying them, but he always spent time working on them in the farm shed to bring them back to a loved state.

Once back in good nick the boats were moored on the River Ouse, with the family spending time on them cruising the river waterways.

Colin had always had bigger dream of owning a narrowboat.


Andrea – The Galley Slave

Andrea was born in Skipton, North Yorkshire and raised in a village nearby. Her family still live in the area. She likes to visit as often as she can and see her wonderful grandchildren and family.

Andreas full time career was spent working in the care sector, working upto Care Home Manager in her final full time role. She worked hard with her team to keep up Outstanding CQC ratings.

Andrea had always had a boat and enjoyed life on the water. Starting with a catamaran in the Lake District and having never sailed before a few lessons and she was away, enjoying life on the lakes.

After swapping the catamaran for a Shetland, and time spent on the Norfolk Broads, Ireland and the Lakes, she dreamed of owning a narrowboat.


The Team

Colin & Andrea met in 2003, while he was manager of Boroughbridge Marina and while her boat was moored at the Marina. They formed a friendship and soon started dating.

A few years on, one night after work, Colin asked Andrea to come to the Marina with him to help complete a task he needed her help with, off they went. On arrival at the Marina Colin asked Andrea to close her eyes. She asked “Why?”. He replied, “Just wait and see!”

He walked her to the slipway in the Marina, eyes closed. When he said, “Open your eyes”, Andrea immediately asked, “Why are we stood at the top of the slipway”

Colin replied with “Don’t you remember the first time we met each other was on this spot”
Andrea “Yes…”, with that Colin got on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes!

On 26th June 2010 with family and very close friends in attendance they married.

Already living aboard Jenny Wren, as they had been for some years, in 2017 Colin and Andrea decided that they wanted to travel the waterways of England on board Jenny Wren.

They set about researching this and knew that they would need to have some kind of income so looked at becoming roving traders like they had seen when attending boat festivals.

When it came to what they could sell, Andrea has always been a keen knitter and Colin a dab hand at making things out of wood, and this was where the business started. They realised they needed storage area for the stock, a small floating shop, and The Bird Box was born.

Read More About The Bird Box

In between both Colin and Andrea working full time, they visited different suppliers to view stock and Andrea began knitting rugs and hats and making jewellery.

At the end of March 2019, Andrea left her job and Colin mothballed his gardening equipment and business. They spent a four weeks in the Netherlands before setting off with Jenny Wren & The Bird Box.

The big day came on May 6th 2019 with everything in place, and the shop full, they left their home mooring in North Yorkshire and the adventure began, sailing the waterways of the UK.


Behind The Scenes

Having been travelling for over a year on Jenny Wren, we decided the need for a website with online shopping capabilites was great, to enable us to reach our customers, new and regulars, and help build the client base further.

Our daughter, with a full-time job in Construction, as a Project Manager, stepped in to help. In way above her head, she led the populating of the website, with what you see today when you log on.

With Andreas help, they both completed the stock inputting to complete the full shop listings.

None of this would have been possible if it were not for Liam Hewlett, and his wonderful website building capabilities.

Thank You Liam & Kirsty