Canal Boat with a sign saying "Nobby" on the side

In the run-up to Christmas, I had a phone call from a very posh-sounding gentleman who said he’d found our number on a Google search and he went on to say that he wanted a custom fire pit for his wife for Christmas depicting their canal boat on the side.

Initially, I was worried because canal boats are long and short and the space available on our fire pits are more or less square. After some thought I came up with the idea of running the image across two sides and drew that up. It was something I had never done before but it actually looked really good so we went with it.

A few more personal images were added and he signed off the design. I remember that this was right at the start of December and I was getting concerned that he wouldn’t get it in time for Christmas as usually they take three weeks to be made but I sent it off anyway with ten or so others and hoped for the best.

Knowing the urgency, the workshop where our fire pits are made managed to do them in just two weeks as a special favour to me and with just four days left before Christmas I rang the chap. At the time Royal Mail were staging intermittent strikes so I didn’t want to rely on them and I didn’t want his wife to miss out at Christmas so I decided to meet the chap halfway as he was on the South Devon coast.

Canal Boat with a sign saying "Nobby" on the side
Canal Boat with a sign saying "No 1" and "Dark Mawn Carrying Co" on the side

Nobby the narrowboat

We met in a motorway service station by the old Severn Bridge and I handed over the goods. He eagerly took it out from its branded tote bag and a huge smile came across his face and then he choked up. He was delighted with it and said that no doubt his wife would be too. We sat chatting for half an hour and during our conversation he told me that they lived almost all year round on their narrow boat, called ‘Nobby’ and that he was a retired submarine commander, high up in the ranks of the Royal Navy!

Canal Boat with a sign saying "No 1" and "Dark Mawn Carrying Co" on the side
Canal Boat with a sign saying "No 1" and "Dark Mawn Carrying Co" on the side

The Boat Show at Crick

He asked if I’d ever thought of exhibiting at The Boat Show at Crick to which I replied “No”. He went on to say that he felt that lots of other canal boaters may also want one of my fire pits to use on the towpath at night to keep them warm and extend their evenings. I was fascinated but knew I had to get home and deliver the others as well.

I got that warm fuzzy feeling that I do when I hand over a personalised fire pit as I headed back home along the M4 feeling very pleased with myself and trying to remember all the things that he had said.

His wife was delighted on Christmas day;

Custom Fire pit made by Firedup Fire Pits - showing Pewsey Vale
Custom fire pit created by Firedup Fire Pits saying "Dark Mawn Carrying Co Nobby" on the side

I managed to hand deliver ten more fire pits in time for Christmas and I was ready to book a trade stall at The Boat Show, a National event; things were looking up!

On the second day of The Boat Show under glorious May sunshine, they came to my stall to see me. They had brought their fire pit with them for me to show everyone else so I put it centre stage and began telling people this story. Later that day as we’d been invited, we went to see Nobby for real as he was moored at the show!

My partner Richard and I couldn’t believe it as we stepped on board and the story had come full circle. I felt really pleased that I had brought so much joy to them and next year we’ve been invited to stay for tea!

If you would like your own custom fire pit then just click the button below.