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Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat La Licorne

Mike and Judith Annan love travelling. After nearly a decade touring the world in their Mercedes motorhome, they’ve now started to explore the canal network in a floating moterhome. Now there’s a lifestyle to envy!

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

I am Mike Annan and my wife is Judith.

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

we were fortunate in being able to retire early with a clear plan of what we wanted. We sold up in the Uk and bought a small holiday home in France and a Mercede’s based motorhome. For 9 years we travelled the whole of Europe, the Arctic Circle and North Africa. Then we drove to Beijing via Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan and back via Mongolia and Russia. The following year we were off again to Nepal via Iran, Pakistan and India. The longer trips took 7 or 8 months. We realised that our trips became more and more difficult. We could not return to Libya, Egypt, Iran, Syria etc. so what shoule we do? A widebeam or narrowboat seemed the answer and a narrowboat posed fewer restrictions so here we are.

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

Our boat is called La Licorne after my favourite character Tintin.

Narrowboat La Licorne

Narrowboat La Licorne

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

Yes at Yardley Gobion just 12 minutes from our flat. Kingfisher Marina is a small private Marina north of Milton Keynes. It is quiet, secure and has good pontoon mooring. There is an adjacent boat yard with diesel, pumpout and drydock. What more could you want?

What is your boat style and length

A 50 foot semi trad built by Midlands Canal Centre.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

6 weeks

How did you finance your boat?

Cash purchase.

How much time do you spend on your boat each year?

Our plan is that like our motorhome we will spend about 7 months a year traveling in our boat.

Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)

Definetely not! Retiring early was the best thing I ever did. However I have recently written a novel which has been accepted for publication, and we are both doing OU courses.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Rude and noisy boaters!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom, peace, quiet and the many friendly boaters.

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Having spent 6 months finding our ideal boat I am not sure I can answer that.

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

Walk, bus or taxi it has not been that difficult.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine run off our 3.5 travelset generator.

What type of toilet do you have on board and are you happy with it?

Having had 9 years with a Thetford we decided on a pump out.

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

Can you live without the internet, the Ipad, or the Iphone? We cannot so we have a 3G Wifi set up. That seems to work fine.>

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

The stretch of the GU between Foxton and Watford.

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

Twin alternators, p,us a new Victron Inverter. No idea what we use but it works.

What advice can you offer someone considering living on a narrowboat?

Look, look and look again.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Winter that’s when we fly South to warmer climates.

Here’s the La Licorne blog. You can read it here.

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or web site.

 

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Moving From Living Abroad To Living On A Narrowboat In The UK

Hi Paul, thanks for creating the website and frequently posting new material! I read your content often as my husband and I have dreamt of a life on the canals for years and are working towards making this happen 2013. However, we are looking for others to share their real life experiences regarding a move from an international location back to the UK and onto a narrowboat. We live and work in the US and have already sold our house and are currently purging and selling stuff with the goal of selling everything before returning to the UK! I would love to hear from others and learn of their experiences and insights, as at times the move back and onto a narrowboat seems rather daunting! But we are determined and excited, and realize that it requires a good deal of courage to make a dream a reality! Thanks again! Regards, Karen

 

This is a new section of the site where subscribers can ask our 5,000 subscribers for advice on boating matters. If you know the answer or have any advice to offer, please post it in the comments section below. Thank you!

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An Alternative To Smoking On Board

A narrowboat offers a relatively small living space so you don’t want to fill it with cigarette smoke. Here’s a healthy alternative for those of you who need a nicotine boost

My name is Allan, from the South West of England UK and I have been helping people all my life in various ways.

Many years ago my married life ended abruptly with Antoinette and I was on my own. After the wounds healed, (Many years later), I heard that Antoinette (Toni) had problems and I was in a position to help her. I didn’t hesitate. I helped her through a difficult period and I think this started another sort of friendship and respect for each other.

This happened a few times and I was always at hand and pleased to be able to give a helping hand because I had a personal feeling of pleasure, (An inner glowing feeling) being useful.

Then the tables turned and I found myself in deep trouble. To my amazement, Toni came to the rescue. I suppose I shouldn’t have
been surprised but when you are under severe stress and bordering on depression thinking is not always logical or normal. This is when our friendship and enjoying each other’s company became rekindled. It was quite different though, as we both still enjoy our independence and own space.

Let’s whizz through many years between 35 and 40 years to the present time –

Toni and I now both live on “Quaint” English narrowboats; a type of vessel that is not found anywhere else in the world, to my knowledge. Both boats are “High Tech” boats complete with everything one would expect in a well-appointed house or flat. We cruise together on the canals these days, (A superb lifestyle that I have written about in another book). We love doing things together and at the same time we are able to have our own space and independence with each owning a boat.

An electronic cigaretteThis may seem odd to some people but it is absolutely right for us. This has given you a short resume of our lifestyles and takes us nicely into the introduction of how I, (A 100% non-smoker, who is affected by second hand tobacco smoke), became seriously interested in the Electronic method of smoking; you see, what I haven’t mentioned before, is that Toni is a regular smoker!

I was visiting her a few of years ago, (When she still lived in a lovely old cottage), in rural Somerset, near Stourhead, on the edge of a forest and in the outstanding beauty of the English countryside. She went out shopping for a couple of items like bread and tomatoes, (And some cigarettes, I expect), and she came across an electronic disposable cigarette.

Knowing how “ciggies” affect me, she purchased one of these, partially out of curiosity.

On her return, she started smoking the EC (Electronic Cigarette) whilst we were sitting in front of her log fire; the aroma and flickering flames of a log fire, being a rare pleasure for me.

I didn’t say anything about her “smoking” in close proximity to me, after all, it was her home and I would not comment on her right to do what she wanted in her own home.

I was surprised, (To say the least), because for the first time in my life, I was not affected by her smoking. I was puzzled as this had never happened before.

It took me a little while to realise that there was something “different” with the cigarette she was smoking. I took more notice and it was only then that I noticed that the red tip was not actually a burn of tobacco but a good imitation, (There was no ash either!). This was the actual moment that I became interested. Needless to say, I studied this new type of cigarette and I had a really good look. I took it to pieces and then reassembled it again. I was impressed – really impressed!

Unfortunately, the EC that Toni purchased was not satisfying enough for her and did not replace the necessity for the nicotine she was used to, although it did have other attributes as it enabled the hand and other movements that smokers are used to and it is a natural progression from tobacco.

Well! I could not get over the “Magic” “Space-Age Cig”, I called it, and the idea of the Electronic Cigarette intrigued me, so I started researching what was available, (Factually there are 100’s of brands manufactured all over the World), many from the Far East, some manufactured in India and there were a large number of American companies set up their own Research and development Labs, then had the American Stands manufactured where labour is less expensive, but to their strict standards.

With this vast amount of selection, (Not too many available in the UK at the moment, as the EC has only just arrived here), where does one start? I became more and more interested in the development, manufacture, spread and interest in these products and have spent over a year, absolutely fascinated in the new “Space Age” electronic cigarette.

The research was serious; I spent over ?500 (About $750 USD) of myown money; not all at once but it was only when I did a calculation that I realised just how much I spent on following my interest in ECs. It gave me something to do and I wondered how one thought of the idea in the first place and it has been a rewarding journey for me too.

It is only recently that I came to the conclusion that I know so much about the positive aspects of smoking the new electronic way, I was in a position to share my knowledge with other people not knowing where to start.

It does take a short while to get used to minor differences between tobacco (Burning) and Electronic (Non-Burning) cigarettes.
There are a couple of minor differences when smoking the electronic way but there are a host of advantages!

The main ones (Features) are:

They are much healthier – not having any of the cacogenic poisons that induce cancer (Tobacco smoke has over 4000 of them of which 5 or 6 are cancer inducing).

Electronics are much cheaper – a 20-a-day smoker will reduce the costs of smoking by over ?1500 per year (That’s over $2200 USD)
This can reduce your smoking costs by up to 80%

WOW! You just can’t ignore this massive on-going savings! It could pay for your next holiday. How “Cool” is that?

You can smoke anywhere legally – The smoke produced is not actually smoke but white water vapour with the vaporised nicotine that supplies the body with the nicotine to satisfy your need to smoke – MUCH more satisfying than Patches, Gum, Tablets or injection and prescription medicine.

No second hand smoke – so you do not cause distress to asthma sufferers or other people that are affected by a smoky environment.

Clothes stay clean and fresh – no more stale smoke and clothes stay fresher.

Teeth – do not become discoloured, stained teeth will become brighter and whiter.

Bad Breath – No more smoky breath, you can get near to your partner or close friends without that awful stale smoky breath.

Home Interiors – No more ceiling going brown from nicotine stains, or curtains becoming discoloured and there is no stale smoke residue either, so every member of the household benefits.

Now there’s an impressive list of positives!

Don’t you think it is time you found out about the Healthier way to Electronic smoking?

Why not read my free book? After you have read all I have learned about the electronic cigarette, which brands are good and which brands are not so good, you’ll have a better idea and some of my expertise to help you decide whether you want to try this new experience and more importantly, where to start.

Allan is in the process of putting together more information about electronic cigarettes in the form of an eBook. If you would like him to send it to you, just send him an email.

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Narrowboat Glass Fire Door Cleaning

One of the real joys of a solid fuel stove is relaxing and watching the flames flicker through the glass window. Unfortunately the glass is often too dirty to see through so needs constant cleaning. Here’s a solution to your glass cleaning problems{{{0}}}

Written by Allan Cazaly nb.Pengalanty

I have a diesel “Corner Bubble Stove”

stove glass cleaning

stove glass cleaning

My stove door glass, (After over 5 years of use), has become yellowish, the glass seems to have
changed its surface texture and has what is a crazed surface that can be seen in certain light
reflections

It didn’t matter what I did, I could not clean the glass to look like “New” again

The glass seemed to attract the oily soot from the fire and soon went blackish again

NO! I don’t have incomplete combustion!

My “Blue” flame burns properly after lighting, due to my special anti-downdraught flue (German
Manufacture) and a good installation

Recently, I gave this some thought to my problem and wondered if there was anything I could do to
improve the situation without going to the expense and trouble of replacing the glazing in the door

I lifted the door off the stove and washed it with warm soapy water (Fairy liquid) together with some
Lever Brother’s “Cif” cream. I used green abrasive pads and have used Brillo pads in the past

As usual, I ended up with the same crazed finish with the “yellowish” tinge to the glass. My thoughts
turned to the Fast Cutting Paste that I used on my cabin sides paintwork to “rejuvenate” the finish
and decided to try this 3M product as last resort

The result, after two applications and plenty of elbow grease, seemed to give the glass a “sheen”
that it had previously lacked after my normal washing. It still had a slight yellowish tinge and I could
still see the crazing reflections in certain light conditions, so I was somewhat disappointed, after
spending over an hour trying to “Smooth” the glass surface. I polished both sides of the glass

I was disappointed; I thought that all the time spent was wasted.

How Wrong Can You Be?

I replaced the door on the Bubble stove, after I had finished the “polishing” exercise, and when it
was refitted to my stove, it did look somewhat cleaner, so all was not lost.

The weather turned again and became colder, (Just like British weather does), so I lit my Bubble
stove – What a transformation!

– The result was amazing!

– Gone was the yellowish look

– The glass door looked just like new again

-The Blue flame was clear to see

– No sooting up of the glass, even after a week of lighting twice a day for a couple of hours

– The glass seems to have a “non-stick” surface and I it has stayed clean for over a week!

I am delighted with the result; so delighted in fact, that I have written to the 3M Company, telling
them of my findings

If anyone has experienced the same discolouration problems that I have been putting up with for so
long, I would recommend you to try the above method to improve the situation for yourself

I cannot guarantee that you will be successful but my experience should give you the enthusiasm
to “Give it a Go”

The additional plus, (By using 3M cutting paste), is that it seems to have non-stick properties in a
hot environment. My fire is usually at about 180o Celsius when alight and there is no suspicion of
any soot deposits (Flue gas temperature varies between 100o and 180o dependent on valve control
setting

The product used:

3M Fast Cut Plus No: 50417

It is expensive at about ?21.00 in a litre plastic bottle. The chances are you may have this product if
you have ever tried to extend your paint job on your boat. It is an excellent product

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Blue Moon

Mike Barrett cruises the waterways using his narrowboat as a floating office. The canal’s tranquility enhances his creative spirit for the work he does as a graphic artist. His blog reflects his desire to design. I love it! {{{0}}}

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

Mike Barrett

Mike Barrett

I am Mike Barrett, age 67 happily partnered to Kerry. We live in Hebden Bridge

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

I decided to experiment with living on a narrowboat initially just for the summer. Our children have left home and I wanted to find a creative space. Kerry was not too horrified so I went ahead and bought Blue Moon in April with the possibility of selling her in September. Kerry, friends and family will be visiting at various times throughout the summer and I will occasionally return home for work meetings and to play gigs with my band the Peace Artistes.

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

Blue Moon – she was already called this and I like it

What is your boat style and length

40 ft Traditional

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

6 years

How did you finance your boat?

From savings

Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)

Yes, I’m a graphic designer

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Too early to say – but it would be nice if it stopped raining.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom, closeness to nature, semi-outdoor existence.

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Paint the roof – by magic.

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

I walk to a shop with a rucksack – I’ve never had a car.

Narrowboat Blue Moon

Narrowboat Blue Moon

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I wash my smalls by hand and hang them about. I save the bigger items for a launderette.

What type of toilet do you have on board and are you happy with it?

Pump-out. It’s OK but he fees are a bit expensive (nearly ?20 last time).

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

I have a 3 dongle which is pretty good most of the time but there’s no good connection in the deeper cut on S.Oxford Canal. My iPhone usually gets a signal with O2

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

I’ve hardly started! I set off from Baunston where I bought the boat and have reached Lower Heyford on the Oxford Canal. I’m heading towards Oxford to meet my son. It’s lovely!

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

Blue Moon has 3 domestic batteries. I have not switched the fridge on yet but have to keep my laptop, camera, Wacom screen and radio supplied from a 300w inverter. I don’t have a TV. and use minimum LED and fluorescent lights. I run the engine every day. So far I’ve not run the batteries dry.

 

Mike has a unique approach to blogging. You can read it here.

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or web site.

 

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Cruising On The River Soar

Allan almost lives with his ex wife Toni. They cruise the waterways network together but on their own seperate boats Pengalanty & Snowdrop. Allan is a very experienced continuous cruiser but here’s what can happen if you cruise on a windy day. {{{0}}}

An Eventful Day in March 2012 written by Allan Cazaly.

It was on Friday, 30th March, that Antoinette and I departed from our overnight stop near Loughborough railway station.

We continued our cruise in the direction of the Trent & Mersey canal, on the Leicester Navigation of the Grand Union. This section is actually the river Soar and is already quite wide by the time it reaches Loughborough

We woke up to deteriorating weather conditions with increasing gusty winds but quite manageable. The two boats were breasted together (Tied side by side) for the next part of our journey, as Antoinette, (On Snowdrop), was not very well. This enabled her to rest, whilst I did the helmsman “Duty” steering the two boats, as one.

Cruising on the river Soar at Ratcliffe

Cruising on the river Soar at Ratcliffe

I used Snowdrop for this as she has a larger engine and is a heavier and longer boat; best of all the 4 bladed propeller “Grabs” the water. Whilst Pengalanty, (With a custom made 3 bladed prop), can do the same job, it weighs under 16-tonnes against Snowdrop’s almost 21-tonnes and cruising is faster with Snowdrop and more responsive

All went well until we were passing the small village of Normanton-on-Soar and a left hand curve on the river. The area is exposed and we were subjected to fairly high cross winds, normally OK when keeping well to the middle of the river

From nowhere, without warning, we had a sudden squall and fierce crosswinds! Although the two boats were steered into the wind, almost pointing towards the bank and increasing engine revs, the boats were still drifting towards the Normanton bank, closer and closer to the trees. I had now put on full power and I was still getting closer to the trees!

By this time, I almost succeeded the fight against the severe wind before it subsided. Unfortunately, a large branch caught Pengalanty’s rotating toilet vent cowl, crushed it flat and removed it from the terminal point on the roof. It did not go into the water fortunately but remained on the roof. I retrieved it later

The same branch then picked up my new Rutland Wind Generator by the tail fin. The WG lifted off the roof, still on it’s hinged mounting pole. It went 180o to vertical and continued until it was parallel with the Tiller arm of the boat and it looked in a sorry state. The fin was bent and twisted and it seemed as though the WG unit had suffered severe damage (More on this later)

My concern was to take back control of the boats breasted together, now that the squall has subsided. This did not take long. I did not know at the time but my stainless flue chimney extension, (Used when moored), together with some other items had disappeared into the water, (From the roof), without trace but I didn’t discover this until later, about a mile further. This was the first opportunity with suitable moorings with rings set in concrete – quite important when cruising on a river! We stopped over here overnight

We moored just before Zouch Lock (55) on the River Soar. For readers that are not familiar with the English canal system, the river Soar is the upper reaches of the Grand Union (Leicester Line)

The Grand Union (Leicester branch) uses part of the river network here to connect to the River Trent, (The way to the North), the Erwash canal, (Leading through the Industrial area of Long-Eaton to Eastwood and also the way to the T&M canal; in effect, it is like a very large crossroads

Some of the signage is not clear and one can easily make a mistake, (Like we did – Sorry! I did). However it is easy here as the expanse of water enables one to complete a large circle and have another go at entering the mouth of the T&M, the direction we wanted. I actually held back to allow a cruiser to complete his way through, towards the way we had just come

I don’t want too many experiences of this nature – toooo expensive!

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