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Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.


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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Da Vinci

One couple and two boats, one to live on and one to work from. Alison and Louise earn a living from their floating home in the centre of Birmingham. The location isn’t everyone’s idea of an idyllic mooring but they are more than happy with it.

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

Alison on board floating shop Lowry

Alison on board floating shop Lowry

Alison Tuck Married to Louise Moore (canalartist) we have two dogs Harvey and Squash both rescues staffie cross.

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

I was a senior design engineer working for many of the large Car Companies designing window seals, door lock systems, seats etc. Working in the Computer Aided Design sector. Took me all over the world. I got fed up of the travel and long hours so came up with Davinci crafts. It allows me to live and work on the canals. While still doing what I love which is design and engineering. Met Louise at Uni and we’ve been together ever since (21 years). Louise is a fine artist and works from the boats she also is a director of a Fine Art Company manufacturing Artists Canvases and has a fine art shop in Birmingham.

We moved on 11 years ago, After Louise lost both her Parents. It was the inheritance money that enabled us to start a Life afloat which was Louise’s dream not mine. I soon fell in love with it too.

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

We have two NB DaVinci (our home named after leonardo Davinci who was an artist and engineer! not the bloody DaVinci Code!!! lol) and Butty Lowry (our workshop for Davinci Crafts). Lowry is a cut and shut half bantock and we think old BW hopper. So Lowry being an industrial Artist seem apt!

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

I have a commercial mooring at Warwick Bar in Birmingham Digbeth Branch of the GU. I can trade as a shop on site from Lowry (DaVinci Crafts) We have permission to reside at the moorings for 8 months. Which suits because we travel around in the summer Trading from the towpath.

What is you boat length and style?

Davinci is a 54ft Mike christian Josher painted Black and purple so not very traditional! Lowry looks like a covered old working Boat 50ft

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

11 years

How did you finance your boat?

Inheritance

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

Full time live aboard.

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

Yes run a small business

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Grumpy boaters who are in a rush!!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The freedom that you get from societal norms. Watching the wood burner and being warm and cosy in the winter.

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

cant think of anything as just re modelled and decorated so happy.

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

Walk, cycle or get Tesco’s to deliver to a local pub.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

washing machine

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

composter, very happy no stress about finding an elsan or being full as it goes in the bin!

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

mifi

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Staffs & Worcester and the BCN

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

Batteries 3000w inverter, and a 4KW generator to run Lowry

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Roasting! I cant stand being cold.

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

Work out what suits you and the way you want to live. There are loads of different solutions on offer so don’t listen to everyone else because there solution is what suits them. And definitely Hire a narrowboat and spend a couple of weeks on it in the winter because this is the most difficult time of year on the towpath and you will quickly learn what you need and don’t need.

You can find out more about the businesses Alison and Louise run by clicking on the following links…

Da Vinci Crafts

Canal Artist

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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 website.

 

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Summary
Paul Smith
 

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia now wander Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 32' Dutch motor cruiser.