Learn about life afloat the easy way

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 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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Summary
Paul Smith
 

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia wandered Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 35' Dutch motor cruiser. However, the pull of England's muddy ditches proved too much for them. Now they're back where they belong, constantly stuck in mud in a beautiful traditional narrowboat.

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