I knew Allan’s case study was going to make an interesting read when he said, “I was working full time until I was 77 when doing two or three jobs became a bit much for me.” – And then he mentioned that he cruises with his ex wife who also has her own narrowboat! Enjoy your retirement Allan!
Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)
I’m Allan Cazaly, who has had an interesting and varied life, not only in the UK, but also 10-years in Europe, based in Southern Germany.
Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat
Itchy feet, I suppose? In Germany, I soon became involved in the Holiday business. This took me as far as Poland, Russia, Hungry, Yugoslavia (Then),UK, France to Italy and all the mountain passes; hard work and immensely enjoyable.
I have always been interested in canals, ever since I lived in Wombourne, near Bratch locks. I found narrowboats fascinating then, and still do. I was lucky enough to be able to design the boat of my dreams (Nearly got everything right) and I had enough money to have the steel shell built based on a trad. design (6 years ago). I have been working towards completion ever since.
What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?
My boat is named “Pengalanty” I wasn’t clever enough to create the name and it came about almost by accident. Whilst visiting Gloucester docks, I met a boat surveyor on some pontoons (Walking his dog) and we started talking “boats”. He built his own. I was interested and mentioned that I was having a shell build (RLL Boats, Keynsham) and was doing the remainder of work myself
We stayed in touch and he gave me useful information from time to time. One day, I had an e-mail that said – Christine has found the name of your boat – This was because had decided to have graphics with 2 swans intertwined on each side The name stated was Pengalanty – made up as follows: “Pen”, being a female swan, “Galanty“ being a medieval name for amorous. The name sounded good and it rolled off the tongue quite naturally, so that’s how it came about .
What is your boat length and style?
The boat is 58’0” long, supposed to be 2.4” draft but there is so much equipment and timber on board that it more like 2’7” and the stern digs deeper when cruising. This is actually more stable, so I am happy with this.
How long have you been a narrowboat owner?
I have owned “Pengalanty” for over 6 years and have lived full time on my boat for the last 3 years. This is my forth year as my home – I Love the Lifestyle –
How did you finance your boat?
I had 2 separate private pensions that I had been paying into for many years. I converted the pensions and used the cash allowance to achieve my goal.
How much time do you spend working on your boat each year?
Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)
I have been working all my life, sometimes doing 2 and 3 jobs (Doubling upon shifts etc) I was known as a work-a-holic! I continued working until I was almost 77. I found that some of the heavy work I was doing was becoming too much and I hadn’t recovered completely by the next morning. I then decided it was time to enjoy more time for myself. Now I am fully retired and still HAVE NO TIME to spare – How did I find time to undertake 3 jobs? I’ll never work that one out!
What do you like least about narrowboat life?
Very slippery and muddy towpaths during wet weather and lack of BW maintenance of the hedgerows. Finding a lovely quiet spot, then having another boater moor up less than 6 feet away, making a lot of noise and radio full blast – especially when there are miles of unoccupied canal either side!
What do you like most about narrowboat life?
Being on or near water is therapeutic and relaxing. Unless one has lived in the country, (I worked several years on a mixed dairy/arable farm in my earlier days) you have to experience the joy of country smells and perfumes of some flowers; the quietness (Pure Luxury) with no traffic, no aircraft; no pollution, or diesel smoke (Always excepting the fumes from one’s own engine!). As I prefer the isolated areas, I don’t have any problems from other boaters or their engines.
If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?
Extend it by about 6 feet to have another room available and more cupboard space.
When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?
I have both a car and a folding moped. The moped stays on the boat and this overcomes the logistics of having the car catch the boat up all the time. I usually by fresh veg when sold along the canal side, as I pass (Straight of the farm, or smallholding is minutes fresh, sometimes dug up, or pick DIY style). As my boat has a UDB fridge freezer combi, I always keep a few days supplies of fresh food. I have ample supplies of dried and tinned goods and can always find something to eat.
How do you do your washing when you are cruising?
Pengalanty has a Zannussi compact washing machine plumbed in – washing is usually done on the move
How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?
I had no question of any problem here – Hutchinsons My 3 Fast Dongle is almost hard wired speed. No connections problems, (Other than poor weather that reduces signal strength). My dongle is protected and waterproofed, fitted externally at least 4 feet above the roof. It does usually work inside the boat but the O/S position is much better.
What is your favourite canal or section of canal?
Stratford and Oxford and similar narrow canals. It’s the difference in motoring along country lanes and motorway driving. The GU, Sharpness and K&A are less attractive but often easier to cruise.
How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?
My boat is a high tech boat (Not sure is this is the best though) and is electricity/energy hungry. I have 4 large Solar panels and a wind generator. The V panels produce more energy per ? invested over the 12- months. I am able to leave my boat for a few days, knowing that my batteries will recharge enough to keep my freezer working 24/7. I have a large 24-V alternator to charge the batteries with the main engine. There is a Stirling PDAR digital controller to override the alternator limiter, Due to overheating problems the alternator is cooled with a large “snail” type of blower fan.
What advice can you offer someone considering living on a narrowboat?
Have at least one week’s holiday, preferably 2 or 3 holidays over a couple of years to gain experience. One soon knows what the best layout is, how many you want to be able to sleep and other important basic things. This cannot be gained any other way. It is wise to do this before a large investment is made. If you stll like the idea – then go for it ASAP – Life is for real, when it’s gone, it’s gone and you never know when (Or if) your health will last. It’s no good saying,(When it’s too late), “If only I had done this earlier”
How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?
Lovely and warm, cosy and dry, just like a miniature country cottage – S’wonderful!
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.