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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 Snowdrop

Toni writes children’s stories as she cruises the network with her ex husband Allan. She doesn’t share the same boat with him though. They have one each; Toni on Snowdrop and Allan on Pengalanty

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

My name is Antoinette (Toni) Cazalet and my dog is called Mr Biggles.

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

After the death of my parents, I realized I didn’t really know anyone in the town I lived in. I had acted as Carer, initially in between
teaching IT outside of the area in which I was living.

Toni and Mr. Biggles

Toni and Mr. Biggles

I then spent time, with a friend of mine, who owned a narrow boat. I had travelled the canals earlier, so was used to them. I have always loved being out of doors and spent a lot of my childhood in woodlands and the countryside. Anyway, I decided to sell up and buy a boat! Just like that!

Initially I thought my house would never sell. I found one narrow boat, fell in love with it, but because of the house not selling had
to loose it. Spending Christmas with my friend, pending a trip to York, I received a telephone call from the local police to say my house appeared to be flooding from the inside. To cut a long story short. I returned home to devastation. However, the oddest thing about this was, I sold the house within three weeks, found a boat I liked and purchased it. Was living on it about six weeks later as from that telephone call!

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

My boat is named “Snowdrop” and has always had that name. However, I may change it later on in the year to Pyxie, which sort of falls in with the children’s stories I write.

What is your boat style and length

“Snowdrop” is 62.1/2′ in length and is a semi trad.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

I have been a narrow boat owner for approximately one year.

How did you finance your boat?

I paid for my boat out of the sale of my house.

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

Most of the time, as I’m a “live aboard”, but I have three children and visit them fairly frequently.

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

I mainly write children’s books, which can be viewed in several ways: www.lulu.com/spotlight/greensleevesuk, www.thewoodknottales.com. A free download on the latter. They are also on Amazon.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

So far, there is nothing I can say about the above. I love my life on a narrowboat. Come snow or rain.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom. I spent many years looking after the needs of others. Now it’s just me and the waterway

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

More book shelves as I read a lot

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

Have a car, which I fetch from the last place I moored up for a few days..

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Launderette, again the internet is great for finding a location.

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

I have a pump out toilet and, yes, I am very happy with it.

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

“Three (3)” is the answer to this question. I do not get problems – so far, so good!

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

In the past, I fell in love with the Oxford Canal and the River Thames.

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

My electricity is generated from the engine. I have five batteries – six if you include the starter battery.

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

I reckon you know, if you want to live on a narrow boat. It is like everything else: If you really want to do it, you will find a way.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

I can section off my boat, if necessary. I have a solid fuel fire at the front of the boat. Central Heating and an electric fire, to use if necessary. My curtains are lined.

I mainly write children’s books, which can be viewed in several ways: www.lulu.com/spotlight/greensleevesuk, www.thewoodknottales.com. A free download on the latter. They are also on Amazon

You can see Toni’s children’s books here or on her own web site 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 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.

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