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 Violet Mae

Meet Peggy Melmoth; wife, mother of two small children, blogger and freelance writer. She does all this from the cosy confines of her traditional narrowboat. How does she manage? {{{0}}}

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

Peggy Melmoth, living aboard with husband, and two daughters aged 4 and 2.

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

When I was younger I thought it would be romantic to live the gypsy lifestyle, and when I got older I thought a narrowboat would be a way to achieve that. I also couldn’t afford to buy property because I was twenty-something and living in London. My first boat was a 45ft cruiser called Emily Rose. I decided to live aboard so that I could own my own home, and so that I could have the freedom of travelling and living close to nature.

Peggy steering

Peggy steering

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

Violet Mae. Came with the name. It was the name of the grandmother of the previous owner.

What is you boat length and style?

70ft trad Colecraft

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

11 years

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

24/7 ha ha! I have lived aboard for eleven years.

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

Freelance writer, business blogger and virtual assistant.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

How often things break down; engine, heating, plumbing, electrics, there always seems to be something!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Being close to nature, water, trees, swans, views.

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

I would install a much bigger water tank. Our last boat had a huge water tank that lasted for weeks, we even had a bath. On our current boat the water lasts a week. But this could be partly because we now have a washing machine, which we didn’t have before….

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

We have a car, but I know that with some organisation boaters have had groceries delivered to the Cut.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Ah – I honestly didn’t read ahead to this question when I answered the last one! Yes, I wanted a washing machine ever since our second child was born as we were doing so many trips to the launderette. It was on my list of what I was looking for in a new boat.

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

3 MiFi or 3 dongle. The service is quite good.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

That is very hard to choose. We love the River Stort, especially the beginning up to Roydon, and also Sawbridgeworth. We also love Stockers Lock in Rickmansworth and the lakes nearby there. But right now we’ve chosen a winter mooring in Bulbourne, near Tring on the Grand Union and I think the canal where it passes the reservoirs between Bulbourne and Marsworth is stunning. But now I’ve just remembered how breathtaking it is crossing the Pontcysyllte aqueduct on the Llangollen canal… No I don’t think I can choose! Good question though.

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

We have a big solar panel and run the engine every day.

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

Realise that as well as living with a fraction of the possessions you have now, getting rid of stuff is a continual process. Make sure you have a budget for engine repairs and other repairs unless you are a mechanic and excellent at DIY and problem solving. If you don’t have a washing machine on board get the launderette list from Aylesbury Canal Society or the Inland Waterways Association. Get a Nicholson’s guide and a First Mate’s Guide by Carole Sampson.

You can find out more about Peggy’s life afloat byreading her blog

Useful Information
Entertainment
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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  • Do You Want a Widget? « peggymelmoth Tuesday,24 January, 2012 at 10:08 am

    […] website Living on a Narrowboat. I’ll be providing some content for Paul and he has featured me in an interview on the site. When Paul emails me he has this great email signature that includes his photo, social media and […]