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 View From The Engineroom Of Narrowboat James

a view from narrowboat James' engine room

My boat is moored on the west side of Calcutt Boats’ Meadows marina. It’s a stunning location. To the west – in front of the boat – are open fields and the entrance to the larger of our two woodland areas. To the south is the view from my galley windows; a grassed peninsula between my boat and the neighbouring group of moorings. To the north is my neighbour, narrowboat Nell. She’s almost new and puts my boat to shame. To the east behind the boat is the ever so pretty and spacious Meadows Marina. That’s the view you can see in the photograph. The grassy area is the one acre island in the centre of the marina. The grass us kept short all year round to encourage our birds. One hundred trees were planted on the island when the marina was built in 2006. Ninety nine have survived and flourished. In a few years time they’ll provide and beautiful and colourful canopy. Behind the boats to the right of the island is our 110 berth Locks Marina, the entrance to the Grand Union canal and our slipway.

It’s such a peaceful place to live. Actually, it’s a peaceful place to live most of the time. At the moment it’s a bit noisy. Not from the British Waterways contractors driving piles into the wharf, but from our resident birds. They’re getting a bit frisky. The mallards are chasing each other round and round the boats, the Canada geese are honking for England and the swans are flying none stop between our marinas and Napton reservoir. It’s hectic, but I love it.

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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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