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A Case Study Of Live Aboard Narrowboat The Lady C

After forty years of working in the USA and South Africa, John and Brenda Rogers purchased a narrowboat rather than a much more expensive house then set off to continuously cruise the inland waterways network.

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

John and Brenda Rogers in The Lady Cs galley

John and Brenda Rogers in The Lady Cs galley

My name is John Rogers and my lady wife is Brenda, we have two dogs Rosie a 12 year old Border Collie Tri-Colour and Pip a 10 year old Rough Collie (Lassie Dog), we are both into our retirement years but young at heart and also young in attitude and body both still very active.

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

We have spent the last 40 odd years living in the US, then South Africa then France.  The US and South Africa were career moves (actually I was transferred to the US from the European Head Office then to South Africa to help our distributors establish a stronger market share especially with new products.

In 1964 I joined IBM and have spent the next 40 years in IT directly related roles, primarily marketing related for the last 20. Then I moved into general business management, in the end moving into renewable energies.  Then during Christmas 2013 my wife’s niece who lives in Basle in Switzerland said that a friend of hers was being transferred to the US and had a house just over the border in France wanted a House Sitter.

Brenda was really quite homesick and we always intended to come back to the UK so this was a fairly cost effective way of getting back to Europe and being close to our sons who also live in Switzerland.  This was a great opportunity to be a springboard back to the UK and gave us time with them and our grandchildren so we immediately decided to take the jump.  This amazed our niece as we during the phone conversation said YES.

One big challenge we had was the value of the South African Rand compared to the Pound so we knew we would have quite high challenges to find a house we wanted in our price range.  Also, as we hadn’t been here very often over the previous 50 years we also wanted to see more of the UK before we decided where to settle done.  An option we always considered was a Narrowboat.  While the living costs aren’t any cheaper than living in a house, the purchase price was markedly less so we started looking for a boat in the autumn of 2013.

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

The Lady C on a marina mooring

The Lady C on a marina mooring

Our Boat is “The Lady C”, and we inherited the name but quite like it, nothing to do with our recollections of D H Lawrence.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

No, we purchased the boat thru ABNB at Crick so moored there for a couple of months while we got used to life aboard. We actually moved onto the boat from France in May of 2014, so had the benefit of stunning weather for our indoctrination.

What is you boat length and style?

The Lady C is a 60ft traditional Style

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

The Lady C is our first boat, but I have been on them before on holidays with my parents also quite au fait with boating in general with yachts etc.

How did you finance your boat?

We were lucky enough to be able to pay cash from our savings and pension nest eggs.

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

We are currently among the jolly band of Live Aboard Continuous Cruisers, so on board all the time.

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

Not yet but would really like to be able to use my IT experience especially with Microsoft Office products to help others build presentations, business plans with Word and Excel as this was my particular strength in the US and South Africa.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Probably the lack of space, which isn’t helped by having two dogs, if we end up staying afloat we would most likely go for a Widebeam.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The freedom (especially when cruising) and the ability to be independent of all.

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

Probably have a semi trad or cruiser to give space at the back while cruising so it would be easier for us both to experience the glories of the countryside OR change the kitchen to be a U shape, currently we have units each side so walking past each other when one of us is in the Kitchen makes the lack of space more evident.

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

Planning and clever shopping. The bigger issue is Water Points

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a Candy Washing Machine and a Drier so not a problem, just exacerbates the water situation.

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

Pump out and much prefer it to those folks we see trooping up and down with their slopping cassettes.

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

We have been quite lucky in this regard, we first asked (on your blogs) which provider we should opt for and went for “3”, unfortunately Crick is one of their weakest areas so initially is was difficult, then I purchased a signal booster, and since then that combined with their MiFi unit we have had god or great reception at least 95% of the time.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Tough question, we have cruised extensively over the last 4 months, covering The GUC Leicester line, the GU up to Coventry, then the Coventry, on to the Ashby, then the T&M up to the Macclesfield including the Cauldon then up across through the Cheshire locks to the Shroppie and back along the Warks to the GUC then back along the T&M to Barton Turns for our wintering.

Given all of this we probably would vote for the Ashby.

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

We have the following onboard equipment:-

1. Alternator – Prestoilite 90 Amp
2. Batteries – 4 new 105 AH
3. Inverter – Victron Multiplus 3 KVA
4. Power Management – Battery Monitor

When we were cruising we used about 5 pounds of diesel per day on average and that covered our cruising and power needs, if we stayed in one place then we ran the motor for about 3 hours which gave us enough power for our basic needs, lighting, television, fridge (12 v).

We have Diesel Central Heating that we didn’t really need too often.  At the Marina for Winter we are using about 0.46 pounds a day for our electricity, not yet sure how much diesel, but we have a calorifier with three coils so have multiple ways of generating hot water.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

We are used to the cold, in the States we used to sleep with our windows open and the year we left (1994) it never rose above zero day or night from late December until early March so quite hardy souls Too warm, as yet we haven’t fired up the Morso Squirrel and turn on the central heating several times a day to top up the warmth.

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

Make sure you can live without life’s luxuries most of the time and are happy with your own company, especially if planning to be continuous cruisers. You also need to be quite practical as you will most likely have to some general maintenance.

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Live Aboard Narrowboat Mr David

After decades of international travel during an army career, Brenda and David Scowcroft have settled in one spot. They now live on their narrowboat, Mr. David, in Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham. It wouldn’t be my first choice for an idyllic mooring spot, but they’ve been there for ten years so it must suit them.

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

Brenda and David Scowcroft

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

David was the Army for approximately 35 years and I was a civil servant.  We met in Berlin and served in Northern Ireland, Germany 3 times, Poland, England 4 times, Hungary, Scotland, and Cyprus ending up in central London.  So, not having a “base” as such and a wanderlust that had not been fulfilled a boat seemed a good idea.

After visiting several boat shows and lots of second hand boats we decided on a new build and as I fell in love with every Warble boat that I came across. We took the plunge in 1997 to order our new home.  Never having actually been out on a boat we were at the mercy of our builders and Janet and Kevin Wadsworth guided us through our desires and we came up with, for us, the perfect boat.

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

The boat is called “Mr David”.  Because David has an unusual surname and many foreigners couldn’t pronounce it he usually ended up being called by his rank and David – so on leaving the Army he became a Mister.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

We are moored in Gas Street Basin in the centre of Birmingham.  We were on the waiting list for 2 years and have been here now for 10 years.

What is you boat length and style?

Mr David's pretty galley

Mr David’s pretty galley

Mr David is a 17.5 meter traditional style boat.  It has the usual layout, Seating, fire, galley, single berth bedroom/office, walk through bathroom, double berth, engine etc.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

The boat was launched in 1999 – so 15 years now.

How did you finance your boat?

David’s Army gratuity and savings.

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

We live on her all the time.

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

Fortunately, David retired from the Army at 52 and apart from winter jobs for the first 5 or so years, we have not had to work since we got the boat.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Um….

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Everything.

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

Mr Davids lounge

Make the “walk in” wardrobe not “walk in” and use up the wasted space for more storage.

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

We shop in local shops, take a bus to the nearest town or at a supermarket if it is beside the cut.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a Bosch washer/dryer, the original one was  great as we could fill with hot and cold water, but the replacement one only uses cold water and the element is too strong for the batteries, so only use the cold water wash.  Launderettes if there is one handy.

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

We have a macerating toilet with holding tank.

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

We have a 3G dongle.  It is very reliable.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

How long have you got?

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

We have 3 solar panels and the rest is by using the engine.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very.

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

It is not for everyone, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Live Aboard Narrowboat Mister Smiths

Darrell, like me, moved on to a narrowboat thinking that his floating home would be a low cost housing option. He was wrong about the cost, but his lifestyle choice was spot on.

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

Darrell Smith

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

I’m 51. After a long term relationship ended I didn’t want to get another mortgage so opted for a narrow boat, thinking life would be cheaper Ha! Ha!

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

Mister Smith's resting after a hard day's cruising

Mister Smith’s resting after a hard day’s cruising

It may appear vain but I wanted a good old fashioned English name but couldn’t find one that I liked. Most were Germanic. A colleague at work suggested my name for the boat name stating that it’s as English as it comes and being in a rush to register with CRT it stuck. Boat name;  Mister Smith’s

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

No I don’t have a permanent  mooring but would love one but paying back my loan for the next few years it will be difficult the moorings near me are either full or prohibitively expensive. CRT were unhelpful when I tried to get a winter mooring.

What is you boat length and style?

The boat is a 57″ cruiser style

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

It depends on how you look at it. I ordered the boat a lined sailaway in January 2014 and took delivery in August 2014.

How did you finance your boat?

I took out a loan to top up my savings so that I could get a new boat that I could personalise rather than take on a used one and have to refit to my style and carry out repairs.

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

I’m a living aboard at the minute

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

Yes I’m working. I’m a carer with disabled young adults.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Having to move to meet the terms of my licence then be told I might need to do 500 lock miles a year. This is ok if you are retired or unemployed (as there seems to be  few round here) who have that free time but as a carer who works long hours time and money are precious and not that plentiful. I could be forced off the water by the CRT.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The tranquility and quiet lifestyle the people you meet and being able to cruise when I would like not to meet the needs of the CRT.

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

I would make it seven feet shorter so I could get a mooring.

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

I used the local merchants.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I use my mother’s machine when visiting or launderettes.

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

Cassette toilette

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

I use the personal hot spot on my phone and link it to my tablet.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

I’ve not seen too many but having done the Cheshire ring and Llangollen my favourite is the Macclesfield Canal beautiful country side not many locks great transport links and towns to re supply friendly people.

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

I use the boat alternator at the minute but am looking into solar panels. I don’t know how much I use as the Lec fridge freezer I got second hand doesn’t seem to state what power it is although it is a 12v one.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

 

A solid fuel stove is essential on any live aboard narrowboat

A solid fuel stove is essential on any live aboard narrowboat

When my coalbrokedale little wenlock multi-fuel burner is on its lovely and warm. But if I return to the boat and it’s not been lit it can be very cold and take a while to warm up.

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

Make sure you look it’s what you want. Look into moorings in your area re cost availability and location before choosing your boat. I bought the biggest I could that will be able to navigate all the UK waterways when I retire but will pay premium until I do.

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Live Aboard Narrowboat Eleftheria

Single boater Stuart Inglis cruises the network extensively and continuously during the warmer months then escapes to a more pleasant climate for damp and dreary winter. It’s a cruising plan which many boaters would like to copy.

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

Stuart looking very stylish on a summer Thames cruise

Stuart looking very stylish on a summer Thames cruise

My name is Stuart Inglis and I am 62. I have two ex significant others and no dog, for reasons that will become apparent (the dog that is not the exes!)

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

All my life I have been a sailor and had always harboured the ambition to stop working and sail away into the sunset. This may have been just a dream originally but, with my three children grown up I retired (gave up work) in 2000 and set sail from London, down the Channel and then across the Bay of Biscay to Northern Spain.

For the next five years I sailed slowly around the western Mediterranean spending the first year in Portugal and southern Spain, another year exploring the Balearics, followed by Corsica and Sardinia and ending up in Italy. The plan to continue cruising to the Adriatic and from there on to the Greek Islands came to an abrupt end when I had a problem with the boat mechanics which necessitated sailing the boat back to Menorca.

Having decided to return to England I then tried to rejoin the rat-race but, after a couple of years, decided that working was not something I enjoyed. During these travels I never found any other place that I would prefer to live. I have always loved England and what better way to see the country than on a narrowboat travelling at 3 mph.

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

Eleftheria heads towards Tower Bridge

Eleftheria heads towards Tower Bridge

My boat is called Eleftheria (I had to Google it up!). She came with the name which means Freedom in Greek. Perfect as far as I was concerned for the lifestyle I was seeking.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

I am a continuous cruiser (in the truest sense) and have been since August last year.

What is you boat length and style?

Eleftheria is a 58 foot cruiser stern.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

I have owned Eleftheria since January 2013. Having carried out lots of research and searching websites for suitable boats, I drove up to a well known marina and viewed about half a dozen boats. I returned home without having seen anything suitable but there was one boat which was fairly basic but had possibilities. Two days later, after a cheeky offer which was surprisingly accepted, I was the proud owner of a narrowboat.

How did you finance your boat?

I paid cash. My pension from my previous career kicked in when I reached 60 and I was able to take out a lump sum.

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

I am a full-time continuous cruiser so spend the majority of my time on the boat. My plan is to take advantage of the CRT winter moorings and go somewhere warm for the winter which is why I do not have a dog.

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

I was able to retire (finally) when I was 60 but have rented my house out since 1997 to finance my travels.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Winters!….. and the narrowboaters, certainly around London, who overstay on visitor moorings so genuine visitors cannot stop.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The freedom.

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

I am currently looking into ways of providing instant-ish hot water without using a gas heater or running the engine so if anyone has any suggestions.

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

I have a small car which I move from one spot to another, moving the boat and then cycling back down the towpath on my fold up bicycle to pick up the car. This works really well until the time when I cycled the 10 miles back to the car only to find I had left the car keys on the boat! Still it ( and working the locks single-handedly) keeps you fit.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I have a washing machine on the boat but have not used it yet. I visit my daughter and take my bags of washing to her – it’s called divine retribution!

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

I have a cassette toilet with a spare cassette. Apart from my initial concerns about emptying it I am now happy with this system.

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

I use the 3 mi-fi and am happy with the service although I do have some problems with reception in the more remote parts of the system.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Stuart breathes a sigh of relief after a lengthy lock flight

Stuart breathes a sigh of relief after a lengthy lock flight

Having now completed all of the southern canals I have loved each of them for different reasons but if I was pressed it would have to be the Wey Navigation

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

When not running the engine I have two 165w solar panels which provide me with enough electricity during the summer and a trickle charge during the winter. This keeps the batteries topped up and the fridge going. Apart from the fridge and LED lighting I have a 240v TV/DVD which I use occasionally. Anything that needs charging( lap-top, i-pad, phone, razor etc.) is done while I am on the move.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Vthe boat came with a diesel fired central heating system. I had a solid fuel stove fitted last December with an eco-fan which is fine in the main area of the boat but does not quite reach the bedroom area.

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

Do your research………then do it!!

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Live Aboard Narrowboat Andante

Jonathan is a marina based live aboard boat owner who likes to escape to the tranquility of nearby canals when work allows.

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

I’m Jonathan Whiting, I live alone on my Narrowboat Andante

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

I’ve had an interest in boating since a holiday on the Shropshire Union and Llangollen Canals when I was about ten. Many years and a few boating holidays later I was in the position to buy a boat and take to life afloat. It’s the best decision I ever made.

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

My boat is Andante, this is the original name and I saw no reason to change it, though it is one of the commonest names on the system.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

At the moment I am moored in Nottingham Castle Marina. I plan to travel around the system but for the moment the Marina is convenient for work and family (and shops!). An hours cruise gets me in open countryside, wonderful.

What is you boat length and style?

An idyllic mooring for Andante

An idyllic mooring for Andante

Andante is a 57 foot, trad stern

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

I’ve owned Andante for 18 months.

How did you finance your boat?

Part savings and the balance with a marine mortgage.

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

I live aboard full time.

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

I own a business, normally run by a manager but sometimes I have to go and earn my keep.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Difficult to say, I suppose I’ll find something one day.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Practical flooring for dogs

Practical flooring for dogs

The friendly and supportive community, both in the marina and out and about.

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

When I have time to cruise more I would like to fit solar panels.

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

Rucksack and walking boots! Being on my own there is not too much to carry if I plan carefully.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I bought a small twin tub washing machine last year and have been delighted with it.

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

The boat came with a cassette toilet and I am completely happy with it. It was not a critical factor in my choice of boat.

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

A 3Mifi, with external aerial, provides wifi around the boat. There are places it cannot get a signal but it has proved pretty reliable most of the time. Phone on a different network gives a good backup.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

So far my favourite is the North Oxford but I’ve got a lot more exploring to do so that might change.

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

Twin alternators provide charging so running the engine is necessary every day or two when out of the marina (hence thinking about solar). Most equipment on board is 12V, a 1600W modified sine wave invertor provides 240V when required. LED lighting has reduced consumption noticeably.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very warm, in fact I’ve never been so warm! A multi-fuel stove is essential for the liveaboard (in my opinion) and provides copious heat, a diesel heater provides hot water and heats three radiators when required. I think at least two forms of heating are important for a live aboard.

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

Research, spend as much time as you can talking to boat owners, read every website you can find. When you’ve done that, hire a boat, in bad weather if you can, and see what you think then. I suspect you’ll love it.

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Idlewild

A single lady and a continuously cruising floating business. Illia has managed to combine working for a living while she cruises the English canal network. It’s the Holy Grail for many.

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

I’m Illia Price. My dog Morgan is a Patterdale/ Border terrier cross. She’s named after the spiced rum to which I am very partial.

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

I’ve bought houses in need of TLC, lived and run my business in them whilst renovating them for years. With increasing age and two small grandsons I wanted a bit more free time. Life afloat offered to satisfy my wanderlust and my own detached, movable home seemed ideal. I read Paul’s excellent guides and spent many hours on the net learning all I could about narrowboats, costs and equipment. I looked very carefully at the rules of CC’ing to see if it would be practical for me. I like living in small spaces and am pretty outdoorsy and handy so it seemed ideal.

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

NB Idlewild

NB Idlewild

She’s called Idlewild but I shall be changing it to Caledonia with a renaming ceremony when she’s out for blacking, in honour of my 30 years in Scotland.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

No, I like to move around and choose my distance from neighbours. I have a winter towpath mooring permit so I can stay close to my grandsons for babysitting duties during the dark months.

What is you boat length and style?

48′ cruiser. She was built by Harborough Marine Ltd in 1971.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

6 months

How did you finance your boat?

Sale of my house.

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

All of it.

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

I’m an industrial engraver. I make botanical labels for gardens and arboretums throughout the UK and as far afield as Madeira and Mexico. I use a PC which drives two engraving tables.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Muddy towpaths and abandoned dog mess.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Having the freedom to go where I want when I want. Not having grass to mow or gutters to clean out. Listening to the rain and wind outside whilst cosy by the fire. I love it all.

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

A quieter engine would be nice but other than that she will be perfect once I’ve finished working on her.

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

I cheat a bit at present as I still have a vehicle but look forward to doing without. When away from it I moor within walking distance of shops and dog gets lots of walkies.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I have a smallish plastic twin tub. One of my best purchases at only about £100. Does a great job.

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

I’ve a cassette and very happy with it. I wanted to avoid a pump out as I didn’t fancy carrying my waste around for weeks. I also sought to avoid pump out costs and space taken up by a tank. It was the one aspect of live aboard life I was not looking forward to but in fact as long as the loo is looked after it doesn’t smell and even emptying and cleaning it out is not the grim task I was expecting.

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

I’ve a Huawei Mifi thingy which allows me to wirelessly connect PC and tablet. I use Three on a PAYG tariff. It’s great. Occasionally reception is poor but mostly it’s fine. Also use my (paid for) phone for which I have a Three contract sim which gives me many minutes, unlimited texts and 2gb of data for only £10 a month.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Still so much to explore but so far I love it around Hockley Heath and Lapworth (apart from the lift bridges!) I felt privileged to see the Kingfisher(s?) on a regular basis when I was moored there.

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

I’ve a Kipor suitcase generator with an LPG conversion. It’s running (by the towpath) every working day for about 4 hours. I also charge my batteries and gadgets while it’s running. A 13kg bottle of gas lasts about 30 hours. I also changed two old (ugly) solar panels for two 100w semi flexibles which I stuck to the roof. They are great and I will be adding more.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Toastie. My only heat source is a small Villager stove but it warms the boat quickly. With big front and rear decks my inside space is only around 30′ and open plan apart from the bathroom. The stove is close to the centre so the heat percolates through the boat.

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

Carefully consider the lifestyle. It’s not for everyone. There’s a lot of physical humping of fuel, gas etc. Unless on a serviced mooring one has to plan on cruising to fill the water and stock up on food and fuel, as well as emptying the toilet and disposing of rubbish on a regular basis. It all consumes a surprising amount of time and it’s not pleasant when it’s cold and wet. One quickly becomes frozen standing at the tiller for any length of time in winter. There’s no space for unnecessary stuff and on a basic boat like mine electric kitchen gadgets, powerful vacuum cleaners etc. are a thing of the past. It’s not a cheap option. By the time you’ve taken fuel, maintenance, license fees etc. into consideration it’s comparable to keeping a small house.

Continuous cruising sounds romantic but is not always plain sailing. I could not do it if I had to go out to work. If you rely on a vehicle it can be hard to find parking near your mooring and it’s a right pain having to move the vehicle as you progress along the canal. In winter the towpath will often be muddy and it gets everywhere, especially if you have dogs. You often cannot moor in that perfect spot you see because it’s already taken or too shallow. In some places there can be a steady stream of walkers, cyclists and dogs going past, which is fine but some will peer in your windows. Your dog may bark every time somebody goes past. My boat is not the smartest looking, planning on repainting in the summer. But I do keep her clean and tidy and I don’t store stuff on the roof or by the towpath. Most people are friendly and curious about the lifestyle but some obviously consider one to be some kind of gyppo.

But if you’re willing to embrace the lifestyle it’s fantastic. Your own detached home wherever you choose to moor. Freedom from noise, bustle and traffic. Hundreds of miles of canals and rivers to explore. The delight of watching the wildlife. The brightness of the stars away from light pollution. The reflections on the water. A sunny summer day is lovely but winter has it’s own special beauty too. I feel very self contained, at one with my surroundings and love the fact that if I choose I can just up and move and not a trace is left behind.

I would always recommend researching as much as possible and getting some training if you’re new to narrowboating. Apart from a bit of easy steering on a hire boat I had no narrowboat experience whatsoever when I bought mine near Reading. My maiden voyage was to be the 130 miles and as many locks to get her up to the Midlands by myself. I booked a one to one helmsman’s course for the first day which was great and gave me the confidence to get on with it.

Also don’t trust the seller, be it an individual or a broker. Get your own independent surveys and advice. Look around at other similar boats for comparison.

If you buy an old boat be prepared to spend a lot of money on it! Think outside the box. You can source stuff a lot more reasonably priced than your average marina by buying online or from DIY store.

Illia’s business web site is here. She has also written a fascinating account of her time afloat on the forum here and here.

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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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Da Vinci

One couple and two boats, one to live on and one to work from. Alison and Louise earn a living from their floating home in the centre of Birmingham. The location isn’t everyone’s idea of an idyllic mooring but they are more than happy with it.

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

Alison on board floating shop Lowry

Alison on board floating shop Lowry

Alison Tuck Married to Louise Moore (canalartist) we have two dogs Harvey and Squash both rescues staffie cross.

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

I was a senior design engineer working for many of the large Car Companies designing window seals, door lock systems, seats etc. Working in the Computer Aided Design sector. Took me all over the world. I got fed up of the travel and long hours so came up with Davinci crafts. It allows me to live and work on the canals. While still doing what I love which is design and engineering. Met Louise at Uni and we’ve been together ever since (21 years). Louise is a fine artist and works from the boats she also is a director of a Fine Art Company manufacturing Artists Canvases and has a fine art shop in Birmingham.

We moved on 11 years ago, After Louise lost both her Parents. It was the inheritance money that enabled us to start a Life afloat which was Louise’s dream not mine. I soon fell in love with it too.

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

We have two NB DaVinci (our home named after leonardo Davinci who was an artist and engineer! not the bloody DaVinci Code!!! lol) and Butty Lowry (our workshop for Davinci Crafts). Lowry is a cut and shut half bantock and we think old BW hopper. So Lowry being an industrial Artist seem apt!

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

I have a commercial mooring at Warwick Bar in Birmingham Digbeth Branch of the GU. I can trade as a shop on site from Lowry (DaVinci Crafts) We have permission to reside at the moorings for 8 months. Which suits because we travel around in the summer Trading from the towpath.

What is you boat length and style?

Davinci is a 54ft Mike christian Josher painted Black and purple so not very traditional! Lowry looks like a covered old working Boat 50ft

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

11 years

How did you finance your boat?

Inheritance

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

Full time live aboard.

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

Yes run a small business

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Grumpy boaters who are in a rush!!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The freedom that you get from societal norms. Watching the wood burner and being warm and cosy in the winter.

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

cant think of anything as just re modelled and decorated so happy.

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

Walk, cycle or get Tesco’s to deliver to a local pub.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

washing machine

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

composter, very happy no stress about finding an elsan or being full as it goes in the bin!

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

mifi

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Staffs & Worcester and the BCN

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

Batteries 3000w inverter, and a 4KW generator to run Lowry

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Roasting! I cant stand being cold.

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

Work out what suits you and the way you want to live. There are loads of different solutions on offer so don’t listen to everyone else because there solution is what suits them. And definitely Hire a narrowboat and spend a couple of weeks on it in the winter because this is the most difficult time of year on the towpath and you will quickly learn what you need and don’t need.

You can find out more about the businesses Alison and Louise run by clicking on the following links…

Da Vinci Crafts

Canal Artist

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Misty Blue

After a lifetime in engineering, one man and his dog take to the inland waterways for a mobile and rewarding retirement exploring the waterways of England and Wales.

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

My name is Kelvin and my ‘significant other’ is a gorgeous red and white Border Collie called Sky. I also have a partner who joins me often…

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

Always loved the water and sailing, but thought after selling my last yacht it was time to move onto the inland waterways. Ex-RAF electrical engineer followed by assorted jobs mainly in the fork lift truck industry, culminating in Middle East service manger.

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

Narrowboat Misty Blue

Originally Kundalila when I bought her last year, that name was roundly disliked by the family so Misty Blue was chosen instead

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

Did have a mooring at Welford, but gave it up in November to go CC

What is you boat length and style?

60ft semi-trad

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

19 months

How did you finance your boat?

Sale of a second house

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

Since June virtually full time. Anticipate odd weeks away, may for a sunshine holiday

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

Retired in June

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Mud, unable to keep trousers clean

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Pretty much everything else

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

Probably the engine, but that’s because I am paranoid about engines since sailing days. I appreciate an emergency on the cut is not the same, but still…

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

Stock up as and when.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Smalls in the shower when I shower, bigger stuff at marinas

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

Dump-through. Happy enough, I for sure don’t want to trundle a bucket of s*** along the tow path. Seems to me, if frosty times are a-coming, you ensure it is regularly emptied.

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

I have a Wi-Fi from 3, generally very pleased. Originally on a monthly contract at 5gb for £16, I went onto a 24-month contract at 15gb for £15

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Of the (few) I have been on, the Ashby. Erewash is the worst by far.

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

Everything is 12v; I have 2x110ah leisure batteries and 2x100w solar panels with an MPPT controller – I may well increase the number next year. I have also fitted a sterling alternator regulator and a Smart gauge.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

I have a wood-burner and 2 rad CH. So far, I only use the wood burner, though I am renowned for not feeling the cold. During modifying the boat to what I wanted, the living area was reduced by about 1/2, the kitchen moved forward and a second double bed fitted onto that space. With the corridor door shut aft of that bed it is quite cosy.

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

Watch you don’t fall in!

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Quaintrelle

After a chance meeting on a cycling holiday in Jordan, Aileen and Mike can now cycle together along the towpath next to their beautiful floating home as they continuously cruises the connected waterways of England and Wales.

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

Aileen Queenan and husband Mike

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

DSC_7311I’m 46 and from Edinburgh and enjoyed life there working at Edinburgh University with a good social life. I met Mike on a cycling holiday in Jordan in 2010 and we married in February 2013. Mike was due to semi-retire in 2014 and we decided we wanted to do some travelling but without the hassle of packing up every time we moved. Neither of us had really done the UK extensively, so we decided that travelling on a narrowboat that was our home fitted the bill – we could explore the UK with not a suitcase in sight.  We had taken a few holidays on narrowboats, and it rained a lot, yet we still came home having loved every minute of it.

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

Quaintrelle. Well, we couldn’t decide on a name, so I posted on Facebook for suggestions and said the winner would get a week on the boat. Some of the suggestions were awful, but we shortlisted our favourites and got friends to vote. We didn’t really like the winner. Then a friend posted the word Quaintrelle on Facebook, saying she aspired to be this, the definition being; a lady who lives life passionately through leisurely pursuits and looking beautiful – exactly what our boat is!

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

No. We are continuous cruisers.

What is you boat length and style?

57ft semi-trad. (You might have seen her in September’s Waterways World – they did a boat test on her).

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Six months.

How did you finance your boat?

We were in a fortunate position that we were able to purchase outright from the builder with staged payments.

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

DSC_574811 months probably, we live on her permanently, but will maybe head off somewhere warm for a few weeks in February.

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

Mike has his own business, so he still does a bit of consultancy, and I do the admin for him.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

We’re still very much in the honeymoon phase and have had a wonderful summer, but I guess it’s planning when you need a pump-out/water/diesel and making sure that you’re somewhere where it’s all available. Oh, and washing the boat……..

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Everything else!

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

The kitchen tap!  It’s too high above the sink, and to short a spout, so when you rinse something it splashes all over the worktops 🙁

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

We have bikes on board that are stored in a front locker, so we cycle and fill our panier bags. We use the internet to find the nearest supermarket. On a wine-run we can get 12 bottles between us on the bikes 😉

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a compact washing machine on board.  We have used laundrettes for bedding and towels when they’ve been to hand.

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

We have a pump-out toilet with macerator.  Very pleased with it, it is just like a normal toilet.  It does get a bit pongy when it’s almost full, but that’s just boating life for you.

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

DSC_5754

We have a Huwei mobile dongle, 3G.  It’s been fantastic, only a couple of places in six months where we’ve had no service for a couple of nights.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Gosh, we’ve only just begun….. I did love the Leeds Liverpool on the Skipton to Foulridge section, going across the dales, so looking forward to doing that in Quaintrelle at some point.

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

We move most days, so the leisure batteries get charged up. We use about 10-15% overnight.  We’re always careful to do washing and anything that might use a bit more power whist we’re moving.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

We haven’t had a winter yet, but we have a diesel powered Heritage Stove on board which provides hot water, central heating and cooking.  We also have a solid fuel burner.  In the last week we have had the solid fuel on, but found once we’d cooked on the Heritage we had to open the windows as it was too warm.  So I think we’ll be toasty.

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

Do a few holidays first, in all sorts of weather. See if you think you can live in the space.  Ask all the obvious questions on forums and use Paul’s calculator to see how much it will cost you.  Everyone seems to think it is cheap as chips, and whilst at the end of the day it is cheaper than living in a house, there are still costs.

If you want to find out more about Aileen and Mike’s travels you can read their unusual but very effective Twitter boating blog.

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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 website.

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Lady River Mouse

Hilary and Nigel Lambert decided to grab the bull by the horns, leave the rat race and live the dream. They are now continuous cruisers after two years moored in a marina and loving every minute of their new freedom.

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

Hilary and Nigel Lambert and jack russell terrier Flynn.

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

I was a stressed carer for my mum who has alzheimers and my husband was stuck in a job which was making him increasingly unhappy. One Thursday in May 2012 we decided that life is just too short not to get on and live your dreams. So a letter of resignation was written and handed in on the Friday while I arranged to put our house into auction.  On the Saturday we started looking at boats.

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

Lady River Mouse.  We inherited the name and after discovering it was an anagram we decided to keep it.  We like to leave it for others to work out what it means.

Do you have a permanent mooring? If so, tell me about it.

We have been moored permanently at Sawley Marina since July 2012 but on 30th June 2014 we became continuous cruisers as we now have the freedom to move on.

What is you boat length and style?

Lady River Mouse is a 1986 50ft cruiser stern narrowboat.  We believe she was built by Alvechurch and is an ex hire boat.
She is perfect for us.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Since May 2012.

How did you finance your boat?

We sold our house and all our goods and chattels.  It was the most liberating experience!

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

We live aboard so all 12 months.

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

No.  After breaking her leg my mum is now in a care home so I am no longer a full time carer.  Nigel has retired, or at  least he thinks he has – I think the roof needs painting, we need some roof boxes making and a good engine service……….well you get the picture, there is always something needs doing.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Honestly nothing. We are living a life long dream and loving every minute of it.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The boating community who are so generous with their advice, time, and the tools for any job we can come up with.

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

I would love a bigger bathroom (ours is tiny).  When we were looking for a boat we did not like the walk through
bathrooms, it was something we had never seen before but now I think the extra space they give would be positively
luxurious particularly now we are leaving the convenience of the marina and all its facilities.

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

We walk.  The Pearsons guides tell you where the shops are and an ordnance survey (or the internet) show you the footpaths so we just moor somewhere close by take a rucksack for heavy stuff, a few shopping bags and the dog and off we go, most villages have a co-op or small convenience store.  We also love to hunt out farm shops and occasionally can get eggs and fruit/veg from canalside homes.  If we are near a big town then we try to stock up on dry goods and household items.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

This is an interesting question as we have never been out long enough to run out of clothes before getting back to the
marina and the laundry.  We do not have a washing machine on board so I guess we’ll be hand washing the smalls and looking out for laundrettes as we travel.

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

We have an elsan with 3 cassettes.  We are perfectly happy with it.  In the marina it is easy but out and about we have to
make sure to make use of CRT elsan points whenever we see them and occasionally a marina if necessary.  We were out for 6 weeks last summer and had no problems and we only had 2 cassettes then.

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

We use a 3G hotspot on our phone.  It is usually OK for our needs and coverage is reasonable but not perfect.  Our main
use is staying in touch with family so a few days here or there is not critical.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

So far we really enjoy the Trent and Mersey especially around Shugborough Hall and Great Heywood.

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

We keep the batteries topped up by running the engine while cruising and by generator if we are static for any length of
time.  Everything except the TV uses 12v and the only thing that runs all the time is the fridge.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very warm.  We have been warmer over the last two winters than we ever were in our house.  When would you ever open the windows with the central heating on?  We are better at managing our stove to keep the boat at about 24C now but it is not unusual for us to have the hatch open whatever the weather outside.

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

I am probably not the right person to give advice as I believe that if you want something bad enough you should do it and
everything will be fine. Life is for living. I’m afraid we also bought our boat after falling in love with it, something
just felt right – a real case of heart over head.  We did look at quite a number of boats and we really liked the layout
of Lady River Mouse which seems quite unusual with the galley at the front, cabin in the middle and the bedroom at the
back – it works for us.

____________________________________________________________________

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 website.

 

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