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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Far Star

Meet Jan, her partner Ian and Pepper the blue merle border collie (don’t know what kind of dog that is but it sounds posh). Jan, like many liveaboards, has forsaken her stressful full time job to lead a life of tranquility while she paints canal artwork and does a little gardening in the warmer months. Not a bad life, is it?{{{0}}}

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

.I’m Jan – 54 years old – retired for 4 years. My partner Ian is 42 and still working (bless him). Pepper the dog is a blue merle border collie with two ice blue eyes – everyone falls for him. He’s 14 now and having recovered from a stroke last year – still acting like a puppy at times.

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

With Dad in the army, I had grown up moving around every 3 years or so and this continued into my adult life – becoming restless after being in one spot for a couple of years. Both Ian and I had lived in caravans in a former life and when we got together we first lived in a flat then a larger house with garden. 5 years of the house and complete renovation, we decided a life afloat would be for us. At that time I was in a very stressful job and life afloat gave me the opportunity to turn my back on that as we would be able to survive on one salary.

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

Our boat is Far Star – she’s 14 years old, so was already named when we got her. We have no intention to change her name – it is said to be bad luck, but Far Star suits us anyhow.

What is your boat length and style?

She is a 70 foot long trad narrow.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

We have had Far Star for 5 years now.

How did you finance your boat?

We were very lucky to sell our house at the top end of the market. Having worked so hard on the renovation, we cleared the mortgage and bought Far Star outright, with a little left over for a rainy day fund!

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

We have spent a few thousand on her in the 5 years. Difficult to say how much each year, but it would run into high hundreds even thousands.

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

Having retired from my stressful administration position, I now spend my days painting canal artwork – small projects of household goods, including Buckby cans. From spring to early winter I also work as a part time jobbing gardener – tending gardens for folk who can no longer manage it. It is very satisfying work, but would not make me a living. I am very lucky that with Ian working, I am able to do this.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

I guess one of the biggest moans of ours – and that of many others – is the amount of dog mess on the towpath. Arriving somewhere new and putting the ropes out, only to find that either your foot or the rope have landed in a lump of smelliness is very frustrating. Especially having a dog of our own and knowing how few dog dump bins there are on the towpatch – but we always manage to take our ‘family’ mess home with us to dispose of.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Tranquility – that’s it in a word. There is of course, the wonderful community – I’ve never lived anywhere where folk are so helpful and friendly – we very soon felt part of it, whilst also maintaining our privacy and peace and quiet.

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

There is always maintenance to be done, and odd little changes along the way, but I don’t think there are any major changes that I would make.

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

Make canalside purchases where possible – people often sell their own eggs, veggies etc. Buckets of apples often for free etc. Pubs are a great source of information for local purchases. But shanksies pony is the ultimate answer. After all, how can you beat a stroll in the countryside with your dog – come rain or shine?

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Ah! We have no washing machine, so I search out local launderettes. Failing that, it just piles up.

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

Connect 3 dongle – usually a satisfactory connection, although some spots will require me to sit out in the cratch for anything like a decent signal. (not having an extra long cable that will reach through the mushrooms onto the roof.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

K & A is our only experience. With Ian still working, it has not been possible to go further afield – yet. Favourite area here is Bishops Cannings – but don’t tell anyone – it’s so quiet.

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

Power is generated by the engine, inbuilt genny and solar. Depends where we are and what kind of day it is on which source creates the power. How much do we use – again, depends what we are doing. We don’t have a great deal of mod cons – no washing machine, freezer etc. We do have a 12 volt fridge, 6 volt radio and 12 volt tele, so power consumption is quite low. Nevertheless, we still run out of power occasionally. But, there is always bed with a book!

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

Be prepared to step back in time. It’s no good thinking you can watch tele all day or leave everything on charge/standby. Summers can be very hot with plenty of flying creatures – you are on the water! Winters can be very cold – though the fire is really cosy, go too far from it and it will be cold, rather like living in an old house in the 50’s with no central heating. Life is a lot easier in a marina, if you can find one that will allow liveaboards. But, I would recommend constant cruising – you will really get to know people out there. Be prepared to do without ‘stuff’. If you’re moving from a house – give things away. Don’t feel tempted to store – it’ll cost a fortune, and you may never need it again. When we moved on board, our local charity shops did very well out of us – boxes and boxes of books, ornaments etc etc

Blanket of snow to keep us warm

Blanket of snow to keep us warm

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

.We do keep fairly snug with the fire going 24/7 and central heating to back that up if necessary. We generally put a hot water bottle in the bed before retiring, to warm things up a bit. The last 4 years have been pretty bad – minus 16C sometimes with thick ice on the inside of the windows. Nothing that another jumper and pair of socks and fluffy slippers wouldn’t solve.

What obvious qustions are missing from this list?

There is a kind of boaty obsession with toilets – do you have pump out or cassette? Actually, we have both. After getting frozen in for weeks on end during our first winter, we pretty soon discovered that a pump out is no good when you can’t move. So a cassette proved the best option, most of the time – although even the Elsan units can freeze over sometimes. We now use the cassette all year round and keep the ‘proper’ (pump out) toilet for guests only. This means less pump outs, saving money.

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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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Pengalanty

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.

Allan at the help of NB Pengalanty

Allan at the help of NB Pengalanty

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?

Narrowboat Pengalanty entering a lock

Narrowboat Pengalanty entering a lock

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?

As I was working nights, at the time, I spend most afternoons working on the boat. It has taken me simply ages, as I fitted and commissioned the engine (Beta 43), the ballast, flooring, lining out, cladding, all the electrics (To above the minimum standards) plumbing and c/heating. A boat doesn’t seem very large but the work is like building and fitting a house out on your own. The electrical installation is more complex, as there are 12-VDC, 24-VDC and a 3KVA comi-inverter giving 220-VAC, much more than one would install in any property.I did have all the skills necessary, due to working in all these trades and owning my own joinery shop, in the past (I said I had an interesting and varied life).

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!

You must have a “Peep” at my web site for more information and you must have a look at my special site (With a FREE offer) of children’s story books (Ideal for canals).

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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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Osprey

One still working and one retired. How does that work? Narrowboat liveaboards Alice and Phil Rosser give you their take on life afloat from their floating home on the Lancaster canal{{{0}}}

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

Phil and Alice Rosser and Jack the whippet, (who isn’t our dog but we look after him during the day while our neighbour is at university and we love him to bits).

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

Narrowboat Osprey on a Lancaster canal mooring

Narrowboat Osprey on a Lancaster canal mooring

Phil took early retirement some years ago and I was working very long hours to pay the mortgage and all the other bills incurred from living in a large four bedroomed victorian terraced house. Our two boys had left home and we were rattling around in this big house and thought it was time to make changes so that we had more time for us and a lifestyle which suited our interests. We are very ‘outdoorsy’ people and after plenty of research discovered that living afloat ticked all the boxes for us.

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

‘Osprey’ We wanted a name that described both of our interests. We both enjoy bird watching and the Osprey is a strong, majestic migrating bird which lives near water so we thought it was appropriate..

Inside narrowboat Osprey

Inside narrowboat Osprey

What is your boat length and style?

57ft. Cruiser stern. Reverse layout.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

18 months

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

All the time, we are liveaboards.

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

Phil is retired. I am a freelance musician and I work part time. I do two days teaching a week in term time, run two music websites, play for weddings and work for an examination board.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

The spiders!

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Everything!! Being close to nature.

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

Not having the water pump near the bedroom! Phil says ‘Can somebody please invent a silent water pump’ (for the days I get up at 6am for work and turn the shower on).

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

We have a bike on the roof which makes for great transport and most shopping will fit in a rucksack.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine on board

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

A 3G dongle. Usually service is OK depending on where we are moored. On the marina it is excellent.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

The Glasson arm of the Lancaster canal, but we only know the Lancaster canal so far

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

Run the engine for an hour a day for the 12 volt appliances and we use the inverter sparingly for the television, laptop and radio. We ditch our electric kettle and use one for the gas stove.

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

Do lots of research, talk to lots of liveaboards. Buy the biggest boat you can afford. Think about what you will do with all the contents of your house if you are downsizing. Are you prepared to get rid of lots of possessions? You won’t be able to have much on a boat.

You can find out more about the adventures of narrowboat Osprey 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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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Widebeam Takey Tezey

Heth and Dave are a little larger than your average narrowboaters… or at least there boat is. They own a widebeam and it’s a beauty. They came close to missing out though but good old Lady Luck was smiling…{{{0}}}

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

Heather & David, aka Heth & Dave. With lots of boaty pals. No dogs, no cats, no ties..

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

First of all does a widebeam count?!

Liveaboard wide beam Takey Tezey on a canalside mooring

Liveaboard wide beam Takey Tezey on a canalside mooring

How we got to where we’re at now: We’d lived in the same place for 25 years, our kids who we’re very proud of had left home with careers to follow. So there we were, happy together but rattling round a big house with nothing left to offer us… Even with great memories from our past in that place, we needed to move on, besides you can take memories with you wherever you go… And we also had our precious dreams, so why not do something about it? What had we got to lose? We both realised it was time to get away from the suburbs & make the move to a more rural area, this was what we wanted to do… At this point we made the decision to sell up & started discussing our options…

Buy a house in the country? Too expensive when you want a 360 view…
Buy a narrowboat? Too small…
Move to Florida – our second home…? It turned out to be a Visa nightmare, with a waiting list of up to 2 years…

So we bided our time & concentrated on getting the house ready to sell, neither of us panicked about it – like we knew there was something out there for us, all we had to do was wait…

We’ve walked the canals for years, & after ruling out a narrowboat, the 27th June 2007 was the day that changed our lives. We almost didn’t go for a walk that day along the Rufford canal because I wasn’t feeling very well, but we did. We almost didn’t stop for a brew at St Mary’s marina cafe afterwards, but we did. We almost walked past our (unknown) dream without looking back, but something made Dave turn his head. He saw a boat on the end of the pier with a “FOR SALE” sign in the window. I carried on walking away (dream on), but something made me turn around & look. We both walked down towards it & noticed it was wider than the others, for all our travels down the towpath we hadn’t noticed WIDTH. We asked the owner if it was still for sale, “Yes & it’s not yet a year old” came the reply. For them, circumstances dictated the sale…

We got the guided tour of this boat called “Takey Tezey” & we were totally in awe of it. The magic of the lifestyle, the boat itself & the space on-board captured our imagination, it was exactly what we’d been looking for, even tho we didn’t know it! We stayed there for a couple of hours just talking to the owners about their life afloat. It was intriguing & surreal…

During our drive back to the house that day we were like a couple of kids in a schoolyard chanting “WE CAN DO THIS, WE CAN DO

Heather stering her floating home

Heather stering her floating home

THIS…!” All the way home… Then we had to remove the rose tinted glasses & discuss the reality of it all, this wasn’t something we were going to rush into & potentially regret later, it needed a lot of thinking about first. Handover date was 30th November 2007. However due to work commitments we were “part timers” for 18 months till early retirement came along…

Something I’ve learned over the years: You’ve only got one life so make the most of every day…

In December last year we had Takey Tezey moved from St Mary’s marina in Lancashire (where she’s been “based” since she was launched) to Mercia marina in Derbyshire. We really enjoyed our time at St Mary’s, we miss our friends, but it was time for a change, time to move on again. On 5th December 2011, TT was lifted out of St Mary’s marina & put on the back of a wagon. The following day she was put in at Mercia marina, 100 miles further south at the heart of the canal system. Just over a month later we’re settled in here now. Being “fair weather boaters” we spend as much time out on the cut as we can in summer, take off & return when we please. Meet up with friends & enjoy the social side of living afloat. It’s a wonderful lifestyle & we’re really looking forward to exploring “unchartered waters,” (excuse pun) this year…

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

Takey Tezey takes flying lessons

Takey Tezey takes flying lessons

“Takey Tezey” aka “TT” we didn’t name the boat, but someone had a sense of humour just like mine.

What is you boat length and style?

57ft x 10ft, widebeam, cruiser stern, reverse layout.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Widebeam – 3 years.

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

Our boat is our home

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

Retired

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Nothing to do with the lifestyle, although the spectre of the canal system falling into disrepair is a concern.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom & happiness.

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

Not a thing, as “newbies” we learned the hard way & spent a fortune improving tech specs on the boat. It can’t be improved on now, not after all the work we’ve had done, unless something goes wrong!

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

We have a fridge freezer & never go out cruising long enough to need food deliveries. If necessary we’d do the online Tesco thing & meet up at bridge number whatever.

Dave enjoys a spot of fishing off the front deck

Dave enjoys a spot of fishing off the front deck

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Washer / Drier on-board.

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

Marina Wi-Fi & Vodafone 3G dongle on the canal

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

So far? Has to be the Leeds Liverpool – away from Liverpool.

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

If we moor up in the same place for a few days, we run the engine for half an hour morning & night to keep the batteries charged via the alternator. Average used: Probably considered a lot! All electrical appliances are 240V except for a 12V TV in the bedroom. However we swap the plug in kettle for a whistling gas stove kettle when we’re out.

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

Do your homework / research in depth & if you’re not sure about something, say no. If you are sure, have a survey done before any money changes hands. Or find & friendly boater with experience to share.

You can find out more about the adventures of wide beam Takey Tezey 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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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat The Cat’s Whiskers

Here’s a twist to the liveaboard case study. Roger and Pat aren’t yet full time liveaboards because their boat is still under construction. If you’re thinking about having your own narrowboat built, you need to read about their experience to date.{{{0}}}

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

Roger and Pat Filler

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

We live in Welwyn Garden City, in Hertfordshire. I (Roger) recently retired after 34 years working for the John Lewis Partnership and Pat works part time in the NHS. Like so many others we have hired narrowboats on numerous occasions over the years. I was going to

Roger and Pat Filler

Roger and Pat Filler

wait until I officially retired at 65 before we took the plunge to live afloat but we are both in relatively good health, had talked it over or over, and decided to proverbially, “put our money where our mouths were” after doing somesums one night. Neither of us are impulsive but we clambered over so many boats that were up for sale because their owners had developed poor health, that we thought if we didn’t do it now we might regret it further down the line.

Our new 60 ft semi-trad, is now in build and we take possession of it late March.

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

I resisted the temptation to call the boat “The Jolly Roger”. She will be “The Cat’s Whiskers”. We are both big cat fans and have shared our lives with dozens of felines over the years, so it’s a bit of a homage to them, and hopefully, it will be just that – “the cat’s whiskers” . We have certainly put our heart and soul into it being so. Unfortunately we will not be taking our two current incumbents on board. They are both very old. We will be renting our house out to a nice family who love cats so they will be staying put.

What is you boat length and style?

“The Cat’s Whiskers” is a 60ft Semi Trad. The steelwork was completed at Narrowboats of Staffordshire in August. She was then dropped into the Erewash Canal, and towed down to Kingfisher Narrowboats at Trent Lock, at the junction of the Soar, the Trent & Mersey and the Erewash, where she is currently being fitted out in the dry dock at Kingfisher Narrowboats. It’s got a reverse layout and is finished in American Oak. The sign writing will be done by Jan Deuchar. We had planned to buy a used boat, but I am six foot four and all the beds we saw were six foot ones.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Our completion date is 1 April (hope that is not an ominous sign). It looks as though it will be early though and I hope to be on board a week or two before that.

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

In 2012 we plan to cruise until the end of October. West initially to do the Llangollen before the season gets really under way, and then we are making our way south for we have to be on the Thames at Marlow in August for a christening. From there we will head back into the Midlands to moor her over winter. We are then travelling to Australia and New Zealand, where our daughter lives for Christmas and the New Year. In year two we plan to continuously cruise.

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

See first answer for this info

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Living in a pencil case. I’m a big bloke.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The ability to move that pencil case about to explore the wonders and beauty of the country’s 3000 miles of waterways.

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

Our boat is constantly changing and rarely a week goes past, without the Kingfisher boys needing a decision made on something or other. Every bulb, fitting, cloth and colour, have been decided by us. If, when we take ownership of it in March, we are disappointed, then we only have ourselves to blame.

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

We will be selling both our cars in the spring. I bought two fold up bikes last summer, a Brompton and a Dahon, an American folding bike, and we are looking at present how we can accommodate them on board. We’ve fitted them out with baskets for the essentials. As a retirement present I got a copy of “Water-Way” a software package, that all the benefits of Nicholson’s, but beefed up. It’s going to be really useful for finding that florist, bakers, dentist or village shop.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have purchased a small Zanussi washing machine that is going in to the bedroom area at the front of the boat.

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

Now here is a can of worms and I have carried out extensive research on what boaters are doing at the moment and what can be expected to be achieved. The current flavour of the month is definitely “MiFi”, the system from the 3 Network, that is a portable hot spot for Wi Fi, and allows you to connect to several different devices at the same time. It’s about the same size as a phone, and most boaters have found if they blu tack it to one of the windows, they get a good signal in most cases. We will have two laptops on board. It’s about ?15 a month, and we will subscribe in a few weeks, when we know our dates

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

I really like the Southern Stratford. There is no road traffic buzzing away in the background, and no train lines, so it is really quiet. Best of all is the architecture of the distinctive bridges and barrelled roof homes. It’s just missing some decent pubs.

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

We are taking the plunge and having two solar panels installed on “The Cat’s Whiskers”. That should limit the amount of time we have to run the engines to charge the batteries if we are stationery. We have six leisure batteries as well as a starter battery and one for a bow thruster. There will be a 2K Victron invertor on board.

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

You can find out more about the adventures of narrowboat The Cat’s Whiskers 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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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Olive Rose

Another Questions and Answers session with boaters living afloat full time. Meet the married couple living aboard with a pair of cats. {{{0}}}

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

Lina Noyes, husband Warren and the cats Sammie and Sheila, who are sisters

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

I had fancied the idea of life afloat since i was 21, then finally got round to it at the age of 27……im now almost 42

Lina steering

Lina steering

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

Olive Rose, she was already named that, i reckon after someones aunt or something 🙂

What is you boat length and style?

62ft traditional.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

15 years

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

I’m a liveaboard

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

I’m a student nurse (mental health)

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

The mud in winter

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The freedom

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

Remove my husband, har har!!!

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

Find a town or supermarket near the canal

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

find a laundrette or handwash

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

Wireless connection

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Marsworth area and the wendover arm

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

running the engine whilst cruising charges the batteries

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

Dont keep what you really dont need, there isnt the space!

 

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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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat James

This is my own boat, James. Some boaters will tell you that I’m not a “proper” live aboard boater. I’m moored in a marina with access to an unlimited water supply and mains electricity. The location and the lifestyle suit me though and may suit you if you’re considering switching to a full time life afloat.

I wrote the original answers to the questions in January 2012 when I had been living mostly alone on the boat for just under two years. This morning, 15th March 2015, I reviewed the answers and amended them where neccessary to reflect any changes in the last three years to the boat, my current thoughts about living afloat, or my future plans.

James on its mooring at Calcutt Boats Meadows marina

James on its mooring at Calcutt Boats Meadows marina

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

Paul Smith and my wonderful partner Sally, plus the two dogs that came with the Sally package; Charlie, a seven year old springer spaniel, and Daisy, a three year old cocker spaniel.

Update 15th March 2015: We still have the same gang on board but we’re all just a little older now. Charlie is ten and starting to slow down a little, Daisy is mad as ever at seven, I’m about to celebrate my fifty fifth birthday and Sally, in the manner of all ladies, is defying science by growing younger every day.

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

I was working at Calcutt Boats at a time when my marriage was on the rocks. I needed somewhere to stay and James, which then belonged to marina owner Roger Preen, was moored at the marina but wasn’t being used. I moved on board temporarily, fell in love with the boat and the way of life, bought the boat from them and have lived on board ever since.

Update 15th March 2015: If anything, I’m more in love with the lifestyle now than I was three years ago. Every time I’m forced to visit a city, or even a large town, and witness the stress and strain of urban life, I consider myself blessed to be living away from it all. Sally feels the same way. Our dislike of crowded places has become so intense that we try to avoid them whenever possible. Crowded supermarkets are a pet hate. We’ll only visit them on quite days and at less busy times of the day. We have become anti social. It’s a state

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

James. I inherited the name. I have tried to trace its origin but James is thirty five years old and the original owner has sadly passed away.

What is you boat length and style?

62′ traditional stern. From the front; well deck with removable table for al fresco summer dining, saloon with solid fuel stove, dining area, galley, “office” (can be converted into three bunk beds), bathroom, bedroom and engine room.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Since April 2010

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

All day, every day. I work at the marina where James is moored so I often pop back to the boat at lunchtime for a bite to eat. I love lunchtimes during the summer months when I can sit in the sunshine on the front deck and listen to the wind and the birds.

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

I’m a groundsman at the marina. I love it. There are 110 acres to look after including over 8,000 trees around the two marinas. It’s a wonderful place to work at any time of the year, but in the spring and early summer when I spend all day walking through carpets of wildflowers, it’s magical.

Update 15th March 2015: I’ve loved every minute of working at the marina but the problem with working is that it gets in the way of boating. On 1st April 2015 at 5.30pm I will finish working full time at Calcutt Boats in favour of eight months a year of gentle cruising around the canal network. The plan is to return to Calcutt Boats for four months each year to top up the cruising fund ready for the following year.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

One of the most frequently asked questions directed at narrowboat liveaboards is “Is it cold in winter?” The stock response is a laugh and an assurance that the boat is always snug and warm. Nothing could have been further from the truth during my first winter. James is thirty five years old with cabin sides and roof clad in masonite (oil treated ply). Beneath this was a half inch layer of polystyrene insulation. The boat hadn’t been used much in the previous decade so was cold, damp and looking a little the worse for wear. The heating system on board was a single solid fuel stove with back boiler positioned right at the front of the boat. The combination of one of the coldest winters on record (minus eighteen one night), inefficient heating and poor insulation meant that I was sometimes very cold in the winter months. On numerous occasions I would resort to two fleece tops and a fleece hat inside the boat to try and stay warm.

This winter is completely different. The weather has been exceptionally mild and, at the end of last year, I had a new steel cabin fitted over the existing masonite. I had insulation sandwiched between the two layers. The solid fuel stove and back boiler still struggle to heat the rear of the boat but, on the whole, I am now very comfortable with the winter weather.

Update 15th March 2015: The boat is very different now than it was three years ago. My fifth winter afloat has just passed without a hint of a problem. Two modifications which have helped significantly are the addition of polycarbonate secondary double glazing panels to reduce heat loss through my old and leaky hopper windows and a ceiling mounted 12v fan.

The default narrowboat stove is the Morso Squirrel. The stove has a single top plate which radiates the stove’s heat and allows an Ecofan to push heat towards the back of the boat when it is placed on the stove’s top plate. My own stove has a double skinned top plate so it doesn’t get hot so can’t power an Ecofan. The new 12v fan is very good at pushing the stove heat back down the cabin towards the bedroom. It increases the temperature at the back of the boat by five degrees.

Although my boat will never be the warmest in the world because of the poor insulation, it’s no longer uncomfortable at all during the winter months.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

I absolutely love being on the boat in the summer. In the evening I can’t wait to return to the boat after a hard day’s work, make myself a cup of coffee, grab my Kindle and sit on the front deck for an hour or two and watch nature at its best. I have bench seats on the front deck and a table that can be fitted between them. There’s nothing better than a good meal in the sunshine, a drop or two of red wine and the company of our resident swans. It really is heaven on Earth.

Update 15th March 2015: I still adore the summer months but we no longer use the table on the front deck. We use the covered front deck as a very neat and tidy storage area. Removing everything we have stored there so that we can sit at the table is too much like hard work. We now have two folding camp chairs and a folding table which we carry out on to the towpath for al fresco dining.

Over the last year we’ve spent far more time out cruising than we did when I wrote the original answer. Rather than sit on the boat on a marina mooring, we would now much rather find an isolated and peaceful canal-side spot and relax. Sally and I have now perfected a cruising routine which suits us both very well.

Sally spends much of the time while the boat’s moving on the towpath rather than on the boat. She likes to walk ahead with the dogs while I drift along on the boat in a world of my own. An hour or so before we start to look for a spot to moor for the night, she’ll jump back on board to prepare our late afternoon meal.

By the time I’ve parked the boat somewhere with a view and access to the evening sun, she’ll have table and chairs set up, cutlery and crockery laid out, a steaming bowl of food placed on the table for us to dip in to and, most importantly, a bottle of beer or a glass of red wine for me and a soft drink for her. Who could ask for more?

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

I am in the process of changing a number of things. I’ve just had a steel cabin fitted over the existing masonite, fitted a new cratch cover and completed numerous internal cosmetic alterations. I still need to upgrade the electrics so that I can have mains power when I am off the mooring and upgrade from cassette to pump out toilet. In an ideal world I would also stretch the boat to add another eight feet of cabin space so I could fit a washing machine/dryer. Unfortunately, I can’t afford for the work to be done and I can’t afford to further upgrade the electrics to provide power for a washing machine. I guess I’ll just have to rely on laundrettes for the foreseeable future.

Update 15th March 2015: There have been a considerable number of improvements made in the last three years. One of the bigger and most expensive changes has been to the boat electrics. Three years ago the boat had a single 110ah starter battery and two 135ah batteries in the leisure bank. Both were lead acid.

Since then I’ve replaced the starter battery and doubled the leisure bank to four 135ah batteries. When we were out for a week over New Year the batteries failed. In January this year I replaced all four with longer life maintenance free AGM batteries. I’m hoping that they will last me 7-10 years.

To feed the batteries I’ve had the alternator replaced and had a 300w solar array fitted. The solar panels with their MPPT controller supply most of my 12v needs throughout the year. The final piece in the on board power jigsaw was a suitcase generator so that Sally can use the vacuum cleaner and iron and her hair dryer when we are out cruising.

We didn’t need to stretch the boat to accommodate a washing machine. We now have a low cost, low power twin tub which fits neatly into the “utility room” area beneath our centre hatches. Sally is very happy with it. Too happy actually. Running the machine for a full day isn’t uncommon. The noise drives me mad.

The noise of the washing machine drives me mad because I have to sit next to it while I work. The twin tub is five feet from my laptop. Can you imagine moving your PC that close to your washing machine at home and then trying to concentrate on something, especially if you’re male, and especially if, like me, the slightest noise ruins your concentration?

Sally also has the habit of talking to my while I’m typing. I stop to answer her, then spend five minutes trying to regain my train of thought before I can continue. It’s normally at that point when Sally talks to me again. I suppose I should tell her not to talk to me when I’m working, but I would like to live longer than my current fifty five years so I don’t.

As far as I’m concerned, the boat is now just about perfect. The engine is a joy. It’s quiet and reliable purr continues all day long, never missing a beat. Now that I’ve had the engine boxed in and thoroughly soundproofed, noisy cruising is a thing of the past.

The internal layout is just right. We have more storage space than we can shake a stick at so there is no unsightly clutter. The old beige carpet has been replaced with oak effect laminate flooring which is super easy to maintain with two wet pawed dogs on board.

I suppose the only thing I would change on board is the location of my office within the boat.

We live on a narrowboat. We live in a forty eight feet long hallway just six feet wide. There are two of us on board plus two high energy spaniels. I need to spend hours at a time concentrating on typing. It’s not easy when two dogs are pacing up and down the boat with their claws clickity clicking on the vinyl flooring, the washing machine or vacuum cleaner roaring away or Sally pointing out every five minutes that something else on the boat needs repairing or replacing.

In an ideal world I would have a boatman’s cabin adapted to work as an office for me. The cabin, separated from the rest of the boat by the engine room, would be my private space, my garden shed. It’s not something we can make happen on the boat so I’m just going to have to live with the situation. I think my work regime will be easier to manage when I finish work at Calcutt Boats, but time will tell.

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

This doesn’t really apply to me as I’m not a “proper” liveaboard boater. I have a car parked next to the boat at the marina so shopping is no problem.

Update 15th March 2015: We’ve done enough cruising now to establish an away from base grocery resupply regime. Little and often is the key. There are some wonderful farm shops along the canals and enough supermarkets with an easy walk for major shopping trips. We have a couple of my old hiking rucksacks on board; one 70 litre monster for me to carry and a smaller one for Sally. Between us we can easily carry a week’s supply of groceries.

We also keep a substantial stock of dried and tinned food on board. I think that, at a push, we could last for a month with the food stored in our cavernous cupboards.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

As above. The marina has shower block complete with two washing machines and a dryer.

Update 15th March 2015: Unfortunately, these days washing isn’t a problem when we’re out on the cut. Our cheap and cheerful twin tub washing machine will wash everything we have on board, including the duvet cover. The advantage it has over the usual Candy or Zanussi compact washing machines used on narrowboats is that it uses a tiny fraction of the power they do. It uses 120w on the wash and 180w on the spin cycle.

Once the spin cycle has finished, we hang the washing up in the boat. It’s usually dry within twenty four hours so we don’t have to worry about having a dryer on board as well.

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 3 dongle. I’m very happy with the service. It’s always good enough to send and receive emails, browse the internet and add/edit site content. Most of the time the signal is strong enough to allow me to stream TV programmes from BBC iPlayer. I use their Pay As You Go service which costs me ?25PCM for 7GB.

Update 15th March 2015: I’m still very happy with the broadband service from Three. It’s the service which most live aboard boat owners use. The dongles are better now than they were three years ago. I used to have to tie the dongle to a four feet long mast on the boat roof and connect it to my laptop via a USB extension lead. Now I use the latest MiFi dongle which is stuck to the inside of one of my office windows with Velcro. All of our devices now connect to the internet via the dongle.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

I haven’t done much cruising to be honest but I love the South Oxford canal from Calcutt Boats through Banbury to Oxford where the canal meets the Thames. I love the contrast between the narrow and congested winding canal followed by an almost agoraphobic feeling when you then slip out onto the oh-so-wide Thames.

Update 15th March 2015: I still haven’t seen much of the network but I think the section of the GU Leicester Line between the Watford Gap and Foxton flights takes some beating, especially when approached from the south.

The Watford Gap flight is noisy to say the least. Within a stone’s throw to the east is six lanes of speeding traffic on the M1. Watford Gap service station is just a ten minute walk from the lock landing at the bottom of the flight. Similarly close to the west is the A5 and the West Coast Main Line. The constant roar is with you for the hour you need to ascend the flight, three hours if the traffic’s heavy. Within 100m of the top lock you pass under the M1 and then you leave the noise behind you for a blissful twenty six miles before the ten staircase locks of the Foxton flight.

Sally and spent two weeks there last June. Even during a fine spell in early summer there were very few boats about. We particularly enjoyed mooring at Welford junction. The nearest road bridge is a mile away so it’s great for the dogs.

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

As I mentioned earlier, mains power is currently a problem for me when I’m off the mooring. I don’t have an inverter fitted yet but will do within the next few months.

Update 15th March 2015: Thankfully, the boat is now fully equipped for long term cruising. My alternator was replaced and the wiring improved so that the charge created by the alternator was actually reaching the battery bank. I asked the electrician to tell me what the alternator was producing at different engine speeds. The results astounded me. For the previous two years I had been running the engine at tick over (500rpm) to charge the battery bank. The alternator was producing a barely worth it 2amps. If I increased the engine speed to 700pm the alternator produced 20amps and at my normal laid back cruising speed of 1,500rpm, or about 3.5 miles and hours, the alternator produced 57amps. Of course, I don’t do any battery charging at tick over any more.

I also have a 300w solar array to keep the battery bank topped up. Even on a winter’s day, if the sun is shining, I can get between 15-20amps from them. They were an excellent investment.

All of this power needs to be stored somewhere so I now have a leisure bank of 4 x 160ah AGM batteries.

As I mentioned earlier, I also have a 2.6kw Kipor suitcase generator for running the appliances that my 1.6kw Sterling pure sine inverter can’t handle.

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

Look very carefully at the storage space offered by your potential new boat. I see many narrowboats advertised as suitable liveaboards but they wouldn’t suit me. I live on my own on a 62′ trad stern narrowboat with a 47′ cabin. James has an enormous amount of storage space. There are thirty one cupboards and drawers (I’ve just counted) plus a wardrobe and all the storage space in the engine room. I don’t have much in the way of clothing or possessions but I still fill most of it. If you are planning to live on board with a significant other and/or you want to keep plenty of clothes at hand, think very carefully about how you’re going to manage.

Far more importantly than that is to try before you buy. Before you commit to the largest purchase you’re ever likely to make after your house, at least try out the lifestyle first. And don’t just try it during the idyllic summer months, if you can remember what they are supposed to be like. Hire a boat in the depths of the winter and see how you get on with the wind howling and the rain lashing against the windows. Personally, I live being on the boat when the weather’s doing its worst outside, but it’s not for everyone.

In June last year I started hosting discovery days on my own boat. They are a combination of helsmanship training conducted on an eight our cruise, and a walk  through of my own live aboard narrowboat. I’ve spent the last half decade working at a marina alongside some very knowledgeable fitters and engineers and I’ve spoken to hundreds of live aboard boaters about the pros and cons of various bits of kit and lifestyle choices. The discovery days are great value, a fun day out and a unique opportunity to find out everything you need to know about handling and living on a narrowboat. You can find out more about my discovery days 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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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

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Adagio

Meet Sue and Barry enjoying early retirement on board their narrowboat with Duffy the lurcher living the dream (Barry and Sue – not Duffy). This is the first of the site’s liveaboard case studies. {{{0}}}

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

Sue And Barry Horne Relaxing On Their Front Deck

Sue And Barry Horne Relaxing On Their Front Deck

Barry & Sue Horne and Duffy a 4 month old lurcher.

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

After 29 years in the RAF followed by 8 years in industry we took early retirement, sold the house and everything in it and moved aboard the narrowboat. We had owned a 57 foot cruiser stern narrowboat for 5 years previously which we used for holidays and weekend getaways. We had also taken several narrowboat holidays when the children were younger. So this is something we have always wanted to do.

We are looking for a simpler, more relaxed way of life but have yet to find it! However, we have been live aboards for only 7 months so still finding our way.

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

We purchased Adagio second hand – she was 18 months old when we bought her. The name encapsulated our dream of life afloat so we kept it.

What is you boat length and style?

Liveaboard Narrowboat Adagio

Liveaboard Narrowboat Adagio

Adagio is 65 feet long with a trad stern (she is not a trad boat with engine room, though)

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

We have owned a narrowboat for just over 5 1/2 years.

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

We live aboard permanently.

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

Both retired

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Winter! Especially when frozen in and unable to move anywhere. Kind of defeats the whole idea of an itinerant lifestyle.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Sense of freedom and visiting different places and meeting new people.

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

Add an engine room, back cabin and more storage!!!

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

Canalside and local farm shops. We use a supermarket if nearby town has one close to the canal. We try to buy diesel and coal from canal traders – there are plenty of working boats plying trade on the Cut.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine. Adagio has some pretty beefy electrical power systems so appliances are not really an issue.

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

Vodafone mobile broadband and, no, not satisfied with the service! Very patchy coverage away from major cities/towns or motorway corridors.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Shroppie, especially around Audlem.

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

We have a 240v AC Travel Power set feeding a Victron combi invertor/charger which, together support a bank of AGM batteries for domestic power. In our opinion you cannot have too much power!

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

Work out how much you are willing to downsize then at least double it! Space is at a premium even in the longest narrowboat. Also consider the problems with healthcare if you intend to continuous cruise. The NHS is not set up to support people living the itinerant life. Oh, and think carefully about the toilet system you want. Pump out is fine until you are frozen in somewhere for 4 weeks or more. Cassettes are easy but you need to plan stops to include acces to Elsan disposal points. A combination of both is probably best for continuous cruising. Otherwise just do it!
Sue and Barry Horne have been blogging about their narrowboat life since August 2009. You can read about their adventures 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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