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Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.

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Life change – Selling up to live on a Wide Beam

Hi there,

Let me introduce ourselves to you;

I’m Rob, I work as a teacher/outdoor education instuctor in a special school for “naughty boys” (I’m not allowed to say that, so please don’t quote me!) it’s officially classified as SEBD, basically boys who for whatever reason have had no boundaries put in place!  I was originally trained as a musician and worked professionally for several years.

I met my wife – Manda at music college in the late 70’s, so it’s 30 years marriage this year and time for a life style change with our new puppy Molly.  The boys have more or less left home, so there’s no excuse not to fulfill our wishes!

We have always loved walking/cycling by canals over the years and are not averse to popping into canal side pubs for the odd pint or two.

So, I now need to explain the need for a wide beam; Manda would be fine with a 6’10” but I’m not sure I could cope!  I worry that family and friends would not want to visit/stay due to the intimate nature of the vessel, also I have plans to earn part of my living on board so room is needed for that. We will also need space for the odd impromptu music session with friends old and new.

This evening we visited our second boat builder, Jeremy Greenwood, wow! his craftsmanship and ideas are superb, he has almost convinced me about a 6 footer! he also showed us a hybrid wide beam/dutch barge shell he’s about to start, now that’s got some room for a band! but unfortunately beyond our finances and it maybe a little too big for British waterways.  We came away very impressed by Tristar Boats.

Perhaps anyone reading this could help us with advice on choice of size of boat, please feel free to email me rob@cycle-life.co.uk – I’m new to “blogging” so not sure if you can post here?

We’re off to Crick in 10 days time, to try to finalise our choice of boat but maybe a weekend aboard a narrow boat with my son and his girlfriend would inform our decision?

It’s so refreshing to meet so many friendly/genuine people, can’t wait to move onto a boat!

Will keep posting as we progress

BTW, we visited A to Z boats last weekend and were equally impressed by Laurie’s boats, there’s going to be a lot of hard decisions heading our way.

Any advice and tips are welcome.



Useful Information
Rob Williams

Work as an Outdoor Instructor in a SEBD school. Musician - Trombonist Real Ale fan Hoping to live on a Wide Beam by the end of the year with my wife and Cockerpoo!