It’s the middle of February. Can you believe it? The snowdrops are out, the daffodils are poking their heads through the recently frozen ground and there’s just a hint of warmth in the sun (when it’s out).
I always feel that the winter’s on its way out when I can find my boat without the aid of a torch when I finish work. I’ve reached that stage of the year now and it’s a great psychological boost. Before long, I’ll be sitting on the front deck for an hour or two after a hard day’s work. Not that I’m complaining about my work.
I spent all day yesterday moving part of our hire fleet from the wharf, down through two locks and into the marina. The Trust are doing some long overdue maintenance work on Calcutt middle and bottom locks from 11th February to 1st March.
Calcutt bottom lock is leaking so badly that more, often than not, mud flats are showing in the pound between the middle and the bottom lock. It’s not a problem for boats navigating the locks because the central channel is still quite deep, but it’s not very pleasant for boats using our temporary moorings there. So I spent my working day yesterday boating in the winter sunshine and shooting the breeze with fellow boaters at the locks. It’s not a bad way to earn a living!
I’ve been told by someone who knows what he’s talking about that I haven’t been doing anyone any favours by sending you pretty newsletters complete with photographs and fancy formatting. He told me that many of the intended rescipients wouldn’t actually receive it because of server restrictions and bandwidth filters. I’ve taken his advice and put the newsletter on the site with just a simple link to it from here.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been waffling on about transferring subscriber details from one part of the site to another, why I was doing it, and the confusion that it has cause to some of you when you tried to log in. You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve done it now. I’ve also found out why some users weren’t automatically logged into the forum when they logged into the site. It’s a quick fix but you need to let me know if you’re one of them. Please read this post to ensure that you don’t have any further problems. Please note that your login details are at the bottom of this newsletter.
The enhanced version of the narrowboat budgeting software, Narrowbudget Gold, includes workbook with all of my narrowboat expenditure for 2012. It’s a great way for you to find out the costs you’re likely to face if you’re new to boating. However, different liveaboard lifestyles mean different expenditure. I live and work at a marina. I don’t do much cruising at all and I’m very lucky to have both mains power and a water supply close to the boat. Also, because James isn’t totally self-sufficient with regard to electricity generation,and because I don’t have an on board central heating system, I have to rely on mains powered electrical heaters to supplement the solid fuel stove, which means that my electricity bills are quite high. In order to supply a more balanced view of narrowboat maintenance costs, I had added another workbook to Narrowbudget Gold.
At the beginning of July last year, I published the case study of James and Debbie Ward on their cruiser stern narrowboat Lois Jane. At the beginning of 2102 James and Debbie decided to take a well earned gap year after two decades of hectic work. They won’t be going back to that lifestyle. They’re going to carry on cruising the network for as long as they can.
James has kindly added a workbook to Narrowbudget Gold with details of all of his expenditure for last year. Many of his costs are quite similar to my own, but some of them are very different. By comparing these two data sets, you’ll get a very good idea of what your own narrowboat is likely to maintain. You can find out more about Narrowbudget here. (Please note that if you’ve already bought one of my guides, you should have received an email offering you a substantial discount).
There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.
Now that the forum login problems have been resolved, forum posts and visits have seen a dramatic increase. There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Click here to get a FREE copy of “Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles”
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