That's it. I've had enough.
I stepped on to the hamster wheel in September 1977, almost exactly thirty seven years ago and I've been on it ever since running as fast as my little legs could carry me, never seeming to get anywhere or to have any time for myself and the leisure activities I enjoy so much.
I was a very green behind the ears sales assistant in a down town timber merchants in Birkenhead. A year later I moved to another branch with the same company next to the river Clyde in Glasgow where my father was managing an animal feeds mill.
After a very exciting six months, which included me being thrown off a moving coach during a very drunken Burns night in Stirling with my work mates, I moved back to England again, this time near Chelmsford in Essex. I worked as a progress/liaison clerk (I'm still not entirely sure what that was) and then as a senior contracts clerk by day and then behind the bar in a very select village pub by night. I regularly worked seventy hour weeks between the two jobs. The habit of working very long hours stayed with me over the following three and a half decades.
I loved my part time job at The Anchor. I worked hard, but played even harder. My evening's work often finished in the early hours of the following morning after two or three hours socialising with customers after my shift finished. I was offered the position of bar manager there so left my day job to work in the pub full time. In 1982, at the tender age of twenty two, I was given the opportunity to run my own bar.
The training included six months on the relief circuit. I travelled all over the country looking after pubs while the regular managers took well earned holidays. My first relief couldn't have been more different from the busy but select country pub I was used to. It was a rough estate pub in Harlow where a hard drinking session was usually followed by an even harder bout of fisticuffs in the bar or the car park outside. The grande finale of my month there was a bank holiday brawl which needed two dozen policemen to sort out.
I looked after some equally interesting pubs after that including one in Brentwood in Essex which was supposedly haunted by the ghost of a murderer who spent his last night there before being hanged. I don't believe in ghosts but each night I spent there on my own terrified me. I took a knife with me if I ever needed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. I'm a bit of a wimp really.
Just after my twenty third birthday I was offered my own pub on an estate in Milton Keynes. I can't say that I really enjoyed it. Milton Keynes was a building site then and many of my customers were hard drinking Scots who had moved to the town for the work. They made my life a misery.
After eighteen months of battling drunks I was sacked by the brewery for not controlling the costs properly, or even at all. I had nowhere to go so I squatted in the pub for three months before being literally thrown out onto the street by a pair of burly bailiffs.
I should have quit the pub game then, but I wasn't very bright. I secured a job in Putney as the assistant manager of another pub. Within a year I was back on the relief circuit but this time in a far more dangerous part of the world. Part of my training was in the King & Queen pub in Mottingham in south east London. It was a violent place. On one particularly memorable night an unhinged and very drunk local ran into the pub firing a magnum into the ceiling. I reluctantly climbed across the bar to help the manager relieve his of the firearm before throwing him out. We didn't bother to phone the police.
I then spent eighteen months running my own pub at Grove Park between Bromley and Catford. I witnessed a murder and an uncountable number of serious assaults and was hospitalised myself when I had a pint glass broken against the side of my head. My almost severed ear was stitched back in place and I was back at work the following day. I finally left, very quickly, when drug dealers threatened to kill my eighteen month old son.
I moved to another pub in the not-so-sleepy market town of Bicester where I had some interesting nights separating drunken soldiers from equally drunken groups of Irish M40 construction workers singing IRA songs. The pub was far more placid than the one in London but after five years of regular Friday and Saturday night violence, I said goodbye to the licensed trade and moved to Southam in Warwickshire where I started my own cleaning business.
The hours were just as long as they were in the pubs and I earned less but I didn't live in fear. After five years hard labour I had a successful business providing domestic cleaners to affluent home owners and a small fleet of vans of vans offering a high tech window cleaning service to 800 local households.
I decided to duplicate the business's success across the country by opening franchised branch offices. I set up one in Blackburn, another in Glasgow and a third in Bournemouth before I realised that the expansion programme had sucked all of the profit from my core business and left me with debts I couldn't service. The lovely people at Revenue and Customs forced me into bankruptcy so for the first time in thirty years I was out of work.
Ever a glutton for punishment I landed myself a job as Operations Director for a fledgling soft drinks franchise. I commuted four hours to and from London every day for a year before discovering that the guy behind the company was wanted by Interpol for a multi million pound telecoms fraud in France, was suspected of having something to do with his wife's lover being found handcuffed to the steering wheel of the family Mercedes when it was lifted out of Swansea harbour, and further suspected of being behind the disappearance of £500,000 raised by a London finance company for the company's development.
I left the drinks company then spent a year as professional photographer providing studio quality photographs at black tie events and, on two memorable occasions taking photographs of fans holding the FA cup at both Chelsea and Liverpool. I often returned from the events at dawn absolutely shattered. I couldn't keep it up for long.
And then, quite by chance, I was introduced to the wonderful and tranquil world of the canal network. I stopped my photography work and started working part time helping to look after the grounds at Calcutt Boats. I loved every minute working on and around a marina full of narrowboats and the happy smiling owners enjoying holidays travelling at less than four miles an hour. I earned very little money but I was happy for the first time in many years.
Part time work at the marina became full time. Commuting three miles to work from the house I shared with my wife became living on site on a dilapidated narrowboat on my own. Then I created this site and spent an increasing number of hours each week working on it.
So here I am, thirty seven years after leaving school. still working close to seventy hours a week. The big difference is that now I thoroughly enjoy every minute of the two very different jobs I do. By day I'm a labourer. By night I'm a blogger. I lost everything including my pension when my business failed so I had to start from scratch to generate an income to support me in my dotage. This site with the products and services I offer is my pension. I've achieved the goal I set for myself four years ago, but it's been hard work.
I don't mind hard work. In fact I've reveled in it as long as I can remember, but the hard work seems to be getting harder and harder. I'm no longer able to shrug off the effects of a full day's physical labour or fourteen hours hunched over a keyboard after just a few hours sleep. I'm constantly tired.
For a while now I've been considering reducing the number of hours I work each week so that I can spend more time exploring the country's canals and rivers. I was given a virtual kick in the right direction when I received the following email...
"My whole world has turned upside down. When I retired we sold the house then started to live the dream in May, then disaster struck. I was diagnosed with cancer. Not just any cancer but terminal, as in they gave me 6 months at best or with chemotherapy maybe 12 months. I started the treatment a week ago & the effects have been terrible but I am hoping my body will adjust slowly to it. It has meant a huge change in plans we now realise that a marina mooring for our first winter is essential now...
...We have had a fabulous 4 months afloat with memories no one can take away..."
Sadly, it's not the first email I've received along these lines. I know far too many people who worked hard throughout adulthood in order to enjoy a comfortable retirement to find that their health failed before they could turn dreams into reality.
A particularly memorable example was a single guy I met at Calcutt Top Lock a couple of years ago. He told me that he and his wife saved every penny they could over three decades to buy the boat of their dreams. They spent many an enjoyable evening planning the boat's layout after cruises on hire boats spanning many years. They bought a full set of canal guides and carefully planned the itinerary for their first summer of leisure together. They chose a builder together then visited the boat yard each week to watch their new floating home take shape. The husband retired from the engineering job he'd endured for twenty years then waited eagerly for his wife to do the same the following month.
Tragically, she suffered a heart attach and died the week before her retirement party.
A month after her funeral and cremation, their dream boat was launched. It was a sad affair but the husband was determined to use the boat for its intended purpose so he set off on his own. When I met him he had been cruising single handedly for just over a year. He was standing next to the lock with an open rucksack at his feet.
"Caroline always loved the canals and the locks around here", he told me. "Our goal was to tick off all the locks on the system. I've been through 626 in the last year. Caroline would have loved the experience and I think she would appreciate what I've done." He bent down and gently eased the top of a black cylinder in the bag at his feet, reached reverently inside, withdrew his hand with some dark powder between his thumb and forefinger then gently tossed it into the lock water. "These are Caroline's ashes. She's sharing the journey with me. I've done this at every lock I've passed. I won't stop until they're all done and we've finally completed the network together."
Coincidentally I was standing at a lock today telling a passing boater this story. He told me that on my travels today I would pass a moored boat called Dot's Dream. Dot of course had sadly passed away before she could realise the dream. Her husband had named the boat after her and now cruises the network on his own.
The emails I've received and encounters like the ones above have frequently reminded me that I can't predict the future. I can't ever remember being as fit or as healthy as I am right now, but how long will my good health last? I don't know, so I need to make the most of every day. Over the last four years I've been an evangelist for the live aboard lifestyle, but all the time I've been wistfully watching serene couples cruising past our wharf thinking "One day that will be me!"
Enough is enough. I've taken the bull by the horns and drawn a line in the sand (sorry about the mixed metaphors). I've set a date for the start of my grand adventure. That date is 2nd April 2016. It's my 56th birthday. I'm going to try to move the date forward if I can but I need to satisfy an outstanding financial commitment first. I'm going to try to set off before then but I certainly won't set off any later.
I have thirty seven years of relentless work behind me and just over a year ahead of me. I can't wait to see it all behind me. I now have a countdown timer on my laptop's desktop and another on my phone's home screen. There are 573 days to go before I set off on a cruise which I hope lasts the rest of my life. I'm going to bed early tonight so I can cross another day off the total.
Last week I told you that you can find a list of all scheduled and emergency stoppages on the canal network. Keith Renouard kindly reminded me of the following additional information...
Nigel Buttery, Our Nige on the forum, has been living afloat for just over a year now. Like me he has to work for a living so he's based at a marina, but as often as possible he takes his floating home out onto the canals to explore. He's out and about at the moment and he's recording his daily travels in fascinating detail. His day to day activities are typical of a relaxed and grounded live aboard boater. Here's his account of the last five days in date order. If you want to comment on his posts you can click on the link at the bottom of the page to the duplicate post on the forum.
Each time I write a newsletter, I tick another subject off the list of things which those new to boating have told me that they want to read about. The hardest part of the process isn’t the writing itself, it’s constantly thinking of new content for each issue. The trouble is, I don’t know what you want to read. I think I keep the newsletters reasonably interesting but I don’t know for sure. That’s where I need your help.
Can you let me know what you would like to read in the future? Are there any areas of narrowboat life you don’t think I’ve covered enough or areas which I’ve missed completely? Please let me know what you want to read about. Thanks for your help.
I created the site just over four years ago to provide a source of information for anyone interested in narrowboats and the possibility of living on one full time. The site has grown to encompass a comprehensive listing of inland marinas in England and Wales, dozens of articles, a forum and regular newsletters. I’ve already created (below) indexes of the site articles and the more popular forum posts. I thought it was about time I created an easy to use index of the newsletter content. Here’s the index so far.
Route finding for narrowboat owners - Here are the popular paper and digital route finders to help make navigating the network child's play
Long term narrowboat hire - Is hiring a boat long term a realistic alternative to buying one?
living on board in the winter, the cost of living afloat generally and where you can moor your floating home are all subjects which are misunderstood by many aspiring narrowboat owners. Here's what you need to know.
Narrowboat heating, electrics and engine specifications - How is the perfect live aboard narrowboat configured? Here are a few suggestions
Essential boating equipment - Here's the stuff every boater should carry on board
The pros and cons of a wide beam boat - More and more wannabe boaters are considering more spacious wide beams rather than narrowboat. There is clearly more living space on board but how practical are wide beam boats on the inland waterways?
The dreaded weed hatch - Sooner or later your engine will start to overheat, you'll lose propulsion and you'll know that you need to dive down your weed hatch to free an obstacle or two from the propeller. Here's how to do it properly and a list of the tools you'll need.
Digital aids for narrowboat owners - Digital applications and maps for inland waterways boaters
Practical experience for lone boaters. Here's an account of a day's cruise with a nervous single boater. He wanted enough confidence to deal with locks on his own. I spent the day with him, designed a route to include twenty six locks and spent ten hours helping him hone his locking skills.
Extending your boat's storage space - The pros and cons of fitting covers to your front and rear decks
Naming your boat - The legal requirements when naming, renaming and displaying your boat plus the inland waterways' two hundred most popular boat names
Speeding boats - Are rocking stationary boats the fault of speeding passing boats or the fault of boat owners who can't moor securely?
Boat Handling - lock and paddle gear types.
Boat handling - Swing and lift bridges
Single handed boating - Negotiating locks.
Single handed boating - Choosing the right type of boat for single handed cruising and equipment to make your solo journeys safer and more enjoyable.
How to avoid common narrowboat accidents. They happen far more often than you might think. Here's what you need to keep yourself out of harm's way.
If you want to live on your boat and don't want to, or can't, cruise full time, you must have a residential mooring. Here's how to find one.
What makes a perfect live aboard narrowboat. Two experienced boaters discuss layout, size and essential equipment
A cautionary tale if you are considering buying a wide beam boat to live on.
A further update to the site content index.
The A -Z of everything narrowboat - With over 5,500 posts and pages on the site now, quickly finding exactly what you want can sometimes be a problem. For this newsletter I started creating and A-Z index of all the site content.
How do you continue to earn money to support your boating lifestyle as you cruise the network?
Sharing your narrowboat space - The practicalities of sharing living accommodation the same size as a large shed.
Paying for a narrowboat - What practical steps can you take to ensure you've established legal ownership and how do you deal with the transfer of monies between buyer and seller?
Narrowboat Knots - At my first lock on my first cruise I watched my boat drift into the centre of the canal along with my twelve year old son. If you want to avoid the same embarrassment and potential damage to both your boat and your self esteem, you need to know how to tie your boat securely in a number of different situations.
Toilets is a subject often discussed by narrowboat owners but they usually talk about either pump out or cassette toilets. There is a third type though and it's one which is both environmentally friendly and cheap to run. Here's all you need to know about composting toilets.
Boat owners who live on board are considered to have a pretty simple and basic life by many living in bricks and mortar homes. Compared with the lifestyle of the farmers I've been staying with in the Philippines though, my UK life seems overly materialistic and expensive. Cou
Here's an account of my very first winter on board and that of one of the site's subscribers, Nigel Buttery. They're very different experiences. My first winter was the coldest on record. Nigel's is one of the mildest winters we've had for a long time.
I've also included to links to my Philippines blog. I spent the whole of February living in a rural farming community on the island of Negros.
Have you ever wondered how a narowboat is built. Here are the first two parts of a very detailed account of the building of a Sea Otter aluminium narrowboat. You'll be particularly interested in Sea Otters if you don't fancy the constant battle with rust that you have with traditional steel narrowboats.
Condensation is something all boat owners have to deal with. Here's an explanation of why it occurs and what to do about it. I also tested a remote boat monitoring application in this issue.
Cold floors, cold air above the floors and cold hull sides. It's a combination which can cause your bottom half quite a bit of discomfort. Here's what I do to deal with the problem.
Weil's disease - It's an often talked about and often feared aspect of living, working or playing close to inland waterways but just how dangerous is it and what can you do to keep yourself safe?
If you're on a budget maybe a self fit our sailaway is the way to go for you. Here's the story of a wide beam self fit out to give you inspiration (or put you off completely)
Planning for the year ahead - Written plans and goals have always been important to me. They help me see into the future. Here's what we've planned for our lovely floating home in 2014.
The practicality of hosting Christmas afloat - How do you achieve a floating festive event (and do you really want to)?
Liveaboard case study, The Pearl - Tony and Jane Robinson believe in forward planning. They stated their narrowboat fund thirty years before buying their own boat. Now the two retired education workers moor in a marina for the winter then explore the waterways during the warmer months.
Narrowboat Storage Space - How much space is there to store your worldly goods on board a narrowboat? Here's a video walk-through of my own boat James.
Roses and Castles Canal Art - What is it and why do boaters spend so much money decorating their boats with it?
Fitting secondary double glazing - Fitting the panels is a simple operation for those with the most basic DIY skills, something which I sadly haven't developed. As you might expect then, the fitting didn't go as well as it should.
Narrowboat videos - I launched the Living On A Narrowboat YouTube channel
Secondary double glazing for your boat - The pros and cons of double glazing on a boat and why secondary double glazing is a much better bet and a fraction of the cost.
Living on a narrowboat vidoes - My first hesitant steps into the world of video production for site content
Can you either live or holiday on a narrowboat if you have a disability? - Here's what you need to know.
Winter fuel allowance - Do you qualify for one if you live on a boat?
Case Study - NB Progress. Kim Wainwright recorded her journey on the forum from nervous anticipation to current liveaboard boat owner. Here's her story.
Narrowboat central heating - I don't have any. All that is about to change. Here's the system I'm going to install and why I've chosen it.
Narrowboat running costs - I compare my own running costs to those of a prominent YouTube video blogger and detail my exact costs for October 2013
Popular narrowboat terminology - Hundreds or words or phrases used to describe parts of boats and the waterways they cruise through.
The wind chill factor – How strong the wind is blowing and which direction it’s coming from can determine how difficult it is to heat your boat. Here’s what you need to know.
Case study – Another couple from down under living the dream on the inland waterways.
20th October 2013Condensation. It’s a common problem on boats. Here are a few suggestions how to keep your boat’s interior dry.
A new organisation for liveaboard boaters
On demand water heater problems – Discover a common fault with these water heaters and what you can do to resolve the problem.
Know your firewood – Not all timber burns well. Find out which is best and which to avoid.
Managing your boat’s water supply. You can use your water supply as and when you need it when you live in a house with all mod cons. You can pretty much do the same when you’re on a marina mooring with a water supply just a hose length away. It’s a different kettle of fish when you’re on an online mooring.
Liveaboard case study – A prime example of mooring without a water supply on tap.
The folly of using unseasoned wood as a fuel – Here’s essential information if you plan to use logs you find to heat your boat for free
Creating lasting memories of your cruises – Slightly off topic, but please bear with me. You’ll have some wonderful adventures as you travel throughout the network. They’ll be adventures worth remembering but will you remember them? I have a very poor memory but instant and total recall of all my cruises is just a click away.
A tragedy at Calcutt. Sudden Oak Dieback hits our 1,500 twenty year old oak trees
Forum private messaging – Now you can email other forum users from within the site
Managing your water supply
An American blogs about his travels
Solving engine room leaks – A simple solution to a dripping stern tube
All about the weed hatch – Removing debris from your propeller
A disaster – I inadvertently deleted this week’s newsletter and there wasn’t a backup on the server. What a shame. It was all about the damage you can do to your boat if you don’t watch what you’re doing in a lock. You would have loved it!
Effective fly killers for boats
The downside to living on a narrowboat
Liveaboard Case Study – American Richard Varnes has taken a year out from work to cruise the canal network and write about his adventure. Here’s his case study and a few stories from his journey so far.
CART Guide Approval – The waterways’ governing body is now promoting the information packages available from this site. Yippee!
Narrowboat Insurance – A summary of insurance quotes from the major narrowboat insurers
Liveaboard Case Study - Keith and Nicky downsized their property in Jersey, used the released capital to buy their 57? “go anywhere” narrowboat and now live on their boat full time while they continuously cruise the canal network. They’re ridiculously young to retire, and I’m very, very jealous
Downsizing from a 3 bed semi to a narrowboat – What do you do with a lifetime’s accumulated possessions?
A free download – Living On A Narrowboat: 101 Essential Narrowboat Articles
Narrowboat tips – Handy hints from experienced narrowboat owners
The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How one liveaboard boater manages on a shoestring
The perfect narrowboat washing machine? – It’s low cost and doesn’t need plumbing in, but does it actually clean clothes?
The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How much does living the life of a water gypsy really cost?
The cost of living on a narrowboat – An article in the Daily Mail… and why most boaters disagree with what they said.
Hire boat expectations - Fully understanding what facilities will be available to you is essential if you’re going to enjoy a narrowboat holiday. Here’s what not to do.
Fenland river cruising – Another boater’s maiden voyage to whet your appetite.
Anticipating winter weather – You may well be enjoying unusually warm winter weather but the winter will be with us all too soon. Now is the time that you need to plan for the cold weather ahead.
Keeping your stove glass clean – Maybe you think it’s an odd subject for the summer but you can’t trust the English weather. Late June and the stove was still on now and again. At least now I have a crystal clear view of the fire I shouldn’t need to light.
Traffic chaos caused by Braunston’s historic boat rally – On a day with high winds and a canal full of working boats returning home after the rally, I had the pleasure of taking some very nervous hirers out on the cut.
23rd June 2013 - The cost of a two week cruise. If you live on your own boat, what’s the real cost of taking it away for a two week break?
Case Study – Mary Anne swapped dry land home rental for floating home ownership. Now she loves life afloat and works from home.
Life as a continuous cruiser – The Holy Grail of narrowboat ownership. The ability to travel where and when you like. Peter Early tells all.
The Ashby canal cruise part two – We spent a bit more time on the Ashby before heading south again, joining the Coventry canal, this time following it into Coventry’s rather depressing and disappointing city centre, then retracing our steps back to Calcutt
Most popular narrowboat names – Here’s the definitive list of the top 200 most popular narrowboat names and a resource you can use to find out if any other boat has the same name as yours
Considerate boating – An article prompted after a near head on collision with another boat trying to avoid a fallen oak.
I was on holiday for the first two weeks of June. Sally and I cruised from Calcutt to Braunston, north along the north Oxford where we joined the Coventry canal briefly before taking a very sharp right turn onto the Ashby canal. Here’s a daily report of the first week of our holiday.
An encounter with two poorly prepared holiday boaters and my own impending two week cruise encouraged me to put together a pre cruise check list
Laptop hacking – An update on the problems I encountered after buying a brand new laptop which I suspect was tampered with before I bought it.
Diary of a new narrowboat owner – Frequent forum poster “Our Nige” finally moved on to his new floating home. Here’s his story
My comments about an encounter on the Oxford/GU section between Napton and Braunston sparked a debate about the pros and cons of wide beams on the cut.
Keeping dry – You don’t really need to limit your cruising to sunny summer days. There’s something very special about standing on the back deck in the pouring ran protected by a set of bomb proof waterproofs.
Do you really need a car? Living on a narrowboat is all about enjoying a simple and stress free life. Sally and I had a car each. Mine cost £2,000 to run in the previous 12 months so I decided to get rid of mine to see if I could manage without one.
An encounter with a wide beam boat and why they aren’t suitable for much of the canal network
An interview with the Trust’s head of boating. Sally Ash talks about the Trust’s approach to the thorny issue of residential moorings
Narrowboat fuel tanks – How much do they hold
Meet one of your legless canal side companions
The canal network’s largest floating hotel
Narrowboat blogs – My own first cruise, Our Nige takes his new home on its maiden voyage and a chance for you to have your very own blog section on this site.
The Trust target illegal moorers but just what does the Trust consider to an illegal mooring?
Identity theft – The ongoing saga of my hacked laptop
RCR engine servicing – River Canal Rescue (RCR) are well known as the waterways equivalent of the AA but did you know that they will also come to your mooring to service your boat?
The perils of exceeding your monthly broadband data allowance. Learn from my mistakes.
Narrowboat security – A spate of burglaries from boats and a break in at my former family home encouraged me to write this article
Case study – You need to committed to sell your home to fund the purchase of your narrowboat. That’s what Mick and Marlene have done.
Case study – Sarah lives on wide beam Antioch on the Leeds Liverpool canal. She can do man things with her hands. Here’s her story.
Be inspired – There are always reasons why you don’t make the move from bricks and mortar to steel and water. Here’s an anecdote which demonstrates once and for all that there really aren’t any worthwhile excuses.
Here’s an example of what happens when you really don’t understand how your narrowboat works.
Essential boating equipment – Here’s a low cost item which has paid for itself over and over again.
Whilton marina boat sales – Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This alleged fact about the boat sales at Whilton has come to me from several different sources.
Where can you find residential moorings? Here’s a great place to start
Getting rid of unwelcome visitors – Geese used to regularly disturb a peaceful night’s sleep where I moor. Not any more. Here’s my solution
Know your narrowboat costs – Detailed costs for my own boat for February 2013
Half a dozen boaters now have access to their own blog section on the site. You can too. Here’s how.
James’ upgrade – Adding solar panels and replacing carpets with oak effect laminate flooring
Stove fuel test – What works best; coal, wood, briquettes or something else entirely – Here’s my own take on a Waterways World test
Essential stove maintenance – Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your stove always performs well.
Internet connectivity – I use the internet four or more hours every day. This is the setup I have on my boat to make sure that I’m always connected.
Detailed running costs for my own boat for January 2013
The real cost of going cheap. An in depth look at the cost of my 36 year old boat, and how much I spent (and still need to spend) before it will be a comfortable full time cruising boat.
Case Studies – I put together 21 of the best case studies and analysed and summarised the data in this low cost guide. If you want ton save yourself hundreds of hours of research and costly mistakes, you need to read this guide.
Case Study – Mike’s circumstances are similar to my own. He moved onto his boat after a failed marriage. He’s upgraded from a 27? GRP cruiser to a 50? narrowboat
Narrowboat electrics part 2 – The concluding article from Tim Davis
I asked newsletter subscribers to send me detailed breakdowns of their bricks and mortar expenses so I could compare them with the cost of running a narrowboat. Quite a few subscribers obliged. I added the breakdowns to my narrowboat costs guide and the budgeting application.
Understanding narrowboat electrics – Another excellent article from Tim Davis
Satellite television for narrowboats – Information from a system installer
Low cost narrowboat ownership – A low cost solution to the problem of funding your first narrowboat
Solar power – All you need to know about installing solar panels on your boat. Written by the inland waterways most popular solar system installer
Case Study – Mr. Solar Panel Tim Davis writes about life on board his own narrowboat
First tests and reviews of the budgeting application
The best aerial for a narrowboat television
The first release of the new spreadsheet based narrowboat budgeting application
An unscheduled dip in the marina prompted me to write about safety on the waterways
Living on a narrowboat – Through the eyes of a young lady who would clearly prefer to be somewhere else
I started to develop the narrowboat budgeting software. This newsletter detailed the concept and the progress to date
Practical flooring for narrowboat dogs
Case study – Mike and Mags use a double redundancy payment to pay for their new floating home
The best tip for a wannabe narrowboat owner – Advice from existing boat owners
I published my guide Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat. When this newsletter was published it was only available as a Kindle edition. Now it’s available in both Kindle and PDF format and is bundled with Narrowbudget, the site’s bespoke narrowboat budgeting application.
VAT on narrowboat sales
Dealing with pests on a narrowboat – spiders and swans
Posh boats – My personal favourite: S.M. Hudson
Repeat prescriptions, diesel heating systems and solar panels
Survey – Do you want a forum on the site? (You already know the answer to that!)
How to clean your stove glass – One of the real pleasures of a living fire is watching the flames on a cold winter’s eve. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can actually see the fire.
Smoking on board – An alternative to smelly smoke
DIY narrowboat painting – I’ve broken down the complete cost of painting your own boat and
Dealing with wind on the river – A guest article from liveaboard narrowboat owner Alan Cazaly
DIY narrowboat painting – I spent three weeks in April painting my boat. Here’s the first of my progress reports
Life on the river Cam – A guest article on the pleasures of river life by wide beam liveaboard Luther Phillips
Case Study – Freelance writer Anne and her South African farmer partner John reveal all
Case Study – Toni cruises constantly with ex husband Allan. They cruise together but they live apart… on separate boats
As a result of the article about the downside of living on a narrowboat published in the 18th March newsletter, I asked liveaboard narrowboat owners to complete a survey to give a balanced view of the issues raised by Pauline. Here are the survey results and a much more positive article by liveaboard narrowboat owner and frequent forum contributer Peter Early.
The downside of living on a narrowboat – This was a very controversial post. Liveaboard Pauline Roberts wrote about the less pleasant aspects of life afloat… and attracted a storm of comments
Case study: The Woodsman – Pauline Roberts again giving an insight into the life that you may think she doesn’t like.
Reviewed: The Liveaboard Guide by Tony Jones. A great guide to living afloat
eBay Narrowboat scam (and a little bit of flack for me from another forum)
Case Study: Author Toby Jones on his own liveaboard narrowboat
A review of Debdale Wharf marina
Two more case studies. One of them waxed lyrical about life on the waterways and enjoyed every minute of her life afloat. Now (April 2013) she’s selling up to follow another dream in Spain.
The first four narrowboat case studies published
I’ll start with myself; Paul Smith, living on my own, moored in a marina and working full time. Narrowboat James case study
Meet Peggy. She has a husband and two small children, works full time and cruises the network during the summer months. Narrowboat Violet Mae case study
Fancy spending your retirement cruising the waterways of England and Wales? Meet Barry and Sue Horne. They’re living the dream! Narrowboat Adagio Case Study
Here are another working couple. Lina and Warren cruise the cut with their two cats.Narrowboat Olive Rose case study.
Article – Living on a narrowboat in winter
Dealing with the coldest winter on record
Digital reading – A detailed review of the Kindle, the perfect solution for book loving boat owners
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.
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.
Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat - Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
CRT (Canal & River Trust) maintain the waterways. Here’s their site.
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.
Newsletter Archive - Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.
Find out more about narrowboat central heating costs here.
Click here to get a FREE copy of "Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles"
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