Learn about life afloat the easy way

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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Right says Fred…

A boating friend I have recently made said I was paranoid about my weed hatch which I now check every day. I’ve found so many things down there and always feel a bit like James Herriot as I role up my sleeve and plunge my hand in to clear the various obstructions that cling to my propeller – I liken it to those cartoons where from a small box everything including a new car is removed as I pull things out.

But I’ve had a brick on a rope stall my engine…tights, trousers, an umbrella a basque which is always a worry and it took me a while to work out what it was. I saw a sign at a shop offering money for old clothes and I wondered if perhaps I should hang on to these bits and pieces for later sale.

But I’m running ahead of myself as these things all happened around Wigan last Tuesday Wednesday and I left Manchester on Sunday at about 9.30 am.

If you’re single crew get a willing friend. I found Fred at Droylesden. He likes to help with long flights and being a boat owner and live-aboard himself he is also very useful at a number of different things when it comes to boating and narrow boats. For the price of his fare and a ‘drink’ or two he’ll come and do a flight for you.

Fred was with me for my trip out of Manchester and also the Wigan flightFred (07939 206963) and was a god send really. We descended from Manchester step by step shrugging off the doom and gloom, the noise and the screaming ambulances/police cars…I felt as if I’d been stuck in a hole for 2 weeks. Looking back I should have left earlier and sorted the pump another way but its done now and all seems to be working again.

And so I left Manchester with trusty Fred…slowly but surely lock after lockLeaving Manchester 3 I cd live here…I wonder who put these kennels here for the ducks, geese or were they for me

I reckon I could live here

But probably I’d want to put a motor on it and moor it somewhere else other than a city

Leaving Manchester 7The hum and the drum did not subside but there was something in seeing the city from the canal…like peering from another world into a madness…looking through a glass bubble at the madness and scream of Sodom and Gomorrah (no pun intended).

Leaving Manchester 10

Some snippets of art in mad places.

A worry about the low levels of water

Leaving Manchester 9 Leaving Manchester 8

Which proved unfounded but you can see the marks on the pillars where the water had recently been.Leaving Manchester 12

And these strange signs were all about…there were some chaps who seemed ill-dressed for the weather hanging about in tunnels….

Leaving Manchester 18Leaving Manchester 16

slowly we made our way out of it all…looking for a clearer horizon

Leaving Manchester 23

One couldn’t help but glance back at it though

slowly but surely 2just now and again

Leaving Manchester 24Backwrd glance 2

I like a backward glance. But there is actually something to be said for seeing the City from the canal and I would recommend it to anyone…it is like being able to see it as if as a tourist without all the tourist trappings but also without having to touch it as such.

I’m not against cities …I was born in London and lived there for most of my life on an inner city council estate and cities do have their charm, their energy and of course their intensity but I prefer the remoteness and quiet comfort (and beer) of the countryside if I can find it.

twr1…eventually we made our way out and somewhere near Dukes 92 we got a bit sloshed and Fred went off and I went on.

I found the Leigh branch of the Bridgewater canal and stumbled across Butch and Janet – you’ll recognise them as their boat has a trike on the front and they fed me and watered (whiskey) me and so the day came to a close.

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Vaguehippo
 

I am a 55 year old male living alone on a narrowboat. I continuously cruise the inland waterways and rivers and have taken a year off work to see if the lifestyle works for me both financially and physically. I have sold my house and my car and now have bicycle and a boat. My main intention has been to slow down the pace of my life and enjoy each moment as much as possible.

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