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Steppin’ Out. The first date

Hi to everyone this is my first blog post for Living On A Narrowboat or for anyone else for that matter. I decided to take up Paul’s offer of blogging as I have no real previous boating experience in recent years and what has happened to me over the last couple of years and what hopefully will happen over the next couple of years could be useful to anyone who is thinking about taking to the water and or making a lifestyle change. Tonight I’ve put an offer in on a boat I saw Sunday. The offer is the best I can manage but is a little short of what was asked so I shall have to wait and see what the outcome will be.

I’ll give you a little background information as to why at the age of 56,over weight with dodgy knees and a bit of a bad back I thought it might be a good idea to live on water in a small enclosed space. It all started a long long time ago in a land far away when the black Queen…. oh sorry that’s a different story but it was a long time ago. Between the ages of eight and sixteen we holidayed on the Norfolk Broads for two weeks each year and they were the most marvellous holidays I’ve ever had and the only one’s I can remember where everyone had long faces but only on the Saturday when we had to return the boat back to the boatyard. Eight wonderful years and we didn’t care what the weather did as even if it rained it never really seemed to spoil anything. I fell in love with wooden and GPS cruisers and didn’t really give a lot of thought to narrowboats.

As the years passed I kept repeating one phrase on a regular basis. IF I WIN THE LOTTERY I WILL BUY MYSELF A BOAT. It was a dream I thought had no real chance of coming true. No well paid job, no savings, no rich relatives to inherit vast sums of money from but over the last ten years I kept thinking about a boat and it slowly dawned on me that with the way house prices had risen I had a little equity and could possibly sell the house and buy a boat. This prospect started to look more and more tempting but the fear of making such a drastic change was rather large too when one day in August 2011 a friend of mine from church dropped down dead with a pulmonary embolism and about a week later I found out another friend of mine had been diagnosed with cancer. He didn’t see the year out. My house went on the market the following February 2012. None of us know how long we’ve got so I thought this is my chance to do this and if I don’t take it now it may never appear again.

I’ll supply you with more personal details as the blog progresses. I don’t want to send you to sleep too early. After the house was put on sale I started looking into boats and the boating life with a little more enthusiasm and found out I knew a few people who had boats and a few people who knew people who had boats. So if you’re thinking about boating let your friends know and ask around you might be surprised who owns one. I bought Waterways World and other magazines related to the canals and rivers. Took to having a walk by the canal and the river Trent, which is my nearest river, and visiting some of the marinas. There are some wonderful cafes at some of the marinas. Two I’d like to mention are The Willow Tree cafe I think its called at Willington marina near Derby and a wonderful cafe run by two beautiful if slightly eccentric ladies at Whilton marina. I don’t know if the cafe has a name but home baked cakes and freshly prepared dinners at good prices make a boat hunting trip to Whilton an absolute pleasure. Whilton is also very good as they let you have the keys so you can check out what you want to on the boat but also you can sit and try and get a feel for whether you think the boat might suit you. In my case the question was can I live in this space and how will my meagre possessions fit in. I may need to get rid of one guitar as I have three at the moment. Sawley marina near Long Eaton, Nottingham is another nice marina for boat viewing. I’ve mainly found everyone pleasant and helpful so ask questions and seek advice. Everyone loves being asked their opinions especially if you look like you’re listening to them as well, which you will be, we’re all vain when it comes down to it, and they may be more helpful the next time you visit.

Have a look in the paper or try googling the net for local marinas and don’t feel intimidated to visit. I felt a little out of place when I first started going which is only natural but most people are really friendly and when you’ve been a few times you’ll settle into it like you’re an old hand and if you don’t find anything you like it’s still a nice day out being by the water.

I think I’ve talked enough for the first date. I will post some more tomorrow and see if I can’t fit a few pictures in.

Many thanks and God bless you





Useful Information
Our Nige

55 years old. I work in registered care as a care assistant and have my house up for sale and when sold will be buying a narrowboat of some kind to live on. Been a bit of a dream of mine for many years. Don't know for certain if I'll like it but I'm really looking forward to it and think that I will. I have been looking at boats and reading and talking to people over the last 6 to 9 monts and sometimes I feel like I might know what layout I want. I will be on a restricted budget of about 25 to 35k and will be looking for advice and tips to help me make a fair start on the water.