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.
Hi to all of you. Sorry I haven’t been on as much as I aught to be really but I’m having a couple of weeks out and about as I’m on holiday from work. How Paul manages to post every week and work is quite amazing. Dedicated.
I intended to set out about 12 noon or 1 o’clock ish. However I didn’t crawl out of bed till 9 this morning. I opened the back doors and leant on the steps and saw blue sky and a mirror like surface to the waters of the marina. Doesn’t get better for the start of a cruise. But I have a few things to do before setting out. Coffee and cheese and garlic on toast for breakfast. Lovely. Check my account to make sure the first quarter of my mooring fees have been taken out and how much that leaves me. Too much money in my account. Now that is an expression I hardly ever use, so using my super Shirley Coombes power of deduction and logic I realise “shuuuugar something is amiss” and as sure as eggs is eggs it is my mooring fees that haven’t come out of my account. I check my mooring ropes in case the office have been round and cast me adrift for none payment but no I’m still firmly attached to the jetty.
New gas bottle required as I haven’t replaced the empty one from about 3 months ago. Bad habit. Change gas bottle as soon as it is empty so you never run out of gas, simple. So I pop round to the shop and office and part with just over £500 in the space of 15 minutes. I’m sure it takes me longer than that to earn it. The office staff are great here and I write them a cheque out for this quarter while I get the standing order sorted, which I thought I’d done but obviously hadn’t.
It is still a rather nice morning and getting very warm. I’m even working up a bit of a sweat just wheeling the gas bottle back and dropping it back in the gas locker and screwing everything back together. It is now gone 11 am and slowly creeping towards noon. Right time for the monthly shower and then off to Aldi to purchase all manner of goodies.
The plan for the day is to meet up with my neighbours who have left the marina and are heading off shortly to live in New Zealand and this was why I was hoping to leave by about 1 o’clock which really was not looking likely. Returning from the shopping it was now 2 o’clock so a possible 3 o’clock start. Fill the water tank while storing all the provisions in fridge and cupboards. Tighten the stern gland greaser then drop the pram hood. Boy do spiders like pram hoods and windscreens. A nice variety of them too, some rather large and some a bit smaller and a variety of marking too.
Now to say goodbye to the neighbours which takes up another 20 minutes at least. They are good neighbours though. Then “Cast off fo’ard, cast off astern me hearties” and away we go round to the pump out which is at the exit to the marina to keep a watch on what once went in but is now coming out. You have to watch what’s coming out to somehow make sure all the lumpy bits get removed from the tank, don’t you. Sorry if anyone’s eating. You will be glad to know I don’t have any pictures of this.
So, finally under way at about 3.30 and it feels good to setting out on my holiday even though I have a few things to do. Willington had a few boats moored up which it always has but was very quiet really for Willington. The sun was shining and it was nice and warm too. Not too many boats moving so made good time.
I saw something I may never see again just before the aqueduct over the river Dove. There was a good size splash in the water about 30 yards in front of the boat and I though oh is it a heron diving for supper but as I got nearer this sodden little thing climbed out of the canal and ran off up the tow-path. It was a squirrel who I can only think tried to leap from the trees one side and had miss judged it. Obviously squirrels can swim. Brought a smile to my face.
No further excitement and just enjoyed the pleasure of cruising in the warm and sunny weather. Finally got to Burton and John and Em’s boat was there but they weren’t. Well I was about 3 hours late so a nice salad and when they returned shared a bit of wine and a gin and tonic or two and passed the evening in a very pleasant way by actually talking to each other. I have noticed that boaters do tend to use this rather old and out dated form of entertainment more than some of younger and land bound folks. It’ll not catch on again though.
I shall try and add a bit more watery content to tomorrow’s blog.
God bless you all.
Photo’s are; my back yard at Mercia. 2 is leaving the marina just before entering the canal. 3 is the centre of Willington. 4 is Dallow lane lock and 5 is a nice stretch in Burton close to where I moored for the night.