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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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The scream of the ambulance is sounding…

There’s a lot to be said for marina life especially in a major city – hot showers, toilet facilities, washer/drier facilities, pump-out and Elsan – friendly helpful and chatty neighbours it’s all happening here in New Islington marina in the center ish of Manchester

New Islington Marina

New Islington Marina

What’s more the first week is free and then it’s just £5/night. I’ve paid more to pitch my tent on a campsite especially when there is more than one person and then the washing/shower/drying facilities are weak if not non-existent and usually cost on top of the pitch.

Then there’s the easy access to shops and supplies…easy access to cheap food and city life-entertainment, theatre and good ale.

a boat a marinaHere at the New Islington all the facilities are included and the warmth and friendliness of the neighbours is a lovely inclusion. But I do long to be away from the scream of the ambulance, the constant sound of traffic, the numpties who run across my roof at night (not every night) despite the CCTV warnings and the wailing of police chases punctuated by the clatter of the overhead helicopter and the now-and-again gunning of a ninja/RC 30/ or some other super bike capable of massive engine revs, acceleration and speed.

Then there’s those people who ask me for money on a daily basis…I will offer a chat, a word, spend a little time with them and their dogs but I am not keen to give money as it is so easy to do and in my opinion has such a short future and no great outlook.

got any bread misterI filled up my water tank today and wound my diesel up to 1200 rpm to counter the wind, have had a day of washing clothes and preparing for my (hopefully) coming voyage down the locks on the Rochdale. I am planning a Saturday departure all assuming I get the parts for my JABSCO Water Puppy and that I can fix the thing myself and replace it to do the job it wasn’t doing properly before…which led to my filling the under floor compartments with water.

The geese have retired for the evening but the white-noise of constant traffic breathing out never subsides and the screaming sirens come to a pitch and fade away only to be replaced by a traffic horn sounded for so long it must be as a rebuke. Now as I sit here I can hear pedestrian traffic discussing the pleasure of the Vodka they are drinking, their conversation gets louder and louder like the wail of sirens and fades despite their volume as they stagger along the footpath – I wait and listen perhaps cruelly hoping for the splashing sound which does not come.

its all the same to meThere is a lot to be said for the marina but the location and population density leaves me cold and yearning to get away.

Many a lovely view from my boat allows me some escape – after a while though I am struggling to find a difference. Perhaps I should not seek to make beauty out of what is dirty, angry, fast, furious and overflowing in obesity.

out the backWhat I should do probably is tell it like it is…I can only hear the screaming sirens not to warn others they are on their way but to cry painfully at the horror they are chasing – tell it like it is, its constant and like all demons has no reflection and despite its noise and pitch is soon easily lost in the mayhem and constant white noise of city life.

a half viewI looked at a few apartments in the City Centre wondering if I should tackle city-life again and continue with my trade. I saw some very attractive dwellings and seriously considered taking one as my home. But could I stand the pace and noise, constant rush and wailing’s of high speed life…like all of us yes of course I could stand it but in time I would return to the madness of the city punctuated only by the beauty and thoughtfulness of the art I seek. I would be absorbed and homogenized with all that is ugly and beauty at the same time, all that is madness and so I would rush to my own end, rather than amble down the bray in a toodling manner.

20140312_073200I want to get going, I want to go, I want to go… but am tethered to the needs of my boat – please make it easy for me to fix this pump and refit and please let the bloody thing work, I beseech thee wherever/whatever thee may be…give a boater a break that doesn’t involve a limb or being out on one.

much the sameAnnoyingly I didn’t note which wire is live…am guessing red on the water puppy but is it the blue or the brown on the boat end…probably I will have  to trawl the internet to be sure as running the new impeller the wrong way will damage it. Any advice gratefully received.

Useful Information

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.