Winter pleasures

Frosty morn 12 Jan 14 027My first winter afloat and  so far it’s not been a really cold one but still it is a test of coping with the dark nights in a confined space and keeping warm.

Keeping warm? Friends still ask if it’s cold on a boat and I suppose it’s a fair question seeing how we are sat upon the Frosty morn 12 Jan 14 108water in a steel tube but the truth is from the other direction. I’m sat here with my fire just ticking over and it’s showing 21C on the thermometer. I must admit when looking at boats I wasn’t to bothered if it had a coal fire or not but now I’m in the midst of winter and have got the hang of keeping the fire in for 14 hours or sometimes a little more when I’m at work and how much better it warms up the boat than the gas central heating I would certainly recommend one to anyone buying a boat to live on.

Frosty morn 12 Jan 14 029I know there haven’t been too many frosty mornings but when you step out or open the curtains and the jetties are covered in frost and the sunrise is lighting the sky it is really a joy to behold. Even opening the canopy at 5 am to go to work there have been mornings when I’ve looke up at the stars and the moon shining on the water and realised I am one lucky man and it’s still a pleasure and a privilege come home sometimes and just stop and look out over the marina and think “I live here. This is my home”.

I nearly got knocked over by a kingfisher as I was walking on the jetty to my boat and it just flew past me and shot off. They really are a wonder to behold and this one is a regular visitor to the marina. The colours are just so vivid.

I don’t think there has been much that has got me down, maybe a little down with being in a small space with the Frosty morn 12 Jan 14 076curtains closed and seeing no real daylight when I’m working. I work 4 on and 4 off doing 12 hour shifts. However the days off are great to get a few jobs done. I’ve just installed a new LED light fitting to replace one of my old 2D flourescen tubes which are starting to act up a little and be a bit dim. They might be the original fittings I think from 20 years ago when she was built.

Frosty morn 12 Jan 14 108It’s a bit frightening really this DIY stuff has I’ve avoided it and never wanted to have anything to do with it till now and yet I’m starting to look at jobs and think well I might have a go at that and then spending time thinking how to accomplish it. I talk to people about these things and learn what I can from their wealth of good ideas.

I’ve learned more this year about engines and stoves and windows and lighting and other mysterious stuff than I ever did in 10 of my previous years. It may continue too as it does also save you some money. Never a bad thing is that.

Right time to pout another whisky and then an early night and see what tomorrow brings.

Take care out there.



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.

Alan - Wednesday,12 February, 2014

You are almost making me jealous Nige!

However with a dog and the current weather, it is lovely to just open the back door and let him out.  This might be the last winter I can do so, so I am making the most of it.  Looking forward to returning to the boat next month though and hoping I’ll be able to go somewhere!


deckhand - Wednesday,12 February, 2014

hi Nige,

How lovely that you are getting so much satisfaction from living on your boat.  It does take a little time to get used to being in the tin can, I have taken to it like a duck to water but Jim has exactly the same feelings as you. Loves it but just needs to stretch outside a bit and needs a bit of sun now.

We are in marina and sometimes I think that does not help.  Kind of like “cabin fever” ;))  We are so looking forward to getting the boat out there and enjoying a bit of warm weather.



phil.offley - Wednesday,12 February, 2014

Hi Nige,

followed with interest your initial posts, but have not seen a post from you recently so it’s great to read you are happy and enjoying your life afloat. Like you ( although not living aboard) I am finding there is a lot to learn and new skills to develop !

keep on enjoying your life style along with the occasional tipple.


nine9feet - Thursday,13 February, 2014

Nige, it’s good to read how much you are enjoying life.

I think I am lucky, too. Yes, there are some negatives arising occasionally (my “current” one relates to batteries :-) ). But these diminish so much in comparison to the positives.

I move my boat nearly every day. It has a trad style back and standing nonchalantly in the hatch with arm resting on the tiller chugging down the cut is fantastic – even in the cold and rain!

The boat was in Mercia over Xmas and New Year, but I have been out since Jan 4th and managed to get through to Alrewas before the River Trent rose too high. So I have been pootling around the T&M, Coventry and Ashby canals and loving it! There have been few boats on the move and some days I don’t see any!

If I could get my batteries sorted life would be perfect!







pearley - Friday,14 February, 2014

What’s the problem with your batteries?


misterfixitsa - Sunday,16 February, 2014

It always astonishes me when I am reminded that we create our lives, for better or for worse.

You have created a life you enjoy and it is heartwarming to see how you have chosen to delight in those things many people complain about.

(Specifically, like going to work at 5 am!)

Thank you for sharing with us Nige – the world could use more men like you.

Warm regards.



Our Nige - Wednesday,19 February, 2014

Thanks Michael but I’m not sure the world needs any more like me. While I try to practise what I preach I still do get annoyed and sometimes far too quickly with the world and how ignorant and discourteous it is. But there are lots of simple pleasures and wonders if we stop and take the time to look and the Kingfisher did fly past me Paul OK it didn’t knock me over but did fly past within about 15feet of me.

John I’m glad you enjoy the cruising and I would maybe be doing the same if it wasn’t for having to work to keep me in the luxurious style I’ve become acustomed to. I’m certainly looking forward to the better weather to get out a few days here and there. I guess I’m a bit of a fair weather cruiser really but it’s starting to cross my mind more now the nights are drawing out a bit.

Deckhand, I’m off for a good few days from the 26th Feb so if you and hubby fancy meeting up for coffee or a pint in the Bubble let me know. You are in Mercia aren’t you?

Thanks for all your comments and I can’t believe how many views this post has had in 1 week I just hope most haven’t been disappointed. Agh just realised Paul mentioned it in the newsletter so that explains it.

May your God bless you.



nine9feet - Wednesday,19 February, 2014

pearley said
What’s the problem with your batteries?

For the original problem, see http://www.canalworld.net/foru…..7&hl=


That was mid December. Since then I seem to be killing another set of batteries.

I have come to the conclusion that I have the wrong sort of batteries for the way I need to use them.  Heavy power needs (boat is all 230V AC – no 12V DC sockets, just LED lights and pumps).  I have 4x110Ah “Marine Leisure” batteries. I’m taking too much out of them daily, so I think I need traction batteries.

I’m thinking B.O.A.T. Cry






pearley - Thursday,20 February, 2014

I wouldn’t be so sure of leisure batteries being wrong for your lifestyle. Plenty of CCrs use that type of battery, including us except that ours are 4 x 135 ahr. If they are gassing again then either one is faulty or you’re charging at too high a rate. I would be a bit wary of laying out for the extra expense of traction batteries until I was sure. If they are just suffering from too heavy a use I would consider having a bigger capacity battery bank

Your current batteries should be OK for about 300 charge and discharge cycles, that is from 100% to 50%. I never let ours go below 70% and they usually last 2 – 3 years. Traction batteries will usually go for about 1000 cycles.

My Beta alternator regulates at about 14.8 from new, quite normal on the 175 amp unit so I would check the voltage several times during the day when the engine is running, using a voltmeter at the battery terminals rather than your battery monitor. From the canal world post I see you have a mains fridge. I know from personal experience that the battery usage incurred from having the inverter on 24/7 is almost as much as that used by the fridge alone. We regularly saw SOC of less than 60% in the mornings before we changed to a 12 volt unit.

Are you still plugged into a shoreline or have these new batteries only been used off grid? If on mains then you should check the settings of the Victron by beg, borrow or buy a Victron PC interface to see what charge current is set, should be no more than 70 amps if on a shoreline short term and less if on long term.Make sure that the correct battery type is selected and ‘adaptive + batterysafe’ and the voltage settings should be set automatically. If you are near Liverpool or able to get here you can borrow mine.





deckhand - Thursday,20 February, 2014

Our Nige said 

Deckhand, I’m off for a good few days from the 26th Feb so if you and hubby fancy meeting up for coffee or a pint in the Bubble let me know. You are in Mercia aren’t you?

Hi Nige,

Of course it would be good to meet up, Jim and I would look forward to meeting you at the Bubble.  Let us know some dates/times that might suit you.  And yes, here in Mercia ;))



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