Readers from outside the UK may be unfamiliar with canals and narrowboats. Here is an introduction and for those interested in learning more there are hundreds of blogs and youtube channels about life on the water. Living on a boat used to be a counter culture existence and still is, although it is increasingly popular due to bricks and mortar being so expensive.
Like houses, boats range in price, from new build fully fitted out 60 foot widebeams for around £120,000, to a shell to build on which can be picked up for a few thousand pounds. Basically price depends on size and the amount it’s done up or not. So for £10,000 you could get a small boat that is finished, or a slightly bigger one that needs work. Apollo Duck and eBay are good places to look, fun to browse even if you don’t intend buying a boat- although be warned, you may fall in love!
I love watching the boats go past; I was impressed by a shiny black widebeam like a floating palace but my favourites are the continuous cruisers’ boats with bicycles, wheelbarrows, firewood and plants on the roof. I saw a wonderful boat, grey, made out of shipping containers that had been lifted onto a hull, with a family living on who we asked as they went past and they told us they did this themselves; it gave them a really decent home.
Most couples around us live in narrowboats around 50 plus foot long. Ours is 48 foot which my husband says is about the smallest you want to go for two people living in it full time!
Here are some beautiful new build boats- we met the man from here in Bangkok airport, chatting at the gate, both as surprised as each other when we told him we live on a narrowboat and he builds them!
We are off on our big narrowboat adventure on Saturday (see previous post- I have a new job and we are relocating.) The sheds are sorted out, the electrics checked, the engine serviced. The fuel boat brought a new gas bottle this morning We have both finished work now and have just a few jobs before we go; shopping for supplies, block up the exterior cat flap*, do the laundry, fill the water and empty the loo.
*We’ll keep the cats inside while we are moving, at least at first (and always when going through the locks), maybe once we get going Alfie the brave one might like to sun himself on the deck or roof, and when we moor up we might let them off for a wander as they don’t go far- plus we have Dreamies (the equivalent of crack cocaine for cats)
If I feel daunted by the prospect of all those locks I just have to remind myself that people pay good money for a week or a fortnight cruising the canals on a narrowboat; apparently demand- and prices- have rocketed for this summer.
You can follow our journey on Instagram
My husband: travelswithanthony
Thank you very much for reading