HIPPIE KHUSHI WAKING UP TO LIFE

Alternative Lifestyles * Vagabonding Travel * Searching for Hippie Happiness

HIPPIE KHUSHI WAKING UP TO LIFE

Canal boat life. Canal boat communities

A few months back I wrote a post about my dream of one day living on a canal boat. A lot has happened since then and I wanted to revise and add a lot more content to that original post.

photo: 500px.com

If you have ever considered a life on the water, surrounded by nature and living amongst a unique canal boat community, here is a little insight into this wonderful nomadic way of living.

I have dreamt most of my life of living on the water in a funky canal boat, painted hippie style on the outside with an interior that suits my personality.

Photo: www.flickr.com

I would live as a constant cruiser, travelling up and down this beautiful country’s canal system. Mooring up when I see somewhere that tickles my fancy and enjoying getting to know the oddball eccentric community of boat people that create the canal boat sub-culture.

Photo 1: www.pinterest.co.uk  

Photo 2: www.pinterest.co.uk

But is this a dream that can come true?

I love boats and I love water. I was born in Brighton by the sea and have always felt a connection to the water. I now live in Hampton, near Surrey right by the river Thames. It’s a beautiful area and there are loads of canal boats. I love to sit and watch them from the river bank on a summer’s day.

Living on a boat would give me the peace, freedom and happiness I am looking for.

In order to decide if this is the right choice for me, my plan, my destiny, is to first volunteer with a canal boat charity called the Hillingdon Narrowboats Association, a charity that provides day and weekend trips out on the canals for children. Volunteers help with keeping the boats in tip-top condition and also with the trips with the kids.

hillingdon-narrowboats.org.uk

In exchange, I get to learn everything ‘canal boat’, the laws around boating as set out by the Canals and Rivers Trust, boat maintenance, steering and operating the boat, mooring up, operating locks, filling the water tanks and fuelling the engine as well as the more unpleasant duties such as emptying the waste tank.

Once I have spent a lot of time learning these things I intend to downsize my living costs by moving to a much cheaper form of accommodation in order to save up towards a canal boat and the fulfilling of my dream.

Then I would spend the summer months in the UK living on my boat and running a small business; such as a canal boat bar and cafe.

And in the winter month’s I would travel to my beloved Goa in India on my continuing search for peace, freedom and happiness…

Doesn’t sound like a bad plan, does it? But what are the realities of my dream?

Fred Redwood wrote an interesting article in the Daily Mail newspaper about this question:

Courtesy of: www.dailymail.co.uk

Could you live on a canal boat? Life on the water is cheaper than a house and could be more fun… but don’t expect to make money

 A 30 ft-long canal boat will cost about £20,000, or £30,000 for a 70 ft one. Owners will need a mooring unless they are willing to keep moving around. Crackdown on owners shuttling between nearby free spots has taken place.

By FRED REDWOOD FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 17:07, 14 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13, 14 April 2017

“Canal banks have a certain appeal on a (hopefully) sunny bank holiday weekend. So much so that you might begin to imagine life aboard one of the gaily painted vessels sitting on the water.

But what’s it like to be one of the estimated 15,000 people who take the plunge? Nick Corble has the inside track. He and his writing partner, Allan Ford, have put together A Beginner’s Guide To Living On The Waterways.

Corble has owned a canal boat since 1999, when he first took to the water in what amounted to a mid-life crisis”

Nick Corble has had a canal boat since 1999 and has written a new guide for aspiring owners

“‘My parents had died and I was between jobs,’ says Corble, 58, whose day job now is in management development.

‘So I bought a boat in Skipton, North Yorkshire, brought it down to Oxford and proceeded to live on it with my wife, Annette, for half of the year, while keeping a house in Bucks for the winter.’

Life in a slower lane had the desired effect. ‘Being in tune with the seasons and getting into the rhythm of nature heightens your senses,’ says Corble.

On the face of it, canal living makes economic sense. Corble paid £15,000 for his first ex-hire boat. Today, a 30 ft-long vessel is £20,000, up to £30,000 for 70 ft”

The Canal & River Trust says that ‘if a boat is licensed without a mooring it must move on a regular basis’.

There are three key legal requirements here:

  • The boat must genuinely be used for navigation throughout the period of the licence.
  • The boat must not stay in the same place for more than 14 days
  • It is the responsibility of the boater to satisfy the Trust that the above requirements are and will continue to be met.

Those without a home mooring are called continuous cruisers and the trust has cracked down on those who previously had been able to get away with moving between free moorings within a relatively small area.

It says: ‘Importantly, short trips within the same neighbourhood, and shuttling backwards and forwards along a small part of the network do NOT meet the legal requirement for navigation throughout the period of the licence.’” 

“However, buying a boat is only the start — finding a mooring is more of an issue. Nearly all the mooring places along towpaths are short-term, meaning a boat can’t stay for more than a few weeks. And continuous cruising regulations do not allow you to shuffle between nearby short-term moorings.

People using the canal in this way — cruising for a large part of the year — could pay between £750 and £4,000 annually in short-term mooring fees. If you shop around, you could find a long-term mooring, which allows access for a year at a time. The terms and costs of these vary with the amenities provided and the desirability of the location.

So it is up to the buyer to find a place that suits their lifestyle. It is advisable to secure a mooring before you buy a boat. Living on a marina is a different ball game altogether. Some of these mini-communities have CCTV security, a clubhouse, laundry and a vibrant social scene.

Prices for a mooring will reflect those in the surrounding area and may be high: between £3,000 and £9,000 a year for parts of London. The residential mooring Ice Wharf Marina in London’s King’s Cross has a communal recreation space, gardens, showers and laundry facilities, and costs a cool £10,000 a year.”

You need to be practical

“It would be fair to say that owning a canal boat is best suited to people with a practical bent. Owners must not be afraid to attempt minor repairs to the heating, cooking and sanitation systems. A certain amount of skill with electrics would be handy as would the ability to identify why the generator may be misfiring or the engine stalling.

When these type of things go wrong, you will find getting a repairman to a remote canal bank is not as simple as booking a call to a house on a street. Then there are the maintenance chores: engine services and cleaning the bilges and water tanks. Owning a canal boat is like running an old banger 30 years ago, says Corble. ‘Something can go wrong at any time and you have to think ahead to prevent that from happening.’ This is not to say that all canal boat dwellers are oily-fingered grease monkeys.”

So, there are a lot of things to think about before taking the leap, here are a couple of quotes from some great books I have read about canal boat living:

” I missed my fellow boaters, and thought about the yin and yang of travelling around the country or the world, always something to miss and something to look forward to…I’d had more money, but I’d never been richer.”

‘JUST IMAGINE; A NEW LIFE ON AN OLD BOAT-MICHELLE CAFFREY-2006

“It is not all plain sailing. Sometimes things go wrong and times are hard. But in those times I have to remind myself of the occasion when Bret and I were having lunch on Edith’s deck, it was a beautiful summer day, we were completely alone and all we could hear was the sound of the birds. Suddenly a Kingfisher landed on out mast and for a brief moment the three of us studied each other before it shot off, it was magical and I felt supremely lucky. This is only one of the numerous occasions when we look around us at the morning mist shrouding the river, or the glint of sun on the water in the evening and marvel at how fortunate we are to be able to live this wonderfully diverse life.”

ISN’T IT COLD IN THE WINTER-KAREN WILES-2016′

I spoke also about the eccentric characters you will meet that make up the boating community. If you stop off at a canalside pub you are likely to come across these interesting people with their tales of boating life. Another thing you will notice is the folk music scene is very popular amongst this community and the river,

Article by Rob Penn – The Guardian Newspaper

www.theguardian.com

The folk revival: where to catch it live

Ireland has always had a strong tradition of folk music, but in England, Scotland and Wales traditional songs are being played again and, even – whisper it – spawning a cool new scene. Rob Penn reveals the best places to join the musical revival and watch the new breed of folk artists perform

Rob Penn

Sun 5 Feb 2006 19.16 GMT First published on Sun 5 Feb 2006 19.16 GMT

Folk trance … a stomping night can be had at Sandy Bells bar in Edinburgh. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod

The scene: a pub with aged wooden panelling, stained-glass windows depicting stories of rural life, a sage barman in a tie and tables stacked with pints of Guinness and golden drams. Tucked into a dimly lit corner at the back, huddled in a circle, are a dozen musicians playing flutes, bodhrans, banjos and fiddles. The music – a rollicking jig that could wake the dead – mixes with dozens of raucous conversations. The pub is humming or, as they say in Ireland, the craic is mighty.

This pub is not in Ireland, though. It is the Lismore, a tavern in the West End of Glasgow on a Thursday night and the musicians in the corner are Scottish. But it could be one of many pubs across Scotland. In fact, this iconic scene of music and the craic could also be in Newcastle or an Oxfordshire village, on the Gower Peninsula or in a small Cornish port.

Across the length and breadth of Britain, folk or traditional music is thriving again. The excellent BBC4 series Folk Britannia, to be broadcast throughout February, the high profile of Kate Rusby, the sexy folk singer from Barnsley, and the BBC Folk Awards tomorrow all suggest as much. However, it is the evidence at the grassroots of the folk scene that is most compelling. The rise of acoustic music has spawned a proliferation of sessions and small gigs in pubs and clubs.

Where and how you hear folk music depends largely on which part of Britain you are in. Scotland’s musical tradition is close to Ireland’s. In Glasgow, Edinburgh and across the Highlands, especially in the summer, there are numerous authentic pub sessions –basically, a gathering of musicians, often unknown to each other, to play acoustic music over a pint. Fuelled by drink and bonhomie, they play and exchange tunes into the night.

Further south – from the Scottish Borders down to Hertfordshire and across to Pembrokeshire, sessions do take place, but you are just as likely to hear a gig in a pub, organised by the local folk club. These events are no longer the sole preserve of bearded middle-aged men in chunky-knit jumpers holding tape recorders. Folk has a broader appeal and it is attracting a younger audience than it has for 30 years.

Music academics argue that it is the process of continual reinvention that has saved folk music from the great cultural dustbin. Maybe. Perhaps Louis Armstrong was closer to the truth when he said: ‘All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard no horse sing.

The boating lifestyle has many attractions and its hard for me to let go of my dream of living on a canal boat and I will fight to achieve my goal and continue my search for fulfilment, peace, freedom and happiness. My story of boat life is yet to come but to finish, here are a couple of other peoples stories of fulfilling their boat life dreams:

www.waterways.org.uk

The Pros and Cons of Living Afloat

Created on 14/10/2014

“Thinking of embracing a life afloat but not sure what to expect? For most people it will mean a huge lifestyle change and isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Alison Smedley, IWA’s Branch Campaign Officer, spent seven years living on a boat. Find out about some of the highs and lows of her experience living aboard a narrowboat.

“Isn’t it Cold in Winter?” people used to regularly ask me, during the 7 years I spent living afloat.  “No”, I used to reply “It’s nice and snug with the stove going”.  That wasn’t the reality, of course, I used to gloss over the mornings when I would wake up shivering under the duvet with ice on the inside of the windows because the stove had gone out during the night, or because I’d arrived home too late the night before to re-light it.

People often have an image of life afloat as being idyllic and peaceful.  It’s nothing of the sort, in my experience.  It can be fun and exciting, but it can be cold, hard work and lonely too. 
Photo: Mopping the decks

During much of my 7 years living on a narrow boat I travelled around a lot, and religiously moved the boat every two weeks.  For a lot of this time I was working as a secretarial “temp”, so was able to move from town to town and pick up work anywhere.  
 
As well as wanting to comply with the rules, moving every 2 weeks was necessary for practical reasons, being an opportunity to fill the water tank and visit a boatyard to get the toilet pumped out and occasionally fill up with diesel and get gas bottles replaced. I would often plan this for a weekend and invite friends over for a day trip or a weekend on the boat, but the rest of the time I had to do it on my own, which could be challenging and wasn’t quite so much fun in the rain.  

One winter the canal froze for weeks and I couldn’t move the boat anywhere.  I managed to obtain sacks of coal and a new gas cylinder by dragging then along the towpath through the snow from the nearest boatyard, but the available water in the water tank got less and less as it froze in layers above the reducing amount that was still liquid.  

One peculiarity of living on a boat is that unlike bricks and mortar it doesn’t necessarily stay where you put it!  I once woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of rushing water to discover the boat had come adrift (strong winds had pulled out the mooring pins) and the boat had drifted some distance along the canal into the lower entrance of a lock, with excess water pouring over the bottom gates.  Quite a shock when I opened the front doors to a cascade of water!  Another time the boat was purposefully set adrift from the mooring rings I had tied to, and I woke up to find the boat on the other side of the canal along with 2 or 3 other boats that had been untied.  

As a female in my early twenties, my personal safety was something that other people, particularly my parents, used to worry about – walking home along a dark towpath late after a night out didn’t particularly worry me at the time, but looking back I realise that I was lucky not to have had any serious mishaps.  One time the boat was broken into and a camera and jewellery were stolen – fortunately, I wasn’t on board at the time.

Photo: You may decide to make modifications to your boat, these photos show a corner cupboard being replaced with a solid fuel stove.

Although I am a fairly practical person, I don’t think I would have survived at all without a circle of friends who used to come along and help me sort out flat batteries and an engine that wouldn’t start, or help to install a wood burning stove, or helping out in dry dock.  Of course, often these events turned into social occasions, and I like to think that I hosted some pretty good parties during those seven years! 

Photo: First dry docking of many – Tardebigge Dry Dock

When people heard that I lived on a boat, they would often ask me about it as a cheaper way of living.  My response was always that you should want to live on a boat for the right reasons, because you are interested in boating and the waterways, and not just because it might seem like a cheaper option than a flat or a house.

In my experience, barely a week would go by without some issue to deal with – a storm bringing a tree down on the boat, the engine not starting, going to moor up after moving one weekend to discover I’d left the mooring pins behind ten miles away, but the sense of satisfaction of owning and living on my own boat was something that for me made it all worthwhile. 

Living on a boat might seem cheap compared to living in a house, but instead of gas, water and electricity bills, and repairs to plumbing, roofs, boilers and the like, on a boat you have diesel and gas to purchase, toilet contents to get rid of (whether that is emptying it yourself or paying for a pump out), repairs and regular maintenance to the hull and superstructure, and maintenance, repair or replacement of equipment such as engines, generators, water pumps, bilge pumps, shower pumps, inverters ( there is an endless list of equipment that people can have on their boats). 

Many people who live afloat these days rely heavily on the various trading boats who do a sterling service plying up and down our waterways selling solid fuel, gas and even offering toilet pump outs.  Although even these boaters have to fend for themselves if the canal ices over for weeks and the service boats can’t get to them.
There are many things to consider when contemplating a life afloat:

  • Licence– you will need a licence for the navigation authority for the river or canal that you plan to be based on, and visitor licences for any waterways in different navigation authority ownership that you may wish to visit.
  • Mooring– if you want to live in one place, so you can attend college or get to your place of work, for example, and not be continually moving your home around, you need to find a mooring (preferably before you take the plunge and buy a boat). Suitable moorings in popular areas such as London are scarce and can be very expensive.
  • Alternatively, on Canal & River Trust waterways you can declare yourself as ‘continuously cruising’, which means you don’t have to pay for a mooring, but you will need to move your boat at least every 14 days (sooner if moored at a visitor mooring which specifies a shorter period).  And this doesn’t just mean moving round the bend to the next road access point.  If you have a job-based in one place, or other local commitments such as a school for your children, this isn’t a practical option, and you should look for a permanent mooring. 
  • Insurance– in order to obtain a licence you will need to take out at least third party insurance.  However, if all your worldly goods are on board you may wish to take out full insurance on the contents too.  Boat fires and boat sinkings are both things that can and do happen.  Boats also tend to be less secure than houses and boaters often find things stolen from their roofs or decks even if the cabin hasn’t been broken into.  If the boat is more than 20 years old then most insurance companies will insist on regular hull surveys (out of the water) – a considerable expense. 
  • Are you practical? Can you fix the engine (or bilge pump, water pump, etc) when it breaks down, or will that be an additional expense?
  • Can you actually steer and manoeuvre the size of vessel you are contemplating? Why not book yourself on an RYA Helmsman course to learn some useful skills. 
  • Boat safety– boat fires and carbon monoxide poisoning occur on board boats for various reasons – you need to be aware of your own safety and not block air vents or escape routes. Every 4 years you will need to pay for a Boat Safety Examination – and heed the advice of the examiner in keeping your boat safe for you and other users of the waterway.  Boat fires happen more often than you might think, and could happen on a boat moored next to you, however safe your own boat is.
  • Water- filling up the water tank is something that you will have to do more frequently than you might think if you are living aboard, and it could be some hours boating to the nearest water point.  You’ll very quickly become conscious of the amount of water you use washing up or having a shower.
  • Heating- How is the boat heated – it’s a good idea to have two sources of heat so that one can be a backup in the event of running out of fuel or something breaking down.  Diesel and gas can be used for heating systems, and most boats also have solid fuel stoves which can burn wood as well as solid fuel (smokeless fuel is not required by law even in a smokeless zone but is a good idea to avoid annoying local residents).  You will have to think about how you will transport solid fuel, gas and diesel if not moored at a boatyard which sells them. 
  • Toilet- What type of toilet does the boat have, and is it the best type for you?  A pump out tank needs emptying less often but can only be emptied at certain places, with a cost involved.  A “cassette” style toilet has a small portable tank that you can empty yourself, at “sanitary stations” provided by the navigation authority, at no cost, but will need emptying more often.  It’s a smelly job and not for the faint-hearted!  It also has the benefit of being more portable so if you can’t get the boat itself to a disposal point you can still take a full cassette there.
  • Internet access and mobile phone signal are things everyone takes for granted these days, but you will need to think about how these are going to work for you on a boat, particularly bearing in mind a steel cabin’s tendency to affect the signal.  There are various solutions available and you should research them if technology of this type is important to you.  

Some additional things to consider if going down the “continuous cruiser” route: 

  • Planning ahead- You will have to think about where you are going to move your boat to every time you move and plan your progressive journey ahead. Some parts of the country, notably London and the Bath/Bristol area, are getting extremely overcrowded, making it very difficult to find a mooring when you do move.
  • Transport- If you own a car you will have to work out where you will keep it, and how you will retrieve it each time you move (a bicycle comes in very handy here).  You may also find that you will be using public transport a lot more – another added expense.
  • Electricity- These days electricity is needed for everything from lighting the boat to running the pumps so you can have a shower, and for charging your mobile phone or tablet. Where is your electricity going to come from?  You will need to either run your engine or a generator (both noisy) in order to keep your boat batteries topped up.  Wind generators and solar panels can be useful additions to top the battery up, but both rely on certain weather conditions so cannot be relied upon solely. Finding a mooring which comes with an electricity supply is the best solution to this problem if you think you are going to spend most of your time moored up and not travelling around the system.
  • Being a good neighbour- Do be considerate to your neighbours on land or water. Excessively smoking chimneys, generators or engines running for long periods and belongings spread across the towpath will not endear you to the local community.
  • Groceries- Think of all the food (and drink!) that you consume, and then bear in mind that you are more than likely to have to carry it some distance from where you bought it.
  • Winter months- What will things be like in the winter?  Make sure you have made plans for how you are going to cope.  Not all areas benefit from the services of a coal boat regularly plying up and down selling coal, diesel and offering pump outs.  A spare portable type toilet (or extra cassette) in case you can’t get your tank pumped out, is a good idea, but bear in mind you will have to carry it along the towpath (although a wheelbarrow or trolley can come in handy here).
  • Personal security- Your personal security getting to and from the boat – will you feel safe walking along unfamiliar towpaths in the dark as you move around from place to place?  Or would you be better off with a permanent mooring in a secure boatyard or mooring site? 
  • Health services– You will need to consider what you are going to do if you need medical attention – while getting access to GP surgeries, dentists and hospital appointments is possible, it will always be harder if you are just passing through an area, and may hold up your planned schedule while you have to wait to be seen or for follow up appointments.
  • Voting- You can register to vote even if you do not have a permanent mooring or home address, by registering a “declaration of local connection”.  This can be the place you were last registered, a boatyard you have used for maintenance, or somewhere you spend a lot of time. 
  • Emergencies– When moored up in the middle of anywhere its always a good idea to know your exact location so that you can advise the emergency services should they be required due to an injury, illness, accident or fire.
  • What happens when you want to move back to the land- Living on a boat should not be seen as a first step onto the housing ladder.  Unlike property, even well built and maintained boats will not appreciate in value and are likely to lose value each year.
  • Over-staying- If you are tempted to ignore the rules and over-stay in one place, you will find yourself extremely unpopular with fellow boaters, which is a pity as the camaraderie between boaters is one of the special things about living afloat.  More importantly, Canal & River Trust can and will take action against offenders and you may ultimately end up in court and/or lose your boat.

Many of these problems are overcome if you have a permanent mooring, or if you are genuinely travelling around the waterways network.  If you are continuously cruising your electricity will be generated as you boat along, and you will frequently pass shops, water points and boatyards.  Some Navigation Authorities such as Canal & River Trust offer winter mooring permits to boats that are otherwise “continuously cruising”, which mean that you can base yourself in one place for the colder months.  

Living aboard can be a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience for those who have a passion for boating and the waterways environment – but it’s a labour of love. It’s not an easy or particularly cheap option, so it’s important to seriously consider all the implications before making a decision. ” 

This is what it’s actually like to live on a canal boat in Hackney

www.standard.co.uk

By: SIRENA BERGMAN

Friday 27 January 2017 10:43

“The first words I ever said to my boyfriend were: “Are you the guy who lives on a boat?” Somewhat wearily he answered my questions about electricity, running water and whether or not you get seasick on the canals – questions, I’d come to learn, you get asked by everyone you meet when you live on a boat. Though charmed and fascinated, I would never have thought that three years later I’d be living on it, too.

Most of the boats you see on London’s canals have what’s known as a Continuous Cruiser Licence, which costs between around £500 and £1,100 per year depending on boat size, and means they have to move along every two weeks or risk ‘eviction’. This is a much tougher lifestyle than it may seem. Every other weekend, come rain, shine, storm or blistering heat, owners spend the best part of a day moving the vessel along, navigating heavy – and often precarious – locks, going round and round looking for a spot to moor and working out how to get to and from anywhere in their new location.

Cruisers are required to move between 16 and 20 miles per year, meaning often they’re in remote parts of London that they don’t know well, with mammoth unfamiliar commutes. They have to sync the journey in order to end up near a water point when they’ve run out, empty out the toilet tank when it’s full and pick up gas and fuel when they need it. These service spots are fairly few and far between.

I knew the cruising lifestyle wasn’t for me, not least because my sense of direction is so bad I still get lost walking back to the house my parents have lived in since I was 10. But everything changed last summer when a permanent mooring became available. If we bought it, we could stay put for three years, we’d have running water, electricity, wi-fi, and even a postal address. We took the plunge and made a bid – and before I knew it I was planning to move out of my beloved tiny flat and onto an even tinier boat in which I’d never spent two consecutive nights.

I realised things weren’t going to be easy when I started making lists. We had two weeks to sublet my flat, pack up all my stuff, halve our belongings in order for them to fit into what is – even by London standards – a very small and narrow space. We had an obscene amount of DIY to do, including replacing a big section of the bathroom, putting up shelves, building drawers and creating storage where every millimetre counts. The cost of moving was exorbitant – the mooring itself is the same price as a month’s rent for a one-bedroom flat in the area. As well as paying a percentage of it in advance, we had to buy a new toilet (don’t ask), tools, electrical equipment and pay for safety checks and insurance, not to mention standard bills.

After weeks of indescribable stress punctuated by missed deadlines and a lot of wine, we made it through. I learnt how to keep my new home warm and safe, met the neighbours, and acclimatised to the hideous walk round the back of a council estate and through a padlocked gate that led to our private mooring. But just as I was getting settled, things really started to go wrong. First, our gas stopped working for no apparent reason, then our windows started leaking every time it rained; the chimney needed replacing, as did the boiler, and then the water pump started acting up.

One afternoon I walked onto the boat and smelt gas. I held my breath, switched everything off, left the boat and, shaking, burst into tears before I reached the bus stop. I couldn’t deal with my home feeling like a bewildering, scary space anymore; I couldn’t handle another week without being able to shower or cook anything because I was too panicked to switch on the gas. I was constantly on edge, focusing on any noise or smell that might be out of the ordinary, waiting for the next thing that was going to go wrong. I was ready to give up.

That was just before Christmas and since then – miraculously – we’ve had no major calamities, but things are still much harder than I anticipated. Our pipes have frozen over, the shower is either lukewarm or scorching hot and the local launderette turns out to be where Hackney’s crack dealers do business. Some things will be easier in the summer, when we don’t have to worry about constantly keeping the fire alight and the long days let us go back to solar-powered energy, but it will also bring about its own set of challenges, namely, how not to suffocate in what tends to feel like a greenhouse in the heat.

Much like any other huge project, the boat seems to have taken over my life to a degree I wasn’t prepared for. Most people’s first question when they see me is no longer how I am, but how the boat is. Conversations about my living arrangements can dominate meetings which are supposed to be about my writing, my career, my future. And sometimes my boyfriend and I will sit down to eat dinner, look at each other and realise it’s been days since we had a real conversation about anything other than the logistics of putting up curtains on a slanted wall, or whether it’s reasonable to store our jumpers in vacuum-packed bags on a daily basis to save space.

So, there are definitely pros and cons to think about before jumping in and buying a canal boat. I hope this post has answered some questions and laid out the realities of this lifestyle. If I have inspired those thinking of making this move to living on a boat, then I wish you all the best in this endeavour.

One thought on “Canal boat life. Canal boat communities”

  1. Another great blog. I used to do a lot of folk singing in Camden. Of course the canals in that part of London meant that there were often ”boaty” people to meet. I used to do singing workshops at Cecil Sharpe house, the home of English folk music. Sam Lee was our teacher. He’s such an Amazing man with the most beautiful voice. Our you haven’t heard him or heard of him you must look him up.

One Reply to “Canal boat life. Canal boat communities”

  • Another great blog. I used to do alot of folk singing in Camden. Of course the canals in that part of London meant that there were often ”boaty” people to meet. I used to do singing workshops at Cecil Sharpe house, the home of English folk music. Sam Lee was our teacher. He’s such an Amazing man with the most beautiful voice. Our you haven’t heard him or heard of him you must look him up.

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