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Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Mischief

I love life on a narrowboat but there are those who prefer the extra three or four feet in width that a widebeam offers. Paul and Allayne Roper fall into that category. Here’s what they think of life afloat… and how Allayne’s cancer affects their way of life.

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

We are Paul and Allayne Roper and have two cats Pandi and Phoenix – our family.

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

My husband wanted a change of lifestyle and his love is the sea and always wanted at some point to live near the sea again. A friend of ours heard about Paul’s interest and as he lives on a narrow boat, he asked us down to view his and it all took off from there. We do not regret our life on our wide beam one bit.

Allayne on wide beam Mischief

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

Our boat’s name is Mischief. It was already named but we felt that this summed us quite admirably and the cats too, being such adorable mischievous fellows.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

Yes we do have a permanent mooring. We were not up for continual cruising as this would not be helpful for my husband’s work or my own. Having a permanent mooring, wherever you are in the country you at least know the mooring is yours. Fees vary from marina to marina but it’s where you want to be that counts in the end and what you can afford.

What is your boat style and length

Our boat is 60 ft long and 11 ft wide.

How long have you been a boat owner?

We have been on our boat for just over a year now and my husband took to it like a duck to water.

How did you finance your boat?

The selling of the house helped finance the purchase of the boat and left us with money over to help with the survey, blackening of the base of the boat so it worked out well for us.

How much time do you spend on your boat each year?

We live on the boat all the time 24/7, with the exception when we go away on short breaks or vacation.

Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)

Unfortunately not at the moment, as I have been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the breast, spine and liver. My husband works, as he is self-employed.

What do you like least about widebeam life?

Knowing how best to stop the spiders taking up home everywhere you look!!

What do you like most about widebeam life?

The peace, lifestyle, and where we are moored. Both my husband and I have never slept so well since we moved on board our boat. Life is what you make of it, be it on land on water and ours at the moment is good indeed,

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Moving the stove from where it was position to near the kitchen so when the eco fan is in motion, it circulates the heat more fully around the boat.

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

We are lucky where we live as there is a mooring on the river for Tesco’s and if needed you can moor you boat by the bank and walk through.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine on board the boat if it was necessary to do washing, otherwise, we would go to a launderette or wait until we got home to use the facilities in the marina.

What type of toilet do you have on board and are you happy with it?

We have a normal toilet on board our boat with its own tank which resides under the wardrobes in our bedroom. We usually have to do a pump out every 6 weeks. We also have a portable chemical toilet for winter use if we are unable to move to do a pump out.

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

We initially used a fob to connect to the internet but this was not always brilliant as we are in a steel boat so reception was not always consistent. As we now have a landline, we have broadband now which is great and is like being in our old house.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

We have not travelled too far at the moment, being novices to the water but down to Henley-on-Thames is a nice journey, through Sonning and all. We do have in mind to travel further but with my cancer, it is difficult.

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

We have batteries that are charged when we are cruising. However, when we are moored up, we are connected to our own source of electricity and pay for that on a monthly basis and we have been surprised how little we use since moving on the boat,

How warm is your boat in the winter?

We have both, diesel central heating and a multi fuel stove burner which burns both coal and logs. Once you get the understanding of how your stove works, its is brilliant in keeping your boat sweet and cosy.

What advice can you offer someone considering living on a boat?

Visit the Crick Boat Show for a one on one with all the information Crick has to offer. Search the web, talk to friends and visit as many boats as you can to get an idea of what you really want from your boat. You need to view narrow boats, wide beams, barges and cruisers to find out what is really for you. You will know when you go on board if it feels home to you or not. We went for a wide beam because we enjoy the extra space. Buy a 2nd hand boat first to see what you like and dislike about it before thinking about buying a new boat.

You can find out more about Paul and Allayne’s life afloat here

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or website.

 

A Case Study Of Liveaboard The Mothership

Here’s another case study of a couple living in harmony together… on separate boats. John and Lowrie offer an outstanding example of what you can do if you can’t find a decent residential mooring. In this case they built one of their own.

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

John and Lowri Keyes, Goldie the Ridgeback hound.

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

I purchased my ship in 2001, because it was the only form of housing I could afford at the time for myself and my two children that would enable us to live in Oxford, and because I had always wished to return to the life afloat since my first job after leaving school, living and working aboard a 50’ prawn trawler in the Isle of Man for a year 1975/’76. My wife bought her 30’ Springer in 2003 whilst studying for her PHD, again because of the affordable housing matter. We met whilst fixing our boats up at Castlemill Boatyard, Jericho.

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

The Mothership and Xophtyk

Do you have a permanent mooring?

The Mothership on a residential mooring on the Thames

The Mothership on a residential mooring on the Thames

Yes. September 2004 we arrived at a piece of waste ground and sometime allotment on a backwater of the Thames, because of the pressures being brought to bear on the above mentioned and now derelict boatyard by the then owner, BWB. In December 2005 we obtained planning permission to create this residential boat marina from the local Council, most kindly assisted by the Environment Agency.

What is your boat style and length

70’ narrowbeam Barry Jenkins “Icebreaker”, 30’ Springer.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

11 years and 9 years respectively

How did you finance your boat?

Ancillary Relief, loan

How much time do you spend on your boat each year?

All the time

Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)

Carpenter and landscape designer, Scientist

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Mildew

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Independence

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Width

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

Bicycles

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Launderette

What type of toilet do you have on board and are you happy with it?

Compost. Yes.

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

Magmount aerial on steel roof groundplane attached to USB wireless dongle. Service is now adequate except in really wet weather, notwithstanding a passionate dislike for Orange and all their works!

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Many, but I would say the woodland stretch by Kirtlington Quarry on the South Oxford, but generally we prefer the River Thames all the way from Lechlade to Limehouse Ship Lock.

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

Small amount from PV powering completely separate system that runs the water filtration and delivery plant, rest is by means of small modern diesel generator. I have never got around to measuring KWH/Litre performance, but a Master’s Degree final year student carried out a study on the carbon footprints of our boat and others in 2005, revealed that centrally generated mains hook-up is considerably greener than making one’s own electricity from fossil fuels. IE a smokey 33Hp Lister TS111 driving an automotive alternator through an old-fashioned voltage regulator is not a satisfactory way to create domestic power, unless you happen also to be using your engine for propulsion, and be cruising along all the time. Constantly cruising is not compatible with going out to work in one place – but fine if you are retired or possessed of a job that pays you to work from home wherever it might be..

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Warm

What advice can you offer someone considering living on a narrowboat?

It is a major commitment, like marriage, and accordingly I would counsel any prospective boater to look well beyond the initial romantic attraction to the practical nuts and bolts, as well as the politics. Do not buy a cheap boat and expect to be able to do it up whilst living on it, and trying to earn a living at the same time.

Consider the politics. The politics of a liveaboards’ experience of whatever waterways or other authority their patch might be managed by will be as much of a determining factor in the quality of life afloat on the inland waterways, as all the enabling technologies put together.

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or website.

 

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