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Monthly Archives: March 2013

“Pendragon” starting the trip” day 1

Hi to you all,

The day had finaly come to make my way to Shardlow Marina to get aboard Pendragon and start to make my way back home towards Coventry.

On the morning of Saturday 23rd I woke early, looked out of the window to find snow covering the ground with a strong easterly wind blowing, certainly not what I’d like for my maiden trip. Having arranged my days off to cover this journey and a lift arranged for my brother in law, Tim, and myself to get over to Derby we had little choice but to go and see what it was like there.

We arrived at Shardlow at 9-00 am to be met, as arranged, by the previous owners, a nice couple, if a little odd, he doesn’t stop talking and his wife never stops moaning, a strange combination.

The snow was still falling and the cold wind was, if anything worse here than at home. We decided the first task was to light my newly fitted morso stove, “this wont take long ” said Tim………..Wrong!! …the chimney was blocked! after 2 hours poking, tapping and shoving a hosepipe up and down the chimney it was clear and the stove was glowing.

Dave and Carol, the previous owners were very concerned with the conditions as we had to navigate the Trent, before turning onto the canal and thought that it may be a better option to stay aboard overnight in the Marina and see what it was like in the morning. After much thought Dave suddenly said (much to Carol’s shock and disgust and she certainly let him know) Martyn, “do you want to risk it and go for it now?” …….I looked at Tim and said “yes, lets do it”

Dave had already kindly agreed to take Pendragon with me through the first two locks and give me a “driving lesson” if you like, reckon he was regretting it now, I thought. Carol left the boat, her parting words were “you must be mad” to pick Dave up at the second lock, in about an hour.

Tim pushed us off the mooring and we headed the 100 yards out of the marina and onto the Trent, Dave and I at the stern and Tim inside in the warm, I’d get him back later!

We moved down the Trent the mile to the entrance of the Trent and Mersey canal, the wind was blowing at our backs which was fine I thought but then we needed to turn sharply left, the wind hit the boat as we turned and I could see Dave was struggling, with a little extra power, Pendragon entered the relative calm of the canal.

The first lock approached, the boat was tied up and Dave went through the procedure we should follow at all locks. A nice steady cruise then followed, with continued instruction given, through a sheltered area of Shardlow, when after a further twenty twenty minutes I could see Carol, stood, hands on hips, at the side of the second lock. Another lock through, only 28 to go, I thought, only the remainder we will need to do on our own!

We said our goodbye’s and off we went…….slowly!!

Another lock approached, well this is it, our first lone attempt.

This seemed to be going to plan, with Tim operating the lock and me controlling the boat, then a problem………every time Tim closed one side of the gate, the other opened, he then had to run around to re-close the other one (he was doing well for a sixty year old) after three attempts, I couldn’t help but laugh. There must be a remedy for this but our lack of experience was showing, nevertheless we finally managed to pass through the lock and continue on.

We decided that I would try and get to Willington where I would moor for the night. The cold easterly was now hitting me in the side of the face with periods of heavy snow, which got worse as we moved into rural areas. After six hours we made it, managed to moor the boat, eventually and I finally went inside to find a roaring fire and a temperature of 25 degrees, I slumped down opposite it, absolutely freezing and exhausted (thought narrow boating was supposed to be relaxing)

After about an hour we crossed the canal (in a blizzard) to a pub where a couple of steaks and a few pints were enjoyed, I even managed to get the waitress to give me some oil (the only thing I’d forgotten) to fry the eggs in the morning. We returned to the boat for a well deserved sleep, my god was I tired!!………..First day over!

Steppin’Out; Second opinion, does everything work, trial run.

It seems to have been a long day today. Up at 7am and a couple of hours to get to Manchester then a couple of hours on the boat in the fresh air and a couple of hours back and a strange “oh dear me. What have I done?” feeling. I’ve just put a small deposit down on a boat pending a survey. But worse than that, I want this boat. I have spent the last two ruddy years decidint this is what I want to do yet there is a little voice saying “are you really doing the right thing”. I don’t know but I’m sure as apples is apples going to find out.

A little light snow as we travelled over the pennines, a friend of mine, Andy, had volunteered to drive me up there. I had asked him to come and give me his opinion as he is honest and will give me his truthful opinion and isn’t swayed much by sentiment. When we got there the fire was lit and it was warming up the cabin nicely. We checked the cooker rings, grill and oven worked. Checked the lights, 12v but not led. Fired up the gas central heating and he explained a few bits about that. Checked on the amount of storage again. There should be enough and if there isn’t then things will just have to go overboard. Material possesions are a concept of the bourgeoisie or something. Was it Marie Anne Toinnette er er Tounette or whatever her name was said something like that at one of them fancy parties where they eat cake and chop peoples heads off. Oh history isn’t my strong suit if you hadn’t noticed.

He explained what the switches were and the fuses and went over the controls and oil pressure gauge and things and some of it went over my head still but some of started to sink in. As with most things that are new to us it is no good expecting to pick everything up all at once and not at my age either. We lifted the cover over the engine compartment and it didn’t look quite as clean as it had done the first time but still good.

A little different to the norm.

A little different to the norm.

     1 starter battery and 3 leisure with some kind of battery management system. I’m not totally forgetful but I’m beginning to flag a little now. I wasn’t disappointed with how things looked on this second visit. It all still looked in excellent condition and Andy after a good fertle round couldn’t find anything to really pick fault with. All seems to be as it should and how it looks. This I think bodes well for a good survey and then we can pay up, look happy and sail off into the exotic sunset heading for Manchester.

The engine fired up nicely and off we went. He’d come up with a good idea, which others may have used too, he’d made a shorter tiller for use when other people are on the stern with him. this did mean steering could be done with out moving peopl about too much and if you were there on your own you can put the long one on and stand at the rear doors. It was pretty cold and the pram hood was left up but the sides rolled up so we had a little protection from the elements.

The experience of cruising is still very new to me and standing at the tiller of what I think is a beautiful boat which could soon be mine was a wonderful experience. Is this the life I want to lead, is this really where I want to be. I think the answer is still yes, yes and yes.

Living Space

Living Space

I’d better start trying to find a crew member to help with bringing the boat down from Manchester to Derby. At least a crash course of 4 or 5 days straight cruising should be a good start to my boat handling experience although another friend of mine has offered a days cruising with him next week to give me some kind of clue before my maiden voyage. I guess one thing to consider is who can I actually put with in a small space for a week or who can put up with me. How much excitement can they take. Ho ho.

Well I think that ends todays post. Now we have to wait and see if everything goes according to plan. A little nervous as I’m getting closer to my goal but still not quite there and it could still fall through but looking good.

Take care and God bless you.

Nige

Steppin’Out; Second viewing, surveys, and questions.

Hi everyone a rather nervouse entry on my blog tonight. I hadn’t got round to telling you I saw a boat two Sundays ago which I sort of took rather a shine to. After a little negotiation we have agreed a price which is the top end of what I can afford and I shall be going to have a second look tomorrow with a friend of mine who will give me his honest opinion of what he thinks to her. It’s a fair trip up to Manchester from here, about two hours and hopefully through Derbyshire which will be beautiful with the snow.

She’s twenty years old, 50ft with a cruiser stern but no front well deck as the cabin has been built right up to the gas locker. This gives a little more space inside but less out. You can’t have it all ways with only 50ft to play with. First impressions were that she was very clean and tidy, cleaned up ready for selling by a private seller, but looks like she has been well looked after and maintained. So tomorrows job is to take her out and see how she runs and as Paul has said to me turn everything on that can be turned on to make sure it works. Obviously to make sure I still like it and my friend to help make sure my glasses aren’t too rose tinted. I have noticed when looking at boats in Marinas like Whilton etc that some of the boats seem quite unclean which I find quite odd as for the sake of a days cleaning the boat would be much more saleable but that’s what I’ve found anyway.

Nice dinette but the sofa would go.Providing tomorrows viewing goes well I shall leave a deposit and we shall arrange for a survey. I’ve already spoken to one who surveyor who sounds quite good and at a reasonable price. He’s going to do a full prepurchase survey for me which takes in the hull and then the engine, central heating and other things which will be of interest to me. For the little bit extra he’s charging above the hull survey it makes sense to me to know more or less where I stand with all things then hopefully no little surprises for the first year or not too many.

A couple of pictures of the saloon and kitchen. All wood floors through out and look like they’ve been waxed regularly.

has a nice feel.

Plenty of storage in the kitchen but not too big.

Depending on where you’re coming from regarding buying a boat this is quite a scary time. I don’t have spare cash lying about but I need somewhere to live and fancy a change in life style very much. But for any of you out there thinking about what you’d like to do my advice is to look at your life style and ask yourself where you’d like to be in 5 years time. Only you can answer that and you may think it’s too big a task but look to break it down into small tasks that you can complete one at a time. Each one will bring you more confidence. A nice boating analogy is “Ships are safe when they are moored in the harbour but that’s not what ships are for”. Whatever your dreams are they will not happen if you never try and you never take any risks.

I may live to regret offering this advice when in 6 months |I’m crying in my bilge water and wishing I was still a land lubber. Who knows the secret of the Black Magic box? Rambling at such an early age, is there any hope for me at all. Nurse fetch the screens.

Good night, I shall post later tomorrow and fill you in on the gory details.

Take care

Nige

 

 

2013 03 24 Newsletter – Essential Boating Equipment

Living on a Narrowboat News 24th March 2013

Why is the weather such a popular topic in the UK? Because you don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next! Easter is less than a week away and parts of Britain are without power, roads are impassable due to snow drifts and you can’t cruise down the Llangollen canal because of fallen trees.

Providing your boat is up to scratch though, the weather doesn’t really matter. However, It’s very important that you spend time, energy and money to ensure that it’s fit for all seasons. James wasn’t an acceptable winter home when I moved on board. It is now. There’s a cruel east wind blowing snow horizontally across the marina as I write this, but I’m just wearing a polo shirt as I sit and type. I’ve taken the time to understand how everything on board works. If anything on the boat didn’t work effectively, I had it changed. I’m useless at the practicalities myself but one of the many wonderful virtues of the boating community is the willingness to help fellow boaters. I’m never stuck for a helping hand or two.

The importance of understanding your boat, how it works, and why sometimes it doesn’t, was brought home to me by the email I received last week. This new liveaboard boater clearly hasn’t spent any time trying to resolve what are probably fairly simple issues.

“My partner and I moved onto our narrowboat in November. All the possessions we knew we wouldn’t need or be able to squeeze onto the boat were sold. The moving day came and we were so excited.

Its been a serious shock to the system I can tell you. Don’t get me wrong, I love the boat, the people in our marina and the peace. What I don’t like is the rain! We have residential moorings in [removed to protect privacy] and the river and surrounding areas rise rapidly. When will it end? My dreams are steadily being shattered.

Heating is a multi fuel stove which is fine for heating the living room and galley but as the bedroom is 55ft away it’s absolutely freezing! We can only figure out how to use the radiators when the engine is running. I’m sure it can be done just on the gas but I havent been able to understand the huge manual that comes with the Alde yet. The pump out toilet blocked with terrible consequences so a porta loo has to suffice now. The chimney had to be swept etc etc.

Please tell me that this will get better. We want to live the dream. Please tell me this isn’t what every winter is like onboard. Surely the summer will make up for it?”. 

I imagine that the Alde simply isn’t lit. The radiators are being heated by the engine when it’s running but nothing’s heating them when the engine is switched off. Aldes are quite common heating systems. I imagine there will be fellow boaters or marina staff who can offer a quick solution to the problem, or at least confirm whether the Alde is working or not. If it’s not working it needs fixing. There’s no excuse here for remaining cold and uncomfortable on the boat.

The pump out loo blockage is something else which should be fairly easy to resolve, rather than abandoning the system completely and switching to a Porta Potti. As for the chimney, sweeping the flu is a basic part of narrowboat maintenance.

Living on a narrowboat is a great lifestyle but you need to put a little more effort in than you do on dry land and understand what you’re doing. That’s why I created this site, to help you understand the ins and outs of living your floating dream.

An Apology For My Poor Speling!

Last week I was careless. I thought I had run the spell checker before I published the newsletter. Clearly I didn’t. I had a friendly email pointing out the error of my ways and the fact that I had spelled residential three different ways. I’ll be more careful in future but if you do spot any errors, please let me know so that I can correct them.

Essential Boating Equipment

There are some bits of kit that you should have on board at all times; a pole, plank and boat hook, two or three mooring pins or chains, a lump hammer (some boaters prefer a sledge hammer for hard ground in the summer) and, to get you through the locks, a windlass or two. Windlasses have a habit of ending up in the water. They are kicked in after being left on the lock side or fly in after being left on the paddle. It’s a careless and expensive mistake to make, but what can you do once it’s in the water? You can use one of the essential tools in your boat’s emergency kit… a powerful magnet.

The 2013 Equipment and Chandlery Guide in Waterways World’s April magazine features a super powerful magnet available for £26. It’s under two inches tall but is capable of lifting 50lb. You can use it to retrieve your windlasses, mooring pins, keys (most boaters have dropped a key or two into the cut), your prized folding bike and, if you’re feeling particularly public spirited, a shopping trolley or two. It’s called the Maxigrab Magnet and is available here.

The Crick Boat Show

It’s the UK’s number one narrowboat show. Four days of live music and entertainment, a chance to meet thousands of fellow boaters and the opportunity to view the latest masterpieces from the leading narrowboat and widebeam builders in the industry. The New & Used Boat Company have set a record at Crick this year. They will have seven of their boats on display.

This year the show is on from 25th – 27th May. I’ll be there on 27th. The last day of the show is my favourite day. It’s bargain day. Since January I’ve been compiling a list of none essential items tha t I need/want for James. I’ll be there on Monday 27th with my shopping list in one hand and my debit card in the other. Exhibitors don’t want to take stock home with them. If you wait until Monday afternoon, there are some marvelous savings to be made. Midland Chandlers usually have a large amount of stock at the show. There stand is the size of one of their stores. They don’t like to take anything back with them at all so on Monday afternoon they will consider all offers. It’s possible to get up to 40% discount on their list prices.

Tickets for each day are £9 in advance or £12 on the day. Three day tickets are £20 in advance or £26 on the door. You can find out more and buy tickets either by visiting the Crick Boat Show web site or by calling 01283 742962

Stove Fuel Test Update

Two weeks ago I mentioned that, after reading the Waterways World fuel test in the March edition of their magazine, I bought two sample bags of wood briquettes so that I could conduct my own tests on a real liveaboard narrowboat. One bag arrived within a few days but the second, the Ecofire Heat Logs only arrived this week after going missing in the post. Here’s what I thought of both fuels.

Your Own Narrowboat Blog

Last week I offered site users some space on this site so that they could create a blog, a journal, of their own journey from narrowboat dream to actual ownership. Three narrowboat owners have taken me up on the offer so far. I’ve created a new section on the forum so that site visitors can read and comment on the blog posts. I’ve also included some information that may be of interest to you if you would like to start your own blog.

Whilton Marina Boat Sales

I received an email from a site subscriber yesterday. He was responding to one of the regular series of emails I send out with the intention of (hopefully) pointing potential narrowboat owners in the right direction. He suggested that I needed to know more about the way that Whilton Marina boat sales operate before I recommend them as a potential source for their new boat. I’m not saying that the information he provided is accurate but, coincidentally, I was given the same information by a respected boat builder this week. In the spirit of providing you with as much information as possible so that you can make up your own mind, I have copied the email I received on the Whilton Marina page of this site. I’m also more than happy to include a response from anyone at Whilton.

Comprehensive Site Article Listing

There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.

Popular Forum Posts

Now that the forum login problems have been resolved, forum posts and visits have seen a dramatic increase. There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.

  • The Llangollen Canal – One of the countries most beautiful canals discussed
  • Deliveries to your boat – Excellent information from regular forum contributor Pearley
  • Mobile Broadband – All you need to know about internet connectivity on board
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that fellow boaters can steal your internet data allowance?
  • Boat Planning & Design – Is there any free software available to hel you plan your dream boat?
  • A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
  • Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
  • The Llangollen canal – Here’s a view that you’re never going to see from your narrowboat.
  • Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
  • Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
  • Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
  • Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
  • Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
  • Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
  • Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
  • Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
  • Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
  • Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
  • Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
  • Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
  • Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
  • Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
  • Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
  • Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
  • Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
  • Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
  • Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
  • Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
  • Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing  plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
  • Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
  • Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
  • Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
  • Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
  • Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
  • Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
  • Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
  • Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
  • Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
  • The best flooring for a narrowboat pets –  What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
  • The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
  • The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
  • ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
  • Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
  • Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
  • Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
  • Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
  • Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
  • Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
  • Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
  • VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
  • Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
  • Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
  • How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
  • Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
  • Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
  • Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
  • Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
  • Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
  • Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
  • Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed

Useful Links

Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.

 

 

More info. Ideas on the ideal layout.

Hi to everyone on this snowy day. I’ll offer you a little more information about who I am and why and other things of that nature. My name is Nige Buttery and at 56 I’m nearly in my prime. I worked in warehousing for 14 years rising from shop floor to warehouse manager, suit and tie, then after about 6 years as manager is was made redundant. I had been a hippy/biker in my younger days and took my watch off, tie off and decided to regress back to comfort, suits and ties were never me. I then became a white van man, even if it was green, picking up parts of jumpers for out workers to put together. I then became a proper white van man delivering round West Yorkshire, a gorgeous county and I look forward to doing the Huddersfield narrow at some point. 14 years later I decided to try something rather different by working in care and ended up in registered care working with adults with severe learning difficulties which I’ve enjoyed for the last 8 years. I’ve just quit the company I worked for due to the politically correct nature of our industry and the company in particular so I am actually homeless and jobless but still going to buy some kind of liveaboard and look forward to a different year and new employment.

I’m single, quite sociable sometimes but not really a TV fan. I like real ales, real ciders and malt whisky, but not in large quantities as three or four pints and I’m gone so can be vulnerable to nice young ladies who may like their men with a little more sophistication and maturity. Something like that. I class my self as a spiritual type chap and attend an Anglican church but have Buddhist leanings too. I play guitar and sing and write some of my songs and a little bit of poetry too. I will do personalised poems for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries etc for a small fee. I enjoy wildlife and obviously I’m rather fond of water, rivers, lakes, canals and the sea. I’ve more or less always had a liking for boats but where I grew up and still live is as far away from the sea as you can get and the nearest proper canal or river is at least 15 miles away.

After the boating holidays as youngster I’d intended getting a cruiser to live on when I first decided to change my lifestyle. This however quickly changed once I got talking to a few boaters who explained the pitfalls with a wooden or GPS cruiser when the winter sets in. Narrowboats are insulated and geared towards living on where cruisers aren’t and it gets very hard to keep them warm. Lesson one learned so my attention changed to narrowboats which once I really started looking also came up trumps when it comes down to usable space inside when compared to cruisers of a similar length.

As I mentioned  yesterday talking to friends about you’re plans can yield benefits and I found out a friend of mine knew two people who where actually living on the water, one at Willington and one at Shardlow, and she arranged a visit for us. The couple who were at Willington had a 50ft x 12ft wide-beam which was quite new and not surprisingly very nice. It was a cold frosty day in February and when you walked onto their boat it was toasting inside with a roaring solid fuel stove in the corner. The main living room was about 12ft by 12ft the same size as the front room of the terraced house I grew up in. If you can afford it and don’t mind the restrictions of where you can go on the canals then you can have luxury, room and the water too. They have now moved down to Sawley as because of the width they couldn’t navigate much further up the Trent and Mersey so Sawley made more sense with access to two rivers.

The second boat was moored at Shardlow and owned by Richard who was single and had a spaniel too. His was a 52 foot narrowboat also with a roaring fire and a side hatch. I personally like the side hatches as it seems wonderful to just lean on the sill and watch the world go by along with the ducks and swans. One of his suggestions was that 50ft is just about minimum for a liveaboard. I know of people who live on 45ft and even 35ft but I’m inclined to think that having a little bit of space on board is a good thing especially if you’re thinking of inviting friends and or family down.

Everybody is different and will want a different layout. If you’re having one built then you can certainly have it your own way but if like me you’re buying someone else’s dream boat then compromise comes into it too. After viewing a few boats I started to get an idea about what and how I might like my boat to be and the layout of it. There are so many different designs and layouts so check out the Internet and get down to the marinas where they are selling boats and get on board as many as you can. Doing this gave me new ideas and just as useful showed the out door to some ideas I’d already made. I personaly favour an open plan living area or depending on the size and layout some built in furniture but still with an open plan area to allow for a bit of movement and versatility. The boat I’ve made an offer for has a built in dinette in the bow of the boat and then about 10 ft of open space before you get to the kitchen area.

It pays to spend some time thinking about what you’d really like but I’ve found that you get a feeling when stepping on board whether you like something or not. But a flexible attitude and considering what you want to do while afloat is a pleasurable and constructive way to pass the time. I shall try and post again over the weekend and hopefully may have news on the boat purchase front.

Have fun and may God bless you.

Nige

Steppin’ Out. The first date

Hi to everyone this is my first blog post for Living On A Narrowboat or for anyone else for that matter. I decided to take up Paul’s offer of blogging as I have no real previous boating experience in recent years and what has happened to me over the last couple of years and what hopefully will happen over the next couple of years could be useful to anyone who is thinking about taking to the water and or making a lifestyle change. Tonight I’ve put an offer in on a boat I saw Sunday. The offer is the best I can manage but is a little short of what was asked so I shall have to wait and see what the outcome will be.

I’ll give you a little background information as to why at the age of 56,over weight with dodgy knees and a bit of a bad back I thought it might be a good idea to live on water in a small enclosed space. It all started a long long time ago in a land far away when the black Queen…. oh sorry that’s a different story but it was a long time ago. Between the ages of eight and sixteen we holidayed on the Norfolk Broads for two weeks each year and they were the most marvellous holidays I’ve ever had and the only one’s I can remember where everyone had long faces but only on the Saturday when we had to return the boat back to the boatyard. Eight wonderful years and we didn’t care what the weather did as even if it rained it never really seemed to spoil anything. I fell in love with wooden and GPS cruisers and didn’t really give a lot of thought to narrowboats.

As the years passed I kept repeating one phrase on a regular basis. IF I WIN THE LOTTERY I WILL BUY MYSELF A BOAT. It was a dream I thought had no real chance of coming true. No well paid job, no savings, no rich relatives to inherit vast sums of money from but over the last ten years I kept thinking about a boat and it slowly dawned on me that with the way house prices had risen I had a little equity and could possibly sell the house and buy a boat. This prospect started to look more and more tempting but the fear of making such a drastic change was rather large too when one day in August 2011 a friend of mine from church dropped down dead with a pulmonary embolism and about a week later I found out another friend of mine had been diagnosed with cancer. He didn’t see the year out. My house went on the market the following February 2012. None of us know how long we’ve got so I thought this is my chance to do this and if I don’t take it now it may never appear again.

I’ll supply you with more personal details as the blog progresses. I don’t want to send you to sleep too early. After the house was put on sale I started looking into boats and the boating life with a little more enthusiasm and found out I knew a few people who had boats and a few people who knew people who had boats. So if you’re thinking about boating let your friends know and ask around you might be surprised who owns one. I bought Waterways World and other magazines related to the canals and rivers. Took to having a walk by the canal and the river Trent, which is my nearest river, and visiting some of the marinas. There are some wonderful cafes at some of the marinas. Two I’d like to mention are The Willow Tree cafe I think its called at Willington marina near Derby and a wonderful cafe run by two beautiful if slightly eccentric ladies at Whilton marina. I don’t know if the cafe has a name but home baked cakes and freshly prepared dinners at good prices make a boat hunting trip to Whilton an absolute pleasure. Whilton is also very good as they let you have the keys so you can check out what you want to on the boat but also you can sit and try and get a feel for whether you think the boat might suit you. In my case the question was can I live in this space and how will my meagre possessions fit in. I may need to get rid of one guitar as I have three at the moment. Sawley marina near Long Eaton, Nottingham is another nice marina for boat viewing. I’ve mainly found everyone pleasant and helpful so ask questions and seek advice. Everyone loves being asked their opinions especially if you look like you’re listening to them as well, which you will be, we’re all vain when it comes down to it, and they may be more helpful the next time you visit.

Have a look in the paper or try googling the net for local marinas and don’t feel intimidated to visit. I felt a little out of place when I first started going which is only natural but most people are really friendly and when you’ve been a few times you’ll settle into it like you’re an old hand and if you don’t find anything you like it’s still a nice day out being by the water.

I think I’ve talked enough for the first date. I will post some more tomorrow and see if I can’t fit a few pictures in.

Many thanks and God bless you

Nige

 

 

 

NB Badger Sett

Hi There

A quick background to start off.

We are Keith and Nicky from Jersey and liveaboard full time with our two dogs Binks and Benji. We’re fairly new to this having brought our first narrowboat in January 2012, moved aboard full-time in October 2012 and started to continiously cruise at the beginning of February 2013 so just a mere seven weeks into this part of our adventure. The loose plan is travel as much of the network as we can that we think will take us somewhere between five to eight years, not that we’re in any rush! And our home, it’s a 57′ cruiser stern called Badger Sett.

We’re even fresher to this blog lark and have copied our most recent post below and the previous dozen or so can be found at www.narrowboatboysontour.blogspot . You won’t of course find years of experience on this blog as we’re a pair of newbies, nor just a virtual cruise of the network, in fact there isn’t really a theme to it at all I suppose, it’s just a take on our daily life and some of what happens on our travels.

Anyway, enough of the opening chat as I’ve probably lost half of you to boredom already and don’t want to lose the other half before you get to my latest post:

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Hi again

Without getting technical, as I’ve only got a basic grasp on the whole solar power, batteries and electrics thingy, I thought I’d just do a quick update on our solar panels.

They were only fitted in December and as we were still based at the marina until the end of January we’ve only really had them to use from the beginning of February. Have to say though, they are the pups nuts.

As we tend to potter about i.e. not travel very far very quick, we only ran the engine for 27 hours in February, 25 of those being for cruising and 2 when we left the engine running as some gloomy spells had caused the batteries to run a little low. So our average running time in February was roughly one hour a day whereas we used to always run the engine for three hours a day being it cruising, running the engine whilst moored, or a combination of the two. As we’ve recently topped up, I’ve calculated the fuel cost for February to be £31.30 for the average running of one hour per day. Had we run it for three hours a day, then our fuel cost would have been an extra £70 that should equate to an annual saving of somewhere around £700 – £800 a year.

The system wasn’t necessarily cheap and add to that the cost of changing to LED lights throughout and installing some 12v charging points and it’ll take the best part of three years to achieve payback. As we’re just starting out on a long term plan though and the system is transferable to our next boat and then even to land at some point in the future, the saving over time will be considerable. I should also add though that we are conscious of our power usage and this does of course play a big part in our battery usage v charging requirements and therefore savings.

For those with some technical interest, our system is based around 3 x 195w Schott panels and a Tristar MPPT controller. If anyone should have any specific interest or questions let me know and I’ll see if my knowledge bank is up to an answer.

We’ve been moored on an embankment south of the Anderton lift for a couple of nights that offers some good countryside views and is nicely open to catch the sun from dawn to dusk that does of course help re the previous topic.

Although we do have some reservations about this particular mooring and in particular the sign that you’ll see pictured below. Anyone for a teddy bears picnic ? without of course feeding them.

Marbury Country Park is adjacent to the canal and we’ve taken the opportunity of taking the boys for a few walks around there. Seems a very popular place, with a broad range of users – walkers, dog owners, parents with kids, cyclists and even some horses. On the towpath side of the canal is another larger area that borders onto the River Weaver with another mixture of wooded / open areas as well as some carvings in both wood and stone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will just be able to make our Marbury church that’s center(ish) in the above picture.

Those who read my previous post will remember the unfortunate medical condition that effects the indigenous species of Jersey, or more specifically the female brand, who are sentenced to a life with a dysfunctional gene and us chaps just have try and get them through it and support them as best we can. Well I’m sorry to say, it struck the Mrs again the other day. Came out of nowhere it did, no warning signs or anything, it just popped out. Let me explain. . . We’d taken the boys for a walk from where we’re moored to up past the Barnton Tunnel (572 yards long by the Nicholsons guide). As the towpath is on the opposite side to the canal entrance on the eastern side we couldn’t see any mention of when you could travel/timing restrictions of entry etc so walked over the top to the other side. The western side of the tunnel is better placed to look into it from the towpath and you could see through to the other side. It’s okay I said, we’ll be able to see if anyone is in the tunnel before we enter to which the reply came, wait for it, here it comes, ‘but you might not be able to see through from the other side’. This really ranks up there amongst some of her better moments, including the one where she said that a canal looked like it was going uphill and trust me, there wasn’t a lock in sight! Got to love her though and it’s just a small part of what makes her so special!

So as to not be put to shame by the Mrs and her culinary skills I decided that one of my must have items when we downsized to our boat was my pasta machine that I’d brought years ago and have used it more in the last few months than I have done since getting it. With time on our hands now though, we’d decided to try and do more from scratch than just buy in. With regards to the pasta, it isn’t necessarily cheaper and certainly isn’t easier than shop brought, but is worth the effort and what started out taking me about an hour and a half or more I’ve managed to get down to forty minutes or so from mixing the ingredients (flour and one egg, now even I can do that) through to the end product. Anyway, some pictures of me making Penna Pasta to prove it although as you can’t actually see it’s me, you’ll just have to trust me.

The kneading stage . . .

The rolling stage . . .

The cutting into squares stage . . .

The shaping it stage . . . (I find rolling it around a chop stick the best way)

The end product stage . . .

Well I suppose the end product stage would have actually been it served up in the bowl, but in my excitement and hunger, I forgot to take that photo. DOH!

And finally, it’s official, I appear to have a follower of my blog. Couple of guys went by on their narrowboat yesterday, think it was called Patricia. The Mrs was outside as they were passing and one of them asked her for ‘A Date’ so with a flick of her hair, a flutter of her eyelashes she said ‘pardon’, to which they said we want an ‘Update, an update of your blog’. Shattered she was, hero to zero in mere seconds. I feel that I should at least dedicate this post to them, but as don’t know their names I’ll just call them the Patricia Boys (just as well their boat wasn’t called Nancy I suppose).

And so in signing off,

Day 149 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat – 254 miles and 102 locks further on from when we started.

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Well that’s the latest post, the older ones can be found at www.narrowboatboysontour.blogspot

 

 

 

 

Getting ready for “Pendragon”

Hi to you all,

I was asked by Paul, as I’m new to narrow boating, if I’d share with the forum my experiences in my new venture in the form of a blog.

Now, before I go any further I’d just like to say that this type of writing is completely new to me, the nearest I got was at school 40 odd years ago, even then I took little notice, so I’ll apologize in advance for any glaring errors. I think it’s logical to start and introduce myself and tell you a little of my background.

My name is Martyn and I’m, I guess, the wrong side of 50 years old. I worked within the licensing trade for almost 20 years managing pub/ restaurants and hotels with a national company, something I enjoyed until it became 0bvious in the late 90’s that the customer no longer came first, profit did, at all costs! I then worked as a security supervisor for 10 years until 4 years ago when I was diagnosed with mouth cancer (no doubt caused by my lifestyle over many years) I am now completely recovered, only regular checkups needed. Unfortunately the pressure of my illness and the length of my recovery caused the breakdown of a really special relationship, not that I put any blame on her, it was a really difficult time and not meant to be I suppose.

Now, I have, for as long as I can remember really liked the idea of living on the canals but never dreamt it would get any nearer than that, that was until two years ago when I made the decision, I put my house up for sale and actively looked at narrow boats. To cut a long story short, it took two years to sell (sign of the times) anyway, it’s gone, well, I’m still living there having rented it back of the buyer for 6 months as I figured it may take me that long to find a suitable boat……wrong!! the second boat I viewed was the one!…I’d already asked Paul to give me his opinion going from the advert I’d eventually managed to send him (computers not my thing either) which he kindly did and was quite positive.

Now I own a 60ft cruiser named “Pendragon”.

The real test and adventure will start on Saturday, an inexperienced person (me) my brother in law (who knows even less than me) moving along the canals, bringing “Pendragon” the 60 miles back from it’s old mooring in Derby to it’s new home near Coventry, they reckon will take four days, lets hope so. I’m sure there will be some mistakes made along the way, as long as I get her back in working order, the first hurdle will be crossed. I can then start making plans to move aboard permanently.

Martyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 03 17 Newsletter – Getting Rid Of Unwelcome Visitors

Living on a Narrowboat News 17th March 2013

Yippee! It’s grass cutting time again. On Wednesday last week I cut the site grass for the first time this year. It’s a sign that spring in on the way. The grass doesn’t start to grow in the new year until the weather warms up a bit. I know it’s been cold in the last week with a biting wind and the occasional snow flurry, but the bright sunshine with just a hint of heat has been enough to fool the grass.

At this time of the year, I have to be careful where I cut. Snowdrops and daffodils are everywhere.  It’s the first wave of floral colour at the marina. The first of many. Calcutt is a beautiful place to moor in the spring and early summer. We have three of the richest wildflower meadows in Warwickshire. In fact, they’re so rich in flowers and grasses that they have been designated SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

Mating SwansI have the pleasure of spending my days riding around on a mower through them all. In a month or so, I’ll be riding through carpets of cowslips and daisies in the beautiful spring sunshine waiting for our resident swans’ babies to arrive. The signets usually hatch in early May. At the moment Mr. & Mrs. Swan are busy romancing each other. It’s beautiful to watch. Unfortunately, there’s a part of their mating that drives me mad.

Removing Problem Geese… The Easy Way

At this time of the year the cob (the male swan) is very territorial. He doesn’t want any competition on his turf which, as far as he’s concerned, is Calcutt’s Meadows marina. He tolerates the mallards, moorhens, coots and grebes, but he truly hates the Canada geese. So do I.

There’s nothing pleasant about Canada geese. They’re noisy, far too numerous and very, very dirty. Each Canada goose eats about four pounds of grass every day. Three pounds of that comes out the other end to make walking along the towpath or riverbank where they congregate quite unpleasant.

When I moved onto James, there were about a dozen resident geese. They were extremely noisy. Continuous honking during the day wasn’t a problem but they were exceptionally annoying at night. There were many nights when I lay awake for hours because of their incessant noise. A dozen geese were bad enough, but they enjoyed it so much they invited their friends. Two hundred of them.

You can imagine the mess that two hundred Canada geese make with each of them dropping 3lb of waste every day. Each weeks they dropped two tons of faeces around the marina.

I tried everything I could think of to get rid of them. I took our work boat, a 50′ narrowboat, for a spin around the marina to chase them off. They just swam out of the way and climbed onto the acre grass and tree covered island in the middle of the marina. I moored the boat on the island and ran like a lunatic through the trees to chase them off. They flew back onto the water. I surged around the marina again with the boat, so they climbed back onto the island. I climbed back onto the island, chased them off and then peppered them with windfall horse chestnuts. They didn’t mind.

I walked around the marina at night, powerful torch in hand, trying to scare them off. I scared off the coots, mallards, moorhens and grebes, but not the geese.

I investigated Canada geese scarers on the internet. I could buy imitation dead geese or a static flashing light that mimicked the eyes of

A Canada goose

their natural predator, the coyote. These bird scarers were horribly expensive though so I didn’t try them. What I did buy from the internet cost me just £20 and worked instantly every time I used it.

It’s breeding season and our resident cob likes to chase Canada geese all day and all night. We have a breeding pair of swans. We also have a breeding pair of Canada geese. I don’t usually have a problem with geese these days, but during the breeding season the breeding pair of geese return to do battle with the cob and with me.

Last night I head the geese’s none stop honking at 2am as the cob chased them. I dressed in warm clothes – it was minus four – grabbed my torch and my secret weapon, and took the dogs for an unexpected but very welcome night time walk. I used the torch to identify the geese and fired my weapon at them.

My ever so effective geese scarer is a military grade green laser. I’m not sure why it works on the geese and not on the other water fowl, but it works incredibly well and what’s more, it doesn’t harm them. One quick flash, an instant collective panicky honking and they all take to the skies.

The laser only works at night when the bright green beam is visible, but it’s at night when I want them off the marina. So last night the dogs enjoyed a walk in the dark and I restored calm to the usually tranquil marina. The mating pair will return tomorrow during the day so I’ll be out again tomorrow night, and the night after, and the one after that…

Know Your Narrowboat Costs

Let’s get this straight. Living on a narrowboat comfortably is not a low cost alternative to a bricks and mortar home. The cost is comparable to living in a three bed semi when you take all of the costs into consideration. If you’re thinking of moving onto a narrowboat just because you can’t afford to get onto the property ladder, don’t do it. Living on a narrowboat is a lifestyle choice, and a wonderful one at that, but it isn’t cheap.

Not so long ago, we had a narrowboat for sale here at Caluctt which could have been turned into an acceptable home if a huge amount of time and money was spent on it. The boat was in a terrible state; the engine needed a major overhaul, the inside was damp and mouldy and the roof leaked. Surprisingly, it was sold within a month of coming to us. The three male purchasers had clubbed together to find the modest asking price. They were quite honest about their intentions. They were going to move on board immediately and use the boat as a floating home “somewhere in Birmingham”. They didn’t have any money for the license, for moorings or for repairs and maintenance. I’m fairly sure that this tired old boat will end up illegally moored, unlicensed and unloved along the towpath somewhere in England’s second city. The boat will undoubtably cost them less to “maintain” than a home on dry land but their lifestyle won’t be legal, pleasant or comfortable.

Maintaining a narrowboat properly isn’t cheap. A narrowboat’s steel exterior needs protecting from the elements. The hull needs painting every three years, the cabin every 7 – 10 years. Even if you’re not going to do much (or any) cruising, the engine needs maintaining so that you can run it daily to charge your batteries. Your batteries will need replacing every 3 – 5 years and your canopies on your front and/or rear decks will need renewing periodically.

Keeping your boat warm is no cheaper than keeping your house warm. Most narrowboats have heating provided by solid fuel stoves, diesel or gas central heating systems, or a combination of both. Contrary to popular opinion, you can’t easily heat your boat for free using wood that you find on your travels. Unless logs are seasoned (left to dry) for a minimum of six months under cover, they use as much energy evaporating the moisture they still hold as they do producing heat. You simply don’t have the space inside your narrowboat to store enough wood.

Before you spend any more time or energy on your narrowboat plans, you need to be absolutely certain that you fully understand the cost of maintaining your dream home. To give you a head start, I’ve written a post detailing the exact expenses I incurred on my own boat during February 2013.

A Place To Search For Moorings

residential moorings are hard to find. You’ll probably spend as much time looking for a mooring, especially a residential mooring, as you will looking for a narrowboat. Very few marinas have official residential moorings but some unofficially allow liveaboards. I was told today that Mercia marina “has no problem with liveaboards” although their web site doesn’t give any indication that they offer official residential moorings.

The majority of residential moorings on the canal network are linear moorings along the canal, usually on the “offside” on the opposite side from the towpath. You’ll have to do a bit of work to find available online moorings. You’ll see them sometimes advertised in the waterways magazines, and sometimes advertised here on Apolloduck. You need to sort the wheat from the chaff or, in this case, the coastal from the inland moorings, but there are some interesting ones there.

A New Service For Potential Narrowboat Owners

Last week, I introduced an idea I had to help potential narrowboat owners decipher the terminology they’re faced with when they through a narrowboat’s advert. I though it was a good idea, but there aren’t many site visitors who agree. I asked readers of last week’s newsletter to let me know if they thought the idea would help them. Only 0.5% of newsletter recipients completed the two question survey so, at the moment, I’m not going to spend any more time creating the service. I’ve copied the introduction to the idea below as well as the link to the survey. If you are seriously thinking about buying a narrowboat, please just take a minute to cast your vote.

I’m thinking about adding a new section to the forum. If you’re a potential narrowboat owner and you’ve reached the stage where you’re seriously looking at boats for sale, you can use this section to introduce yourself and let other site users know what you want to use your boat for. You can say whether you want to use your boat for limited recreational cruising or as a full time home on either a static mooring or for continually cruising the network. You can provide a link to the boat advert you’re interested in and ask current boat owners to offer the benefit of their experience.

There are hundreds of boat owners are now registered on the site. Some of them are very active on the forum. I will add observations about the boat for sale based on the information provided in the advert. I will ask other boat owning forum members to do the same. By reading the response to both your own posts and posts by other soon-to-be boat owners, you’ll be able to build up a pretty good knowledge of the terminology and the specifications to look for in a narrowboat advert.

What do you think? Is it a feature that you think you would use? I’m more than happy to set it up if there are enough people interested. It’s up to you to let me know one way or the other. I’ve created a very quick two question survey here. It will take you less than a minute to cast your vote.

Your Own Narrowboat Blog On Livingonanarrowboat.co.uk

If you’re a regular visitor to this site, you’ve probably read about my transition from bricks and mortar to steel and water and the challenges I’ve faced since I moved on board. Although the story of my life afloat will have given you some idea of life in a floating home, I feel that this site could offer a far more comprehensive and rounded view of the liveaboard lifestyle.narrowboat blogging

I moor in a marina. I’m very lucky. Everything I need is close at hand. I have an unlimited water supply (which is never frozen) and access to 230v electrickery on the pier. I can buy coal and gas at reception whenever I need it, and transport it easily to the boat. I have a choice of two Elsan points where I can empty my cassette, and a choice of two manned pump outs if I had a pump out toilet. I’m very lucky to be able to moor here because most marinas don’t allow liveaboards. They aren’t allowed here either. I’m only allowed to live on board because I work here.

Your situation will almost certainly be different. You’ll either have to consider the life of a continuous cruiser, find a canal or riverside residential mooring or, heaven forbid, take your chances on the canal without an official mooring.

I want this site to reflect all aspects of liveaboard life, so I’ve had an idea.

If you are in the process of selling your worldly goods and investing the proceeds in a narrowboat, I would like to offer you your own blog on this site. You’ll have your blog address, something like http://livingonanarrowboat.co.uk/NBWillow and a ready made audience to read what you’ve written. This site is currently number five in the waterways site rankings and enjoys in excess of 7,000 weekly visits.

Please let me know if you’re interested. All that I ask is that you can write reasonably well and that you’re committed to your dream of owning and maybe living on your narrowboat. I particularly want to hear from you if you’re going to be a continuous cruiser. I don’t get the chance to cruise very often because I still need to work. I want this site to include content from boat owners as they cruise the length and breadth of our wonderful canal network, complete with the adventures they’ve had along the way. Please email me if you’re interested.

Comprehensive Site Article Listing

There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.

Popular Forum Posts

Now that the forum login problems have been resolved, forum posts and visits have seen a dramatic increase. There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.

  • A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
  • Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
  • The Llangollen canal – Here’s a view that you’re never going to see from your narrowboat.
  • Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
  • Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
  • Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
  • Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
  • Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
  • Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
  • Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
  • Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
  • Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
  • Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
  • Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
  • Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
  • Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
  • Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
  • Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
  • Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
  • Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
  • Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
  • Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
  • Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
  • Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing  plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
  • Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
  • Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
  • Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
  • Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
  • Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
  • Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
  • Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
  • Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
  • Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
  • The best flooring for a narrowboat pets –  What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
  • The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
  • The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
  • ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
  • Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
  • Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
  • Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
  • Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
  • Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
  • Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
  • Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
  • VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
  • Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
  • Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
  • How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
  • Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
  • Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
  • Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
  • Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
  • Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
  • Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
  • Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed

Useful Links

Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.

 

 

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