That may seem like a strange opening title but you would not believe the amount of times we are asked the question 'Is it not too cold on your boat in the winter?' or "How do you keep warm? Our boat is very warm and cosy, in fact it can be too hot and we find ourselves opening the doors and windows! It is one of the many common misconceptions people have about life aboard a canal boat. Right then, with that one out of the way let's continue!
Another slight misconception that I have come across is that narrowboats are for retired people. This could not be further from the truth, especially when it comes to people who actually live on their boats.
I was brought up around boats, my father always had something that floats from speedboats to sailing dinghy’s so it was only natural some of it would rub off on me. We used to go racing together in an old Heron sail boat which was brilliant fun until my father decided to go 'single handed' with a brand new Topper. Of course I still sailed with him but he now raced solo - probably a good move as I was more of a hindrance than a help!
Once I left home the boating fun pretty much stopped until in 2002 myself and the wife were invited to join my father aboard his 22ft Springer Narrowboat. At the time I was in a pretty stressful job and found it very hard to unwind until that fateful day. Once we were out on the River Nene I found that for the first time in many years I was totally relaxed and taking in everything around me. Once we returned home I was straight onto the internet searching for boats to buy!
Within about a week we were the proud owners of a 1960's Freeman 22 called Spindrift, quite a rare little boat. It was perhaps one of the best things I have ever done both for my own sanity and for the children. We had many years of fun cruising up and down the River Nene and many fond memories. However, circumstances changed and Spindrift was sold. I missed Spindrift but life went on and we rejoined the rat race.
In 2011 we had a massive change in our lives and were able to return to the waterways again in the form of Hannah the Narrowboat. We had missed life on the water hugely and really needed to find that peace and tranquillity in our lives again. Some may call it an escape from reality but it has now become 'our reality' and we look back at the way we were living previously as madness! It is very hard to put in to words just what is so special about the canal network and many would think that it is indeed me that is mad!
In the years between our Freeman 22 and Hannah the Narrowboat my life was full throttle. I taught people to ride dirt bikes, took people out on thrill rides in a rally buggy that did 0-60 in just over 4 seconds on the dirt, took people on tours on both quads and dirt bikes as well as teaching people how to drift in Rage Buggy's!! On top of that I was partners in a company based in Spain that took people riding dirt bikes over the mountains so my activities were far removed from the slow, relaxed life aboard a narrowboat! People thought I had lost the plot when I gave it all up to potter around the waterways system. I still work as a graphic designer, musician and pen maker but now have time to make the most out of life in a more relaxed manner.
One word - FANTASTIC!!!! OK, that does not really explain much but that is how it makes me feel every time I step aboard Hannah the Narrowboat. This page would scroll for miles if I tried to explain everything so I have started a brand new blog that gives a clearer insight to our lives aboard a narrowboat. This is not to say that everything I say is the same as other canal folk think or do, a wide variety of characters from different generations enjoy the canal network, some are weekender's, some are liveaboards, some are continuous cruisers and others are in-between!
You can keep up to date by clicking here or hitting the 'blog' button in the navigation.
Another fantastic aspect of canal life is that you have a unique environment that lends itself to creating things, be it craft, painting or music. There are so many creative people on the canal network and I find it very thought provoking. As a musician as well as an artist many of my best ideas have come whilst aboard our humble narrowboat. Below is an example of a song I wrote about the canals - see what you think!!