Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Apprehension and a reality check

From the outside, the Narrowboat life looks pretty idilic. Endless summer days cruising the cut, a new view round every corner. ducks, geese, sheep and cows for company. Freedom from the city, peace and quiet. And a puppy sitting in the bow wagging its tail.

We would be naive to thing that this was going to be our reality.

We will need to find a way to earn a living while we are on the move. There will be daily and weekly chores on the boat, and not just normal household chores, there will be boat maintenance to. It is all an unknown quantity to us as novice boaters. And that is before we even think about the British weather, especially as I write this from sunny California where it is hard to imagine that it is ever cold anywhere. We have been pretty reassured that given the right heating system on the boat we will be cosy and warm once inside, but the narrowboat life is more of an outdoors way of life and cleaning out a cassette toilet in the middle of winter or chugging along in a rain storm will mean that the novelty of boat life will no doubt wear off pretty quickly.

We wont always be in the peaceful countryside either, the canals run through many cities and we have read that it is not always safe to moor up in them and while we are sure most boat owners will be friendly and pleasant, like in all societies that wont always be the case and even if you can just carry on in the morning you might be stuck with them for a night.

What has left me feeling most uneasy today is reading about a boater who lost his life in a lock last month. A really tragic story for everyone involved. I can't seem to find out what caused the boat to start taking on water in the lock, eventually flooding the boat and causing the man inside to drown. And by all accounts the man who died was an experienced boater who was well know to the boating community. If someone who had years of experience can get into trouble then anyone can and this is a real lesson that locks are dangerous and you need to be vigilant and extremely cautious when using them.