How quickly those years have passed! Four years ago on 30th March we closed the front door of our house and became liveaboard boaters. I feel a moment of reflection coming on! So, what have we learned in the last four years? What have been the major challenges?
Top of the list for me is:-
Feelings of vulnerability. This comes in two forms :– 1. In large towns and cities I feel threatened by the anti-social behaviour of others of my kind. Sad to say this is usually groups of young people – predominantly males! So sad. 2. The Natural Elements. We have learned to be extremely respectful of high winds and flooded rivers!
The following things are of far less importance but challenging nevertheless:-
Condensation in the Winter time. This year we have gone a long way towards solving this problem by following instructions to make double glazing panels for the windows. (Thanks, Paul). It’s not just the windows that are a problem, however. The inside of the cupboards also get damp.
Lack of Storage space. It is quite a major issue. On the positive side it makes you very frugal with possessions. Living in a boat has taught us that, as human beings, we don’t actually need anything near the amount of stuff we accumulate when living in a house. A little butty boat for a shed – sorry - a workshop, is a thought though!
Boating Equipment. Technical equipment seems to go wrong more often than it does in a house! Much of it seems to be down to pumps! Because parts are specialist and ‘marine’ as opposed to ‘household’ they are also so expensive. It would seem that if something has a ‘marine’ label on it it’s automatically twice the price! We have learned to source things outside of the chandlers whenever possible ie Wicks, Homebase and Autofactors. Lee Sanitation, however, has boaters by ‘the short-and-curlies’!!
Amps/Volts/Watts ………………. (the Skipper’s main topic of conversation! ) The challenge is how to ensure you have enough of them! We have learned that it pays to invest in good batteries and we have also invested in a generator ………….. say no more! There are those who simply detest generators and it can cause disharmony amongst boaters! Scathing comments are made about those who use generators and bowthrusters and we make use of both! Now that diesel is soaring in price and we use a litre an hour to charge the batteries our thoughts are turning to solar panels …………….. watch this space.
Muddy Tow Paths After lots of rain or melting snow, bathing two dogs every time you come in from a walk is a challenge believe me!
Regrets? In the words of Mr Sinatra …….. we have a few …….. but, in the pattern of things, only flippant ……….
1. We regret the interest rate going down after just a year of doing this!! 2. We regret we don’t get good internet reception all the time!!
Despite all these challenges and others:-
We love the diversity of the environment we can enjoy and the freedom to move from one place to the next. There is so much beautiful open countryside, fabulous little towns and villages and, although the bigger towns and cities challenge my sense of safety, they are interesting and exciting. We love the wildlife we see. OK it’s everyday wildlife but being able to watch a moorhen practising tight-rope walking, ducks practising their skating skills in the winter, kingfisher fly-bys and barn owls hunting to state just a few examples……………… it was, for us, always going to be a winner!
Yet another boat has just gone by and I’m starting to think I’ve done this all wrong!
NO! We have LOADS of regrets! It was SUCH a STUPID thing to do! Sell the house and live on a boat? COMPLETE STUPIDITY! Don’t even THINK about it! Every day is DREADFUL!
Onwards into year five …………………