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Maybe you’d like to know a little more about how our lives looked once we left London and fell into renovating narrowboats?

Between Boats

After selling Katoomba, we were effectively homeless for a time whilst we searched for another boat.

This happened each time we sold our home because we needed the money from the sold home to buy the next home. Flying by the seat of your pants sort of stuff!

Living like this wasn’t for the faint hearted, most of our friends & family thought we were crazy especially having Etta (& subsequently Marmie) in tow.

We were never really fazed. I like to think we’re pretty relaxed and J is an amazing problem solver!

During these periods we stayed with family which was sweet for the kiddos. It wasn’t ever for more than a couple of weeks, sometimes less. Boat sales move fast!

Narrowboat Shopping

Now, I’m sure some of you have searched for a boat before and everything that it entails, but for those of you who haven’t, I’ll explain. It’s not like looking for a house.

Firstly, we would peek online (Facebook Marketplace wasn’t a thing back then!), mostly on Apollo Duck and Gumtree and we’d whittle down our favourites and contact them for all the relevant information.

A little more whittling would ensue and then so would begin the hours and hours of driving going to view all the potential boats which could be anywhere along the length and breadth of the canal system, 2,000 miles or so. This part of the process was exciting but sometimes long.

I feel like we know most of the motorway services now!! Gloucester services is my all time favourite by the way. If you haven’t had the pleasure of frequenting this servo, you must!

It could be nail biting stuff sometimes! Occasionally we’d get pipped to the post but mostly once we saw a boat we were happy with we’d snap her up.

Continuous Cruisers whilst Renovating Boats

Wherever we purchased the boats is where we would move to.

We purchased boats in Nantwich, Macclesfield, Doncaster, Devises, Ellesmere & Reading. The variety in our lives was really amazing, we loved it.

Once we would get our plans organised for a boat J would make all the necessary trips to the hardware stores and bring all the bits and pieces onboard and then we would begin our journey south.

Generally every 3 months we’d sell a boat (mostly they’d sell within a week or so, a couple of occasions it took just 4 days!) so it was a very busy & beautiful time for us.

Boat Life

Those early days of renovating were so, so dreamy. J would cruise a little way whilst Etta & I would potter about on the boat.

We wouldn’t really have a location in mind, we’d just stop when we found somewhere pretty we could moor up for a couple of weeks.

J would work on the boat most days and I would find local playgroups and parks to head to with Etta until it was time to move on to the next spot.

Family Time Afloat

Being able to float around and work where we lived without the worry of making monthly payments, be they rent or mortgage or bills, gave us so much of that rare commodity, time.

Most importantly time together as a family. We feel incredibly lucky that we made the choices we did to enable us all to spend so much time together especially being able to watch our kiddos grow before our very eyes each day.

Don’t get me wrong, some moments were tricky, but I wouldn’t turn back the clock to change any of it, even some of the decisions which ultimately got us in little pickles!

Boatlife Challenges

We went round and round buying and selling boats, driving up and down the country, cruising the canals from north to south, and sometimes south to north, for about 3 years.

We always had to be mindful of where the next water point was, where we would find the next laundrette & always be on top of making sure we had coal & kindling for the fire.

It definitely wasn’t as plain sailing as living in a house; there’s a lot more thought that goes into living on the water when you’re cruising every 2 weeks. But man, did we love it!!

I really, really miss those early days. For some it would be their idea of a living nightmare.

For some living on land is stress free and easy, but for us the adventure, excitement and nomadic way of living on the water, especially with the topsy turvey extra planning, made it all the more enjoyable.

Is Boatlife for You?

What do you reckon? Do you think you could have lived on the water moving every two weeks, with a little one(s) in tow, finding new spots to play, lots of wet walks down the towpath in winter carrying shopping as well as babes, as well as lengths of timber and flooring etc etc?

It was a wild, wild ride. I reckon you could, and I reckon you’d have loved it too!

See you on the flip side for more Tuesday Tales!

Mollie x

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