Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Narrowboat hermitage

This is something not well known outside Britain. Narrowboats are obviously holdovers from when the canal system was the major way of moving goods around the country, from the late 18th century to the time of the trains.

They don't move goods anymore of course but the canals are all still there, and the boats too and if you want, you can traverse more or less the whole country this way.

At Manchester airport. First time we'd seen each other in 35 years. I knew him instantly from across the baggage room.

Having a nice tea in Chester.  I miss them both something terrible; and the whole mad clan.

My aunt and uncle, Gill and Mike, were big into them many years ago (I think they had their own), and have just recently gone back and got a nice boat-share for their hols.

The idea appealed to me immediately, and I spent a lot of time going down and admiring the boats, walking up and down the canal towpaths, that are lined with all good things like blackberries, elder and hazel. It's really one of the best things about Britain.

I imagine that if a person wanted to live a semi-eremitical life, this would be a good way to do it. You could mostly live by yourself but would really never be completely alone. As the chap here says, there's a close and friendly community ready made. Buying a boat is an expensive prospect of course, but its a great deal less than a house (housing prices in the UK are unbelievable. A perfectly ordinary middle class single-fam dwelling can easily go for 350,000 to half a million pounds.) Near Tattenhall there is a narrowboat moorage, and people pretty much set up house there permanently, with gardens and everything. Like a little narrowboat village.

Some day, if I ever get a yen to move back to the UK this might be the only way I'd think to do it.

You really don't have to live like they tell you. You really, really don't.



Gerard Brady said...

I have a cousin who retired from the police and spends most of his time chugging up and down the Leeds to Liverpool Canal and lunching in the many excellent gastro pubs along the way! Wouldn't suit me but they seem to enjoy it.

Matthias said...

Would love to do this when i get to England my brother in law hired one for a week about thirty years ago and he enjoyed it

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

I think it's a bit tricky hiring one. You have to know quite a lot about the mechanics of the whole business to drive a narrowboat. There are all sorts of things to learn; right of way, rules of the road and whatnot, but also how to work the locks as well as the boat. It might be a good idea to bring someone along who knows the ropes.

jeanannemarie said...

Loved this. Very interesting and inspiring.

Laurel said...

In the US there’s the Winnebago ERA class B motorhome. Check it out. They have different floor plans and have stoves, refrigerators, toilets, sink, shower, bed and storage all in a 24 foot length and 6 foot width. It would make a good mobile hermitage.