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I’ve glimpsed the future

29 May, 2013

This last weekend, being a bank holiday, I went on an adventure and finally visited the narrowboat that some friends bought last year and now spend virtually every weekend on. It’s only an hour by train to the canal where they keep it, but I live in a country which is smaller than most US states and even a trip to the next town is an adventure, so to go that far was like a long-haul holiday to me.

It helped that we had the first sunny weekend for months, but I have to admit I was rather taken with canal life. I spent a few hours lazing on the bed, reading, rocked gently by the wash from the occasional boats chugging by. I helped to cook on the tiny two-ring stove while we watched the ducks and moorhens on the river. We sat out on the stern feeding the swans as the sun went down. And once it was dark, we watched a huge, red full moon rise above the trees, and the stars slowly emerge into a cloudless sky.

Life on the river, once you chug out of the villages and towns, is a peaceful experience. You can stop wherever you want and moor up – wherever you lay your rope, that’s your home. Once the few dogwalkers and joggers go off shift, there is a peace which lends itself to the introspective concentration us arty types need. It’s the perfect life for a writer. Yes you can have a telly, but I wouldn’t bother. A laptop to work on, to surf the net with and to watch DVDs of Buffy would do me fine.

It is remote enough that you cannot see or hear any cars, but you can walk back to shops or pubs in the nearest village in a few minutes. There is always some bit of maintenance to tinker with, which would satisfy my new-found DIY talents. The living space is small, but for a household of one it’s ideal.

A boat will cost you about a tenth of what a house would, and the running expenses are tiny. There is no electric bill, just a tank of diesel every few months and a few solar panels on the roof. There is no council tax, no gas bill, no phone bill, no TV licence even. Just mooring fees (which are sort of unofficially optional) and a boat licence (about £50 a month) and that’s it.

So I’m thinking… with my credit record noone will ever give me a mortgage, but if I can scrape a few grand together I can get a boat, for cash. If I can get published, get a book deal, I won’t be an overnight millionaire but I would hopefully earn the small income that life on a canal requires.

I feel like I’ve glimpsed the future.


  1. Just keep believing and you can make anything happen. Best of luck with everything 🙂

  2. Mariette permalink

    That sounds pretty amazing.

  3. Your glimpse of the future sounds a little bit like Heaven to me…bring the Buffy discs along and I’ll meet you at the dock 😀

  4. Ummmm can we get a boat big enough for two? This would be an amazing way to live.

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