Ahoy ... at last!

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  • Hello again everyone. :waves:

    I'm back in cyberworld and I am on my boat on The Fens at last. It has been quite a change and I have a lot to learn. I have taken a lot more risks than I normally would, but I think I am really going to enjoy this. As I sit and type and post this (on my new 3G connection that is a lot faster than my old home broadband as it happens!) the rain is turning to sleet. I managed to keep the fire going all night, but I still woke up with ice on the inside of the windows ... it has been many years since I experienced that. Since I moved in on Monday (the move was another extraordinary story, which I should get round to sharing sometime - except I'm not sure if anyone would believe the sequence of events that hit me last weekend!) I've had to get to grips with joining hosepipes together to get water from the stable block across the farmyard, the joys of portable toilets and the trek to the cess pit, locating sources of wood, coal and food. I spent the first couple of days without water, just eking out a bottle of tap water I had in the van, cooking in oil and building a tower of washing up. The most satisfying realisation is that two of life's luxuries are actually a hot shower and a shave.

    I have yet to get the engine to start. I hope it was only that the battery needed charging yesterday so I'll see if it starts up in a moment. My neighbours are a very nice man on a boat who has been unbelievably helpful and kind, two horses with the same names as two of my grandchildren, a windfarm, a number of dogs and various water fowl. I've been sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the cabin which touches three of the four walls and allows eight inches of space along the fourth. Despite once dreaming of eight inches this is not that particular wish fulfilment.

    I'm looking forward to having a bed frame made, so I can get the mattress off the deck and have space for storage, something which is lacking even more than I anticipated. I am too embarrassed by the lack of organisation to post any indoor photos at the moment, so they'll have to wait, but I'll try and upload a few photographs I took yesterday and this morning.

    This is my my new house.

    This is the view out of the back door - actually it's the only door for all practical purposes.

    Chimney, untouched rope and tree I hope a kingfisher might find in the summer.

    My new best friend!

  • Great to hear from you. Boat looks lovely :) Look on the bright side.........you're getting the worst conditions out of the way first :whistle: it's uphill from now.

    Looking forward to seeing the inside pics cos I'm nosey :D

  • That's a sweet lil tub,and what a wonderful mooring too! What engine have you got,and how many leisure batteries?

    I live on a sound lil Narrowboat with me dog.pagan and happy in my skin,single and chilled

  • Thank you, epona_greenleaf, Ian W, wanderingwill, DaisyDreamer, Mungo and Moonchild! :)

    It is a long time since I have been this excited about something and I like the feeling. DD, my feeling exactly. I reckon if I survive the winter the best is definitely to come. Mungo, I have been very lucky with the mooring. It wasn't going to happen, but a smile, a greeting and a willingness to enter discussion seemed to have gone a long way towards helping. I have a Lister 1.5 engine, which my farmer friend informs me was what he used to have on a potato harvester and there seem to be batteries all over the shop, but two of them seem to be being used for ballast. I have one leisure battery, but also a 240v hook up.

    The best news I've had today is that kingfishers do indeed nest every year in the willow across the river. I am SO looking forward to seeing them.

    I managed to fire up the engine today and went for my first solo trip up the river. What an amazing experience!


  • Great adventures lie ahead i,m sure,think we all dream of it..but not many have the bottle to make it happen..well done.

    Love the boat..sure will have fun kitting it out too

    Hope we all get to see some shots of a kingfisher one day!

  • I'm glad to hear you've moved in at last. I wish you a very happy life in the boat. This winter is bound to be the hardest as it's all new to you and you haven't had time to discover what you need to do to ready yourself for a winter on board. Best of luck.

  • hey welcome to the water mate!
    i am so nosey, i am trying to see if i can figure out where you are from the photos...........is that a floating pontoon you have? and 240 hook up - worth its weight in gold!

    i hope you have it easy this winter - our lake is frozen already!

  • Well it looks beautiful and so idyllic it makes me jelous.

    Well done on achieving what you wanted and I hope the future pans out exactly how you would like it to.

    Please upload pics of kingfishers when they arrive :D

  • Thank you Algi, leo-saphira, Ms Xrayspecs, groove st, Kerrie-anne, Colin M, boxvan, stunthamster, dieseldog and doc.fixit. Thank you all for your good wishes and what a lovely lot of people you are on here :)

    Leo-saphira, would love to meet up sometime and, groove st, unless you are familiar with the Middle Level it may be hard to place. There are no roads nearby, so you would have to know it from the water. No, I don't have a floating pontoon - at least not yet - although every time my foot goes through another bit of the jetty and I see more river beneath me it may not be long :panic:. The boards you might notice in one of the photos are not there because I can't be bothered to put them away neatly somewhere; they serve a horribly useful purpose! The landing stage is a wonderful construction that seems consist of scaffold poles sunk into the bank and river bed and clamped together, with miscellaneous bits of wood fixed to it somehow. At the moment I daren't look too closely.

    At the end of my maiden voyage I managed to plough into a sheet of ice where the river had frozen on a bend. I suspect a nearby lock may have had some influence too. It was a bit unexpected and I hope there's no lasting damage. I understand that many locals from the nearest village like to skate when the water freezes, so I may not be popular if I have delayed that pleasure.

  • Just reminded me of going up the lode to reach on a very frozen day following a steel narrow boat and me in a wooden lifeboat conversion, scared the thick ice was gonna slice through my home! We made it with one shiny bow and a few gouges out of my boat but no leaking!!! I've gotta say they were the best times of my life on the river and I counldnt recommend it more. Enjoy

  • Brilliant. I love to hear about these sort of things. How many folks simply talk and talk but never do? I like your courage and your character and know you will have great success. And there is much learning and many an overcoming ahead. So many hassles confront the nomad - but with cunning and persistence there seems always to be a solution.

  • Hey, that looks a beautiful boat and a great spot to be moored up in.
    Glad that things seem to be working out for you now you have your boat.
    Good luck and make sure that you have a good supply of wood for that lovely stove of yours!

  • Hi Marshlander - great to see that your transition to water-rat is going well ;). Look forward to seeing some pics of your new home's interior - having some storage space will help with that. Keep us all posted on your progress, please. :)

  • welcome to living on a boat. another liveaboard. theres plenty of us out there. I used to be on the inland waterways but felt too hemmed in. Dont be afraid to try other boats for holidays, just because you live on one kind, doesnt stop you exploring all other kinds.

    narrowboating wasnt for me, but id happily holiday on one. not sure if you are already on there, but canalforum.net is a good resource of info, i had loads of help from other boaters on there each time something on my narrowboat went bang pop or poof. and watch out for the brass mushroom polishers... theyre everso slightly mad!

    hope the winter is good for you. just make sure you get plenty of dehumidifying desiccant in your cupboards if you have cupboards with clothes in. mildew and mould is the bane of any boaters life in winter. its probably the ONLY negative thing about boat life.

    that and the locks.. but in the fens you dont have to worry about that.


  • Thank you, Varekai. I can't remember at the moment if the forum you suggest is one I have signed up to. It sounds interesting enough. I'll bear in mind what you say about clothes, but since I have hardly any cupboards and I gave most of my clothes away before moving that may not be quite as much an issue as it might otherwise be.

    Funny you should mention locks. I live quite close to one and, as far as I can work out the river I'm on must be flowing uphill ... brass mushroom polishers did you say? ;)