After almost 3 years of living the boat life, it’s hard to believe that I a) lasted that long to begin with and b) can now proudly say that I’m officially a homeowner! It’s a bittersweet feeling making the transition from water to dry land. Initially, I found it quite difficult to adjust to this new way of living – what with no free running water and flushing toilet?! But as I transformed into an eco warrior, things only seemed to get easier.
I bade farewell to any electrical appliance deemed a ‘luxury’ such as my hair dryer and straightener for fear of them killing the batteries. The boat runs on diesel which means if we want electricity then the batteries would need to be recharged by way of running the engine – think turning the ignition of a car. Now all well and good it needs to run the full course of an hour, not when the only times you can run the engine is between 8am-8pm (boat etiquette you can say!) As that meant having no time to run it before work, I was only left to rush back after a long day in the office to let it run it’s course. This was the biggest thing I disliked about the boat. I couldn’t spontaneously make plans after work as it restricted me so much!
Then there was the issue of water consumption. The water tank only holds a capacity of 750L that filters through to the kitchen and bathroom. Goodbye long running showers! Being mindful of your water usage was essential for if you weren’t…you would find yourself physically moving the entire boat to the nearest water point just to fetch more supply. And if there wasn’t a water point nearby then you would keep going down the canal until you find one…. or go without running water. I know I talk as though I personally took care of this but admittedly, Adam did all the hands on work, including emptying out the toilet – yes that’s right, a non-flushing loo that needed clearing occasionally!
I must point out though, despite the lifestyle change that I had to adapt to, there were some damn good times spent living on the boat. Let’s start with the fact that many people love to flock to the canal on sunny days, drinking amongst friends in the sun and admiring the view. We however, had this luxury right on our doorstep – the closest you could get to nature, waking up to the sight of beautiful swans at your windowsill was such a delight. And permitted the weather was nice, soaking up the sunshine was as easy as jumping on the roof to get our dose of vitamin D.
Living on a narrowboat also gave Adam and I the opportunity to experience staying in different parts of London and explore places we otherwise wouldn’t have if we lived in a permanent abode. Being able to live our day to day lives in some of London’s most popular areas from Little Venice, Kings Cross, Hackney and my absolute favourite…Angel! Being based in Central London was a huge convenience to our daily commutes to work – a 20 min walk into the office at best….and not to mention it saved us money on transport, which is a huge expense over here!
Speaking of expenses, it wasn’t costly living afloat. As we were on a flexible mooring, it meant we didn’t need to pay a permanent mooring fee, although we did have to move the boat along the canal every fortnight to abide by the Canal rules (this was a pain at times, especially on a cold winter’s day). The overheads of living on a boat aren’t nearly as high as renting a small studio apartment in London, or houseshare for that matter – and you get the freedom of moving around and the added bonus of your own privacy! It is this very reason we were able to comfortably save for a deposit whilst still maintaining a healthy balanced social life.
Living on the boat required adopting a minimalistic lifestyle so it was no surprise we only had 2 car-full loads of belongings. Moving in was a breeze as the only piece of furniture we had was an airbed…if you can really class that as furniture. It’s been exactly 2 months today since we received the keys to the place and must I say, despite it needing a lot of work, it feels hella good living in a house that we actually own. Rushing back to the boat seems a thing of the past now. Farewell Elly J, you’ve served us well!
Oh how I’ve missed the creature comforts of living in a house – hello home deliveries! Indian, Pizza and Chinese takeout is what we have on rotation weekly (sometimes daily). In our defence though, with all the DIY we’ve been doing lately and especially not having the time to cook, it’s only fair that we reward ourselves at the end of a hard day’s work! With all the plans we have for the place, it would seem we definitely have our work cut out for us but I’m very much looking forward to transforming our house into our home.
Till next time…Outskies!