It’s about two months later, and narrowboats are still an important factor in daily life. Due to the fact that, one day, I had the stupid idea of: I could live on a narrowboat!
Straight away, a thousand reasons popped up, why me and Lawrance should buy a narrowboat.
- Lawrance retires next year, so living and cruising on a narrowboat would give us a new goal in life.
- I have my own company but, due to recession, a lot of my work is now done in India, for less than a tenth of my hourly rate, so I could have an early retirement.
- No work for me means financial problems in a couple of years. If I sell my house and buy a boat I would easily make my retirement day with my savings.
No. I won’t mention all the one thousand reasons. And yes, I know, I’ve never set foot on a narrowboat yet, but I’m sure I’ll manage. Although I have a big house, I used to spend a lot of time in my Volkswagen campervan, to save myself driving home after socialising with friends. And over the last ten years I’ve spent maybe half the time in a truck. In the truck we have two captains chairs, a coffee machine, a microwave, a pull-out bed, all squeezed into a space the size of a boatman’s cabin. Just think of a narrowboat as a truck and trailer, but turned around. Then we would have not only the truck, but also the trailer as living space. Wow! And a real bathroom (not the under-the-trailer one). And a wood stove. And…
So, having nothing to do, I switch on my computer, click on Adobe Illustrator and start designing. Internet provides me with a heap of information, especially about things I have never heard of. Like weed hatches, calorifiers, fenders or bilges. I still don’t know the Dutch words for them.
Once I created a rough plan for a narrowboat, I make a list of things to discuss with Lawrance, include the boat plan, make an e-book of it and send it to Lawrance, who at this time is on his way to Las Palmas (no, not on holiday, but with the truck). To my surprise his reactions are like: Oh, and we could… and Yes, I like… Or in one word: positive!
So, two months after my first encounter with a narrowboat, we have a detailed drawing for a 57 or 58 ft trad narrowboat, with a traditional lay-out. We’ll have a cabin with an in-line bed, a walk-through bathroom, a galley on both sides of the boat, a L-shaped dinette (a bed for all the people that, undoubtedly, will come and visit us) and a saloon with captains chairs. I designed the under-furniture storage space, the high-level cupboards, the heating system, all the lights, and the hot and cold water system. So far it’s the second boat plan (the first one had a reverse lay-out), the second galley plan, and the third plan for the bathroom.
The drawing as such is to scale, but since Illustrator can’t deal with feet and inches I end up with some strange measurements, and at the moment the boat is 58.6813 feet in length. But a boat builder can open my drawing in AutoCAD and the measurements will all convert to proper feet and proper inches… (I hope)
Then the holidays get nearer and nearer, and we’re about to set foot on a real narrowboat, for the first time…
Choose Holidays 2013 from the menu to read about our first experiences on a narrowboat.