It’s late afternoon, on the 14th of February 2013. A blizzard howls around the house. Not the first one this year in the Netherlands, and probably also not the last. Inside my house I’m curled up in my favourite chair next to the cosy warm wood stove, with a hot cup of tea and a magazine. A magazine that, a month ago, I didn’t even know it existed. And I’m getting more and more exited.

A month ago Lawrance, my partner, asked the difficult question that pops up every year: When and what? I need to book my holidays for this year! We usually go on a golf-cum-camping trip somewhere in the UK, but as we seem to get older every year (and the weather worse) it might be time for something completely new. I suggest a fortnight on one of them narrow houseboats I’ve seen on TV. This idea falls on good soil, so we have a look on the internet. Houseboats doesn’t get us anywhere, and longboats is something for the Vikings, but then I spot the word narrowboat. Bingo! And as we happen to be in the UK for a couple of days, I almost immediately go to the shop to buy a magazine.

A whole new world opens up for me. Of course, being Dutch, I’m familiar with canals, locks, bridges and boats. But this is a completely different cup of tea. I see pictures of snug little palaces on water, either in a marvellous scenery or moored next to a picturesque pub, or both. And, I must admit, always in nice weather.
Lawrance told me yesterday he has booked our boat, so after supper I’m going to study the Boating Handbook…

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