What’s it like to live on a Narrowboat – The chores!

I can’t quite believe it’s over three months since we moved Fantine to her new home. The time has flown by, but at the same time we both struggle to remember life before. It’s about time we address what changes when you make a switch to a life mainly aboard. Honestly, not all that much, blog done!

In order to break this down a little more simply, I thought we should perhaps look at key areas of change, and I will start with a word of fear and dread … Chores.

I used to hate household chores, I have mentioned in several blogs now how cleaning is massively reduced with the boat. The smaller space is not only quicker to clean, but living in a reduced space encourages you to prevent it from becoming too much of a mess in the first place. Winner!

But aside from this there are some chores that you gain, that you never would of thought about before!


So you know how in a house you just turn on the tap and the water magically appears, well 50% of the time that happens on the boat too. The other 50% of the time (usually in the middle of the night when you are beyond gasping for a drink) you hear the unmistakable sound of the water pump drawing air, and the tap spluttering (In your desperation for a drink you reach for the gin … every cloud and all that).

So the boat has a water tank (A huge one that takes a million hours to fill up), we have to fill it about once every two weeks, you always know when it’s due, you hear the water pump getting a little louder and being on for a little longer, then life becomes a fun game of Russian Water Roulette.



Occasionally when it looked like permanent night inside the house I would clean the windows (despite this being a obvious boy job!). Well having a boat this is taken to a whole new level. You have to wash your house. Ok you might not have to, but as the first boat people come across on the pontoon I would recommend doing it.

I have to wash cars regularly at work, often big cars, these fall into nothing when compared to a 57ft boat. Quick time saving tip if you wanted to be a terrible and undedicated boater you could perhaps just wash the side that people can see. Ignore the side parked next to another boat. Simple!



We get asked about the toilet situation almost more than anything else. We have a very fancy cassette toilet, which when it all comes down to it means we are peeing in a box. Eurgh grim!

Yes we still flush the toilet, but you always do so in the knowledge that you are going to have to empty that magic box soon, best to be conservative with the flushes to minimise the need to do so! I nominated myself for this terrible job, although to be honest it is decidedly less trainspotting than it sounds! Praise the boating lords for Eslan blue!


Lets all be honest, chores suck, whether in a house, a boat or a cliff top, they are not something anyone particularly relishes. The benefits of the boat far outweigh these in our minds, but still they are chores you don’t encounter or really think of in a traditional house, so we thought it only right to cover them!

James & Kirsty




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