Narrow Boat Home Comforts – The Night the gas ran out

A lot of people wonder about how home comforts work on a Narrow Boat home. Well utilities aren’t on tap, so it’s the one area that really differs from people’s original concept of a home.


Utilities are very much dependent on you bringing them on board. Electric is either provided by batteries or on shore power links. Water is filled by you into a tank on your boat. Gas is provided by traditional Gas Bottles. Which means unlike your run of the mill our house in the middle of our street, your utilities are not on tap, and will run out.

Since making a life on board we have found the rhythm of how often these utilities require topping up, for example every 14 days we get to play a fun game of Russian roulette with the water tank, will this cup of tea be the one that sees us run dry?

However we had yet to experience the joy of running out of gas. On Fantine the gas is used purely for cooking, with us having a gas hob and oven on board. When we purchased her there were two gas bottles (in the handily named gas locker), but as we hadn’t put them there we had no real idea how much they contained, they have been happily keeping us cooking away since April, but last night that all changed.

Allow me to set the scene … I’d just finished part boiling the chunky potatoes, ready to create the fluffiest roasties, the oven was warming nicely for their arrival. A scrummy looking beef joint had just been cubed ready to be turned into a rich gravied pie. That was until the oven started to make the strangest of noises, what is that I pondered as I opened the oven door, it sounded a little bit like air in the gas, a slight popping noise. Air in anything can online mean one thing, we are about to run out.


Given this was all happening at 1830 our options were very limited, we would be unable to get gas until the next day at the earliest, James returned from his dog walk and we weighed up our options. It took us all of 0.01 nanoseconds to decide to retreat to the pub.

As we sat in the pub (A canal side pub none the less, we’re boaty folk don’t you know!), with a refreshing beverage and a tasty dinner on its way, we remembered just how rough boat life can be!


James & Kirsty

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