What You Should All Be Asking About Life On A Narrow Boat!

I must admit I am almost scared to release this post, with me having a hiatus to rival One Direction and all, but here goes. Whilst I’ve been away from publishing on our blog for a considerable number of months, I’ve still been here, pretty much daily pondering on what to tell you all. Honestly we’ve fallen into the rhythm of life again and as everything feels normal and sedate it becomes all the more difficult to take a step back and think of something to share with you all. Today I’m going to upset the rhythm by publishing a post, in the hope that we still have some readers out there I’m going to discuss my favourite tried and tested topic, the weather. And whoosh there goes any readership that remained to the close tab cross!

For those die hards who have continued, whether you live aboard yourselves or just like to read about all things boaty you’ll know that the weather features a lot on boater’s mind. If I had a pound for every time you get questioned about the effect of weather on life aboard, I’d be living on a wide beam in Berkhamsted. Although the thing you will find with this weather focus, is that it is entirely directed to the depths of winter, the cold, the snow, the rain, they must be unbearable surely? No not really, whilst winter can be a drag it’s not all that different to winter in a house.

What I’m here to talk about is the force of nature which can make boat life truly unbearable, the heat. For anyone who’s been lucky enough to miss the hoards of topless brits in towns across these fair isles allow me to inform you, we’re in the midst of a mini heat wave. Whilst for many this brings great joy for boaters across the network rough times are ahead. Whilst shops across the UK run out of burger buns, beer and disposable barbeques there is an entirely different rush taking place on the canal network. From the moment Carol Kirkwood utters heat … boaters start their engines and commence battle for a shaded spot! It’s somewhat like the opening hours of the Hunger Games, as boaters tussle for the best weapons and by weapons I of course mean a small shaded spot.

Why this incredible rush? Because the heat can make boat life difficult, really difficult and really uncomfortable. We’ve all done it, left our car in the car park on a sunny day, come back to it a few hours later and received third degree burns from the seat, steering wheel and gear stick. Only that car is your boat, and your home. They’re a tin corridor and they heat up really well in the glorious wall to wall sunshine. Just leave a window or door open? Easy? Only not on a towpath, if you value any of your possessions that is. You’re only chance of preventing your home heating to nuclear temperatures is to find shade, and if you’re late to the party you might struggle!

Despite this the focus is always on the hard ship of winter, you’ll only be quizzed about the snow, the frost and the chills. But really you can put on another layer, you can load up the stupid hobbit stove, and live with a hot water bottle life support. But what do you do in summer, when you’re already stripped down to your undies and are scaring passers by with flashes of your white bits, all the while getting comment after comment about how lovely it must be to be on the water when it’s like this. I must admit summer is lovely, truly lovely, it’s the time of year when I feel grateful for where we have ended up, but it is hard and hot and horrid, added to the pressure of how lucky you are to live somewhere so  beautiful it can be difficult to outwardly moan. During last years heat wave we considered the possibility of buying a small portable air conditioning unit, but it seems rather indulgent and we were a little worried about our boats ability to power it, for the sake of a couple of hot weeks.

So, what can you do? We take some small steps, like reflectors on the windows making sure everything is open as much as it can be in the evening in the hope of allowing cool air in and using the oven as little as possible. But realistically if there is one thing that boating has taught us, there is only one thing for it … pub anyone?

James & Kirsty

A diary of live aboard life

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