Hi. I really admire your bravery in taking a step away from normality. What you have done is what my husband and i are seriously considering doing I’n a few years. We own a house and our daughter is 14. Roughly how much money would you say the cost of living is?
This was the question that Dionne, who’s thinking of making the move, asked me this week.
Before answering I have to say that this is based on being a liveaboard family of four in the south of England, on the Thames, constant cruising, and in a pretty large (70′) boat. It would be cheaper in a smaller boat, and there are cheaper areas to be. The numbers are rounded as well.
License: £1100 (BW Gold license needed to be on the river AND the canals. Cheaper than EA. Predicted to rise by 6% next year.
Bottom blacking: every 2-3 years, £800-£1500 depending on where you get it done (We’re looking into dry docking to cut this cost out)
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Last winter we had water coming in. In the efforts to work out why, we have had a visit from the boat’s maker, sacrificed the hallway carpet and lifted floorboards.
It transpires that the water was wicking in from the other side of the boat, from the obvious culprit – the shower. Putting it right hasn’t been a simple job, although it looked initially like it was just a simple shower liner replacement. My attitude was to take it out and put in a bought, sealed unit. I was assured that this was unnecessary, a drastic action for the simple replacement of a shower liner. You, dear reader, already know where this is going, don’t you?
First up was the fact that we have evidently been taking our lives in our hands by showering aboard: we found live wires, which we nearly drilled into, right behind the shower. Hardier boaters have laughed at my concerns: “You never know what’s behind any wall on a boat,” laughs old hand Buster, an experienced boater who thinks little of attempting the tidal Thames on a boat smaller than ours.
But we thought we did! We have the plans. However, the people who owned the boat before us modified a lot of the boats original plans, and the shower, it seems, was one of those modifications.
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Our ongoing search for long term moorings continues.
We’d love to be in Little Venice – but that’s us and every other boater out there!
This mornings search on Apollo Duck, which seems to be the biggest source of available boats - although I’m not so sure about moorings, came up with:
This didn’t inspire, however, the same kind of despondency as the British Waterways moorings search:
Beginning to really feel the urgency of this – it’s half term – we have just a few weeks to resolve moorings and schools for next academic year.
When they said slow your life down, move onto a boat, I had no idea that ‘slow’ meant ‘grinding halt’.
I am having a word with myself: we have a roof over our heads and a lifestyle to die for, a daily adventure and two very happy children who would be delighted to carry on exactly as we are.
My fear is that dropping out of the system completely will seriously hamper their future, and I remain concerned about their schooling and opportunities for the future. That said, Wokingham have been amazing over allowing the children to not only stay in their schools, but to allow us some degree of secondary school choice.
So today we’re out seeing if word of mouth is the better way to go.
The sunflower seed packaging scandal - with mug so you can see the size of the package
I love my deliveries from Abel and Cole.
We have been eating a lot more healthily, and I’ve been introducing the family to new veg,
But this week, we received our sunflowers in a huge, wasteful package.
We’ve noticed a lot of unnecessary, not very useful printed materials in our boxes. This isn’t very ‘green’.
We love your veg, Abel and cole, but cut out the waste, please!
Ok, we’ve been in BT Hell since we arrived.
A lot of people have tried to help us within BT, but there’s no one person who understands what misery customers go through.
We can only use our BT services when we’re tethered so we don’t use them all of the time. I am very grateful for havi ng them, but bill time is miserable. We’re supposed to be on BT Infinity, but my guess is that they can’t deliver this because we’re on a boat. But no-one’s sussed this yet.
Meanwhile our billing is all wrong. Our bills are regularly huge because they haven’t told me what to do about it, applied promised credits or even explained why the package I’ve been promised isn’t there. In reality it’s probably because they can’t deliver to our frequent visitor moorings.
Between BT and Sky doing their best to bamboozle me, I can’t help being cynical about their profits – earned from demanding money with menaces? After all, it’s a hell of a lot easier just to pay than to try and fight to get things corrected. We’ve had an utterly miserable evening taken uyp entirely of fighting utility companies over inaccurate bills. I wonder if it would have been any easier had we moved to a house instead of a boat?
Post round these ‘ere parts seems a little slow. The lock keeper let us through the other day, albeit grudgingly – it was pretty obvious we are legit, but things are clamping down big style.
We’ve been felling a bit soggy!
Our hall carpet was developing some water marks, and we were notably damp on one side of the boat.
Unable to track where the water was coming from, we called Russ Hubble, who made the boat, for plans. They came down to see us. Sure, they made a small charge, but tell me which house builders would care that much six years after building a house!
Russ and Claire Hubble
(Perhaps it’s because she was finished on the eve of their wedding, making her memorable? I digress)
Anyway it transpires the previous owners had dinged the boat just a few days after having her – dramatically, under a bridge, and with enough force to make the dividing wall of the end cabin pop out. This explains the fact that our cabin door doesn’t close smoothly, which was slightly at odds with the high quality workmanship on the rest of the boat. It’s easily fixed, and we are now conscious that we overlooked a tiny, almost imperceptible, dent, when we purchased her.
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One of the boat owners, a familiar character for anyone who has been into the bar on the marina, hasn’t been seen for five days, we heard last night.
Today the police divers are in searching the marina.
It’s a sobering thought: the theory is that he may have slipped in.
We’ve already had pointed out that there are no steps out of the water onto the pontoons if you fall in, so you’re reliant on being able to tread water and yell until someone fishes you out.