Our new home is just under a year old, 41 feet long and a sweet little 6′ 10″ wide, hence the term narrow boat, similar to the one above.
The good news is that it is slightly longer than our house frontage was. The not so good news is that it is not as wide as our front bedroom at 7′ 2″.
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way: mooring fees, insurance, and waterway licences are all expensive, plus there is the need for a permanent residential address.
Many Marinas have permanent berths for ‘live aboards’, but they are not residential, ie. no postal delivery. In the UK, there is little you can do or apply for without a permanent address. In some instances, a C/O address or post box number is unacceptable, especially for the authorities and banks, which is a REAL PAIN.
Now for the nice stuff.
Our water supply is included in our mooring fees. The boat has a tank at the bow end which will last us about a week. Our flush loo is a cassette like we had in the caravan, so we are responsible for emptying that (I had a lesson today and it’s not that bad a job) and our waste water (kitchen and bathroom sinks) empties straight into the Marina, so we have no holding tank to be pumped out at £17 a go. We don’t intend to use the shower on board as there are free hot showers and loos here which are open 24/7. Besides, there are so many little things to remember if we did use it, and it’s likely to cause condensation problems. Anyway, it makes a good cupboard!
We are fully insulated, have central heating (diesel fuel as for travel) and hot water.
Electricity kwh are the same as what we were paying in the house. We have a nifty little card and can buy 100 kwh at a time. This we did on arrival, and have used just over 13 units in 6 days. Our previous usage was around 33 – 40 per week depending on the season/wash loads/showers/cooking. Like the caravan, we ‘hook up’ to on shore mains.
There is no washing machine on board, but a launderette on site with a HUGE machine and drier. We used it on Friday at a total cost of £5, and could have got three times as many clothes in the load and had to leave part of our drying cycle for the next person! As an alternative, there is a laundry in town, so I could wash smalls by hand and dry them there instead. Obviously, hanging out washing on the boat is a definite No-No.
We also have no freezer, but to be honest, I’m not worried about that as we shall be shopping weekly anyway. We will be buying less, and one of my jobs when I get my own lap top up and running will be to start a spreadsheet and boat(house)keeping file.
We don’t have a garden or veg patch, but there is nothing to stop us having a couple of pots to grow tomatoes, potatoes and beans in. They can always sit on the bow or the roof!
There is free Wi-Fi here, and now Hubby has put the booster up, the signal is coming through loud and clear.
By my reckoning, we shall be saving £360 by not having a land line, £400 plus for water rates and sewage, £150 on insurance, and have more than halved our electricity bill. As for our heating bill, somehow I don’t think we’ll be using 800 – 1000 litres now!
The boat is very well designed though and we have everything we need, even if it’s like living in a dolls house. The dinky plug in the bathroom is about 1/2 an inch across, and I have the cutest little washing up bowl in the kitchen. I have a feeling my dinner plates are going to be too big for it, and if so, I shall simply ditch them and get smaller ones. I do however have a four ring burner gas cooker with oven and grill, plus a full size fridge. At a later date, we may well have the oven and grill taken out and just make do with the hob, as I shall be keeping my microwave. It will give us a bit more storage space anyway.
Next week, we are thinking of going to the lock up and sorting everything out rather than incur another month’s charges. It all depends when the charity shop can come and collect the furniture as we will have to work backwards. It also means camping again, and where we have to be, sites are few and far between. At least we won’t have most of our possessions in the back this time.
To be honest, I’m not looking forward to it actually.