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to consider living in a canal boat?

(109 Posts)
TheSeventhHorcrux Thu 14-Mar-13 19:07:35

OH and I are saving and saving to buy land and build (and maybe for me to set up a business) and he would like to move from our rented house to a canal boat (we live near a lot of canals).
It would definitely save money though there would be certain sacrifices but I can't help but think that it would be a bit of a laugh...
We're in our mid-twenties and don't have any responsibilities, it could be a lot of fun (?)
AIBU to seriously think about it or have I got some extremely rose-tinted glasses on?

ihategeorgeosborne Thu 14-Mar-13 20:32:51

I have a lot of friends who live on canal boats. There are many families at our local school on boats. Where we live is a high house price area and if you can't afford to buy and can't afford the high rents, many people don't have much choice. I would do it myself, but with 3 dc, I think it might just be a step too far! It would be lovely in the Summer though I would imagine.

seeker Thu 14-Mar-13 20:40:21

We live on a Humber Keel.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 14-Mar-13 20:41:50

Lots of my neighbours live on canal boats. The things to remember are that council tax and mooring charges S(and the fees for internet access should you go for that) can be quite high, and might make it less financially advantageous than you might think.

But I think it can be a really nice community and all the people we know who're on the moorings outside are really keen to help newbies out and get people interested in being part of that lifestyle.

Good luck! smile

coatonarack Thu 14-Mar-13 20:45:40


Weils disease (see rats)

You won't be able to get a mortgage as boats depreciate in value rather than appreciate (as houses do)

Crap in winter

Communal showers at the mooring site

More rats


cherrycarpet Thu 14-Mar-13 20:46:03

I'd say go for it! Great time in your lives to do it. My brother used to live on one in London and loved it. We currently live in a 'canal' town in Wiltshire and I know there's a great community of boaters here. We'd love to do it but with 4DC I think it might be a bit cramped....

Good time of year to start investigating it with Spring coming. Nothing ventured - nothing gained! Good luck.

seeker Thu 14-Mar-13 20:48:31

Aga. Posh bathroom. Insulation. Mains electricity. Clavicord.

TheSeventhHorcrux Thu 14-Mar-13 20:49:56

coatonarack - I'm getting the impression I should be wary of rats? grin

Seeker - OH is dribbling over the pictures of Humber Keels that I've found - where do you moor that? Only on the coast i imagine (I know nothing about boats!)

Chesntoots Thu 14-Mar-13 20:51:59

You can get a mortgage, but it has to be a specific marine one. Last time I checked Barclays did one but it was a minimum 20% deposit.
Get yourself to Crick boat show and have a nosey.
Boat porn...mmmm...

zippy539 Thu 14-Mar-13 20:52:41

coat can you you expand on the rat thing. I've always wanted to live on a canal boat but rats are the one thing that puts me off cos I'm phobic about them.

What is the actual deal with rats and house-boats???? Am I more/less likely to wake up to a rat gnawing on my eyeballs in my inner-city flat than in a houseboat?

seeker Thu 14-Mar-13 20:53:52

There are some pictures (inside only) of ours on my profile- taken when we were rich and had tiny controllable children and a cleaner. I can't bear to look at them now!

Wide gauge canal or estuary or big river only- we wouldn't fir in an ordinary canal!

seeker Thu 14-Mar-13 20:54:59

Rats- well, you see rats more because they like water. But a good cat sorts them out!

coatonarack Thu 14-Mar-13 20:55:41

I lived between Teddington and Kingston and EX D was obsessed with living on a boat in Richmond. Then we heard that someone had died on his boat at Kingston. He had been eating the herbs which he had watered with Thames water.

I won't say that his final words were "oh rats" as this is a true story.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 14-Mar-13 20:56:14

Have you ever stayed on a boat? Could you get some leave and take a break before the boating season really starts to see what its like at this time of year.

Omnishambolic Thu 14-Mar-13 20:57:22

Wow Seeker - that's gorgeous!

coatonarack Thu 14-Mar-13 20:57:58

Mind you, some friends of ours at Hampton woke up to hear their dogs barking and went to the loo in the middle of the night. Instead of finding Oscar Pistorius, they found a bloody great river rat sitting on their loo seat, having swum up the u- bend.

Kiwiinkits Thu 14-Mar-13 21:01:13

Do it! While you're still free and unencumbered do EVERYTHING you want to do, because life changes when you have kids. It really does. Before I had my DDs I had visions of backpacking and travelling with kids. That vision was completely misguided. We now do what everyone else does: we put the kids to bed and watch TV. BORRRRRRRING. Very jealous of you and your opportunities.

BTW I read a great book a while back about travelling through England and France on a narrow boat. It was called Narrow Dog to Carcassone. Or something like that. It was great. Look it up at your library.

zippy539 Thu 14-Mar-13 21:04:07

coat see it's that kind of story that puts me RIGHT off.

zippy539 Thu 14-Mar-13 21:06:46

Mind you have just googled river rats and they look slightly less BOAK than your average city rat. Less pointy nosed... Looking through my fingers so could be wrong though..

akaemmafrost Thu 14-Mar-13 21:06:59

<<screams>> at rat story.

seeker Thu 14-Mar-13 21:11:40

We've never had a rat aboard that wasn't brought aboard by a cat. Not sure if that helps or not.......

TheSeventhHorcrux Thu 14-Mar-13 21:15:12

The toilet doesn't lead to the outside, it leads to a tank - so how could a rat "swim" up the u-bend? Was it living in the sewerage tank?

And the watering herbs with thames water thing is something i occasionally refer to as "natural selection".

You have a 300 litre water tank for your water needs and the british waterways license includes use of fresh water stations.

coatonarack Thu 14-Mar-13 21:16:17

And it's true, true, true. Here's another rat story. Still with EH-DH, we went backpacking in Laos, near the Chinese border. We stayed in a wooden hut and rats were running everywhere, so i made sure that i was well zipped up in my sleeping bag. After a while i felt something running through my hair. " oooh DH! That feels nice."

SNORE zzzzzzzzz

It wasn't him. He was fast asleep.


zippy539 Thu 14-Mar-13 21:16:39

Actually Seeker that does help. I've only ever been aware of having mice in my flat when I had cats cos they insisted on offering them up as presents. So for those who like to live in rodent denial then a cat-free boat is clearly the way to go.

TheSeventhHorcrux Thu 14-Mar-13 21:16:48

And there are rats EVERYWHERE. Whats the statistic about rats? You're never more than 6 foot from a rat in the UK?
Our garden is packed full of the blighters - we live next to a field - but luckily we haven't encountered one yet (we have a cat and a dog)

Seeker - is the cat okay on the boat then?

TheSeventhHorcrux Thu 14-Mar-13 21:18:43

I'm far more bothered by spiders than rats - found a spider in my salad the other day... makes my skin crawl to think of them. Rats, meh! I'm sure they are more frightened of me (and my killer-cat)

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