Sunday, 7 September 2014

Services and amenities

FIXTURES & FIXINGS

When we took the boat through London recently we were amazed at the number of people who thought narrow boats have to be kitted out with ‘miniature’ versions of furnishings and white goods.  Even though narrow boats are less than 7’ wide they can accommodate standard sizes such as kitchens.  When we replaced our kitchen Lauren and I fitted a flat pack one from Wickes.  We left a space equivalent to one cabinet so that Diesel had somewhere to sleep. 

image

Anyway, when we decided we were going to move aboard full time we realised it would be better to install a washing machine in the space we left for the dog.  As could have been predicted (based on my lack of DIY skills) the space we left wasn’t quite wide enough for a standard washing machine.  We shopped around and found that all smaller machines were twice the price.  Fortunately I got an unused one from eBay for about half price as it was marked on the sides.

FRESH WATER

We have an 800 litre water tank for fresh water. Hot water is held in a tank called a calorifier which is heated by the engine cooling system so we cannot have hot water unless the engine has been running.  We top up the water tank at water points along the way. Invariably the pressure at these water points is very low and therefore we often spend an hour or two topping up (ideal time for a food or beer break of course!).  The two white posts on the left of our boat (below) are water points - we have our hose connected to the closer one.  This is at Napton on the Hill which can be seen in the background.  We walked to the top where you can see seven counties on a clear day (second picture down shows just 120 degrees of the circle of view).  It is also where locals watched the bombing of Coventry.

image

image

And this is a view of the hill from the north with a strategically placed windmill.

image

GAS

This water point is just north of the M25 at Watford.  The lid open at the front of the boat gives access to the gas bottle locker where we have two 13kg bottles for cooking on a standard oven converted to use LPG.  When we bought the boat it had gas central heating but I have since ripped the system out as we were getting through a bottle a week!  We now just have a multi-fuel stove to burn logs and coal.

image

DIESEL

We support the floating traders by buying gas and diesel from the fuel boats that ply their trade in hard fought stretches of the canal system.  We have a 300 litre fuel tank which uses red diesel.  The UK is the only European country that still allows the boating community to use red diesel.  The EU are fighting this at present so costs may well rise from 80p a litre to the price charged at petrol stations.

Here is a fuel boat we locked up with on new year’s day 2014 on the Grand Union - gas bottles can be seen at the front.

image

The enterprising couple below (Steve & Liz whose patch is River Lee and Regents Canal) have a butty (unpowered boat) attached to their fuel boat.  They use the butty as a mobile chandlery - we took advantage of this when we had to replace three of our batteries recently.  Much easier than trekking off to a shop somewhere and lugging them back along the towpath.

image

ELECTRICITY

Most electrical appliances run off the bank of 12volt batteries.  We also have an inverter that converts the 12v to 240v for items like washing machine, slow cooker and wireless router.  We also have a generator for emergencies.

WASTE

On the less savoury side - grey water (wash and shower waste) is pumped straight into the canal.  Black waste (from toilet holding tank) has to be pumped out at pump out stations along the way - a lovely job.  When we first bought the boat it had two bathrooms/toilets as it was a hire boat for 12 people.  Jake and I removed one bathroom and toilet to make more space.  Here is the hole left after removing the toilet and holding tank.

image

The upright oblong white object on the pontoon on the right is the pump out station at Limehouse basin.

image

SHOPPING

Shopping is easy when in towns as many supermarkets have canal-side entrances.

image
image

Redeveloping the basin at Aylesbury with Waitrose.

image

HEATING

Coal for the stove is purchased from the fuel boats and logs picked up from the side of the canal by Karen and cut up with the chainsaw.

image
image
image

No comments:

Post a Comment