It’s time to sell up and live on a boat…


fullsizerenderSo since returning from our amazing time in Canada, we’ve been suffering from post holiday blues.  With a combination of getting straight back into work, the weather here being rubbish with storms, Doris & Ewen knocking us about and not a lot of money to do anything.  So we’ve been getting stuck into moving forward with our ‘Living the Dream’ plans – exciting, but a lot to do…

Basically we have a boat and we’ve decided it’s the right time to sell up and go live on her 🙂

We call the boat ‘Head in the Clouds’, she’s a broad beamed canal boat, 10′ wide by 55′ long to be precise – and we love her 🙂

We first bought her in 2002 as a rusty steel shell with nothing inside except a vast rusty space with no windows or doors.  It was so exciting and it was from that point that we wanted her to be our home.

There was such a lot to do though and of course, general life and work got in the way which meant time ran on and on and all of a sudden it’s 2017, the kids are all grown up living their lives and the boat looks so much better.  So, (although not finished) it looks more like a home to us, so the time is now right to make the jump and go for it.  So it’s operation sell the house and climb aboard – Sounds that simple right?!

Eh Voila!


I and some of Jon’s family helped with some of the work in the very beginning, but the credit must go to Jon who has worked his ass off over the years, grabbing bits of time here and there to create something quite special.

Yes this is me modelling a very fetching boiler suit & dust mask

In the beginning, we sand blasted and grinded the rust away and then gave her many layers of special paint underneath, inside and out.




IMG_6197When that was done she could go into the water and be tugged to her mooring on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire canal – exciting times.
















Then it was windows to cut out and make, doors to make, rooms to plan and create, electricity to bring in, solar panels to install, water tank, waste tank, inlets & outlets, kitchen & bathroom, fire place to build to name just a few necessities and then of course the engine – Phew – all so simple!



Yeah right, I can see Jon rolling his eyes and tutting at me as I type…Bearing in mind he’s never done anything like this before, I’m so proud of him for what he’s achieved and learnt along the way.


Today, there still is lots to do and of course as the time has gone on there’s also the maintenance to keep up to now but, ‘Head in the Clouds’ is beautiful, she has a ‘Perkins 315’ engine which came out of a dumper truck and sounds lovely as she ‘tug tug tug’s’ along.  She has two bedrooms, the main bedroom having the best view at the front of the boat, a double bed, dressing table and fitted wardrobes, the guest room is smaller, but amazingly can sleep three with it’s cleverly designed bunk bed system.    The bathroom has a toilet, sink, full sized bath with shower, there is then a corridor which takes you to the open plan living room and kitchen.


Getting busy in the kitchen

There is a cosy living space with a brick fireplace and a wood burning stove along with a fitted B&Q kitchen, then out the back door into the wheelhouse which is a nice size for a couple of chairs and a coffee table.  Luxury 🙂  The wheelhouse is ‘work in progress’ at the moment, the bathroom needs updating and still many more jobs to be done, Jon’s just in the middle of fitting new doors and windows to the front of the boat right now.

We’ve already been out on a few cruises since the engine went in and that’s when we realised ‘yup, we did the right thing.’   We have both had to learn the rules and regulations of navigating a boat along the canals and we’ve also had to learn how to actually steer quite a large boat along with how to operate the Locks, all this being quite a daunting experience to start with, but we aren’t too bad at it now after having a few bumps and scrapes along the way.  We love boating and generally being on and around the British canals, it’s such a beautiful way to see the countryside.  The thing about canals is that they can be very near to busy towns and cities, but when you’re cruising along you barely notice that, because it’s so slow and quiet and you feel you’re really in there amongst nature.  (The  videos at the end of this post are of us cruising along the Calder & Hebble Navigation).
There are swans, ducks, herons and many other birds which we don’t know the names of, (we’ve got to get a good bird book!) and other wildlife which pops up to say hello – life on the water can be so tranquil.

IMG_7267The British canal network is very large and generally b3aa5dc6-031d-4824-a9bb-5efc55c6a83fkept in very good condition by the Canal & River Trust and consists of narrow and broad canals.  Head in the Clouds is a broad beamed barge which means we are a little restricted with the routes we can take as we can only travel on the broad canals, but there are plenty for us to explore and that’s what we intend to do.  Spring is on its way so we’ll soon be unhitching the mooring ropes and away we go…

   Millie Puggly enjoying the view
Rosie loving the moving water



36 thoughts on “It’s time to sell up and live on a boat…

  1. This is an amazing account Sam, of what you (with a little help from Jonathan) have achieved over the last few years and I know it all to be true. Lots of love and effort have got you so far. It seems right that you should now experience living the “barge life” and all the adventures that I am sure it will create for you.
    Good luck with the house sale.

  2. What a fabulous labour of love and how exciting that you will live on her and go on adventures. I do envy you! So much work has been done to make her the beautiful boat she is today. Sadly I have a husband who is frightened of the water so my boat faring days are limited to a quick channel crossing to France in a ferry these days. He’s such a wimp! xx

  3. Wow! it is like a dream come true all that hard work over the years has really paid off. I am so impressed. I think it is idyllic! I hope you have a nice canal boatfolk art painted jug somewhere in there!!

  4. If you’re thinking about relocating and moving onto a boat, have you thought about what you’ll do with your house? You could always donate it, when you donate your home you not only avoid the hassle of having to sell, and your home may become a new beginning for a needy family. Real Estate With Causes has a great program that you may be interested in. They either donate the homes back out or they use the proceeds to assist individuals and families in need. The process isn’t hard either, plus they do the best they can to make sure your experience donating is as smooth as possible. If you’d like to learn more about what they do and how to donate visit

  5. Hi Nancy I’m sorry I’ve only just seen your message as it came through as Spam. I’ve already sold my house and sorry but wasn’t financially in a position a donate, but that is such a wonderful thing to do if you can. Sorry I couldn’t have helped at this stage.

    1. Haha 😂 thank you yes it’s certainly a different way to live. It’s a canal barge but only for the wider broad canals of the UK or Europe. We have a permanent mooring which I guess we call Home, but will be tripping off come Spring. Yes we can Moor more or less anywhere within reason, but you have to move on every 2 weeks. If we Moor as a visitor in a residential mooring then it may only be 24 hours depending on their rules. Don’t mind questions 😊

  6. Wow Sam, you and John aren’t so different from us. You had a vision for a different life and you went ahead and did it. I think it’s the vision that keeps the momentum up. Your John sounds just like my Man of the House, super resourceful and not afraid to try anything. People used to say they couldn’t understand how we could live like we did but just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s a substandard life. It’s all in the attitude. Keep smiling and keep loving it.

  7. Fantastic transformation!! So impressive… I am wondering what it’s like in winter – do the rivers freeze over and is it still possible to continue the journey or do you dock somewhere waiting for Spring?


    1. Thanks. We have a permanent mooring where we are most of the time. Travel in the summer when it’s calmer, narrow boats aren’t great in windy weather. Very rarely freezes, but if it did then yes we couldn’t go anywhere. It’s a great way of life 😊

  8. It must be awesome living on the boat!! Saw your guest post at Hugh’s site and came here from there 🙂

    1. Hi Dee, thank you for popping over and having a read. Yes we love living on a boat, but understand it wouldn’t be for everyone. We just love that our views from the windows can change if we want them to and we do have adventures 🙂 Thanks for visiting 🌸

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