We did it! We moved onto the boat!

Well, after months of planning and after selling my business and our house, we finally made the move out of our 3 bedroom house into our broad beam, narrow canal barge and are in the process of making it home.  We’ve been in a few weeks now and I can safely say we are both knackered.  Why is moving house so stressful? I can understand it if things go wrong, such as disputes with the buyers etc but for us everything went very smoothly, in fact the buyers couldn’t have been nicer people, but the actual process of organising, packing and moving things especially towards the final day when time was of the essence was so stressful and tiring.  We did do everything ourselves though, with Jon’s typical Yorkshire thrift and his determination to not spend 1 penny more than required, we hired a couple of vans and chose not to use a removal company, so I guess we did create the hard work.

We are here though, we are on board and I have to say arriving at the boat around 2.30pm that Friday afternoon, we both sat starring into space and then I fell asleep for 3 hours!  I do believe Jon had a little ‘snifter’ of whisky while he sat and stared.

Obviously we haven’t moved everything we owned onto the boat as it would probably sink so, thanks to a well organised shipping container we bought a few months earlier and after spending many weekends lining it out, it is now storing most of our ‘things’ which aren’t needed onboard.  Thanks also to my mum, sister and also to Jon’s parents who all seem to have acquired some of our ‘stuff’ in their homes 🙂  The guys at the local tip began nodding or waving at us on a daily basis as they slowly got to know us and their percentage of recycling which they proudly display seemed to go up considerably in those few weeks we were moving thanks to us I’m sure.

Lot’s of sorting and organising to do with Millie’s help

Since being on board our new home we have been opening up the boxes we so carefully packed not so long ago and now… yes, more sorting and organising.  We are also facing new challenges about living on a boat and I, in particular am learning fast how we need to change the way we live.  The first main challenge we face is …Power.

It’s crazy how, when living in a house, we take our necessities for granted.  Water, heat and power.  We are so good at just turning taps and switches on and ‘Ka-Pow’ the shower comes on with hot steaming water or the hair dryer starts up without you even realising what power that little thing uses.  On the boat I’ve had to pack away my hairdryer for now as it is one appliance which does require such a lot of electricity and it’s also something which isn’t particularly necessary, (I’m the one wandering around with the frizzy mop on my head by the way!)  The TV is on board, the fridge freezer is in, (after a little ‘tweaking) and we are going to be installing our washing machine next week.  Our shower is pretty good, although in the first week I found myself stood happily showering away, all lathered up when there was a funny noise and the water ran out! Aghhh!! or was it Hahahaha!  I can’t quite remember now, but yet another learning curve 🙂

The Fridge/Freezer goes in, but can we power it??

Now I realise what we wasted when living in a house and how much easier it was, but I wouldn’t change where we are right now for anything.  I have a lot to learn and Jon is slowly teaching me about how boat life works with regards to power and water etc

I will be blogging about our ‘ups and downs‘ in future posts and about how, for example something as simple as turning the standby button off on the TV, has a significant impact on our power usage.   We do have a challenge at the moment with the power, but it’s ‘so far so good’ with the heating as we are ‘cosy’ warm most of the time due to an excellent log burner fire which also heats our water and we are finding we are doing most of our cooking on this too as it has a hot plate on it, so far this is my favourite thing on the boat! We do have a gas oven, but Jon starts getting a slight twitch if he see’s me turning it on as it clocks up the penny’s with the gas, so come on all you amazing chef’s send me through some lovely recipes for us to cook in one pan on a log burner stove 🙂



Also, if there’s anyone out there with any tips on creating power on a boat, (we already have a good battery bank, an inverter and 4 solar panels) then please say hi and send those tips over, we’d love to hear from you too 🙂


Snuggly Miss Puggly in her bed.  First night in her new ‘boaty’ home 🙂

33 thoughts on “We did it! We moved onto the boat!

  1. I’m so pleased for you! What fabulous adventures you will have! I have so many questions! What length is your boat? Do you have a permanent mooring? Where is it? Are you going to stay there, or move location? I envy your washing machine! We live on our yacht in Greece, so I understand a bit about what you are going through. We didn’t keep anything in store when we moved on board, I sold everything or gave stuff away. It was certainly life changing! I look forward to following your adventures.

    1. Thank you so much! Our boat is 55 foot long by 10 foot wide and we do have a permanent mooring in South Yorkshire at the moment. We have quite a bit of work yet to do on the boat, so will probably stay here for the Winter now, then start cruising about in Spring. We’d love to be ‘Constant cruisers’ which means no permanent mooring, but just to keep moving, which would be a challenge in the Winter months, but an adventure. Yes a washing machine, but hope we can power it ok, (will be posting about it, I’m sure :-)) You sold/gave everything away?! Oh I’m not sure I could do that, we did get rid of such a lot but, some we felt we should keep. I’d love to know more about your life in your boat x

  2. Oh, wonderful Sam. You and your partner well especially him will be obsessed with power 🙂 We were after years living off the grid. It is such an amazing feeling not being reliant on power companies, just enough light source to fill the batteries. We could last days even on drizzling days, using our computers and a bit of TV and a regular source of meals and of course coffee! Look forward to reading the next instalment.

  3. So pleased you’ve made it. Now the learning curve begins….. One pot dinners cooked on your wood fire will be just the thing in the winter months – some nice curries, or one pot stews with big chunky potatoes and carrots, and whole onions. Throw in some frozen peas, and perhaps some broccoli at the end, and eat with crusty bread. Looking forward to reading about the joys (and not so joyful moments) of your settling in process.

    1. 😃 thank you Chris, great minds think alike as I made a lovely curry this weekend & a very tasty stew last week. Also getting quite creative with what you can cook in just one frying pan. I’m surprising myself 😃 (I failed with rice though – over cooked 🙄😊) never used frozen peas before 🤔 will try that 😊

  4. Moving is emotional – endings and beginnings and memories buried that your subconscious starts to process again with all those triggers as you pack and unpack. That is my theory and having moved 30 times in my 50 something years I know it is never easy but chapeau for achieving it and how lovely to be nesting in time for Christmas.

      1. I’m hoping there are just two more …. one temporary and the next permanent …. it’s hard to express how hard I wish for it. But it is stories like yours that call me on when I feel like giving up and I thank you 🙂

  5. Well done the both of you, you will all be experienced canal people, and canal pets before you know it. Just got to get used to the chilly mornings before the fire is stocked.xx

  6. Good to hear the move has gone well, and that you’re settling in, Sam. I’d love to help with the cooking and power requests, but my cooking tends to either poison someone or never turns out as it should. As for power, don’t put me anywhere near a power drill or a power socket. 😁

    1. Well this is the next thing we are thinking about although some can be very noisy so we’re doing a little research into quiet ones, but then it’s expensive. We are looking into them, but if you’ve any ideas or knowledge in them we’d love your input?? 😊

  7. Hi Sam, I’ve just come to your blog from Suzanne’s at GlobeHousesitterx2 and I’m really intrigued by your life changing decision to move onto a barge. It’s something we have on the back burner for the future when we need a change from camper van life. We often watch some of the narrow boat vloggers like cruisingthecut, lifeinanutshell, anarrowboatlife etc but we’re not ready yet to sell our van and we still have so much more to see in Europe! Looking forward to seeing how you get on 🙂 All the very best on your adventure Jane

    1. Oh wonderful thank you for stopping by & the follow. I’ll be taking a peek at yours too 😊 yes we love it. Still work in progress at the moment so still trying to make it homely but getting there. Probably won’t get out cruising now until next Spring, but really looking forward to it. Oh wow you live in your Camper van? That’s brilliant. We also have a Camper so do trip off in that every now & again 😊 we do intend on taking it over to Europe 😊

  8. Hi Sam, what goes around, comes around – and I don’t think this is a first for you. I’ve nominated you got the Liebster Award. Apologies if it’s a nuisance. As you’ll notice from my post, I think others have nominated me previously, which through fear, I ignored. I think you may have been one of them… this time, I thought I’d give it a go.

  9. Hi Sam
    We’ve just linked up via the BBash chat.
    Fascinated to read this. I have some close friends who retired a few years ago and spent 4-5 years cruising the canals and waterways of Britain in a narrow boat. Their scheme was to cruise for 9-10 months and then have the boat scoured and serviced and laid up for a couple of months while they bedded down with the children and saw the family. I’ll ask Les what they did about power if you like. If you do decide to cruise or if you’d like I will happily ask if he minds being put in touch and you can pick his and Ursula’s brains. They’ve retreated to Shetland for now but the ‘urge to surge’ remains strong…

    1. Hi it’s amazing how many people welcome across who have done this 😊 yes it would be interesting what they did. We are absolutely fine in the summer because we have solar panels but winter isn’t as easy 😊 we are also a broad beam rather than a narrow boat although that shouldn’t make a lot of difference 😊 thanks for the comment

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