Saturday, September 15, 2012

Narrow Boats

I never told you about my long walk on Wednesday. I walked west along the Grand Union Canal, which I've mentioned before and along which I often run. I went farther in that direction than I ever have -- about five miles -- through the industrial grit and cranes and tanks and faceless block buildings of North Acton.

Along the way I saw lots of narrow boats, the ubiquitous canal boats that are built for plying the man-made waterways of the British Isles. I always love seeing how people decorate their narrow boats. There seems to be an unspoken agreement that quirky is the way to go.

You gotta admire someone who uses an old hiking shoe as a planter. But why not?

People live on board their narrow boats, or at least use them as vacation retreats. I've often told Dave we should buy a narrow boat if we ever have to leave our rented flat. I'm kidding -- I think -- but it seems like it would be a cheaper alternative to London housing! (Dave hates the idea, insisting that a narrow boat would be small and damp. Which is probably true.)

Still, they are picturesque, aren't they?


  1. This proves my point about the very creative and slightly insane being drawn towards living on or near the water.
    Lovely, lovely!

  2. i have always wanted to live on a boat. maybe in my next life. love this.

  3. I don't know. I think I could live on a narrow boat. for sure I could spend a lot of time on one.

  4. I love things like that, but I'm certain I romanticize it in some way. I think about living on a very cool houseboat or in a tiny house on the plains. Looking at photos of such dwellings is probably a better way to go --

  5. There are lots and lots of narrow boats in Lincoln and you are right about the 'quirky is the way to go'!

  6. It's hard to tell if anyone lives on that first boat besides the vegetation! Whew!

    I know for sure I don't want to live on one. When we lived in Holland we saw a lot of these. We did a barge cruise in France one year and the cramped quarters (although considered roomy by other standards) made me realize that as romantic as it sounded it was not for me.

  7. Oh I love that action figure on the life saver.

    While I love boats and being out on the water I know I need some solid ground. However renting one for vacation sounds nice.


  8. Ms Moon: I think you're right. It takes a special type of person to live on a boat!

    Angella: Why not this life? You can dock it on the Hudson!

    Ellen: I am intrigued about trying one out sometime. Maybe I'll rent one.

    Elizabeth: Yeah, I'm sure the reality is far more cramped than our imaginations allow!

    Wayne: Why is that? Is it just that creative types are drawn to boats, as Ms Moon said? Or is it a kind of competitiveness? It seems to me they're all trying to out-quirkify each other.

    Lynne: Well, at least you tried it. I think I need to try it too.

    Ms. M: They're not that cheap, unfortunately. But I do think I must experience a rental at some point!

  9. Smashing thanks: I'll send a link to this piece to a teenager in Australia who loves narrow boats.

  10. I'm having a worlds colliding moment - I had read your post the other day & then today realized that a friend from Canada is even now in a narrow boat heading to Stratford. You might already know her - Sandra Leigh at