I became a boater in 2009 and am editing this on my 60 ft narrowboat, currently moored up in Little Venice. Moving to the sewer, was an impulsive and ill-considered decision which I made whilst cycling up the towpath from Watford to Tring. Despite the irresponsible and spontaneous nature of what I did to my previously comfortable lifestyle, I have few regrets. Boating has been a good thing for me.
Back in 2009, as I passed Apsley on my bike, I stopped for lunch a Woodys Vegetarian Cafe and, afterwards, found myself small-talking for 2 hours with a group of boaters inside the adjacent marina. I was seduced by the charms of these quirky boat people who – in my ill-judged estimation – had discovered the secret of the universe. I was hooked. Frozen water pipes, exploding toilet tanks and £400 monthly parking spaces – this was absolutely how things were supposed to be.
As has been a pattern in my life, my infatuation got the better of me. Within a week, I’d bought a boat and was driving my new home through the raised swing bridge into the haven of Apsley marina. I had convinced myself that life would be perfect if I could live there and eat at Woodys everyday…. and for the next 2 years that’s what I did.
As a stressy ex-teacher, former comedian and comedy promoter, this seemed to be the perfect solution to my cranky mindset . It worked too – for a while. Even my Stage 2 hypertension levels – which had occasionally caused blood pressure readings of 180/110 – dropped to normal levels. I was calm. The highly toxic water had healing properties.
The trouble with trying to cut the old stresses out of your life is that you soon find new things to stress about. As soon as the novelty wore off, my rose tinted lenses fell into the sewer and I now see the water world through a monocle that matches the brown and grey colour of all that lies beneath my rusting hull.
In time, following my appearance in court testifying against some local shits who had been terrorising the marina, I fell out of love with Apsley. I became brave, embraced the calling of the wider sewer, pulled my plug out and headed to London.
The pleasure of living in Paddington, Camden, Angel and Hackney remains as thrilling now as the first time I looped my centre rope through a London mooring ring.
I recently spent 5 months doing the Thames Ring (including a one month diversion to Market Harborough) and, charming as Maidenhead & Milton Keynes showed themselves to be, with their twice hourly buses & weekly incidents of arson, barely a day passed when I didn’t miss the thrill of the metropolis. I love London, I love my boat and I love having my boat in London.
There are many buts.
If idealism is your thing, Angryboater.com is not for you.
Conflicts with other boaters, archaic laws & irrational rule changes, overcrowding, poor facilities, double mooring, bureaucracy, triple mooring, incompetent handymen, bizarre waterway initiatives, bad advice, heat-waves, broken locks, winter, quadruple mooring, autumn & spring, carbon monoxide poisoning, boat shows and CRT.
The blog gets updated whenever I feel like it. The live shows are updated as they come in. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org