Holidays on the Canal Scene
I may make some of you envious when I tell you that I have now completely retired from my part time driving job. I am able to spend most of my time on the English canals; a lifestyle that I really enjoy.
I have a “Dongle” wireless connection to the Internet and this is my main contact with the “Outside World”. In general, I am miles away from the “Fast Lane”, with non of the daily pressures and stress that modern day living brings to each of us.
You may have read that Toni, (My ex Wife), has also sold up her bricks and mortar (Cottage in the South West of England) and taken to the canals. She has recently purchased a nicely fitted out narrowboat with a very high standard of joinery that has lots of curves in white oak hardwood Scandinavian style. Her new boat is named “Snowdrop” and is still rated as “”The last word” although the boat was built in 2000 and is about 10.5 years old. Snowdrop was purchased from the original owner.
As one expects (The same with used cars), there are always minor things to be put right and things to change to suit the new owner. Snowdrop has had more than her fair share of problems, mainly relatively small electrical problems, due to being left in a Marina for many years; mostly unused and suffering from condensation during the cold and wet UK winter months. It is well known that mechanical things, (Including relays and electrical contacts), suffer from lack of use and this has been the main cause of problems. There are virtually no changes to be made to the interior layout.
Fortunately (For Toni) I am able to diagnose Engine, Electrical Installations, including plumbing and heating trades, having been connected with these during my “working” days, so except for replacement defective parts (Not many) breakdowns have only been an inconvenience for a short time and mainly fixed on a next day basis.
We are cruising together with our own boats. We both enjoy our own space and at the same time enjoy each other’s company. This arrangement works well – at least it has for the last couple of months or so!
We have now left the South of England, (About 25 miles from London in a Westerly direction) and are now cruising northwards. This is not new to me, as I have been associated with the canal system for over 40 years and have been living in my own designed and fitted out narrowboat for nearly 3 years now. Our present position is very near to the junction of the Grand Union Canal and the Grand Union Canal Leicester section.
Probably tomorrow, we will reach the junction and start making our way along the Leicester section, on our way further north to York, North Yorkshire. From there one can cruise about a further 25 miles beyond this well-known City and I believe this is the furthest north we can cruise on the connected UK canal system. There are canals further north but they are not linked.
Have you ever thought of taking a canal holiday in the UK?
If you have never experienced this sort of living, (Holidaying), it is a wonderful lifestyle for a week or even two weeks. Short beaks are also sometimes available but are usually expensive.
I have personally never come across one single person who hasn’t been smitten with this type of holiday and everybody just loves it. Most make arrangement to take another one the following year. It is a new type of adventure, relaxing or as hectic as one wants to make it and it’s really fun meandering through the outstanding beauty of the “Lush” green English Countryside, with fields full of dairy cattle, sheep or sometimes pigs, apart from all the arable crops. Then there are all the water birds and the Blackbirds singing first thing in the mornings.
There are many holiday hire boat companies on the UK canal system. Having booked and enjoyed over 20 holidays before owning my own boat, I have a good knowledge of the better companies, the very good ones and the “Not so Good” ones that I would personally not recommend. I have written a Digital E-Book on English canal holidays. This is very informative with lots of photographs etc.
As it was written over 3 years ago, it is in need of updating to offer current “Live” information. This is a project that is nearing the top of the pile – too late for this year’s holidays but it will be just about right for the next season.
However, should anyone be on the point of taking a fantastic unique English narrowboat holiday, I would be only too pleased to pass on my comments and views, (Especially to overseas visitors), so do e-mail me or make a request in the comments column if you are considering doing this.
I can guide and suggest several good companies with modern very comfortable well equipped boats. This will help avoid the one or two less reliable companies. Price is not everything but please remember, if you take the cheapest available, it may not be a wisest move without advice from someone with a fair knowledge of the service given by the holiday hire businesses around the Country.
I will let you know just as soon as my E-book has been updated in my blog articles. Please Do come back and visit again. I will be adding new subjects and interesting “snippets” to keep this a general interest blog.
I send you my best and warmest regards, ~Allan~