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StrawberryQueen

How hard is it really?

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Newbie here with probably the same questions you've seen over and over and are probably bored of now :D

 

I've been thinking about this for a long time now and wondered if you think it's possible or just a pipe dream. My family, myself, hubby and 3 kids (2 girls, 1 Boy) are looking into selling our bricks and motar and buying a widebeam (looking at 70ft for a 3 bedroom one) and living onboard it. How possible is this with 3 kids (11yrs, 8yrs & 5yrs) in terms of schools. I mean, where do you even start looking? Do you look for a place to moor then look for the schools or the other way around. We'd be looking at travelling along the K&A and surrounding rivers. The other choice is to wait 13yrs for the kids to finish school then go do our own thing, but you never know when your times up and in 13years anything could have happened.

 

I know some boaters get annoyed with Widebeams, but I just don't think we'd be able to fit on a narrowboat without killing each other :D

 

The thing that appeals most to us is just being closer to nature and the silence the river brings, but still being close to civilisation. What are the major downfalls to life on a live aboard? Its it just a grass is greener kind of thing? or is living on a boat one of the best things you've done? I always over think things, I'm meant to be an Aquarian and just go with the flow 😂 

 

Ideally we want to try and live off grid. so with solar panels, maybe an electric engine, compost toilet.

 

Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer guys and gals. :)

Edited by StrawberryQueen
Adeed extra details.

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Some families will come along soon, but to start with, have you had a couple of weeks holiday on a boat? Certainly something you should do to get some answers for yourself.

 

and, welcome to the forum.

 

Kevin

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47 minutes ago, StrawberryQueen said:

Yes we've had a holiday, but living on one for a week vs 10 years is very different isn't it.  😂

 

 

There is an abundance of answers to your questions already on this forum. Try the Search facility under specific topics. You mention the K&A and I wonder if you know how difficult it might be to find a mooring on there? It is already very busy with boats and families with similar dreams. You also mentioned rivers but didn’t specify which one.

 

I presume you have sorted out how to get to and from work while cruising which can also be a big issue if juggling schools needs as well?

 

Finally, have you considered just how big a 70ft wide beam actually in in relation to a canal? In many places it could be a big nuisance causing congestion, and I am sure you wouldn’t like to upset fellow boaters.

 

Howard

 

 

 

Edited by howardang

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50 minutes ago, StrawberryQueen said:

...............compost toilet.

This could be the one that 'kills the dream'

 

You will have to store the 'output' of 5 people for several months in buckets/tubs (under the bed ?) until it dries out - 

1) Will you have space ?

2) Do you want to ?

3) Where will you put it then ?

 

Composting is a good idea for 'bricks & mortar' dwellers who have space to store it whilst it is dessicating, and then a garden to put it on to get rid of it.

 

Composting is getting a bad-name on boats with Marinas now banning boats which have composting toilets due to 'selfish boaters' dumping it straight into the normal rubbish bins with out waiting the 3-6 months for it to dry out.

 

See this thread - marina bans composting toilets

 

 

50 minutes ago, StrawberryQueen said:

Ideally we want to try and live off grid. so with solar panels,

Solar is OK for 8 months of the year (depending on your electrical consumption and reminding Kids that it isn't a floating flat with unlimited power for PCs and gaming computers.

End of October to March (maybe less if the weather is good) you will struggle to get any meaningful output from Solar panels.

 

How are you going to generate electricity when you need it most ? (long dark, cold nights)

How will you generate enough electricity to power your electric motors ?

 

I would really suggest that you will be struggling with 3 kids unless they are not into 'gadgets'.

 

 

 

There are some on the forum that Compost, some that try and live on Solar power and the 'odd' one that has electric drive but I don't think (could be wrong) that any of these are families with schools age children.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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That's interesting to know Alan. I read on this website that it only needs to be emptied once a year (not high use I'm guessing)

 

Howardang, I have tried the search for schooling but only found a thread about a poster ONLY wanting to hear from families with school children, but it didn't really help. I'll try other search terms though,

 

And in Terms of work, hubby and I are both Web Developers with our own business so we can work on the move. We've looked into possible internet options so that's ok :)

Edited by StrawberryQueen

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2 minutes ago, StrawberryQueen said:

That's interesting to know Alan. I read on this website that it only needs to be emptied once a year (not high use I'm guessing)

It will depend on the size of your bucket and how many are using it.

 

Once the bucket is full, you need to remove it and store it somewhere to dry-out (this could be 3 months , 6 months …………..

Put in new bucket, fill again,...………….. store it ……………..

Repeat

 

You could have quite a few 'buckets on the go' at any one time all at differing stages of desiccation.

 

I'm sure Peter will chip in soon - he composts and I think his bucket lasts him a couple of months (from memory) 

I'm sure he'll be happy to give you chapter & verse (but he does have 'land' to dispose of his 'waste')

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Plan A, Item 1.   Make sure you have sufficient funding reserved to enact Plan B when the dream turns into a nightmare.  This is massively important when children are involved.

 

Note:  Lots of supposedly clever folk think they don't need a Plan B but, whilst it's often best not to publicise Plan B for fear of undermining Plan A, it is a mistake to simply hope for the best and not be prepared for the worst. 

  • Greenie 2

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yeah and that's the thing that worries me the most. I'm thinking it might be better to stay here til youngest leaves school then we can get a boat and just go whereever we like (widebeam canals/rivers)

 

just sucks a little I suppose.

  • Greenie 1

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39 minutes ago, StrawberryQueen said:

That's interesting to know Alan. I read on this website that it only needs to be emptied once a year (not high use I'm guessing)

 

You missed the disclaimer then, 

"Prices would be around £800 up to £1800 depending on the model. It has been said they only need to be emptied once a year! Depending on the usage will depend on how often you need to empty the unit, but you are looking at every few months to a year rather than every week. It is very eco-friendly as it doesn’t use hazardous or environmentally damaging chemicals and produces excellent compost. Some of the models actually separate the urine from the solids, so you can responsibly disposed of the urine and then the solid matter is composted in the other unit.W

 

 

 

And in Terms of work, hubby and I are both Web Developers with our own business so we can work on the move. We've looked into possible internet options so that's ok :) 

 

Are you sure you will get a fast enough signal every where to do that?

 

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3 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Are you sure you will get a fast enough signal every where to do that?

As you and I know - there are areas that there is absolutely no signal.

 

But I guess tootling up and down the K&A should be OK

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7 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

As you and I know - there are areas that there is absolutely no signal.

 

But I guess tootling up and down the K&A should be OK

 

For good lengths of it yes. Network Rail (or whoever) have finally convinced Voda (and others perhaps) to put up masts all along the railway so signal here at the eastern end is brilliant. 

 

On the other hand a 70 three bedroom widebeam isn't going to be particularly welcome here if you're going to CC.  Get yourself a mooring I suggest. 

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32 minutes ago, StrawberryQueen said:

yeah and that's the thing that worries me the most. I'm thinking it might be better to stay here til youngest leaves school then we can get a boat and just go whereever we like (widebeam canals/rivers)

 

just sucks a little I suppose.

You wouldn't be unusual in wanting to have it all but you wont get to experience the real magic of life on the water doing what you propose - wait and get a proper (narrow) boat and meet other boaters and see the system properly.

 

.........…. PLEASE even if you do decide to try to have it all don't go for a 70ftr its just a step too far 60*12 is a lot of space and cheaper.

Edited by Halsey

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the main reason for a 70 was hoping to get a 3rd bedroom in it. We've just booked tickets to the crick show so I suppose we can see what is available and what the size difference in everything will be.

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Just now, StrawberryQueen said:

the main reason for a 70 was hoping to get a 3rd bedroom in it. We've just booked tickets to the crick show so I suppose we can see what is available and what the size difference in everything will be.

 

A boat this big will be absolutely no fun to navigate in, especially not on the K&A. Its a small canal and the locks are heavy and slow. You WILL need a mooring. 

 

A far more practical approach would be to get two narrowboats. Cruise as a pair but bung the older two or three kids in the other one!

  • Greenie 3

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9 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

A far more practical approach would be to get two narrowboats. Cruise as a pair but bung the older two or three kids in the other one!

I was just going to say this - I'm sure I read it on here but I now can't find it, that one family had a narrowbeam narrowboat and short butty that they towed. The parents and youngest child slept on the main boat and the teens had the smaller butty as hang out and bedrooms. If I recall it worked out cheaper than a widebeam and saved the sanity of both parents and teens. The butty gets a discount on their licence I think because they don't have an engine. 

 

Worth a think about anyway. 

 

 

 

 

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I would have loved to live on a boat as a kid - but as a teenager it would've been a bit hit or miss whether my mother and/or I made it out alive. 🤣

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in your situation, given that I would have tried living on a canal boat for 2 weeks out of season (when the sun doesn't  shine all day), and taking into account the needs of growing children (friends, fixed location for schools and security) I would only consider a marina mooring (at a marina where living aboard is tolerated, permitted or just blind-eyed - chat to some marina dwellers at the chosen location to test the waters) at least for a year or two until I had worked out a way to manage on a mooring at the side of the canal.

  • Greenie 1

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I would get a tent or two and go camping for six weeks, see if you end up in divorce courts. Maybe a campervan, but essentially, are your kids going to adapt to this, I don't see the attraction. Far too many worry factors, and a bad long term investment.

Edited by LadyG
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I think Whilton are very cute in the marketing department. Can you imagine several dustbins full of faeces, eeks.  Why would you want to pollute the plant with that?

Better buy two butties!

Edited by LadyG

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Living in a marina can be like living in the worse kind of Caravan Park. You are a tenant subject to somebody elses's rules and regulations. The view from the window might be another boat just two feet away. You might get lucky and find a marina with lots of open space and a good community, but you might not.  You are sort of proposing living in a small house that happens to have water underneath it, all the problems of a boat and not many of the advantages. Boating is really about getting out on the canal and this will not be fun on a huge boat on the K&A, its already quite congested. Moving and getting the kids to school will be hard work.

 

If you are serious then get a pair (nice idea mtb!), home educate the kids and travel. Trouble is kids need friends and a social life. Boat life is great for kids but gets harder as they get older It can be done but it will need a lot of effort, it would have been a lot easier ten years ago when the K&A was a bit more relaxed.

 

.............Dave

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6 minutes ago, bizzard said:

My boats full of web developers, they all come abseiling down from the vents and hatches.

Pythons don't abseil, they use ladders.

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3 hours ago, StrawberryQueen said:

yeah and that's the thing that worries me the most. I'm thinking it might be better to stay here til youngest leaves school then we can get a boat and just go whereever we like (widebeam canals/rivers)

 

just sucks a little I suppose.

I don't get this at all, travel broadens the mind, but not Bath to London by the slowest transport known to man? How are you going to keep family, three kids hobbies and friends, and all that, while juggling with a boat on the K and A

Also, a bit concerned you both do the same thing: fifteen years ago the only web developers were programmers, now software is available to anyone to do their own. Who is to say how things will be in another ten years.

Sorry to be so negative, but these school years must be the most difficult for families.

Edited by LadyG

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