Space available from October – February

  • £40 per week per person, including most rates and bills
  • Fully furnished
  • Non-smoking
  • Vegetarian
  • Communal living

Boat-mate Wanted from October to February

Winter Boat-Mate - Tor on the Towpath in the Snow

Hi, my name is Tor and I’m a live-aboard boater who runs a small business, called Float by Boat, providing meditative canal breaks for guests through the summer season.  My boat, Spirited Away, is 69ft long and has 3 cabins, 2 toilet/shower rooms, a good size kitchen and a lounge with a solid fuel burner.  While Float by Boat is out of season, I’d love to temporarily rent one of the cabins and share the boat with a like-minded boat-mate.  There’s space for one or possibly two long-term guests to stay from the 2nd week of October until the end of February.

Location wise, the patch that I will cover in winter is around Warwickshire and the West Midlands; from Shirley to Stratford-upon-Avon on the Stratford canal and from Hatton to Knowle on the Grand Union.  At the moment, I’m hoping to continuously cruise through winter, which means moving every 14 days.  Most of the villages on route have good train or bus connections with Birmingham.  With a bike aboard, it’s generally easy to get around.

P1100944When I tell people that I live-aboard all year round, one of the first questions is always “Does it get cold in winter?”  Sounds simple, but this isn’t an easy question to answer.  When I have the log fire going or the central heating on, it can get toasty warm indeed.  There’s nothing cosier than my lounge when I’ve got the fire blazing.  It’s insulated and does retain heat, but there are also necessary drafts for ventilation.  If I’m away from a few days, the boat can be ice cold on return and takes a good few shivery hours to heat back up.  Even with slow burning coal, it’s hard to keep the boat really warm through the night, so mornings do tend to be chilly.  Iced up windows are not unknown.  When you’re in closer touch with the amount of electricity from the solar panels, bags of coal consumed, waste wood donated and levels of diesel in the tank, usage is much more obvious and I tend to be a bit more discerning than I ever was living on land.  It’s not uncommon for me to sleep in thermals, with joggers on top, a thick duvet, several blankets and a bobble hat.  Last winter, I tended to have a standard 3 layers minimum, woollies at all times and never be without my trusty boots.  So, in writing this, I suppose the answer is “Yes, it does get cold in winter… but, if you’re prepared and like an adventure, it’s nothing you can’t get along with”.

Life afloat is definitely different from land living, there’s always little missions – kindling to chop, boat to move, water tank to fill, toilet tank to empty, gas to replace, and so on – and for me they’re the jobs that make it a wonderful adventure.  The times when I find myself chopping wood on a frosty towpath, alone except for the birds and a wintery sun, are often ‘Wow!’ moments of real beauty and delight.  I love the simplicity of it all and how close I am to nature, spotting small details that I would have raced past in my previous faster paced life.

Moving onto a boat was motivated by a very conscious decision to slow down and simplify.  I don’t have a TV, though I do have a laptop that I use for work, films and a few downloaded programs.  Electricity mainly comes from 2 100W solar panels on the roof, which limits electricity consumption, so there isn’t a microwave, washing machine or anything like that.  I take my washing to do elsewhere and also collect post from my folks’ place.  Hot water is generated by the central heating system and the engine, and the showers are great.  It doesn’t always happen but I aim to meditate twice a day, morning and night, and would love to find a boat mate who’s interested in meditation too.  The kitchen is strictly meat-free and I adore cooking vegetarian food.

January 2013Renting a cabin on Spirited Away for the winter might look like a great way to find cheap accommodation.  However, if the price is your sole motivator, I’d advise you to think again.  I’m really looking for someone who appreciates community, simplicity and peaceful living, not to mention the adventure of living on a boat through the winter.

It’s best to stop here, although there’s so much more I could say.  If you’re interested in being a boat-mate or have any questions at all, please do give me a call on 07806 818973 or an email to hello@floatbyboat.co.uk.  To have a look at Spirited Away, have a look at the galleries on this site or visit www.facebook.com/floatbyboat.