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The wonderful Nottingham ‘community of boaters and dogs’

todayFebruary 6, 2022

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Have you ever wondered what living on a boat is like?

We went to Nottingham Castle Marina to speak with two neighbours about what living on a boat is like and the answer is: it’s a home – just on water.

With a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and a small space for lounging, too, living on a boat may not be as bad as it seems to some.

Home to dozens of boaters, Castle Marina has a Marina Office where boaters collect their post, shower cubicles, a launderette, a room to rent for social gatherings, washing lines and an outdoor space for barbecues in the summer.

Volunteer Barbara Hillier lives on a boat with her partner and dog, Maisie. Her boat is called Narrowboat Victor.

Ms Hillier spoke about life onboard her boat, and said: “It’s lovely, if you like that floaty feeling.

“We’ve lived here for about four years now.

“Initially, we were doing it up [the boat] and were at King’s Bromley. Lots of people here have dogs. It’s a community of boaters and dogs. It’s a small space and it’s a bonkers shape, like a pencil case.

“A lot of people ask ‘what’s it like in the winter?’ But we do have radiators.

“People are always quite interested that you live on a boat, they actually forget that it’s your home.

“A big misconception of living on a boat is that we’re all free spirits and Hippies but there’s a barrister living among us, PhD students and a football steward, there’s a right old mix of us.

“To maintain your boat, there are many things to do such as ‘blacking’ it by using Bitumen which is at the bottom of your boat, it’s just like maintaining a roof on a house.”



L-R: Barbara Hillier and Molly-May Gardiner have spoken about the community spirit between boaters.
L-R: Barbara Hillier and Molly-May Gardiner have spoken about the community spirit between boaters.

On board are toilets like a cassette need emptying around every two days.

One skill Ms Hillier mentioned that takes a while is steering the boat.

She said: “Steering the boat, you have to get used to that and some boats are insulated better than others.

“When you start living on a boat, you know nothing but, when you get stuck, you just get another boater to help you.”

Neighbour Molly-May Gardiner has a boat called Genevieve.

During lockdown, 30-year-old Ms Gardiner came to Nottingham from London and traded life in the capital for life on her boat.

Her parents live on a different boat at the marina, and Ms Gardiner spoke of the community spirit there is amongst the boaters.

She said: “You’re so close to your neighbours, so you have to chat a lot with people.

“When people are sitting out, you cross their paths and get chatting, it’s the most community I’ve ever had.

“Especially coming from London, I’m not used to that. Everyone’s out to help one another and I love it.”

When the boat rocks, some may think it’s an inconvenience but not for Ms Gardiner.

She said: “You get sea legs and you get used to the floating, there’s only been one windy night that I can remember but it was more the noise that kept me up.

“Living here is unique but I have everything on here.

“I do my work here and it’s not as bad as some people may think. Plus it’s a cheap way of living.”

Written by: thehitnetwork

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todayFebruary 6, 2022

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