Saturday, July 12, 2014

Outside the box

In this case, the box would be the 4 walls that we live in.

I been watching the cricket. It's being played at Trent Bridge, which is right up next door to the River Trent in Nottingham. Amongst various things seen floating down the river have been narrowboats ....

The narrowboat is from when our commerce used to be floated down the canal networks. They're from before vans and lorries. The most efficient way to move things was to put it on a boat. Now, it's another form of abode.

So what are they ? Here's a link to the wiki page so you can learn more. But without going there, they are no more than 7 feet (2.13m) wide and up to 72 feet (22m) long. They have to be that thin in order to fit through the locks that let the narrowboats follow water courses that vary in height.

Seeing them on the Trent outside the cricket brought back a few memories from when we had a canal boat holiday. We took a narrowboat from Rugby to Banbury over a couple of weeks in the summer. It was a very relaxing couple of weeks. Highly enjoyable. We were, of course, typically sampling a different pub every night. But there was also that freedom of seeing different things every day and living at a different pace.

Bringing that to now and there's thoughts of : What would it be like to be living on one of these narrowboats ?

They typically have all the domestic mod cons in there like cookers, fridges, freezers, washers, shower/bath, although they tend to be tuned to those you'd find in caravans. Like cassette toilets and everything running off 12V.

How much different is that to living in a house with 4 walls ? I suspect if I lived on one of these narrowboats with space at a premium, I'd be a lot tidier than I am at the moment.

But what would I look for to actually LIVE on one of these boats ?

I tend to use a lot of technology, which means power. But that's not really a stopping point. A lot of the narrowboats come with inverters, which means you can drive things that run off the mains with them. Like laptop power connectors ...

So - power. An inverter to run things but a power budget to run to. I have thoughts of lining the top with solar panels too for making extra power (without running a noisy generator) and a battery to ride over the night. Cooking would typically be done off gas.

Electronics - TV = NEED. But ... The internet is making this so much easier now. We can watch stuff off things like Iplayer and the other services out there. And I could upgrade my phone contract to allow my phone to let everything else hook up to the internet (I have unlimited data but it's the cheaper version).

Anyway - I'm pretty confident I could still watch my cricket in a narrowboat. The TV could come through a laptop or I'd actually probably build a specialist media centre PC for it using low consumption bits and pieces. My current desktop will guzzle a bit too much power for that, I have a Youtube video going on in the background and it's barely using any CPU power (10%).

Music ? Usually quite easy, hide the big subwoofer somewhere and dot the little speakers around. This would be my route to cinema surround sound too. Except instead of a big telly, it would be a projector in the roof combined with a drop down screen. That would work. And when you don't have enough power stored to run a movie, then out comes a book.

Post ? To be honest, 99% of the post I get is utter garbage now. Most of the important stuff comes through online.

Sounds good huh ?

Things that would need a bit of thought though are :

Groceries - although if you pick a mooring point that a Tescovan can get to ...
Going out - you can move around on water but not on land. Could be an idea to base around somewhere like Bristol where you could take advantage of the bus network or even hire cars when you had that need.

I think I could get used to living in a narrowboat. But not yet. It's just an idea for now. Perhaps when I retire ?

And that's another seed for this idea - one of our previous team leaders, when he retired he went to live on a narrowboat. He's probably still cruising the canals.

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