Gongoozling from afar
It was a hotter and drier summer than usual in the Sonoran desert. Life’s priorities didn’t allow us our usual retreat into the mountains or out to the lakes as we usually do. I did, however, discover some wonderful vlogs detailing life aboard a narrow-boat cruising the many miles of canals in the UK. Produced by some middle-aged gents fed up with the rat-race of corporate life, I can personally relate to their stories.
Constructed mostly during the 1700’s and 1800’s, canals and rivers were the Interstate Highways of Briton and fueled their industrial revolution. Some are large enough to accommodate smaller ocean going freighters but many in the mid-lands are only ~7′ wide. Built without the aid of modern machinery they’re no wider or deeper than absolutely needed. What our predecessors made using manual labour is indeed incredible by any standard.
Over the years some of the canal infrastructure was abandoned, built over or filled in as it gave way to faster modes of transportation such as rail and roads. Yet much of it was left intact and there’s been a great push to restore it for historical and recreational purposes. It’s inspiring to see so much interest and effort in maintaining the old network.
There’s many types of boats navigating the inland waterways. Wide beams, Dutch barges, cruisers and narrow-boats just to name a few. I like them all but it’s the narrow-boats that can access the entire system. From a distance it might just look like a houseboat, and while they do serve the same general purpose there’s a several important distinctions. For the details of that I’ll leave it to the experts, so on to the vlogs!
Cruising The Cut by David Johns, a very well produced ongoing vlog by a former TV news reporter that opt’d for a slower pace. He goes into great detail about living aboard a narrow-boat full-time. If you’ve never been to the UK, it’s a nice glimpse into the towns and villages that you might not see on regular TV. We could also file this under most interesting alternative lifestyles. Here’s one of my favorite episodes:
Travels by Narrowboat by Kevin aka Country House Gent has videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Earlier in the summer of 2019 I discovered his video series on Amazon, and he’s the one responsible for getting me hooked on this sort of thing. I especially like the adventures onto the rivers, like this one:
Foxes Afloat A very entertaining duo that sold their home and built a custom canal narrowboat to specs that I’d probably choose myself.