Imagine spending your Christmas holiday on a canal boat, floating every so slowly on waterways across the U.K. Fairy lights strung across deck. Swans paddling by. It sounds perfect to me!
Wanting to place one of my novel’s characters on a canal boat led to research about these tranquil vessels that have stood the test of time. Buoyant narrowboats originally served as a transport chain, delivering cargo from coastal ports to retailers across the U.K. Many were drawn along the shallow channels by horses strolling the towpath. Then came steam and diesel engines, putting the mellow beasts out to pasture. You can glimpse a lovely horse named Bilbo Baggins still carrying on the canal boat towpath tradition in the video below:
An extensive railway network eventually led canal boats to a new use: residential digs and holiday lettings. When housing prices peaked, people willingly settled into a spartan lifestyle on the seven-foot wide boats, permanently docked in urban-based canals. Leisure cruising can also be had on these colorful boats, bobbing along the waterways through a series of self-run locks, swing bridges, and low tunnels. Leisure narrowboats offer all the modern amenities while tugging nostalgically on our heartstrings, beckoning us to a slower-paced holiday. While I continue on my own journey to a minimalist lifestyle, I wonder if I could find serenity on a tiny, brightly-painted narrowboat. I’m more than willing to give it a try on my next visit abroad!
This blog is where I post my inspirations for each book in the Barrington Bay series as well as behind-the-scenes tips, pics, and other tidbits. Feel free to click 'Read More' for in-depth posts.