What’s All This?

In July 2021, Clare and Shane embarked on an extended adventure on the narrowboat Bartimaeus.  You can follow our travels on these pages, and get notified of updates on Mastodon: @follow@bartimaeus.blether.org.uk

Bartimaeus without Pram Cover
Bartimaeus with Pram Cover and Cratch Cover Stowed

We have been on many narrowboat holidays for a week or two at a time, usually with a group of friends.  Shane had long fancied the idea of living on a boat for an extended period.  Clare took a while to come round to the idea, mainly concerned about missing life in Edinburgh.

We both retired in 2021.  At that time, a plan to do an extended tandem tour of Europe was looking close to impossible.  Shane had been looking at specifications for suitable boats for some years.  A second-hand boat from one of the boat-builders he’d liked became available.  After lengthy conversations about it we contacted them, only to be told they had sold it the previous day.

However, they said a very similar one might also come up for sale, and would we like to be notified if it did.  So when we were offered first refusal on Bartimaeus we hurried to view it.  The main item to check was that we could fit the tandem inside – we weren’t going without that.  Somewhat to the surprise of both of us, we couldn’t think of a good reason not to go for it – so we did!

We don’t have a home base for the boat.  The Canal and River Trust call this “continuous cruising”.  We are required not to stay in one place for more than two weeks, but are otherwise free to moor up on the side of the canal pretty well wherever we fancy,  The way the boat works, we usually move on at least every few days to make sure the batteries don’t go flat.

The boat is fitted with modern luxuries including central heating.  We have a kitchen with induction hob, oven, microwave, kettle, toaster and washing machine.  The living space has electric light and a TV, and a sofa that can convert in to a spare bed.  (When we have visitors, we usually give them our bed and we use the spare.)

We had to go back to Edinburgh in the spring of 2022 for Shane to get medical treatment, only getting back on board in late May 2022. We then had to visit Edinburgh every four weeks until June 2023 when uninterrupted cruising resumed.

We now have the luxury of returning to our flat in Edinburgh when it suits us. This is more common in the darker months, but we haven’t been doing this long enough to consider that to be a pattern. We have to make special arrangements for Bartimaeus if we stay away for any length of time, so we still consider ourselves to be continuous cruisers. For now we have no end date for the adventure.  We’ll keep doing it while we are still enjoying it.