Nottingham's wonderful 'boater and dog community' - petsitterbank

Nottingham’s wonderful ‘boater and dog community’

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

We went to Nottingham Castle Marina to talk with two neighbors about what life on a boat is like and the answer is: it’s a house – right on the water.

With a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and a small lounging area, living on a boat might not be as bad as it sounds.

Home to dozens of boaters, Castle Marina has a Marina Office where boaters collect their mail, shower stalls, laundry facilities, a room to hire for social gatherings, clotheslines and a outdoor area for barbecues in summer.

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

Ms Hillier spoke of life aboard her boat and said: ‘It’s lovely, if you like that floating feeling.

“We’ve been living here for about four years now.

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

“A lot of people ask ‘what does it look like in winter?’ But we have heaters.

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

“A big misconception about life on a boat is that we’re all free spirits and hippies, but there’s a lawyer living among us, PhD students and a football steward, we’re a good old mix.

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

LR: Barbara Hillier and Molly-May Gardiner talked about the community spirit among boaters.

On board are toilets like a cassette that must be emptied approximately every two days.

One skill mentioned by Ms. Hillier that takes time is steering the boat.

She said: “To steer the boat you have to get used to it and some boats are better insulated than others.

“When you start living on a boat you don’t know anything but when you get stuck you just get help from another boater.”

Neighbor Molly-May Gardiner has a boat called Genevieve.

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

Her parents live on another boat at the marina and Ms Gardiner spoke of the community spirit among boaters.

She said: “You are so close to your neighbors so you have to chat with people a lot.

“When people are sitting outside and you cross their path and chat, it’s the biggest community I’ve ever had.

“Especially coming from London, I’m not used to it. Everyone helps each other and I love that.”

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

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

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

“I do my job here and it’s not as bad as some people might think. Plus it’s a cheap way of life.”


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