As part of our ongoing tour of the UK and Europe we were in the southern parts of Spain in February 2020 and getting ready for a long haul journey north through Spain, France, Germany and into Sweden. Making our way up to just north of Stockholm to spend some much needed “family time” with our son, daughter-in-law and their two sons.
We’re not great news watchers so when we started our journey in the first week on March 2020 we had very little idea of the impending pandemic spreading across Europe and the World. What I can say is that the last eighteen months have taken their toll on our mental health.
Having spent the majority of March, the whole of April, May, June and July 2020 in Sweden we were quite sad to return to England on 27th July to find that our usual mode of living would be seriously by the “lockdown” as it’s called. Some campsites would not allow us on as we’d just returned from France, even though we’d be isolating in our motorhome. This made our lives pretty miserable.
We had always planned at some point to buy a narrowboat and live aboard traveling around the canals at a leisurely pace. Small space living is easy for us and we’re very used to it now so we went ahead with out search eventually settling on Beatrix, a 55ft boat built in 1999 by Pat Buckle, a well known and respected boat builder of the era.
Living on a narrowboat has some unique challenges that are a little different to those challenges we’ve found while living in a motorhome traveling around the UK and Europe. The boat is made of steel so retains heat and cold really well. This is not great and as the boat is over 20 years old the insulation is probably in need of replacement, add to that the fact that it sits in the water by just over two feet or about 75cm.
The water is cold too so it’s a challenge to keep the boat warm in the winter and cool in the summer especially if there are extremes of hot and cold weather.There is a log burner or multi-fuel stove roughly in the centre of the boat which is super efficient and serves to heat the whole boat. We’ve added a diesel heating system to that which has a timer for those very cold winter morning when there is ice on the inside of the windows and it’s a struggle to brave the cold to light the fire.
Throughout our traveling times we’ve tried to maintain a sort of Travel Vlog or video diary of our times, where we are visiting and what we’re doing on our journey. We started this on June 1st 2016 with our first video posted to our youtube channel “The Happy Travellers“. We’ve posted over 1000 videos since then and have been all around England and to France, Germany, Spain, Denmark Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden documenting most of that journey. We’ve also included some of the narrowboat travels too. It seems that our audience are more interested in the Motorhome travels than the new boat life stories and honestly I can see why when I look back at the boat videos.
During the lockdown period we made fewer videos than we would have wanted to purely due to the lack of difference in our everyday life. After all, who wants to watch a couple of oldies tucked away in a rather dreary narrowboat?
Now that the World is gradually returning to some form of sensible normality as regards our ability to travel we’ve started once again to get out in our, now downsized, motorhome. From April 2022 we’ve started to get away from the boat we call “Home” and venture out to what we think are some interesting places.
Revisiting some old places we’ve been to before like Hawes Campsite in North Yorkshire and finding some new places like Boroughbridge campsite that’s been closed due to flooding for a while. See the video here of those two sites.
We’re making more videos of our recaptured love for motorhome travelling and will be posting these as often as possible on our YouTube channel The Happy Travellers