It was a while before I could laugh. Shortly afterwards, my dad phoned with news of a beautiful boat, Pamela Jeanne, in the river in Dumbarton, at almost half our budget. I waited as the painfully slow dial-up connection revealed the pictures line by blurry line: She had two masts.
My desire to own her was immediate and overwhelming. Before long, PJ was on a lorry headed for Brighton cost: A couple of years later, I had retrained as a journalist, got a job in London and realised we could move, home and all, to the Thames. I had regrets about leaving the ocean, but what I loved most — PJ — was coming, and we could always return.
Narrowboat wedged on canal lock
Besides, what an epic journey to plan. Something extraordinary happens when you arrive in London by boat. The city is changed for ever. The river opens it up. After following its bends and curves from the sea, you realise that it is why London exists — first perched on Ludgate Hill to trade with the world. The Thames loops wide around Canary Wharf, black as tar against the night-lit financial skyline. We arrived, those 10 years ago, without permission to stay.
We had waited more than a year for a leisure mooring — a long-term licence to berth a boat, but without rights to live aboard. There were two of us when we came to London. It is hard to capture without cliche. Likewise the pod of porpoise that turned up a couple of years ago. My kayak floats alongside, for a paddle before work.
Is there a 'Singles' forum, site, page etc for Narrowboaters ? - General Boating - Canal World
Barbecues are ubiquitous on starry summer nights. This all sounds unbearably smug but there are niggles. What would I do if I met someone who hated the water? There are more serious issues, too. Fifty years ago people did this as the norm, now they go to Tescos, but quite a few liveaboarders forage. Clearly, living on Britain's inland waterways is not going to solve the worlds environmental woes.
But, surprisingly, the humble narrowboat might just hold the key to greening the world's shipping industry, which is rivalling airlines in terms of its carbon footprint. In early a study by the UN's International Maritime Organisation IMO found that carbon pollution from the world's merchant fleet was almost three times greater than previously thought.
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The organisation found that annual emissions had reached 1. This is predicted to rise by 30 per cent in Rex Harris, a scientist from the University of Birmingham, thinks he's found a way to prevent this: Launched in September , the boat runs on hydrogen, which is converted to electricity in a fuel cell. This powers the boat's motor and charges a backup battery.
The only direct emission is water. The narrowboat breaks new ground in the way the hydrogen is stored. There is no high-pressure gas or liquid aboard both have long been a nagging safety doubt with hydrogen-powered cars. Instead, the boat holds its hydrogen as a metal powder known as "metal hydride", which is a lot safer. With colleagues across the UK and from Switzerland, Harris is looking to build a hydrogen canal boat from scratch — which he believes would make it 4 to 5 times more efficient.
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On a more personal level, living on a narrowboat brings an awareness of nature that most householders have lost. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Thursday 17 January Rise of the eco river gipsy Living on Britain's inland waterways is becoming increasingly popular for the freedom and sustainable lifestyle it offers — but the humble narrowboat could also pave the way for greener shipping.
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