Friday, January 11, 2019

Living on Water.

Water is necessary for life, and for living, even for landlubbers like me. But I am not the sort that is inclined to live upon it.  My good mate James Higham (of Nourishing Obscurity fame) has that desire, as did my good and very long-time mate Denis, with whom I went through Grammar School before he went to sea (Merchant Navy) and I to the Air. But I do delight in waking to the sun shining on 50 square kilometres of water outside of and below my cave. The only constancy in it is the change it undergoes by the day, hour and minute. Stunning. I only occasionally go out on it.

Denis spent much of his early to mid adult life travelling the seas. A man going his own way (MGTOW). We met up occasionally in foreign ports as I too travelled the world. He now lives in the same hemisphere as I but across the Tasman sea in Kiwiland. There, quite some years ago, when doing some 'local' moonlighting in NZ waters, he rescued many from a sinking Russian passenger liner. Good man, Denis. Adventurous.

Few people take the leap to go to sea with their family, though. That is a huge adventure, and today I heard of such a family. I hope they sail into my gorgeous harbour some day and drop into the Tavern. The Gifford family left their home in Washington in 2008 to sail around the world. They have not stopped for long since. They did stop for a while in the summer of 2016 in Noank, Connecticut to tell their story and to show how they all live on a 47-foot sailboat.

They have it all together, take the risks, do the work and are raising independant, frugal youngsters. Good luck to them.

What they did not do though was build their boat. That is what James is doing, and has been doing for a while now. He will get there, no doubt.

It is not going to be a similar sort of boat though. Seagoing? Yes. And canal-going too. He has considered so much about hull and sail design, that N.O. readers have been following along for a while. Building a boat is art, craft, engineering, mathematical and hard graft. But great Beauty is made that way. For a brief idea of what and how, we can see here:

James wants not only to sail across the world, but live aboard and see the canal system of England. In the same craft. Most canal-boats though are of a common design and now't like what he is building. And in reality, he is almost as much of a landlubber as most of us. (Almost).

Still, here is a chap I was told of too, with some useful perspectives. David Johns, a former TV journalist from the UK who quit his job, sold his house, and bought a narrowboat to cruise the canal network. His plan was to try being a live aboard for a year. 

He’s been living aboard for 9 months so far and he’s still happy with his decision and loves being part of the friendly, helpful narrowboat community. 

Watch this video to take a tour of David's narrowboat, learn how he earns an income as a freelance journalist, where he “parks” his boat, and about the joys & challenges of life afloat. David has been documenting his journey living on a boat with a regular vlog on his YouTube channel: Cruising the Cut 

With his experience as a TV journalist, the videos are extremely well filmed and edited, and they're a real pleasure to watch. We were excited when he sent us his interview footage because we learned so much about this alternative lifestyle that he’s trying out. It is like living in a tiny house (like my cave) on the water and of being able to explore from the comfort of your own home.

The extremely RICH folk do things a little 'bigger' I have never been envious of the rich, as some might be. They often 'commission' artifacts of great beauty which, frankly, I would not trust to a socialist Committee. Much if not most of our material, historical heritage was commissioned by the very rich, for their own pleasure. Often, for the pleasure and uplift of the many, such as Cathedrals. Most, eventually, get passed to or taken over by the many, anyway. 

Here is a sailing Palace.

Not much change out of a large fortune for that one ! Maybe one day it will take kids or old folk, say, to sea, for jollies. 

I am pretty sure the designers and naval architects, the builders and craftsmen had a great time contributing, and would shout a pint or two were they to drop into the Tavern.

Cheers to them, and Denis, James, David and the Gifford Family.

Safe seas be before you all. 

Dominus Vobiscum.


  1. Mine has a shallow draft of 10 inches too, so it can be beached. :)

    1. May there be many fine beaches waiting for you. :)

  2. Outstanding quest there. What occurred after? Thanks!

    1. All retired to the bar for a well deserved pint.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..