Our first solo voyage

At last, after two weeks of sorting out various engine issues (no hot water for two weeks and lots of learning about what not to do) we have finally left the marina. We didn’t hate it there, but we were going stir crazy. We’d done all we could and more to get work done on the boat. Laura was getting worryingly bored, and after she spent an afternoon hacking at a wall with an axe, I had a hunch we should be getting going.

The final boxes have been unpacked, and we’ve started settling into our new home. We’ve got a few more jobs to do, but things are nice and cosy inside now.




We are currently moored outside Braunston after completing our first flight of 7 uphill double locks.

It took us some time to figure out which one of us would operate the locks. We’ve observed that women generally do the hard work, while the men drive, so it was yet another conundrum of life in a same sex marriage – akin to the tricky ‘who takes the bins out?’ question. But once we’d made our minds up that Laura would be skipper (aka the lazy one) we were on our way.

Graunching our way through the bottom lock and maybe letting the water in a little quick (sorry bow) we found that opening both lock gates and taking a bit more time actually worked quite well.


It was all going quite swimmingly (not literally) until lock number three. I was closing the gates behind our boat, which Laura had just perfectly cruised into the lock, when I spied Poppy dog precariously perched on the bow. She had climbed up onto the gas locker, trying to have a ‘Titanic’ moment as water cascaded into the lock right behind her. Slipping and sliding she had managed to lock herself out and instead of waiting on the bow deck was going mountaineering.

I hadn’t read about this in any of the narrowboat guides but assumed accidentally drowning your dog after just a few hundred meters of cruising probably isn’t what people hope and dream for when adopting this lifestyle. Laura had to abandon the helm and thankfully our furry friend was carried to safety. Yes – carried. She’s a big dog but also a very frightened and stubborn one.

Lesson learnt, dog buoyancy aid applied and on we went. However, after the dog’s escapades she then took it upon herself to cry and howl for the remaining 4 locks. When the thought of the office is more tranquil than the sound coming from your boat it does give you a moment of ‘what have I done’.

But we did it; in the pouring rain and without much of a clue about what we were doing outside of what we had read and seen on YouTube. We can now enjoy a mini speed shower with our newly functional hot water, thanks engine.

We’re exhausted and a bit stressed out, but we all got here. Maiden unaided voyage complete!


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