Boating costs: the good, the bad and the yet to be discovered

“Living on a boat must be cheaper than living in a flat.”  I hear this a lot.  (I did think it before I started doing research into boat living.)  And the truth is I’m still in the process of working this out.  However, this week, I have had two bills land on my floating doorstep which tell contrary stories about the cost of life on the canals.

I got my first quarterly electricity bill, and I had been a little worried how large this was going to be.  Have a guess. Go on.  I’ll give you a clue; it was not in triple digits.  OK, I’ll give you another clue, it wasn’t even in double digits.

£7.40 for nearly three months electricity.  Granted, a lot of this time I didn’t have a battery charger, I didn’t have running water and so wasn’t using the water pump, and had a few weeks away on holiday.  Even so, I would go so far as to say I’m thrilled with a utility bill for the first time ever.

But before you get too jealous of my cheap living, let me tell you about the other bill.  My calorifier had a small drip on it (I have been warned off calling it a leak, as this apparently makes it sound like I will wake up one morning soon to find water knee-deep around the bed) and so I got the brilliant Jim of Jim’s Mobile Marine Services to come to look at it.  What initially looked like a simple case of a weeping immersion blanking plug (his description; mine was more along the lines of ‘that round brass-looking screw at the bottom’) has turned out to mean a whole new calorifier.  £700 just for parts.  Sigh.  (And it now means, that once again, I am without running water till it gets fixed.  Normal service has been resumed.)

So some good, some bad.  And the undiscovered:  as I was writing this post, I noticed smoke escaping from my stove at the side.  Which I’m pretty sure is not meant to happen.  Closer inspection reveals a hole in the chimney – I don’t know if that has always been there (or if it’s part of the design even) but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to pour out smoke (slight exaggeration) into the cabin.  The learning curve continues.

This blog post was brought to you by ‘Sunny afternoon‘ by The Kinks.


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