Last week I wrote about how divorce, separation, ill health,or some other unexpected change of circumstances may force you to sell your boat. It’s not always an easy decision to make, and even less so if the boat is your home. (How to Sell Your Boat Without Feeling so Sad About it.) The following three tips will apply to those who have lived aboard, and are now planning to begin a new life ashore.

1) Appreciate the Space

When we sold a 70ft narrowboat which was our family home, we relocated to a cottage in Devon, to be closer to our family. For the first few days in the new house I walked from room to room, appreciating the space. My daughters ran from room to room – up and down the stairs, in and out of the back door, shrieking and giggling. I opened all the cupboard doors in the kitchen, amazed at the amount of storage space. For the first time in my life I ordered groceries online to be delivered to our address. When the van driver arrived with a week’s worth of shopping it felt like Christmas had come!

2) Enjoy the Amenities

After moving into a house we had unlimited electric, gas and water supplies. For a few days I was unsettled, suspecting there was something I’d forgotten to do. Then I realised: I’d not run the engine! (This was a daily essential on the boat, to recharge the domestic batteries.) We also began to enjoy powerful showers, and hot bubble baths.

3) Get the Mod Cons

Since I’ve been living on land I’ve discovered 240volt microwave cooking and I really appreciate how easy and convenient it is! As a boater I was always proud of how little we needed to be comfortable, we don’t need as much as we think we do in society today. But now I can admit that mod cons do make life easier - especially when you’re a mum! I now look back on my time aboard and appreciate that we live in luxury today!

I sometimes miss the evenings soaked in red wine with Jenny from the Lock; relaxing on her candle-lit boat while her cats commandeered half the sofa and eyed me suspiciously. I miss the swans and ducks visiting the kitchen window and a chat with the fuel boat steerer as he delivers gas and diesel.

But where I live now the main street is lined with old cottages and glimpses of woodland and fields are visible in the gaps between the houses. We’re on the very edge of town, the sun shines onto an uneven cobbled pavement and the church bells are chiming the hour.

At first it seemed almost strange that the house didn’t move. I think I had a subconscious fear that if I didn’t like my new location I couldn’t un-tie my ropes and move up the Cut. The view from the window was always the same. I wondered, what if I had made the wrong decision and needed to change scene or move?

At first I reassured myself that the decision was not a final choice. It was an experiment. Experiments might take months, or a year. So if you’re about to sell your boat remember, if this life-changing decision doesn’t work out, there may be some other good changes ahead of you.

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