From Windmill End to Mile End

We always intended to move onto our narrowboat, but didn’t want to wait until we retired like many others, so the glass jewellery making offered a chance to make a small living and a challenge at the same time. The timescale was flexible and there were always important things to do first.

barge july 2012   

British Waterways delivered a sharp kick up the backside! As our boat was licensed for trading, we received an enquiry in early 2012 – would we be interested in joining a 6 week floating market near an Olympic live site in London? We knew we had to go; this was everything we planned for rolled into one big package. The plans were at a very early stage and our contact at BW, Sarah, had to sort out all the complications, planning applications, health & safety, water shortages, facilities boats, new water points and heaven knows what else while answering emails from us asking what’s happening. Finally, the details became clear; 4 weeks at Mile End Park (20.7.12 to 16.7.12) and 2 weeks at Little Venice (20.8.12 to 2.9.12).

Now we had to get ourselves, the boat and the glass ready. We are both self-employed so we had to arrange our day jobs so that we can leave for 10 weeks. The boat had to be adapted for full time glass making, a new kiln bought and installed, the power supply secured and a workshop created in a boat that’s called narrow for good reason. The boat had to be made suitable for continuous living aboard not just holidays, and moved from Birmingham to London. Of course, we would have to build up stock of glass jewellery to cover any possible demand. Last of all, our cat, Charlie, would have to learn how to be a boat cat!

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