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‘I bet it’s cold in Winter?’

[6.30pm.] The snow’s just begun falling in London; amazing how accurate the forecast has been; all day they’d mentioned it would arrive in London by 6 o’clock. At just after six I was listening to Five Live saying that there were atrocious conditions at a football match in Milton Keynes, perhaps 25 miles away. I walked through to share that news with C. looked up to see that the snow had arrived for us too; it’s steady, fine stuff… still, who knows where it’ll lead…

It got me thinking though, about the perennial questions you tend to get asked as a boater.

The scenes always the same, at a lock or evening mooring: ‘Nice boat!’ […] ‘Where you heading?’ […] ‘Where’ve you come from?’ and always ‘Is it cold in Winter?’

If only they knew the reality… narrowboats, most narrowboats anyway, are toasting hot in winter. Take 18686 for example; she’s 62′ long, if you take off the length of the fore-end and aft deck, her interior dimensions are something like 50′ x 6′ x 6′ [and even that’s tapering] ie. an air space of less than 1800 cu. ft. It’s a space that’s highly insulated on all side and heated by two efficient solid fuel stoves and an engine that’s a toasty-warm additional heat source when we’re under way. In comparison our kitchen at home has almost the same cu ft. capacity yet remains snug and warm on the chilliest of days from the heat of just one medium radiator running perhaps six hours per day.

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