The first post on a site is a strange thing, you’ve not really found a voice, and your audience don’t know what to expect. Helpfully, I’ve got a vague idea of where I might be heading, having considered doing this for quite a while. I’m planning to say a bit about living on a boat, about this specific interesting and historic boat, and maybe occasionally about waterways in general. I’ve not blogged before so there might or might not be regular posts, we will have to see…
I’m Steve Wood and I’ve been a continuous cruiser on the converted historic narrow boat Bream since December 1999.
Bream was built over the winter of 1932-33 as a working craft, initially carrying steel tubes from factories in the Black Country to ships at Ellesmere Port, with a back load of flour. As I write, this that makes her pretty much exactly 90 years old (we don’t know her exact birthday) so it’s perhaps no surprise that she’s on the Register of National Historic Ships.
After many years as a working boat, followed by a period where she was abandoned (more of which another time) she was restored and converted for leisure use. A steel cabin was put over the former cargo hold and all sorts of modern appliances installed that would never have been dreamed of in the 1930s.
The restored boat had her first private owner in the late 1980s, then changed hands a couple of times before I first saw her in Glasson Dock, near to Lancaster in August 1999. I spent my first night on board on the Bridgewater Canal at Monton, in Greater Manchester, on the night of 21st December 1999.
Since that date, I’ve travelled around the country on the canal (and occasionally river) network. I don’t have a permanent base and might be found anywhere from South London to North Wales or West Yorkshire. I’m fortunate in being able to work from the boat most of the time using (unlimited) mobile data to connect to the world outside, indeed the flexibility I have as a boat owner (and non-mortgage holder!) meant that I was able to give up full-time employment in 2008, since when I’ve been self employed, still doing a lot of IT-related stuff but also a fair bit of volunteering.
“Off we are” has been a well-used phrase in our family since the early 70s, originating on one of our regular boating holidays with Swiss friends. The photo on this page was taken on 23rd December 1999, the first time that my family were on board Bream, near to Warrington.