help exchange   Host 87492
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Help Exchange

English canals
All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: Up to 4
Category: Boat
Host ID: 87492
Country: England

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Last Updated: November 6, 2019

UPDATE mid-October 2019: I have a friend coming from mid-November, but would appreciate some additional help from now until then, and from December onwards into 2020. Please ask if you are interested!

Free narrowboating experience on the canals and waterways of England, in exchange for your help with navigating and steering my narrowboat, working the locks and lift bridges, and a little boat maintenance and decoration!

My home is "Hetty" - a 12 year old, traditional steel-hulled canal narrowboat - 70 feet long (21.3m) and just 6ft 6ins (2m) wide. She is fully fitted with modern equipment, yet furnished in a traditional narrowboat style with:
- Traditional boatman's cabin that sleeps 2.
- Double master bedroom.
- Dinette in the saloon that converts into a third double bedroom.
- Bathroom with large shower, toilet and hot water.
- 2 multi-fuel stoves + central heating for cold weather.
- Full kitchen with fridge and gas cooker.
- Dinette dining / seating for 6 in comfort.
- Office with WiFi and printer.
- 12 volt electrics with 240 volt inverter.
- Diesel engine with traditional controls.

I am Colin - a native Brit in my early 60's. Late last year I returned to England after 25 years living and working in Romania, where I ran a small tour/travel operation for 21 years. Before that I used to work with disabled children - in the UK and Romania. I am also a photographer, environmentalist, wildlife specialist and am writing a book about my life in Romania.

Hetty is my new home and I will be cruising her around England from her base at Napton near Rugby. Single-handed cruising is difficult (although possible), so I am looking for HelpX-ers to help me navigate and drive the boat and work the locks and lift bridges. I also need some help with preparation of surfaces in the boatman's cabin pending traditional decoration. After that we will be out cruising and exploring, with just the usual boat maintenance, cleaning, and some painting to do.

You will get a free holiday and tour of the English canals and waterways, in exchange for helping navigate and work the locks and bridges. It's quite active, but not all hard work - half the time you will be steering (driving) the boat while I work the locks and bridges! We will also be visiting local places on route and there will be time to watch nature, relax, chat, read, work on your English if you are not a native speaker (I also teach Romanian!), and play some board games.

The ONLY costs to you will be transport to and from the start/finish points of your visit (if we start at the marina I can collect you by car), and sharing the cost of some food. This is because I am offering more of a free canal boating experience than merely a work placement. Sometimes we will buy food from local farms and shops and cook on board, at other times we may eat out at canal-side pubs.

From November 2019 my Thai girlfriend will be living with me aboard Hetty. We are non-smokers, but if you smoke you can do so outside. We are anti-racist, non-sexist and not religious, but respect other peoples' religious views. I eat mostly vegetarian food but am happy for you to cook meat if you wish! I have worked with children for many years and happily accept people with children. Sorry, no dogs or pets though!

I have been hosting HelpX-ers in Transylvania (Romania) for 9 years until 2018. You can see my Romanian profile at Host #9265.

Past HelpX-ers to Transylvania, new HelpX-ers, and friends, are all invited to join me on my boat in 2019 and 2020, in my new life and adventure exploring the English canals and waterways!

1. "Hetty" awaiting her new owner on collection day in July 2018.
2. Hetty and Colin at Braunston.
3. Our first lock at Watford Top.
4. Hetty's central double bedroom.
5. A happy new boat owner at Watford Locks!
6. Turnover bridge on the Grand Union Canal.

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