Airbnb on a Canal Boat …

Some weekends are meant for chilling in front of the TV, big Sunday roasts and lots of naps (broken with some gym sessions of course!) other weekends are meant for adventure. Too much of one or too much of the other would either leave you super bored or super exhausted.

So one Wednesday afternoon after a pretty chilled previous weekend we went on Airbnb.
Well I went on Airbnb, then presented my other half the options for our next weekend adventure … a Tipee, a Tent, and old converted bus or a barge. He went with the latter.

Fast forward a few days later and we are trudging along a very muddy canal path, in the dark. With two holdalls, one rucksack full of blankets (we weren’t sure exactly how cold it would be), a puppy, a puppy crate, our food shop and a torch. We had been in Brighton for lunch so by the time we had arrived it was dark, super dark.

We had previously walked down the wrong side of the Thames path and had to call the Airbnb host who kindly redirected us to the right side. She had said that her husband was just finishing something on the boat and he would be walking up the path as we were walking down it so we would meet him on our way. Fantastic.

I don’t know what the lovely Rusty must have thought as he saw us two ‘townies’ laden with bags, sliding along the small muddy tow path with a very, very muddy puppy. Our host’s husband had a steel trolley, and releasing a thankful sigh of relief as he held his hand out towards me. I was about to gratefully him my holdall when I realised, in the nick of time, he was handing me his torch – not offering to take one of our bags.

“Enjoy your stay!” The man and his trolley slugged off into the darkness.

whatsapp-image-2016-12-01-at-17-07-42-215minutes later we saw lights coming from a small vessel and it being the only one (afloat) after the little wooden bridge, we assumed it was ours. After a slightly humorous balancing act across the plank we opened the tiny little door and stepped into our home for the night.

It was long and thin, with a small kitchen running along the left side and a handy luggage holder opposite on the right (although Phil later informed me it was the shower). The middle of the boat was wooden, with a tiny log burner to the left and a fold up table alongside it, a bed filled the rest of the space leading to the back of the boat.

My first question, after we had taken off our books and organised our luggage into the holder aka shower, was concerning the toilet…

After a few minutes looking around for it (there wasn’t really much space to hide anything) we found a small plastic box under the bed. Pulling it out we realised there would be no leaning over the side or crouching in bushes – yes, we had a toilet. This realisation made me thankful enough to momentarily forget about the practicalities of having to use it later on…

whatsapp-image-2016-12-01-at-17-07-42-1
Sat with our backs against the side of the boat in the 1×1 m2 of what was effectively our ‘lounge floor’, with the fire roaring, steaks sizzling on the gas and a glass of red wine in hand it couldn’t have been more beautiful. Puppy, exhausted by his muddy adventure was super cuddly and we talked, for hours about everything and nothing with the radio playing quietly in the background. It wasn’t luxurious, modern or large, but it was comfortable. In-fact in its imperfection it was just perfect.

We woke up in the morning to silence and the most beautiful sunrise, after navigating my way out of bed and to the stove to put the kettle on, we realised that at the top of the bed was a little ‘window’ whatsapp-image-2016-12-01-at-17-07-42-5which once opened made a fantastic ‘coffee table with a view’.

So wrapped up in the duvets and blankets we let the cold morning air breathe around us. Every now and then a boat would drive past, and we would wave at them from our little cubby hole, whilst trying to keep the coffee from spilling as we were rocked by the ripples as they past.

Back in London later on that afternoon and it seemed like we had returned after a whole week away. Mini-adventures in some way change the fabric of time in our minds – they take us out of our normal rhythms, removing us from the familiar and the known. In doing so they surprise our minds into being more present and aware. So upon looking back, it seemed as though we live more in those moments than logically time could allow.

However you spend your weekends – if you want a longer one – try one doing something out of the routine brunches, lunches and ‘down-time’ 🙂

 whatsapp-image-2016-12-01-at-17-07-42-3

Leave a Reply