Dog walking and hedge planting whilst living aboard a narrowboat near Rugby, UK


United Kingdom

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 Min stay requested: No minimum

  • Description


    Hi, my name is Tor and I’m a live-aboard boater who runs a small business providing narrowboat meditation retreats for guests through the summer season.

    My boat is 69ft long and has 3 cabins, 2 toilet/shower rooms, a good size kitchen and a lounge with a solid fuel burner.

    We have a big mooring that we acquired in January 2016, with a wildlife pond, vegetable patch, shed, caravan, shipping container office and wood store.

    While the business is out of season, I’d like to welcome a couple of workawayers and share the land with a like-minded boat-mate.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Life afloat is definitely different from land living, there’s always little missions – kindling to chop, water tank to fill, toilet tank to empty, gas to replace, and so on – and for me they’re the jobs that make it a wonderful adventure.

    The times when I find myself chopping wood on a frosty towpath, alone except for the birds and a wintery sun, are often ‘Wow!’ moments of real beauty and delight. I love the simplicity of it all and how close I am to nature, spotting small details that I would have raced past in my previous faster paced life.

    I'm a self-declared boat geek and will happily chat all about the day-to-day aspects of choosing, running and living on a narrowboat. I also teach mindfulness meditation and English as a second language. Over the course of running the business, I've become a proficient vegetarian and vegan cook, and I'm happy to share what I know. There are a couple of bikes on the mooring if you want to explore the local area too.

  • Help


    The two main things that we'd like help with are walking our dog, Taz, and hedge planting. Taz is a new rescue and isn't very good at being left alone. Having someone here would mean that I can work a few extra shifts in the coffee shop where I work part-time. The other major task is helping me to plant a mixed native hedge on the border of the mooring. It's potentially around 50 metres of hedge and we'll need to make a plan, order the plants and clear the land before beginning. Furthermore there are everyday things like gardening, chopping wood and cooking.

    I’m really looking for someone or a couple who appreciates community, simplicity and peaceful living, not to mention the adventure of living on a boat through the winter.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    Very limited Spanish, French, German and Hindi

  • Accommodation


    Moving onto a boat was motivated by a very conscious decision to slow down and simplify. I don’t have a TV, though I do have a laptop that I use for work, films and a few downloaded programs. Electricity mainly comes from 2 100W solar panels on the roof, which limits electricity consumption, so there isn’t a microwave, electric kettle or anything like that. Hot water is generated by the central heating system and the engine, and the showers are great. It's worth mentioning that living this way, it's not possible to shower every day, though 2 or 3 times a week is fine. It doesn’t always happen but I aim to meditate twice a day, morning and night, and would love to find a boat mate who’s interested in meditation too. The kitchen is strictly meat-free and I adore cooking vegetarian food.

    When I tell people that I live-aboard all year round, one of the first questions is always “Does it get cold in winter?” Sounds simple, but this isn’t an easy question to answer. When I have the log fire going or the central heating on, it can get toasty warm indeed. There’s nothing cosier than my lounge when I’ve got the fire blazing. It’s insulated and does retain heat, but there are also necessary drafts for ventilation. If I’m away from a few days, the boat can be ice cold on return and takes a good few shivery hours to heat back up. Even with slow burning coal, it’s hard to keep the boat really warm through the night, so mornings do tend to be chilly. Iced up windows are not unknown. When you’re in closer touch with the amount of electricity from the solar panels, bags of coal consumed, waste wood donated and levels of diesel in the tank, usage is much more obvious and I tend to be a bit more discerning than I ever was living on land. It’s not uncommon for me to sleep in thermals, with joggers on top, a thick duvet, several blankets and a bobble hat. Last winter, I tended to have a standard 3 layers minimum, woollies at all times and never be without my trusty boots. So, in writing this, I suppose the answer is “Yes, it does get cold in winter… but, if you’re prepared and like an adventure, it’s nothing you can’t get along with”.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Firstly, I'd say that volunteers who come here will be best suited if they're independent with get up and go, hardy to the outdoors, and interested in living simply, peacefully and closer to nature.

    In terms of what to do outside of volunteering, we're in the heart of the country and Rugby is fantastic for visiting the Midlands; Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham, Warwick, The Cotswolds, etc... Our mooring is in an isolated spot 4 miles out of town, which is a half hour cycle, a 1.5 hour walk or a 40 minute walk followed by a short bus journey.

    As I mentioned, we have bikes here and we're more than happy to give lifts where they coincide with what we're doing. We have OS maps on board if you like hiking and there's plenty of countryside to explore.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week

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