featured roving canal trader
I live aboard Merly B, a 67' Tyler Wilson nb built in 1988, with my husband whom we call Mr. O and Henry the dog. We're continuous cruisers.
We bought our first boat, Irene, in 2001. She was a 57' iron BCN boat built in 1927, a beautiful boat with great character. She had a 3 pot lister (situated inside next to the loo!), 12v power only and a foot pump if we wanted water, no hot water. She had several leaks, every time it rained we got all the pans out to catch the water. It was damp, smelly and noisy. We were so excited to be living afloat that none of these things mattered.
A few years later we decided to have her lifted out and surveyed. Complete disaster! Her hull was extremely thin in places, she had rotted from the inside due to the leaks. Always get a survey before buying! We learnt the hard way.
We were advised to weigh her in and use the money for another boat, but we had fallen in love with her and so decided to have her overplated. 18 months later she was floating again once more, that was a great day!
In 2018 we bought Merly B and we feel so blessed, another beautiful boat but this time with hot running water, proper plug sockets, lights, even a heated towel rail! Also an engine conveniently placed under the back deck, not inside the boat! This is our forever home.
My Wendy Witch business began in 2000. I'm a White Witch and Celebrant. I have been pagan all my life. My beliefs and skills have been passed down through generations and I'm proud of my heritage.
I have been reading the Tarot since I was a child. During the winter my Tarot readings are on board, in the warm weather outside on the towpath. The readings are an hour long, I don't like to rush and we have tea, coffee and sometimes cake!
I also conduct Handfasting Ceremonies (Pagan Weddings), Baby Naming Ceremonies and Memorial Services. These celebrations are becoming very popular as many people are looking for alternatives to traditional ceremonies. Pagan Rituals have very few rules so the Ceremonies are customised to suit and every Ceremony is different.
As a Pagan I celebrate the 8 sabbats or festivals throughout the year. I even have a Pagan Altar outside my boat. My altar is a log which I keep on the roof whilst travelling and place on the towpath when we moor up. I decorate it with nature's gifts - flowers, fruit, seeds, stones, feathers etc and redress it for every Sabbat. It makes a great talking point for passersby!
During the summer I have a plant stall with annuals and perennials which I grow on the roof. All the proceeds go to The Huntington's Disease Association. The only thing I initially missed when we moved onboard is my garden but I soon realised that it's amazing what you can grow in a pot!
Living on a boat has been a dream ever since I can remember, making it a reality has been a wonderful experience. We are within nature, detached from 'normal' life. Many of my customers remark that they never knew this canal life was here, even though they drive over it often; "Do you live here all the time?"
The boat people, the wildlife, the seasons, the freedom...all of these things make the canal special, like a long, wet village.
I am truly at home living on the cut, I feel I belong here and here is where I will stay.