My name is James Bentley and I’ve been living on the canal for more than ten years now. You get rocked to sleep at night and rocked awake in the morning. I couldn’t go back to the land.
I used to live in a flat in Broadway Market but when I was a youngster my Mum and Dad had a narrowboat. I was aware that there all sorts of activities on the waterways and I decided I wanted to move onto the canal. So I sold my flat and bought the boat.
There are some great stories about the Lea. Because it’s a river, it’s always been navigated. Apparently the Vikings came down the River Lea. I have a few favourite spots. I’m not stuck in London at all. I go out to the countryside in the summer time.
I have this boat which is a community project. The Village Butty is a boat without an engine, traditionally used as spare cargo space for the old working boats. These things come up for sale every now and again and I thought I’d buy one as I wanted more space. It’s like living on a boat but having an extra front room as well. And it’s about being able to celebrate life and have a party, as you can fit quite a few people in there.
When I got the Village Butty, the idea was for me to work with people who were trading in some way, such as restaurant boats. We get quite a few musicians, and people who are out on the canal on a Saturday afternoon come in. It’s somewhere they can sit and eat. It’s for everybody.
Last date edited: 29 June 2017