We decided to follow our dreams and run away to live on a narrowboat eight years ago. I was a Primary Deputy Head and my husband, Mike, was a music teacher working for the County Music Service in Warwickshire. We were both working ridiculous hours so we rarely saw each other and all our children had grown up and long left home.
Now, I have to say we had already experienced owning a very old narrowboat years before when the children were teenagers, it was our bolt-hole to get away during the school holidays. We spent four years renovating her and chugging around, loving every minute of it, but when the kids all went to university we needed any spare cash to help them, so the boat had to go, much to our great sadness.
Have we never regretted selling all our ‘stuff’ and moving onto a narrowboat? Not for a moment! Our daughter initially gave us six months on the boat, then said maybe 18 months. I think eight years later she’s finally accepted and realised that this way of life makes us happy and we’re going to be living it for quite a while yet.
I’d always wanted to write children’s stories. Having read thousands of books over all my years of teaching and being a mum, I felt I would love to have a go, so within the first six months I’d written my first Chico Chugg book and got it published.
Chico Chugg is a little Jack Russell who lives on a narrowboat, with his family and friends having adventures in and around marinas and the waterways.
After success with my first book, ‘The Misadventures of Chico Chugg’, we decided to actually buy a little Chico which made writing so much easier – I just made notes of all the daft, cute and borderline dangerous antics he got up to and shamelessly used them all.
Living on a narrowboat has totally changed our lives in more ways than one. Mike and I love spending quality time together and working on new ventures and, although at times it can be busy, all we have to do is untie ‘Wah Wah Chugg’ (of course named for Chico’s stories!), put Chico on the roof and ‘chugg’ off for some peace and quiet fun.
Janet & Chico, Crick, Grand Union Canal