We think we're possibly the only floating estate agency in the UK! The owner of the business thought it would be quite memorable to have our premises not just by the canal, but actually on the water, so they decided get a boat! It was a successful decision because Parker Hall Estate Agents has been running for seven years now, and people tell us they think our 57-foot narrowboat at Barton Marina is quite a quirky head office!
People come aboard and they bring their kids so they can feed the ducks out of the window - so it works very well with families looking to move home. It's a small space, but we have everything we need. When we first started, we were only on mobile internet, but now we've got a landline and Wi-Fi to the boat so everything functions really well.
It's a lovely place to come to work every day. We've got a great view out of our side hatch. The swans know we keep food on board for them so they tap on the side of the boat until we feed them! When they have their babies and bring their little grey bundles of fluff over to the boat it's so lovely! We don't give them bread because that's like junk food to swans – today they're getting healthy spinach. What they don't eat, the fish can have.
The wildlife do all sorts of funny things all the time. We had a moorhen walked all the way around the boat on the gunwale one day. And once we had a mallard who laid her eggs in the plant pot in the bow of the boat. We even had some of the ducklings come down the steps actually inside the boat and we had to scoop them up to get them out again!
I think we can definitely say it's better working on a boat than in a city office - and there's never a traffic jam here either!
Kathryn & Samantha, Barton Marina, Barton-under-Needwood, Trent & Mersey Canal