Monday, September 7, 2009

London Barge Living

With its well presented accommodation, substantial upper deck and scenic canal side views, this 55' steel hulled, two berth barge, offers both a peaceful and unique living environment .

And it only cost £140,000-which for London is not too bad a price, is it? Of course, there are numerous fees of one sort or another that go along with a narrow boating lifestyle. Some of the estimates I have seen say that you could live on a barge with a £14,000 annual income-so long as barge expenses don't go up too much.

I was watching Last Comic Standing last year, and one of the finalist was a Londoner who lived on a barge. This was a wonderfully odd idea to me. I live in a fairly dry part of the world and have not seen too many barges in my day. There was a travel show that was called Barging Through Europe, so the idea of travel by barge was not new to me. But living on a barge? That seems a tad odd though. There is something kind of romantic about the idea, if not the actuality.

One of the more unusual spots in London is the remarkable Garden Barge Square where a community of barge owners live right next to Tower Bridge. These historic moorings date back 200 years or more. Gardens have been created on the decks of many of the barges to form a kind of floating garden square. As with the rest of London, the Thames can be cold, damp and grey in winter-and the cabins are cramped.

Much more modern visions of barges were recently on display in a show called Barge — breathing new life into Docklands. Many of these barge designs are ultra modern and sort of hip-in a sci fi kind approach to barge design. They mostly remind me of the kind of free formed watercraft that have been popular around the San Francisco Bay area for the last fifty years or so. These barges would stayed where they are put, as they could never make it through the narrow passages that a standard issue canal barge has to navigate.

As with all my London thoughts, living on a barge would require my winning a lotto and landing a job with the BBC. But I do like the idea of living on the water. The brisk air would be good for a Voice Over artist, wouldn't it? It might inspire a writer as well. And I'm sure it would just a tube ride away from a discount portrait studio-where I would surely have my only real job. I wonder if a discount portrait photographer in London makes £14,000 a year?

No comments: