Wanted: canal boat with log fire on board = Mission Impossible

As a result of Sunday’s brisk walk alongside the Chesterfield Canal in bright sunshine, I have spent some considerable time surfing the net looking for a canal boat with a real fire on board.

Quite fancied a weekend break wending gracefully along our waterways with very little traffic or interference, save for a few swans and ducks.  The idea of mooring up at random isolated places for a snooze or to make a meal really appealed to this weary midlifer.  And on our chilly November nights afloat we would be very cosy snuggled up in front of a spitting and sparking log fire, sharing a glass or two or three of good red wine.

One would think that it would be easy to organise this simple midlife short break request.  Many of the boat hire companies offer winter breaks afloat with every conceivable comfort; however the bottom line reality is somewhat different.

Most of Friday would be taken up with training and familiarising ourselves with the mechanics of canal cruising.  Training?  Surely it can’t be that difficult.  And you can only moor up in specified places apparently.  Where’s the freedom in that?  Failure to locate a single available canal boat with a solid fuel fire was the final straw of frustration; my starry-eyed midlife plan for a relaxing weekend break was blown completely out of the water.

It finally occurred to me that we could book a very nice hotel, not floating of course but hey ho; we could have a spacious room (not just 7 feet wide), a hot tub, a huge bed and all mod cons for considerably less cost than the narrowboat idea.  Think we’ll do that and leave the canal boat plan for a summer time adventure.  Besides, all those lock gates look like incredibly hard work.  Hardly be a holiday would it?


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