Steve and Jennifer live onboard Carpe Diem , a 60ft (18m) long narrowboat. Their home mooring is at Frampton-on-Severn on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. They chose a life afloat for two reasons, the first was to enable them to live cheaply enough so that Steve could retire early, and secondly to provide a means of seeing some of the hidden bits of the British countryside. They have lived afloat since 2001. For most of the year Carpe Diem is on the move. Steve and Jennifer’s ambition is to cruise all the waterways in England and Wales that are safely navigable by narrowboat. They return to their home mooring in winter when repairs to the canal sometimes hinder progress. Space is very important on a narrowboat so they opted to have all of their furniture built-in (as opposed to freestanding). Every bit of space under the furniture has been maximised, for example a section of the settee in the main living area doubles as a wine cellar. The living space and galley area have been kept as a single open room, with large windows and light wood to help give an illusion of space. Carpe Diem has been designed for ‘all-weather’ cruising. She can be steered from the top step of the engine room with the stern doors closed and the hatch partly closed. There is a small heater (running off the engine cooling water) blowing hot air across the top step to keep your feet warm. Cooking is by gas and heating is provided by a diesel boiler plus a diesel stove in the main living area. The boat has plenty of heating capacity. Steve and Jennifer have been iced in, with temperatures down to minus 8 degrees Centigrade, and remained warm and cosy inside.
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