The most common question I get asked is “Why?” So let’s start with that.
My usual answer is something about nature and being a free spirit and all of that, to which the usual response is, “But it’s cheaper than living in a house right?” So OK, yes, it's cheaper – harder, but yes cheaper.
I remember going fishing on the canals in Haggerston with my dad when I was little. We would sit there for hours and he would tease me with the colourful maggots he kept in a tin, a spectacle of both fear and fascination. This was my first experience of London's slow yet intense canal life, and maybe in some subliminal way this experience is what eventually drew me to live on the water.
So what's it like living on a houseboat? Well, it's cold – this is England after all – and yes, you do sway from side to side because it is a boat and you are on water. But I love being part of a community of fellow hippie travellers, who are amazing, friendly, open and very curious about the little black girl on the boat. But sadly even the water has succumbed to gentrification these days, and with it there is a more classist tone and a less than friendly atmosphere.