It’s an exciting time to be running a business on a boat. Like us, an increasing number of people are finding ways of daring to live differently; downsizing, decluttering and moving onto the waterways with the aim of making a living whilst cruising the cut.
As promised in a recent post, following a request from Canal and River Trust and their Humans of the Waterways team, we’re going to be sharing some fascinating stories about floating traders on the blog. To date only three traders stories have featured The Humans of the Waterways, ours being one of them (more on that to come).
Via a ‘Floating Traders’ Facebook page, we’ve asked other waterway businesses if they’d be happy to share a piece of their journey.
Here’s the first to send us their Trading Tale (she gets a chocolate fish, a New Zealand form of reward for a job well done. Only I can’t find any in UK, so if someone could send one …).
The Pirate Boat – Heidi Manning
What’s the name of your boat, and what business do you run from it?
I live aboard Narrowboat ‘Stiff Ripples’ selling Pirate hats, flags, bandannas, kids toys, hand made ethnic gifts and anything I pillage and plunder while voyaging on the high seas
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Gave up my life as a teacher, sold my house and went backpacking around Africa, India, Thailand, Cambodia and most of Europe teaching and DJing as I travelled. Upon my return to the UK I decided I wanted to live a much simpler life, so I bought a boat and became a Pirate and now single hand the inland waterways.
Give us a glimpse into the how and why you decided to become a floating trader?
I love to travel and meet new people and one of my life’s ambitions is to cruise the whole system. Being a floating trader allows me to fulfil my dreams while making a little money on the way.
Describe the joys and drawbacks you’ve experienced to date as a floating trader
The only drawback can be the weather as it limits which items I can display on my boat and affects the amount of potential customers passing by. My joys are I love the simple life the canals provide, from cruising my boat to all the wonderful people I’ve met and sights I’ve seen along the way.
Is there any sage wisdom you could share with anyone reading who may be contemplating venturing into this watery ‘working’ world?
It is hard work, but if you love travelling and meeting people from all over the country then it is an amazing way to spend your life. Also make sure you do plenty of research and don’t be afraid of making mistakes, it’s how you will learn what works and what fails.
Pop along and visit us on The Pirate Boat at our next trading location, visit www.facebook.com/Pirateboat (and give us a ‘Like’!), or Twitter: @NBPirateboat for more information …. Arrrrr
Ahoy me hearty ….
Heidi and The Pirate Boat will be at Westport Lake this weekend, so if you’re in the area do pop along and say ‘hi’
Other events booked so far include:
- 18th and 19th June – Folk and Boat Festival, Middlewich
- 24th and 25th July – Aqueduct Marina Fun Day
- 11th to 13th August – Ellesmere Festival on the Llangollen Canal
- 27th and 28th August – Merry Hill RCTA Floating Market
- 3rd and 4th September – Stourport RCTA Floating Market
- 10th and 11th September – Black Country Boating Festival
- 17th and 18th September – Tipton Canal Festival
- 24th and 25th September – Birmingham RCTA Floating Market