Our fifth Trading Tale follows on from The Pirate Boat, The Art Boat, The Glass Barge, and The Doggie Boat. There’s an incredible mix of fun and fascinating people finding alternative ways of living on the Inland Waterways.
Introducing Sue and Ade
What’s the name of your boat, and what business do you run from it?
Our boat is called SQ2, and as The Borders Cheese Carrying Company we sell Welsh cheese and English chutney because we travel the English – Welsh borders and they taste fantastic.
We’ve just started to sell cheese making kits which make up to 8 different sorts of cheese and make great gifts. We also sell beautiful handmade ceramic knobs and my homemade bunting – it’s so rewarding to sell something we’ve made.
And Ade does Boat Safety Examinations (a 4 yearly boat MOT) in between bouts of cheesiness.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourselves?
Ade and I travel the waterways as much as we can. We’re based in mid Wales, however we spend most of the time on the boat. We love the moving and the constantly changing view and meeting new neighbours.
Sue was a teacher of environmental education and Ade was an electrician by trade.
Give us a glimpse into the how and why you decided to become Floating Traders?
We were running a very busy boatyard fixing boats but not having the time to go out in ours. When we heard the Canadian cheese boat were selling up, we gave up our lease, fitted out our new boat, and got going with the cheese. Now we end the day with our faces aching from chatting and smiling to people (rather than backs hurting from crawling around boats!)
Describe the joys and drawbacks you’ve experienced to date as a floating trader …
Joys – working outdoors in beautiful surroundings. The UK is fantastically beautiful, and we plan our year so we can be in our favourite spots at our favourite times of the year; not having a boss; getting to know more people; feeling free whilst earning our crust.
Drawbacks – dog poo and wee near or on ropes and towpath, and dogs trying to get in the side hatch for cheese! (Haven’t met one that didn’t like cheese). Lack of privacy when you need some quiet time (it is impossible to not look into a boats windows when you go past). One last thing is we miss our land based friends, as we are constantly moving and work every weekend so miss a lot of ‘occasions’ and community dos.
Is there any sage wisdom you could share with anyone reading who may be contemplating venturing into this watery ‘working’ world?
We always say to people that it’s not going to make us rich or famous but it helps pay the bills. We’re 53 right now, and pension age is currently 67, so we’ve got to keep working for a lot longer and this seemed a good way of having a life and working.
We also reckon that it’s a good idea to have a few income strings to your bow as towpath trading alone is very seasonal and weather dependent.
Anything else you would like to add?
If you become a trader then work/life balance is still important. If you’re doing both from a narrow space which is constantly moving, then time out is a good idea – whether that’s a few days away from the boat or just holing up somewhere to get some jobs done and enjoying your home.
Connect with Sue and Ade:
Visit (and like!) their Facebook page
Ade’s Boat Safety examinations contact: Click here for details
Where can you find them:
11th to 12th June – Eldonian Festival on the Leeds Liverpool Canal (with The Home Brew Boat!)
June 17-19 – Trent & Mersey, Middlewich – Floating market, Middlewich folk and boat festival
June 24-26 – Huddersfield Narrow – Stalybridge Festival
July 1-3 – Trent & Mersey – Anderton Lift
July 15-17 Trent & Mersey, Anderton Lift
July 22-24 – Middlewich Branch – Aqueduct Marina Family Funday
July 29 – 31 – Shroppie, Audlem – Audlem Transport Festival
August 5-7 – Trent & Mersey – Mercia Marina
August 12-14 – Trent Lock/Erewash – Longeaton Canal Festival
September 2-4 BCN – Birmingham
September 9-11 – Netherton Dudley – Black Country Boating Festival