Winter is approaching fast and the weather has turned from glorious warm sunshine to drab, grey, rain filled skies. We all know what that means – we’ll be spending more time inside our boats. Gone are the days of sitting outside in the sunshine with an ale or two chewing the cud with other boaters for this year and instead many of us will be festering away in front of our computer or TV screens with the fire roaring going a little stir crazy. It’s been quite a difficult year for me as my proper job as a graphic designer is mainly based around promoting sales, events and such like and of course, that industry is dead in the water at the moment meaning I have had very little work come though since March 2020. Businesses are simply not spending money with me right now, which I totally understand but it really does not help my situation.

You see, I get bored and restless quite easily and always need to be doing something, be that on the creative side or simply feeding my brain with interesting information – I love learning new things. I have been concerned about the winter months approaching for a while now as even in normal circumstances my design work teeters off a bit at this time of year but with things the way they are I have been dreading the boredom.There is no way I am going to sit here watching TV every day vegetating on the sofa and in fact I got rid of our TV tuner and aerial in March as I was sick of all the scare mongering being fed to us on a daily basis. I now need something to really get my teeth into.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably always find something to keep me amused but having moved onto the boat full time I no longer have a music studio to escape to and I no longer have room to do a bit of wood turning which I did find quite theraputic. I need a project that can be done inside with the fire roaring and the dog keeping me company so here are my thoughts.

You may have read one of my previous articles talking about how narrow boat groups on facebook had become a cesspit of anger and gobshitery and not exactly a welcoming place to go and read about other boaters stories and exploits. I like reading about peoples alternative lifestyles and their adventures, I love hearing how people cope with boat life and I love reading about peoples hobbies and skills. The thing is, I don’t want to wade through the plethora of mundane nonsense and angry rants to get to those stories on Facebook. I also don’t really care for boating magazines influenced by advertising, I’ve had my fill of Waterways World and the like – I want to read about real people and their real lives. What if there was a better way?

What if there was a place a little similar to what you are reading now where boaters could submit their own thought provoking articles on anything from adventures along the canal all the way through to things like herbal remedies and life hacks. A place where you don’t have to wade through peoples political opinions and misplaced anger. A nicer place, a better place, a more interesting place. I don’t see any reason why a place online can’t achieve this vision, I certainly have the skills to produce such a platform so all it really needs is people like you, after all you came here to read this didn’t you. It needs people who have a story to tell, people who want to share a recipe or something they created, people who care about our way of life. People who value the community spirit.

Off the top of my head it would work something like this. Contributors woud apply for an account and given their own unique username and password. Once approved they will be able to post articles which would then be approved by an editor (to stop any junk or political rubbish). Comments on articles would be permitted but monitored and approved by admin. I know there are many boaters out there that have their own blogs but what if we could all come together every now and then and have one with a mixture of stories from a mixture of people? A magazine for the people by the people.

I think I may give it a bit more thought and maybe give it a shot.

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