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Maxine and her partner, Steve, along with their terrier, Mexi, will soon embark on an adventure that will see them travel across the UK using only the country’s canals and waterways. The couple have been working hard over the past two years to build their own narrow boat from scratch. When she is ready to go, with both the interior and exterior furnishings all done, Maxine and Steve will begin their journey from Derbyshire.
Maxine and Steve’s boat is currently being finished fitted out in the Stenson Marina in Derbyshire, just a 15-minute drive from their home.
Although the couple have long sold their house, the boat will not be ready to leave its dock until February next year.
Maxine has been looking forward to the voyage for months, having wanted to make a boat her home since she first holidayed on a narrow boat a few years ago.
The 56-year-old life coach, who will continue to work with her clients via Zoom while on the boat, told Express.co.uk: “Steve and I have been together now for about 11 and a half years.
“Before he and I got together he used to go on narrow boat holidays with his mum and stepdad and brother.
“When I was growing up, we had cruiser boats, but I’d never been on a narrow boat.
“But when Steve and I started chatting about what we wanted to do when we retire, I said, ‘I’ve always fancied living on a narrow boat’, and Steve said, ‘yes okay sounds interesting’.
“We ended up going on a holiday with his brother and his mum on one, and it was the first time I’d been on one. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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“Then, eight months after coming home, we started seriously thinking about it.”
Maxine and Steve began looking at second hand narrow boats for sale throughout the country, but “they weren’t exactly what we wanted”.
The couple therefore decided to employ a boat builder from Nottingham to make one from scratch.
Although neither had done anything like it before, Maxine and Steve started watching vlogs and videos to get inspiration for the design of the boat, before taking their ideas to the boat builder.
The couple had to also make sure they knew what they needed and wanted inside the boat.
Maxine explained the boat’s exterior started to get built in July 2020 – in a camp just 10 miles away from her and Steve’s home – and was finished just two months afterwards.
Due to Covid, the building of the boat’s interior was then delayed until June this year.
“All it had at the time was the engine – there was no toilet or facilities on her whatsoever,” Maxine explained.
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But, by now, the boat has “everything you can think of on board”.
Maxine said: “We’ve got a washing machine, full Wi-Fi, a fridge, freezer, television, everything.
“We’ve got a wood burner and central heating as well.”
As the nine-foot-long, six-foot-wide boat is set to be Maxine and Steve’s home “forever”, the couple ensured it had “everything you have in a house, except for a bath”.
Once the boat’s anchor is lifted early next year, the adventurous pair will travel up and down the country, from Sheffield’s Don Valley to London’s Grand Union canal.
First, they will make their way slowly towards Northampton, to be there in time for the Crick Boat Show, and then up to Skipton because, Maxine said, “that’s one of my favourite places in Yorkshire”.
But what about living on a narrow boat is the 56-year-old most looking forward to?
“I am really looking forward to the lifestyle.
“I think it’s really important not to have a manic life – you need that calm.”
Maxine added: “And [I’m looking forward to] being with Steve all the time because we get on so well.
“It’s going to be so exciting being able to go where we want when we want.”
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