Meet the crew
We are husband & wife team Pete and Jules and we live aboard NB Molly, full time with our furry crew – hounds, Polly, Ruby, Lucy & Milly and cat Sparta, continuously cruising the network.
We moved onto our first narrowboat in June 2009 after 2 years living on wild & wonderful Anglesey. The job that had necessitated our enthusiastic move to the island, came to an end and the time was ripe for new adventures. Initially, we both took a year out in order to fully embrace our plan to cruise here, there and everywhere, but by the end of that year, we had both fallen completely in love with the cut, the people on the cut and boat life, so I took on various freelance drama coaching jobs and Pete became a boat husband!
Three & a half years later In October 2012, we realised that all good things come to an end and if we wanted to stay living afloat, then plans needed to be thought out and made, so we sold the boat and returned to our house with the sole purpose of making improvements and selling it. One new kitchen, bathroom and loft conversion later we did just that, waved goodbye to the house that we had actually only lived in for 3 of the 9 years it was ours and bought our next boat.
And so the next chapter of our boat life began: Pete set himself up in business with a friend and I continued freelancing. But, we hardly saw each other and our cruising pattern was of course restricted by having to be within a reasonably commutable distance of work. In the winter months when we inevitably took a winter mooring, we got seriously itchy feet, despite varying the areas in which we moored for these months. So, we went back to the drawing board and began to investigate the possibility of becoming roving traders.
In May 2015, we took a Summer out and cruised from the Kennet & Avon to Manchester and back on a reccy – we met roving traders, we went to festivals and we looked for a Pete & Jules style gap in the market! In September, we returned South to moor on the Thames at Radcot for the winter, eased back in our respective jobs and started the exciting process of bringing our plans and ideas into fruition.
By December 1st 2015, The Hippie Boat was a reality, we were officially licenced traders, we had joined the RCTA and booked our first season of markets, events & festivals – eek!! We left our mooring at Radcot in March 2016, armed with abundant enthusiasm and lots of lovely fair trade stock – our trading journey had began in earnest and we were finally, truly free spirits. We travelled over 1000 miles in our boat in that first year, from London, to Cheshire and Wales, returning to the K&A for our final market of the year, the Christmas market in Bradford-On-Avon.
It was shortly after this, whilst walking the doggies beside the Caen Hill Flight one frosty morning, that we made the decision to look for another boat; the stock kept on board was in desperate need of a room of its own as Pete could no longer stretch his legs out – not so much of a problem for me at 5’2″, but it had become an equal test negotiating the piled up bags and boxes, stacked pretty much everywhere there was a space. So in March 2017, we parted company with the first Hippie Boat, Tkal Kah O Nel and moved onboard our current boat. Molly already had a suitable layout, having two bedrooms. With a few tweaks to the accommodation and the addition of another side hatch, enabling us to trade from both sides of the boat, we embarked on our second year of trading, with the luxury of a large and accessible stock room and comfortable living quarters that work perfectly for the crew.