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This book should be banned. Were it on paper then it should be burned. Why? Because it is an engaging, charming, enthusiastic and positive account of settling into a life on England’s canals and that is not the sort of thought that we want put into the minds of the dreary, droning, investment banker, social worker, property-developer, gentrifying classes. So look, if anyone asks, the canals are dark, covered in the bloodied-black dust of Victorian industry and populated by primitive, simian types with calloused knuckles that drag in the water as they head from Stygian tunnel to tunnel. The last thing we want is books such as this one, describing life on the canals as appealing, human, practical and enjoyable...

This is not a book of technicalities. It is not an instruction manual. It IS an account of the emotional and social changes that come with life aboard a tin bucket drifting up and down a drainage ditch or two, and most especially the changes that come if the bucket is your first home. This is as much a coming-of-age tale as it is about canals. If you read this book from that perspective then you’ll find yourself right there, alongside the author as he rejoices in pootling through countryside at a snail’s pace, when he panics when faced with novel set-backs and as he triumphs by overcoming them.

Buy this book if you’re looking for a well-written taste of life practical, everyday life afloat with all of the adventures that this entails. Buy this book if you’ve ever been stranded miles from home and family. Buy this book if you remember the chuckle that came with your first meal in your first home. Buy this book if you’ve ever developed cojones enough to leap into an unfamiliar world yourself and kick life into shape. Don’t buy this book if you’re expecting dry tables of costs or a dreary manual explaining the differences between the pointy end, the blunt end and exactly what to do with the pump-out hose.

The author’s style is fresh, enthusiastic and to use the modern term, highly readable. Unlike some other reviewers, I didn’t trip headlong over grammatical errors. The book can be read in a single sitting of a couple of hours. There is refreshingly not a whit of profanity in this book, no religioun and no politics. It is accessible to all ages. I am glad that I read it, and I am looking forward to enjoying the author’s other books.
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on 17 July 2013
I've been following Dan's antics on YouTube for some time now. It has been fascinating and inspiring watching his new life afloat develop. So much so, I have taken up living aboard a narrowboat myself.
This book is a delightful insight into a completely inexperienced boater taking to life afloat. His honesty is refreshing, with the experience he has gained he could quite easily have left out embarrassing cock ups made in his first year, thankfully he didn't.
Anybody considering life afloat should read this book, and even if your not, read it any way, it's a real treat to come across someone so young who has seen the rat race for what it is and chosen an alternative way of life.

Good luck Dan, I really enjoyed this book, Warren Rhodes
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on 2 July 2013
This book was an enjoyable and inspiring short read. It's great to hear about Dan's transformation into life aboard Tilly, and becoming an adult as he says. I really got a feel for the nerves and anticipation on that first big journey after buying the boat. Dan was thrown in at the deep end you might say.

I've been watching Dan's videos and listening to his podcasts for a while now. Those, with this book really just confirm my own desire to live on a narrowboat. I have also been wishing for a life aboard, for far too many years now, and one day I shall embark on my own journey on the canals and rivers...

..Until that day comes I will keep watching Dan's videos and reading his books to get my small dose of narrowboat life.

Thanks Dan!
Chris 'DonnyOutdoors' Donohoe.
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on 10 August 2013
To one so much older than Daniel this is quite a captivating book in a way. The writing is a little repetitive at times and well, 'young' but the energy and determination displayed is impressive. I did not feel that I gained a lot about the techniques of Narrowboating in general although the descriptions of winter weather boat living were interesting.

I finished it with a smile and a warm feeling towards Daniel. It also made me visit his website, .... with a similar result.
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on 3 November 2013
If you follow Dan in YouTube then you probably already own this book, if you don't follow him but are interested in Narrow boat life then I have to say this is the book for you. It's a true look in to the life of Dan and his adventures aboard Tilly his ups and downs the pros and cons and just generally a great read about how a young man has done the wise thing and saved for years and got himself a hassle free serene life, we would all love to be mortgage free and live life not worrying about the constrains money has on us all, and Dan has took the right approach and made his life so much better. Good on him you can just feel his joy in this book and on his YouTube Channel, and I'm looking forward to the next read.
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on 1 October 2014
This is a truly inspirational piece of writing.

I say that for a number of reasons, not least because Dan Brown writes with a very refreshing honesty, telling us about some of the daft things he has done and how foolish he felt after doing them, but also because of what he has done and is doing, by showing people that there is an alternative way of life, away from the crazy 9 till 5, debt ridden, rinse and repeat 50 year cycle so many people cling onto, myself included. And by illustrating that this life can be available to anyone. This is a valuable lesson, signposting the way to not only a more sustainable way of life, but in the end a happier one too. Bravo Dan!

If you are new to Dan Brown and haven't yet looked at his YouTube page, I recommend it. Both the books and the videos compliment each other.
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on 16 November 2013
Delightful short story about the ups and downs of boating . Would highly recommend to anyone thinking of purchasing a boat and living the dream
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on 19 July 2014
I stumbled across Dan's life adventures on 'Tilly' whilst reviewing YouTube. If you have,not visited his channel do so he appears to be a down to earth sort of guy who enjoys the moment and always seems full of beans. He's living the Dream!

The Narrowboat lad' as he is known has written a good account on how he started 'Living the Dream' I am not a keen reader of books but I found this short book both interesting, thought provoking in relation of life's values. Whilst reading, I also recalled days when I was much much younger fishing, walking and cycling around the Coventry and the Oxford cut, mixing with wildlife and mother nature. Also swimming in the cut!

Love the book, so much so I bought his 2 other books as well. Maybe Dan's got me into reading?
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on 16 December 2013
Great book and very good value !! Best money I've spent with a fantastic insight into narrowboat life .
Thank you Dan
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on 1 June 2014
Good start from a budding writer. Dan writes with humility, and his enthusiasm shines through. I hope that he can developed his zest for writing and give up a job that pays minimum wage, and only serves to make one feel used. Good luck Dan.
His YouTube channel is also worth looking at.
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