The fact I’ve bought the second book by Daniel is testament to this book. A man’s desire to lead a simpler life without a mortgage and associated expenses, to live in the countryside and enjoy a solitude which he, and many of us, are clearly comfortable with despite being mis-understood, is commendable. It also provides a story-like grounding into narrow boat life, interwoven into the narrative. No, it’s not cold on a narrow boat, even in Winter. In fact, it can be too hot. The logistics of even obtaining firewood, and getting to work are challenges many of us don’t have to consider. As with travelling, living in a van, being a writer – these are all different dreams many of us strive to follow but never chase because of the ‘risks’ of failure associated with them. In fact, with persistence, those goals can not only be reached, but obtained and the result is a far more rewarding and meaningful life. Well done Daniel.
This book was about as honest as you can get, this is what impressed me the most, great humility. Mr. Brown recalls his first year of narrow boating right from the purchase of narrow boat 'Tilly.' This book will give you the best possible idea and feeling of what it is like to start narrow boating and some ways very similar to buying a second hand car. He mentions that he felt almost immature at first, having led a sheltered life and then grew into a man through the experience. I would disagree with this to some extent, I think the author is just being exceptionally honest with his emotions and feelings which is something most people very rarely do! Everyone matures through every new adversity they accomplish thought most unfortunately are not so humble. I was highly impressed with Mr. Browns lifestyle change from computer games and other materialism to just a few items, podcasts, audio books and exploring nature - this is a very genuine lifestyle which brings inner peace that more people need to learn from, instead of this hellish rat race of consumerism, debt, mobile phones, facebook, miley cyrus etc! For anyone wanting a new outlook on life, this book is a must have, it is also enthralling from start to finish.
I would give 5 stars but I would have liked a bit of feedback on say if a black man etc. was to do the same expedition, what would his experience be like? How would the marinas treat him? These are real issues and why we have so much racial segregation in today's society, hence these are important questions.
Also maybe a summary of maintenance criteria eg. blacking the hull etc. of which I believe most would be done at a marina. Who do you call for pick up if you break down etc?
These little ( though crucial ) touches would have been the icing on the cake.
As along time fan of canal boating and spending many a childhood holiday onboard a boat, this interest lay dormant... until... I one day was searching for a new backpack. Which introduced me to a video review of one by Dan Brown on youtube. I thought this is an enthusiastic personable young man, lets see what else he's done.. and what a lot of great stuff he has!
And then I started reading and watching videos about his move onto the canals. So I bought this book to find out more. Will be buying the 2nd and 3rd as well. Very well written and immensely entertaining, by a very likable author. Reading these books is dangerous though, especially if like me you read them on the way to and from work on a packed train, because you find yourself immersed in the boating life and wanting more... and then you get off the train and bump down to earth and resume the rat race.
I think Dan has the right idea, a plod along the canal and a simple life out and about appeals the more I read, perhaps its time I revisited my childhood, dusted off my windlass and sought a bit more from life. Inspirational.
Over the last ten years, the book market seems to have been flooded with accounts of middle aged well-to-do couples who opted for early retirement and took to the road or the waterways. Nice work if you can afford it you might think. Well Dan Brown hardly falls into this category. He was a young lad slaving in a supermarket for the minimum wage who decided life was too short, went part time and bought a cheap rundown narrowboat to make his permanent home. "The Narrowboat Lad" is a mix of diary entries covering the emotional ride of his life changing choice and handy tips for anyone thinking of doing the same. I came across Dan's Youtube channel by chance last year and hoped his unique storytelling skills on video would translate well to the written page - they do.
Dan has a lovely way of bringing you into his world and sharing it with you.
The peace and serenity he gets from his new way of like I can really relate to. Not quite the same, but since I got over my fear of claustrophobia and managed to get a mask over my face, my two weeks on holiday are spent in my own little world and parts of this, so remind me of those times.
I haven't quite finished this book yet, but I'm about 80% through it and have enjoyed it very much. It helps that the places mentioned are mostly local, so I can picture them while I read. Having seen a few of the YouTube videos by Daniel Brown, I can imagine his voice as I read his words. This being the first of Dan's books I've read, I look forward to more of his narrowboat adventures.
As with his first book, this one does not disappoint. In fact, I've read it from beginning to end in a couple of sittings! Thoroughly enjoyed reading about the trips on Tilly and in fact, life generally on the canal. Dan manages to evoke the images of long summer days and freezing winter ones with equal clarity drawing the reader in to experience them for him/herself. I also appreciate the 'warts and all' approach to the challenges of life on a narrow boat, it makes for a far more accurate and honest picture of life aboard.
This is an easy read. It's fairly short, so it's easy to give in to the reluctance to put it down. The story is a simple one, but that's part of its charm. To those who know little or nothing about life on the canals, then this is a good, honest introduction. It's a shame that Dan didn't get someone to proofread and edit the text for him. It's full of errors which make the reader cringe at times. But it's still readable, and there are those who don't recognise spelling and grammar mistakes, I'm sure. That said, I'll be reading the rest of this trilogy some time.
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.
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.