Family who spend Christmas on a boat – ‘upturned bin to stop birds pecking at the cheddar’

Coronavirus: Current restrictions over the Christmas period

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The holidays are well and truly here. Britons up and down the country are putting the final touches to their Christmas decorations and making sure they’ve stocked up on enough cheese.

A canal boat may be a popular holiday option for the summer, but some Britons have moved full time to the British waterways.

For Christmas, boat owners are limited to small trees and don’t have much fridge space.

Lorna Tooley lives on a narrowboat and said: “There’s plenty of space for decorations, you just have to be creative.”

She not only decorated the outside of her boat with lights, she also added festive touches to every available spaces inside too.

Katie Miller, meanwhile, decorated her floating home with a tiny tree, LED lights and snowflake window stickers.

The main problem with narrowboats is space.

Susie Walker lives with her family on a boat and said: “We don’t have a freezer and our fridge is quite small, so whatever we can’t fit inside goes out on the stern.

“We just cover it with an upturned bin to stop birds pecking at the cheddar.”

For food loving narrowboat dwellers, Christmas dinner can also prove difficult.

Most kitchens on narrowboats are boat sized, which means they’re tiny.

If a turkey can’t fit into the oven, people spending Christmas on narrowboats have found alternatives.

Jes Liberty cooked a brisket.

She said: “We leave it to simmer for several hours on top of our stove and then cook whatever we fancy as trimmings to go with that.”

Apart from the food and decorations, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Santa.

Jes reassured fellow Britons, Father Christmas can get into the narrowboats.

She said: “Seeing that mostly all boats have multifuel stoves, there is the old chimney option, but I’ve heard secretly that Santa prefers going down the mushroom vents so he doesn’t burn his bum.”

With a big Christmas not recommended this year due to the pandemic, spending the holiday on a boat with only the closest of family makes sense to many.

And being on the canal also has its perks.

Katie said: “Being on the canal often means that you’re very close to a pub, which means you get a lot of merrymakers passing by.”

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