Interiors: Three on a boat

June 2010 News Hannah Booth -

Josie Curran has her six-month-old son strapped to her front, one hand on the wheel of a small tugboat and the other holding grimly to a mooring post on the riverbank. Her black pointer has run off, and she's trying to coax it back while chatting to one of her neighbours, who was strolling past. It's a scene of slightly chaotic, bucolic domesticity.

Life in north London was never like this. But since swapping a two-bed flat for a two-storey houseboat on the Thames, 34-year-old Curran's life has changed beyond recognition: summer evenings are spent swimming, fishing and sitting on deck listening to the silence. "For months, we ran around like idiots, taking utter delight at living here," she says.

Her home, a New England-style clapboard house on a steel hull, is moored near Hampton Court, on one of the many tiny islands that dot the river west of the city. It is impressively un-boat-like, with an open-plan living and dining space, a glorious bedroom, a deck with doors that open fully, even a garden and allotment on dry land, reached via a footbridge. The only hint that you are on water is a barely perceptible rocking when a boat passes by. "It's really no different from living in a normal house," she says, "but it does get very hot in summer, and there are lots of bugs." The river beyond the nearby lock isn't tidal - a blessing, says Curran, "or we'd spend a lot of time sitting on smelly mud".



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