Toilet Talk with Karen, Narrowboat owner

Toilet Talk with Karen, Narrowboat owner

Can you tell us a bit about you?

Towpath Townie Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The Beginning: July 2009

I sold my house and bought a narrowboat!

Teenagers, who'd have-um! Newly divorced and with a 13 year old wayward daughter, and after another fallout, I announced

'that's it; I'm selling my house and will buy a boat to live on'

And I did - 2 weeks later I'd sold the house, found a shell of a boat, had the inside renovated and moved aboard in December 2009.


Cuddy's Home:

She's a 58ft Delph Marine narrowboat, build in 1991 of steel construction with a Beta Marine 43 diesel engine. It's got all mod cons including a washing machine, tumble dryer etc, with a choice of full solar power/lithium batteries or a 240v shoreline. It was little more than an empty shell when I bought her so I hired a carpenter to refit her. I did all the decorating myself.

Morning Routine:

I literally roll out of the captain's cabin at the helm-end of the boat, and walk to the galley, mid-ship, switch on my bean-to-cup coffee machine for a very large latte, and set myself up for the day ahead, into the lounge cabin area where I have a work-from-home setup. 


What's in your Travel Bag:

My entire life's possessions, whenever and wherever I choose to cruise.

Road Trip Playlist:

Rare northern soul and rare soul-funk usually but I also love classical and am obsessed with Pentatonix and Durand Jones currently.

Why did you Choose a Composting Toilet:

You will not believe the perceived importance and crazy conversations (read arguments) pertaining to toilets on Narrowboats, which at the time included pump-out or cassette. I plumped for a cassette type initially, with a porcelain bowl no less!

Big Mistake...

Cassettes hold around 17 liters of human waste, all mixed together, creating a noxious substance that you know full well about when you empty them into an eslan point. Phewee!

Fast-forward, June 2015...

I'd been researching online for quite a while about the alternative loo-types and stumbled upon a Facebook group dedicated to compost toilets on boats; one of the admins was looking into starting a business building them and we agreed together that I would fund the first prototype. 

The loo was great and served me well for 7 years but it was getting tired, being made of wood which isn't that happy around condensation, and I fancied a change which is when I stumbled across a start-up on Indiegogo called Cuddy. I pressed the button on the page, paid the price and waited for the magic to happen.

What does JustGo Mean to You?

It's my entire way of life, if you're referring to living a mobile lifestyle.

What Keeps you Going?

The fact that my diaphragm continues to make me draw breath 😂.

Advice to Others?

Remember, the toilet is a simple collection device; the onward journey and management of your poop’n’pee needs a degree of responsibility. 

I use pine pet shavings as my cover medium; it breaks down decidedly quickly using the agitator in the loo to assist in the composting process, when it’s mixed with your magical deposits. 

Keeping wee out of the solids box will result in a mixture that will end up smelling of a damp woodland floor.  Urine can be diluted and poured under bushes and trees; they love it!