Posted 19th Sep 2017
In the latest of our Humans of the Waterway features, courtesy of the Canal and River Trust, we meet Jacqui, of Caen Hills Lock
"Our way of life all happened because we were both under pressure at work five years ago and we decided to go on a narrowboat holiday. It was the first time we both just chilled and relaxed, but after we got back from our holiday the work pressures were still there. That's when we decided we needed to find a less stressful lifestyle - so we both left our jobs, sold our house, the car and everything. We lived in a caravan while we had our narrowboat built, and then we moved aboard fulltime.
The change was enormous... I felt my shoulders go down for the first time in a long time. I began to paint again, and with all the beauty around me on the canals, each painting was a joy. I think that through my artwork I'm sharing my love of our beautiful canals. I'm on the water from morning until night time so I'm lucky enough to watch the light changing and enjoy the natural colours and shadows.
I'm a practising Christian so, to me, all of this is so splendid, I just want to try to recreate it. I'm a self-taught artist, but I had a wonderful art teacher at school, she was my salvation. As a roving artist I sell my work to people who pass by on the towpath and I also run my website www.bailedout-boatart.co.uk. My duck paintings are very popular so I sell quite a few of those!
Living on the canals and fitting our home into the space of a boat, we've learned so much. Your needs are less on the water and it stops you being so greedy. Who needs six pairs of shoes!
My mum used to say about me: "On it, in it, by it, I have to be somewhere near water." We haven't looked back, we haven't regretted it at all!"
Text and image courtesy of the Canal & River Trust