Living on a boat feels like living outside the law.
There’s liberation in constant movement. But there’s also frustration when you bump up against societal strictures that demand a fixed address. Just try opening a business account. It ain’t like the old days when they beckoned you in with promises of a toaster.
Regulations in the wake of money laundering scandals subject new account applications to heightened scrutiny. Add in the backlog of people who decided to open a business during three months of lockdown and you’re looking at a months-long queue. At the end of which you’ll encounter that pesky question: Where do we send the bills?
Which gets back to why every London boater needs a friend. Someone on land. With a home and a mortgage, or at least a rental agreement as an anchor, instead of a real one that can be picked up and moved.
Which is why grown men and women — captains of their own vessels — visit their mothers to collect their mail. And why new Community Interest Companies like Your Canal Boat can’t yet apply for grants, which universally require a business account in their name.
In our case, lock down resulted in one of our three Directors moving off his boat and in with his girlfriend. We’re confident that the relationship — and our new mailing address there — will last, and that successful grant efforts will follow.
Until then we live by our wits, pursuing business as a CIC is intended to. It is a business after all. non-profit by design. Entrepreneurial by nature. July 4 is the date that public gatherings in England become legal. Watch this space for news of how we’re going to create new Covid-19 safe venues along London’s canals.
As Bob Dylan sang, “to live outside the law you must be honest.”
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