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Video: Life and love on the Kennet and Avon Canal

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A couple who live on the Kennet and Avon Canal share their romantic story of life on the water.

Chris and Emma Bateman, 54 and 48, met 14 years ago when they were boat neighbours in Windsor and have since shared their love of the canal living together on a 12ft x 55ft widebeam.

Life for the pair, who are currently moored in the centre of Newbury, has not been plain sailing over the pandemic as Mrs Bateman is clinically extremely vulnerable, so had to shield, and her husband was classed as a key worker.

Chris and Emma Bateman
Chris and Emma Bateman

Mrs Bateman, who is originally from Farnham Common, said: “We saw a huge increase in the number of walkers on the towpath, which is very narrow and so wasn’t possible for people to social distance. This was definitely an added anxiety when you are shielding.

“There have also been issues with not being able to move, access to water, issues getting prescriptions and emergency services struggling to locate you when you are ill.

“I still haven’t been to the shops but I am hoping to go some point soon.”

Kennet & Avon Canal
Kennet & Avon Canal

As for life on the canal, Mr Bateman, who grew up in Windsor, said: “It is not cheap to live on a canal boat, everyone thinks it is but it really isn’t!”

His wife added: “The best thing about living on a canal boat is the freedom.”

The couple first came to Newbury in 2011 after meeting people who lived on boats in the area.

Mrs Bateman, who runs a sign language and lip reading interpreting company, is passionate about rescuing animals and the pair have rescued and help rehabilitate ducks, chickens and even pigeons in the area.

Kennet & Avon Canal
Kennet & Avon Canal

They do not live permanently in Newbury but had to during the pandemic as Mrs Bateman was shielding.

The Batemans were neighbours for five years and went out for four years before getting married in St Mary Magdalene Church, Boveney, a deconsecrated church originally built to serve the bargemen working on the River Thames.

The couple plan to explore the network of England’s waterways for the rest of their lives.

Kennet & Avon Canal
Kennet & Avon Canal

Listen to Chris's and Emma's story of life and love on the Kennet and Avon Canal here:

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