As mentioned on the welcome page, 'Hawthorn' is home to Giles Byford and Jill Parkinson. Prior to arriving in Ireland, we spent over a decade making covers while continuously crusing the English waterways on our narrowboat 'Camberwell Beauty'. With a constantly full order book and space at a premium, living and working in what amounts to a partitioned corridor finally got to us and we ordered 'Hawthorn' as a shell, taking delivery in February 2005. The next three years were spent both fitting out 'Hawthorn' and making covers in order to finance our extravagance. Our decision to build such a vessel was heavily influenced by a desire to motor across the Irish Sea to Dublin, which we achieved in May 2009. We have spent the time following our salty voyage wandering around the Irish inland waterways, making many friends in the process. Ireland has been very kind to us and our reply to the often asked question, 'When are you going back to England?' remains, 'When we no longer we want to be here'.
Our lifestyle is an unusual one: we simply potter about the waterways with very loose plans of where we are going. We might fall in with the HBA for a few days or weeks; attend a rally; join up with other wanderers (of whom Ireland has very few) for a cruise of inderminate length; or simply stop in a quiet backwater for days. All of which is made much easier by the absence of a car in our lives. And it seems the longer we live this way the easier it gets: we have friends in many ports, offers of moorings should we need them and as much work (probably far more) than we want or need.
Work is a neccesary evil and, like most folk, we really want to be doing other things most of the time. With fitting out 'Hawthorn' over we determined to be as creative as possible in our new space: Jill, inspired by the Irish landscape, has taken to drawing and painting - examples of her work can be found in 'Jill's Portfolio'; I seemed to have stumbled into writing by chance of 'The Hawthorn Blog'. Initially this was intended, and read by, a handful of friends and family but its readership has grown well beyond our known world. The new blog page on this site (which replaces our English biased camberwellcovers.com site that was long overdue retirement) has all the features of a proper blog page with rss feeds, an email subscription facility and a comments section, and I hope to keep the postings much more up to date than the old site...
'Hawthorn's' crew is completed by 'Hobbes', a twelve year old mongrel rather prone to wandering in order to scrounge food. He is harmless enough when approached - particularly if you come armed with biscuits.
So that's us: reluctant workers, continuous cruisers, struggling artists, chasers of a recalcitrant mutt, but largely content with life's lot. After all, given our extraordinary good fortune in being able to live as we do, we'd be miserable buggers not to be.