A “popular” Northamptonshire narrowboat cafe is moored at Crick this weekend.
A husband and wife have been running Daisy's Bakin Butty, a cafe, for more than six years, from a boat known as Norah.
Daisy Hampshire, 55, together with her husband Lloyd, 52, offer handmade goods, including coffee, tea, cake, and wooden items, to residents as they travel around the canals of England.
Daisy said: “It’s just been amazing. The people we have met have been brilliant. I’ve made some amazing friends from this business.”
Daisy and Lloyd, originally from Surrey, have been living on narrowboats for more than eight years.
Daisy’s husband has worked on a narrowboat since he was 14 years old. It was his dream to have a boat to live on. Lloyd convinced Daisy to purchase a narrowboat after they spent a few holidays on them.
Within three months of buying a boat for holidays, Daisy and Lloyd sold their house, quit their jobs, and moved on the narrowboat. Daisy used to work as a prison manager for substance misuse.
The husband and wife began discussing setting up a cafe on the boat six years ago.
“You sort of realise that there wasn’t anywhere on the canal to get a coffee,” said Daisy.
Before the pandemic, they began their quest for a new boat as part of their business establishment. Lloyd fitted Norah, their current narrowboat, and they opened Daisy's Bakin Butty in March 2021.
“I’ve been so humbled by how popular we’ve become. I think the first year we were really busy because when Covid hit, people were doing a lot of walking, and it was somewhere else for people to go. It just kind of grew from there,” said Daisy.
The husband and wife traded in Northamptonshire, including Moulton, Braunston, Weedon, and Long Buckby, during the first 18 months after they launched their business.
Last year, they were invited to join other trade boats at several canal festivals, including the Brownhills Canal Festival in August 2023 and the Black Country Boating Festival in September 2023.
So far, the husband and wife have travelled between London and Birmingham.
Fully registered and with a five-star rating, this weekend, the husband and wife are going to open their pop-up shop on the canal, between Crick Waterside Marina and Crick Wharf Marina.
“So if you're out for a walk, cycle, or just fancy a slice of cake and coffee, then pop down; it'll be lovely to see you,” said Daisy.
People can buy coffee, tea, and homemade cakes, including chocolate and fudge, and baked rolls. Daisy also makes hotdogs and hamburgers in the summer.
Weather allowing, they open every weekend and often stay in an area for two weekends before moving on to another village.
Daisy's Bakin Butty is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3.30pm.
Although both cards and cash are accepted, customers should carry cash in case the local signal is weak.
“We have three terms for our customers now. We have stalkers, people who have visited us every weekend since we opened; lurkers, people who come along at the weekend but are not confident enough to chat; and stumblers, people who walk along the canal and stumble upon us. A lot of stumblers have now turned into stalkers,” said Daisy.
But there's more than just cakes, coffee, and tea to choose from. The husband and wife also offer handmade wooden items, including various bowls and pots, made on board by Lloyd.
“My husband is a man of many talents, luckily. It was just a case of how much he’d always loved working with wood. It’s just grown from there. Some of the pots he makes are just amazing. He’s getting as popular as me,” said Daisy.
People can find some of the products on Lloyd's Woodturning Treats Facebook page.
Daisy talked briefly about the experience of relocating from a three-bedroom home to a 70-foot narrowboat.
“We had to get rid of a lot of stuff. So that’s always a challenge. The sights that I wake up to—the trees, the nature—and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere—I wouldn’t want to go back to a house now unless I had to. It’s like having a camper van but on the water.
“I think I was always a minimalist. I have everything on the boat that I had in the house, just on a smaller scale. I think the only challenges of living on a boat are water and electricity,” said Daisy.
People can follow the husband and wife on Facebook to learn about their next destinations and the festivals they want to visit this year as they voyage across England's canals.
Daisy revealed that their next destination is set to be either Braunston or Mononksmore.
The official announcements are made on their Facebook page every Thursday.
So far, the husband and wife are planning to attend the Tipton Canal and Community Festival in September 2024.
Many individuals trade off their boats, either through pop-ups, canal markets, or festivals. If you are a boat trader or know another narrowboat business based in Northamptonshire, share some details about it at [email protected] to promote and support the small businesses on the canal.
Take a look below at some of the incredible photographs shared by Daisy and Lloyd of their travels around England's canals.