By January 6, 2014 Read More →

Home working snacks on the canal

All aboard for home working snacks with Archie

Home working snacks - Archie WorkmanBusiness mentor Archie Workman was the very first home worker I interviewed.

He told me how he takes his small business clients down the canal in his narrowboat the Why Aye Man.

I’m very pleased to welcome him back as part of the series about home working snacks:

Hi Archie, what kind of facilities do you have on board the Why Aye Man?

Narrowboats today are extremely well kitted out with facilities and while mine is not a new boat it has a fitted Canon gas cooker and 240 volt domestic fridge which is charged up as the engine operates. The galley is at the front of the boat so whoever is Chef, you have a great view.

The bathroom is fitted with a Thetford flushing toilet which modern caravans now use and the shower is actually better than the one at home with the free hot water through a calorifier connected to the main engine.

People often ask is it not cold in the winter, far from it as there is a Morso solid fuel stove in which burns a mixture of coal, logs, sea wood and Irish peat to give that different ambience and aroma.

Do you make refreshments for your visitors or rely on pubs and cafés you pass on the canal?

Being based now in Garstang on the beautiful Lancaster Canal, you always get comments when people walk past if you are frying bacon, mushrooms and egg for a butty!

The kettle is always on, so hot drinks are always available for guests and should they want to sample the waterside hostelries, well there are some cracking establishments on this 42 mile lock free canal from Preston to Tewitfield.

Are you a tea or coffee man? And do you have a favourite snack to go with that?

Drink organic tea and coffee, for me it’s tea before eleven, then it’s coffee time and always tea in the afternoon.

Carrot cake has been known to pass my lips with coffee, tea always goes well with something covered in chocolate so there is always Tunnocks caramel wafers or Jaffa Cakes.

How does food and drink help in getting to understand your visitors’ businesses?

Having a business mentor is all about a relationship. This obviously involves regular meetings and in order to relax and unwind, I find on the canal people change as it is such a slow pace moving along a 3 miles an hour with ever changing scenery.

Standing at the stern of the boat there is ample room for two and as you only need one hand to steer the boat you can drink and eat as you discuss their business problems.

I imagine all that travelling and talking makes a man hungry – what makes for a satisfying supper after a day afloat?

Being in the fresh air all day on a narrowboat is an amazing experience. You often don’t realise just how much sun or windburn you have been exposed to. So it’s tiring and there is nothing better than to tuck into a juicy steak or a Lamb Henry with chips and gravy when you get home or tie up for the night.

I don’t think we can close without a mention of Cumbrian ales, which I seem to remember, you’re a fan of…

Aha Judy, you know my Achilles heel! It is true I am an aficionado of Cumbrian real ales. The on-board bar is always stocked with interesting names such as Laughing Gravy and Another Fine Mess from the Ulverston Brewery near to where I now live, and Cockerhoop from Jennings of Cockermouth where I lived for six years.

Archie is known as The Floating Mentor. He is in great demand by young and old entrepreneurs alike for help in the current economic situation. He has been told he is priceless and that ‘I have never known anybody think the way you do’.

You can see where Archie makes his home working snacks in the galley of the Why Aye Man on Home Offices Gallery 4. The boat is named after the Mark Knopfler song which was the soundtrack to the TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

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