PAUL BARFIELD HAS just retired from a career as a marine lawyer, dealing with shipping, salvages, and disasters at sea. He’s worked with investigators and underwriters to find out what went wrong. For many years he was based in the City of London, but has spent the past 15 years living and working in Singapore.
His boating history goes back to the 1980s, when Paul and his family took hire boat holidays. “The love of those holidays has stayed with me,” he says, and he’d long liked the idea of owning a narrowboat and exploring the network. Now, at the age of 70, he’s set aside five years to do just that.
When we met Paul, he was preparing to set off the next day heading for the River Wey in Surrey, and the bicentennial celebrations for the Wey & Arun Canal, a maiden journey of some 165 miles and nearly as many locks.