A while ago I cycled up the toe path to Thrupp and met up with Maffi for a pint to talk about getting afloat; other things which are of use are that Amy, of nbLuckyDuck has been answering questions to her FormSpring account in a serious of Any Questions posts, Peggy of Narrowboat Wife is also writing a set of posts about living aboard;

At some point soon I will have to jump on my poor bike and cycle the few (~50) miles to Whilton Mariner for a look around; and to (they also produce a  Guide to Getting Afloat). I have tried signing up with there free online service; however something about having {firstname}@{lastname}.eu means my email address is not valid, but looking round the area should be good. (update Phoned Whilton, and they added me).