Saturday, February 27, 2016

Watery Ways

The reason that I haven't mentioned before any of the several books I've read about life on the waterways is not that I want to avoid distracting potential readers from my book (hint, hint!) (buy it here!) (have you read it yet???) (Life with our feet under water), (only £2.99) but that I've not really been very impressed with any of them. That is, until I found "Watery Ways" by Valerie Poore.
"Trading life in the fast lane of Johannesburg for that of Rotterdam's serene Oude Haven, Valerie Poore packs all her worldly possessions aboard the historic Dutch barge Hoop and sets about rebuilding both the boat and her life after divorce – and rediscovering herself and her own capabilities in the process.
Along the journey of renovation she is joined by an array of characters, including two dogs and a rather adventurous cat, a smiling but absent-minded ‘landlord’, a quirky friend and confidante, and an olde worlde charmer whose mastery at the helm wins more than just her respect. Before long Val has to learn to cope with the strenuous demands of acting as Skipper's Mate during numerous nail-biting adventures – frequently with hilarious effect.
When the Hoop, her rented home, is sold, Valerie relishes the new challenge of hunting down the Vereeniging, another picturesque barge aboard which she builds herself a new home and learns that, when life on the waterways is threatened by rust and insurance critics, it is those who band together to help who make the lifestyle so worthwhile.
Valerie’s touchingly sincere story is one of discovery and friendship, endurance and love and, most importantly, never allowing the landlubbers to get you down!"
What was of particular interest to me is the setting, totally unfamiliar to me - a barge in a Rotterdam harbour, and the rivers and canals of the Netherlands. And Valerie really gets her hands dirty. There's a lot of work to be done on the two barges which are her home in this book, and she doesn't shy away from hard work! But this is very much a book about people, too, and the community in which the writer lives. It's a good mix, and I found it thoroughly engrossing. And a great plus in my judgment is that it's a well-written book by an author who cares about words. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Valerie also maintains a fascinating blog at

Watery Ways (a meagre £2.99) and several other books written by her are available on Kindle/Amazon.

(...where my book can also be found!)


  1. Oh gulp!! I have just stumbled upon this! Roger, my very very heartfelt thanks. How kind of you to post about it. If you were closer and wife permitting, I'd give you a big hug. I am going to share this if you don't mind. I'm also going to be reading yours once I've finished the sailing memoir I'm reading. After vicariously experiencing Pacific storms, I'll be very happy to get back to reading about the relatively gentle life on a narrowboat in England :)

    1. The pleasure is mine, Valerie. I'll be reading more of yours in due course. You paint a really vivid picture of your boat and your life, and I found it hard to put my Kindle down! Keep them coming!

  2. Hi Roger - Val has lived an adventurous life since she landed on the waterways of Holland ... I've loved reading about her exploits - things I would not do!! I am definitely not a handyman ... and I'm so pleased you endorse her book so highly ... cheers Hilary

    1. I'm so glad Val chose to write about that very different life of hers. I'm looking forward to reading more!