Watery Ways: Valerie Poore
The following review was posted on Amazon US & UK
I did enjoy this book and feel quite bereft now that I’ve finished reading Watery Ways. I didn’t want the book to end but fortunately more books have been written by the author about the continuing story of her life aboard a barge or rather barges in Holland and Belgium.
I’ve always enjoyed reading memoirs of people living alternative lifestyles, especially those resettling and living in other countries who don’t necessarily subscribe to the usual ex-pat life abroad. I chose this book as the first one to read in the 20 books of Summer challenge on Twitter and what a lovely way to start. I have also recently started following Val’s blog.
At the beginning of the book Val is newly divorced having temporarily lived aboard a barge in Rotterdam for a while with her now ex-husband.
The lifestyle of living alongside other enthusiastic, friendly and helpful barge owners has been appealing so Val’s aim, with her limited means is to buy and restore her own historic barge and make a comfortable home for herself on board. First though as a temporary measure, a Dutch friend offers her a barge to stay in rent free if she helps to restore the old boat. This she does almost single-handedly using her experience of restoration work on antique wooden furniture and helping to restore her earlier barge home. With occasional help from other local barge owners who seem to form an unspoken but useful collective of skills, the barge is slowly and lovingly restored. There are many mishaps, humerous anecdotes and a collection of feline and canine companions who come and go as temporary guests.
Eventually Val must find her own barge to restore and live in and a new man enters her life.
The whole story is narrated in such a very descriptive, appealing and humerous way that I felt like upping my own sticks immediately and buying a barge in Holland, but unfortunately I couldn’t do this with my circumstances and health so I’m going to have to add the other books in the series Walloon Ways and Harbour Ways into my summer reading. Looking forward to reading them.