Saturday, November 22, 2008

The lure of Barge logblogs


Over the past week, Blogdom has seen a revival, and it's been like finding all my friends at home again. Wonderful! I was afraid that the trend to write blogs had given way to Facebook, and was saddened. Don't get me wrong, Facebook is a hoot. I love it. But for me it's a place I can breeze in and out of and doesn't involve much in the way of real input. It's also been an amazing way of hooking up to old uni friends I haven't had contact with for years.

That being said, I missed the bloggers and so started looking for new contacts in my own sphere of interests. First off, I found Michelle Caffrey, who has written a book about her and her husband's maiden voyage on their barge Imagine. They are an American couple, who gave up lucrative careers in IT, a beautiful home and smart cars to buy an old Dutch barge and do Barge and Breakfast tours of the French canals. The book was gobbled up in a couple of nights, and I'd hoped to continue following their blog, but sadly, they seem to have been too busy chartering to keep it up, and so I am waiting again till they update their website.

Then, there is my new friend Frederic. I also found him via his website called Living Afloat . He is busy restoring and fitting out a magnificent 39 metre Luxe Motor built in 1929. Frederic is Belgian and lives in Brugge, or Bruges, which is not too far from us. We have been to visit him there and seen what a great job he is doing with his ship. His website is a treat. Full of information about barges in general and his own in particular. He was even kind enough to advertise my book on his page too, and I keep up to date with his progress through his monthly logs and photos.

Added to this, a month ago or so, I saw a strange name appear on my own blog, and at first I thought it was a spam comment, but then Dale told me she'd taken a look and thought I would like what I found. I felt quite guilty when I opened up Saltysplash's blog. How I could ever have dismissed his comment as spam, I don't know now, but I was charmed and thrilled to find a blog about Geoff and his Laura who live on a Narrowboat in England. Geoff writes lovely, whimsical posts about their travels along the English canals, and publishes some great photos as well. I await his new posts very eagerly these days. Then through him, I found several other blogs about English canal cruisers, and it opened up a whole new blogosphere for me...manna from heaven! Now, of course, I am longing to take the Vereeniging over to the UK and sample some of these beautifully intimate and rural stretches of water myself. With the winter drawing on, dreaming about it is about as far as I will get, though.


Last, but not least, there is our dear friend Philip's blog, named after his barge the Blauwe Vis. We have been following his progress since he left Rotterdam last month, and the photos he has published are stunning. I wouldn't presume to copy his own images here on my blog, but I've found a few on the web of places he's passed through on his travels, and posted them here to give you an idea of the visual wealth of his journey.



I find it eases my roving soul to read about other people's travels, but of course nothing really replaces the real experience, and as soon as the Hennie Ha is fit and whole again (that will be when Koos comes back from Poland now), I hope the weather will allow us at least a few jaunts into Belgium; along the canal to Gent perhaps, and maybe even to Brugge to see Frederic. Short though these trips will be, they will surely keep us going till the spring and summer are here again.

Mouzon, where he is
staying over at the moment

Footnote: I hope I haven't infringed any copyright with these photos here, but if they all disappear overnight, you'll know what I've done...


  1. wow, who knew so many people wroye about their shippies

  2. Well, I'm not sure how many people wroye about their shippies either Mo, but there are a zillion blogs about them ;-)

    I just had a look at your blog there, pet, and it seems to have stopped. Didn't you go to your interview with the IND after the last post? I think you could write a really good handbook about the whole immigration process. It would be of so much help to others who have to face the same hurdles and frustrations. Sleep tight my Mo xxx

  3. I am so glad I'm back, too.
    Like you, I feel FB is a only a place to stop in and say hi.
    Here I can simply say hi - or simply say something much deeper than that.
    Speaking of the deeps, I don't want to lose you to the water!
    I want to continue to wroye about my mountains and I hope you want to continue to read...

    will comment proper when more time allows

  4. Wonderful photographs. Pleased you are enjoying the blogworld again Val. I don't venture over to facebook or myspace.. just blogland. I am signed up there but found it not my cup of tea.

  5. Hi Val,

    I'm back with London (three). What great pictures on your blog. I love all.

    Best wishes and a great sunday evening.

    Love Stefan

  6. Hello Vally Pee!,
    you're right about Blog verses Facebook. I've just been informing AM about my fellow absconders including Neilypie! are latest recruit and my lack of attention to blogdum these days, like I explained, just not had the mind set to write anything of late, but I do read all your blogs and keep up with you all.

    Anyhoo, some great pictures of fellow barge bloggers and great that you all share the same passion.
    Ill write you an email soon and bring you up to speed, might even get round to doing a blooming well blog! :0)


  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. delete yes - needed editing


  9. Facebook? Bah! Not this little black duck. I'm not even on Myspace. Heck, I can't sustain one site!

    I need to come back and look at this tantalisingly pretty and long post properly Vally - got to go and feed the masses now. (Minus one - we farewelled our lovely Emma yesterday for a whole month. I miss her already! A small person whco leaves a big hole when she's not around. I hope India can cope.

  10. you're missing out on several English boat blogs, even! Ours, At Home on Hendrik, our neighbours' blog, This too shall pass, and tim Zim's terrific Southampton-based blog, I didn't mean to but....

    Happy reading! It's enough to fill out a whole bosty section in my RSS feed reader. :)

  11. Hi Melissa! Thanks so very much for stopping by here...I can't wait to follow those links, and have already been to yours..oh my! What a feast it will be. I'm looking forward to finding out more about where you are moored as well..are you anywhere near Tower Bridge? If so, you might know Lise from Denmark who is restoring her own barge here at the harbour in Rotterdam... well, it is a small world after all, so you never know. Thanks again, I shall put you on my rounds!

  12. I tried MySpace - not for me.
    FB is a bit noisy and confusing.
    My blog is where I feel at home.

    Although, I am at this moment, discovering live chat on FB with one of my best friends, Lory. She lives about 500 miles from me, so it's nice to be able to chat. She's moving and needs advice lol

    Hee Hee, this is fun!

  13. I agree with you about FB ... nice place to visit and reconnect with old friends ... even meet a new one or two but very hard to say or hear anything substantial there. I much prefer blogging but having a hard time getting my circle of friends interested ... o well.
    Told my wife about you and your lifestyle and she thought, like I did, that it was such a romantic way to live ... and then I read your post about all the hard work involved. Gave me a thought that ANY lifestyle might be cool and romantic as long as we keep the mundane parts in perspective.

    Anyway -- love your posts -- look forward to reading more.

  14. Hi Val,
    there seems to be a renaissance of blogging this past week- must be the cold snap! I've not seen heavy traffic around my blog like that in quite a while. Nice to see all the regulars popping by to say hello.

    I love all the travelblogs you've unearthed. How nice to have these kindred spirits. I've always thought the strength of the internet is that it brings like-minded people from across the globe together.

    As for Empty Glass, the glass is half full right now. ;) I've worked and typed out most of the last chapter but ran out of time in terms of finishing it. I had to finish report cards tonight, tomorrow is our 2nd anniversary (woo-woo) and then I hope to have more to write for you. Be patient, my dear. You could always go check on your own little novel...


  15. Oops...I see you did write some more.


  16. Hi Val,

    thank you for your kind words on my blog.
    I try to come regular around, but sometimes I haven't the free minutes to write a comment.


  17. With regards to Philip's blog, those photos have me speechless. I cannot imagine boating from one beautiful place to another like that!
    Is Europe completely criss-crossed with a network of canals and waterways?
    Although, here we can boat to a couple of local watering holes...

  18. oh dear, I have failed to reply to so many comments, and now I'm streaming with cold and just want to go to bed.

    Sooo, dear Margie, it's just wonderful to have you back, so take all the time you want.

    Grace, thanks to you too, and Stefan, Anne Marie and Dale. Sorry for not answering you properly but I do appreciate the comments.

    Gypsy, It just fantastic to see you back again too. Missed you heaps here even though I do catch up with you on FB too.

    One last thing though, Dale, yes Europe is criss crossed by an astonishing network of canals and rivers, and you can go an awful long way by boat. I am really very jealous of our philip...sigh!

  19. Van, I forgot to mention you too, but I have followed up on your blog too, so this is just to say thank you here. I'll see you over there again soon!

  20. Val,

    Another amazing post. I always enjoy going to your blog and reading about your adventures on the water with Koos, Sindy et al.

    Those pix are amazing and bring me back to the days of my european travel. (especially when staying in Namur and having the amazing experience of spending a day on the water kayaking with five wonderful and gorgeous tall dutchmen.

    You see, I like water too - just not in the form of rain!! (lol)

    Lesley xx

    ps: duct tape was invented for ducts, however it's not as effective as metallic tape these days.

  21. Gee Val, 120 comments and counting! Even I write 3/4 post a day (not month).

    Having said that, The screens in internet cafes are not for people using bi-focals. I need to tilt my head back to read. Very uncomfortable.

    But it's great to be in Poland!

  22. Let me just say at first what a lovely new profile picture you have, so joyful!

    Your travels in the blog universe really shows how easy it is to connect and how there are no fences there: just find a like-mindness blogger and you're off! I admire your energy in looking for like-minded bloggers. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost that energy...

  23. Lesley, I'm so glad you have such good memories of this part of the world...although I'm quite sure that five gorgeous Dutchmen must have helped too...;-) Thanks for the info about the duct tape..I often wondered.

    Dale and Maria, glad you like the cheerful new me! Maria, I just love reading about other people's worlds, so the curiosity gets me every time!


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