Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cigars, Narrowboats and Belgium

In the 15 day blogging challenge, today's subject was 'The last book you threw across the room'. Well, if I had to write about that, it would probably be one of my own when things were not going well, and it wouldn't have been the book itself, it would have been my laptop which nearly got thrown overboard many a time.

That being the case, I thought I'd rather break the rules again and write about my friend Anne's forthcoming book, publishing date to be announced. The title will intriguingly include "A Cigar ." I think she will be using a different author name from the surname I know her by, so I'll be suitably vague here, but the book she's written is about cruising through Belgium on an English narrowboat. I have read it for her and loved it. She and her partner have been dear friends since we met a few years ago in rather unfortunate circumstances - for us, that is, not for them - at least I hope not. Our steering had packed up, and they towed us back to harbour with their lovely boat, Wandering Snail.

Anyhow, I am digressing as usual. This post is about them, not us, and I expect you're wondering what this has to do with both cigars and throwing books across rooms.

The cigar thing is because that's what the French call the English narrowboats - so I'm told. It has to do with the fact of them being long and thin. Nice, isn't it? Here is a picture  (or two) of the Wandering Snail just to prove it.
A cigar on the Gent-Terneuzen canal in Holland

The throwing books across rooms bit is because when Anne was trying to send her book through to Troubadour, who are publishing it, she had so many dramas with combining chapters and including the photos that she nearly ditched the whole project. I can well understand this as I've had a multitude of formatting problems myself and it can drive you close to insanity. Thankfully, with lots of long distance soothing and numerous sms's and emails, she managed to sort things out and I for one am looking forward to being one of the first to buy the book. So, folks, remember the name: A Cigar in ….... "Eet  ees coaming". Like a narrowboat though, it might take some time, but also like a narrowboat, it will be worth waiting for, much like a good cigar, I suppose!

The author, Anne something-or-other

If you are interested in dipping into my books about life on the water not to mention life on a smallholding in rural England, why not visit my author pages on or and read some extracts they have made available.

You can also reach the individual books through my sidebar here.


  1. Gives a whole new meaning to cigars ... the books sounds fab - well done, Anne.

  2. I had this mental image of you and other boaty women stood by the tiller whilst nonchalantly smoking a cigar, but no and no longer does the world espy a bargee woman smoking her clay pipe for such is the passing of time...

  3. Jo, I am really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I have a feeling you would enjoy it too as it's about travelling, but with a definite difference!

    Mel, you did make me smile with this. Now there;s an image! A bargee woman with a clay pipe! I'll have to see if I can find an old picture of one.

  4. I love travelling by narrowboat but have never heard them referred to as cigars before. I'm afraid I associate cigars with luxury and comfort, not words you would expect to hear when talking about a narrowboat, in my experience!

  5. Ros, I'd not heard it before either, but I do see what they mean. The French don't have narrowboats, so I suppose they think they are quite strange! The Wandering Snail is quite luxurious, though. Olly is a fine wood craftsman and cabinet maker, so he did his best with their boat. It's all fitted out in beautifully panelled oak with scrollwork and the lot. It's the most beautiful interior I've seen!

  6. I love the name,The Wandering Snail,it's lovely. Sounds like an interesting book Val.

  7. It is, Anne, and I don't know if you can see it, but on the side of their NB, they have "The Less Cargo Carrying co." I love that play on the French word for snail! The snails (as we call them) are now travelling through Germany…and next year they'll be in Poland…sigh. I so wish...

  8. Thanks for this Val. At last the book's now ready to be ordered through Troubador, Amazon and bookshops. Called 'A Cigar in Belgium' and in my name, Anne Husar. As we are still in the depths of Germany you will get your hands on a copy long before me!

  9. Thanks, Brian. I've see n you appearing on FB, so it's nice to see you here too. Yes, the book is great. Amazing what you can do with a narrowboat! I am so glad to have met Anne and Oll here in the Netherlands.


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