Saturday, February 01, 2014

Harbour Ways : coming very soon

I was walking through the harbour today when a hail storm started, so I ran to the shipyard and took shelter in amongst the post boxes. Yes. I do mean that. We have this wonderful cylindrical monster pillar box standing in the yard that looks as if Dr Who has decided police phone boxes are 'de trop' and HM's old English pillar boxes are 'de rigeur' - and that he has sort of landed here. Only our pillar box is not red; it is a sort of British racing green. Inside, it is lined with small post boxes and it's where we go to fetch our mail, we harbourites all having the same address (very confusing for suppliers and service providers, but that's another story). As a result, I was able to stand inside sorting my post until the hail stopped.

When I emerged I saw Angelique, another long term ligger who figures in Watery Ways, and whose name comes up again in my new book, Harbour Ways. It was lovely to see her as we don't bump into each other all that often these days. Things have changed a bit since those early years when I was busy converting the Vereeniging from an empty hull into a home. It seems incredible now that it's ten years since I finished it, and I realise my lovely barge is due for an almost total re-fit.

Anyhow, as I said, things have changed; liggers have come and gone and the core of our community is centred in the younger members now, most of whom have children, and so 'the life' revolves round them. As it should. What hasn't changed is the sense that I belong in this harbour more than almost anywhere in Europe. In fact, I have lived in Rotterdam longer than in any place in my entire life and it has become home. I felt that very strongly today as I was sheltering in our monster pillar box and it felt pretty good. It seems rather fitting too that I should have this sort of light bulb moment just as I am about to publish the sequel to Watery Ways.

My new book tells the story of the Vereeniging's transformation, and is very much focused on this harbour and its people - the main reason I have given it the title of Harbour Ways.

If you are interested in reading about my first two years on the Vereeniging, Harbour Ways will be released on **** 18 February**** (that's in two weeks!) firstly as a Kindle book with a paperback version available on But shortly afterwards, it will be available on,, and then a bit later, it will also be available through all the other online stores such as, Barnes & Noble and Ingrams.

PS My special thanks go to Christina James, who has been an amazing encouragement to me to finish this book. Her Facebook, twitter and blog posts have been a great inspiration. Thank you so much Christina!


  1. I'm absolutely delighted that 'Harbour Ways' is due so soon. I've enjoyed 'Watery Ways' and I know that the sequel won't disappoint. I'm touched by your PS, Valerie, but have only tweeted and posted - not much at all compared to the efforts of those behind-the-scenes readers and commenters who have done the real work on your text. If it has helped, I'm pleased; going to Oude Haven made it all real, somehow. I've done nothing that you haven't matched with your huge support. My thanks go to you. *smashes champagne bottle on bows of 'Harbour Ways'*

  2. Congratulations Val on the 'arrival' of a new book. Can't wait to read Harbour Ways having enjoyed Watery Ways so much; you left us with the excitement of the new barge and now we can know what happened next :) All the best for the launch.

  3. Christina, you cannot know how much your photos and posts have spurred me on to the finish line! In the past, I have had bloggers to keep me going, but this time I chose to write without blogging the instalments. With all the other demands, it might have taken much longer if it hadn't been for you. I am definitely endlessly grateful to my proof readers, but I wanted to say a special thank you to you :-)

    Patricia, I am thrilled you have enjoyed Watery Ways so much. I just hope that Harbour Ways will be a worthy successor :-)

  4. Thank you, Valerie, and best wishes for the 18th! :)

  5. Hi Val - that's amazing and so pleased you're telling your story now.

    I love the idea of the ginormous post box with welcoming innards! - must be fun going there to collect mail .. though I'm glad ours is delivered!

    I'll keep my eye open for Harbour Ways .. good luck with all the marketing et al ..

    Cheers Hilary

  6. It's very exciting that the book is almost here.

  7. Thank you very much, Grace, Hilary and Stu.

    Hilary, everything about our harbour is just a bit quirky and special :)

  8. Great to hear Val! You must be very excited!

  9. I cannot wait for the next installment of your adventures. I will wait for the paper version, the kindle is fine but not for special books that I want to keep. I am doing a catch up on posts now I have a sort of internet signal, might be slow but I will get there! Weren't UK post boxes green originally? Something in my mind says so but that might be Father Christmas! Xxxx

  10. We need a photo of that postbox Val.I'm looking forward to your book it's so interesting to read about a different way of life. I'm glad your happy where you are it's always a lovely feeling, to be content.Good luck with book launch.

  11. Fran, how lovely to see you here again! I'm so glad you are still about even if only temporarily! Thank you so much for the good wishes, and I hope we can catch up soon! Yes, the old Royal Mail pillar box was definitely red, but ours is racing style green :-)

    Anne, thank you too! I'll take a photo of the post box and post it here soon :-)

  12. Hi Val, Congratulations on your new book. I've been hearing nothing but good about it. Sounds like a great present for Steve's birthday :)
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)_


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