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
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...