Actually, I've never blogged about boat books before - except my own of course, and then just recently the one my friend, Anne, is about to publish - the one with 'Cigar' in the title that I can't expand on yet as it would be giving too much away.
Phew! I do know how to go on, don't I? Still, maybe that should be today's subject - boat books! Which ones have I read and really enjoyed?
There's quite a collection out there and it's hard to choose, but I think my number one favourite so far has to have been…wait for the drum roll……
**1** For Better for Worse by Damian and Siobhan Horner (pic pinched from Amazon):
Why did I like it? Well it's the kind of thing that I would have done at their age. I sort of did, but I took off to Africa instead. These two crammed all their worldly belongs and two very small children into ten metres of classic cruiser and then, without any experience whatsoever, they travelled through France and out onto the Mediterranean finishing up in Valencia. When I say inexperienced, they arrived in Calais (with the help of a pilot) but didn't even know what a lock looked like to enter the canal systems of France. I just loved this book. It really describes life on the water in all weathers and it is refreshing and starkly honest at times. Both Damian and Siobhan write the book and what I found fascinating was that at the beginning, you can really tell the difference between the two - their styles are quite distinct - but by the end of the book, they have drawn together so much, you can barely tell whose writing is whose. A really lovely book about boats and travelling. It is a physical and emotional journey.
Other boat books I've enjoyed, and probably in this order too, are (I feel like I'm at the Boat Book Awards here):
2. Snail's Pace by Gabrielle Lorenz - I didn't even know it was still available but it seems to be a Kindle book now, so I'll have to get it. I read it as a hardback that's just not on offer any more except at a high price. I really enjoyed it too. It's about an English family who take an old Humber Keel barge across the North Sea, then travel through the Netherlands and France. There's just a bit too much about daily trivia with the children, but it was a great barge travelogue, and it was lovely travelling with them, which is what you feel you are doing when you read it.
2 (too). Small Boat Through Belgium (and Small Boat through France) by Roger Pilkington. These books are just precious even though they were written in the nineteen fifties. It was a time when only the intrepid went boating in Europe and Pilkington and his family were like a bunch of boy scouts in their extreme intrepidness. Lots of adventure and beautiful description, plenty of history and lovely pen and ink illustrations. Old fashioned but really recommended. I used the Belgium one as a reference for The Skipper's Child.
3.The Watersteps series of books by Bill and Laurel Cooper. Watersteps Through France was probably my favourite, but then that's because I have this yearning to go and live on a barge in France. A great series of boating travelogues, also written by both Bill and Laurel with my only reservation being the focus on food and drink. I'm not personally a fan of French food and wine, so that aspect of their book was not quite so appealing for me.
So there. My boat book blog! I didn't know I was going to do this until I started, but now I've done it, I hope you find it interesting. It just proves what a liar I am doesn't it? No peasant would ever have read all these… (see previous post)