‘Harbour Ways’ by Valerie Poore
‘Harbour Ways‘ is the second book I’ve read by Valerie Poore, (this is the first) and I’m in awe at her industry: how she has managed to move around the world, raise a family, maintain full-time employment and write such lovely books is a wonder. She reminds me in many ways of my sisters: multi-talented, able to put her hand to most things and energetic, yet modest withal.
Poore writes with an immediacy and warmth that I wish I could manage in my own work. ‘Harbour Ways’, one of several instalments of her memoirs, tells us all about her struggles to buy, mend and furnish a historic but much neglected barge which she still lives on today, in Rotterdam, Holland. Courage and the ability to make friends are two more of Val’s strengths, as she negotiates many hurdles and a language barrier in order to repair and furnish her new home with the help of the community of like-minded souls around her.
It’s interesting to watch the author’s transformation from relative novice to experienced water traveller, and enjoyable to muse on the possibilities of travel for oneself. It may be that lock-down has made me nostalgic, but I’m also heartened to see how one’s life can be transformed through the discipline of a long, long series of challenges, mastered one step at a time. There are times when Val’s courage in the face of her challenges is humbling and inspiring in equal measure.
The book itself is interesting, well-written and engaging, and I wish I could listen to Val’s story-telling long after the narrative closes. Which is doubtless the only encouragement I need to read another in the series. Thank you for writing with heart, and giving one hope that rises above the confines of usual, normal life.
Many thanks for reading.