The Bookshop that Floated Away
by Sarah Henshaw
I usually make a practice of reading a book before writing about it, but for every rule there is an exception and this is one of them.
We have a particular affinity with Sarah Henshaw and her Book Barge which took a nationwide tour in the summer 2011. We meet up with her at several points up during her six month journey, generally supporting her attempt to barter her way around the inland waterways.
A new book is launched from a floating bookshop
In particular I remember getting a call one Sunday evening from a slightly distraught Sarah when she had just arrived at Portishead on the Severn Estuary and was about to make a dawn passage to Sharpness on the biggest spring tide of the year. The conversation went along the line of:
"Hi Andy - I have made it to Portishead"
"Great - so tomorrow id the big day"
"Yes, but the estuary is a bit big - you know, wide, its got waves and everything like the sea"
"Yes Sarah, that's because it is the sea!"
"Yeh, well, I am a bit worried about the journey tomorrow. The pilot is asking all sorts of questions about the boat - do you fancy joining us for the passage"
A capacity crowd attends the launch event
You don't turn down offers like that so two hours later Dan and I rocked up in Portishead with fish and chips, booze, sleeping bags and assorted tools for some ultra fast engine maintenance and spent the night on the floor of the Book Barge.
Proud author attending the book signing
The passage was dramatic with the Sat Nav touching 20mph as we passed under the suspension bridge, but it all ended well and we waved farewell to Sarah and Stu as they sailed away up the Gloucester Sharpness Canal to complete the circumnavigation of the system.
Booze, Boats and Books - cant be bad....
Along the way Sarah started to write a book and today the book finally came to fruition with the launch of The Bookshop that Floated Away, a humerous account of a bizarre journey, one girl, a boatfull of books and a bucket load of hope published by Constable for £7.99.
Copies can be obtained from the Book Barge at Barton Turns Marina (Open most Saturdays) or at the Spring Market at The Bond in Digbeth, Birmingham on Saturday 12th April.
The Spring Market promises to be an excellent food and craft event with the Book Barge and the Homebrew Boat offering waterbourne interest and the Wild Side preserve stall will have its first outing of 2014.
I will do a proper review of the book as soon as I can pry Helen's sticks fingers off the dust jacket!