Tuesday 5 May 2009

Narrowboat Dreams Revisited

Narrowboat Dreams Revisited
Steve Haywood

My desire to visit the Standedge Tunnel was largely inspired by Steve Haywood's accounts of his travels in Narrowboat Dreams so I thought I would revisit the book on my return.

In my November 08 review I suggested that the first half was the stronger ,and the second raced by in a hurried A to B to C description. Having visited the places he described I found that it was the latter section that captured my imagination and my opinion would now be reversed.

This observation made me stop and reflect on travel book as a genre. I have come to the conclusion that they need to be read twice - Once to get an idea of the area and to be inspired to visit, and then again a second time after your own trip to put all the stories and anecdotes into context.

Steve's stories from the ring come alive when you can imagine the exact settings, and it was even more amazing to realise that we had often used exactly the same mooring spots and been struck by the same things.

By the end of the second reading I felt myself drawing closer to his perspective, to such an extent that I am now reading One Man and Narrowboat - a reworking his earlier canal travel book Fruit Flies Like Bananas.

Expect a review in due course!

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