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Narrowboat Dreams: A Journey North by England's Waterways Paperback – 7 Jul 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (7 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840246707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840246704
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Haywood imprints his inimitable humour on his descriptions of the people and places he meets along the way." --"BBC Country File" magazine

"He conjures up a picture of a different world, filled with interesting and eccentric people. A cross-section of the best of middle England, in fact." --"Oxford Times"

Review

'quietly humorous account... through secret hidden worlds he succeeds in evoking and capturing on the journey'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Another humorous outing by Steve Haywood who ventures north this time in his trusty narrow boat, `Justice'. A road trip from Banbury to Yorkshire and back would take little time, even in Steve's old Triumph. However with various delays and the tribulations of shallow canals, rusty locks and scary tunnels it becomes an odyssey consuming most of a summer. Steve's style is self-deprecating and dry. He is clearly an expert in the field but is never too esoteric or supercilious in his narrative. Quite the opposite in fact. Reading the book you come to understand locks, lock-keys and dog-soiled towpaths like an old boatman. Not all the action is on the water. He describes a visit to an award winning Yorkshire pie shop in detail, with the local housewives observing that `Oo `e likes `is pies' as he gets carried away with his purchase. The trip becomes as much a search for himself as much as for the northern canals. He competes in a one boat race with himself to get to a certain bridge before impending repairs there close the canal. He becomes obsessed with acquiring a canine companion after an encounter with a canal dwelling couple and their dog. Steve also visits lots of towpath pubs. Does he end up with a dog? Does he get to the bridge on time? And does he get through all those pies without a coronary? Well I'll leave it up to you to find out, rest-assured it's a compelling and enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
What a great read! This is a hilariously funny follow-up to Steve Haywood's earlier canal journey in "Fruit Flies Like a Banana...".
He has managed to capture that sense of "where do I belong?" that so many of us East Midlanders experience. As a Nottingham man, I can even forgive him coming from Leicester because he kept me smiling for 300 odd pages.
What I particularly like is the way he captures the singlemindedness of the lone adventurer as he lovingly describes the narrow world of canal life without ever losing the priorities of his sickly Mother and his partner Em.
Just read it.
Mind you, I bet you will never eat a cornetto with the same enthusiasm again.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book, and you dont really need to be "au fait" with narrowboats and canals to enjoy it. It was very funny and as a midlander living in the south, I can see where he is coming from :-). Steve is a very amusing writer, this is the seond book that I have read from him, and it doesn't disappoint.
Well recommended read.
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Format: Paperback
This book has annoyed me so much that it has caused me to write my first ever Amazon review - who'd have thought? It's not as if Haywood is a bad writer - in fact he's obviously a clever, witty man - but this trip through the north is full of some of the most ludicrous cliches I have ever read. Maybe it's because I now live in some of the area covered in his journey, but Haywood's version of the West Yorkshire journey has very little to do with anything I recognise from the region. Take his pie buying trip in Brighouse - did this really happen or is Haywood simply digging into his big book of sub-Roy Clarke cliches, because that's what it seems like. And try as he might, he really doesn't seem to engage with the actual places he's travelling through as anything more as sources for cheap jokes. Which is a shame. It is possible to write an intelligent travel book whilst still being funny but this book obviously isn't it...
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Format: Paperback
This book is a witty travelogue, full of amusing incident and witty comment.The narrator envelopes us in the quirkyness of his life, engaging with casually met characters, taking time to contemplate his own history and that of the world discovered on his journey. He is by turns intrepid and aware of his own limitations, susceptible to reverie and dreams then pulled up short by blunt reality. I found the book well paced and structured, lively and thoughtful. I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback
The story of one man's journey on the lesser-known canals of northern England told with humour and a keen eye for the idiosyncracies of the people and places he encounters en route. It is, amongst many other things, an exploration of the nature of northerness and the tribulations of growing older, as well as a wry commentary on the state of the world. This adds up to a fun read, with an undercurrent of seriousness. Thoughtful, well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable.
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Format: Paperback
"Narrowboat Dreams" is a book in the well tried English tradition of combining a journey with social commentary. It is an enjoyable and thought-provoking read, not only for the canal enthusiast, but for the general reader, richly combining multiple narrative strands.Centred on the narrator's expedition into the world of recently reclaimed Pennine canals, the book takes a wry look at the north-south divide and the general state of contemporary British society. The narrative voice, which I take to be the author's own, is humorous, cantankerous and lyrical by turns - the voice of a man experiencing the changes in life and attitudes which mid-life brings. As such, it has a consistent authentic tone, which adds greatly to the reader's pleasure as he or she shares the ups and down of this strenuous single-handed voyage.
As the narrator says at the end of the book: "Journeys as I've said before, are in the mind, not on maps. They're about what's inside, not out. A personal CAT-scan, not a window on the world." It is this personal view, along with vivid evocations of varied English landscapes and townscapes, that makes the book much more than a travel guide.
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