Troubador Boating with Buster

Released: 28/09/2018

ISBN: 9781789014389

eISBN: 9781789012279

Format: Paperback/eBook

Review this Book

Author Website

Boating with Buster

The Life and Times of a Barge Beagle

by

Amidst a crisis, Alison feels life’s not worth living, but Buster, a Beagle puppy, will change everything...

Acquiring Lily, a Dutch barge, Alison and her husband, Roger, head for the calmness of the inland waterways. Boating with Buster, they learn plenty about boisterous Beagles and bothersome boats! Redundancy triggers a move to Ireland where the characters are larger-than-life, and the lakes so huge they are known as inland seas. They become custodians of a historical property, partake in milestone boating events, and go ice-breaking in the coldest winter for fifty years. A move to Europe seems to be the chance of a lifetime, but tragedy strikes when Buster develops a debilitating illness. Watching the world go by aboard Lily aids Buster’s recuperation, as they travel through the Netherlands and Germany: spending long summer days on the Mecklenburg Lakes and winter in the former Eastern bloc. Finally, they cross the Baltic Sea to enter Danish waters.

Buster’s story flows through the waterways of Europe in this colourfully portrayed, moving book of canine companionship. A memoir written in first person, Boating with Buster is a charming ‘tail’ that readers who enjoy animal stories, travel and boating will delight in.

Canal Boating Times

Hilary Hunter Writer Blog

West Sussex Gazette

Fiona Ruth's Animal and Photography Blog

The Chichester Post

Dogs who Sail

Dogs who Sail Reviews

The Days of the Naomh Éanna

The English Informer

Sistership Magazine

Chichester Ship Canal News

Books Ireland

Canal Boat Magazine

Waterways World Magazine

Blue Flag

Towpath Talk

Chichester Post

SisterShip Magazine

Australian Dog Lover

Shannon Boat Rally 2018 Programme

The English Informer

Boat Rally Programme

In Full Cry (The Beagle Welfare Magazine)

This memoir has it all – life on a barge, travel to beautiful ports of call, and most importantly, a lovely dog with a larger than life personality. I loved reading about Alison and Richard realizing a dream as they traveled by canal boat through Europe. I laughed along with them at Buster’s escapades and ability to make friends wherever they went, and I cried when he became ill. Anyone who has ever loved a dog will love this beautiful and moving portrait to one of this planet’s most faithful species. There is no purer soul than that of a dog.

by Rosemary Smith


A lovely read with lots of gorgeous pictures. A beautiful book.

I loved this book! It begins seemingly light-hearted, but soon we see that there is more to Alison's story. Buster helped Alison and Roger through the aftermath of some terrible times. That's why he was so special and that's why she's telling their story.

Having had quite a few dogs, but never before a beagle-until my son got one, and now we are absolutely in love. Perhaps because of this fact, this was a book which I'd noticed and eagerly waited for its publication. It's the perfect book for me, and anyone who dotes on their animals. Many of the ways Buster had, the things he did, I found myself nodding and thinking 'Ah, yes, our Eddy does that'. Of course, there's the added bonus of travel/sailing through England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden etc.

All in all, it adds up to a wonderful book. Beautifully presented with lots of photos and lovely finishing touches, such as paw prints and canal art motifs. A joy to read.

A substantial, meaty book, with plenty to enjoy. Plenty to keep you occupied for a long while. Lovely to have so many photos. Pure reading luxury.

by Julie Haigh


Having enjoyed Alison Alderton’s interesting articles in waterways magazines over many years, I was eagerly looking forward to her debut book. Boating with Buster is a colourful, well presented, captivating memoir and travelogue. There are many of Alison’s typically excellent quality images accompanied by barge art motifs reflecting her background connection with the waterways of England.
However, this story takes the reader far from these shores, on a roller coaster ride of humour and emotions as Alison bares her soul and the love of her Beagle companion, Buster. There are touches of her love of waterways and their history interwoven with many tales of Buster’s antics in typical Beagle behaviour.
Written in three geographical sections; England, Ireland and Europe, each with a route map, this book builds as Alison and Roger grow in confidence, to become adventurous voyagers even taking their little Dutch barge, Lily, to sea. Through all of this, we see Buster first maturing and then growing old in the company of his loved ones. What shines through is the love, care and devotion shown by this couple for their canine companion. Dog lovers as well as boaters will find this book hard to put down. So make a coffee and settle yourself down for a really good read!

by Kevin Hayler


A lovely read with lots of gorgeous pictures. A beautiful book.

I loved this book! It begins seemingly light-hearted, but soon we see that there is more to Alison's story. Buster helped Alison and Roger through the aftermath of some terrible times. That's why he was so special and that's why she's telling their story.

Having had quite a few dogs, but never before a beagle-until my son got one, and now we are absolutely in love. Perhaps because of this fact, this was a book which I'd noticed and eagerly waited for its publication. It's the perfect book for me, and anyone who dotes on their animals. Many of the ways Buster had, the things he did, I found myself nodding and thinking 'Ah, yes, our Eddy does that'. Of course, there's the added bonus of travel/sailing through England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden etc.

All in all, it adds up to a wonderful book. Beautifully presented with lots of photos and lovely finishing touches, such as paw prints and canal art motifs. A joy to read.

A substantial, meaty book, with plenty to enjoy. Plenty to keep you occupied for a long while. Lovely to have so many photos. Pure reading luxury.

by Julie Haigh


I loved this eagerly awaited book. I've never met Alison and Roger in person but feel I know them through the love of dogs and boating.
The book lived up to my expectations and more. Joy and sadness, humour and frustrations perfectly balanced resulting in a very satisfying and memorable read. Alison paints with words the way an accomplished artist constructs his/her pictures, the mind's eye is filled with colourful images that accompany the prose. Added to this are the many beautiful photographs and paw print graphics that embellish every page.
I intended to take this book with my on my winter sojourn to Portugal where we like to escape the harsh UK winter. It was to be a coffee table book that I would dip into now and again and enjoy over a few weeks. Instead of which I couldn't resist starting it when it arrived at my home in early October and I finished within a few days! Well done Alison, Buster would be PROUD!!

by Margaret Crompton


Described as a different kind of road story, Boating with Buster introduces us to Alison Alderton’s world of boisterous Beagles and bothersome boats. It follows Alison, her husband and their Beagle on their adventures through England, Ireland and Northern Europe as far north as Scandinavia – no mean feat in their small Dutch barge called Lily!

This book is a total joy to read while also very pleasing to the eye with the book having many beautiful photos taken around Europe on their travels.

by Jules


Boating with Buster is a simple title for what turns out to be an inspirational tale. In her debut book, Alison Alderton has cleverly interwoven, not just a travelogue, but a tender love story of courageous humans, a pretty little barge and one very special pet.

This three-part journey navigates from the established waterways of the English canals, via the calm waters of rural Ireland, to the journey of a lifetime through Europe. Alison weaves her heart-warming memories of Buster the Beagle into an insightful picture of life on the water and all the colourful episodes that come with it. Throughout, this is illustrated beautifully by Alison’s own accomplished photography.

Fans of boats, dogs or epic journeys will naturally love the subject matter but this heart-warming and very personal story will engage anyone interested in the human condition. It's all here – life, love, ups and downs, tragedy and comedy, with a liberal smattering of the characters one meets along the way.

Lily and “The Admiral” are characters to fall in love with. They would lend themselves to many a work of fiction. However, as this adventure shows, life needs no embroidering and the reader will need no encouragement to wander these waters from cover to cover.

by HIlary Hunter


Alison Alderton

Alison Alderton was born in Chichester, West Sussex, and educated in the county, studying art, design and photography at the West Sussex College of Design and later Creative Writing with NEC, Cambridge. For over 20 years, she has contributed both words and pictures to leading inland waterways publications, belongs to several boating associations, and is passionate about the world's inland waterways.

She is rather fond of Beagles too!

  • Buy as a printed
    book
  • £19.99

  • 7 customer reviews
  • Buy as an ebook
  • £6.99
  • Find this ebook at your favourite retailer
Also by Alison Alderton / Related Books