Friday, March 31, 2006

Just before we go to South-Africa

This is a big post, but then remember that it'll be more than a week before another one appears on these pages.
These images are all dear to me.

A lock on the Belgian Upper Sambre. I chose to only show the colours yellow, green and red, the rest is in greyscale.

Believe it or not, these oddly shaped watertowers near Maubeuge really have these remarkable colours.

For a brief period in 2005 communication between my camera and the computer was less than ideal. It led to a subtly surreal effect that would have been hard to achieve deliberately. Valerie wearing her sunglasses helped too, not to mention the dog Sindy having a plastered leg. This is Arquennes on the old canal Brussels-Charleroi.

Below an image worth watching in itself. Clicking on it leads you to a QuickTime panorama (2.6MB) that will take a while to download, but worth the waiting if I say so myself. When the panorama has appeared, click and drag in the image to navigate.

This is south of the Volkerak locks on the way from Belgium to Rotterdam.

That's it for this week.
We'll be thinking of you.
Photos and panorama Koos Fernhout

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Now is 29th of March, 10.30h

At this hour exactly it has been a year since I gave up smoking.

Come to think of it, it's been a year since I had to go to hospital urgently for treatment of a heart infarction. Any connection between these events? Then try this one.

Recently my notary told me that on that same 29th of March 2005 the divorce between the mother of my children and myself came into effect.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"When I paint my masterpiece"

"Trainwheels are running through the back of my memory..." (Bob Dylan)

If blogspace is where closet-artists come out, then I am happy to join the ranks.
I painted this almost twenty years ago, and it is still asking for a successor. This untitled work was never shown to the world outside my family cricle.
Let the comments flow freely. I like that.

This is Henny Gouwens's barge just before the winches start to pull it out of the water. In the foreground Peter Faber holds a rope, used to guide this extremely elegant beurtschip to the right spot.
Photos Koos Fernhout

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Barge

Recently there have been questions on Rachel Fuller's blog about the barge that is mentioned there and during the In The Attic web tv shows.
This is that barge, called 'Grand Cru', a floating studio, moored on the tidal river Thames, just outside Pete Townshend's studio.
Note the dry patches in the river - it is ebb tide. The barge has its own dry place to sit on. That leads to her leaning slightly forward, hence the producer's chair that rolls away from the mixing console.
Part of the day this is not a floating studio at all...
I have blogged about this subject before
here(2) and
For those who'd like to see more of Richmond, where Pete and Rachel live, look
here(5) and
Photos Koos Fernhout

Friday, March 24, 2006

Willemsbrug, Rotterdam - for James

One of our readers, James Casey, recently wrote that he once visited Rotterdam. He summed up the places he'd seen, among them the Willemsbrug (a bridge across the river Maas). So especially for him, here is a picture I am very fond of, featuring this bridge and a very rare, fully restored river paddle steamer.

Here another view of the bridge.

Clicking on the image below leads you to a QuickTime interactive panorama.

(452 KB, QuickTime plugin required).
Enjoy the look around from the head of the earlier Willems bridge. Once the panorama is on screen, click and drag left and right to get a 360 degrees view.
Photo and panorama Koos Fernhout

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This Rebus is dedicated to Anne-Marie

Question: what is the Dutch word for star?
A special Virtual Bonus Cuddle goes to the first non-Dutch reader to leave the correct answer in my comments section.
If you need more details just click on the image of the Guest of the Week at our shipyard, the two-mast clipper barge ANNA MARIA (hence the dedication). You might find the answer there.
Somehow I feel someone is going to work this one out, sooner or later.
Please add to your comment if the rebus was:
- Much too difficult
- Just right
- Much too easy
Your Feedback helps us improve Our Quality!
Photo Koos Fernhout

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Guest of the Week, a strange boat, and a Panorama

Here's Neeltje, pretty as a picture, high and dry for maintenance.
Until the Second World War these barges, under sail, were used for the transport of goods on the waterways of continental Western Europe.
Neeltje means "little Cornelia". You'll be amazed how often the diminutive form is used in Holland. It does not necessarily mean small, quite often it just expresses affection.

I found this remarkable floating contraption on the river Dender in Belgium.
The sign says they are members of The Green Pirates, a circle of militaria aficionados. Every colour other than military colours should be avoided like the plague. I wondered aloud why the girl's underwear was purple. Her boyfriend set the dog on me.
Luckily, the dog couldn't find its way up the bridge where I stood...

Yippee, below is the first of my homemade panoramas. QuickTime must be installed on your computer to view it. Just let me know if it works for you. I can find other ways to post them.
Click-drag on the panorama image to look around in the Oude Haven in Rotterdam.

You find the free QuickTime plugin at
Photos and panorama Koos Fernhout

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Hummer Touch

We were strolling down Newton Street in Manchester when I suddenly dashed off to the traffic light down the street. Just when the light turned green I managed to take a picture of this 'slightly adapted' Hummer. One might say it's a bit over the top, but with three rear axles, you definitely GO STYLE, as the license plate says.

Need to find the address of the man who has a site where he publishes special license plates.

I must admit I wouldn't mind if spring started now. Perhaps publishing an inspiring image of Val's barge in Brussels helps.
Photos Koos Fernhout

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Human Touch

Dear Friends
First of all I need a bigger barge or else there will be no room to store my ego after the most recent comments.
Sometimes the images invoke from others exactly the same response as from me. I think of Dale, commenting on the colourful poster in the snow. Spot on, just the way I see it and the reason why I had to take the picture!

Then there is the picture with the "wee little fire hydrant for wee little fires", also commented on by Dale. It was my attempt to a purely aesthetic approach, but thanks to the comment it becomes wonderfullly hilarious. Goes to show one does not need to be understood to feel appreciated!

Erik-Jan's guess is completely right. In most of my pictures there is a bike just around the corner, a motorcar approaching from behind, the dog about to enter into the picture and I gently hold back my companion.
That explains "Roads without people and stairs aren't climbed". It expresses my feeling of abandonment, having seen these places full of activity, energy and prosperity in the 1960s, just before it all began to collapse.
But then again, without this background the pictures would probably be the same: I like it that way.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A QuickTime (While We're Away)

Quality, not quantity - Robert Pirsig

Repeating myself, I'm sure, when I say I am so very happy with the comments on what I present here. They keep me going.
A very personal thanks to Anne-Marie, Dale and Erik-Jan for their personal feedback (this list is not exhaustive).

Just before we go off to Brussels, here's a QuickTime slideshow (7,2 Mb, but then it contains 150+ images and lasts 9 minutes!). Well worth waiting for if I say so myself.

The large images were uploaded to give you a taste of what's in the slideshow.

Photos Koos Fernhout

Monday, March 06, 2006

No Man's Land (+Guest of the Week)

Last Saturday we explored the region West of Mons some more. As said before, this is where Vincent van Gogh worked with the poor.
We were especially impressed by two small towns on both sides of the Belgian/French border, Quievrain and Quievrechain.

The first looks reasonably prosperous, rather well maintained, and is connected to the Belgian railway network. The latter, in France, looks tired and seems to have suffered too much from industrial decline. It makes the impression that the French government has forgotten about this little place so close to the border: No Man's Land.
The state of decay, the feeling of menace, puts Valerie off completely. I, on the other hand, am fascinated by that haunted atmosphere, the camera just won't stand still.
Conclusion: I need to go back there on my own. A satisfying solution for our difference in feeling.

Here a QuickTime slideshow of all this weekend's photos.

Guest of the Week

The ship on the shipyard this week is called Trio. Repairing the bottom is Frits.
Photos Koos Fernhout

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Goodbye Daniel

Had to say goodbye to our neighbour in Brussels, Daniel, who was always there to lend a helping hand for those who needed it.
Our thoughts are with Murielle, who is now his widow.

The cremation took place in Vilvoorde, an industrial suburb of Brussels.

Before rushing home to stay ahead of the hell on wheels that could be expected on this rare winter's day, I went out in Vilvoorde to collect some visual impressions.
This led to a QuickTime slideshow, dedicated to Daniel and for you to enjoy.

I'd like to close today's diary with an image that struck me this morning. A second after I took this photo the streetlights and the backlight behind the poster went out, and gone was the magic - and so was the snow only hours later.
The blue letters z.o.z. are usually translated as please turn over, an inadequate translation in this case.

Thanks to Rachel Fuller and her friends the day saw a cheerful and colourful ending. Her web-tv programme In The Attic (click on Towser TV after following this link) ,which is broadcast mostly on Wednesdays, was great fun to watch again.
Snow photo Koos Fernhout