Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Listen to the music - of a paddle steamer

The paddle steamer 'De Majesteit' features a real steam engine, a sight to see for the passengers, because they can look into the engine room through a huge panorama window.

Steam, used for propulsion, is also available to play a steam organ.
This organ is so loud that it can be heard for literally miles around. So I jumped on my bike to make sure I could share this experience with my friends the world over.
This is not a unique European feature; I have come across internet sites about American paddle steamers with similar organs - and similar trouble to get them properly tuned.

Two movies below:
25 seconds, low quality image and sound, 280 KB, pleasant for dial-up connections;
1 minute 18 sec, higher quality image and sound, 6.7 MB, different tune and well worth the longer download time, I think.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Looks can deceive...

Some of the classic barges on our shipyard are at the end of a long restoration process. The only reason for taking them out of the water periodically is to make sure that the part that is normally under water remains as good as it is, like our friends Aad and Carla's barge Anthonetta.

Others are at the beginning of all that work of repair and restoration, as is our guest of this week.
The hull under water is still very good, given the age of over 80 years.
The side of the aft cabin, however, is in a sorry state. To repair this is not just rough steel work, as you will see after following me inside.

All this stunning woodwork comes totally unexpected and is really overwhelming.

Right behind this panelling is the rusted-through steel outside. Great care nust be taken not to damage this beautiful interior during repair work. The wooden bits probably need to be taken apart.

To complete our grand tour through the tiny interior, here is the door to the bedroom...

...containing two double bunks, made to the size of people who lived eighty years ago - and were much smaller on average than we are nowadays!

Photos: Koos Fernhout

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Extra! Extra!

Do yourself 4 favours: follow these links to listen to a rare version of Tommy (or right-click and save target)
Download Side 1 (19.6MB)
Download Side 2 (16.9MB)
Download Side 3 (12.0MB)
Download Side 4 (16.3MB)

Friday, May 26, 2006

After a rainy day

Yesterday, after it had been raining almost all day, the evening atmosphere looked incredibly clean, the sun was bright and low, so I took the camera on our walk to see if it could capture that brightness.

Our port mirror-like, a complete contrast with the river a few hundred metres further on.

The light gives the water of the river an unusual dark glassiness.

The river traffic surveillance post looking like it was painted only yesterday.

Arrival of the water taxi.

Subject of this picture is not the modern-city scene, but the light itself.
Val's leg magically disappeared from this picture.

So can my camera capture the brightness of the evening light? I think it can!
Photos: Koos Fernhout

Thursday, May 25, 2006

We have the Tickets

While I am posting this, Vally P quotes Ian G's post on the same subject (live - we're in the same room): Emmylou Harris (and Mark Knopfler).
That is not all. While she reads, I play Deeper Well, the song Ian mentions as an example of Emmylou's art. How's that for Coincidence?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Very much my day, and Val's, and Pete's

This is a quick one to make up for more than a week's silence, very unusual.

Today is Val's birthday...

...and Pete Townshend's, in that order.

I just walked into Val's place. She was playing 'Dr Jimmy and Mr Jim' of the Quadrophenia album. It brought tears to the eyes of both of us. What lucky people we are to have so much beauty at our disposal.

Talking about beauty, I love the Dutch Railways clock I am allowed to use on this blogpage.
If you like it too, why don't you come and see it full-screen.
Photos Koos Fernhout

Monday, May 08, 2006

Not my day...

Today was very windy. It is said that the famous French mountain wind, the Mistral, can drive people mental. I never believed that until today. There was madness in the air.

First there were the automatic double doors at the exits of the Rotterdam underground railway. They sense your approach and open up away from you, but not today, they opened up towards me (a form of madness), realised their mistake, reversed the movement and knocked my spectacles off my nose. The inspector who listended patiently to my complaint agreed that the system is disastrous and should never have been introduced.

Next stop the parking police to make sure we don't get fined for parking the newly acquired van in the centre of Rotterdam. I walk in and the next thing I know is I lie on the ground. Ouch! A man using a zimmer frame has activated the invalid lift, which means that a railing emerges out of the ground to keep him from falling off the platform. Don't we all love designers of mechanical contraptions?

I should have been happy because the parking permit was organised within minutes (Dutch bureaucratic efficiency for you), even before I could complete filling in my complaint form about the invalid lift, but I wasn't. Next stop McDonalds for some 'oral consolation'. The young man at the counter asks: 5,60? Puzzled, ask him if I am supposed to haggle about the price. No sir, just asking if you are 65 (five-and-sixty), then you pay less. So that is the first time someone has asked me if I am 65. Better get used to it. Don't these people read blogs? My profile says clearly that I'm 57, not 65.

PS We don't have the 'sue them' culture where I live. Too bad, I could have made good money today.