Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What a pleasant encounter - again

It has been said before that in this corner of blogland we find a very friendly atmosphere. Earlier this year this led us to a get-together with Anne-Marie, who was visiting Europe, and could fit in a visit to Rotterdam with her travel plans seamlessly.

There are more people we'd like to meet, and I expect we will in due course.
For some it will take a while; British Columbia for instance, and Holland are quite a few miles apart. However, one of our really faithful visitors and commenters, Erik-Jan, lives only an hour's motor bike ride away.

Yesterday -Tuesday- was the magic moment. Erik-Jan arrived on the quayside and he had found us effortlessly, thanks to his attentive study of all the posts we had done about the Oude Haven in the course of time.

Here Val explains to Erik-Jan about her new entrance hatch.

Meeting Erik-Jan confirmed an opinion we have built up: even in writing you will always show a true image of yourself.
And since Erik-Jan's writing has always been very pleasant, it turned out he is a very pleasant man: thoughtful, modest, gentlemanly and unassuming and nobody's fool at the same time. In brief, our kind of man.

We gave our special guest, a died-in-the-wool professional photographer, the grand tour of our harbours - and walked Sindy in the meantime.

We've already made a plan to meet our special guest again in January, when the Luxor will be on the slipway for underwater repairs.
If there is any possibility at all, we want to go see what Erik-Jan's nautical activities in his home town Naarden are about. His site is in the Dutch language, but the images tell a great part of the story.

And now for our next explanation about ttraffic signs

This strange, scratchy traffic sign, don't know what to make of it. Probably means no neckless roundheaded men in black allowed here. Well, sounds useful, doesn't it?
(Not to Val's daughter Jodie, who passed the theory part of her driver's license test. Congratulations Jo).

Says Gypsy Noir:
"that sign means duck your head theres a black ball about to hit it.."

Rache said...
"...How about 'Walk carefully or your head will fall off'?"

Ahvarahn said:
"...but be careful, that sign worries me a little; it could mean: no dumping of handless, footless, almost-headless corpes? there may be a sinister lot near that sign, i'd stay clear if i were you :)"

Baz said...:
" Beware of black nudists without a neck. "

Lannio said...:
" Beware of neckless, handless, footless humans. They want to circle you. "

Erik-Jan said...:
" Do not lose your head (too often). "

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Study of Red and White Poles

We went to Turnhout in Belgium just to get away 'from it all'. There we walked along the canal, and noticed these red and white poles, very clearly marking the place where one can easily climb out of the water if necessary.

I suppose the next time we'll need to publish a Study of Red and White Czechs ;-)

Ever noticed what the Polish flag looks like?

No joke, it's red and white.
Guess it was all meant to be...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stepped into a church I passed along the way

No I don't go in there to pray, but I do get down one knee to put the camera on the floor in order to take pictures in frog's perspective.

As a rule French and Belgian roman-catholic churches leave their doors open during the daytime for those in need of prayer or just the occasional visitor like me.
It has become a routine of sorts: see if the door is open, take a quick pic and maybe a look around and out again. That approach has now led to a pleasant collection that you can find in the film strip below.
The image above is St-Bartholomew's church in Geraardsbergen in Belgium.

Click on the moving strip below for images of other churches.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Last stop before Lille

Every year, when sailing to Lille, our group of Dutch barges made a last stop in the lovely village of Wambrechies, home of the famous Claeyssens distillery.

Another example of a rather shabby place done up. Here two essential elements of the distilling process on display outside the old factory that is still in use.

The harbour was quite filled with our barges when we all went in there. The rest of the year it is in use as a marina only, as the image above shows.

Restoration in this former industrial area implies a great deal of cleaning. When I first saw this church and the town hall further back, they were all black. Now only one side of the church is left to be cleaned.

The regional dialect is called Ch'ti-Mi (meaning 'You, I'). Also a handy name for one of the beers that this area is famous for.
Here's a song in Ch'ti-mi called P'tit quinquin. The dialect is also referred to as Picard.