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.


gypsy noir said...

stunning pictures koos...that town looks so clean and fresh! specially the harbour....hows about next time dales over we meet up for some Ch'ti-Mi... can get confusing though after a few of those it will sound like swearing..i ch'ti you not...

Koos F said...

Brilliant idea, Gypsy. Looking forward to meet and greet and have lots of Ch'ti beers.
Hope Val and Dale can make a plan...

Anne-Marie said...

Lovely pictures, Koos. I am not a beer fan (well, except on the hair), but Ch'ti reminds me of a certain Quebecois swear word.

Party in Wambrechies in 2007!

Metalchick said...

Hi Koos,
Great pictures, I like the fountain in front of the distillery.

Koos F said...

No problem finding wine in northern France I am sure, just like we do they import it from further south, so no need to drink beer or hard liquor, Anne-Marie.

For you I have looked up the P'tit quinquin song in Ch'ti-mi: Dors min p'tit Quinquin, min p'tit pouchin, min gros rogin
The whole song is there on the page, side by side with the proper French version, but maybe it's easy for you?

Thanks metalchick, happy you appreciate it!

Anne-Marie said...

Koos, I read on the left first, and then checked the standard French when I couldn't figure out. Quite a difference sometimes. Thanks for posting it!

Koos F said...

Glad you saw and tried it, Anne-Marie. Of course this is all an attempt to get you interested in my beloved Nord, inlcuding Lille.
The fantasy goes on: we all go to the High Speed Train station to welcome Gypsy to Lille.

E.L. Wisty said...

Ch'ti, eh? I will have to consult the alcohol stores here.

Curious...is it possible to enumerate the basic linguistic differences of the local dialect compared to the "mainstream" language?


Koos F said...

Hi Maria,
I'm afraid I can't produce any more or less scientific opinion on the subjest. Comparing the dialect and the official French I do see recurring things, like the c becoming a ch, the a, e and o are transformed to the i here and there.
That's about it. Oh and... the word quinquin instead of enfant (child). That's possibly because Flanders is so near: the Flemish word for little child is kindeke, which sounds very much like quinquin.
Here's a song in Ch'ti-mi if you are interested in hearing what this special type of French sounds like.

Erik-jan said...

Hi Koos,
So this is a yearly event? Are you there now?
Sounds like a lot of fun, especially when there are a lot of old barges.
Love to Val,

Lannio said...

I'm not familiar with the beer. I do enjoy a pint or two and was very impressed when "Fosters" beer from Australia showed up!

Lovely pictures again Koos. Starting this evening I'm taking a five day long week-end at my parents place in the Laurentians with camera in hand. I want to take lots of pictures. Hopefully the fall leaves will still have their stunning colourful leaves.


Koos F said...

Hi Erik Jan,
These are pictures I took on september 11 2006, the same day as those in the chapters
Is this madness?,
A Sentimental Journey to The Bois-Blancs and
Can't explain...
Add to that the over 500 km of riding the motorscooter, it was a very productive day indeed.

Hi Lannio,
Good to see you here again. Mind if I envy you a tiny little bit for going to see the autumn colours... and your sister Dale for going to see the Who tonight? (if I've read her post correctly).

Koos F said...

...and we are all looking forward to seeing your pictures, Lannio. Will you keep us informed?

bookworm said...

Hi Koos,
hope you feel good. In the last weeks I had no time to write a lot of comments and any new posts. Your pictures are great. I love they.
Wish you a fantastic weekend.
Love and peace

Mary Beth said...

As always, you have lovely pictures. The marina is so beautiful - just like a mirror. I couldn't get the song to play for me...maybe I'll try again later. :)

Dale said...

Hi Koos!

I am sorry for being so lax and not commenting sooner - it has been a very busy week.
The highlight was The Who concert in Calgary - OMG!!!

What do they distill in that distillery?

I can't believe how calm the water on the canal is - especially with all the barges in it!

I also cannot believe that the church was actually cleaned - I can only picture workers up in scaffolding with scrub brushes and buckets of Mr. Clean...
What kind of dirt would make it like that - smoke and soot?

Thanks again for your picture journey!

Hugs to both you and Val.


Dale said...

LOL Gypsy...oh ch'ti!

Koos F said...

Thanks for your kind words, Stefan. It is good to know people appreciate what I am trying to do here
Just today I received an extremely warm e-mail from a Belgian blog reader, who knows most of the places I write about. Turns out he does a similar thing: go out on his motor bike crisscrossing through the old industrial landscape and takes pictures. On top of that he loves Belgian and French barges. His site http://www.spitsen.be You'll understand much of what he writes, because Dutch and German are so similar.

Funny thing, Dutch visit my blog but don't comment on it because they don't trust their English - but who said comments have to be in English?

Koos F said...

Hi Mary Beth
Any news about the canal in Ottawa? I loved it - in 1971 but still...
I am sure you'll be able to hear the song. It is a very regular MP3. Maybe it won't start playing on your computer until the whole song is downloaded?

Hi Dale, We knew you were busy elsewhere and we approved of it: a Who concert. But it is always a great pleasure to have you around. It's the little things that count, like inspiring me to say: "Ch'ti happens"

It is hard to imagine when you live in the clean mountain air, but these old buldings were exposed to sooty air for years. I think they sand-blast them to get the grime off.

The distillery produces genever (the word gin is derived from that and for this once I kid you not!), and an array of liqueurs.

elizabeth solaka said...

Hi Koos,

I photographed a wedding of Swiss/Dutch, and other people last night, on a boat on The Hudson river, and naturally I thought of you. Tried to photograph the Brooklyn Bridge, but it was too dark and we were moving too fast.

I got to hear your language. There's this one thing y'all do, can't describe it on the internet, that sounds like nothing I have ever heard. Very fun.

As an aside, there was one hyperactive quirky lady, perhaps in her late 50s, who was great fun to photograph.

As Yooousual, beautiful photos.

Koos F said...

Hi Elizabeth,

I really appreciate your comments.

Yes we have these funny sounds in the Dutch language, and people stop using them near the border of our country that is less than 150 x 200 miles in size.

It has been said that whereas the Germans spit out their words, the Dutch gargle them first. Maybe that's the sound you heard? Oh, and the only other Europeans who do this are the... Swiss!

elizabeth solaka said...

Koos, it was more like -- well, imagine you are holding something, like a slimy, live fish, and it's just about to slip out of your fingers. Sort of like saying ooops! but very exaggerated, like a song.
I had heard the gargling already on a plane once.

I think that the cultures (Swiss/Dutch) were well blended at this affair, and the sounds that came out were like gargling and yodeling.

Anyway, I was charmed.

CathFria said...

Hi Koos,
Thanks for stopping by and commenting at my blog. Your photos here are fantastic. I am sorry I haven't been able to read everything. So much blogging, so little time.

Ahva Rahn said...

I hope you don't tire of me saying beautiful photo's, so I will say it again: beautiful photos. I worked in France after my A-Levels and the discussion about slang brings back a beautiful nostalgia. I remember the locals teaching me an argot called Verlan. It was basically saying things with the sylables reversed; my french is still laced with oddities - an example is Cimer Coupbeau = Merci Beaucoup = Thanks a lot.

Cimer Coupbeau, Koos.

Koos F said...


I'm not tired of good compliments yet - maybe MUCH later.
Great little story about the inverted syllables.

Here's my version:
according to the regulations, barges must show their name on both sides of the bows, which in France are almost flat.

Some skippers like a bit of variety, so they write the name correctly on one side and inverted on the other. It seems the authorities turn a blind eye.
Mind you, I have only ever seen this in France.

When I first saw your blogger's name I automatically looked if it made sense when read backwards. It was no improvement.

Anne-Marie said...

Ah, the subservive French- I have heard many stories about how they follow laws and yet flout them at the same time. I think it's an art, personally.

On a personal note, we met Rob's parents at Thanksgiving last night and naturally regaled them with our Euro tales, some of which of course involved a barge and some of our favourite bloggers. They asked if we had any regrets about Europe, and the only answer I had was that we didn't stay in Rotterdam longer.

So hugs all around from your Canadian friends on this day of being thankful!

AM (and Austin and Giz and Rob)

Dale said...

Oh goodie, a gin distillery...


Ahva Rahn said...

That’s funny, Koos (sooK). It maybe reflects the many questions I have where any answer makes no sense. I see beauty, and the scientists explain the math, but it still makes no sense.


Rache said...


I've been exploring some of your posts for the past hour or so and it is truly like entering another world. You present the magic of the ocean and the essence - the peace - of the places you visit so well through your words and photos.

Your presentation and interpretation of road signs - pulling them out of context - is a lot of fun. And I love your 'collection' of manhole covers!

I lived near the Pacific Ocean, in Gibsons, BC, for about a year and loved being near the water. Otherwise I've been a landlocked flatlander most of my life...with the exception of five years in the fabulous rocky mountain trench!

You have a gift for presenting the ordinary as extraordinary. That is something that I always appreciate when I find it. Dale also has this gift.

I hope that someday I can acheive just a fraction of what you and she seem to do so easily.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Oh Ch'ti! I went on too long!


Chaz said...

Koos! I actually did soemthing intersting with my weekend!!!! Come visit my blog and see :D

gypsy noir said...

koos thankyou for that...shout out, so thoughtful of you..x...

Lannio said...

Thanks for your kind words Koos. The week-end is over and the rain came today. However, it was a wonderful week-end. I have lots of photos and have my first ones posted.