Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Walks, boatrides, cartrips and family

Yesterday the weather cleared in the afternoon so when Dad laid down to take his nap, I pulled on my raincoat, got a map and directions from Sjaak and headed out for a a walk.  I headed south from the farm until I came to a path that cuts across the pastures into town.

 The road in front of the farm
The path cutting through the pasture

The sun was shining more then it rained and it was cool and lovely and a very brish wind would suddenly blow up making the bikers lean into the wind struggling to make headway.  For walking through a pasture, there were lots of sights to see:

Black and whte Jersey cows

A sculpture of a stork.  They love their storks in the Netherlands

I could hear the catholic church bells ringing and ringing and when I got there it was a wedding with a horse drawn carriage that brought the bride and her father to the church and then would take the newly weds away from the church after the ceremony:

You can just see the beautiful bride on her father's arm entering the cathedral

Here is a better pictures of the carriage as they wait to return to pick up the happy couple

I loved this site, with the modern tractor and the horse and carriage.  The horses were not thrilled with the tractor at all.  The tractor pulls a trailer behind it with hay bales and they take families for hay rides around the town.

 I walked around the town looking at all the lovely little apartments and houses.  It seems like everyone has a garden of some type.  Some are quite industrious and have beautiful veggie gardens that are as lovely as the flower gardens.

The gardens along the canals are so lovely

This garden mixes veggies, herbs and flowers all together into a very clever use of the small available space.

The Netherlands, the local people we know never refer to their country as Holland.  They do not call their language Dutch, they call it Nederlander.  I am not sure that is how it is spelt, but that is how it sounds to this American's ears.

As the rain clouds built I headed north until I came to the sport park and then turned east and headed back to the farm.  We had Chinese takeout, yes, Nederlander Chinse takeout.  It is one of the families favorite dinners, and the table was overflowing with boxes of food of every variety.  We "old" people sat around the table and talked until we were exhausted, about 11.  The girls had a night in and put masks on their faces and ate junk food, baked brownies, drank wine, watched movies, and giggled and laughed, emailed and texted their friends and had a wonderful time together.

This morning we got up after a very bad rain storm last night and it was raining.  Sjaak, Karin, Dad and I pured ourselves into the auto and drove to Rotterdam to take a tour boat down the river:

This is the tour boat

 Getting on the boat

Dad, Kathleen, Sjaak and Karin

We rode down the river towards the north sea, but it is too rough for this boat, especially on a day like today, so we did not get down very far, they talked about the history of this beautiful old town and then about the commerce from the port and about all the buildings old and new along the way.  Rotterdam is a city with the old and the new all mixed up together and I love how they keep the old and then build the giant new around the older buildings, that really are not that old because the town was completely flattened by the German aircraft in WWII.  They rebuilt the city bigger and better, but used a lot of the older style of the buildings when they rebuilt.

The new and the old all mixed together, and of course, what is the Netherlands without a windmill or two.

They have some of the most bizarre buildings, loving this style of the top sticking out over the bottom.  They have such an eclectic eye with the patterns and shapes and special touches on the buildings. 

After the boat ride we drove around Rotterdam a bit then headed south to Brielle.  Brielle is a very special walled city that was saved from Napolean by the other Nederlanders and the Belgium people coming in like the calvary and flooding all the land around it, forcing Napolean and his troups to leave the area because no food and theland too mucky to manuveur in.  So his plans to wait out and starve the people was stopped.  The clever Belguims and Nederlanders saved several cities this way. 

But as a professional clown, retired, what was most special to me about this lovely old city was the fact that when the Nederlanders won back their city from the Spanish it was April first and the spokesperson went to the King of Spain and told him that the city had been taken.  This was an impossible task in his mind and he said, "This is a joke." and hence force April first has been known as joke day or as in America, April Fools day.  I never in my wildest dreams would have known that was the origin of the word.  Maybe next April First I will tell you some of my stories of celebrating April Fools day over the years.  But for now, I feel like I have gone to my mecca.  The holy place for clowns, Tom Foolery and his merry band of joksters.    Here are a couple pictures of Breille: 

This is where we had lunch

And of course, what would a trip to the Netherlands be with windmills.  The windmills are used to pump the water constantly off the land.    Most of the land of the Netherlands was pumped out of the rivers and the oceans, and over the centuries it is settling, so now the land is much lower again and so they must continue to pump the water off.  Here are some old and new windmills.  The new ones are for electricity and the old for water:

The family is all here laughing and talking and drinking coffee with cookies and I snuck away to finish this and send it off.  Also for a little quite and a moment with out quetions.  I love our family here, they have adopted us, but like any family, sometimes, a little break and quiet is good also.

Tomorrow to Spain, but for now, my constant companion here, Boris and I say good night.


  1. Even with the pictures, it is so hard to imagine you there, looking so like my Kathleen but so far away.
    Love you....M

  2. You look like you're having a great time! Thanks for explaining the origins of April Fools' Day.