Saturday, June 28, 2008

More on the first voyage of the Hennie H

The first voyage with our new Hennie H proved to take considerably longer than we expected. In fact I only managed just over a third of it before having to make tracks back to Rotterdam to go to work. The whole journey was probably about 275 kilometres, of which I managed to stay on board for around a hundred, but they were a hundred very beautiful kilometres for all that, and passed through some of the most idyllic green and lush countryside.

It took so long because there were so many bridges and locks to wait for. What amused both Koos and I was that even though the bridge keepers only only started at 8.00 in the morning, they stopped for lunch between 12 and 1pm and then closed again at 5, so where we had planned long days of faring, we were forced to keep to 'office hours'. Had we not been in a hurry, this would have been fine, but sadly, it meant that at Zwartsluis, just over the provincial border into Overijssel, and with still the bulk of the journey to go, I had to go back to Groningen by bus, train and taxi to fetch the van.

That was an adventure in itself. Being a Sunday in a rather traditionally protestant neck of the woods, there weren't many buses running, so I took the first one that came along with its end destination as a railway station. Having no clue where I was when I arrived in Steenwijk, I was relieved to see that the trains did at least go north to Leeuwaarden in Friesland, and then I just trusted to luck that I'd be able to get a train from there to Groningen to its east. Well I was lucky - but when I arrived in Groningen, I had to take a taxi to somewhere for which I had no address, but just a description of where we'd collected the boat. Crazy, I know but absolutely true.

While I waited at the taxi rank, I rehearsed my speech to the driver. "Take me to my car, please," I imagined myself saying with great aplomb. "And where would that be, madam?" the driver would respond. "Dunno," I would say breezily. "Just find it please, my good man!" And off we would go.

The reality was a hilarious ride round the suburbs of the city, stopping and asking a dozen or so different people if they could identify the landmarks I had in my mind. What wasn't so hilarious was the price of the fare when we finally found the van. As I still haven't 'fessed up' to Koos, I won't mention it here, but suffice to say, it was probably not quite worth the entertainment value after all!

Back at Zwartsluis again, I spent Sunday night on board, and then watched Koos leave for the next leg home before driving myself back south with Sindy. I have to say she was mightily relieved to be back in the car, as the journey on board was utterly miserable for her. Still, I would have loved to continue the journey with Koos as he found it heavy going on his own, despite the stunning scenery he passed through on the way.

As a taster of what I experienced, here is a link to a slideshow of the photos that I took on the section between Groningen and Zwartsluis. I'm sure Koos will show you more on his blog though....soon!

But until then, here are some photos of Koos arriving at the Oude Haven on Thursday afternoon. If you look at the last two, you can just see the Vereeniging's stern to the far right of the photos - the green end with the red stripe. The Hennie H is now moored up two boats along, ready to go on the slipway tomorrow.


  1. hey maaaa beautiful piccies and your hair is looking great!
    Love you tons

  2. Hi Val,

    this moring I had a look about your pics. I love they. Now I'm back from my gardenwork and will have a look for the cinema programm tomorrow, because I will go with Charlotte.

    Yes they will play this evening, but Konsti (my son) say the Spain will be better as the German. I believe him.
    Both kids are by her mother in holidays and so I will jump over my shadow and go to my best friend and his girlfriend to have a look about the 22 mens are running over the ground. I have no TV and so we can sit together and watch to the square boxt.

    Love Stefan

  3. Hi Val, forgive me, I am ejoying your beautiful photos, and must return to read. I took the girls and myself away from the smoke, just too much.


  4. You simply have a boat moving project going on, eh? I, however, have no boat, no nearby waterway, and thus depend on...

    The struggle to barge my kids through college, and into the very rEAL world, which...they as yet do not really know.

    Happy to see the floating on your blog, great fun to you and Koos...

    --Dan L.

  5. What fabulous adventures you have Vallypee!..The new barge is settling in well (notice i said barge and not bargie cos there's only one bargie-shhh)and looking well smart in the pictures..

    Your descriptive writing is entertaining as always feel like we're on the journey with you..

    Thank you..xx..

  6. Thanks everyone! This week's fairly hectic as we have the Hennie on the slipway and all is not as well as we thought. I'll be back with more later but for now, keep your fingers crossed that we manage to get the job done in time...the weather isn't helping at the moment either ;-(

  7. Vally, thanks so much for your note about Koos' birthday over on mine. I wish I had the energy to write properly just now, but I have at last left a belated birthday wish for him.

    I hope to be back properly on Wednesday. Love to you both xxx

  8. Wait I am confused now. How many bargges do you own now? Who is Hennie H and Ludo?

    Thanks for writing in my blog. I was finally able to get it working.



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