Saturday, May 16, 2009


This coming week, life will change. I'm not sure yet how it's going to feel, but at the very least it will be strange for a while. Mo and Craig have been here for some months now (as you know) and have found that getting a home of their own is more difficult than they'd bargained for. They've been staying on the Luxor since they arrived and combining that with eating with us. But now we feel it's time Koos got his boat back, and as none of my efforts to help them buy a small flat, or even rent a place, have been successful, we are now doing a swap.

As of this coming Thursday, I am moving off the Vereeniging to let them have it for themselves for a couple of years. Yes, I know. Big move for me. But, I've done it before. About three years ago, Jodie lived on the Vereeniging for nearly a year too, and in that time, I spent the week on the Luxor and went to Brussels at the weekends (remember the Tenacité?). Well, Brussels was a phase that passed and now I have the cottage in Zeeuws Vlaanderen, which is where I am writing this. It is gradually becoming a home from home, and this weekend, we came down loaded with books and pictures and the stuff that has previously made my little barge so cosy.

One of the reasons for working so hard on both boats recently has been with this change in sight, and there are still jobs that I need to do on the Vereeniging, which will happen after they've moved in. They've planned some adjustments inside, notably to the colour scheme and arrangement of the interior, and they also plan to turn the storage space below the foredeck into a spare bedroom - a job I will help with. So I'll still be involved - for a while anyway. I have a feeling that after a year or so, they may well feel it's too small, but at least this will give them some time to sort out their finances, gain some credit history and get on their feet.

As for me, I shall focus some further TLC on the Luxor, and then of course, we have our escape as well......

Some random pics here. The first is of one of my favourite barges in the harbour, owned by friend Bas, who single handedly uses this beautiful Hasselteaark as his home, his transport and his workplace. He has no car, so whenever he has to go some distance for his work as a professional electrical engineer, he just takes his home and workshop with him.

This second is one I rather like as it's vaguely surreal. The child stopped in this street in perfect position against the looming presence of the bridge keeper's tower just behind the houses.

And this third is for me so special. To see Sin enjoying a really good roll, even these days when she's often very stiff, is great. I can almost feel her satisfaction. I wish I could do that too sometimes!


  1. Wow, those are big changes! Will you miss your barge?

  2. Hi Val,

    thank you for the birthday wishes. I had a good day with my parents, my sister and husband and my kids.
    Saw you are a Taurus, too. What's your day?


  3. HI Val,
    big changes indeed, but I know you'll adapt well, especially with a country home also.

    Happy Birthday one day early! (does that answer, the question, Stefan? She shares her birthday with a certain guitarist we know...)


  4. A very big change. I've never gotten the chance to choose to live anywhere but a house, so I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the differences between barge living and cottage living, in terms of reflection of your own experiences. Good luck and best wishes on this new path, Val!

  5. Hi Val,

    happy birthday and all the best wishes from me to you.
    I hope you will have a fantastic sunny day.


  6. Happy birthday maaaaaaa! We really really really appreciate you giving us the privilege of living on the vereeniging and we promise to look after her! But it really won't be for too long I'm sure, we are like little nomads so us long piggies and the furry wuzziks will vacate before you properly had a chance to miss her! :)

  7. Embrace those changes, Val!
    Mo and Craig are lucky to have you.
    I hope you don't leave Vereeniging with sadness. The Luxor will be another good project for you, too.
    And it's not like you're moving very far... ;)

    Beth and her boyfriend, Reeko (Richard) have moved back in with us. They had a tough time making ends meet over the winter after being laid-off from their jobs. They have since found new employment - Beth back doing lawn maintenance and Reeko at the local bowling alley/gas station. Beth wants to get her CSIA snowboarding Level 1 this fall and teach with the ski/snowboard school alongside me. That would be fun! She's young enough to have time to move up through the CSIA ranks.

    I really like your photos! What a good-looking barge that Bas owns - and what a lifestyle! I also like the one with the surreal look to it - almost like a collage. It's also good to see Sindy having so much fun in the typically Dutch landscape... and you really could do that, too, Val! ;)

    Have fun with your little house in Zeebraland, too!


  8. Happy Birthday sweet Val!!


  9. ps: You will flow fabulously with those changes Val, you are very grounded. I love seeing Sindy having a good roll, I love it when mine do that - the sign of a content and happy pooch. :)

  10. Thank you all for the kind wishes and encouragement. It is very much appreciated and I mean that! I hope PT had a good birthday too ;-)

    Lemon, there's no way I'd give up living on the water for anything like the foreseeable future. The cottage is a getaway from the noise, stress and activity of the city, but my life is focused on a watery world, and even now, I will be sharing my partner's barge with him, so will not be trading water for land. There is a tranquillity to living on the water and feeling of connection with its currents and movement that I would miss immensely were I to give it up.

    Momo, don't worry pet, I am very adaptable, as you know, and will most likely enjoy making something more of the Luxor while you look after the Vereeniging for me! I rather think you are destined to be boat people too though.

    Stefan, thanks so much for coming back again. I've had a good day, and a good evening with friends. Just the best.

    Dale, yes, I do see the Luxor as a new project, and I will adapt of course! So glad to hear Beth is picking up and has ambitions for the future. It's a precious thing when you can have your daughter working alongside you. Just watch those snow boarders though...they've really got it in for the skiiers ;-)

    Thanks to you too Grace. What sweet and kind things you say. I always try to roll with the punches if not flow with the tide ;-)


  11. Oh my... Big changes indeed! And happy (belated...) birthday wishes! I did'n know that you share your birthday with mr. P.T. !

  12. Hi Val,

    here I'm again,. I know you love COLDPLAY.

    You can get the new live CD from this link:

    It's for free this days.

    Enjoy the 35 minutes.


  13. Luckily you have the cottage which feels home. Having two homes, one can easily be borrowed to dear friends. And I am sure that you can trust Mo and Craig to take good care of the Vereeniging!

  14. Though some things never change, Val. After reading the post and the comments, I see you are still a wonderful mother with a special brand of kindness.

    Belated Happy Birthday. In the time you spend over at your wee flat, I hope that 'writing pencil' of yours gets plenty of use.

    Be lucky,

  15. VallyP:

    Wow...what a cool writing of your string of events here!

    I have been inundated with health issues eminating from my family...some big, some small,some huge and very the point of...approaching no hope... some EVERY DAY and ALL DAY. I am wishing I had more time to read your blog, as it is so very well arranged and "spoken". So too, by the way, is Koos and his blog, though not so current as you bless yours to be!

  16. Thanks Hans, yes the changes are big, but we'll all get used to them in time. And yes, it is my honour to share my birthday with Mr T ;-)

    Thanks Stefan! I have the download of the new live album and have enjoyed it very much.

    Maria, yes, I know they'll take care of my Vereeniging. I'm camping with Koos during the week now, but the cottage is a great refuge and we love it too!

    Paul, bless you and thanks very much. I had a good birthday, and the move went smoothly. The benefit now is that I can step outside and see the Vereeniging from a totally new angle!

    Dan! So good to see you again. I'm sorry life has been so tough for you and have made a promise to keep up with you more.

    All my best and many many thanks to you all xxx


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