Sunday, August 30, 2009

Clearing out my phone

I was just browsing through the photos I had on my phone today and realised there were some interesting pictures on it. So, since every picture tells a story (to quote the wonderfully husky Mr Stewart), I thought I'd share a few of them with you.

Ollie of the Wandering Snail took this for me when we were having supper with them at their mooring by the great Terneuzen to Ghent sea canal. It really shows how huge the big transporters are that pass us in Westdorpe on their way to the big docks. There's something slightly surreal about this photo too, which is why I've kept it on my phone so long.

I'm not sure if anyone can read this, but if you enlarge it, you might make it out. It's a list of situations that fall under 'Murphy's Law' and I found it in the IT manager's office at the university. I can especially relate to the law that says 'no matter how long and hard you shop for an item, it will always be on sale somewhere cheaper'. So horribly true. There are many others with a quirky irony I like too. Enjoy!

The two photos above show the traditional game of Krulbollen played exclusively in Flemish and Zeeuws Flemish villages during the summer, mostly in the Ghent area. It is the sport of the real locals and as such tends to be supported by rather elderly gents (no women, I'm afraid). Koos and I came across this game in the village of Boekhoute, not far over the border in Flemish Flanders and we were intrigued by the degree of accuracy required for throwing these very heavy discs of wood. The idea is that they either have to hit the small post, or hit another disc that is already against the post, so as to be as close to it as possible. I think that's how it works anyway. The 'court' is simply beaten dirt, and so it can only be played when the sun shines. I like that.

I took this one today. It's a memorial that stands in the market square in Sas van Gent and commemorates the Canadian soldiers who died in the area during the 39-45 war. I thought I'd post this for our friends over there in Ontario and BC. I don't suppose anyone ever really sees how widely the sacrifices of their countrymen are valued and remembered.

I've still got a few more of these random phone camera pics, which will do for my next post, but for now, I'll leave you with these to ponder.


  1. Hi Val!

    I love the top frame of you, Koos and is that Mo?
    What a wonderful invention - boats that travel upon the grass! Do they float, too...

    I love the Muphy's Lawisms, too. All very true. And one of them is written there twice...

    The game of Krulbollen looks as though it's played with left-over barbells...
    It's funny how so many activities were "men only" - maybe they were afraid women might whip their butts too badly!
    Carefull, don't give women too much power... ;)

    I like the memorial, too. When I lived in Quebec, we used to take a trip to our Parliament Buildings in Ottawa in the spring to view the beautiful sea of tulip gardens there. A gift from The Netherlands for the help given by the Canadian forces during WWII. As a result, I have always felt a certain kinship with the Dutch.

    Have a great week, Val.
    And give Koos a hug, too.


  2. Hi Dale, the top photo is special isn't it? No, it isn't Mo. In fact it's Anne of the Wandering Snail, who's about my age, but is still lucky enough to have her dark hair still. Mine went when I was about 30;(

    I don't know why these games are so men only, but Europe is still old fashioned in that way. Nearly everything is dominated by the boy's club mentality...even our harbour! Although, I have to say we have a new harbour master now who is a woman, but she seems to be a one off. Mo says she isn't very woman friendly, but I haven't met her yet!

    So nice to hear about the gift from NL. No wonder you have a soft spot for it! You'll have to come and visit now, won't you? Have a great week too, Dale and hugs all round to your gang xx

  3. Hi Val,
    I love the Murphy-isms too. There is a lot of truth to it, especially broken appliances/cars and repairmen.

    I have always been aware of the great affection and gratitude the Dutch feel towards Canadians for their help in the liberation during WW2. Perhaps it was that I had very good history teachers, or had friends of the family growing up who talked about it. It's nice to know that their sacrifice is still remembered.


  4. Hi Val,

    just clearing your cell phone, lets us see some wonderful photos! As always. Thanks for sharing these.

  5. Now I understand what you mean by "clearing out your phone". I like the pics and especially the one of the memorial.

    I know that most of the Canadians that I know are very proud of how Canadian troops participated in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. And, as Dale says above, it has created a lasting bond between the two countries that still remains.

    The tulips are also a thanks for housing Princess Juliana and her two daughters in Ottawa for safety and also for helping with the birth of Princess Margriet in 1943 – the only royal baby ever to be born in North America. The interesting twist is that Canada - to ensure the baby’s Dutch citizenship - temporarily ceded a room at the Ottawa Civic Hospital to the Netherlands. Princess Margriet was therefore born a Dutch citizen on Dutch soil!

    When the war was finally over, Dutch children laid wildflowers on the graves of the seven thousand fallen Canadian soldiers while the Canadian government paid for more than 1,800 Dutch war brides!!
    Once the war had ended, the people of the Netherlands and Princess Juliana sent the Canadian people 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada’s Capital in gratitude for the involvement of Canadian troops in the liberation. In 1946, Princess Juliana herself gave 20,000 additional bulbs to the country that had given her refuge. Since 1958, the annual gift of 10,000 tulip bulbs from the Royal Family has been matched by a donation from the Dutch Bulb Growers Association.

    This annual gift of tulips strengthens the attachment between the Netherlands and Canada, just like the monuments one in your picture.

    And on an unrelated matter (I think). Toronto and Amsterdam are twin cities! In general, We Canadians love the Dutch as much as they love us


  6. What lovely stories! I had no idea there was such a depth of affection between the two countries. Not being either Dutch or Canadian, these touching marks of thanks are pieces of history that have passed me by. Thanks to all three of my very special Canadian friends!

    For me the memorial has meaning now because I officially live in the municipality of Sas van Gent. It's such an interesting town and this connection with Canada makes it even more special now. My next post is going to give a bit of the history of Sas van Gent;s development, also by virtue of the photos I had on my camera!

  7. By the way, Dale, we can see these huge boat from the cottage and from there it really does look as if they are travelling over the fields....but yes, the do float too ;)

  8. Hi Val,

    is this your new ship in the background of the first pic???

    I never hear about the game Krulbollen.

    I can't made pics with a cell phone, because I havn't one. The one I used, I gave my parents, because I don't need it.

    Have a great weekend.

  9. Ooh, I like your picnic picture especially! And the Murphy's Law list. I've seen one like that too - on a gas station wall.

    The phone camera might not be brilliant quality (at least not the iPhone one) but I've noticed that it's really great for there-and-then, on-the-spot things, things you happen to notice that are fun and interesting. I'm especially enjoying it because due to the Facebook application in the phone it's easy to post them right away.


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