Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Smell of the Water

It felt like spring today. Did anyone else notice that? The air was soft and I could smell the water. It's like the call of the wild to me. I want to be casting off the ropes and getting out onto the waterways. Job? Commitments? Paying the taxman, medical insurance, community charges? What I would give to thumb my nose at them all and take off.

Jan giving me a lesson

I am reminded of a fantastic trip we did back in 2004. It was just a day like today although slightly later in the year at the beginning of May. But it was a very special day. We took the Vereeniging upstream towards Gouda, turned left into the Rotterdam Ringvaart and went where no old barge had been in a very very long time. The waterways are very, very narrow, the bridges are extremely low and the canals very shallow. Even for the Vereeniging, it was a challenge. We quite literally scraped the bottom of the waterway over an aqueduct, and then we had to remove everything off the hatchboards to get ourselves under one particularly low bridge. It was an action packed adventure and a half all conducted at the pace of a snail. It was just one day but it felt like a complete and timeless holiday.

Leaving the harbour

Idyllic scenery on the Ringvaart

That trip was even more special, though, because my guide and mentor for the day was a very dear friend who is no longer with us. His name was Jan and he coached me in the art of steering my barge. I remember it as the one of the rare days in all the time I knew him when he looked fit, healthy, handsome and happy. I am so glad the Veeeniging gave him that day. I treasure it still.

Jan and me

Jan checking what was up ahead on the Rinvaart


  1. Today started well in that there was a smidgin of blue in the sky, then came a light mist followed by heavy rain and tonight it is dry and cold at -2C.
    My dream's are of warm sunny days.

  2. Ah, Spring - and how I can identify with that call of the wild. Especially when you have such wonderful memories.

    (Snow here. In March. There should be a law against snow in March ...)

  3. Mel, it will get warmer, of that I have no doubt, bu I hope the sunny days are not just a dream!

    Jo, I agree! It snowed here last week too, but the suddenly it changed and the temperature rose. I got that whiff of spring in my nostrils and the desire to cast off followed in waves.

    Thank you Stu. You know how it feels too, I'm sure.

  4. What lovely memories. I wish I could smell spring here but it's got a kind of frost/snow/diesel smell which does nothing for me I'm afraid!

  5. Spring, what is that? There are some lovely memories here to be treasured xxx

  6. Lovely memories for you. Let's work on getting spring to stay for good. xx

  7. We had a little taste of Spring, then it became winter again so we're all freezing in Scotland with flurries of snow. Lovely photos Val and wonderful memories of your friend.

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  9. Lovely story Val! I would very much like to smell some water too but if the weather stays as cold as it is now, it will take another 6 - 7 weeks before it would be possible.
    And it seems that there is some very cold weather heading your way. I.e. our chilly weather is heading down towards the Netherlands.
    Sorry 'bout that...

  10. what a beautiful memory Val. And wonderful photos. Love seeing as "captain".

  11. I'm ready to smell the water and have some sun...unfortunately all the water I am smelling at this moment is neverending rain! Lovely pics as well and so sorry for the loss of your friend.

  12. Hans, that cold weather you were talking about? Well, it's here...thanks :-p Nice to see you again, though!

    Grace, thank you too! I love being skipper xx

    String, it's not wet here, just freeeeeeezing. And snowing. And freezing again. Still, I sympathise more with you. I'd rather it was cold than waterlogged x

  13. What a lovely looking trip! Can I come and visit?

  14. Carol, you'll be welcome anytime, but I'd recommend the warmer weather...right now, well it's pretty parky on board!


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