Sunday, June 10, 2018

Meandering on terra firma

It's been a busy few weeks, but there's not much to write about really. I've been wrapping up courses and this coming week, I'm in for a spate of examining with my Cambridge ESL hat on. I do the speaking tests, and not all the written parts, for which I'm grateful.

My course with the Syrian refugees is also over. They were a truly lovely bunch and I became very fond of many of them. The only problem was that halfway through the course, it became apparent that many of them would not be studying in English at all, so there seemed little point in their continuing. As a result, I lost a number of them in quick succession. I just hope they get to study what they want in future and all go on to do well. It was a privilege to get to know them.

On Thursday, I had a full day's painting on the Vereeniging, which was wise as it rained during the night and also on Friday. I'm very glad I've made a good start and painted all the red trim round the roef, and the engine room. I also managed to freshen up the red stripe round the whole barge. It's called the boeisel in Dutch, but I don't know what it is in English. Does anyone know?

The red strip, the boeisel in Dutch, but in English?

This weekend, though, I've been taking it a bit easier as a result of having less marking to do and being a bit tired after my activities during the week, so it's been time for some good walks. We are so lucky at the crumbly cottage; it is a beautiful area with plenty of nature reserves, so walks are easy to find and there is rarely anyone else about.

Below is a selection of a few photos I took with my phone of this weekend's rambles. Koos took the top two of the enchanting piglets we saw today when we walked through an area of forestry smallholdings just across the border in Belgium. It was such a lovely discovery I'm sure we'll go back there again.

Tiny tiny piglets, no bigger than a handful. So cute!

Mummy pigs, still pretty small, aren't they? 
Below the dyke along the great sea canal

For the birds: a nature reserve dedicated to water birds not far from
the crumbly cottage

A working harbour on the sea canal

Not such a good photo, but I loved the sunlight dappled on the road

A misty morning on another nature reserve nearby

Stark contrasts across the polders. I love this landscape
See how empty it is? In other parts of the country, the lanes would be teeming with walkers and cyclists, so we are doubly fortunate that we have so many natural areas but so few people to share them with. I'm becoming quite the misanthropist as I get older, but then maybe that's because I see so many people during the week. For me, this is bliss!!

Have a good week allemaal! Where are your favourite spots to take a walk?


  1. Great pictures and blog as always, Val. Boy, do I ever agree with you about being out and away from people. I even send Alan to do the shopping when he's up to it. Especially in one of our crowded stores. It simply is not fun at all. I could get lost in the country around your crumbly cottage. It's lovely and peaceful. (Steph)

    1. Yes, Steph. I just love it! Back in the big noisy city now, though. Weekends can’t come soon enough!

  2. Favourite walking places. Where do I start? I love the canal close to home. I love the Dorset coast west of Swanage. I love Dartmoor. I love the Lake District. And then there’s the Himalayas ...

    1. I’m with you on all those, Jo! With a special fondness for Dorset too.

  3. Hi Val - can quite see why you are enamoured with your crumbly cottage - freedom from people and noise .. they all look wonderful ...especially your dappled lane. Well done - enjoy all things ... you both do - cheers Hilary

  4. Hello Val, not surprised you were looking forward to hiding away in the lanes. Sometimes we just need our own space, and peace and quiet.

    My favourite walking place is Calke Abbey in Derbyshire in the UK, it's so spacious and so clean. Important when you have asthma as everywhere is so polluted nowadays, but at Calke it's big open spaces and gorgeous green countryside. I always feel great when I've been there.

    1. Hello, Maria! Thanks for dropping by. I can imagine you need a clean environment when you have asthma...Derbyshire is beautiful, I know, so Calke must be exceptionally so.

    2. Yes, it's fantastic and make you feel close to nature.


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