Monday, June 25, 2018

Time out

I find life is so hectic these days I really need to take just a little special down time now and then; not the usual sitting on the sofa with a book down time, but getting away from everything routine and doing something indulgent just for the love of it. For me, it's 'boat watching', but of a different sort from our normal harbour comings and goings.

I took the photos below on Saturday when we were on the way from Rotterdam to the crumbly cottage, We went by way of Antwerp docks; not an unusual route for us by any means, but not one we follow as a rule. It was a beautiful bright day, which made it even more appealing, so first we stopped by the Schelde river at the start of the estuary and on the Belgian border. If you look at the first photo below, you'll see a typical Belgian border 'post'. You'll notice it has a number on it. These border markers are at intervals all along the grens as they call it and it's fun to come across them (and even stumble into them) when out walking. I believe someone has even taken a photo of every single post and published a book of them, but so far I haven't found it.

The post marking the Belgian border. Note the number!
After sitting on the bank and gazing a while, we moved on into the dockland area. At one of the huge locks into the inner harbours, we saw they were preparing for this massive container ship (below) to come in, so we decided we had to just sit and watch it. Now I don't know about you, but I find this one of the most absorbing and peaceful pastimes I can think of. To sit on the wall and just watch these giants proceed at a very gentle and smooth snail's pace is a positively meditative experience.

This one took a good ten minutes to reach the lock and then even longer to inch its way in and moor up. When it finally reached the spot where we were sitting, we noticed the tugboat behind it, guiding it in and keeping it straight. Behind these two, we saw other ships leaving other harbours along the river at what seemed like a much greater speed; they were going downstream with the tide, so comparatively, at quite a lick!

Slowly does it

Closer and closer

And finally past us into lock

....which was when we saw the tug boat guiding it from the rear

For the record

Nearly moored up

And there goes another biggy

...heading out to the tiny yacht next to about scale!

Fare forth and fare well!
We must have spent an hour sitting there just soaking up the peace of seeing these behemoths navigating their way in and out of the huge Antwerp harbours. For me, it is soul food and nothing gives me more peace and tranquillity. I love it, and it was with almost a sigh of regret that we decided it was time to move on. What a way to waste time – although for me, it was very well wasted.

What does that for you? What is your way of taking time to 'stop and smell the roses'?


  1. Hi Val - they are enormous aren't they ... so glad you enjoyed your time just passing the time peacefully. I used to watch 14 go west in the Channel from the flat I had. But agree just being in a garden away from the world ... or like you a walk along the 'wildside' when out by rivers, canals ... have a good week - cheers Hilary

    1. Oh I bet you saw some good ones on the channel, Hilary! Wonderful! I hope you are enjoying summer on the west side there, not to mention the ‘wildside’!

  2. That certainly wasn’t wasted time, Val - we all need recharging time occasionally (or maybe quite often!). I go for long walks with my little radio, sit on top of a hill listening to cricket!

    1. Ah that sounds good too, Jo. Especially in Dorset!

  3. Ahhh... your own way of bringing this to calming life has me at peace, too. I can well-imagine sitting there there with you!
    I love to watch the weather change over the mountains across the lake. It, too, tends to resemble a slow-moving behemoth. My favourite days are those after a cleansing rain, where the remenants of the tattered, blue-grey clouds nestle restlessly in the folds of the mountain flanks. For me, I find a certain peaceful excitement in the changing weather over our valley.
    ☁️ ☀️ ⛈ xx

    1. Dale, that is lovely! I can imagine the ever changing weather is almost hypnotic. One day, I would like to watch it with you!

  4. Fantastic, Val. I would never call it a waste of time! Fantastic photos also. Thanks for sharing with those of us who are stuck on land. Sigh... (Steph)

    1. Time to just stop is always good, Steph. You live with plenty of breathtaking time stoppers too!

  5. Very well-chosen moments about the sailing in the harbour or the departure of the container ships at present and a very interesting blog.A lot of appreciation.


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