Thursday, July 18, 2019

Some grand days out

I've been a bit tardy again with my post this week. It's not for lack of interest, but more for lack of time. We've been unusually social of late, which seems to be a very time consuming activity. Koos and I tend to be a bit reclusive when left to our own devices, but life has had other ideas and I have to say, it's been great.

Last weekend, we had a Wallace and Grommit (who remembers them?) Grand Day Out. It was my eldest daughter's birthday, so after being presented with some options, she chose a waterbus trip to Dordrecht with lunch thrown in – much to my and the assembled company's approval, of course. We all love the waterbus. The upside of this mode of transport was that given the inclemency of the weather (grey, heavy clouds, chilly wind), we were able to stand under cover, but still watch the scenery fly by as if we were outside. We'd originally intended to go away on the Vereeniging for the weekend, but with Koos' ear and balance issues, we had to abandon that idea. In hindsight, this was 'a good thing' as we wouldn't have enjoyed being out in the rain and wind – well, I wouldn't, anyway.

The river to Dordrecht is wide and the banks are given over to commercial moorings, docks and loading quays. I absolutely love the trip. The waterbus is run by Rotterdam's public transport company RET, and the tickets are no more than you'd pay for a return train ride to the city (around €9). It takes an hour, though, as opposed to the train's 25 minutes, but it's also twice as much fun. What's even better is that dogs are allowed too and can go for free, much to the grand-pup's delight.

The photos below show some of the scenes we saw along the way.

Happy grand-pup

A dry dock for commercials

Quayside cranes in all their glory

Inspecting the record

The jet stream. The waterbus goes pretty fast.

Our landmark water tower on the edge of Rotterdam

The slow version (Thalys is also the name of the high speed TGV to Paris)

Noah's Ark, left with the Dutch for safe keeping. Think about
that a moment.

Dordrecht itself is very pretty and it's one of my favourite Dutch towns. I love its cobbled streets, inner harbours and ancient Dutch buildings. I wouldn't call it an undiscovered treasure, but it's quite often an overlooked one.

A classic beauty

For pedestrians...and stunt bikers

The Wolwevershaven for historic barges

Anyway, having recovered from all this activity, we spent Monday on the Vereeniging assessing how Koos would mount the new-second-hand-alternator we'd bought the previous Saturday. The Vereeniging’s engine  has no means of charging its own batteries, so we'd thought we could use the old alternator from the Hennie H. However, when we took it to the auto electrician's in Rotterdam for testing, it proved to be too weak, so we swapped it for one better suited to the Vereeniging's engine – says she, airily. Needless to say, it didn't come free. That done, the plan to install it is in progress and looking good and Koos will probably fit it this coming weekend.

Then we drove down to Zeeland to catch up with boating buddies Gary and Jill. Until Tuesday, they'd only been Internet friends, but now they are friends for real; we've so enjoyed meeting them. They have a beautiful former sailing barge that has been converted to a motor barge. It used to provide the gas that fills the big buoys in the more open waters, so it's wide and deep to accommodate huge gas bottles, meaning it also makes a spacious and gorgeous home.

We caught up with them in Sas van Gent, which is very handy for the crumbly cottage, and we've spent some lovely time with them drinking coffee, walking the dogs and introducing them to the Hennie H. One of the best aspects of our social media interaction is actually meeting people we've 'known' for years. Since Jill and Gary are making their way to Nieuwpoort in Belgium before crossing over to the UK, we're making the most of seeing them as it's unlikely we'll bump into them again any time soon.

I've been Chula'd! Chula is a lovely Basset hound,
but not the smallest of lap dogs

The beautiful lines of the Noorderzon

Walking through Sas

Parting gift. Thank you so much for these lovely mugs, Gary and Jill!

Tomorrow, we're back off to Amsterdam to join up with another Facebook friend and author, Stephanie Parker McKean and her husband, Alan. By the time we return to normal, we'll be ready to crawl into our shells again...haha.

Enjoy the rest of your week allemaal!


  1. Hi Val - great fun to read and so glad you've had happy birthdays out and about ... it does sound very tranquil in your neck of the woods. Good luck with that alternator ... cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you, Hilary. Everything always takes longer than we expect, so maybe by the end of the summer we'll have things going again!

  2. Dear Val, what a lovely social time you are having. Happy Birthday to your girl, and it looks like a super birthday outing. Noah's Ark? Sure looks like it should to me, hmmmm. Always such fun to meet up with your online friends, and it proves social media can be a positive in our lives. What a huge hound dog!!

    1. Thank you, Patricia! So nice to see you again. I hope you're well? The social spell is over for a bit now, but it was lovely while it lasted. Yes, Chula is a big girl for a lap dog, but she was so sweet, I couldn't say no! :)


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