Monday, December 18, 2017

A round up of the year's highlights

 I'm very pleased to report that this week the skies have cleared, the rain has stopped at last and I am approaching Christmas with a bit more good cheer than I've had in the last weeks. However, given that I might not get another post in before the 31st, I thought I'd take this opportunity to do a quick round up of the year's highlights – mostly in pictorial form so you won't have to read my endless rambles (I can hear the sigh of relief already).

First up is an image from our new year's walk at the coast in the first few days of January. We went to Cadzand on the Zeeuws Vlaanderen coast, a rather touristy spot in summer, but we enjoyed it immensely as a winter beach walk and they've done wonderful things with a new harbour and sea front there.

Then later in January, I went to Spain to catch me some sunshine. The photo above was taken from the place where I was staying with friends near Teulada in the area of Valencia.

This photo was taken in Teulada itself at the annual blessing of the animals, a really delightful festival where all creatures great and small can be blessed by the local parish priest. Here's my blog post of my trip.

At the end of February, we had a visit from some English friends which made us 'do' some of the tourist spots in Rotterdam. Above is a photo I took from inside the rather special Markthal. It was a miserable day, but the interior of this building is bright enough to cheer anyone up.

Then in March, we managed our first spuddle of the season. I don't know why I like this photo of Koos and me looking snooty, but it makes me laugh and marks that rather special occasion quite well – I think.

This photo of the lovely old barge was one I took in Deventer in April. Sadly, the company I worked for no longer has a contract with the university, so my termly jaunts to the east are no longer required. I'll miss it as Deventer is a very special and quintessentially Dutch town.

In May, I was lucky enough to have another marvellous trip to Faro in Portugal with a good friend of mine. We had a wonderful few days in this beautiful old city and caught some much needed sunshine.

Then of course our summer adventures began in June with our two month trip on the Hennie Ha. The photo above was taken quite early on at Arques, the canal that leads to Dunkirk, and where we went through the deepest lock we experienced. I was so glad it had floating bollards.

This photo was of a lovely summer's evening on the Scarpe Supérieure. The water was so clear we could see the bottom of the river. Just beautiful

And here we are on the gorgeous Canal de St Quentin. I was walking along the towpath trying to film Koos steering. It was quite a job as the path was quite overgrown and I missed some of the best moments when I was arguing with the brambles.

On the way back on the Canal de Roubaix, one of my favourite stretches of canal anywhere, but especially in northern France.

And lastly, meandering through Ghent. Just here, we were waiting for the bridge ahead to be lifted. All my blog posts on these travels are in my archives for June, July and August this year, so if you'd like to read about them, just look in the sidebar beneath my favourite blogger list.

It seems I didn't do much in September, possibly due to the fact I was wrestling with a severely frozen shoulder, which was at its worst then. It's still with me, but is slowly getting better, I'm glad to say. Another few months and I might be back to normal (says she very hopefully; that's if I'm ever normal!). And then of course, teaching came to interrupt my adventures. Anyhow, in October, it was time for a barge inspection. There was some work to be done, but luckily not too much, and I had some brilliant help from Tim (below) and another harbour resident, Ruud.

I love this photo of Tim leaving the harbour on his own barge for its maiden (with him) voyage. Tim has years of experience in sailing, but this was the first time he'd had his own barge fit for faring. Doesn't he look happy?

As for November, it was officially now too cold for faring, so I did a blog post about some other activities we'd enjoyed in our terra firma existence. I particularly enjoyed visiting an exhibition in Ghent where we met with the artists whose work was being displayed. Of course Koos enjoys being an exhibit himself :)

And so we come to December. We've had real winter weather already with snow, ice, storms, hail; you name it. I am now looking forward to some brighter days with the weather reverting to normal global warming – sorry, Dutch winter, levels and of course to the warmth of spending time with family over the festive season.

If I don't post again between now and the New Year, I hope you've enjoyed this round up of my year. Have a wonderful break allemaal and I'll catch up with you all on your own blogs in the meantime.


  1. What marvelous memories, shared as only you can, Val. Thanks! A joy to read and the photos are incredible. So thankful the shoulder is better. May it be totally healed SOON! (Steph)

    1. Aw, bless you, Steph. Thank you for such welcome good wishes!

  2. What a wonderful year you’ve had! Here’s to more travels in 2018.

  3. Val, your first photo reminds a tiny bit of The Giants Causeway only difference is that yours is more attractive :)

    Happy Winter Solstice to you and yours xx

    1. That’s interesting, Mel! The Giant’s Causeway is something I would love to see! Happy solstice to you too! Xx

  4. Lovely, Val ~ on my bucket list to get out to see you and Koos in 2018! Happy Christmas,my friend. xx

    1. You too, lovely CarolStar! Take extra special care of yourself in the coming weeks! And yes, let's try and do that!!! xxx

  5. You've had a very eventful and well travelled year, Val! I like all the photos but the b/w photo of you both is probably my favourite!

  6. Hi Val - lovely to see your photos and news of your year ... glad you had some time off in there too. Have a very merry time Dutch-wise ... and all the best for next year - cheers Hilary

  7. What a busy year! I don't know how you managed to pack so much in AND do your teaching! Have an excellent 2018, both of you.


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