Wednesday, 31 December 2008
This was taken just after 6pm local time.
Fireworks are already being let off around the country (it is legal to do so from 10 am this morning until 2 am on New Year's morning), and some €65 million will go up in smoke tonight.
I hope all will see in the New Year 2009 with high spirits, with new hopes for the new year. If you drink, please do so sensibly. If you let off fireworks, take the usual precautions. Unless something crops up, this will be the final post on the Shell Gallery for 2008. I'll keep posting in the New Year, until I return to Stornoway next Monday.
Happy New Year
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Can't say I'm altogether too impressed with HP. Bought a scanner from them back in May, great machine, but the software is cr*p. First, if you try to install on a computer without a password, it won't do it. Second, it now screams for a piece of installation that is nowhere to be found. Their users have alerted them for months, but nowt is being done about it.
I'm very sad to note that Jeannette has suspended her journal Outside Looking In after what she has described as a particularly miserable Christmas. Other factors contributed to her decision as well. It is a decision I'm facing for the New Year myself. The year 2008 is one I'd prefer to forget, but can't. You all know why.
Please be careful if you let off fireworks for New Year, wrap up well if it's cold out and have a good 2009 if we don't cross paths again before hand.
Monday, 29 December 2008
Two people died in a house fire in Arnhem last night. The blaze swept through a property in the old quarter of St Marten at 2.30 am. When the fire service attended, they found one slightly injured man on the roof, but unfortunately two other occupants were found dead inside.
National winter pastime ice skating is prominent in the news, now that we've had a few days of low temperatures. Skating rinks have been flooded (and consequently frozen over). Open water is still way too dangerous, because the ice is too thin. One person has already gone through the ice, but lived to tell the tale. The freezing spell looks set to continue into the new year.
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Saturday, 27 December 2008
My camera will need a visit to the camera doctor, as it continues to show intermittent malfunctioning. Take a picture, and all you see is a field of white. Not all the time, but it's a blinking nuisance. In the nearly 3 years I've had this one, I've taken 20,000 pictures. Which is an average of about 20 a day, varying between 0 and 200 daily.
Friday, 26 December 2008
Dinner was on a table-top electric barbecue, and the meat disappeared like snow in front of the sun. A very good day.
As I type this, it is brilliantly clear and very cold. Thermometer shows only a few degrees above zero, and the puddles in the woods were covered in ice. I'm quite bummed, because my camera has decided to malfunction. So, I can only show a few snaps - the majority just show a field of white. The shutter, lightmeter or some such gadget has fallen over. Need to take it to the shop.
I hope everybody else had a good Christmas themselves - forgive me for not calling round journals.
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Having returned home, I'm awaiting the arrival of my sisters and family who will join my father and myself for a Christmas meal this afternoon. Don't overdo it with the turkey, if that's what you're having yourself.
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Went for a walk of 2½ hours this afternoon, into the Heathlands and back through the forests to Velp, the neighbouring town. Returned in time for nightfall, which occurs at 4.30pm here. Pretty knackered actually. Will upload pictures in a few days' time.
Tonight, I shall take part in a Christmas Eve service, starting at 9.30pm. I am a chorister (I was in a choir on and off between 1995 and 2004), and take the tenor part. Not done prior rehearsals, but I'm pretty good at sheet reading, so it shouldn't be a problem.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Slept in this morning, and am having a quiet day. Accompanied my father to the cemetery, on a still and foggy afternoon. More tomorrow.
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
This will be the last post on Shell Gallery until my next visit to Holland. Tomorrow will see me returning to Stornoway, arriving there just after 8 o'clock in the evening, a journey of about 15 hours. I hope to be back to blogging &c the next day. I shall resume regular postings on Atlantic Lines by then.
Sunday 2 November
Tuesday 4 November
The foggy conditions made for some very limpid colours, and the moment we left the woods, the mist increased to a fog. Visibility was at times down to 150 metres or less, improving in patches of woodland. The Watch Tower had a little bit of fog enclosed in its upper reaches. Although the mercury was stuck down at 10C / 50F, it did not feel cold. We returned via the Zypenberg through to Velp and across the Koningsberg / King's Hill back home. As I type, dusk is beginning to creep in. I have not yet uploaded pics, but will add them to a separate entry.
Monday, 3 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
After a very good lunch, we also went to the cemetery. Family returned home at 4pm, and as I'm typing this darkness falls - it's now 5.10pm. Quite a contrast to when I left here in late July, with darkness setting in at that time at 10pm.
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Last Saturday's storms in Stornoway blew the Hebridean leaves off the trees.
Tomorrow, my sisters, my dad and myself will attend a church service dedicated to the deceased of the previous 12 months. My mother passed away on May 1st, and will be mentioned. That is the primary reason I'm in Holland at present.
I am going to transfer the ownership of the Magic Smoke journal to myself, and will therefore become Jland Editor. Anyone wishing to join me in maintaining that journal is welcome, and will be added to the writers list. I am very glad that Yasmin and Jeannette have also opened a tricks & tips journal. The best thing to do with AOL is forget it ever existed.
Sunday, 20 July 2008
I leave tomorrow morning, and this is therefore the last entry on the Shell Gallery, until I return to Holland. I'll close with a few images of the past 2½ months. Blogging will resume on Tuesday 22 July on Northern Trip.
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Today's pics, "Rainy Ride", can be viewed here.
A few images are a bit fuzzy; the light was low, and trying to take pictures from a bicycle when you're doing 10 mph in those conditions is asking for that.
Anyone got any ideas yet what a cerviduct is?
I'll post a separate entry when I've uploaded all the pictures.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Hardier souls, like my father, would go down there at 7.15 am for a constitutional - when he was the age I am now. The pool's heating system wasn't all that good, and the water only got up to 63F.
The pool closed down in 1988, and I had left the area some 6 years previous. I had taken a peek through the fences in the 90s, but today's visit was a shock. The bike racks have gone, as has the paving around them. The entire pool and lawn area is heavily overgrown, to create a nature reserve. I felt very sad to see the smartly painted bath & buildings so delapidated and unrecognisable. Wonder what the old poolmaster, if he's still alive, makes of it all.
The Shell Gallery will, as I already indicated, remain where it is, as will the pictures.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Sunday, 13 July 2008
We then turned eastward, through a nature reserve at Meijnerswijk where horses roam wild. A warning is posted that horses can damage vehicles. The route took us under the three bridges that Arnhem has to the ancient city of Huissen. It is a formal city, although it is not terribly large. There is another ferry there, which brings you to the town of Westervoort on the river IJssel. A noise crossing by bridge took us into Velp and back home. I'm currently uploading the pictures, and due to the lateness of the hour, I am not going to annotate them today. Check back tomorrow for those.
I take the opportunity to also draw attention to yesterday's pics, taken in the forests near the town of Rheden. This place boasts its very own flock of sheep, which (until 1990) were grazed on the Heathlands, which I frequently mention on here. Small wonder the Heathlands now look more like grasslands, with no sheep to graze them.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Friday, 11 July 2008
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Today is just plain miserable and wet. It is reported from Amsterdam that a woman police constable was shot at point-blank range last night. The WPC was on her way to the station in her private car, when she noticed a vehicle being driven erratically. She contacted her station to say she was going to speak to the driver. When she walked up to the vehicle, she must have identified herself as police, upon which the suspect immediately opened fire. He fled into a nearby house, where he was later apprehended. The police woman died of her injuries. It has since become clear that the man had opened fire on a house elsewhere in Amsterdam earlier that evening. The WPC was not aware of this.
Fewer than half a dozen police constables have been killed in Holland in the line of duty over the last 30 years.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Yesterday evening, someone decided to blow up an old bunker in the town of Bilthoven, some 35 miles west of here. The bits rained down on the town, leaving cars and homes damaged. I've watched lots of programs on demolition by explosive, and the debris usually all stays on the site. The municipality of Bilthoven will be coughing up for the damage.
Monday, 7 July 2008
Sunday, 6 July 2008
You are looking from the back of the church towards the pulpit. To the left is depicted Christ on the donkey, entering Jerusalem. To the left is Christ speaking with the Samaritan woman. The left quote reads: "Go forth and do likewise" (Luke 10). The central quote, above the pulpit says: "All that breathes praiseth the Lord" (Psalm 150). To the right: "Worship in spirit and truth" (John 4).
I'll endeavour to get access to the church in the next few days, should not be a problem.
Our church is quite unique, in that it doesn't look like a church from the outside. Some have likened it to a warehouse, with its two separate porches and hatches in the attic. Inside, all is reveiled though. Unusually, the wall either side of the pulpit is adorned by a large mural, stretching 30 by 40 feet. It shows two biblical scenes and three biblical quotes. The organ is situated on a balcony above the entrances. Today, that little house of God was nearly full up; my estimate is about 100 people. I felt it inappropriate to take pictures at this time.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
Friday, 4 July 2008
I was sad to note that Chuck [chasferris], Dribble from Chuck Ferris, had passed away, but pleased in a way as well. I read his journal for a while, and found his tales from the home for the elderly amusing. Chuck succumbed to cancer, and he is now free from pain. If you didn't get the alert from Call for Support, you can leave a message of support on his journal.
Folks in the US, stand by for Bertha. That is a tropical storm, currently a few hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands off Africa. Due to the combined forces of winds and the rotation of the earth, Bertha will be heading westnorthwest to northwest. It is still thousands of miles away, but if you find her mentioned in official news reports in a week's time, you have been forewarned.
Over here in Holland the weather is improving, with some sunshine amidst the dark clouds. A roll of thunder just rang out. Temperature is down to 60F / 16C. It should get a little better over the weekend.
At the moment, I am in the process of scanning old photographs of holidays in the 1990s. If anything, it serves to show the changes there have been in places like Vlieland and Scotland since then. If you're interested, here are some links:
Vlieland, August 1997
England & Scotland, May 1997
Scotland, January 1997
Scotland, July 1996
Thursday, 3 July 2008
A few days ago, reports surfaced that the case related to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was heading for closure. Young Madeleine, who would have been 5 this year, disappeared in May 2007 whilst on holiday with her parents in the Portuguese Algarve. In spite of an unprecendented media campaign, sight nor sound of the girl has been had.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
At midday, half an hour ago, the mercury had already breached the 80F mark. Maximum temps today will be 90F, 32C. Holland's weather being what it is, we can expect to pay the price by the end of the afternoon or into the evening with some electrical storms and a nosediving temperature. I am aware that our friends over in Texas are at 90F at 4 in the morning at the moment, but they are in a different league. Anything over 30C / 86F is hot in this corner of the globe.
People opposed to the smoking ban scuffled with security guards at a courthouse yesterday, when they tried to attend an appeal against said ban. Keepers of small pubs in Holland fear for their livelihoods, as smokers are driven outside. Not a problem in high summer, but it may come to the fore (they claim) when the weather turns. I am totally non-plussed by this attitude. Barstaff in Scotland were delighted not to have to breathe in second-hand smoke after a ban was introduced their in March 2006.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Monday, 30 June 2008
I've spent today scanning photographs from 1997, from the months prior to my departure to the UK. The pictures can be found on my two Flickr accounts. The photos of a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales (part) and Western Scotland can be found here.
Pictures of a cycling trip round the Frisian town of Heerenveen, and of a daytrip to Vlieland (now well-known to most of my readers) here. Please allow an hour for the upload and annotations to be completed.
The weather will see a brief tropical spell down here. Tomorrow, the mercury will exceed 80F and on Wednesday, some forecasters see us hitting 90F. I'm not looking forward to this at all. A thundery breakdown will follow late on Wednesday and through until Friday.
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
The three branches of the Dutch armed forces, Navy, Army and Airforce, were represented in that order. Veterans took part who had taken part in war and peace missions from the 1950s onwards. Dutch military had served in Korea in the 1950s, the New Guinea crisis (1950-1962), Unifil [Lebanon], Balkans and Afghanistan. The (old) soldiers appreciated immensely the presence of a sizeable crowd along the route. The most important matter to them was recognition for the work they had done in the past, sometimes not so distant in time. For many, their experiences are as vivid today as they were at the actual moment.
In the past, on returning from their tour of duty, the politicians, the armed forces and the general public were apathetic to the needs of the veterans. To this day, it is shown that some are not just affected by physical injury, but even more so by psychological damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder, the shell-shock from World War I, is not an imaginary condition.
I have often written on the Northern Trip journal that the military get blamed for going on controversial missions (Iraq is a case in point), which is not fair. The politicians take the decisions, which the armed forces have to carry out. Blame the politicians. Not the soldiers.
Friday, 27 June 2008
Took a few pictures, mainly of cats. When you follow this other link to the pictures, you will also come across three pictures of our last cat Stapper (which I have referred to as Strider in translation before). The grey-and-white is one of my sister's cats, also dead a long time ago.
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
This morning I jumped on the bike and went down the hill to Arnhem, 3 miles or 20 minutes away. Needed to buy some shirts. The cuffs of my previous ones were destroyed by a corroded watch - sounds strange perhaps, but my corrosive perspiration had taken the outer layer off my watch, leaving a rough edge. This rubbed against the cuffs of my shirts, taking away the stitchings. Rather unsightly.
At coffeetime, a relative came to call, and we had a couple of hours of chat. The weather was quiet, not too cold, not too warm, about 70F.
Monday, 23 June 2008
1 - Noordoosthoek / Northeastern Corner
2 - Viewpoint, used in years gone by to spot incoming shipping
3 - Village, Oost Vlieland / East Vlieland. The village of West Vlieland was taken by the sea in 1736, and now lies a few miles west of the Vliehors (19)
4 - Vuurboetsduin / Fireshed Dune - Highest point of the island (40 m / 133 ft), with great views over the adjacent sea areas and the neighbouring islands of Terschelling and Texel
5 - Kooispleklid. An area of dunes, rising to 30 m / 100 ft above sealevel, also comprising an area of marshland
6 - Lange Paal / The Long Pole. Refers to a reference mast for the Dutch survey service that used to stand there. Also features a Forestry Commission campsite
7 - Nieuwe Kooi. A small plantation with a pond, which was to have been used for luring ducks using decoys (hence the name).
8 - Pad van 20 / Path of 20. A wider shell-paved track, linking the main road to the western beach near Dam 20. The dune area west of this track is not accessible during the bird nesting season (March 15th to August 1st).
9 - Oude Kooi. This is the oldest forestry plantation on the island, planted in 1898 with the duck lure pond. Until the Second World War, wild ducks were caught here. This is the 3rd forest from the village.
10 - Dodemansbol / Dead Men's Dune. Those who were put ashore with contagious diseases (or having died of them) were buried in this dune. Burial in local cemeteries was not permitted.
11 - Sailors' Grave. The above burial site.
The memorial reads:
Here rests the dust from days gone by
Interred in a wooden chest
Please bear honour to this resting place
As such is duty and human both
12 - Bomenland / Treeland. The last forest, through which the road runs, is an old plantation, dating back to 1903-6.
13 - Pad van 6 / Path of 6. The road linking from the Posthuys across the narrowest part of the island to the beach at Dam 6.
14 - Posthuys used to be a stagepost for the mails, coming up from Amsterdam through Texel. It is a restaurant nowadays.
15 - Kroonspolders were reclaimed from the sea between 1900 and 1930, and serve as a bird and nature reserve.
16 - Meeuwenduinen, south of the Posthuys, serve a breeding territory for the gulls.
17 - Reddingbootpad / Lifeboatpath - is the last passage from the North Sea beaches to the main road. There used to be a lifeboat station at the Posthuys,from where the lifeboat would be launched.
18 - Kamp / Barracks: An army barracks, dating back to 1958. Military exercises take place on the adjacent Vliehors on weekdays.
19 - Vliehors. The largest part of the island, it is a large sandbar, which is only accessible during the weekend. Please beware of quicksand and unexploded ordinance.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Civil Engineer Mr Kroon, who lived early 20th century, had this idea to reclaim the land south of the Posthuys. It never worked. It is marshland, and a wildlife refuge to date. On the other side, the Wadden Sea laps (at high tide) or stinks (at low tide). As we walked the dyke, large families of geese and goslings swam up the various channels. At the end of the wee dyke, we took to the saltlands bordering the Vliehors. Things became increasingly difficult, with no paths, and boggy. Bearing some resemblance to the Lewisian landscape of my acquaintance. So, we climbed a spur of low dunes and had lunch there. Afterwards, we proceeded west towards the barracks. This houses an artillery regiment known as the White Mice. Until a few years ago, soldiers would come here to practice firing tank cannon. The tanks have mercifully been removed. The Barracks lie 2 km / 1¼ miles southwest of the Posthuys, where we duly returned to reclaim the bicycles. We rode the 4½ miles back to the village, and on arriving at the ferry terminal, an oompa orchestra was tuning up for a very jolly occasion. As we continued east, towards the marina, their gentle strains followed us for over a mile. We proceeded to the Fortweg, the road to the fortifications. Until 1968, gun emplacements stood at the northeastern extremity of Vlieland, but a bit of gelegnite removed them.
One of the passtimes on Vlieland is to go and watch the sunset. The beach is only a few hundred yards away, but that evening the sun was not visible at 10pm, sunset time.
Our journey to the island was eventful. Just six miles into the 120 mile journey, the train was halted at Dieren and we had to get off. An electrical fault at Zutphen, a junction 10 miles further north, had cancelled all rail travel. Two hours later, a replacement bus took us there, but it meant we had missed the 2.15pm ferry. Fortunately, there was one at 7pm as well. On arrival at Harlingen, the port, we had a 3 hour wait on our hand. Harlingen is a quaint old port, one of the Eleven Cities of Friesland, and worth an amble through. We also looked round the fishery port, where trawlers from Holland, Belgium and the UK were tied up. The PD registration is very familiar to me, as Peterhead trawlers would sometimes put into Stornoway.
At 7pm, the ferry sailed. It is a new craft, put into service in 2005, and it whizzed across the Wadden Sea in slightly hazy conditions in the timetabled 90 minutes. The familiar landmarks were passed, like the Pollendam (just outside port), the islet of Griend (a bird reserve) and the huge sandbar east of Vlieland known as the Richel. It is a resting place for hundreds of seals. The Brandaris, the Terschelling lighthouse, winked away on passage. The ferry takes a circuitous route to the islands. Reason is that the Wadden Sea is a tidal basin, large stretches of which run dry at low tide. Only deep channels are navigable to shipping, and these are all marked by buoys.
On arrival at Vlieland, which I had not seen for 8 years, we collected the keys for the holiday bungalow, the bicycles and set off for the short ride to the western side of the island. In the Ankerplaats [Anchorage], the bungalow Brander was ready for us as arranged. Shopping was delivered by the local store, and we could crash in short order.
Pictures available here - check back later for full annotations.
The website for the local radiostation is inaccessible due to excessive demand.
Saturday, 21 June 2008
This map "Kaart van Vlieland" is your reference for the next couple of entries. It shows the locations of the names you will encounter in my descriptions.
Vlieland is a smallish island, stretching 12 miles southwest to northeast, some 20 miles off the Dutch mainland. Its southwestern extremity, Vliehors, is a huge sandbar. The Ministry of Defense uses it as a shooting range for jet fighters. The other main part is the village, Oost Vlieland [East Vlieland]. There was another village, West Vlieland, which was taken by the sea in 1736. It now lies a few miles offshore from the Vliehors. The other locations, marked in green, are the forestry plantations.
Cars are banned from the island, save for islanders, meaning the primary modes of transport are legs and cycles. The one main road, which has a tar covering, runs all of 7 miles from the marina to the barracks. Shell-paved offshoots lead towards the western beaches, and are named after the breakwater dams.
When I describe the island, I will not try to translate the names. The descriptions will have to suffice.
Weather was fantastic, except for Thursday morning (downpour and a half-gale), and the island had not changed much outside the village and holiday accommodation area. I shall be writing long, long entries tomorrow.
Friday, 13 June 2008
Slightly better temperatures (16C / 60F) and slightly better weather today. None of those heavy downpours we had yesterday. Spent the afternoon preparing for our trip north tomorrow - in other words, I will not be able to update until the weekend of June 21st/22nd. It's going to be 125 miles or 3 hours by train and 20 miles or 1½ hours by boat. If the weather does not change, it'll be a choppy last 20 minutes or so.
Funnily enough, I get the odd alert through on my pharmolo email account. Vish has promised that my complete AOL/AIM account will be restored to as much as the old situation as possible. It's blown up a little storm in a teacup over at ole AOL, on how customers like me are treated. As in, transferring from Paid to Free AOL.
Meanwhile, keep well all, I'll come back with a flurry of pics.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
In the past, I would wonder at the late light in Stornoway; at the moment, sunset is close on 10.30pm with real darkness not setting in until 11.45pm. As I type this, it is dark outside in Holland. Last night though (when the skies were clear), the light lingered over the northern horizon. Holland lies astride the 52nd parallel - Stornoway is above 58 North. Nonetheless, a late light picture (11.50pm) from Holland. The bright star is Capella, in the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer. Read more here.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
The European Championships Football are taking place in Switzerland at the moment, and after Holland gave the World Champions Italy a 3-0 drubbing, the "Orange" furore is gathering even more momentum. It is worth bearing in mind that Queen Beatrix is a member of the house of Orange, hence the pre-occupation with that colour. When you spend € 15 (£ 10 / $ 20) in certain shops, you get a Welpie (a miniature lion figurine). Each time. Spending € 100 leaves you lugging 6 of the things home. The worst expression (to my mind) is the roarshirt, which shows a lion's head. When you lift the front, the image changes to a roaring lion's maw.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
used to have orange-coloured carp in it. These days, the water is so troubled (by people walking their dogs in it) that you cannot discern anything in it.
Monday, 9 June 2008
I have been presented with two tags by Mort and Yasmin. Because of the primary nature of this blog I cannot put them in the sidebar here, but I shall put them up in Northern Trip's and Call for Support's. The latter journal is particularly appropriate, because it applies to anyone who puts an entry there. The two awards are:
Another warm and fairly sunny day, although high cloud is making a marked appearance. This is in anticipation of a major change later this week, which will see 20 degrees Fahrenheit slashed off our temperatures. Currently at 80F, by the end of the week down to 60F. A northerly blast will cool things down - temporarily. Hopefully, through the following week, things will warm up a little.
Been very busy with an exercise of selling stuff on Ebay. Old issues of a children's comic which were just gathering dust in the attic. So I put them up. All the costs involved have basically cancelled out any profit - I was not expecting much at any rate - not to mention all the hassle.
Went out for an amble at 6.30pm, when it was still quite warm. My digital thermometer has gone on the blink (yesterday afternoon, it told me it was 45F whilst in fact it was more like 80F), so I don't know how warm it actually was. After some pathfinding in the park, we headed out along the ring road to have a look at the refurbishments which are due to be completed on Friday the 13th.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
As I said, it was quite warm, especially in the sun, although the odd tree did bring relief with some cooler shade. It was under one of those, dotted across the Heathlands, that we had lunch. We also came across some pools over which blue dragonflies hovered, hunting for midges. They are continually on the move, so could not photograph them. Returned home at 3pm, 4 hours after setting forth. You'll have to wait about half an hour for today's pictures to pop up on Flickr, as I'm uploading them after I put up this entry.
Saturday, 7 June 2008
Friday, 6 June 2008
I have been in Holland for exactly a month now, and it seems rather longer than that. Slowly coming to terms with the death of my mother, which I still cannot get my head round. I've been busy digging out memories from years ago, primarily pictures. But many innocent things will bring back memories, not just photographs.
As I have indicated in a now deleted entry, I cannot give people my full and proper attention, the way I used to until May 1st. I therefore will not re-engage alerts (yet).
Back to the Park. It covers 50 square kilometres (20 square miles), and harbours a great variety of habitats. Broadleaf, deciduous, marshland and sandblown. Species like wild boar, elk and deer roam freely in certain areas. You pay €7 at the entrance (that's £ 5 or $10). That covers the use of a "white bicycle", and that's exactly what it says on the box. A pushbike painted white.
Within the Park is contained the famous Kröller-Müller Museum - not included in the entrance fee - which was established in the 1920s. There is a memorial to General De Wet, who fought in the Boer Wars around the turn of the 19th/20th century. Next along the way is a hunting lodge called St Hubertus - that being the patron saint of the hunt of course.
We went there on the pushbike, 8 miles there, and 8 miles back, in addition to a 19 mile cycle track around the park. Needless to say after 35 miles in the saddle we're pretty knackered. The scenery was quite stunning, particularly with the weather we've been having today. No thunderstorms expected for a change - it's just too dry for that. The humidity has finally gone.
I am in the process of uploading the 66 pictures I took today onto the Veluweman site on Flickr. Give me about 20 minutes to finish them off, after I post this entry.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
I have deleted the moaning entries about AOL from this blog, as I decided that it was outside its remit. I've vented my spleen, it won't make bit of difference, just makes me feel a little better.
More thunder tonight, and it's now quite blowy and overcast. Looks like another storm could be on its way. Am enjoying watching Springwatch on BBC2 (on cable here), which will be on in a minute or two.
To the tune of 7 miles, to the Watchtower (more accurately, just under a mile north of that) via the Church Path, and back along paved cycle paths. The Church Path is an ancient right of way, linking the hamlet of Imbosch to the nearest church. A walk of 5 miles each way. The weather was a bit muggy, feeling cold in the woods but warm and stifling on the moors, where thermals would form (warm) and upon rising into the atmosphere would draw in cold air. Very strange.
Apart from a unicycle and a two-man race-tandem, there were a few touring cyclists about. Overnight rain has left the area pretty wet, leaving us to dodge puddles.
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Went on a cycleride this evening, during a dry spell. It poured with rain most of the afternoon, but between 5 and 9 it dried up. So after supper, we headed off to the river IJssel, south of Velp. We took a shortcut to the bridge at Westervoort (sorry about picture quality, the light was lower than I guessed), thence onto a new bridge, which spans the river Rhine. The Rhine [Neder Rijn, Lower Rhine at Arnhem] splits a mile or two east of Arnhem, with the IJssel going north and the Rhine continuing west. A bridge, carrying a dual carriageway, spans the river just downstream from the fork. The bridge is called the Andrej Sacharov Bridge, after the famous Soviet dissident.
On the far side of the river lies the town of Huissen, which used to be an independent state in the 17th century. We proceeded west along the river dyke to the old village of Malburgen and a small nature reserve. A family of ducks served to demonstrate the speed of the water. Two canoeists braved the force of the current, which is much greater than you'd think. And to think the waterlevel is at its summer low. In winter, the river can rise up to 5 or 6 metres (17 to 20 feet) higher than it sits at the moment.
We crossed the Rhine again via the John Frost Bridge, the same crossing that was the focus of "A bridge too far". Operation Market Garden came to grief here in September 1944, when the push to liberate Holland from occupying Nazi forces foundered on poor intelligence and poor communication. Read more of John Frost onWikipedia.
For reference, the movie was shot at the town of Deventer, 22 miles north of Arnhem.
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
I've written an email to AOL to complain of their lack of information when transferring from paid to free. Changing your email address for alerts, without notification. I don't believe it.
Anyway, we had barely had supper this evening when another thunderstorm came rumbling through. Afterwards, things were washed clean, although on venturing into the woods a bit later on, it was quite muddy. Tomorrow, a cross-country run will be held in the park and surrounding area. Should be a regular bog-slog.
This is my prize pic of this evening, more here.
We had a fantastic display of lightning last night at around midnight. The storms were far away to the north, so we barely had thunder. Elsewhere in Holland, the storms caused flooding and a house caught fire after a lightning strike. Not had so much thunder for many years.
I am also putting this entry up to check the alerts situation, which is still zero.
Monday, 2 June 2008
The thermometer is showing a temperature of 82F / 28C. Not my favourite sort of weather, so I'm desperate for the thunderstorms that are supposedly heading our way. You would not think so, looking at the glaring sun and the blue skies overhead. Down here we have saying that it's so hot, that sparrows fall dead from the roofs. Don't know if that dead young great tit succumbed to the heat, no telling. Probably just didn't make it. The rest of the week will be cloudier and cooler, with temps at or below 70F.
Finished preparations for the trip to the islands in just over 10 days' time. More for my dad than for me, a change of scenery will be good. Bit of a journey (6 hours), but we've done it many a time before. The lighthouse (now defunct) is the most prominent feature, although only 60 ft high, it stands on a dune of 120 ft.
Sunday, 1 June 2008
Sunday came in with a good ole crash bang whallop thunderstorm at midnight, with lightning discharges within 1 km. It passed over within an hour, by which time I was fast asleep. The day dawned misty and grey, but the sun burned all the murk away by lunchtime, leaving a warm and sunny day, with only some cumulus clouds and high cirrus in the skies.
Needless to say, we went for a walk of some 9 or 10 miles. Crossed the heathlands to the Watchtower, thence onto the Posbank. There is a restaurant there, which was very well frequented outside, but much less inside. Not as many cyclists about as I had expected, but then it was a bitty on the warm side. Returned through Velp and the short cut behind the school. Pictures on the usual location.
Oh, alerts have really fallen flat on their face. Zero today, although there were quite a few comments. I've emailed the journalseditor, so am expecting a reply by 6pm at the earliest tomorrow.
Saturday, 31 May 2008
One blogging question: I did not get any comments alerts, even though 5 comments were left on the previous entry. Anyone else got that problem?
Friday, 30 May 2008
Arnhem's central railway station is likely to remain a construction site for at least the next 3 years. Came there on the bus today (didn't trust the weather), and was horrified at the terrible mess they have made. The old 1950s station building was pulled down a year ago, and there is now an ugly, open space and construction work going on near the railway tracks. To reach the platforms, you'd better put your hiking boots on, as you'll be there all flipping day. Well, that's an exaggeration, but it's a horrible, long detour over footbridges and all that. The old station and bus station had its failings, but at least it was colourful.
Was there to assist dad in the purchase of some hiking boots. In and out as soon as possible.
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Four entries in a day is unusual for this blog - yes, I know, Northern Trip would sometimes see me with up to 10. The rain ceased after 2.30pm, and the sun came out at 4pm. The temperature rose from a chilly 15C / 60F at midday to 24C / 75F at 7pm. Very muggy and stifling. No further thunderstorms. Did go to the shop and got my curry sauce, so it was rice, curry sauce, cod fillet and lettuce. Yep, had that last week as well.
In the evening, after supper, we headed for a walk to the cemetery the long way. The walk took us through the woods, which bore traces of the heavy rain. They stand on hills, so there was considerable erosion and downwash. Bit of a mess. Pictures, two of which have already featured on here, can be seen at the usual location.
I have changed the menu for today. I needed curry sauce, which I need to get. However, it is pouring with rain, and things are a bit too lively with all those electrical storms. I do NOT cycle in a thunderstorm, thank you. Looking at the weather radar, a procession of heavy rain- and thunderstorms is marching up the Rhine valley out of Germany. When those hit the high ground behind Arnhem, all hell breaks loose.
You get scenes like these:
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Pictures on Flickr as per usual. When you access this link, you´ll also get old Thomas´ pictures, as this points to all pictures taken today.
Monday, 26 May 2008
Went for a wee stroll round town at 8.30pm. It was fairly mild, and in the next few days, the mercury will be exceeding 80F again. Not something I'm looking forward to.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
On arrival in Amsterdam, it started to rain heavily. We took the wrong turn or two, making it a 45 minute walk in the rain. Afterwards, we went for a meal in a pancake restaurant nearby. Amsterdam is total mayhem, with tourists, cyclists and trams coming at you from all directions. Worse than that, the streets outside Central Station have been dug up, so it was a bit of a cultureshock for the cousins from the country.
The music was excellent (compliments to all performers), and performed with all the passion you´d expect with tango music.
On returning home, the rain had stopped and a late sun came out on passing Amersfoort. Those familiar with Dutch geography will realise that you don´t normally pass that city when travelling from Amsterdam to Arnhem - the result of the diversions in place. It was still light at 10.30pm - but that´s nothing compared to the Stornoway sunset times.
Saturday, 24 May 2008
Local church has a shipping container and every other Saturday, you can leave your old paper there. Off we went, with a big, heavy box on the bike panniers, to the church, three times over, to dump our paper.
The container will be taken away and emptied at a recycling plant, which will pay the church a small amount per kilogram. Think it's a couple of cents. However, by the time we had delivered the last boxes, the thing was pretty much full.
Otherwise a nice sunny day, quite breezy, and the clouds in the sky warning of immanent change. Thunderstorms will move up from the south through tomorrow.
Friday, 23 May 2008
Headed for Arnhem, some 3 miles from here, at 9.40 this morning with the objective of buying a few bits and pieces. As per usual, my memories of the place did not quite square with the current situation. The suburbs were much the same, except that an old school had been torn down to be replaced by a replica building.
The city centre had been turned upside down, and I have to admit, for the better. Until recently, Arnhem's city centre had been austere and grey, especially on rainy days. Remember that in 1944 and 1945, the city was severely damaged in fighting between Nazi and Allied forces. The utilitarian approach was adopted for reconstruction, leaving a dreadful muddle. Fortunately, the shopping precincts have been extensively modernised, the traffic flow regulated, and you can park your bicycle for free, with somebody looking after it in an underground ... erm bikepark.
Found the things needed in just over an hour, and headed for home the long way. Which my dad decided meant going all the way up the Zypendaalse Weg, which is uphill all the way. Pretty steeply. You end up near the Zoo on the Schelmse Weg, but you're knackered by the time you reach there. From there, it's another 3 miles back home.
Nice sunny day today, with a breeze. There is a glider aerodrome some 6 miles outside Arnhem, and today's conditions are absolutely perfect. So, we can see gliders hovering a couple of miles north of here.
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Having sorted out various bits and pieces through the day, we set out on an evening stroll, or so we thought. After traversing the woods between the village and the A12 motorway, we crossed into the main body of the larger forest area to the west. There is a problem, in the shape of a fence, which circles the Castle Country Park. So, in order to avoid that, we headed north. Too far. By the time the trees thinned out into heathland, we could see the high-voltage powerlines that run parallel to the main road between Arnhem and Apeldoorn - and a flock of hot-air balloons. Meaning we were about to hit the Koningsweg [King's Road] which runs to the Watchtower. In other words, 3 miles off course. Well done, natives of the land. By the time we returned to the village it was 9.30pm (sunset time). Anyway, some nice pictures, although the low light tricked me here and there.