BOATING MEMORIES

bootjes kijken

RIGHT BY THE RIVER

We are at the big rivers from Holland, something very different than the canals of the UK. While looking over the rivers at the new boats old memories pass by. After a dig in the old photo books i found pictures of how it once was, it was hard work and bitter work.

ijs breken

slowly but certainly

Many boats didn’t have an engine they would get towed by a tug over the rivers. When the rivers were frozen, all boats were towed by an icebreaker. Here they go under the bridge at Zwijndrecht.

My father, mother, uncles and aunts were on the rivers, it was a special life. You lived and worked on the boat, on the back of the boat was the home of the skipper and family and on the front was the home of the matroos. Some had no matroos there the family worked, meaning often that wife and husband worked as a team. Us children where on the boat until we reached school age than the authorities came and took the kids into a special intern school. These schippersinternaat where not always that wonderful and my mum had some bad experience, so our kids went with my mum on the land. Yet every school holiday we went on the boat and many weekends as well.

Alvracht 3

Alvracht 3

The Alvracht 3 was the first boat my father was schipper on i can remember it well. Most of my memories were from the Alvracht 15. One of the first boats with a double engine and double propeller. We were fast but so went the time on the rivers first the boats without an engine disappeared than the more smaller boats. The time for the ‘particulier’  (private owned boats) became hard, jobs were taken by the companies. The Alvracht was one of them companies they owned the boats but the families would stay on the boats, it worked the same as the particulier.

Alvracht 15

Alvracht 15 around 1952 on the Rhine by Lorelei

Not anymore at the end of my fathers career we no longer could stay on the boat in our holidays and that broke our hearts. As boaters you had to work through the nights to make the deadline and them deadlines became closer and closer meaning you had to cruise through the nights it became a 24 hour job. The competition became hard when more and more companies moved in.

Lek

modern times

The duwbakken came in, these are boats ( square ugly tanks) pushed by a boat again a square thing with very powerful engines. The Alvracht 15 worked for a short time as a push boat the front would fit into an other boat making her capacity double, however this did not last long. The old girl is now long gone but my memories will stay.

These days you see big boats very big boats on the rivers many loaded with the containers as the market moved on. They work continu dienst (continuous) 24 hours 7 days one shift sleeps the other works, no family on board anymore. Yet it pleases me to tell that the particulier did survive and there are still smaller boats on the rivers going to places that the larger boats can not get to. They still work as a family team while one sleeps the other works. The woman are equal different yes but equal their work was just as much respected as that of a man, they have to, the work can not be done without the woman. They earn the money together making them compatible and their earnings go further as their work is their home, thinking about the housing market.

particulier

particulier

There are still boats on the rivers the size of the Alvracht 15. When i see them going pass i remember all the good times all them moments but most of all the way of life. This way of life was not always respected but that is a story for an other time, for now i am back at the rivers. I end here with a poem which i wrote for my parents when they were 40 years married they gave me many good memories on the boats.

Herinnering aan puur geluk

Het geklots van water wordt even verstoort door geroep

de kooi is klein, maar warm, maar zo veilig

De stilte wordt weg gevaagd door zwaar geronk

de motor is gestart

langzaam gaat het zwaar gebrom over in een eentonig gerommel

Als je dan je hoofd tegen de hout muur houd, trilt heel je lichaam mee op het gerommel

je stem verandert in een vreemd getril

Kort erna het geplof van touwen

de motor klinkt zwaar voor de eerste afzet

de schroeven verschuren het water

je hoort het roer draaien op de roef

door het raam zie je de balken van de bolders overgaan in de gevel kade

het geklots wordt nu harder en de motor komt weer tot rustig gerommel

de wal beweegt langzaam aan je voorbij

daaaaagggg

13-12-1987

around 1948

long time ago

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WANDERLUST II

Wanderlust II TWEE TWO ZWEI

The crew of Wanderlust is on route again, only this time we choose to go on the road in an old campervan. After long consideration we had to move into an other direction. The winter in Portugal gave us time to think not only about the Art Retreats but also about DABE-ART. We came to the conclusion, us artists love the aspect of bringing art to the people, as we did on our narrowboat. The idea of a static shop somewhere in Wales went into a large pit with a tree planted right there.

alblasfuut

Great Crested Grebe with young.

We love the wandering, discovering of old and new places, getting inspiration while on the go, meeting people.  The narrowboat had her limits, the places she could bring us had to be near water or otherwise well, boat on dry land goes nowhere.

alblasschaap

a boat as roof

So an other vehicle was needed, our old idea of a wandering gallery in a campervan came back out the cupboard. More research was done into the possibilities and here we are in Wanderlust II on the road again.
Just 3 weeks ago we got this old lady, she needed some work on the engine and now she brings us where ever we wish. The next step will be to give her a special paint job so she stand out in the traffic jam.
Some of the lines will be made with letters forming a poem in 3 languages as we going through cultures and languages.

onderaandedijkvliegen

up in the sky 4 Spoonbills

Our first trip went to some old land for one of us, the place she was born and grew up. The trip took us to Strijensas, last visited 41 years ago. Places do not always alter in the wrong direction, this place certainly not. In 2006 they created from some old agricultural land a nature reserve, rewilding bringing back the wild and beautiful. Now 11 years later it sure looks just like a small wilderness with lots of water birds coming and going. The cows are still there but more in the shape of the wilder variety who wander along the area like kings and queens. While just around the corner on the other site of Het Hollands Diep you find a big industrial area with chemical industrie and power station.

onderaandedijkindustrie

industry and nature can go hand in hand

Boats move backwards and forwards with all kind of cargo right along the edge of the reserve. Wildlife do not mind, just give wildlife a change and it will wander along the track it creates herself. The area is not big but that doesn’t matter. On the edge is a marina with a camper place, for 7 euros you can park your camper right in the marina next to a channel. A very quiet spot with lots of walking and cycling tracks and not to forget boating.

onderaandedijketen

eating Willow for a pain in the neck

The Netherlands finally join other countries into providing special places for campervans to stay, so you don’t need to go to the more expensive campsites. Right now while writing this we stand on a camper place by a farmer. We are surrounded by ‘Polderland’ land which once has been reclaimed from water. The ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ has 22 camper places by farmers they are well worth visiting with fresh eggs for breakfast right next to you.

moelnplekje

camper place on the farm

The area is known by the Dutch as the place by the big rivers, it is surrounded by ‘De Lek’, de ‘Waal’, de ‘Noord’, de ‘Beneden Merwede’, de ‘Boven Merwede’ and de ‘Oude Maas’, de ‘Dortsche Kil’, de ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and finally Het Hollands Diep which is more than a river.

In-between these rivers you find hundreds of small and bigger canals to channel the water away every day by low tide. The use of Windmills for this job goes back for centuries and the fight against water goes even further back. Here on de ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ you find 19 windmills in a row but be aware it is very touristy so full of busses, the best time to visit is during the winter months.

alblasmolen

pumping water

We are not here for just playing tourist info but for business. We have been excepted for several Art markets and festivals. They select the people who can join Art markets in Germany as well as The Netherlands, which is not a bad thing. Our first market will be in Dordrecht on 6 August from there we go to Venlo to set the navigator to Amsterdam, followed by De Bilt back to Dordrecht after which we go into Germany to Hamm and Dortmund. In December we go slowly but certainly south to France and ending in Portugal where we have an exhibition the whole of February. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay informed.

Here on the blog we tell you about our ventures in-between the markets and festivals.

Now we start the painting and writing of the campervan.

molenknotkoe

such a lovely Willows 

mAgdA

DABE-ART