Monday 29 March 2021

The weather

Real choppy water
Last Saturday I went for a walk. I had checked the weather app I have and it told me that it would be fine. Ish anyway. So, I made my way to the small village where I would start from and started walking. And it was fine. Until the rain came down, and the hail. But, no worries: it stopped again after only a few minutes. 

You must be mad, walking outside!
Better stay in a nice warm barn like me...
This pattern of rain/hail and fine weather continued throughout my walk. Which lasted over two hours. But that was not the end of it. Because there was also wind. A lot of wind. In fact, so much wind that on occasion I had difficulty staying on the road or path or dyke (I had all three versions). 

I took plenty of sky photos on Saturday.
This was what it looked like most.
On Sunday I had planned to go out again, but the walk on Saturday had left me feeling utterly drained and tired. Nothing to do with the distance really (9,5 km), but all to do with that wind. 

Blue skies. Aaaaahhhh
Then came Monday. The weather was glorious, my legs felt fine, I felt fine, my hair had been cut nice and short again (I know, not really the point, but I thought I would mention it anyway). Where to go though? Stay in the area? Go somewhere different? 

That church was my starting point. This was 3 km away.

Just out of curiosity I asked my parents how far it was to a small village I had seen signposted at work. My Dad immediately got out his phone and tried to find the answer. 18 km. Too much for me. Hold on, that's by car going the long way round. It's only 8.5 km. Well....

Northern Lapwing (kievit): a sign spring is definitely here.
My Dad drove me to the village and dropped me off. The only thing I had to do then was walk home. Which I did. All 9,5 km, as I did a little tour around the church first and had slight deviations on the 'real' route. 

Right now I am tired. My legs feel tired. My head feels tired. Some of it to do with the wind (albeit not as fierce as on Saturday), most of it to do with the glorious sunshine. Blue skies, summery temperature, short sleeves. Brilliant!

Sunday 28 March 2021

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Time flies

The front of the medal
Goodness me, time flies if you are not watching! Unless of course it's our living room clock, which seems to lose more time every day. 

And the back
Nothing much has changed here. Still walking. Still working. Still doing the same stuff I did last time. I did receive my first medal on Monday. Not sure what I had been expecting, but not the beautiful, intricate and heavy medal I got. I can't wait to get the next one, which is on its way as I write (Pyramids of Giza).

Another back
Last Sunday I went on a walk with my Dad. It was a great walk, which from a shoe point of view went perfectly. The area was great as well, and I even saw two 'nisser' or Scandinavian gnomes. Well, I say saw, but everybody knows that you cannot see them as they disappear into thin air then. So, these must have been faithful representations of them. 

A yellow-hatted nisse
Oh, my Dad got his call-up to get vaccinated. He will be stung in April. My Mum still has to wait and there is no telling when it's going to be my turn. Not even having a vital profession helps in that case...

I have also started reading a bit again. I have been hopelessly neglectful over the past few months and not even being a member of a book club helped in that. One book I never even started and another I did start, but it was Norwegian crime that I didn't read then and now realise why I didn't. Not my style or type at all. 

A toad crossing.
It goes underneath the road and saves toads
from getting run over during their trek back to mating grounds
I have started now again, also helped by the fact that it is my turn to host next time: A Robot in the Garden. A book that I read on the recommendation of Dorothy Jayne (Tiny Toadstool Cottage). A bit of a slow start, but once it got going...

That's it for now, hopefully I will have more to tell you next time. Or at least show you some nice photos...

Most photos taken during the walk with my Dad

Tuesday 16 March 2021

The new favourite

The walks continued over this past weekend. On Friday I got out and did a local one. After only a short distance I realised the app wasn't recording any of it and every time I tried, I failed. I continued on the walk anyway and used the Health bit on my phone to see the final distance. Once home I deleted the app and reinstalled it, so I could use it on Saturday for the exact same walk.

Spot the hare
Well, it might have been the exact same walk, but the second time around it was not nearly as many kilometers. Less dithering obviously, but still: over half a kilometer? On Sunday I did some of the same walk and then extended it to include most of the areas of our suburb. In order (Fri-Sat-Sun), I walked 5,8-5,1-7,6 kilometers. Would I be able to do a longer distance on Monday as well?

Spot the four deer (number five is behind the branches already)
The only way to find out was to actually do it. I had found a walk a while ago already, but at the time thought it was too long for me. But now I am able to do longer distances without too much bother, I thought I would give it a go. And they only forecast a few drops here and there...

'Castle' Eerde, now an international school
The forecast was for where I live, not the place I was going, so once there, I got wet. Yes, I had my rain suit with me, but couldn't be bothered to put it on. My thin windbreaker jacket would have to be enough. Fortunately it was mostly showers, but it was a bit disheartening for the first bit. I did continue after my first smaller lap and in the end was glad to have done so as the surroundings were beautiful.

I could imagine this view 200 years ago, with the farm nearly invisible then too
The grounds of the main house were more or less as they would have been in centuries gone past. Smaller pastures, wooded areas, brooks. I thought some of the pastures might be higher because of man (better drainage?). By then the sun was coming out more and more as well and I got some stunning views. 

Do I prefer this photo?
As it was a Monday, there were barely any people about. Yes, on the smaller lap I did see several, but on the large lap: not a soul until I was almost done. For once I did catch some wildlife though. The hare and the five deer on the small lap around the house, the one deer on the large lap through the countryside. 

Or this one? Not sure, what do you think?
Of course, all the trees are still in winter mode, so this is definitely a walk to be done again once spring has sprung. And by then I can see whether the second time around it is still 9,9 km or whether that one as well be shorter!

All farmhouses that belong to the Castle have the same coloured shutters.

A solitary deer, perhaps the rest was hiding in the woods?

I started at N30, went anti-clockwise on the red route,
then the green route to the other red route (N58),
which I also followed anti-clockwise.
Then back to N30 and to my car.

Saturday 13 March 2021


There have been some developments in my life recently. The first one and one that I had eagerly anticipated was the opening of the archive concerning that young gentleman that died in Burma (now Myanmar) on the infamous railway line. That led me to ask a question on a genealogy forum which led to a question back which led to severe searching. I still don't think I have it all sorted, but mostly. 

The things in the archive however, did not relate to the camps he was in (only very slightly anyway), but were mainly personal letters written and other assorted correspondence. It gave a small insight in life in the Dutch East Indies just before the war and how they looked at the threat of war in Europe. It also made me review the piece I had written about him originally and I have now rewritten most of it, going from two pages to almost 25. Including his letters and all the other information I have now. And I am not quite finished yet.

I wonder how many rooms this home has...
Another development concerns a home for me. I have been looking into buying, but unless I want to buy a barn without any facilities whatsoever... So, buying is out of the question. I have been registering for every rental home available, but even though the waiting list is moving forward, it is slower than molasses up a thin pipe. So, I had a plan and I thought it was a doozy.

The plan was basically: I would win the lottery! Easy, right? I bought a ticket and waited in antici... pation (sorry, Rocky Horror connection here), but when the time came, I had not won anything. The doozy had bombed. Ah well, I have a roof over my head so not all is lost.

In Rome in 2019
Yet a further development and this concerns the whole family. As you may be aware off (unless you have been living on a rock, on Titan!), a certain little round thingy with spiky ends is doing the rounds around the world. Very annoyingly I hasten to add, as it is interfering with just about everything. Like travel.

Last year, my sister was due to come in May for both my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and Eurovision. My parents didn't celebrate with a party as nobody was allowed to come anyway and Eurovision was cancelled. Unfortunately, so was my sister's flight. No worries though, she would come in July, at Christmas, for Easter, in May this year. Until the flight was cancelled yet again. Hopefully she will now be able to come in July. 

Concerning that big C that is bothersome to the gazillionth degree: my father should be the first one to be called up for his first vaccination. My mother after that and wait for it and wait a bit longer, then me. But, so far: nothing. Ah well, it will all happen. My sister will come to see us, we will get vaccinated, I will find a home and the story about my step cousin once removed will find more closure. 

Thursday 4 March 2021

The River Vecht, part 2

Part of the mural in the tunnel underneath the motorway
As I told you in January, I have found a route which will take me into Germany, along the River Vecht. I wanted to do the second instalment last week, but alas, the head intervened. So, this week it was. Written down and all in my agenda, only severe rain or another headache would stop me. 

Escape from the motorway
The head was okay today and the rain that was due to come in the morning never really materialised, so I packed my bag, got onto a bus and made my way to the point where I finished last time. I was literally going to pick up where I left the route.

The first bit led me along the motorway, but more importantly along a large cemetery. They were working on building more terraces for the Chinese part of it, so there was some heavy machinery interfering with nice photos. I tried though. 

First view of the river, downstream
Then, after only a kilometer or so, I got my first proper glance of the river. I cross this river every day if I have to work, so it's not unknown, but the route I took this time was. I got to the main path again that led me over the dike protecting those who live along the river from high water. I got off the dike again, then on again. Keeping the river in my sights.

I met some beautiful cattle on my way, and I saw plenty of birds. I then had to cross the river, which wasn't as I had pictured this walk in my head. I thought I would stay on one side of the river and would only cross on my third leg. 

The fish stairs
This crossing was a bit different though. Yes, there was a lock, yes there seemed to be a sluice gate, but also, there were fish stairs. I had heard of them, but for some reason didn't think I would see them. The fish stairs are shallow steps to allow fish to swim upriver without having to pass the lock or the sluice and endangering their lives. 

Artist: Paul van Laere
I also met a handsome little chap called 'Hannes of Dalfsen'. A young seal of six weeks old that had escaped from his zoo home in Germany and swum downstream for an adventure. He was captured here and a sculpture was made of him. Not sure what happened to him afterwards, the sign did not say.

The face is actually a bird house
From there I was on the other side of the river and I continued through farm land towards the village/town of Dalfsen. I knew I was going to the railway station to take the train back and could see it from quite far off. I still had about 2 km to go by then though!

Right next to the train station is a large piece of art called 'The Floating Rock' made by Bas Maters. It looks like an old column piece that carries a large boulder. Getting closer to the installation, you can see a hole in the roof of the boulder that looks as if the column has been sawn from it. But, it's not an old column piece and the boulder is not a boulder either. The whole thing is made from concrete and steel.

If you look closely to the right of the column, you can see the hole.
By the end of the walk, my legs felt like jelly, I had a blister on each of my little toes and I was glad to be able to sit down after nearly 13 km. The train arrived after only 6 minutes and when I got back to Zwolle, the bus home left within a minute of me getting on it. 

The mill in the center of Dalfsen
The next leg will be a bit longer though: about 15/16 km, as public transport is my way of getting back to either my car or home and not all villages boast a train station or even a bus stop. It will have to wait until more facilities (read café with toilet) are open again, so probably summer time. That way I can also train up a bit.

Tuesday 2 March 2021


In the Netherlands, all letters that come from the tax people come in blue envelopes. And even though I haven't had one this year yet, it is still blue time, as we can now do our tax returns. According to my Dad's preliminary findings I should get some money back, so I would like to file my return. 

However, so would a few other people. Quite a few other people at that. Which means that getting through to the filing part is extremely difficult right now. The site cannot be reached. You cannot log in. Please try again in a few hours.

My Dad tried to file his return early this morning at around 1 am. He did not get through. As he was awake still by 2.30 am, he tried again and that time he was lucky. He was able to file his return and print out all the papers he needed for his work today (concerning taxes). 

I tried again today, but still: the site cannot be reached. You cannot log in. Please try again in a few hours.

They chose the colour blue well!

Photos taken during a recent walk near Zwolle

Monday 1 March 2021

Virtual or real?

Even my photo fitted with the destination. Somewhat anyway...
You could see from yesterday's post, that I have completed the Mt Everest walk. 64,2 km (40 miles) from start to finish. And definitely virtual. There is no way on earth that I am ever ever ever going to walk those 64 km up Mt Everest. EVER!! So, this is the next best thing.

My next walk is the Pyramids of Gizeh (74,6 km). A walk that would be a bit more likely, but only the tiniest bit. As in so slim that you could really say it was unlikely. But hey... 

Very like Nepal, wouldn't you say?
Anyway, as you know I have taken up walking or hiking and doing it virtually as well gives me an added impetus. It gives me somewhere to go, especially during these days where my sister coming for a visit is already difficult, let alone me traveling half way across the world. Fingers crossed it will soon change, but for now, virtual is the best I can get.

Mind you, I still have to get the kilometers done in real life. No point in cheating, as you do pay for the scheme as well: a tree planted every 20% of the route fulfilled and a medal at the end of it. As I only completed last Saturday, the medal is in the post as I write. I hope. 

There are sheep in Ireland too, aren't there?
There are two more walks I have signed up for already (other than the Pyramids): one is The Ring of Kerry in Ireland. I have driven that one several times, so know what to expect, but it will be nice to do the virtual walk as well (200 km). And the other one is the Ring Road Iceland, which is a bit longer (1332.5 km). 

When looking through the extensive list of virtual walks though, there was one that stood out for me. Hadrian's Wall in Northern England. It's the Roman wall built in Roman times (really!) by the Romans and stretches from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. 145 km. Virtual. Or real?

Holtingerveld in Drenthe
My sister has taken up the walking as well over in Northern Ireland and we are now thinking to actually walk Hadrian's Wall next year. The real thing. With the rain and the sun and the real ups and downs of hills and such. And at the same time doing the virtual walk. So, that by the end of it, we actually GET a medal. 

We have already decided we need more hill training, but even our regular flat training should get us to a reasonable standard of fitness. My sister has already found out there are tour companies that arrange everything. There are plenty of museums, stately homes and Roman things to see on the way and we will most likely add a week or two to the walking bit so we can see a bit more.

Training for the sand in Egypt
Our first holiday for 2022 is sorted. Now to just kick Corona's A$$!

All photos taken during a walk in the Holtingerveld with my friend last week.