Week 32-2017. Amersfoort-Katwijk.

This week my family from Norway is staying in Katwijk for part of their annual holiday. On Sunday we have a family gathering on the beach. We organize this event already more than 15 years. The composition is changing from year to year through birth or passing away, work or non comparing holidays. This year we are missing greatly my own son. On the other hand a cousin we had not seen for many years, attended with his wife. It was in retrospect a very much appreciated gathering.

Northsea beach fun Northsea beach fun.

I stayed with my older sister in midweek. At her place I repaired a garden bench and did a number of other odd jobs requiring some technical knowledge and abilities. We did enjoy a lovely evening meal at her sons place.

Twice in the week I travelled to Katwijk to meet my brother and his wife there. The weather this week appeared to be typically Dutch: some nice beach weather, alternating with colder windy and rainy days. It does not bother us, we are used to it and the beach with the sea is always a pleasure to experience.

On Friday I went to Katwijk to have a farewell meeting and subsequent meal at the beach pavilion: we enjoyed a nice bottle of Prosecco and a meal of sole.

Good food at Key West Good food at Key West.


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Week 31-2017. Amersfoort.

1992 Hessel op het strand van Kreta Hessel on the beach of Crete.

Some flowers from Hessels' funeral Some flowers from his funeral.

I cannot give a true description of my feelings. The cremation of Hessel, last week, hit me like a hammer. Picking up the usual activities is helping me to deal with the deep sorrow from time to time. Inside me there is something boiling, outside is the world carrying on as if nothing happened. Tuesday is my birthday and also the birthday of a woman I got to know when I was on holiday with Hessel, 25 years ago at Crete. We became friends and I visited this woman and her husband in Amersfoort on Monday. Of course we did talk about those days and the happy days afterwards.

On Tuesday, the 1st of August, my birthday, I stayed at home, no visitors, no celebrations but a soothing stroll through the woods picking blackberries. I was definitely not ready for a busy birthday party.

Autumn in my mind Autumn in my soul.

Life goes on. On Wednesday Conner, one of Hassel’s boys, came to my place. He had not been here before and did like it. I travelled up and down to Eemnes to pick Conner up and take him back home. Just back from Eemnes, I was asked to pick up a goose from the sanctuary nearby, to take it to the bird-hospital in Naarden. My grandson Marnix did like the suggestion to help me, which was very useful because a goose is pretty heavy.

Goose transported to hospital Goose in bench.

On Thursday my friend Hanke visited me, with her companion dog Toots. I watch soccer games from the European championships games for women and enjoy the performance of the Dutch team. The Dutch team will play the final on Sunday, against the Danish team. The Dutch team did beat the Danish previously during this tournament, so I am hopeful to see the Dutch team become the European champions.

On Friday I walk through town, drink one glass of beer, watch people and try to get some inspiration to buy a birthday present for my brother. He and his wife will arrive Saturday and stay in Katwijk for a week: their yearly short holiday to meet the family on Sunday. I did get the necessary inspiration, bought what I wanted and went home.

Amersfoort square lined with catering Square in Amersfoort, lined with catering.

Katwijk beach still quiet Beach of Katwijk on a working day.

On Saturday I travelled to Katwijk to meet my brother and his wife there. They had had a good trip from Norway and where installing themselves in their rented apartment. We walked on the beach, I bought new swimming trousers. After that I left for Eemnes, where there was again a birthday to celebrate, for Kenneth this time. The usual guests where present to commemorate his birthday. I did not stay late, tired.

Birthday party guests Birthday party guests.





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Week 30-2017. Amersfoort.


The week, with the exception of Saturday, is governed by mourning for the decease of my only son and the organization of his cremation.

In loving memory of Hessel In memory of my son.

I wrote a prayer and asked the minister in my church to read it out during the Sunday service in my church.

On Monday the coffin with my son was placed in the living room in Eemnes, for all to have their personal thoughts and memorial.

Hessel's favorite cat with flowers for the coffin His favorite cat next to the flowers for my sons’ coffin.

Loads of flowers arrived with enormous amounts of supportive cards.

According to his will, the service held in his memory on Thursday, took place in a large tent in the woods. The service was attended by a large crowd from family, friends, and former colleagues. The readings to commemorate my sons’ life were full of true emotion, with in between the music he himself had selected and a selection of pictures shown on screen.

After this formal service we took to the crematorium with only the nearest family. After this we returned to the tent in the woods, to receive the many personal condolences.

Modern birthday party Modern birthday party.

The birthday of one of his boys, on Friday, was celebrated on Saturday. Normality will eventually return to our existence, but my son will be remembered for what he was: loving, listening, helping out and always with loads of patience.

I pray for him: rest in peace.

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Week 29-2017. Amersfoort.

Stichtse roundabout Stichte Roundabout, Amersfoort.

This week will always remain a memorable but sad week. It is very difficult if not impossible to express my feelings. My only son Hessel died, Friday evening, from an epileptic insult. We all, his family, his friends are devastated. Hessel will be remembered a friendly giant, quiet, understanding and loving husband and father.

On Sunday we watched as usual the Formula 1 race, this time held at Silverstone (GB). After the race I left to my appointment with my nephew Daan, his wife and baby daughter. I was invited to their place for a meal and asked to tell about my latest travels around the world.

Cooking The host is cooking: salmon.

On Monday I picked up the Springer Spaniel, called Toots. Toots will stay with me for one night, since her owner had to undergo a medical check in hospital. Toots knows the place and is lovely to have.

Chasing cat Ktten in the tree opposite my balcony, miauwing me awake, chasing Flamish Jay.

On Tuesday I went to town with Toots. I was early, drank coffee at a tiny terrace and bought presents for my daughter in law. It is her birthday today. After returning Toots to her owner, I went to Eemnes to join in the festivities for the birthday. Hessel gave his wife a lovely present; an olive tree, ready planted in their garden. This tree will always be linked to the sad events later to emerge.

Korte Gracht Amersfoort Korte Gracht, Amersfoort.

On Friday I got a message from a long time friend. I reacted with the proposal to have lunch together, which she accepted. She suggested me to come to Utrecht to see the place where she is living now, together with a new friend. After arrival there we did talk about our late experiences and I met her friend who did arrived just when I left.

Garden at Mr. Sickezlaan Utrecht Garden in Utrecht.

I did go home and spent a quiet evening, until my daughter in law rang me with a voice full of sorrow and tears. I dressed again and left immediately for Eemnes. There I joined into the extremely sad family. From that moment onwards the events are blurred by tears and disbelieve. We started organizing a funeral: it is still unreal but unavoidable.

Eemnes livingroom Empty living.

God bless my son’s soul, his wife, and her four boys. Difficult times lay ahead of us.

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Week 28-2017. Amersfoort.

Characteristic village view Characteristic Dutch Village.

It was a quiet week, at least here in Amersfoort. When you only relate the world to what you hear in the media, the rest of the world is in turmoil. In a couple of years, there will not be one day in the year without a disaster to commemorate.

At home there are new arrivals, young adults with ‘a history’. I am told that I might get a female neighbor known to be a rather bitchy. This gossip makes me curious.

Salvages baby rabbit Salvaged rabbit.

Much of my time was spent on scanning diaries from my parents.

On Thursday and Friday I am approached by the R.A.C.P.A. The first animal is a very young rabbit taken from a nest where the other young are dead, probably attacked by a dog. I take this poor thing to Amsterdam. The other animal is a hedgehog with a sore leg, probably hit by a bicycle.

Parking in Huizen Typical parking lot.

This voluntary work gets me off my chair and out into the world. It is funny to do this kind of work and I like it.

Fitness art Fitness Art.

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Week 27-2017. Amersfoort.


School holidays are on the way this week. Friday is the last school day for many schools in this area. We divide Holland in three areas with different school holidays. We do that in order to spread the load on facilities.

Three new young adults came this week, to live here in the building.

A man, planning to go horse riding in Argentina, came to my home to hear about my adventures there. I showed him the four video registrations I made and answered his questions. After having seen the videos and after my stories, he will probably have more questions later on, when his plans are materializing.

On Wednesday I decided to use my bicycle to go shopping, for a change. It was terrific weather for it: no wind and not too hot.

Thursday evening offered me a surprise party here. A couple of 5 men had set up a BBQ and I was allowed to join them. They swallowed enormous amounts of rib-eye steaks and ten different brands of beer. The thunderstorm with lots of rain did not stop us from having a lot of fun.

Katwijk Katwijk.

Friday afternoon I travelled to Leiden. First I went to Katwijk, in order to confirm and pay the rent of a beach cabin for my brother, arriving the 5th of August. It was surprisingly quiet on the beach, even though it was absolutely lovely beach weather. After having enjoyed a good glass of cold beer, I went to Oegstgeest. There I tried to find family in a nursing home, but they appeared to be out for a stroll. I did not find them. From there I went to the home of my sister where I stayed overnight. We celebrated the birthday of my brother in law with friends and family.

Kralingse Zoom Kralingse Zoom.

The next morning, Saturday, we drove to Rotterdam where we were invited to join in the maternity visit of my sister’s third granddaughter and the first child of their son. It was a pleasant get to gather where I saw many people I had not seen for quite a while. After this event I travelled to Ridderkerk to drop some timber at my other sister’s place. After a bit of bread I did go back home to Amersfoort, starting the weekend there in peace.

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Week 26-2017. Amersfoort.

NS Hollandse Rading Railway station Hollandse Rading.

After church I took mail to my friend in Hollandse Rading and watched the F1 race from Azerbaijan in Eemnes. That race developed into chaos and once again the car of Max stopped after some rounds; very disappointing.

On Monday I installed a chair in my shower cubicle. I had that chair already for a long time in my cellar box and decided some month ago already, to install it.

Paviljon for psychiatry Paviljon for psychiatry.

At midday on Wednesday, I met my friend from Rotterdam at the central railway station of Utrecht. Our meetings became some sort of a regular event, every time in another city. So this time it was Utrecht. We, both civil engineers, admired the hall of the station.

CS Utrecht Hall Central Station Utrecht.

After walking through the mall, Hoog Catharijne, we looked for coffee. In the Drieharingstraat, immediately opposite the exit of Hoog Catharijne, we found a promising terrace. Covered by a good parch protecting us from the sometimes heavy rainfall, we enjoyed watching the passersby, drank two bottles of wine and tasted a dozen of oysters (three different types). One of the oysters did not taste too good, but fortunately my stomach did not react too badly. We stayed there for more than 7 hours: plenty to talk about and a pleasant view.

Drieharingstraat Utrecht Our view in Drieharingstraat in Utrecht.

Chrysemys picta picta Chrysemys Picta.

The next day I was asked to transport a Chrysemys Picta to Alphen a/d Rijn, to the tortoise sanctuary there. I arrived before closure time, so I could go in and watch. Inside the building I discovered a huge amount of enormous aquariums full with tortoises downstairs and upstairs a number of terrariums with turtles. This sanctuary is well worth a visit and very informative for children and others interested in reptiles.

Sanctuary for tortoise and turtle Inside the turtle sanctuary.

The Friday, I used to undertake the half yearly cleaning session.

In Amersfoort this weekend they boast the ‘Dias Latinas’. Everywhere in town you can find musicians, bands, DJ’s performing. No entrance fee to enjoy this lively event. I was very happy to see the venues well protected from guests on wheels: only pedestrians were allowed and that is absolutely very pleasant: you could find many people dancing the salsa, the lambada or the tango.

Amersfoort Dias Latinas Dias Latinas in Amersfoort.

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