Distribution of bubbles.
The last day of this year happens to be a Sunday. That means that I go to church. My friend Hanke informed me that she will not attend. She feels too weak.
The first casualty from fireworks was listed: a 39-year-old family father died when a powerful composite exploded in his face.
After the service in church, I went to see my friend in Hollandse Rading for a chat and coffee. From there I carried on to my family in Eemnes. I was summoned to attend the evening meal of curly kale hotchpotch with smoked sausage and bacon. Four friends of one of the boys were there to enjoy that meal as well, after which they drove off to Amsterdam to see the new year in. My daughter in law with my grandson and I were invited to do so as guests of a befriended family in Eemnes. The kids were lighting their packs of fireworks, while the elders chatted, drank alcohol free bubbles and ate doughnut balls and apple turnovers. It was a pleasant night, but I was glad to be home at 02:30hr and allowed myself a good glass of whisky to celebrate to beginning of the new year.
Local trees in winter: bare.
Local views: Soest-Zuid and Pavilion Hebron.
On Wednesday morning I finished a job that had been laying on my shoulders for a long time. I digitised diaries: one from my grandfather, 5 from my father and a lot from my mother. The whole set, scanned to JPG files, amounted to 4,06GB and that is a lot. I bought two flash drives and copied the lot onto them with the idea to hand these files over to my brother, sisters and other interested family members. In the afternoon I visited a long-time friend in Muiden to talk about plans for this summer.
Entrance into Muiden.
This woman, Joke, had been a class mate when we were in primary school. This year many of these class mates are having their 75th birthday and I am going to try to get as many as possible of them together to celebrate that event. One of the class mates is living in Jakarta and he and his wife, are expected to come to the Netherlands around the end of July. After the talks with this former class mate I continued to Amsterdam. There, the daughter of my older brother had organized a meal for me and my younger sister with her husband.
Daughter of my niece.
It was a very nice evening, eating home made pizza and, again, drinking non-alcoholic drinks (apart from the first glass of white wine).
The rest of the week went by without anything special. I stayed at home, clearing it from unused items to throw away. I intent to continue that activity until my cellar box is accessible again.
Bus station Amersfoort.
Bonus: Argentina on horseback
1999, January 1-6.
It is the 31st of December 1998. Party time for ‘family only’. I am being treated as an extension of the family by now. Grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles and their children are all there. I do have a lot of fun with three ‘teenagers’ from a family that came all the way from Cipoletti in the Province of Rio Negro. Two sisters, Jaqueline (17) and Valeria (18) are asking me all about Europe and my trip in Argentina. (I visited the family in Cipoletti in 2017).
On Saturday 2nd January, I was invited to join my host Adolfo and others, to a rough area where he keeps untamed horses. Eight horses were rounded up and driven into a fenced off area. They were given the brand of the Centro Hipico.
I have, by now, everything I need: horses, saddles, slings, bridles and the paperwork done. Now is the time to get all my gear on a horse. I try everything first on a mock up saddle back, sorting out a procedure. I do a lot of trials before I try to get everything on a real horse. It appears to be a lengthy and tiring job and I hope it will work eventually. There are some very odd items to load, like a solar panel and a battery. Luckily the horse, either Jul or Jil, is very patient when I am busy but it takes me three hours and that is a lot. When everything is packed, I need time to recover from it. And this is the stationary situation. I wonder how all this is holding out under driving conditions. The first trial was indeed not a success. After a few kilometres the whole load toppled over and I had to undo it from the horse and pack it into a pick-up car: back to the centro and start all over again!
Tuesday 5th January. In Ushuaia at the Tourist Information office, my host has arranged some sort of a farewell party. On the way there, again the luggage on my pack-horse toppled over and was returned to the Centro. I continued to Ushuaia, accompanied by three girls and a banner from the Centro. The press was there: The local TV station and a reporter from a country-wide operating newspaper.
The maire of Ushuaia wished me all the best and good luck. After the happening I returned to the Centro for further trials.
Wednesday the 6th of January is Epiphany. The children are given presents and again it is party time. In the afternoon I help Christiaan, the stable-lad, to chase horses from the nearby mountainous region back to the centro. Most of the horses are rounded up easily, but a small group of 5 horses with a ‘leader’ are adamant and don’t want to go back to the centro. I asked and was given permission to try and get them. It took me two hours of very hard but very satisfying horse-riding to get them back into the Centro. After midnight I went to bed, in my hay-stack, satisfied and very tired.