Last Friday, after work, I travelled towards the town of Oldenzaal. I took the afternoon off, so I would arrive in time.

Main goal of this trip was to visit my mother, who stays in a home in Haaksbergen. As I wrote already before here on my blog, I am very worried about my mothers health. Lately her health is getting weaker and weaker again. Even this week there was more bad news as now turned out my mother has also problems with her coronary.

I care a lot about my mother and I love to visit her, but these visit take a lot of energy and cause a lot of emotions. That is why I try to combine these visits with some things enjoyable. Now don’t get me wrong, the visits to my mother are fun too, but as said they take a lot of me because my mother is so precious to me.

So it has been some time that i saw my friend Patrick. I dropped him a mail if I would be welcome at his place for the Friday evening. A reply arrived soon telling me that I was and at the same time I got an invitation to come that evening along to “Twente Ballooning”.

Twente Ballooning is a yearly returning event about air-balloons and is one of the most spectacular events on this subject we have over here in The Netherlands.

So around 6 o’clock Friday afternoon I arrived in the town of Oldenzaal. Patrick was already waiting at the station. It was good to see him again. At his home we ate with his two sons a pizza (pizza is always good :P).

As a little miracle the weather turned after days with lost of heavy rain to an enjoyable temperature and the sky was almost free of clouds..

The event itself was great. We wandered around and looked at the balloons that were showed there. The ones with special designs were awesome to see. But also the many stalls were fun to watch.

Around 10 o’clock there was this special event they called “Nightglow”. An awesome show around some air-balloons with special light effects and wonderful fireworks. I truly enjoyed to watch this. I really prefer this kind of organized fireworks as the fireworks people themselves have on new years eve. They are way more beautiful, less dangerous and less disruptive for those that don’t like them (and lets not forget that new years fireworks are a real load for the environment).

I did spend the night at Patrick’s house. Next morning after breakfast and some coffee Patrick bought me to the station, from where I travelled to Haaksbergen.

Sanne was right when she warned me that my mother looked weak and sick. As I already knew it did hurt me to see my mother like this. You could see on her face that she was cramped and felt uncomfortable. She lost weight again and is now under 40 kilograms again… which is way too less.
We talked for a long time. Many subjects passed by. It still remarkable that she can be so optimistic after all that happened.

With a heavy heart I went after visiting my mother to Marion’s parents. Her mum and dad are wonderful people. They noticed directly how I felt and were comforting. But without lying or not facing the truth. We all know that the situation around my mother is not very positive. I am really happy with knowing Marion’s father and mother.

Close to the afternoon Marion arrived at her parents place. She was staying at Sanne’s place and was surprised that I already arrived. She thought I would have stayed longer at Patrick’s place before travelling to Haaksbergen. We had lunch together and Marion’s mother really presented a very nice filled table.
After lunch and coffee Marion and I went to her place. As I have only a shower in my apartment, I always take the opportunity to enjoy the bathtub Marion has. This tub is larger as an normal one and had more then enough room for 2 persons (I know :P). I find it very relaxing to lay in a warm bath and let your thoughts float around.

Later in the afternoon Marion and I made a walk through the centre of Haaksbergen. It was weird to walk there again. Haaksbergen is the town were I did grow up and lived for many years. And since the few months that I live now in Heemskerk things are already changing in Haaksbergen. And yet it is a town with a warm spot in my heart.

At the terrace of “De Markt 2” we drank something and had some snacks. This terrace is very special to us, because this is the place where we did for the first time ever met. It was fun, because we were sitting under this big parasol while it was raining rather hard. Marion and I were all alone on the terrace and I don’t think the personal of “De Markt 2” were not that happy with us. But I think the tip we gave made that all good.

Late in the afternoon we went in the direction of Heemskerk. Some where along the road we had dinner. Nothing special, but nevertheless good.
Once in Heemskerk we prepared for a nice evening together. Marion took even for her doings a very long shower, while I prepared for a nice evening. All evening we cuddled on up on the couch watching a nice movie. Some beer and wine… some snacks… Life can be wonderful.

This morning started with breakfast on bed and this time I was the one who could stay in bed. Marion made a nice breakfast with hot kaiser-breads with garlic herbs cheese, soft boiled eggs and a nice tea.
Because of the bad weather (most of the time it was raining) we stayed inside. Talked a lot, read a bit and enjoyed ourselves. Got in the evening some very nice Chinese food and watched some tv again. Somewhere during the evening we made during one of the moments it was not raining a walk to get some fresh air.
The bad things about the bad rainy weather as we had it today is that you don’t want to go outside, but the nice thing is that it becomes quickly very cosy when you are together.
Tomorrow Marion will leave for some days abroad again…

So all with all it was not really a bad or negative weekend. Sure there were things to think about and subjects to make my mind clear about (if possible at all). But it is about balance… and this weekend this balance is very clearly positive…

And Marion? Right behind me asleep in my bed…

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“The Abbot of the Vale”

by Rob on

In my last message here on my blog I told that I bought music of Tony Hazzard through iTunes. I knew his music from way back. It is great to hear that music again. Maybe not a surprise, but Tony Hazzard as songwriter wrote some very great lyrics. One of his songs about something very dear to me :P

*Sings along loud and way out of tune*

“The Abbot of the Vale”

I got a friend who I can turn too
He makes me happy, stops me feeling blue
Tells me the truth, if I wanna see
He is good friend, made to you and me

I drunk whiskey from a crystal glass
Drunk sweet water. I even smoked grass
But all these things just don’t compare
to my friend with the golden hair

He is the Abbot of the Vale
Too much of him turns white shade of pale
He is the Abbot of the Vale
Too much of him won’t live to tell the tale

I got the noonday in the white caught sun
Got my job. Got a loaded gun
I’m dying to shoot. And I shoot to kill
But my friend says no, so don’t think I will

He is the Abbot of the Vale
Too much of him turns white shade of pale
He is the Abbot of the Vale
Too much of him won’t live to tell the tale

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This weekend….

by Rob on

A bit weird weekend it is….

Last Thursday I was off work and I went with Tom to the “Sail In” to make pictures of the arriving sail boats for Sail Amsterdam 2010. A sight to see. Even made though the circumstances were bad, I made some nice pictures…

I had planned this Saturday to go Amsterdam and visit Sail there, but when I woke up Saturday morning I didn’t feel very well. My stomach did hurt a bit, a bit of a headache. So I decided to stay home.

Later in the afternoon I started to feel better again, but my mood to visit Sail was a bit gone. I went to the town of Heemskerk instead to do shop some things I wanted to have.

Marion had made a remark that having a fondue would be very nice. It was ages ago that she had one and that goes for me as well. So I bought a nice electric fondue-set (a design one even :P). So now can we can have our fondue’s…. cheese, meat, Chinese… whatever :P.
Same time I bought two nice table candlesticks, so I can make the dinner table look really nice.

As I have now rather people over for dinner and I like to make salads, I bought a nice big salad bowl that can holds enough salad for at least 4 or 5 persons. I also got some nice some smaller bowls that can used for many things.
And so I got some other things for my house as a holder for paper napkins and luxury soap dispensers. I love to buy things for my house.

I watched some episodes of Stargate Atlantis. Talked for a while with Marion on the phone. I was happy to hear that she felt better again. Feeling tired, I found my way to bed early.

This (Sunday) morning I slept long. After waking up I made myself a small breakfast. I worked on some pictures that I want to put on the walls of my home.
Some how my iPod got problems. I have been at least 2 hours busy to solve the problems. Remembered an artist of who I have an vinyl record. Entered the name of the artist into the iTunes stores and got very unexpected a full hit. So now I have all the songs I loved of Tony Hazzard on my iPod. “Tony who?” you may say. Tony Hazzard is a songwriter who has written songs for Hollies (“Listen to me”), Manfred Mann (“Ha ha, said the clown” and “Fox on the run”) and more. But he also sings some very great songs himself.

Went for a ride on my bike and saw some part of the city of Beverwijk that I hadn’t seen before.

Tonight? Watch some more episodes of Stargate Atlantis or watch the movie 2012 that I got this weekend. Maybe playing some Everquest II.

So a weekend that went complete different as planned, but it was not a bad weekend after all :)

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My parents…

by Rob on

Lately I have been thinking often about my parents. My father died several years ago. My mother is still alive and I am sure that because I am really worried about my mother my thoughts are so often focused on my parents.

My mother is in a home for people who need extra care. My mother needs a lot of extra care. Her body is getting weaker and weaker. Her eating very badly makes it all just worse.
People around me, friends and colleagues, know how often in the last two years I all of a sudden had to travel back to Haaksbergen because the situation of my mother turned worse. Until now it all turned back to the good side. But I am very afraid that one of the days soon I will get that fatal call…
It is not my mothers mind. She is still very clear of mind. I even dare to say that she is very young of mind. She is still capable of going along with modern ways of living.
As said, it is not her mind that is giving problems. It is her body. Almost as long as I can remember my mother was suffering from health problems. But her courage to go on was always remarkable… It still is.

Of course I have many memories about my parents. Some good, some bad, some just as they are.
One of things I remember very well is that my parents never hitted me. Although I can remember one situation that I brought my father in despair very close to it. But in the end he never did.
Nicer memories are that I can remember how my father was running with me on his shoulders around the house, wondering where “Little Robje” was.

I can remember very well how my father loved it to take his family out for dinner. He didn’t have much money as factory worker, but out for dinner was something he really liked. I remember “Hotel Centraal” (building doesn’t exist anymore), “Restuarant De Bron” (this building also doesn’t exist anymore). “Restuarant De Vijfhoek” (building is still there, but that is all) and “Hotel Mossinkhof” (same here… only the building is left).

There are some other things I respect my father very much for…. his handwriting, which was close to perfect.
His work for the Dutch Red Cross (which cover the flooding of the Dutch province “Zeeland” in 1953 and the train-kidnapping at “De Punt” in 1977).
Also his work for the local areas was remarkable.

As said before, I respect my mother especially for her strong mind and her ever lasting optimism. The house were we all grew up must have been very empty after my father died and we (my brother, my sister and me) were not living home anymore. I think it was great how she managed to handle that all.
I think that she secretly loved it that when after my last relation went down the drain, I asked if I could come home for some time. Finally one person more in that big house.
And even with my job in Hoofddorp she loved it that I came home in the weekends.

And that is all gone now… My mother was taking into the home she is staying now…. I moved to Heemskerk… The elderly house is gone. So many things have seem to come to an end….

And yes, I have seen things in the past concerning my mother and my father that I didn’t understand. There were also things that happened in the past to which I have no complete answers. And maybe it for the best this way… Some things don’t need to be answered. There is no need to bring the pain of the past to the present.

But whatever…. these two persons set the markers for who I am today. And I am grateful for that

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Ruin of Brederode

by Rob on

Finally today I have been to the Ruin of Brederode (near the city of Santport South). It is a small trip with the train from where I live and then a 15 minutes walk.

But I have to say that it was very worth the spend time… It is an awesome place to visit and a great place to take pictures.

When visiting old building like this ruin, I am always impressed by the fact how people in the past were able to build such beautiful buildings. Even when this here is nowadays a ruin, it is very easy to see that this was once a very impressive castle. Remember that they had in the past not the means for buildings as we have nowadays. It was all manual and hard labor.

The castle was build in the second part of the 13th century by Sir Willem I van Brederode. The castle was owned by 18 Lords until Sir Wolfert van Brederode died in 1679 and with the last male heir of the Brederode family died.
The castle has changed many times. It has been under siege, captured and freed again.

I am always amazed how plants manage to grow on the most weird and strange places in such old buildings. They seems to be able to adept so that they can grow against walls and on high places.

I am happy that the castle is now maintained as monument so it is saved for the future. I think I will return here more often to make more pictures if this impressive ruin.

Here some more pictures…

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The beach, sea and wind…

by Rob on

Today I had a day off. It was the first time Marion left from my house to Schiphol Airport to travel for her work. Yesterday evening she came to my place. We had a wonderful evening together and this morning after a very nice breakfast together she left for Zwitserland.

The weather was nice. So after cleaning the house and doing some shopping in town, I decided to do something nice for the afternoon. With my camera all charged I took my bicycle and went in the direction of the beach.

I thought that although the sun was shining, the wind was blowing too hard for lot of people to enjoying the beach. Well, I was wrong. Lots of people were on the beach to tan or have fun in some way.
Some even were swimming, while the beach guard giving off a signal that it was dangerous to swim. People can be so stupid.
I had to walk some time before it became more quiet on the beach.

Anyway here some impressions from my walk along the beach…

Again, a well spend afternoon!

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“De Bazaar”

by Rob on

Not far away from where I live, in the city of Beverwijk, there is every weekend a black market. This black market is called “De Bazaar”. I heard many nice things about and it was one the things that I wanted to visit.

Today the weather was not too bad and I had all afternoon to spare, so I took my bicycle and went to “De Bazaar”.

It was very busy, but not in a way that it was bothering me. There are a number of big halls filled with more or less small stores selling the most various things. Clothes, toys, gadgets, make-up, antiques (real or not), herbs, tea, coffee, mobile phones and a lot more.

There was an interesting mixture of scents caused by all the shop that were selling food from very different origins. But as I was not that hungry I skipped that challenge.

Part from some herbs and tea, I bought some rice bowls and chopsticks…


Every time I go out with Marion (and Sanne for that matter) for dinner and eat Chinese, Japanese or Indonesian food Marion eats with chopsticks and I as the barbarian am condemned to use fork and spoon :).

But above all, I think it fun to learn it.

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A nice day for a bicycle ride…

by Rob on

Yesterday was a rainy day. And although I don’t dislike the rain really, it stopped me from making a nice ride on my bicycle as I had planned. Luckily today the weather was better.

A little after noon (I did get very late out of bed. I had to catch up some sleep after last week :P) I got my bicycle and started my trip.
The idea was to take a look to east of Heemskerk, a area I hardly been before. But which is rather interesting for me, because that is more or less the direction of the view from my balcony.

First town I reached was the town of Assendelft. I only knew this town by name, I never have been there before (at least not that I can remember). I loved the old houses along the main road of Assendelft.

Used to the landscapes of Twente, I was still looking for two things I hadn’t seen here yet. To know a true sand path (even the smallest and unused roads seem to been made of brinks or have an asphalt topping. And a true sand path as they can be found often in Twente I did no see yet.
The other thing I was looking for was a so called “water tower”. Right after the town of Assendelft I found one…

After some time that I left Assendelft I reached a most lovely small town called “Nauerna”. The very nice town is build around a small ship lock.

I decided to go with a nice d-tour back in the direction of the city of Beverwijk (which is next to Heemskerk, where I life).

On a small road through grasslands and meadows I spotted a small drama. A cow was fallen into a ditch. A farmer and his son where trying to get that cow on the dry land again. I was already making my way to them to help, when I noticed they succeeded. But as they saw that I wanted to help a friendly hand was waved in my direction.
I know it looks cruel to pull a cow with a tractor out of a ditch. Believe me, it is the only way. Cows are way to heavy too do it on another way.
Anyway, luckily all went well and after the cow was pulled out of the water, it quickly got on its feet again and walked away to the other cows.

Continuing my trip, I made my way in the direction of Heemskerk. I found something else I need to explore. Just outside Beverwijk/Heemskerk there an area called “De Buitenlanden”, an ecological are of 40 ha. Looked very interesting.

I think with all the side-roads and d-tours I made a trip of 30 or 35 kilometres. A very good spend Sunday afternoon.

As I can only add one spot on the Google Map I can display, I have chosen for the very nice town of Nauerna.

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