It was great to wake up to a dry world for a change...
My friend had taken the day off, and we spent the morning at our leisure, having breakfast and watching the many housemartins and swallows wheeling over her enormous modern barn. They had their chicks with them, and it will not be long before they all depart for warmer climates (very sensibly). They had another charming little bird there, called a Kwikstaartje in Dutch.
All too soon the sky started to close in on us again though, and we decided to get a move on, as we wanted to take a drive through her part of Friesland (on the border with Groningen, so in the North-East) and visit an estate in Veenklooster.
By the time we got to the estate, it had started to rain again - bugger!
We parked her car and first had a tea in a café run by people with a disability, the Oude Zwaan. This initiative is being followed more and more in the Netherlands, and it's a good one. People with a disability get money from the government, but the idea is to provide them with a steady job in a café, supervised in the areas where they need help. Our young waitress did the serving herself, but was helped with adding up and checking the bill, that kind of thing.
The Fogelsangh State (meaning bird song estate) was quiet. We had it to ourselves...and boy, was the lady from the gallery glad to see us! It took some effort to get away from her.
And get away I wanted to, for there was an exhibition showing owls, and I wanted to enjoy this in peace!
The watercolours were lovely, but far too expensive for my purse.
The estate itself showed how affluent Friesians lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth century; with a ladies' morning room, a gentlemen's hunting room, a library, a music room, etcetera. Not half bad. Obviously, I preferred the music room with its piano.
Taking photos inside was strictly forbidden, and this time I obeyed, sorry.
The rain, meanwhile, was coming down in buckets again, so we ran back to the car and drove into Kollum, to visit a 'Wereldwinkel' (meaning: world shop)
Another great concept! I believe it was an initiative by Oxfam originally, not quite sure though. Artisans from the Third World send their stuff to the Netherlands, and get a fair price. I bought a gorgeous little stone bird from Zimbabwe for my husband there, as it would be his birthday soon.
Back at Tessa's, I helped Rein pick their plums, and all too soon it was time to go to bed, as they had to make a very early start in to work on the Thursday morning.
Never mind, for the sun was out!!!!
I said goodbye to Tommy, tore Fietsje away from their roguish Morris, and was back on the road at 8 am.
Fietsje and I made great time. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the cows greeted me by sometimes galloping along next to the bicycle path, in short - I had a wonderful morning!
At some stage I passed a farm being dwarfed by huge receivers; did they expect an alien invasion in the Friesian polder?
After only a couple of hours I passed the invisible border with Groningen. I stopped for an early lunch at Roodehaan, a tiny hamlet on the Reitdiep river, and phoned our auntie that I was almost there.
Life was good!
My tip for wanna-be knooppunten cyclists: if you are in Groningen, say 'moi' (pronounced as in oy) to everyone you meet.