Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Brouwersdam - Windsurfers Mecca.

This afternoon we took ourselves to the Brouwersdam, a man-made dam built to connect the island of Goeree-Overflakkee (province Zuid-Holland) to the island of Schouwen-Duivenland in the province Zeeland in the Netherlands.
Perhaps now you'll understand why I call my neck of the woods 'The Wetlands'.

© Wibe Koopman Photography

Like the Florida keys, our islands are connected like a string of pearls through thin strips of sandy land, or through long bridges which double as barrage dams.
The islands were all proper islands until the Great Flood of February 1953, when huge parts of the islands were inundated in a fierce tidal surge, causing hundreds of people to lose their lives. After that they built a system of dams and bridges (the Deltawerken) to protect the islands and hinterlands from the next monster spring tide which is sure to come sometime.

© Renée Koopman

This particular dam is wildly popular with surfers. Kite surfers, board surfers,  ordinary surfers, kite karters, surfing karters and ordinary kiters all crowd onto the beach and have a great time. Fortunately this particular beach is very broad.

Especially Germans have found their way to this part of the Wetlands. They crowd the campsites with their campers and caravans and enjoy the sands. But I heard French and American as well this afternoon.

I grew up here, so 'beach' is nothing special to me. I am a tree person. But on the occasions I do visit the beach, I really do enjoy the atmosphere, the salty tang in the air, the wind and - at the Brouwersdam - the colourful kites in the air.

Not here the mondain beach clubs with decorative Buddha, wellness and cocktail atmosphere, but down-to-earth surfer's beach hangouts, with sun browned and wind blown happy people shivering in the fresh wind and drinking beer.

If you ever find yourself in the Wetlands, make sure to visit this part. It is a very special, quite un-typical piece of the Netherlands. Not a cow in sight. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

And Finally...Sun in The Wetlands, Life is Good!

Hiya, lovers of the outdoors :-)
Today I have a huge smile on my face, for today the sun is out and the wind has turned to the South...Suddenly my garden is what it is designed to be: a haven.
Not so much a windswept battlefield where my hanging baskets are swinging wildly dripping from their branches and my goldfish complain of it being too wet!

I am writing this in the garden, under the sun umbrella, with a cup of home-grown nettle tea at hand, Viggo and Gina by my side and a very loud cuckoo just off to my right in the bushes.
And Life is suddenly good.

This evening I am going to meet up (hang out, say my kids) with my few female colleagues and have a leisurely meal (chill and booze, say my kids) in the garden (hopefully!) of one of them. So Life is better still.

Only six weeks to go until the Summer holidays. Better, better still!

The poplars are moulding, shedding, what-you-may-call-it; the air is full of white fluff. Cotton on the mild wind. I kinda like it.

That cuckoo is really belting it out now! Gina has turned tail and removed herself to her basket indoors; too loud for her.

Just to make my point; this was two days ago...

So...I would like to wish you all a lovely day. I am going to enjoy mine, I can assure you!

All photos © Renée Koopman

Monday, 1 June 2015

Blue Zones? Tell You What Makes a Viggo Blue!

Hi fans, Viggo here, with an update on my big fat woman.

I am NOT satisfied with the progress my woman is making.
Last time I told you about the kilos she had lost whilst in Rome...Well, she gained them again.
I was so not-amused, I tell you! Here I am, trying to keep her spirits up, giving her good advice every day, overseeing her workouts, making certain she wakes up nice and early every morning...And what do I get? No result. Zilch. Nada.

So I did some research, and I came upon this Blue Zone stuff. People on far flung (read: backward) islands who live mostly on veggies and some fish drenched in olive oil, or alternatively mostly veggies and kelp, live up to one hundred or more and do so in good health, good spirits and- if you believe those stories- have sex twice a week whilst enjoying a good social life as well. Could be this is at the same time - I missed that bit due to the fact that a bumblebee distracted me.

Anyway, nothing ventured nothing gained, so I've put her on a new diet: the Blue Zone Diet minus the kelp (wouldn't know where to get that from) and plus the wine. 
Will keep you updated as to the weight-loss. Or gain (Frith forbid!)