Flying the flag

Lady Christina is a part of the UK, afloat the waterways of The Netherlands and the Red Ensign shows this. It’s  a legal requirement, not just us trying to loook more important. It shows anyone who  needs to know where the boat comes from-and this might become more important if relations between the UK and the rest of Europe get chillier. At the top of the mast, we fly the Dutch Flag, a courtesy flag which says, ‘We’ll follow your rules’, also a Friesland Flag because Friesland considers itself a separate part of the Netherlands and there is talk  of it wanting to become completely independent, a’ Marrekrite’ pendant to show we support their provision of free moorings in beautiful places


and a ‘Finesse’ pendant because that’s what sort of boat she is.

We followed a boat out of Sneek a while ago flying the Blue Ensign, meaning that the skipper had held rank in the Royal  or Merchant Navy.  ‘Dipping  the ensign’ is  part of the etiquette of the sea, between naval vessels.
We had  to buy a new ensign. The one which came with the boat was faded, tattered – almost see through in places and drooped behind the boat like a pair of past their best bloomers. It lived up to the ensign’s other name, ‘The Red Duster’.   So now, we’ve smartened up and fly the flag proudly, but we can’t help wondering if our former, tatty flag was a better symbol for the current state of the UK.
It was  dull day and a huge contrast to the weekend. More North Sea than Mediterranean fore the run from Leeuwarden to Dokkum. But plenty going on. The wind behind us, so  jib up and we got a bit more speed.

I can’t stop photographing the houses and the boats along the way.



This one looks like the man couldn’t resist buying boats and inteneding  to do them up when he had a moment. He’s obviously been busy with other things.
If all the goats I’ve ever seen were all out in a field together – there wouldn’t be as many as here. Presumably they’ll supply a Goat’s Cheese making enterprise. It’s a pity that Goat’s Cheese tastes too much like a goat: warm, greyand hairy. Although I know some of my family love the stuff.

We had a bit of trouble with bridges.  You remember, we’ve described the  brinkmanship needed to control the boat if it’s windy, while you wait for the bridge to lift. Well we motored up to one of the pair of bridges outside Dokkum and there was a red light showing, which means ‘no passage’.  After 15 minutes, I did the ‘please open the bridge’ sound signal, but nothing happened. Dave walked to the control booth, but no-one there, so it should have shown two red lights, meaning’ prolonged stoppage’. We decided to take the opportunity for lunch, so we moored. But after two bites of sandwich  the lights  changed to one red and one green, which means ‘bridge being prepared’, so off we went. A few hundred metres further on -the next  bridge, also showing ‘one red’ but again,  no-one there. We then  realised both bridges were controlled by the same man and eventually, he pedalled along the towpath, lifted the bridge and we put our 5 euros into the clog. A long delay for the most expensive bridge yet.
Strange things viewed from our mooring: literally hundreds of primary-school aged children walking along the path on the other side of the mooring. A bit Pied-Piper, especially as the Harbour Master had already told us not to leave any rubbish out because they have ‘problems with vermin,’ and a group of Firefighters in hi-vis gear doing some sort of  challenge involving buckets of water.

And finally, crew in a relaxed mood,


but whose boots are these?


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