We moored last night in Joure, which is fast becoming my favourite place. Why? Well, the harbour is small, well equipped, the staff are friendly and mooring is inexpensive. But all this is outclassed by the neighbours.
There’s a rookery in the park next door and the rooks are magnificent. When we were here in April, they were busy building their nests – and making a great deal of fuss about it. ‘That’s my last trip to Rookea,’ said Pa Rook, as he flew back with a beak full of nesting materials. Now the baby rooks have hatched and the noise from them and their parents just about blocks out the sun. Just before bedtime last night, the rooks all decided to take off and fly around (quietly of course) and there were so many of them, they literally filled the sky. The visual effect of all these birds, in front of a full moon, was stunning. Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t to hand. Sorry.
The other new development in Jouure was the Douwe Egbert factory was sending out tobacco aromas as well as roasting coffee ones. Now I accept that smoking is very bad for your health and your wallet and to be honest, I can’t understand why it’s so popular here, among an otherwise super-healthy population – but the rich and fruity aroma of pipe tobacco in particular takes me straight back to childhood.
After an exhilarating, but very hot day, sailing across the Tjeukemeer
to get from Joure to Oldemarkt, we admitted defeat and stopped before we fried. The great thing about the NL is that you can moor your boat ‘in nature’ as well as in harbours and yacht havens, so we stopped at one of the wilder moorings and had a swim, more or less straight away. I’m sure we increased the water temperature by a degree or two. Then we lazed around, drinking tea (we are British, after all) and both fell asleep.
Woken up by thunder rumbling in the distance and when thunder rumbles, rain isn’t far behind. It didn’t rain for long though, so we decided to try to get to Oldemarkt, by bike, to buy essentials. But we didn’t know if we were actually on an island and therefore cut off, or not. As we wheeled our bikes around the grass, towards where we thought there might be a bridge, I started fantasizing about being cut off. I’m currently reading Neil Oliver’s ‘A History of Ancient Britain’ and during the post-tea-drinking-snooze, I’d been daydreaming about Neolithic people and the fact that I was probably hearing the same sorts of sounds as they would have done. I like lying on the ground and absorbing whatever natural stuff is going on. So in this Neolithic mindset, it was easy to think that if we were ‘castaways’ we could make elderflower champagne, using natural yeasts, nettle soup, hunt whatever animals are lurking among the trees,( after making the bows and arrows), light fires, carve wood bark into precious and symbolic objects…and so my mind wandered on.
However, I’m glad to say, that we were saved from self-sufficiency; there was a bridge and then a cycle path to Oldemarkt, where I decided Stroop waffles and Sprinkles beer were probably a good bet. The rain started in earnest just as we got back.
My serious thought today, greatly influenced by Neil Oliver’s writing, is that probably understanding ourselves and then the world around us, are the most important things we can do, during our brief sojourn on Earth. So that’s your mission, if you chose to accept it.