Blogs from the log

The simplest way to do this is to give you extracts from Lady Christina’s log, so here are the highlights:
Maandag 10 April
Drachten appears to be closed for the morning, except for ‘Vintage Coffee’. Tasty,like  dark chocolate drink accompanied by cinnamon biscuit.
Purchased a bag of liquorice ‘men’ – the European take on jelly babies.
First voyage: Drachten to Grou. Much colder than we anticipated and open stretches of water very windy. Chart plotter proved essential for knowing where we were and ensuring we kept in the channel. Good decision Dave!  Lots of huge barges!
The Harbourmaster appeared, as if by magic, as we circled, looking for a space.
Showers and water cost 50 cents.
Shopped at excellent Poiescz supermarkt
Dinsdag 11 April
Let’s compare showering facilities here with those on UK boat routes. There’s absolutely no contest. Showers here are scrupulously clean, with hot water, somewhere to hang your clothes and towel and all housed in a modern, well maintained building, whereas in the UK it’s like showering in an abandoned garden shed.
Determined to live the outdoor life, so ate toast and tapenade  on the back deck with some chilled beer. It didn’t take long for the cold and wind to force us indoors. Having a  hot air diesel powered heater was another 5 star decision. Thanks Dave!
Woensdag 12 April
Very grey and windy when Britta & Horst blew in. Literally! Dave helped them to sort out their ropes, then they came in for coffee and biscuits. Met them later for beers and many laughs in ‘Amical’ where I rapidly exhausted my German vocabulary.
Donderdag 13 April
Motored to Leeuwarden along the mast-up route, obviously because our mast is up.
First encounter with road bridges. Can’t get under them because of the mast. So they have to get out of our way. It goes like this: you motor towards them and look for the traffic lights. Two reds means you must stop. Once the bridge operator sees you, he or she will stop the traffic and open the bridge. This can take some time, during which the helmsman has to keep his nerve, because standing still in the middle of a river when it’s windy or there are other craft around isn’t easy. If the operator hasn’t seen you, the correct signal is one long blast, one short, then another long. Makes a sound like the two sides of a lifting bridge with a gap in the middle. See?
To get into Leeuwarded, you have to pay 7 euros, into a clog which is lowered on a fishing line. I speak the truth!
Leeuwarden was buzzing in anticipation of ‘The Passion’, so we joined the large crowd assembled in the square in front of the Fries Museum and mainly heard, rather than saw, the spectacle. I stood no chance against all the tall Dutch people! Lights and sound and glimpses of the action on a screen were sufficient to give us the atmosphere. When it was all over, the audience found their bicycles and cycled away. Lovely to be part of such a benevolent crowd.
Vrijdag 14 April
Found out about the essentials, water, laundry and  chemical toilet disposal from the friendly Harbour Master, then bought Passbrood (Passion Bread) dried fruit, avocados and croissants from the street market. The NL version of The Bg Issue Straatmagazine voor Noord-Nederland) had a painting by Jan Hilverink on the back cover. We were given  3 tulpen by  a riverside florist because they didn’t know what to charge for such a small number of blooms. (The vase on Lady Christina is tiny -space saving being most important).
Zaterdag 15 April
The Fries Museum is in  a tremendous building, overlooking a square, with viewing decks on each level.
DSCN1121 Did you know Mata Hari was from Leeuwarden? That Friesian cattle were originally red and white, not black and white? That Hinderloopen was a major importer of chintz – a fabric so valuable that when a chintz garment wore out, they’d cut it up and make it into something else? That Watse Gerritsma built the first chemical plant in The NL where everything revolved around recycling? Well,I didn’t know any of those things before today.
Zondag 16 April
Had to start the day wih a Fair Trade, dark chocolate mini egg. Otherwise a very quiet day.
Maandag 17 April
Another quiet day, but compensation was finding a Jumbo. Not an elephant, but the ‘Beste supermarkt van Fryslan’. Lots of delicious purchases, including a big round loaf with pumpkin seeds. Entertainment was a film. ‘Lady Macbeth’ whose message is, ‘Women are dangerous, so watch out!’ It was funny in a bizzare sort of way.
Dinsdag 18 April
The day to move on, once it stopped raining and the covers had dried. First experience of a ‘spoorbrug’ – railway bridge. As you can imagine, they can’t stop the trains as easily as cars, so it can be a long wait! Later, moored in a little village but unfortunately, neither the pub, nor the cafe were open.
Woensdag 19 April
First sail of the  season on a tiny mere in very light winds. Good for confidence building.This mere has several islands on it and they all have wastebins for the convenience of boaters. So how are these bins emptied? By a dustbin lorry/boat hybrid.DSCN1168 Excellent!
Donderdag 20 April
Down the Princes Margeritekanal to Sneekemere for some more robust sailing. Saw Common Cranes en route. My BIrd Book informed me that they nest in cork oak forests in Spain,another reason for referring wine bottles with corks over screw tops or plastic ‘corks’.
Sailing was fun and only a few things fell off the shelves.  The Sneekemere is enormous and without the chart plotter we’d have been a bit confused. Moored in Sneek itself and then spent the night in aself-catering appartment. Well, you after all these adventures?
Vrijdag 21 April
Bakery just round the corner for croissants and raisin buns. I’m not impressed with the coffee pod emthod of making coffee – it generates far too much plastic waste, compared with the filter and jug method where the waste all goes on the compost heap and the coffee stays hot for hours.
A man appeared (they have a habit of doing this!) and told us about De  Marrekrite, a charity which maintains hundreds of moorings and buoys for free in out-of-the-way places. You can show your support by purchasing a pennant for 15 euros (which we did). We want to moor outside of towns, so this makes sense and is an absolute bargain as well.
Zaterdag 22 April
Now moored on an island at a De Marrekrite mooring. Very windy and then it hailed for good measure, but we were snug and warm. I spent some time wondering how we’d get off the mooring, owing to the wind strength.
Zondag 23 April
Getting off the mooring went smoothly after a Skipper & crew conference. Beautiful run towards Bolsward. Lots of birds on the polder, most notably Goosanders. Coincidentally, we’re drinking ‘Los Gansos’ wine at the moment: a Chilean Cab Sauvignon and the label informs me that the growers employ geese and freindly insects to tackle pests on the vines.
Maandag 24 April
A ‘boat-keeping’ day of re-filling diesel tanks and doing the laundry. Cold and rainy. Actuallybought 5 yellow roses and the man out a yellow ribbon around them, treating our paltry purchase as if it made him a millionaire!
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