Nieuwkoopse Plassen


Nine AM. The half-light of a chill wet November Sunday. Five friends. Early? Used to be. Not any more. Car boots full of bags. Bags full of boats. A half hour of boatbuilding and banter. Catching up. Remembering a forgotten knack. Which rib first? Which one next? Pass the mallet! E Voila! Three boats. Two big and green, one small and red. More bags. Dry bags this time. Gear. How much gear? It's a day trip! Food. How much food? Well it's for five strapping lads and it's cold. Okay not so very cold but it is wet. It feels cold. Paddles. Bung em in and get changed. Back pain? Back pain! Ibuprofen! Good to go? Good enough (I think). Lets find out. Look left, look right, cross the road. Boats to water. One, two, three. Paddle strokes. Turn the bow, face forwards, put the concrete behind. Which way? Check the map. Turn the corner and follow the channel. Turn the corner. Narrow channel! Just two boats wide. High reeds! Silence! Paddle on. No not silence. Plunging paddles, gurgling bows, wind, rustling reeds. Magical sounds. Which way now? Left then right then onto the lake. A left then a right then open water. Big water. Wind? Some wind. Wind from behind. Where we headed? Check the map. Left of the spire? Think so. Paddle. Stay alert now. Not a good place to tip. Kayakers! Four abrest. Hi. Hi back. Ride the swells. Into the channel. Skirt the village. Past the house boats. Sleepy Sunday. Wet Sunday. Cold Sunday. Nobody about. Which way now? Left, skirt the island, follow the shoreline, left again. Peat island. Beach boat, walk on water, fool around. Back into the reeds. Better. Much better! Cormorants. Geese. Jet planes. Deeper into the reeds. Better still. Which way now. That way! Paddle on. You sure it's this way? Actualy, erm, no! Small channel. Three boats wide. Overhanging trees. Silence. No not silence. Plunging paddles, gurgling bows, dripping drops. Wilderness? No. Definately not, but, close one eye and imagine. Feeling cold. Too cold. Unexpectedly cold. It's November not February. Holland not Norway. Stop for lunch. Click of piezo, roar of gas. Soup. Pea soup! Suasage. Smoked sausage! More banter. Laughter. Good friends. Cold? No warmth and belonging! Back to water. Paddle strokes. Turn the bow. Follow the channel. Out of the reeds into the meadows. Wind! Into the wind. Twist and turn. This way and that. Past the cows. Men without legs levitating through fields. Back into the reeds. Turn right. Flat water. Mirror smooth. Long light. Golden, warm, rich. Magical. Nearly there? Yes, just along there? Still early! What to do? This way or that? That way. Then back again. This way too. Raft up. Drift. Still more banter. Swap paddles. Fool about. Time? Time! Paddle back in. Slowly. Reluctantly? Perhaps. Haul out the boats. Look right, look left, across the road. Break 'em down bag 'em up. Banter. Cafe? Cafe! Beer? No beer. Coffee and apple pie! Banter. Talk of winter, snow, skis and muskox! Good day? Good day! Realy good day!


  1. All blog posts should be written like this. Short sentences are all I can manage before coffee in the morning.

  2. Great writing, Dave, enjoyed this a lot.

  3. Unique. Inspiring. Liked this post. Liked it? No. Loved it. A lot.

  4. Fraser, Perfect. Sometimes short sentences are all I manage to set down.

    Hendrik, thanks. It was nice to be out and about in NL again for a change. I have a tendency to forget that there are places within easy reach that are worth visiting. Next time you are over....

    Joe, Thanks. Short. Muscular. Sentences. Are the way to go I feel. You seem to be getting the hang of it :-)

  5. Thanks David. Glad you enjoyed it.



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