Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Walk in the Polder

orginal artwork by aletta mes
Some families spent their Sunday's going to church, we didn't, we took a long walk. If the weather was particularly good we would bicycle. Well, more specifically my parents would bicycle, to some new place to explore at leisure. This was a particularly bright and sunny day in the middle of summer. A real scorcher by Dutch standards. I rode with my father in a child's bicycle seat, one that would have been met with gasps of disapproval by today's standards. It was black metal and red vinyl and collapsed when not in use. Moms bicycle had a large wicker basket in which the family dog rode. Not one person we knew well owned a car, there was always those days a very small number of motor vehicles comprised mostly of the cheapest of Citroens and Volkswagen bugs.

I could smell that we were coming closer to the sea, it was in the air. Sea gulls screeching with delights as their extended wings caught every warm air current, endlessly gliding along. Everything here was either sand coloured or sea green. Only tall patches of grass broke the very flat landscape, all of it an extended quilt of sandy lifeless polders and squares of grass, just occasionally a patch of houses. One such patch of houses was Spijkernisse. There were no new buildings like the ones in Hoogvliet where we lived. Here the air no longer reeked of the refineries. The quiet here was quite shocking to the system. Our normally chatty family was just now silent, we were blending in, at one with the calm.

We came to the very edge of a brand new polder, not a building, a road, or even a blade of grass, nothing. There was only packed sand dotted by small stones and decaying jellyfish. Seagulls were diving for any small thing that moved. As I was being lifted out of my kiddy seat...

the whole story at www.aletta.org/sparrowweb1.shtml#Walk_in_the_Polder


At 4:43 AM, Blogger Lois said...

You could have been living in my neighbourhood as there are so many similarities in our lives....
The bicycle with the wicker basket for the dog to ride in
No car in our family except one owned by an uncle who lived in the better part of Melbourne
No church for us ..A Sunday walk to the pier with Dad, with a hessian bag and a gadget for pulling the mussels from the pier pylons.
We sat on the sand and watched as Dad took off his old boiler suit to reveal a pair of woolen bathers black with a belt in the waist that came up to his navel and a fair way down the leg
(Modest in those days)
My Dad Bert was a champion swimmer, so we never worried about him in the water...
My brother and I played on the sand till he had collected enough mussels and we then set off home
They were cleaned at the outside gully trap in water and scrubbed before being put into a large pot of boiling water till they opened ..
The smell was pungent and permeated through the house for hours...but it was worth it as the mussles were wonderful to eat
every Sunday night with bread and butter.....

Ah ! childhood memories of the 1940's...

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 3/2/06


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