Maasbracht. Warehouses smell of grease and oil, beside plots of land with baby goats & geese & chickens, all cavorting on a levered log over a cylindrical concrete tube, orange plastic fencing.
A herd of sheep on the embankment, tree twigs floating in their fluff, a Michelin star restaurant concaving by the water & the lockhouse propped over a water feature precariously.
A Chinese daughter willfully scampers away from mother, crossing paths with another local girl, who circles the merchant square everyday, headphones on, trilling La La La where she stops in front of the new women’s fashion store – signs promising a fantastic opening, with sales never before seen.
A sculpture of trireme-looking barges, each with a massive crucifix, banking into one another on the roiling waves. Treacherous seas. Before the ice cream parlor and the immaculate boating goods store – weightful Daewoo & Deere & Volvo diesel engines, hopped on blocks, shiny and new.
The rustic hotel, straddling Belgium, just beyond sight of the nuclear reactor containment towers, waddle-kept walls & dark timber wattles, brick & mortar walkways surround vibrant green grass squares where cattle ought to be wandering.
Hattem. Ijseldelta Marina. Seven hours motoring over smooth and lazy canals. One stint on the rowdy Nijmegen, pushing 3 knots against, at 1700 rpm moved from 5.2 knots over ground upriver to 10.2 knots overland down the Ijsel. 7+ more hours over the Ijselmere to Lemmer & the Prinses Margriet Kanal. And striking distance of Germany.
Pillboxes crumble beside lolling fishers. Lightning quick turns on jet skiis sliding by, roaring cubs. A father teaches his son to waterski, with deliberate turns. A hazy morning persisted and the sun did not rise until 3pm.
In Hattem’s gardens a challenge to British backyarder pride. A plaque shimmers in verdigris and copper hops up old brick beside the windmill. To the Canadians. The Scots division that liberated the angular cobblestone town. Narrow market lanes too uninviting for an automobile, mothers & fathers pedaling with children at ease. Two girls dressed like twins in pink polka dots skip & sing, tall grey-hair tromps past the gelato store. Andre sips his Trippel.
13 tribes of ducks catch the eyes of two houseboat cats. Roosters still call to the still waters & the yellow hazy mist.