A wonderful winters day in Rotterdam. I went for a walk around the Kralingse Plas. I walked past the golf track, sat for a short bit at the lake, looking out on the view on the skyline of Rotterdam and the ducks and swans enjoying themselves in the water. I went back and took the Naaldbomenpad, the Conifer Path, and walked between the trees with the low hanging sun shining through. Beautiful.
Many people walk through the forest with their dog. I stopped and said hi to almost all the dogs i met. Some were a bit shy, sniffing quickly and running away, only to return and sniff again. Some rubbed themselves at my legs and almost jumped at me. Others almost completely ignored me. Some bosses explained their dogs behaviour to me. Others said a quick hi.
No map this time. I have done this walk many times already, and made maps many times before. A good walk today. Excellent!
I made quite a few photos.
Since April this year, 2016, i have been working in the Peace Garden. I got to know the people already working there, first and foremost Daniel and Rutger. But also many other people working there, other people making a film in Europe and Asia about urban agricultural projects. I try to wave as much as i can at people walking past and looking down on the garden. Sometimes there is room for a small chat. People stop and enter the garden and talk with us. I love it.
I have also made a couple of walks to other gardens.
A walk in Rotterdam: the Essenburgsingel
A walk in Rotterdam: from Marconiplein to Dijkzigt
A walk in Rotterdam: the Old North
A walk in Rotterdam: the Oude Noorden and Blijdorp
A walk in Rotterdam: Feijenoord
Making these walks was a good combination of walking, which i love, getting to know this town a bit better, in which i have lived for the past thirty years, and getting to know the gardens, especially the vegetable gardens and allotments. In some gardens i met some of the people working there. We had a casual talk usually, but it felt good. It was good.
I never lived in a house with a garden. Not when i lived with my parents, and not when i lived on my own. I didn’t miss it terribly much, no, but my experience has changed me. I see now what i have missed. The simple knowledge of gardening, maintaining the garden, the ground, the earth. Having a compost heap, eating what you are growing yourself; i love it. And now i do gain the knowledge i could have gotten so much earlier.
I started to think about education. Especially primary education. For me personally, i loved school. I loved learning, i loved mathematics, chemistry, physics. I loved to learn how to read, how to add and subtract numbers. I never had any difficulty with any of those subjects. The only difficulty i had was with languages, which to me were very illogical and mystifying subjects which i dropped as soon as possible. I did have swimming at school. I liked that too. And sports. Which i didn’t like. But never did i have any gardening lessons. No cooking lessons. Nothing so practical. One thought did pop up, schools should have a vegetable garden. Communal or single, doesn’t really matter. Kids should learn about plants growing, about the earth feeding the plants, about compost brewing into usable earth with enough nutrients for plants. The simple facts of everyday. Which of course today are not so simple anymore.
A few weeks ago i came across a post on facebook of all places about Henk Oosterling. He was one of the participants on the special evening for Sexposition, the exhibition Annemarie and me organized in 1992. Oosterling has started a project on a primary school, combining judo, philosophy, cooking lessons and gardening to be taught to children. This all is combined under the name Rotterdam Vakmanstad Skillcity. This project is trying to function in the world of rules and regulations of primary schools. Outside of this experiment i read about rules forbidding primary schools to hire cooks, only money is provided for educational staff. (Source: Rotterdam Vakmanstad als voorbeeldmachine). I don’t know the ins and outs of this project and i don’t know much about current primary education, but this does worry me.
I do find this project Rotterdam Vakmanstad/Skillcity very interesting. On the site there are many books, articles and videos linked.
A new book written by Oosterling is released recently: Waar geen wil is, is een weg (Where is no will, is a way).
Today, Wednesday 30 November 2016, there is a referendum in Rotterdam about the Woonvisie 2030. The main focus in that document is that Rotterdam wants more higher earning people living in the city. Therefore it is the wish of the current Rotterdam government to demolish or sell social houses. I do have to confess, this hardly registered with me. I got the envelop a few weeks ago. I put it on a shelf unopened and didn’t really think about it. I did come across a advisory check, the versbeton.nl Kieswijzer, through facebook and found out i was completely opposed to the document. I read an article about it Jaagt Rotterdam de armen weg? and i was even more in disagreement.
Last Saturday i was in the second hand bookstore the Slegte, i watched outside and read a sign high up. This is what it said.
Op 30 november 2016 mogen de inowners van Rotterdam stemmen over de Woonvisie 2030. De gemeente formuleert hierin ambities waar niemand tegen kan zijn, want wie wil er niet leven in een kwalitatieve en energiezuinige woning en in een stad waar iedereen zich thuis voelt?
On 30 November 2016 the inhabitants of Rotterdam may vote about the Housing Vision 2030. The municipal shapes ambitions where nobody can be against. Because who doesn’t want to live in a qualitatively and energy saving house and in a city where everybody feels at home?
Well, i was stunned into quietness for a moment when i read this. “Ambities waar niemand tegen kan zijn“, ambitions where nobody can be against. I don’t know who wrote this piece of self promotion, but to me it is completely wrong. This board is the entry board to twelve ideas and designs by architecture bureaus about Rotterdam. Some of these ideas i liked, others i didn’t. But to me the main issue was that introduction text and the assumption that anybody reading it would agree with it. And yes, i would love to live in a qualitatively high standing and energy saving house for sure. I would love to live in a city where everybody feels at home. But i wouldn’t want to live in a city where poor people are treated harshly, where people on a downturn are snubbed aside, where people who meet difficulty are not listened to and are treated like everything they come up against is their own fault.
Today, Tuesday 29 November, i was at the same place once again. I didn’t have my camera with me, so i decided to write this text in my notebook. I stood on the side, while people were walking by. I noticed two people standing still and reading the same message. I talked to them a bit. I told them how i disliked the message. I was happy they did agree with me.
So i will vote today. I will vote NO. There.
Over the weekend i did learn that today it would be a beautiful sunshiny day. So making a walk was the obvious thing for me to do. Even though it is really cold! I made a medium sized walk, lasting me around two hours. I went to the Park at the Euromast, walked past the river to the Veerhaven, crossed the Vasteland and walked over the Blaak back home.
I sat on a bench next to the water for a bit. Looking at the high buildings. Thinking about how steadfast they look. But also thinking about how quickly they could fall down. I listened to the leaves rolling over the ground, making little shuffling noises. Thinking about how random all these noises seemed, but they all are a part of the fabric of the world once they are made.
I made a few photos during the walk. Simply a couple of views my eye fell on. I hope you will like them.
I felt quiet today. I woke up, made my breakfast. Rye spelt bread with an omelet. I watched a bit of tv. Koffietijd, Koken met van Boven. I do have a quick look at Homes under the Hammer, but it doesn’t grab me this time. I turn the television off.
I don’t feel like doing anything productive yet. So i get my iPhone and headphones, lie on the couch and turn on Spotify. I am in my Scritti listening week still, ending up at the compilation Absolute. I have listened to this a couple of times. I do know all the songs on it though, so it wasn’t a huge revelation. The two new songs past me by i’m afraid to say. Listening to A Day Late and a Dollar Short does make me appreciate this song better. But halfway this song i get a phone call.
I have a short talk. About work, and last week, and that i am going shopping this afternoon, going to the market, going to photograph waste containers, going to the Gimsel. A good talk!
So after this conversation i don’t go back listening, leaving the last two songs for tomorrow. I brush my teeth and dress up. I had been thinking about what i should do for today’s post. This idea of photographing the waste containers does stick. A follow up on yesterday’s post about Not Yet Zero Waste – with all capitals! I look outside. It’s raining a bit. So i get my umbrella, my old bag i got in Belgium while i was there for work, 2009 maybe?
LIVE THE WAY YOU LIKE
I only have an empty bottle of wine and a empty glass jar which used to be filled with mango chutney. I walk past the Action shop to the glass waste container and throw in the bottle and jar.
I walk up to the middle of the road and make a photograph. I look to the side. Damn, so much litter lying around here. Empty plastic wrappers, plastic bottle’s and caps. I make a photo of that too. *sigh*
I walk to the Gimsel. First i enter the Van Binnen shop. I do like this shop. It is in my shops around my house video, in which i drool a bit on the stuff they sell here. I don’t buy anything, but ooh man, lovely things! I do see drinking containers. Put that on a list. The Gimsel next. I walk past the vegetables. No. To the end of the shops, where the bulk section is. Rice, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds. You can make your own peanut butter here. And i do see paper bags to put everything in. Last time i was here there was only plastic on the window hanging. I guess then the paper bags were finished. I make a note on my internal list to get stuff here more. I do have everything i need in my house, so i don’t need to get anything.
I walk further, past the cosmetics section. Looking for a good soap. I do like the Traay Roses soap with calendula, but decide against it. Does deserve a marker though. Past the tea, the tea herbs, the spices, the dried sea vegetables to the cleaning section. Hmm. Waste bags. Need to think about that. Compostable bags. Hmm. Ooh, lunch box things. The round metal boxes which fit together. A box the size of a soap. Aah. Tick tick tick. Drinking containers again!
I decide later this week i will go past Lush in the center of Rotterdam.
Before i go to the market i walk past the Jumbo. I make a photo of the plastic waste container standing next to a clothes and shoes container.
I walk to the market. I would like a doner kebab bread, but i don’t see my usual kebab place about. The place is being reworked now, so all the stalls are someplace else. I go for a chips war instead. Mayo, peanut butter sauce and onions and sambal. Yum.
When i sit besides the library eating my chips slowly, a girl appears next to me. She is like – hmm, i don’t know how old she is, not sure how old she looks – she is like five years old maybe? Very open, talking to me. I give her a chip with mayo. She had said she doesn’t like peanut butter sauce. I ask her where her mother or father is. She points to the end of the library. The lady in the white coat. Behind the pillar. We talk a bit. I ask her name. She did say it, but i only remember how people call her, Angie. I give her another chip. With a bit of sambal. Hot!! Her grandma calls her. I smile at her when she is standing besides her grandma.
When i have finished my chips, i walk past her. She introduces me to her grandma. Her grandma asks me if i believe in God. No i say. Sorry. She is nice. Angie gives me a little present. A woodstick box with inside it a seashell with a pearl pasted in it. Do you know you are a pearl in God’s hand? I like her presents. I look inside my bag and give her a card with a drawing i made like twenty years ago: Ellen, Architect of Change. With my website on the back of it. If you are watching this Angie: Hi!! Wave!!!
On the market i buy some vegetables. Another soup upcoming. In the shop Marqt i buy buttermilk, maple syrup, sugar bread. Tomorrow morning i will make pancakes, with buttermilk. I did look up recipes beforehand. One recipe Pannenkoeken zoals het hoort – Pancakes as they should be – said to put the flour and buttermilk together and let it sit for twelve to twentyfour hours. So i will do that! The recipe will follow in tomorrows post.
The rest of the day is spend working on this post and watching television: De wereld draait door and the Great British Menu. Ooh, and i slept a little between half past five and a quarter past six.
Wednesday 5 October i went to Dordrecht, a small town south of Rotterdam. My first goal was to visit a gardening and seed shop with the name Vreeken’s Zaden. When i went to the shop Stek a few weeks ago to look around and buy some bulbs, i was also looking for Catmint’s seeds. They didn’t have them, but they mentioned the shop Vreeken in Dordrecht. I had never heard of this shop before. When i spoke about this in the garden, during a coffee break, i learned that many of the seeds used are from Vreeken. So then the thought came up to go and visit them.
I was lucky today. When i woke up, i felt a chill in the air. But the sun was shining. Even though there was a breezy chill in the air, it looked absolutely wonderful. The trip i wanted to take to Dordrecht was with the waterbus. A trip over water, following the Nieuwe Maas, past Kinderdijk to the Noord, ending in Dordrecht at the Merwekade. A short further trip with another boat brought me to the Hooikade, close to Vreeken’s Zaden.
After i entered the gardening and seed shop, i was simply stunned. The entire shop was packed full of cabinets of seeds. Ooh, they also had gardenings gloves, books, food for birds, houses for birds and insects, all sorts of gardening equipment and greenhouse type shelters. There is an outside with seedling plants, an upstairs with bulbs. And many people working there, going through the shop, no doubt working on orders coming through the Vreeken website.
Once i had made my first walk through the shop, i talked with one of the people working there, Ada. I told her who i am, asking permission to make photos inside the shop. I also told her i was planning on writing a post on my website. Which was fine, luckily!
After a second, more thorough trip around the shop, making photos, i settled with buying the Catmint seeds and a bag of bee attracting flower bulbs, flowering from early February until July next year.
I decided to walk back to the Merwekade over the Voorstraat, which was going through the old centre of Dordrecht. It is not a town i know well, i admit. The centre is a very old Dutch town centre, with some lovely pieces mixed into the shops. I loved the bit called the Hof, besides an Augustine church. Adorable.
I went to the Taankade, running alongside the Voorstraat for the final bit.
I ended up at the Merwekade once again. It had only taken me around half an hour to walk from Vreeken to the Merwekade. I waited there for around 15 minutes for the boat. The trip from Dordrecht till Rotterdam was an hour. With this lovely weather, not bad at all. A travel alongside man made natural areas, boat builder factories, bridges and a lovely three mast private ship.
Back in Rotterdam, i walked up to the Peace Garden, where i had left my compost bucket in the morning. A short trip to the Marqt shop to buy eggs and butter to end up at home. To rest my tiring feet!
Today, Wednesday 28 September, i walked through the Kralingse Bos. First i walked past the allotments Nooitgedacht, Neverthought. Big gardens with a small little house at the end. Some people were there, some working, some talking, some lying in the sun. The gardens looked lovely. Most had a part of vegetables and a part of ornamental gardens. Flowers and pumkpins.
After this i went into the Kralingse Bos. I took a familiar route. The Verborgenlaantje, the Hidden Track. At the lake, a small inlet close to the restaurant, i sat down close to the water. I slowly laid down, my head staring up at the sky, shielded from the sun. Many thoughts ran through my mind, almost random. Thoughts of me talking with people i never met. Or only fleetingly. Thoughts of past talks i had with friends. Dream thoughts of events never happened. Also thoughts about myself, my future. Thoughts about work.
I did get some money back from the Dutch taxes, so that is what is keeping my afloat for the next month or so. I remember thinking about my talk with Soto at the garden. I do feel stable, straight. I do not see myself going homeless and getting lost. No.
I am wondering why things do take me this long.
I eat my apple. I stand up and start walking back home.
At home i lie on my couch for a while. Watching Escape to the Country. I think about my different attitude to formerly favourite tv shows. Like Expeditie Robinson. I do like the idea of this show, but the game in it i don’t like that much. I can not see myself ever joining a show like this. Also Masterchef Australia i watch, with that same feeling. It is all thought of as a tv show, with that needed tension between participants. Each and everyone going for its own advantage.
I still like The Great British Bake Off. In that show there is no direction competition between the contestants. It is all decided by the jury, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. So yes, this is still my favourite show right now. With the Dutch version a bit behind. I’m guessing Dutch cooks are just a bit worse than the British ones.
I watch De Wereld Draait Door.
Mars. People are mad. Crazy! Who on earth would want to go to Mars? And never come back? That barren red dusty planet? Crazy!
I had picked up some hazelnuts in the forest. I haven’t tasted them yet.
Some photos i took while lying down. The sky. The clear blue sky. Only a few clouds. Lovely.
My head is still full of thoughts. I still feel different each and every day. That is a good feeling. I feel myself growing.
I do feel myself letting go of fantasies. Even though i do know i needed them. To make me feel happy. To make me strive for something.
I feel myself looking at the world. At the news. The Clinton – Trump debate two nights ago. The Dutch prime minister Rutte. The Zero Waste Home talk on youtube. I should write a bit about that. I’ve been writing bits and pieces so far.
It is lovely weather still.
Hmm, the letting go of fantasies. A bit maybe? But at times i still have ’em. My life is getting busier, but i still have lots of time for myself. So yeah.
I wonder what will happen next.