April 30th, 2011

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Saturday April 30 the Queen’s Birthday

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

It is not the current Queen, Beatrix, birthday but the birthday of her mother the previous queen Juliana, it remains the official annual holiday.

I still remember the fireworks on August 31, one day after our mother’s birthday, of queen Wilhelmina. Then every self respecting Dutchman displayed the national colors from the window sill or on a flag pole and wore a small orange ribbon. Now you see very few flags but as the pictures speak for themselves every self respecting (and even non respected Dutchmen and wannabee Dutchmen/women) Dutch burgher is decked out in orange. 

On this day the city allows any one to clean out their garages and attics and sell their wares on the street. It is one great party. 300,000 travelled by public transportation into the city since yesterday and all are leaving this afternoon/evening. Many of the streets are blocked to other than pedestrians and bicycles. There were streams running across the Leidse square where the porta potties were overflowing from the beer guzzling party crowd. Empty beer cans and trash everywhere. But by the time the Queen has read her morning paper the clean up crews will have this all under control.

The weather is still incredibly pleasant. Read my lips: It will go back to normal when I leave here on Tuesday. The Romanians will be my next benefactors.

Friday april 29 old and new friends

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

After a couple of much needed showers on Wednesday night, the 2011 Spring feast that started when I arrived here in mid March, continues to spoil us with bright sunny days. I had a busy day. Maria Boonzaaijer of s/v “Yo Soy” drove me from Barneveld to Kleve in Germany to visit mutual cruising friends Sjef en Ermi Keizers of s/v “Vierde Dimensie” in Kleve in Germany. We had met in the South Pacific in 2005. We had lots of good memories to share, catch up on our recent endeavors and plans. Both Maria and Ermi have published books and they are helping me with my writing project.
Afterwards I drove from Barneveld to Friesland to meet another distant relative and his family. We have in common my great-great-great-grandfather  born in 1769. His 2nd oldest son started a mast and block making business in de Lemmer, the branch I sprouted forth from and the 4th oldest son, Okke S., started a mast and blockmaking shop in IJlst. The IJlst business grew into a thriving wood importing yard in the 20th century. My new found nephew showed me pictures of his great grandfather and there is a definite likeness with my grandfather of the same generation. I have written before that we  became aware of each other through my “log” that I posted on the web site about the Napoleon connection with Sybolt Ottes when I visited St.Helena in 2007.

Today is the Queen’s Birthday holiday. Get ready for the Color Orange in the next edition…