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Gouderak Travel Blog

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The little friend that inspired me to deal with my writer's block

Yesterday I had self-diagnosed myself with a writer's block. It felt like a disturbing situation at first, but I made my plan for today (saturday). If any of you wants to know what this little dip in my inspiration was about I kindly refer you to my blog of yesterday, see this link:

When I woke up the sun was out, the sky was blue and crisp, the snow was white and it looked like a perfect day to go and shoot some pictures. I took my bath, had a hearty breakfast, packed my camera and my mood could not be any better.

When i walked to my car, I noticed my neighbour who was de-icing his car with all sort of sprays and fancy tools. He smiled at me and said: "a perfect morning, isn't it?" I could only confirm that.

ready to go, camera packed and to avoid misunderstanding, the wine is last night's, I am not a morning drinker

My own car was under a layer of snow and I thought, naively, that I could just wipe it off. Not so, of course. The frost of last night (under minus 20 degrees celsius) had caused a crust of ice on the windshields and all windows, that was very hard to remove with the amateuristic scraper that I had. My neighbour was looking at my efforts with obvious amusement.

My fingers were freezing to the point that they first colored white and then towards blue, and my neighbour said with a kind grin on his face: "maybe it is better to have some gloves". Man, tell me something new! But all I thought I knew was that my gloves were still in the removal boxes because we never really need them, and I don't like to wear gloves normally. So  persisted in the efforts, while my neighbour without any effort was wiping the last bits of ice from his car.

car smiling at me with icy teeth, it needs to be de-iced

I felt like I needed a chisel, when he drove off.

But finally,  was also ready to go. I thought.

My village is in a polder. It means that it is on lower ground than the level of the sea, the rivers and the canals. And there are only two ways to drive out of my village: to the east and to the west. For both of these directions, the road is on top of the dike, that surrounds the polder. For anybody who has associations with  the word "dike" or "dyke" that I do not mean here, I will provide some more background below.

Anyway, I had to drive up the dike, maybe 7 meters up. But with all the snow and ice on the road, this was not possible at that moment. My fellow villagers were trying to clear the situation with sand (spraying salt had been stopped last night because with these temperatures, it would only have worsened the situation), and it took another delay before I finally could drive off.

Krimpenerwaard, the polder in which my village is situated

So my photo day dis not start as quickly as I would have wanted, but as of now everything looked promising and I was on my way!!


OK, a little background about dikes:

Obviously I do not intend to cause any confusion about terminology in any of my blogs. For that reason I felt the need to tell a little bit more about dikes. The word "dike" (sometimes spelled "dyke") in English comes directly from the Dutch word "Dijk".

A "dijk" is an elevated body of land, either naturally or constructed by humand, around a lower situated piece of land, which protects that land from being flooded by sea, rivers or canals. In English there are various terms for it: dike, dyke, embankment, levee, floodbank or stopbank.

example picture of a dike, see the level difference of the low lying land and the high water level
In French, they use the word "Levée".

So wherever the word "dike" is used in this blog, it had that meaning, and not the meaning that is sometimes attached to it in English, referring to the sexual orientation of a lady. For me, by the way, it is intriguing why that meaning is given to a word that officially does not refer to anything feminine. But that's beside the point.

If a dike is not water tight, the land behind it is as risk. High water, storm, poor design, poor construction, insufficient maintenance can all be reasons why a dike can become vulnerable, and the land behind it (the polder) may be at risk. In that case, the attempts are usually to use sand bags to reinforce and strengthen the dike on the places where it is imminent to break.

To debunk another misconception: Yes, the name Hans Brinkers is not a totally uncommon name in the Netherlands, but we do not have any Hans Brinkers' or his alikes to help us protect against flood, and we never had any.

The "legend" about this young boy who allegedly saved the polder and its inhabitants by putting his thumb in the dike (sic) is not only an urban legend, in fact almost nobody in the Netherlands ever heard about something like that, until it somehow blew over from the USA.

But New York was once called New Amsterdam, so maybe it has happened there.... :)

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The little friend that inspired me…
The little friend that inspired m…
ready to go, camera packed and to …
ready to go, camera packed and to…
car smiling at me with icy teeth, …
car smiling at me with icy teeth,…
Krimpenerwaard, the polder in whic…
Krimpenerwaard, the polder in whi…
example picture of a dike, see the…
example picture of a dike, see th…
photo by: westwind57