It was tempting to leave the first part of the trip unmentioned.
I could have just pretended him&her did not need any further introduction and did not come across any nice spots or unexpected sightings before setting foot on their final destination. Not fair, not true either. The kilometers* from NL to LeHavre were a nice start and nice part of the holidays. Imagine trying your best French to buy a grand pain and des saucissons secs or to figure out how much to pay for your carburant**. If you’d be interested in any of that, here’s a mix of snaps*** and snippets.him -after the first fourhundredsomething kilometers- along the Route de Neufchâtel pouring not too hot water on Moccona coffee granules. There may be a possibility this very spot could still be identified, just outside Aumale. That is without him, car and chairs.
him -amazed by the mountains of coal on Le Havre’s quays- on board of the Saint Killian, where the nicest deck chairs were available. Not their camping chairs, as those were left in the car and access to the car deck was forbidden throughout the journey. Those quays may still be there. Supposedly without those heaps of coal.
* no autoroute to Le Havre, only country roads and route national
** the currency being Francs, seventy seven francs and twenty centimes is not easy to understand in French (80 would have been easier and funnier)
*** snaps were limited, 6 rolls of film for 6 weeks holidays
People from the Netherlands are called Netherlanders or sometimes even Hollanders. That’s fine, no big deal.
People from the Netherlands are also called Dutch. Why that became to be like that is a story on itself, but it’s fine, also no big deal.
Yet, to presume people from the Netherlands are German and hence speak German is a different thing.
Sure, one could mix up Dutch and Deutsch. Dutch being the English word for Netherlanders and for the language they speak. Deutsch being a German word for German people and for the language they use.
Confusing, isn’t it. Just read it again and you’ll understand the English used.
When speaking English you simply cannot confuse these two words: Dutch and German, or can you…
Entering the green isle, the earlier mentioned him&her were asked where they were from.
They answered “We’re from the Netherlands, from Holland, as shown on our passports”.
True, I have to admit, they may have spoken English with a touch of Dutch, but without further ado they were handed a leaflet…in German, as if …
as if him&her were not in the right holiday feeling yet,
as if him&her wouldn’t have been able to read such leaflet in English
as if her&him would not have preferred that leaflet being in Irish
as if etc. etc. etc.
But then, this was July 1979 and continental tourists to Ireland may have been mostly
….Deutsch, from Germany (aus Deutschland),
not Dutch, not like him&her, from the Netherlands
Quick introduction to the holiday makers: just your ordinairy set of human beings.
Him: finishing yet another year of teaching and examining secondary level students
Her: doing final rehearsals for the yearly musical with her 30+ primary level pupils
Both of them -meanwhile and constantly- thinking of the upcoming holidays.
Somewhere in March the plans were made, somewhere in May the holidays were booked.
In general holiday bookings were done by third parties, with travel agencies providing travellers-to-be with piles of fat brochures full of blue skies, exotic beaches, pretty parasols and luring sunshine.
Him&her had no need for browsing brochures. No need at all.
Their destination was chosen ages ago: Ireland.
“Irish Continental Line” was the best way to get there, so they had only required a leaflet with sailing times. “World Wide Reis- en passagebureau” had confirmed the booking.
All that was furthermore needed was a car that would bring them all the way and a tent that hopefully would keep out the expected rain.
Warnings and advice came from tourist boards, departments and wellwishers
˚ Precautions against Rabies
˚ Petrol Vouchers for sufficient fuel to tour the island in six weeks
˚ Driving on the right side of the road, which is left side
July 9th 1979, 40 years to the day
Someone took lines of Yeats’ poems too literally and stole that ‘human child’ from the spot where it was sitting, wishing for the cloths of heaven.
“….Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand…”
“….I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
In all probability most of you know of (or are even hit over the head with) roadmapping.
If that’s not the case, there are lots of explanations online. Of course ‘wikipedia’ is a good source and the following interpretation can be found on ‘productplan’ : Roadmapping is the strategic process of determining the actions, steps and resources needed to take an initiative from vision to reality.
Now that’s some useful info, isn’t it. Simple and clear, a process of steps to be taken. Yet -as far as i understand- there is no connection with any (un)paved roads nor with any paper maps.
Roadmapping technically won’t help you one bit when you’re “on the road again” , when you walk “the streets of london”, when you get your kicks on “route 66” or when “penny lane” is in your ears and in your eyes
To find your way in the real world there are different ways of road-mapping. For most paved roads you may need to turn on your sat nav or gps, for most unpaved roads you need ordnance survey or an oldschool compass. With any of these close at hand, you will find your way around roads, motorways, routes, streets and boreens.
Having all navigation options close at hand, does not mean that people actually make use of them when needed. Not using a proper road-map can sidetrack you and -talking about the process of steps to be taken- put you on the wrong foot. Seriously, i know what i’m talking about. With the tip of my finger i can operate the very advanced touch screen navigation system in my car and there’s a pile of the most recent ordnance survey maps in a bag behind the passenger seat, yet i managed to get lost.
When i stranded it was too late to keep an appointment to do some photostuff with some lovely people in some lovely gardens.
Feic you, memory lane……….., you huge unmapped cul-de-sac.