Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scissors, Dendermonde and catching those trains

I'm never quite sure about life and of course, at the moment I'm in the unusual position of not having to plan for it. And so it goes that life sometimes gifts me interesting people and unusual events.

I had biked to Rivierenhof Park to meet a friend on Monday and ended up getting my hair cut, as one does ... or not.

Ahhh memories of my previous haircut: Alison's birthday, a little Dutch gin, some red wine, an American with scissors and a Canadian acting in an advisory capacity ... voila, my hair was cut. This time it was Heidi wielding the scissors.

Tuesday, after my cycling adventures, was all about making my train connections and spending time with an interesting writer I had met at the ANZAC Day ceremony in Ieper.

Sometimes it occurs to me to be glad that there's no video of my life, as an audience might find it amusing ... there's me biking through the red light, having my haircut by friends who aren't hairdressers, and racing down stairways in railway stations completely focused on that 4 minute window of time in which I have to find my connecting train and the new platform.

It's not only that, it's that these events usually involve strangers, be it the old man who rescued the bike I almost knocked over at the bakery yesterday or the innocent Belgians waiting for trains ... I'm the one that pops up beside them with my 'Excuse me, where's this train going?' It's always an adventure out there.

I made my connections, arrived in Dendermonde and wandered round town with the writer. We spent a long time sitting in the tranquil grounds of the Dendermonde Beguinage, talking of life and all kinds of important things as we sat on a bench in the sun. Beguinages ... I wrote a little about them here.

We had dinner, talked without watching the time and I missed all the trains before 10pm. Suddenly I was faced with train connections that put me in Antwerp at 11pm ... now it's not that I'm a chicken but I do have an aversion to being stranded in small Belgian towns close to midnight. The pressure was on and despite some 'interesting' moments, like the train being disturbingly empty and the timetable screen moving 20 minutes ahead of the trains at Sint Niklaas, making it look like I'd missed my connection... I was home by 11.30pm.

The map shows my travels, highlighting the fact that Dendermonde is a difficult destination ... it's there in the middle, between Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent.


Anil said...

Your post brought a smile to my face. Actually, it is when we seem to be going nowhere that we are actually going somewhere :)

woman wandering said...

I'm glad it made you smile and yes, I think you are right ... even when we seem to be going nowhere's been true this year, I just forget it sometimes.