The North Sea – In Winter

When people talk about the sea, they think of golden beaches under a warm, smiling sun. Of cocktails and snacks and swimming and sleeping under a parasol. Few of them realize that same sea has a totally different face, a face  only the professional seamen know…


A face distorted by a force 6-7 gale, by driving rain and sleet and snow. With waves sending curtains of spray over the bows of the ship, soaking the oilskin-clad deckhands that longingly look at the lights of the port, just peeping over the horizon.

A tough life.

Old Amsterdam – in Winter

When I say “…the Magical City of Amsterdam…”. it is because I can remember images like this one, etched forever in my memory. The crisp, freezing cold, the tang of coal and wood smoke in the air and all sounds muffled as if the city itself is awed by the majesty  of this blanket of snow that has turned even the ugliest places into a fairy-tale.

The “Brouwersgracht” in the winter of 1952

The Last Apple

On this last day of the year, I like watching the last apple on the tree in my backyard. It grew from a single blossom in May , was surrounded by a riotous multitude of brothers during the summer and gradually became lonely in the fall.


Now it is still there – in the cold, freezing wind, waiting for the moment a hungry blackbird finally manages to take it down.
It is like tonight, when we close the books on 2016 and start on our new journey around the sun, called 2017 and lasting exactly 365 and 1/4 days.
What will our new journey bring us?
I hope it will be health and happyness and understanding….



The Winter Trees

Alas, the winter Gods have decided to give the low countries a green Christmas. I therefore post a picture of how it should have been – and a poem by Sara Teasdale called “A Winter Bluejay”.

a-w01Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
“Oh look!”
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?

Winter Solstice Sunset

The days are growing shorter while the temperature goes down. December is upon us, the darkest month of the year. But sometimes, even during this period of darkness, nature has a treat for us. Here is one, a  winter sunset of a rare beauty…