Are hard to find
Harder to leave
Although it’s 2021 now, I don’t do resolutions or good intentions. But like every other year I like to think of something that I can do to make the new year more interesting, more energetic and maybe a little bit more challenging (After all I am a Peaker). Something that puts a new dot on the horizon. But most of all I embrace all the new chances at happiness, health and love. In other words, I want to celebrate love and life. After a year full of insecurities, fears, and doubts, there seems to be a little light. And I will take the opportunity to go out and search for these lights. For light gives me energy.
2020 has been a year with far fewer walks than planned. January started so well with our London walk. Walking Peakers together with England Peakers, Peakers England and Imagery Peakers took a beautiful walk from Putney to Richmond River. We had so many more beautiful walks in mind, even some abroad. After that we did, correct me if I’m wrong, four other walks and every time we had to adapt to the Corona measures of that moment.
At this moment the Netherlands, like many countries around us, are in a complete lockdown. Walking with a large group is not possible for the time being. I miss my Peaker friends enormously. We try to do a lot online things but it’s different. I miss the hugging and the talking as we walk. Having fun along the way, oh boy do I miss it.
I had to do something, and an idea was born. I am “looking for some vitamins” this year.I let Peakers, friends and family invite me. They decide what they want to do with me, this could be walking, cycling, cooking or maybe a workout? You name it. Think of something, anything, make an appointment with me and I’ll come over to you.
Today is my first “looking for some vitamins” with Anouk. I met Anouk over three years ago when she was in Glasgow for the MPC Gala and I was there (a fresh Peaker) for the Scottish Learning Festival. Anouk hired a camper van and after the Gala stayed in Scotland for another week. I also remained in Scotland but moved from Glasgow to Edinburgh. And on the last night of our stay, we had diner in Edinburgh together with my husband and Vera, my other Peaker friend. From that moment on, friendship and our love for whisky grew.
As I left home it still drizzled a bit, but the closer I came to Anouk, the sky broke and a beautiful winter sun appeared.
Being one on one with someone is different than in a group. There is more opportunity and space to really talk better to each other. Anouk works for an educational institution where they train students, for example, to become a gym teacher. Normally she sits with three other colleagues in the office and is responsible for all that has to do with the exams.
At this time, however, they all work from home. She misses her colleagues, but most of all she misses the whole school life, the atmosphere, the students, and the interaction. “Sometimes you just walk from your place to get coffee, meet someone down the hall, have a chat. That’s not there now”.
Anouk has two great hobbies, skating and cycling. She has been doing both for a long time, and also in the past in a competition context. But now she does it to stay fit and healthy, and to clear her mind. And about the last one, clearing our minds, we certainly did today.
Anouk took me on a cycling tour through Zaanstreek-Waterland but the region she lives in is called Wormerland. Believe me I have been to places I have never ever heard of before today.
Looking for some vitamins 1
We started in Wormer, cycled through Oostknollendam, Spijkerboor, Graft, De Rijp, Middenbeemster, Zuidoostbeemster and finally de Zaanse Schans.
All these places belong to the region called Wormerland, or for those not to familiar with the Netherlands, just above Amsterdam. I saw a lot of beautiful spots on our trip. Places I had never been to before, roads I had never travelled before.
One of the first stops we made was in a little place called Graft which nowadays has nearly 900 inhabitants. The town hall was built in 1613 and has three stepped gables. Next to the town hall were the tombstones of a 17th century church. The church was demolished in 1951 because there was not enough money left over for restoration. The only thing left were some glass panels with information from the past.
One of the tombstones belongs to a woman called Anne Jans Sappes. One of the richest women of Graft in the 17th century, but also a woman who herself lived very frugally.
In 1621 Graft had about 3000 inhabitants and one in six was so poor that they could not survive without the support of the rich. Anne Jans was one of the rich who made it her mission to look after these poor people.
This morning at the coffee table we had a long talk about women, about us, effacing ourselves to help our loved ones, or anyone, but in the end, we meet ourselves anyway.
We are the kind of women who like to help others, but gradually we have found some sort of balance. We have learned to put ourselves first every now and then.
All the talking and cycling gave us a dry throat and a bit of hunger. We decide to have our lunch along the Noordhollands kanaal with a magnificent view on the Neckermolen. This poldermill is a watermill that is used to move water from a lower level to a higher level.
Sitting on a bench, eating our bread, we enjoyed an early January sun an already felt the warmth on our cheeks. I haven’t felt this free and full of energy in a very long time.
Thank you so much Anouk that you were the first person to join me on my way “looking for some vitamins” and the beautiful conversation we had at the table and on the road. Big hug from me to you.