Ohlala new stories again,
Oh yes, A lot of French people ask for a translation of my scribbles, but when I write the text in Dutch I’m already tired, so if someone doesn’t know what to do and feels like translating, go ahead. It doesn’t has to be “correct”, when it’s understandable it’s ok (mail to email@example.com)
The previous time it was only a week, so now it will be more difficult to put everything together. But I will try my very best. Tja, time and days don’t matter anyway.
Anyway, as I ended previous time, it became much more hilly! The next day was only more steeper. I suffered on those steep hills! This is how a steep hill goes: a little bit beforehand, I increases speed, in this way go already faster on the mountain. I scream and yell to encourage the horses, arrrrrrrr jeeeeeeee. The horses stop, I turn over the brake and put 2 blocks of wood behind the back wheels. Then I turn off the brake and go stand next to the horses, to stir them up and to get the cart started. The horses grunt and prance some, and we are gone again, we walk a little bit farther on the mountain till we stop again. Because I’m next to the cart I can’t turn over the brake, so I throw the blocks under the wheels again. I walk around to het the previous blocks and arreee juu again a little bit. Since the horses are somewhat wild going uphill, and I lost some screws of the hoof shoes, the shoes also scattered, and I could also walk again for these. (Luckily, the shoes fit/tighten again, and meanwhile I can ride fluent on almost every hill, while I can stay with the brake)
That day, I’m at a crossroads, with on the right a longer paved way, and before me a hollow unpaved way. I ask a neighbor if this path is wide enough and not to steep. According to the man, it’s wide enough and as good as flat. Ja tarara! After en little driving, my tires just fit into the hollow way, next to the tires it goes very straight up. And before me I see a very steep hill looming up. To turn around is definitely not an option. I break the horses into a trot, and hope to go over it in 1 time, but we stop after 10 meters, nondedjuu. I throw the blocks of wood under the wheels en go stand next to the horses to start again, I just have enough place to walk with them, when I stumble, I come down under the cart, when I go to fast I get Wodan’s legs against me. To get the blocks, I have to squeeze myself each time between the cart. After some ailing, we get at the top! The horses and I are dog-tired!! Especially because the horses had problems to start together, it was very exhausting for them, going uphill when one leaves and one stays behind made them put a brake on each other, then I had to calm them down again and again, and try again to leave at the same time (this goes also better now).
Once we’re away from the hollow little road, it goes still uphill, not as steep, but since the horses are exhausted, it went very slow. I wanted to find a meadow as soon as possible, but since I was in the center of the village, I thought it would go more difficult. But luckily I quickly found a meadow with the help of some people. On the street where I was, everyone came out to talk with me and each other, almost a street party. But actually I felt uses up. Luckily, the horses had a peaceful place. After the overcrowding, I took some time for myself, after which I took the invitation to drink some beers with a neighbor. A sociable, interesting evening.
The next day could choose between the Meerdaal forest or a big detour around the forest. The forester was happy to open all the gates for me. The forest attracted me, so I went through it, a beautiful forest with one beautiful lane after another. Some places it was very steep and hard working for the horses. The forester told me to go over the ecoduct, but this wasn’t possible, the road was too small for my cart. Before me on the Naamse steenweg, the gate was closed. After some messing around, I could open it, but at first the horses didn’t want to go over the grating to keep wild animals in. Luckily, after some trying, they dared it. After we rode this a little bit on the Naamse steenweg (the busiest road since the beginning), but all went well. After this again a little bit through the forest, and then going down till the Dijle in Sint-Joris-Weert.
At the bridge over the Dijle I meet in a little house Albert, and old man who had also whole his life horses, a real horse man. He gave me a meadow and left my cart at the road. The next 2 days, it became very hot, and I had to go up en down to Limburg for some paper work anyway, so I decided to pause here. If it depended on Albert, I would still be standing there. He was always sitting on a chair before his house, and since I was alone anyway, I went to go sit with him sometimes for an hour. Asking questions or talking was difficult for me (I think his hearing device was only for show ;-) . But Albert could tell some stories. It was really worth listening to. I arranged a booth for selling mini trailers at the road, and some kids help me to put dried camille in jars. It were 2 nice peaceful days. The first evening, I also got visit from Tatjana, and the day after Femke came to travel 2 days with us. The hills would be more easier (someone to put blocks of wood behind the car, so I could focus on the horses). I heard of a festival at the Bereklauw (a farm/shelter) at Leuven, only 2 days driving I thought, so to the Bereklauw. From there I could also go above Brussels (a little bit flatter then underneath Brussels).
So the next day I travelled further with Femke, and it welt well to be on the road with 2 for a while, it was easier to go over the hills. At 1 difficult hill, 2 people stopped to help push, I think the horses were very glad with that!! But the hills go easier and easier, it’s a good day without thrilling events. In the evening, we find a place just before Bertem. A cozy meadow with our own well. Some people come to chat, and one encounter I won’t forget. A man walks by, and at first I don’t know what to think of him. I talk a little bit with him, and he lives
of making music, in the past trance, but now mainly house and techno. But once he made a silly Dutch song as a joke, and he made carrier with it. Now he makes a lot of “wrong music” in his studio like “the pizzahut, the pizzahut” and “wij willen tieten zien” (“we want to see boobies”), but besides this, he can do his own thing. I already can’t stop laughing. DJ’s make jokes about him sometimes, but he’s every day in the studio and does what he likes to do, he’s free, while many others go work in the factory besides making music. I start to feel that this man is actually as free as me and does his own thing. Suddenly, he tells me he bought a dinosaur of 43m long and 10m high, and I just can’t stop laughing anymore. Apparently, it’s an inflatable dinosaur, which he sets up on expos and events all over the world. You can also walk through it and feel the dinosaur breath, see his heart/longs, and wriggle through his bowels to be defecated. With 3 months of working/traveling, he makes enough money, and he sees the world with his wife and kid. The child is homeschooled when they travel. For him, it’s important for his kid to see the world and not just spend days at school. Lots of parents dream of still being free with a child and to give it homeschooling, but few people also do it. Chapeau! (and the child could also speak many languages) At first sight, this man didn’t see a free bon vivant, but apperances can be wrong judged.
The next day to the Bereklauw, on this day I have to go on the Brusselse steenweg for a while, a busy road. In general, it went well, but I there followed a thrilling moment. I let the horses run to go up a mountain, but theu get a little frightened and the cart comes dangerously close to a traffic sign. But because I walk next to the cart, I walk into the traffic sign. I have to let the leading strings go, and horse and cart run away without me, in direction of the other side of the road. I run behind the cart and can take the leading strings in time. The first dangerous moment with the cart, but luckily without victims or pieces (except for a few bruises for me)(luckily now I can stay on the cart when there are steep mountains, which is way more safer and better!). No wreckage on the Brusselse steenweg, but when I enter the Bereklauw, I drive into a piece of iron; a big hole into a plank of the cart. I don’t stir up myself, I just get up early the next day to place a new plank, it was quickly made. It was nice being on the Bereklauw for a while, seeing some like-minded, vagabonds, travelers and friends back. Here I took again some days of rest.
After the Bereklauw, there’s a friend who accompanies me for 2 days, in the beginning of the hills he still walks with the blocks of wood for the car, but actually it’s no longer necessary, I can stay sit with the brake and often it goes to get in 1 time on the mountain. It is nice to travel with 2 and divide the tasks. A little bit later there’s replacement of visit; someone I met in the Bereklauw, a Swiss street musician, who only travels with what he’s wearing, a camera and his music instruments. It gives me joy to travel with 2, and he helps and learns quick with the horses!
The travelling goes better and better, the next days were flat at first, and now I’m in the Pajottenland, so the hills are back again. I won’t describe these days day by day, but I will write down some anecdotes. Somewhere there stopped a horseman, Michel. He invited me to come by. He gave tips about harnessing the horses , and welded a new “zweng” for me (something to optimize the pulling system of the horses). Like I said, horsemen help each other out . I’m very grateful to him, it is now easier for the horses leave together and divide their forces.
I could write more but I don’t feel like it anymore for the moment. Maybe just thanlking the people on the road for the support the last days: chatting, dog food, horse forage, mojito’s, cava, bier, vegetables of the garden, chees, bread, bananas,…
After 6 days of driving, I have some rest again with friends in Herzele. Time to glue the horses’ shoes again, work on the horses’ hoofs and doing nothing for the rest. From there it is direction France, I think if I leave here, I will cross the border in one and a half week…