Week 4 is testing my patience, and week 5 will do the same I think. Travelling with horse and cart is not really the fasted way, but now it goes really slow (or not at all). Tja just keeping calm and enjoying the sun. Here are the stories:
After some nice hanging around in Herzele, and repairing the horse shoes, my journey went in in the direction of the Schelde. Between me and the Schelde ware the Vlaamse Ardennen. Day 1 went well, the only problem was again the releasing of the shoe soles (where I spent a few hours on). But the shoes still held a little bit, so we slowly went on, hill on, hill up (without pieces of wood). I followed some bigger road for a while, which was nice since I didn’t had to look on my gps whole the time. For finding a place in the evening, it was more difficult, so we decided to drive into a little road to a farm, but they hadn’t any place. We could go ask a farmer some further on the hill. There a woman smiled friendly out of a window (with a sign guitar maker/repairer). Kevin jumped from the cart and arranged that we could place the horses in their garden. Together, we had a cozy mail, Kevins’ and my guitar got a maintenance and the evening filled with music, everybody rattled, clapped and song. Especially the laughing and the enthusiasm of the children was beautiful to see.
The next morning has some difficulties, it was the kind of morning were you bump into everything, drop things,… I turned the cart twice on a very small road because I couldn’t decide which way. Kevin decided to walk a day alone to give me a day alone on the cart, and to call later where I was. Once I left with the horses, the chaotic morning fell off my shoulders and we drove peacefully further. Uphill, downhill, from the hill in the valley and from the valley back on the hill. All went well, on one very steep hill I had to use the wood blocks again, but also this went well. To descend to the Schelde valley I wanted to go through the Ename forest, but for the first time there was a sign specifically forbidden for cart and horse, because of the wild grid, and it was a slope of 12 degrees, so I couldn’t try because if I had to turn there… So I chose a little road to the left, but apparently there didn’t drove anything here higher than a car, branches scratched along and above my cart. It was a little bit disturbing, but only the cap of the stovepipe was a little crooked, nothing else broke. Another slope and the valley of the Schelde was reached. Down at the hill there was a shoe maker. I hadn’t done many km yet, but I thought ideal, maybe see if they can repair the shoe soles. Wednesday was his closing dat, so I decided to search for a place in the neighborhood, and to go by the next day. I found a building sight with an announcement, so the grass there clearly hadn’t use anymore, I asked the neighbors and I parked me there. The next day off to the shoe maker. He didn’t wanted my help, but the wanted to repair the 6 worst soles (for this he had enough rubber), but it would take to Saturday and it had a price tag. But the shoes are important so I decided to do it. I took the time to cut the horses’ hoofs, and I cleaned up in front so it would be less messy during driving. When the walking club of the neighborhood came by, we try to sell a walking stick, a red stone, a Swiss(Kevin), a potato, 1 sandal,… in a little market (tja, one does crazy stuff with too much time), but most people couldn’t see the humor of it and decided they didn’t need a red stone or a Swiss
Friday, the grass was almost gone, and on Saturday there would be a soccer tournament nearby, with apparently very loud schlager music, so we decided to move to a quiet place at the Schelde. This was a good choice, it was a really nice place to hang around. Friday evening Ruben also paid a visit, with his bike from Ghent. Saturday in the afternoon, the shoes were ready. We decided to stay till Sunday, because Saturday evening there was a street theater festival in Ename.
Sunday morning I really was looking forward to it (despite the hangover from the Ename beer on the street theater festival)! Leaving again, the horses clearly also felt like it and I wanted a good tempo that day, and leaving quickly to France. I said goodbye to Kevin who wanted to hitchhike with a boat to Ghent, and Ruben came with me for one more day. But after a few km the soles loosened again. No luck. I parked at a lot of grass near a bridge. Here for the first time a frightened neighbor threatened to call the police, but after a chat everything seemed ok.
Lots of people of the neighborhood came to look and we stayed a while. Since it was a hot Sunday, everyone was outside with a beer. It was a really cozy street with lots of young people, whom’ children played on the street the whole time. They played with the horses and even drew on my chalk board. The men of the street brought me tec7 to glue the shoes together, I thought I can give it a try. Apparently not everybody liked my presence, because for the first time the police was sent to me twice, but when I explained about the shoes and that I would leave again the next morning, everything was ok. They even laughed a bit with it that they had to come. Somebody was frightened that I was a burglar, I can see myself breaking in to a house, jump on my cart and arreee jee, driving away as fast as possible to hide me 15 km further with 2 farmer horses and a big cart
Tja, the next day (euh today) again no luck, after a km the soles were loos again. I just searched for a spot and decided to send the shoes back to the Netherlands (from where they came) to let them repair, I called the makers of the shoes and they will do their best to make some strengthenings. But with the shipment to the Netherlands, the repairing and the shipment back I’m stuck here for at least a week. Because of the trouble with the shoes, I have been driving without them, so there isn’t much hoof left over. I have now a small meadow for 2 days, but I will have to find a meadow for at least a week in an radius of 2/3km. I already made a call to Natuurpunt, and maybe I can stay in a beautiful little nature reserve. Actually I’m hoping on it.
Tja, I just want to continue, making some kmrs without any long stop, the last week we didn’t went very far. But for now that’s not possible. Just trying to enjoy the moment and the sun. Hopefully it will succeed when the shoes are back. The next days will be filled with some work at the cart, searching for a meadow, and like today swimming in a pond, drying in the sun, again some swimming and again drying in the sun, also a nice occupation.
I just read what I wrote and actually there are a lot more funny, beautiful, exciting,… moments which I didn’t write down, it is incredible how many things you come across when travelling this way. But when I would have to writ everything down, it would be to many. Maybe it’s also nice to keep some little stories to myself . Till the next time!