I have always had a craze for water. My grand-parents lived on sandy soil and I could watch forever at the floodscapes that rainwater cuts out in sand.
With my parents I went to the outer dyke at Spijk where we looked for periwinkles and dared to go off the shell banks.
Every time I smell diesel my mind drifts back. I was ten years old and together with my cousin Gerrie we worked for three partly summers at Ekema’s brick factory, on the Heekte, just before Holwierde, coming from Appingedam. Child labour did not yet exist. Our parents thought it a good apprenticeship and we, we reckoned ourselves rich
No feigned modesty here. In my youth I occupied myself exclusively with matters in which I was superior. This implied one draw-back: none of my friends could keep pace with me. As my quest for the Absolute did not tolerate compromise I often set off on my own.
It was the seventh day of the heat wave and the water in the lake hardly moved. The only motion I made was in defending myself against incessant mosquito attacks. We holidayed in Stein am Rhein, where the young Rhine releases herself from the sluggish slowness of the Bodensee. Thatís where the Rhine is ripple-clear.
As we did not have enough money for a decent vacation I had taken on a job at a beer factory. I was assigned a chair in front of a light through where 30 cl bottles were marching by. My task was to seek out bottles that contained alien matter and smash them in a neighbouring wheel barrow.