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18 Jan 2010

Cycling, trains and Ellen ten Damme

A strange title that sums up my Saturday. It was Sunday evening when I pushed the 'play' button on the dvd player. I wanted to listen to the marvellous voice and music of the same singer I saw performing the a day ago. The weekend was so chuck full with impressions that it made my grey cells work at full capacity.

When I rode home on Friday evening, after a day at Nazca, I realized that I had forgotten my cellphone. There wasn't time to go back and get it, there was no room in the schedule for a 15 minute detour. No problem, I can live without my V630i, I'd pick it up tomorrow. Now I was on my way home to eat and leave again after an hour or so to the swimming pool. My swimming technique was a bit old diesel style, slow but steady. 300 metres more than last week made for a total of 1150 metres.

Saturday had a slow start in many ways. The bed was a little to comfortable, the only thing missing a..., well, you know. Yavixa felt a little slow when I rode past the canal to collect my phone. Probably an engine related problem. The air was wet, the temperature just above, or below zero, the wind was against me. If there wasn't a layer of fibreglass and epoxy to protect me, I would now be in a train or at home. After 33km my nerves did withstand the empty feeling that came with a flat rear tyre. It was nothing more than an easy 10 minute quick fix, but it's just the sort of thing you prefer to do when  the sun is shining and you're nothing having a bit of a headache.

Standing by the stove in the Nazca workshop, eating a banana, a candy bar and a slice of cake brought back the energy. A cup of coffee gave a little boost to my system. I was glad the hear that a woman had just bought a Pioneer to ride to Nepal. All these little things made the 42km route home quite easy. The headache and the sleepiness where gone when I was back at base camp.

Then the evening came and with that, an event I'd been looking forward to. It started with a train ride from Assen to Leeuwarden, via Meppel. My little black Dahon is an ideal travel companion for these sort of things. I cycled from the train station to the theatre in less than 5 minutes and parked my bike at a handy, free and guarded cycle parking in front of the theatre.

Going to the theatre on your own is kind of strange. Everybody else is with at least one other person. I quickly found my way in the foyer and got myself a bottle of chocolate milk. (an excellent after sport drink it seems!) I bought a dvd from an older concert tour and would have it signed afterwards. When I found my chair in the theatre (row 6, seat 2) the sight of a sold-out theatre felt good. I like it when an artist I adore has good ticket sales.

The concert was fabulous. All the songs where nicely arranged in a logical order. Her voice utterly beautiful, beyond what I can imagine.  Her performance outstanding. The music, almost completely written be herself and performed with the help of a drummer and a guitar player, covered a broad spectrum of styles. I think 4 types of guitar where used. The drummer also played a xylophone. And there was a keyboard, and a tambourine, and don't let me forget the violin. One song was done unplugged. There was drama, humour, lyrics with meaning, about love, about live.

I'd like to let you, the reader, hear some of her. More than half of my readers probably won't understand the Dutch she's singing, but that doesn't really matter. (and there are also 3 albums in the English language) The video is a fragment from the in-store promotion I went to last December. It's made by a shop employee.


Afterwards I felt about the same as after a 45 minute velodrome criterium, except for the dizziness and the sweat. I cooled down with a drink, after I let Ellen sign my dvd. There was quite a line at the stand with cd's and alike.

Most of the music I like is made by artists so famous you'd never get to speak them, or they're dead, or dead and world famous. You never have to chance to personally tell them that you really, really like their music. But now I could. So just before riding back to the train station, just after everybody had left the stand, I went back to her again. Just to tell her what I just mentioned. That the it's great to be able to tell an artist that you sat down, pushed play, and listened to a wonderful album. 'That's just what I wanted to say' I told her, and she smiled.


Feeling all overwhelmed again I carefully rode back to the trains again. It had started to snow, and I was on slick tyres. With a lowered saddle I made it without breaking a bone or the precious signed dvd. The ride back home, this time via Groningen, took just over 2 hours. I bought a 'Snickers' in a mini supermarket at the train station in Groningen while waiting for the next train.

The clock in the kitchen told me that it was 1:15am when I stepped through the back door. Within a little more than 8 hours the first velonauts would be on my doorstep. Just enough time for 6 hours of well needed sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Dank je wel, ik had er nog niets over Ellen ten Damme gehoord maar vind wel dat ze 'n paar interessante nummers heeft.

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