Coughing and wheezing

Yesterday Jan wanted to check whether the Ayor had survived the winter. With some gentle persuasion, and a heavy iron rod, the Ayor started up, blowing clouds of blackblue smoke. But the engine started, and after a couple of minutes, all the pistons were firing. So we took it out for a short spin. It was cold, and the sun was fading, but it was nice to be out again. Now all we need is nice weather.

The Ayor sails again

We had a slight mishap with the enigine of the Ayor: the braces that hold the startmotor in place, were worn through. Jan has manufactured a replacement, and now we can start the engine again. Last Sunday was this year’s first trip: Wim and Nick came along with Jan for the ride, but I was away at the Stetsons Saloon.

American invasion

boatride with Charles’ parents, Charles and DavidLast week we had an American invasion. David and Charles were (too) briefly back in town, and almost all my American relatives came to visit as well. David and Charles were here on their grand tour of Europe with Charles’ parents. We offered them a boat trip around Amsterdam, and thankfully the weather improved just in time.

My American relatives were here in honour of my mother’s 80th birthday party. She had her birthday on March 1st, but threw a party in May, figuring that the weather would be more agreeable than in March. It almost was not, but we were lucky: Friday (the day of the party) in the end turned out excellent. All together there were 54 guests for the day: first we took them on an excursion to Pampus, and afterwards there was a lunch in Muiderberg. The day was a big success, and I think all had a good time. But it has been a busy weekend.

Amsterdam Gay Pride 2006 (updated)

Today was the Amsterdam gay Pride highlight: the Canal Parade. You can probably find many pictures online (flickr, anyone?). I don’t have many of our boat, on account of being on it.

The offical theme for the Canal Parade was “Rembrandt 400”, we however didn’t really keep to that motto. Our motto was “Rembrandts Greek Period”, and we went as the Nana Mouskouri farewell tour. This was the poster on our boat:


Mouse-over for full effect.

Here’s one picture to give you an idea (Thomas as Nana Mouskouri):

Thomas as Nana
I’ll add more pictures later, when I get them. Now it’s off to the street party along the Amstel, and later to the Warmoesstraat…

update: Jörg and Erik posted their pictures on Flickr.

Tarred, not feathered

Last week the “Broedertrouw” (the houseboat where we have the Friendship BnB) was towed to the wharf for its three-yearly check and maintenance. The insurance insists on regular upkeep, understandably, and the last inspection was three years ago. So we packed all the crockery into boxes (contents may shift during the voyage, after all) and organised a tow. And although the AYOR is a tugboat, it is no longer usable as one. Besides, Jan nor I is licensed to tow ships, so the whole operation would be illegal – and uninsured.

Everything went very well: we only just fitted under the bridge over the Achtergracht, but the rest was smooth sailing, as they say. The inspector from the insurance company could find no faults, and the wharf put on a fresh coat of tar on the hull. So the “Broedertrouw” is canal-worthy again for another three years.

I’ve put some pictures up here.

Another Queensday is over

Another year, another Queensday… This year it was very cold on Queensday. The traditional pasta at our houseboat was more than welcome! But although it was cold, the sun was out for most of the time, so people still had a good time.

Queensday 2006

The next day, Sunday, Jan took a couple of guys for the first boattrip of the season. Again, it was cold, but everyone had a good time. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips this year.

First boattrip in 2006

Indian Summer

unseasonally warmThe weather here has been acting rather strangely lately. Yesterday, Sunday October 30, we took the Ayor out for a spin. It was 20°C (68°F) with clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Normally it’s around 10°C (50°F) and pouring down with gale-force winds. Some people say we’ll have a severe winter. It hasn’t started sofar….

In the picture: Rob, Jan D., Hank, Niels and Allan. Jan (the captain) thoroughly enjoyed himself (and our friends) touring the canals. It’s quite likely that this was the last day this year the weather was nice enough for a boattour. However, that’s what we said last month as well.

At around 15.30 Jan dropped Frits and myself off, because there was also a Saloon in the Crea Café. He then continued with a (partly) new crew, right up until sunset. Which was early, because we’ve just changed from Daylight Saving to Wintertime.

Sail 2005

Fireworks over the IJ - Sail 2005
Today was the first full day of Sail, an event which happens every 5 years in Amsterdam. A large number of tall ships, windjammers, clippers, etc. come to Amsterdam for a huge nautical event. And everyone that has a boat comes out to see the big ships. So you can imagine it’s very busy on the IJ. Every night, there’s a big firworks display over the IJ. Tonights display was very impressive. The weather (which has been horrible for the last two weeks) was real nice, and we stayed out till 11 pm. There’s another three days, and then Sail 2005 is over – and we’ll be off to Crete for a couple weeks of vacation. But first some more boat tours.

“Straight” Ahead

Straight Ahead was the motto for this year’s Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade. And so we did. The weather wasn’t as nearly as bad as the weather forecasters led us to believe it would be, so all in all it was a fine day. It started sunny, but by 10 am the rain was pouring down. Then 15 minutes later, it was dry again. So we could install the music installation, and the red carpet on the catwalk, and the giant syringe on the AYOR.

This year the theme for our boat was ‘old misses’, or ‘faded beauty queens’. We each had titles, most of which are puns on dutch words, so don’t translate very well, but there were a few english titles: Miss Take, Miss Behave and Miss Demeanor.

At the very last minute we decided to make the boat an homage to Connie Breukhoven, who – 25 years ago – used to be the singer Vanessa. Vanessa gave a come-back concert during Pride Weekend, so we thought it fitting to name the boat: Connie’s Botox Salon. She now makes her living running a beauty clinic where rich bitches get their lifts, nips & tucks.

Because boat nr. 1 never turned up, we – with boat number 2 – were at the head of the parade. We were right behind a very late addition to the parade, a boat nr. 0, an initiative of the organising committee. It was a very simple boat, completely covered with a white shroud, and a huge picture of the two boys that were recently executed in Iran for being gay. It was a chilling picture, and a very sobering sight. Literally, a tough boat to follow.

We tried to keep a certain distance between that boat and our boat, but that wasn’t always easy. Some people had trouble with readjusting to 15 bears in tight swimsuits and sashes. But most of the crowd seemed to like us. We had a couple of songs as our them music: Julie Andrews singing ‘I Feel Pretty’ from West Side Story; Shirley Bassey singing ‘Big Spender’; the ‘Stripper’ music used in the movie ‘the Full Monty’ and ‘Que Sera, Sera’ by Doris Day. The people along the canals loved it, and it got us a round of applause every time.

No prizes for us of course, as we are not a member of the GBA (organising committee). The prize for best boat went to the April-Exit-Soho boat, who had a huge blow-up dummy of a woman. I think I’ve seen that before on the Roxy-boat about 6 years ago, only that time it was a man.

All in all it was a fun weekend again.

Another € 200 down the drain..

(from my SonyEricsson T610) the dieselpump at Scheen Outboard ServiceYesterday we went for a short boatride, to drop Paul and Jessica at ‘Strand Zuid‘, which is a so-called city-beach: a place -near the water of a canal or river – where they’ve dumped a truckload of sand, plunked down some beach chairs, and added a place where they sell imported beers and rosé wine. Definitely a ‘place-to-be’ this summer.

Anyway, on the our way to this city-beach, we went for a refuelling stop – with all these boattrips we go through the diesel fairly quickly – and dropped another € 200 of diesel in the tank.

That should see us through the summer at least – although we have Gay Pride and SailAmsterdam still to go…

A November boattour

On sunday November 7, we (Jan and Timon) took a few people out on a boattour through Amsterdam. Rene was there, with Raymond and Allan, Gerard, Rein and Frank were there too, as well as Mark from england. The weather was surprisingly nice (for the time of year), but by the time we got back, everybody was thoroughly cold.

We quickly defrosted a couple of liters of dutch pea soup, to warm everybody up again, which had the desired effect. From the weather today – cold, wet and gloomy – I would say that that was the last boattrip for this season. But it’ll be spring before you know it!

You can see a few pictures here: gallery