This was my first Holland trip and over many years I had listened to many members’ experiences of this ongoing annual trip since 1987 and looked forward with expectations of not only high standards of fish, plants and “sights” but of course there would also be what I could only think of was “a good crack”. Would I be disappointed? Not in the slightest, I would find out that a disciplined approach was the correct one if I was not to return with more than one box full of incumbents, as it was I had added a few extra items and would need all my resistance to not turn into the “kid in a sweet shop”!
During the club meeting prior to the trip the route and stops were run through and timings confirmed including the meeting up time at Pete Cottle’s. I worked it back to the time I had to get up (4:45) and realised I would have about 4 hours kip.
Day 1 Thursday 2nd Oct
So armed with the travel kit - polybox and toothbrush - I headed off to meet up at Pete Cottle’s for 6:30am. Although my half a bucket of water was frowned upon it got racked up just the same and there was still room for an extra box picked up along the way. Loaded up we set off for Dover, we being Graeme, Keith and Sandra, Pete “sat nav” Cottle and Peter “the chaffeur” Franz.
So the ferry was boarded on time and we left Blighty on time at 8am “latest we have set off” I had been quoted “thank heavens” I was thinking. Easy crossing to Dunkirk and we set off through France and traversing Belgium into Holland. Those pesky messages were already getting boring “Welcome to ….. calls cost 18p, text 5p…blah, blah”. 2 hours later Verduijun Cichlids was in sight and Peter F could have a ciggy. Welcomed with an offer of a coffee or tea we then perused the tanks.
Being my first trip I was kind of goggle eyed at the overall standard of the variety of fish and you could expect to buy a healthy specimen of any that were on sale. Indeed this was to become my main conclusion of the whole trip.
It must be said that the weather was excellent all the trip “We always have had decent weather on our trips” was quoted and we might have had some extra space had it not been for all the coats! Typical Brits!
Back on the road and we stopped off at De Maanvis in Dordrecht and De Riftwachter in Hilversum before finally ending our day in Delft following a brief look around Aquarium house Romberg.
The guys have a longstanding friendship with The Hotel Emauspoort and I could see why as you couldn’t get a more friendly welcoming. After refreshing ourselves … with a few beers of course we wandered across the main square to a small but impressive restaurant where the now club famous “pork” incident took place that now brings a few chuckles or
groans of derision. . To explain that our grandmeistro Pete had a different plateful of not what he ordered but the waiter insisted it was pork - tasted and looked like beef - hence any further reference as to “what’s that”(fish or anything) for the remainder of the trip would now be replied with a connection related to pork. Graeme and myself being the main perpetrators! I cannot resist a reference to seeing someone towing a porkaloo on the way to the Pork of Calais.
To be continued . . .
Rob Williams 2014.