I just arrived an hour ago in my B&B in Schipluiden near Rotterdam. The owner Marja had given me the opportunity to stay over in the so-called “pumphouse”, one of the seperate buildings she typically rents out in a self-catering mode. Since the B&B rooms were all booked, she had offered me to stay over in the pumphouse for one night. Super. Marja, you have regained the reputation of your B&B with me.
The pumphouse is what it says: a former pump house. It used to pump the water from lower canals to the higher canal you see in the picture gallery. In this area “Hoek van Holland” (tr.: Corner of Holland) much of the lands are lower than see level. The Dutch have been famous masters in water management for many centuries already. That’s why they built all thos beautiful wind mills, dikes, canals and created agriculture lands and fields surrounded with canals. More recent they added a network of electric pumps that regulate the water levels. Today, there is a modern infrastructure just some 100 meters aside the old pump house. And that’s how Marja was able to buy it and create this little weekend house, including the pump and the engine, that serve as the foundation for the staircase to the bedroom, resp. for the dinner table. The pump does not function any longer, so do not be afraid: it will not make noise and keep you awake.
Why did I mention “regained” at the end of the first paragraph?
Well, I stayed over with a friend last summer, and rented the other house for some days. We had a nice rest in the evening, catered some food, went for a boat trip on the canal on Saturday, and although the rooms were somewhat warmer than expected, we slept well. That was, until Saturday night. All of a sudden, we felt like a bomb had exploded just aside our room. There was a lound noise, like hell. Music, that was so loud, that it seemed to come from all sides of the room. It must have been 2 at night or so. I still remember the song, because its title was more than appropriate: “oerendhard” from Normaal – a Dutch motorbike band that made it with Dutch dialect songs in the eighties. The title of this song translates as “extremely hard”. It’s not about noise, though, but about driving extremely hard. But that meaning really got lost in translation – or should I say “in music”.
The point is, you are awakened like when lightning strikes the tree near your house. My heart was beeting. I did not know what was happening. I could not get a clue to where that extremely loud music was coming from. First, I thought I had forgotten to switch off an alarm clock. Or maybe the television had switched on automatically. But then I realised those machines do not make that loud a noise. It was more like I had woken up aside a PA system. So I started to realize the sound came from outside. My heart kept beeting hard. I jumped into jeans trousers and a T-shirt, and opened the door, to notice a party boat on the canal just in front of our room. By then the boat had already passed and it was to dark to recognize any people, but what I did see, was some people on deck throwing beer cans into the water, laughing, and the damn hard and lound music that went on and on. I saw the boat turning right in the canal just adjacent to a bird reserve. I heard some gun shots, laughter, music. As well as ducks and other birds flying away in panic. By then the still very loud music started to fade into the dark.
It took me some hours to relax, and finally went to bed and sleep again. In the morning, I was still having a higher heart beat, and was very tired. The weekend had not really brought me the relaxing time I was hoping for. The owner at that point, was not at home. She was on holidays, and her assistant wanted us to leave the house at noon. I remember not being very nice to her (understatement). I explained her what had happened, and I was quickly to realize I was not going to get any support at that point. So, later that week, I sent an e-mail to Marja, and what she did, made me already very happy: she took the complaint serious. I understand that it was not her fault. I understand that they cannot guarantee that these things do not happen again. But at least, she tried to do something about it. Her husband is a member of the town government, and he brought the presence of loud party boats to the attention of his colleagues. Marja, thank you for being correct and brave enough to not let things escalate in the future. It shows that you do not want noise to ruin the tranquility of the rare beautiful landscape you are living in.
That is the reason why I came back. And that is also the reason why, in the morning, I took some other pictures of some of the buildings of this B&B, as well as from the breakfast room and the environment. You can always check the website as well. It mentions “tranquility” as an explicit advantage, so please help Marja and her family to keep it tranquil.