Saturday the 14th I went to Maastricht to collect darkroom equipment. I had suggested to the seller that I’d come and pick it up in two times, and use the train to bring the equipment to Utrecht each time. The seller didn’t consider this as an option: I had to come and pick it up all at once. Then I proposed to drop the equipment temporarily at the place of my niece, since the car of my brother was broken. But even then the seller’s advice was: “If you do that, you will still really need a car.” There was only one thing left to do: collect it on the bike all at once. Would that be feasible? Taking the fully loaded bike into the train, bike for a kilometer or three and changing trains once. Hopefully people at the station will help me. And they did…
While changing trains in Utrecht, an official of the Dutch Railways said that I couldn’t take my bicycle into the train during rush hour. I said: “But… it’s the weekend.” “If there is a bicycle next to yours, you should offload the stuff, that’s the rules,” said the ticket inspector. But yeah, rules… At the first stop, I turned my bike with difficulty so another bike could stand next to it. The inspector said I had done it in a smart way. She had been a ticket inspector for 24 years and before that she’d had been a nurse for 22 years. And for those 22 years, she’ll only be entitled to two years of pension. The right to a pension for women … was not established in the Netherlands until ‘89. I didn’t know that. After I arrived at home, I put all the stuff in the living room and at the beginning of the week I took it to my photo studio with a friend by car.
Photo: John Stefelmanns