Niederlande und Deutschland.
It's not unusual that at the last minute something goes wrong. This time it was Van Bloord who put his socks in the toaster and the loading operation ground to a halt with only a couple of hours to go and, frustratingly, in sight of the end of the cable. Still, the Dutch cable-layer, Nexus, which had been our home for the past week or so, was a very new and comfortable ship with every facility that you'd expect in a decent hotel.
An excellent galley with a mostly far-eastern influenced menu (plus the odd temptation with origins nearer to home) meant that an extra 24 hours on board was not an onerous prospect.
Of course, that stretched to 48 hours by the time someone had found a biro to sign off on the repairs but,
the crew I was working with were a jolly bunch and there was never a dull moment (or shortage of pie).
Our tent on the dockside at Vlissingen wasn't conducive to making progress with the Alvis project. A plague of wasps at intervals kept me occupied - having to wear reflective orange and yellow safety clothing was like red rag to a bull - so to speak.
Though there was a restricted view from my cabin window - at least I had a window - wandering around the dock and the deck at various times of the day and night, saw plenty to keep me amused.
These steel structures had a touch of Easter Island about them,
... and the constant comings and goings of dredgers and barges to the gravel works next door probably kept a few people awake. Unless you're in the thick of it, it's easy to forget that the world is a 24/7 operation - it never sleeps.
At the end of the job, I dropped my fellow magneteer at Schiphol airport and carried on northwards up the E22 to my next stop, a cable factory in Nordenham, Germany, where I joined Janecki z Krakova for another week's load-out.
We always stay at a very comfortable hotel in the Marktplatz. Nobody seemed the slightest bit concerned that an alien space ship was wedged in the ceiling of the dining room - a new addition since my last visit - and a radio came on when you stepped into your ensuite; a must-have convenience for the modern adventurer.
A screen shot from the company's website (fotografie ist in der fabrik verboten) shows the little hut where we work, sitting out over the river Weser where the pier turns 90°. It wobbles occasionally.
Unlike the cabin on the Nexus, the view from our hut's window often had something of interest to gawp at. This ketch slipped by in the pouring rain and there was a steady stream of barges into and out of an aggregate factory a few yards downstream. A couple of years ago, the Tall Ships went past - I missed that spectacle by a week, but our work's manager managed to grab a couple of snaps (see 'All Rush 'n' Tear).
Ich frage mich, wo ich nächste Woche sein werde?