Friday, October 19, 2012

One Man Job

I have a friend who has just returned from England. She posted pictures of a beautiful thatched roofed cottage, which brought back memories. You see, a long time ago (30 something years ago) I not only lived in a thatched roof cottage (in The Netherlands) but I was lucky enough to live there while it was being *re-thatched.

This is a water color painting of our Dutch house, that I commissioned a local artist to paint just before we moved back to the states.

The thatch was brought in from the field, laid on a large tarp; which was draped over it when it rained. The unusual looking object in  front, is device used to cut the thatch.
This man lived on our roof for three months, and he had no helpers. He would cut the thatch, strap it to his back,   climb up the ladder onto our very steep roof and sew it in. It was such a treat to watch him at work. I also had to stay home until at least 10:30 in the morning. That was the usual time that workers like their koffie (coffee)....accompanied by a cookie (also a custom). After a while, I was even guilty of sending my then four year old out with the tray. I can still see her in my mind...yelling "Meneer (mister).. KOFFIE".

We almost didn't lease the house because of it's address.The street name was: Groothaesebroekseweg and I wasn't sure I could remember how to spell it or pronounce it, but I loved the house so much that I practised and and finally it rolled off of my tongue !

*thatched roofs in The Netherlands are protected. If you have one it must be replaced only by thatch. There are companies that send out crews with power tools. We felt very fortunate to have it done the old fashioned way, by someone I considered a true  artist.


  1. ha groothaesebroekseweg , is indeed impressive !
    you know what it means?
    large hare swamp way...
    did not realize you were my neighbor a while ago

  2. wow. that is so cool! what an experience to live through - although i would have tired of having someone working for that long.

  3. What a nice "dutch" post, you still remember the dutch words, I am impressed. You lived in a fairytale house, I would have liked to live in too. It looks like the house of "Hans and Gretel"

  4. Thatched roofs intrigue me so much, and I really enjoyed reading this post and seeing the photos. How very lucky you are to have lived there and seen this! The painting is lovely.

    Thank you so much for your visit to my blog and kind compliment! I look forward to following your posts.