Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 40

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Saturday September 6, 2008 (Hauk, study days, rowing, travel)

Hauk Fischer Especially during the first 4 years or so at Leiden University Maarten ("Hauk") Fischer and I were almost inseparable and generally known as Fisch & Furst. We both started Uni as Geological students in 1955, joined the same student year club ("Pimpernel"), lived in the same student house for several years and worked together during the summers on fieldwork projects in the Ardennes, Spanish Pyrenees and Asturias. We also each were cock swains of race rowing eights with the Leidse Student Rowing Club Njord.

The serious training for the year's rowing season always started in icy cold February and was rather tough for a cock swain. Each day an eight would first be split up into two fours, training for 2 hours each, then the two crews would go out for a final 2 hour session as an eight. A cock swain was therefore on the water for 6 hours each day, usually soaking wet and very cold. Yet we enjoyed it, but there was of course not much serious study going on.
In my second year I had grown considerably and become too heavy for the job, but Hauk steered that year a very successful senior eight which won trophies all over Europe. In 1960 I was briefly recalled as a spare cock swain to help train Njord's seniors four during their preparation for the Rome Olympics, but I was too heavy of course to have a chance of being part of the final team.

Our friends were amazed that Hauk and I never appeared to have a quarrel or fight. We did have one however, but only one. It was during a field mapping day in the mountains above the village of Felechas (Asturias, Spain) where, amongst some spectacular outcrops of Cambrium Barrios Quartsite, we had a huge shouting match for about half an hour. I have no idea about what, but it was probably some geological disagreement between us. After that peace returned as if nothing had happened. Perhaps we did have to let off steam with each other, just for once.
We have never had a fight ever since and, as I discovered with great pleasure when visiting him in Den Haag this year, we still are the very best of friends.

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Sunday - Tuesday September 7-9, 2008 (travel, Holland, Den Haag)

Kurhaus, Scheveningen I have always had a soft spot for the city of Den Haag (s'Gravenhage, The Hague) and its coastal extension Scheveningen. Firstly because as a young boy I spent many summer holidays with my grandmother at the Gevaertdynootweg in Scheveningen, just one street behind the beach, and secondly because Antien and I had a wonderful time in Den Haag when we lived there during our first year of marriage.
So when both Hauk and Carel van der Vijver invited me to stay with them if I decided to visit Den Haag it did not take me long to make up my mind and accept. Both are living in the Statenkwartier, the same area we used to live in, only a short stroll from the Scheveningse harbour.

My two friends were both excellent hosts who expertly guided me to all my "must see" nostalgia spots, plus a few things I had not seen before, like the Sprookjesbeelden aan Zee, the adjacent Beelden aan Zee Museum and the magnificent Rozentuin with the rozes in full bloom (in June-July).
Panorama van Mesdag
But the highlight of any visit to Den Haag for me is always the Panorama van Mesdag. This 360° panorama, painted on the inside of a canvas cylinder about 35 meters in diameter always takes my breath away. Hauk too, who accompanied me that day enjoyed it tremendously. It is a complete al round view of Scheveningen and Den Haag in 1880, painted by Mesdag, his wife Stien and three other painters of the "Haagse School".
You enter the panorama via a corridor underneath the painting, then climb up some stairs to arrive at the central viewing platform. The view provokes a feeling of being transported back in time and of enormous tranquility. This is an absolute must see item if you ever visit the Netherlands.

We also went to the Gemeente Museum, featuring a permanent collection of Piet Mondriaan. On the way I recognised our home Statenlaan 28 where we used to live back in 1963. All in all three wonderful days. I will be back !

Web sites
Beelden aan Zee Museum - Gemeente Museum - Panorama van Mesdag - Sprookjesbeelden aan Zee

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Wednesday - September 10, 2008 (travel, Gorssel, Cafe Beuse)

Formerly Cafe Beuse My association with Cafe Beuse at Quatre Bras has been a significant aspect of my early life.
During the last year of the war (1944) and the first couple of years after it the Beuse family had (like us too at Martinshof as well as many others) to share their home with another family. Once those moved out Mr Beuse senior, who was a bicycle repair man by trade installed a bicycle shop in the front left room and a tiny licensed pub in the front room on the right.
Around 1950 however he knocked the walls down between the two front rooms making it into one large Cafe area (pub) in which he installed a proper bar and a billiard table. He kept his bicycle repair shop in a small room at the back of the house.
The Beuses had three children, one son Dick (an electrician) who left home when he married, and two daughters, Riek and Alie, who stayed home and mainly looked after the bar.

The old Cafe Beuse billiard As a young boy, just entering High school, I was immediately attracted to the wonderful billiard and spent most of my free time playing on it. Soon I also started to help out with the Cafe. First selling ice cream from a small ice box in front of the Cafe entrance door and serving customers outside with drinks. Once I had reached drinking age I started to slip frequently behind the bar proper pouring beers to the regulars. I absolutely loved this.
Soon after I went to University Alie Beuse (the younger one of the two daughters) married one of the regulars at the Cafe, Bennie Bakker. Bennie was (and still is) a quiet, well dressed gentle soul, who worked then (and until his retirement age) in Amsterdam with the National Railways. I remember writing and presenting a poem to them from the top of the (covered) billiard table during their wedding party (of course held in the Cafe).

Inspecting Aaldert's garden Alie had lost one of her lungs during her illness with tuberculosis (a not uncommon illness in those days, and often passed on from sick cows through drinking unpasteurised milk) and when she became pregnant there was some worry that she may not survive the birth. Sadly this is in fact what happened, she died during childbirth of her healthy boy Aaldert Bakker. As Alie had specified before she died, Aaldert was to be brought up by her sister Riek and her partner Jan Klein Hesselink. Bennie had agreed to this of course, as his work in Amsterdam would have made it impossible to raise Aaldert himself. He was however most weekends back at Cafe Beuse, where I played many billiard matches with him over the years. Aaldert too, when he grew up, became a good player who could match it with the best.

Riek, Jan and Willem in Cafe Beuse Jan Klein Hesselink was a foreman in housing construction and spent all weekdays away from home in the West, mainly in Leiden, but during the weekends he too was always back. Somewhere in his 50s he retired however and looked after the pub together with Riek.
There were about half a dozen regulars, meeting almost every evening at the Cafe, including my neighbour friend Gerrit van der Mei, Eppe and Willem Schoenmaker, and of course Bennie Bakker and Dick Beuse. I was there too whenever back from Uni.
Most of the regulars ("stamgasten") were in the building trade and they did quite a few jobs for my father on Martinshof, installing a beautiful black and white checkered linoleum floor in the lounge and later on building the Martinshof office extension.

Pouring a beer at the now China Town 

restaurant Jan Klein Hesselink, although around 20 years older than me, has always been one of my very best friends. When I had to return to Holland to run our family business Martinshof for 3 years after my father's sudden death in 1981, I would "debrief" myself every night with him behind the bar. He gave me lots of support and encouragement during those very difficult recession years when I only just managed to save our business from bankruptcy.
My son Jeroen, then just 11 years old, visited me for a month during that time. Like his Dad he took a great liking to the billiard table and played there every evening while I was talking and drinking with Jan. Late at night he would take my hand, safely guiding my uncertain steps back home to Martinshof.
Jan died a few years after his wife Riek, in 1989 and at about the same time my mother died. When they took him on a stretcher out off the pub to the ambulance he had tears in his eyes. He is one of the very few people (outside my near family members) who I still miss very much even today.
Aaldert's Dad, Bennie Bakker, now in his 80s, is still alive and well. He lives in a comfortable retirement flat in Gorssel where I shared a beer with him in July. He stopped with billiards but is playing "klaverjassen" (Dutch card game) now every night.

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