I happened to catch a dredging boat in action today in Leiden. It was just a little thing that listed well to the side when its claw grabbed at stuff on the bottom of the canal. The boat was already carrying a fairly large pile of bikes that had been pulled up, all the same black-brown sludgy color. One bike stood out as looking fairly normal, it was still a definite silver color. Either it had not been in the canal long, or the boat operator had decided to pluck a bike from the side of canal just to spite someone. The boat attracted a lot of attention, especially since he was working right under a bridge, so most passers-by stopped to have a look. It's what drew my attention, all these people stopped on the bridge looking at something. So I hung around watching as well, though I'm not sure the boat operator liked everyone watching him, but he must be used to it by now. He dug around in the water, kicking up a cloud of black silt, and came up with a couple of claw-fulls of bike tires, and then he nabbed another bike as well. We watched him completely mangle the front wheel of the bike and quite a bit of the frame to get it off the claw after the bike's fender got caught on it. I wonder what they do with all of the stuff they pull out of the canals. Perhaps recycle the metal of the bikes? I also thought of my camera bag lying in the gunk at the bottom of a canal in Delft and wondered if it will ever be dredged up.
Leiden has entirely too few pharmacies in the center, something I've learned when my lovely little pharmacy closed at the end of June. It was not far on the other side of the station, so it was easy to go to before heading to work. Now the clients from my pharmacy have been combined with the only other main pharmacy in the center, which is probably total overload. My doctor tried to warn me to go elsewhere, saying the waiting times were long, but I ignored her, thinking that this one was handily open on Saturdays. I went for the first time last week, in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, and waited for over an hour
. I got to practice my Dutch, and integrate myself, by having a mutual complaint fest with the older lady sitting next to me (though I was inwardly cringing at myself for not using the formal "you" with her when it was what would have been appropriate). Anyway, I have now registered at a pharmacy in the next town
because it will be better than watching my life dwindle away every time I go to pick up something.