Every morning I start my work day by travelling from the far away land of Friesland to my office in Amsterdam. This normally takes about two hours by train. Although it has resulted in most people thinking I’m crazy for wanting to live so far away it does give me lots of time to write, draw and re-watch the entire seven seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with in just a few weeks. It’s time I use well.
The Curious Incident of The Frisian Swan
During one of my more recent morning trips I noticed that my train had started to slow down while we were still within Friesland. Eventually we were just creeping forward a section of track at a time. A few moments later the train conductor provided an explanation over the intercom system in Dutch (which I have translated into English):
“Ladies and Gentlemen. As you might have noticed we are going slower than normal. This is because there are reports of an injured swan on the tracks… It is a Frisian swan so ‘that’ is why we are going slower.”
He seemed to be stressing the fact that it was a ‘Frisian swan’ and not any old injured swan from some other lesser province. Was that the only reason we were slowing down? Would we still have been going full speed if it was a Dutch swan or would he have stopped the train, got out and given it a fine for travelling on the tracks without a valid ticket? I guess he was just a proud Frisian train conductor or Frisian Swans are rarer than unicorns.
Ten minutes later we started to speed up again and an even prouder sounding train conductor returned to the intercom.
“Ladies and Gentlemen. We have returned to normal speed since we have passed the Frisian swan. It is now safe and being taken care of so it’s all good news.”
I was surprised that there was not a stirring instrumental version of the Frisian anthem playing in the background as he made his announcement. I half expected the other Friesian commuters on the train to throw their hats up in the air and cheer. As a resident of Friesland I was ready and willing to join in but sadly the train carriage remained quiet. I guess I was in the carriage with only Dutch passengers.Tags: Friesland, Frisian Swan