Seats4Silence (S4S) is Seats2Meet´s little brother. It is a network of workingspots on the countryside. Each of the 26 locations has its own characteristics. Common to them is the personal atmosphere. Working there feels “as if visiting a friend” we can read on the website. Some places are more suitable for coaching sessions and writing, while others are perfectly suited for workshops and meetings.
At a S4S strategic meeting I got the idea to visit all the S4S locations and to write about it. In this article I describe how I experienced working on an old ship, the ship ms Jeanette in Wijk bij Duurstede.
Working on an old ship
Address: Inundatiekanaal 3, Wijk bij Duurstede
The last part of the journey is kind of adventurous. After driving through narrow alleys my car climbs up the Lekdike and I immediately catch a glimpse of my today’s destination: the beautiful medieval city of Wijk bij Duurstede. Carefully navigating through all narrow curves I arrive at my destination a little later and park my car at the harbour. What a beautiful view! Okay, so where is the ship? Ah, just across the water the name Jeanette catches my eye. Almost there… Working on an old ship on a beautiful day in spring! A feeling of pure luxury fills my chest.
The sun is shining, it’s almost windless, the sky is blue. One of the first days of spring. I walk up to the ship. The entrance is in the middle of the floodplains. What a beautiful and special garden tot the ship! The green of the grass is quite of a contrast with the still leafless trees at the horizon. Here, no buildings are spoiling my view, nor cars disturbing the quietness. Here, there is only extensiveness, the perfect place for reveries. The river makes me feel connected and alive. I turn my eyes to my workingspot for today. In front of me I see some chicken searching for their breakfast. I open the gate and cross the small gangway to the ship.
Terrace and deckhouse
Skipper Henk Muis welcomes me. In front of the ship there is a floating terrace. Working there is for free. Very tempting, I assume, once the temperature passes the 20 degrees C. For working in the deckhouse you need to pay a small amount of money. It is also for rent for longer periods. A perfect spot for writing in residence, it crosses my mind.
Henk apologizes for the lumber. He is rebuilding part of the ship for his planned journey through France. “There, the bridges are only 3,5 metres high so we had to cut the pilothouse’s roof short.” Anyhow, inside the deckhouse everything feels cosy and fresh.
When getting a tour about the ship it strikes me that every inch has carefully been made use of. The old cargo space has been turned into Henk’s living room, kitchen, library, office and workplace stuffed with wood and tools. In the front of the ship, under the deck, there is very small room with the appropriate name “kluizenaarscel” (hermit’s room) with a bed, a small writing table and a modern bathroom with douche and toilet.
To be honest, I am not too fond of toilets on ships. Whereever possible I try to avoid them. But here on the Jeanette, luckily, there is no need for that.
Daffodils and trees
The terrace with the daffodils on the table already makes me feel like spring. Some trees grow out of the terrace. “The wind brought them here”, Henk tells me with a smile. In summer, it will be lovely sitting here in the shadow of the trees. And by the way, the chicken I saw earlier on also sleep in these trees.
Funnily enough working here means enjoying being outside and still being able to do whatever you like. Of course, there is wifi… very important! Coffee, tea, and a small kitchen, what else would you need? When staying overnight, there is a bed for 1 or 2, or even 3 people (if 2 of them are deeply in love ;-))
Henk has furnished the deckhouse with care. The ship dates from the 1920s and was modernised in the 1950s which is mirrored in the furniture. The door to the bathroom is decorated with stained glass, very pretty. Everything here breathes another epoch. Only the new wooden ceiling and the modern bathroom tell that the room recently has been modernised.
Dancing on the water
I feel the ship gently moving up and down. Actually, it is the trees outside that make me realise that the ship dances on the water. Also the sweet little lamps above the writingdesk seem to dance. It is pleasantly quiet. I hear the birds singing about spring. The only noise in here comes out of my laptop.
The willows in front of the windows start to sprout. Once they will be all green, working here will be even more pleasant. On the other side of the ship, I side the ancient skyline of Wijk bij Duurstede: a row of houses on the spot where houses have been built for centuries.
Working here is wonderful. Literally nothing distracts me except for distractions I actively choose. Working here means that you are free to stroll about the floodplains. Be sure that means boosting your creativity.
Here, everything is still okay, it crosses my mind. For a short while I feel like being in paradise, far away from all current political disasters around the world. If you need to clear your head, this spot will work perfect for you.
Unfortunately, Henk and his ship Jeanette will be leaving for France on April 5th. However, until April 4th and from the end of October onwards you are most welcome to work here. Wanna give it a try? You can book here on S4S.