Boekel

We were heading for Holland, to a company called Outbound, who were manufacturers of insulated doors and windows for overland vehicles. We needed some modifications to our door and Maurik, the boss man, welcomed us warmly and they immediately got to work removing the door and placing a temporary closure in its place. They were very helpful and allowed us to stay in their car park for the two nights needed to complete the work, electricity and water included as well as use of their toilets.

The town of Boekel was ten minutes walk away and hairdressing salons appeared to be working normally. I was able to have my hair cut (cut and finish) at a large unisex salon on the High Street. Customers were well spaced apart but there was no sign of the dreaded masks, aprons or gloves although there were Perspex screens between the washbasins. It had been seventeen weeks since my last hair cut and I felt wonderful – it was well worth the €28 I paid. We walked on and had lunch at a café in the square. We sat inside and again, no masks in sight, just well spaced tables.

We were surprised at what appeared to be a casual attitude to the Coronavirus compared with our experience in the UK. Maurik told us that Boekel had been badly affected with 30 cases amongst the 8,000 inhabitants. One youngster who worked for Outbound had been ill for some weeks, but not one person had died. There were reminders everywhere to keep 1.5 metres distance but not a mask in sight.

The Dutch were a pragmatic race, all ages were out and about on bicycles with their distinctive upright handlebars. Not one of them, young or old, was wearing a cycle helmet. It was the same for youngsters riding motor scooters (Lambrettas), no helmets required. We found it very refreshing compared with our British attitude to “ ‘elf and safety”.