Monday, 9 August 1999
The sluice is full of pleasure yachts. It's a typical Dutch picture. Handmade Crochet work as curtains, and an occasional canary in a cage. On the afterdeck a few folding chairs, cans of Heineken ( and a thermos with coffee.

The sluice is a kind of double, fixed size buffer based on the FIFO (First In, First Out) principle. At rush hour the sluice is full of yachts, head to tail, two and two. The lock keeper turns his job into a party. At entry everybody he kindle requests everybody to move ahead, as far as possible. The lock keeper tries to maximise the number of yachts per pass.

Most boatman are amateurs. The sluice pushes their navigation skills to the limits. They sail into the sluice with strained faces. Most yachts show a rather stereotype scene. At the forecastle Mother has been ready for a quarter of an hour with a line. Father gives comments and directions from the cockpit, a bit stressed as he is actually way too busy evading the quay. Mother aims at the very first bollard, exactly as instructed.

Pleased as Punch about this successful action the boat couple will look around. Haven't they managed that extremely well? In shock they discover the queue of yachts behind them, who all would like to enter the sluice as well. ELI (Erroneously Last In), oops.

When the gate opens, all boats sail away, except for one. Collywobbled he can't get his engine started. Bystanders interfere with plenty of useless advice. The boat man grows red and fears IBNO (In But Never Out).

The lock keeper waits and see for a while but takes action in the end. "Drop me a line", he asks the boatman and tows his boat out of the sluice, using nothing but muscle power. That is quite and achievement at these sunny temperatures. The sweat pours down his body. Can of Heineken I'll charge you a beer he calls to the boatman. The bystanders are a bit disappointed by the happy end. This mishap enjoyment was just getting so enjoyable.

After a while the boatman climbs the quay, with a cool canned refreshing blond for the lock keeper. The lock keeper apologises hey, just kidding mate, but accepts the thirst quencher gratefully.

What happens to that beer is no big puzzle. FOFI, First Out First In. First out of the can, then into the man. He is welcome to it. Cheers mate.

Till next week!