Skip to content

Working on things you don’t have to do today

There is plenty of space behind Hans van der Velden’s garage door. The garage door is a large roller door that is almost always open when Hans is present. Behind this roller door are a Peugeot 403, a J9, a caravan and a trailer. At the very back, under a large storage rack, there is a covered workshop with a workbench and tools neatly stored and neatly arranged. The composition of tools and objects span generations and periods. The workbench belonged to his grandfather, just like the Mobilette that stands in the corner. And the drawers, which now contain all kinds of screws and nuts, were once intended to store adhesive letters in the advertising agency he had for years.

The place where Hans comes almost every day is clean and tidy. No rusty restoration projects, no grease pit or goat paths between the parts lying around. That’s not for him. Work is indeed being done. The 403 is in hibernation and is patiently waiting until she can go outside again. Apart from periodic maintenance at Garage van der Meij, which is located around the corner, this sixty-two-year-old Peugeot does not (yet) require any extra attention. Forty-two-year-old J9 is longing for his first holiday destination. He has been waiting for that for over 20 years. But it’s going to happen!

Hans has already stored his vintage cars behind various garage doors. This place in Maartensdijk will stay as long as I can rent it, he says himself. “It’s wonderful to have a place where you can do odd jobs for as long as you want. Behind this in the yard there is always activity. People come here to care for their horses or to work on their projects. Sometimes a stray pony comes to personally take stock of what I am doing. Then he steps in through the doorway and, after a brief inspection, back out. Further on there is a tenant with antique cars. That always provides food for discussion. At first I shared this space with a good friend. Unfortunately, he had to give up his hobby due to his health. Yet we were able to share the same space for 16 years. I sometimes miss sharing that. Finding a new co-tenant is not easy. You have to be somewhat on the same page. Otherwise the annoyances will quickly pile up and that is not pleasant.”

“In my workshop I mainly work on the J9. It is being converted into a camper. I’ve been working on it for years. The bus has been completely renovated. The engine has been overhauled and the bodywork has been completely tightened and repainted. Now for the installation. I’ve been taking my time to finish it for years, but life has many fun distractions and that’s why it doesn’t go that fast. For me, coming up with the design and installation is a big part of my enjoyment.”

“I have my tools here, a record player with LPs, a CD player with tons of music and an amplifier with good speakers. It is not difficult to spend a day here. A package of bread and sometimes a few fries from the snack bar down the road gets me through the day. Sometimes a job comes along, such as repairing a device, and then the J9 has to wait a while (again). Since I retired I have been here more often, because I used to be too busy to do odd jobs in peace. Still, I can recommend it to everyone to occasionally leave the hustle and bustle behind and work on things that you don’t have to do today.”

Gerelateerde content
Back To Top