Hilda van Stockum wrote and illustrated A Day on Skates in 1934, and you can read the whole thing here now that it's in the public domain. It includes a drawing of this charming thing that people don't do anymore:
In the old days when the great falconer's toast could still be drunk (Here's to them that shoot and miss) there had been a village in Holland which lived entirely by its trade in hawks and falcons. It lay at the edge of a heath situated directly on one of the great migratory routes of birds; the heath took its name from the falcons which followed the birds: and this name was also given to the village. Valkenswaard: Falconsheath: you had to speak it aloud to hear its music. There the hereditary families of falconers lay out in their huts to catch the lovely wild birds, with incredible ingenuity and patience, and there a great fair was held, to which the austringers and falconers of principalities and powers resorted for the purchase of adult hawks: often at great prices in the public auction. All was gone. Mollen, the last representative of a noble and ancient trade, had given up catching passage hawks ten years ago: the heath had been broken up, the link broken. The duke's men, the prince's men, the king's men who congregated at the great fair -- hawk-masters with lean and worried looks, who like the Latham described by David Garnett would be ready to 'gallop off with an expression of torment on their faces' -- they and the hawk-catchers with their centuries of experience in patience and cunning and benevolence (nobody could be a master of hawks without benevolence) and the very raison d'être of that village name near Eindhoven: all, like my own Gos, were now gone.
It happened like this in the world. Old things lost their grip and dropped away; not always because they were bad things, but sometimes because the new things were more bad, and stronger.
The following is the way in which passage hawks used to be taken at Valkenswaard. The falconer possessed a more or less commodious turf dug-out, on the heath, perhaps even with a little stove in it. Beside his dug-out he had at least two traps. From the first trap, which was at the top of a high pole, he could fly a tied pigeon which would be visible for a considerable distance, and which could be pulled back again into the trap at the last moment: from the second, which was at ground level in the centre of his bow-net, he could offer a second victim.
In the Middle Ages they believed, quite a good belief, that everything on land had its counterpart in the sea. The elephant was doubled by the whale, the dog-fish by the dog. In the same way, we might expect a counterpart in the air. At any rate, as there are hounds for foxes and pigs for truffles and setters for grouse, so the grey shrike took particular notice of hawks. The falconer at Valkenswaard had a couple of these birds tethered outside his dug-out.
The birds migrated, the hawks followed the birds to Holland, the shrike set up a cry and pointed, the falconer released his high pigeon, the hawk saw it and hurried to the kill, the trap concealed the decoy once again, the baffled hawk swung round, the second pigeon in the bow net was disclosed, the hawk stooped, and the ingenuity of man had added one more wild grace to the stock of passage hawks which were to be loved all over Europe.
T.H. White, The Goshawk (pages 105-6 and 134-5 in the Penguin edition). Valkenswaard.
The Dutch Gable House on William Street, right, was built in 1755, restored in the 1980s, and is undergoing further renovation today. Read about it here.
Cowdenbeath visit Cappielow today.
Morton have held third place for seven weeks now, and today's results are unlikely to dislodge them from that position. Second-place Dunfermline play Dumbarton, which is tantamount to a guaranteed three points and might allow the Pars to regain first place if Partick can't handle Livingston, who are six games without a loss.
Morton fans are pleased to see St Mirren in eleventh place in the SPL, on a six-game losing skid, and only one point ahead of Dundee. St Mirren's demotion would not be as epochal as Morton's promotion, but it would be a pretty nice consolation prize. The Renfrewshire Derby has not been a part of league play since the year 2000. St Mirren host Dundee today.
Morton's Archie Campbell is the First Division scoring leader with 11 goals in league play. Second is Steven Lawless of Partick Thistle with 8.
Airdrie United Reserves ended Greenock Morton Reserves' winning streak with a 0 - 0 draw.
League restructuring. The SFL proposes an amalgamation of leagues into a 16-10-18 structure (the two extra clubs being the Celtic and Rangers reserves). The SPL wants to carve a second 12-team division out of the SFL. Brave prediction: neither will happen.
[Morton win 1 - 0. Goal by Hawke. Partick and Dunfermline also win. St Mirren beat Dundee.]
The Eredivisie is the top ice hockey league in the Netherlands. Holland is not a hockey power, even though skating is part of the national mythology, but there are NHL players signing up with this league for the duration of the lockout, so it's worth a look.
There are currently seven clubs in the Eredivisie, six in the Netherlands and one in Belgium. Each team plays a 36-game schedule from September to March, followed by playoffs. The playoff winner is declared Eredivisie champion. There is also the Dutch Cup, which is contested by the six Dutch Eredivisie clubs plus the eight Eerste Divisie (second tier) clubs.
The league first appeared in 1945, but was inactive in 1948-49, and from 1950 to 1964. In 2010-11 and 2011-12 the league was replaced by a competition called the North Sea Cup when two Belgian clubs joined in. This year the Eredivisie is back, but with one Belgian club enrolled.
The clubs are:
Amsterdam G's. Formerly the Amsterdam Capitals. They play at the 1,200-seat Jaap Eden baan, named after a speed skater. Colours: red and black.
Eindhoven Kemphanen. The Fighting Roosters play at the IJssportcentrum Eindhoven (capacity 1,700). They wear orange and light blue.
Friesland Flyers. Founded in 1967, this club has won seven Dutch championships, all between 1976 and 1983. They play at the 3,500-seat Thialf in Heerenveen. Yellow, white and blue. There ought to be an annual tournament between the Friesland, Fife and Kloten Flyers.
Ruitjers Eaters Geleen. Formed in 1968, the Eaters (the name is taken from the Trail Smoker Eaters) are the current league champions. They play at the Glanerbrook Ijshal (1,200). They wear red, white and blue. Geleen is in Limburg, the uvula-shaped southern projection of the Netherlands, near the Rhine Palatinate.
HYS The Hague. Nine-time national champs, HYS (short for Haagsche Ijshockey Stichting) date back to 1933. Their home rink is the 2,610-seat De Uithof. They wear blue and two shades of red.
HYC Herentals. Herentals is in Flanders, Belgium. HYC were founded in 1971 and have been Belgian champions four times. They wear red and white. The Bloso Ijsbaan seats 1,200.
Destil Trappers Tilburg. The Trappers were founded in 1938, and have 13 Dutch championships. Their home rink is the Stappegoor IJssportcentrum Tilburg, which seats 2,500. Blue and yellow. [Dustin Jeffrey of the Pittsburgh Penguins was to have played for Tilburg but has moved on to Zagreb. Dale Weise of the Vancouver Canucks have signed with Tilburg.]
The National Gallery of Art in DC recently held a exhibition of the works of the Dutch artist Hendrick Avercamp (1585–1634), whose winter crowd scenes sometimes seem to owe as much to Richard Dadd as to Bruegel. The painting above shows an early instance of the game of colf. Slideshow.