"How do two millipedes walk when they're in love?"
"Hand in hand in hand in hand in hand in hand....."
A PILGRIMAGE TO THE PLANTIAC FACTORIES
NOVEMBER 7TH 1991
(Accompanied by some miscellaneous notes for foreigners)
by Richard Karsmakers
The second part of the Pilgrimage to the Plantiac Factories
started only a short time after the first part, when I called the
UTO in Schiedam.
Mr. van Zee, the man who had toured us through the Sonnema-
Plantinga Distillery, had given us the phone number of this
company. He didn't give us a big chance of actually being able to
get a tour there but, so he said, we could always try.
Note #1: The UTO Company
For those of you who have not read the first part of the Holy
Pilgrimage: We journeyed down to the Sonnema-Plantinga Distillery
in the Friesian town of Bolsward, on our search for the origin of
Plantiac Vieux, the Divine Fluid. Unfortunately, due to a massive
mistake somewhere along the line (including the fact that a
bottle of Plantiac proudly states to be made in the Plantinga
Distillery in Bolsward), Plantiac was NOT made there.
It was very entertaining, of course, but it turned out that
Plantiac was made by the UTO Company in Schiedam for the last 20
years or so. Which is in a totally different part of the
So, on one distinctly dreary and rainy day, I called the UTO
Company. A female employee by the name of Mrs. Kort (English:
Mrs. Short) happened to answer the phone. Upon her shoulders
dropped the fate of having to listen to a complete recital I
burst forth about ST NEWS, Bolsward, Mr. van Zee, and a Holy
Desire to visit the Plantiac Factories.
She really didn't like what she had to tell me: Tours were not
given at the UTO Company. They did do tours in a sister
distillery where they made a kind of gin called "Notaris" (which
we had also heard about during part I of the Pilgrimage), but the
actual main factory hall was off limits to the public. It had
never before happened and it would never happen.
I felt my chair slowly give way below me. Was this to be the
cruel death of the second part of this Holy Quest? Nipped in the
bud in its earliest stage?
I gathered my voice, trying desperately not to have it tremble
too much. I asked if it could perhaps maybe be possible to make a
tiny little exception.
There was a moment's silence on the other side of the phone.
Apparently, such blatant boldness had never been encountered
"Why this particular interest in Plantiac Vieux?" she asked.
"Well," I replied without hesitating, "because it simply tastes
There was another moment's silence, after which she asked
whether I would hold.
I answered confirmative, a faint flame of hope kindling in the
depth of my heart. She left me listening to some Everly Brothers
Then she returned.
"Well I had never considered this possible, but you can get a
"...." (I didn't utter any sounds but my heart leapt and the
kindling flame flared into a virtually uncontrollable blaze)
"Mister? Are you alright?"
I was happy again. The Quest would happen. The first part of the
Pilgrimage would find a worthy sequel. The sheer thought of never
being able to visit the Plantiac Factories had left me with a
feeling of thorough depression, but now I felt as though I could
handle anything life was prepared to hurl at me.
She went forth to explain something about the production process
in use at the UTO Company, which resulted in it being impossible
to pinpoint a date for the Visit already. Several different
products were made and bottled using the same main assembly line,
and only when a need occurred would Plantiac be made again. That
could be days or weeks, or even months. We would have to wait
until such an event would occur. She would have someone call us
at least one week beforehand.
I put the phone down in a state of bliss.
The Visit would happen.
Religious ecstasy & pious anticipation
On my way to the bathroom on the morning of Wednesday, November
6th, the phone rang. Careful so as not to reveal the nakedness of
my physique to the entire world outside the living room windows I
stalked up to the phone, lifted off the receiver and spoke my
My heart started beating in my throat when I heard on the other
side the voice of UTO Company's Mrs. Kort - she who was to me the
Arch Angel of the Divine Fluid.
She told me she had already tried to contact me once before,
somewhere at the beginning of August she seemed to recall (i.e.
precisely during the time I was at the Delta Force International
Coding Conference #2, having toothpaste put in my hair among
I humbly apologized for not being there, which she accepted.
"Anyway," she told me in a voice that started to sound like that
of an angel more and more, "we'll be producing Plantiac again
tomorrow afternoon. If you can come, you'll be expected at 1400
hours by Mr. van de Klooster."
That day after, I had my weekly day off from University. This
was brilliant, just brilliant. Everything couldn't possibly be
more perfect. I was about to weep with joy.
I will save you the further major part of the conversation which
entailed the explanation of how to get to the UTO Company by car.
I went to great length to thank Mrs. Kort, put down the phone
and immediately called Stefan, our beloved Master Undead Ex-Ex-
Editor, at his work.
He was in - which was an exception all of its own, worthy of
However, he told me he would not be able to go that next day as
he would have to go so some convention where a couple of thousand
people would attend. Postponing would be impossible, and he
simply had to go. With a voice that told me he was on the edge of
a mental breakdown he blessed me, told me I should go alone.
"Just be as verbose as possible in your descriptions," he said,
almost sobbing, "and make sure you get everything you get in
I promised him to do whatever I could.
With a sense of desolation I put down the phone again.
I would have to go alone, without the inspiring company of The
One Master Editor. And, what was even worse, I'd have to go by
Public Transport - God knows how far the UTO Company would be off
the nearest bus station!
I rung back Mrs. Kort, telling here that I would come alone.
I will save you the major part of the conversation which
entailed the explanation of how to get to the UTO Company by
At least the UTO Company turned out to be only an estimated 10
minutes' walk from the nearest train station.
The Visit would happen. The day after.
Much like the day on which the first part of this Plantiac
Pilgrimage took place, the day of this Visit was a dreary one.
The sky was an even light grey with the odd patch of dark. Rain
fell from it at irregular intervals and in irregular quantities.
I left at noon. Autumn's presence was predominant in the wind
that tugged at my coat and the leaves that fell down and clung to
the wet streets and pavements.
In a bag I had all necessary equipment with me: A camera, the
Aiwa (Dolby B, stereo record, etc.) Walkman annex Hangover
Obliteration Device and Craig Shaw Gardner's "A Malady of
Magicks" to read in the train. In my back pocket I had a wallet
containing money (one can never know what one wants to purchase
when in a distillery) and my OV-studentenkaart.
Note #2: The OV-studentenkaart
In Holland, all people above 18 and below 27 who still study get
a grant by the government. This basically consists of a BASE
grant of almost 600 guilders and the part that the parents are
supposed to pay. If your parents don't earn enough money, the
government pays the parent bit as well - with a direct interest
of over 11% (interest upon interest).
Before the middle of 1990, each student could have his travel
costs to and fro school registered and paid for. As this was
considered too much work for the government in the long run, they
introduced the OV-studentenkaart. This card allows you to travel
for free in all Dutch buses, trains and subways.
This may sound like heaven on earth to you, but this is only
partly the case. For example, if you'd live on the other side of
the road where your school lies, you'd get one of those
cards, too. And the government substracts about 50 guilders per
month for that card. EVERYBODY gets one, even if they'd rather
have those 50 guilders. The price of the card increases with 48
guilders per year for the next couple of years, while the grants
are frozen. College money will increase by 100 guilders per year
for the next couple of years, too. Still, the grants will remain
I will not start discussing the financial problems of students
in this bit. I trust you know now what the OV-studentenkaart is,
and that's what this entire note was started for in the first
I was well on time to catch my train. As a matter of fact, my
arrival at the station was that much in time that I still had
time to buy a bunch of flowers for Mrs. Kort and to check out the
station kiosk for the latest "Zero". Although there were plenty
of flowers, the December issue of the cult computer mag was not
yet to be seen.
The thing that struck me most was the fact that the entire
station, each and every platform, was thoroughly scenting of fresh
baked bread - something which is normally hardly the case as the
smell of oil, steel and urine is much more persistent. This
unusual smell was enough to make my mouth water, to make my eyes
search for the source and to make my wallet ache to be made
emptier. I could not locate the source of the smell fast enough
to enable me to do any buying before the train arrived.
Just before I got on the train, I felt a slight touch at my
shoulder, followed by the descent right before me of a one-legged
pigeon. It looked at me in a way that could only have been evil.
Was this a bad omen? Was I to be assaulted by another series of
bad luck, effectively disabling me from reaching my target,
keeping me from the utter adoration and appraisal of the Source
of all Divine Fluid?
I decided not to heed it. Trembling somewhat, I got on.
The train left at 12:47.
I continued reading Stefan's "A Malady of Magicks". I found the
book to improve the closer I got to Rotterdam. Especially as of
chapter seven, it started to be what I had expected of it: Quite
original and very funny.
But these semi-literary observations are of no relevance to the
rest of this story.
At Rotterdam Central Station, I began to sense I was getting
closer. A quarter of an hour's wait separated me from the
departure of the train to Schiedam-Rotterdam West, which was
scheduled to happen at 13:40.
Lucky enough, said train was already waiting. I got on it. The
view of a truly beautiful female with two even more beautiful
legs clad in incredibly thin silk tights formed the good omen I
had needed after that invalid dove.
I breathed deeply. All was well now.
Someone next to me ate one of those deliciously smelling pieces
of freshly baked bread.
At precisely 13:44 the train halted at Schiedam-Rotterdam West.
Shaking with anticipation, I jumped off and headed for the exit.
Mrs. Kort had made me write down a short description of how to
get to the actual buildings of the UTO Company, and I was fully
prepared to undertake the short journey.
The quite torrential downpour prevented me from doing so,
however. It suddenly made me remind a quite apt description of
'heavy rain' that Terry Pratchett used in his book "Truckers" -
'a sea with vertical slots in it', or something thereabouts. So,
instead, I took a 'traincab' and had that take me to where I
wanted to go: Zijlstraat 6.
Note #3: The 'traincab' (Dutch: Treintaxi)
Last year, the Dutch Railways introduced the principle of
'traincabs' in a couple of big cities. By now, it has been
introduced in lots of somewhat smaller towns as well.
Basically, a 'traincab' can take you from or to a railway
station, provided that the distance is not too big. For this, you
have to buy a 'traincab ticket' at the railway station which
costs 5 Dutch guilders - which you can only buy when showing a
train ticket or the OV-studentenkaart I mentioned above.
The 'traincab' is quite a bit cheaper than regular cabs (50-100%
cheaper, I'd guess).
At several minutes to two, the cab dropped me off where I wanted
to be. Before me I saw a fairly large complex with neon lights
"UTO" on top of it, not lit.
It was located in a somewhat dilapidated part of town, the
neighbourhood where you'd not particularly like to walk in the
dead of night, and where you'd not be advised to park a car
without its burglar alarm switched on.
It was altogether quite awfully much more un-romantic than the
folklore-ridden distillery we had visited in folklore-ridden
Number 6 was a somewhat stylish 18th century house. I entered.
A camera sensed my presence and started transmitting my image to
a room beyond my immediate vision. I pressed a button next to the
name "Mr. van de Klooster", after which a buzzing sound indicated
I could push open the next door.
I advanced into the elongated hallway of the old house, somewhat
at a loss of where to go. In the background I heard the noise of
many empty bottles. I decided to head straight on, guessing I
looked quite silly with raindrops on my glasses and a bunch of
flowers in my hand.
From one of the rooms in the rear a long man in his mid fifties,
wearing a grey striped suit, emerged to welcome me. He
introduced himself as Rinus van de Klooster (which, accidentally,
would translate to 'Rinus of the Monastery' in English). Although
he had a sweaty handshake, he proved to be the jovial type of
chap, with an elaborate moustache, greying hair and quite a large
spot of baldness.
He beckoned me to temporarily store the flowers in some water in
the kitchen as Mrs. Kort turned out to be in another building
altogether, in the marketing department. I could see her later.
It was then that it dawned on me. Through a door I saw an office
of which the back wall was made of glass, as if looking outside.
Through that glass I could see the production hall, and the noise
of empty bottles I had heard earlier had been that of empty
For a moment I reeled, feeling overcome with emotions and utter
religious ecstasy. I quickly regained my composure, however, and
followed Mr. van de Klooster into the office.
The office was quite spacy. Two PC's of some previous generation
were positioned on desks, together with the usual utensils office
people need to work with. Really boring, really.
Most prominent in the office, however, was a wall that displayed
each and every kind of bottle (with contents) they produced
and/or bottled at the UTO Company. There must have been at least
200 bottles, containing many different kinds of alcoholic
beverages including different kinds of Vieux, liqueurs, gin (that
which I called 'geneva' in Part I of the Pilgrimage) and even
whisky and vodka.
I took off my coat while keeping the immense wall of alcoholic
delicacies in sight. Impressive. Very impressive. I had expected
them to do about two dozen different drinks, but this was beyond
what I had expected.
After Mr. van de Klooster had finished his cup of coffee, we
went down to the production floor.
As the door to the production hall opened, the muffled sound of
empty bottles turned into the cacophony of glass noise so
characteristic of bottleries.
The radio blared Michael Jackson's new single, "Black'n'White";
John de Bruyn would have loved this.
Lift trucks were driving to and fro with pallets filled either
with empty bottles or filled 12-bottle Plantiac cartons. One of
the drivers jocularly told my part-time guide to stay out of the
way and to keep an eye on 'the visitor' (i.e. me) as regular
company policy was never to have any guided tours.
I was explained that this was the busy time of year. November
and December usually get more demand - due to the cold. People
obviously like a nice drink to warm their insides.
The production hall featured three large, fully automated
production lines, the biggest of which was at the moment being
used to bottle Plantiac. A fourth one, secluded from the others,
was used for smaller orders such as those of miniature (i.e. 2
cl) bottles. A fifth one was in another room altogether, which
was used for exclusive limited-quantity stuff solely.
By the end of eight working hours that day, the main production
line would have bottled 30,000 litres of Plantiac. About once a
month they do a day of Plantiac production, amounting to 360,000
litre a year, of which nothing is exported and most is sold to
the Northern part of the Netherlands. During the fifteen minutes
I spent at the production platform I witnessed almost 1,000
bottles of Plantiac being made ready for utmost enjoyment by real
The production hall was the nerve centre of the company. Metal
conduit-pipes ran to and fro other rooms around the hall, where
the storage rooms were situated.
On the contrary to our experience at the Sonnema-Plantinga
Distillery in Bolsward, the smell of alcohol was prevalent at
this production platform. As we walked past the conveyor belt on
which the empty bottles were lead to the filling machine, it
quickly started to smell as if one was actually hanging above a
swimming pool filled with Plantiac - a heart-warming sensation, I
can assure you.
The sight of the filling machine 'in action' is quite a
sensation of its own, too. On one side of its revolving vertical
cylinder the empty bottles come in, and as they turn around in it
you see the Divine Fluid being poured into them, gently foaming,
dark brown, beautiful, delicious, nicely fragrant.
Filled to the brim with copious quantities of Plantiac, the
bottles progress on another conveyor belt to the screwing machine
(For lack of a better word: The machine which screws on the
caps). After that, they get a code ink-printed on each cap by
means of which it is possible to identify when and where the
bottle was filled (something which applies to all products
bottled at the UTO Company, see further for an explanation).
This coding system is necessary to enable UTO Company to check
back where the source of an error was in the case of one of the
possible complaints: A carton containing less than 12 bottles,
bottles not being fully filled, or quality not being up to the
The first mistake should never occur, van de Klooster assured
me, as the machine that puts the bottles in the cartons stops
when it fails to grab 12 bottles. It is, however, possible that
the machine is restarted before the required number of 12 bottles
in that particular carton is actually present.
The second mistake, again, should never occur. Someone at the
production platform is always monitoring the filling. Someone
else checks the machine that puts the pallets of empty bottles in
the sorting mechanism that puts them in a queue on the conveyor
belt and, finally, someone is present to check on the packaging
Complaints about quality can occur too; samples of each
production session of each product are retained at the UTO
Company for later reference in these cases.
After the little device that sprays the code on the caps, the
Plantiac labels are put on the bottles. These labels are coded
for possible reference as well. Each label is first glued and
then rolled onto the bottle.
The last step in the production process of Plantiac is the
machine that lifts up 12 bottles at a go and puts them in a
Plantiac carton that is then automatically glued, sealed and
piled on a pallet for lift truck transport to the nearby
Half a million litre of booze
After I had seen everything there was to be seen at the
production floor, I was shown into the adjacent building of the
old distillery. This part of the building, he estimated, was
about 200 year old. It was now filled solely with storage tanks
of the various alcoholic drinks UTO Company manufactures. They
towered above me - huge, shiny metal tanks that each contained
thousands of litres of liquids that the average drunken bum would
sell his mother for.
The largest storage tanks, however, were located right under our
feet and were referred to as 'ground tanks'. Each 12,500 litre in
size, they contain even more liquids. I was sent gazing into a
manhole through which I could see 12,500 litre of gin (Dutch:
Jenever) being pumped around and mixed. The scent was distinct,
almost intoxicating. It was as if I heard sirens chanting their
It's a pretty weird experience once you realise that you're
walking on top of thousands of litres of alcohol.
"Before the products are moved from these ground tanks to the
bottlery," van de Klooster explained, "they get filtered as you
will not find it hard to understand that it's easy for something
off a shoe to drop in a hole like that, you know."
He demonstrated how easy it was for some minor parts of dirt to
fall in the hole. The sirens immediately stopped chanting.
In total, the UTO Company has about 30 to 40 of these enormous
subterranean tanks, each of almost 13,000 litre size - 21 of
those were located in the floor of the old distillery. They had
enough stuff there in the ground to cause at least a million
moderately to extensively severe hangovers - and I even don't
take the tanks above the ground into account here.
We walked on through the old building that was also filled with
smaller 'soak tanks' (Tanks where herbs can soak into the
individual products) until van de Klooster stopped before a stone
oven. Was that a lump of old memories he was swallowing?
This was the only remaining of the old distillery ovens, he
explained, still burnt on coal, wood and busted pallets. They did
not use is much nowadays, but some gin and liqueurs were still
made with its assistance.
The trembling of anticipation grew worse in me. I had yet to see
the location where thousands of litres of Plantiac were stored,
and I could notice by the way my senses got into a higher state
of awareness that it was getting closer. Closer and closer.
Slowly, but certainly.
Before he finally brought me to the last (and most modern) of
the storage rooms, he offered me a quick glimpse into the egg nog
room, the room where a thick yellow drink called egg nog
('advokaat' in Dutch) is made. Special equipment was needed for
this, as that stuff needs to be cooked (with egg yolks and
stuff) instead of just put together and stirred like the other
But then the Moment started. I was led into a room where about
two dozen huge metal cylinders stood. They stood mighty and
emotionless, almost defiant. I frantically scanned the chalkboard
writing on them until I finally read "Vieux K.P." on one (K.P.
stands for Klaas Plantinga, the chap who invented the original
Plantiac Vieux back in 1870).
I was standing right in front of it. A massive twelve thousand
litre of the Divine Fluid. If I would open the little tap on the
huge container I could indulge myself in it, drink it until my
liver would budge. If I would unscrew the large waterproof hatch
at its bottom I would be able to swim in it, plunge in it. Drown
in it (Ah! Such Divine Death!).
I began to feel warm inside from the sheer exercise of
fantasising about interesting things to do with (or in) twelve
thousand litres of the Divine Fluid.
For a time that could have been seconds or minutes I stood,
aghast, fascinated, awed, trying intently to see the rich brown
colour of Plantiac beyond its rather sterile, shiny container.
In this container, the Vieux was actually made. Principally, the
'making' consists of the mixing of two different kinds of Vieux
aroma (one made by Quest International in Naarden, Holland, and
the other made by a company called IFF in Germany), and then
adding that to water and alcohol. The difference between Plantiac
Vieux and other kinds of Vieux (e.g. Kabouter Vieux, Gorter Vieux
and Vlek Vieux, that they also manufacture) is principally only
the ratio of the two different Vieux aromas. This ratio is secret
- I can usually get almost anything out of anyone, but Mr. van de
Klooster wouldn't budge and I didn't particularly want to result
to physical violence. He also mentioned the fact that other raw
materials may be added (he did not say whether or not anything
extra was actually added and, if it was, he would not reveal what
it was - another trade secret, so he told me with a rather smug
I think Mr. van de Klooster almost had to physically drag me
away from the storage room into the next bit of our little guided
Note #4: The Vieux aroma
I would not have been I without me contacting Quest
International on my search for the list of ingredients that are
put into their Vieux aroma - which is, after all, the thing with
which everything starts.
I was put through to at least five different people, one of
which mentioned some things that went into a vieux aroma, before
I finally got to someone who told me he would contact UTO for
their permission and call me back.
I was not called back, so I will therefore supply you with what
one of the intermediaries told me. I can tell you that some of
the ingredients would be fusel oil, amyl alcohols, vanilline,
esters, 'blokdrop' (which may translate to 'block liquorice') and
That's all I could get to know.
Before a production session starts, a sample of it is tested in
the laboratory, a small secluded room adjacent to the production
hall. This testing involves extensive chemical analysis to check
for the right amount of alcohol (35% for all kinds of Vieux) and
all that stuff that interests none but those of a chemical
persuasion. It also, however, includes tasting each and every
product, each time it is produced. Van de Klooster told me he did
some of the tasting himself - which is not all that magnificent
as one may think, as production usually starts at 9 AM and the
tasting has to be done before that.
For the chemical testing, UTO Company employs a man in his mid
twenties, hair dyed black. A black leather jacket hung against
the door. All I missed was some hardcore thrash music resounding
through the lab room. I somehow found it hard to see this person
actually using the advanced chemical equipment on a table in the
rear of the lab - but, then again, I'm just prejudiced here.
There, they both attempted to reveal the bottle cap code to me.
Note #5: The code
The bottle code on the cap consists of a number of digits. These
digits represent the production line, the day of the year, the
year and the quarter of the day. This all sounds pretty
unintelligible, I know, but let me explain by means of a
The hardcore thrash fanatic showed me a bottle of egg nog with
the number 3301161. He explained that this means 'production line
3', 'the 301st day of the year' (this would mean October 28th in
this case, as we had no leap-year), 'in the year 1991' and 'in
the 61st quarter of the day' (i.e. between 15:00 and 15:15
I did not get a chance to check the code of the Plantiac bottles
that were being produced, but in case you get a bottle with
'3311153' or '3311154' you can cherish the thought that I have
witnessed them being bottled. It also proves that the coding
system I was explained is actually correct.
After the visit to the laboratory, where I unfortunately didn't
get the honour of tasting some pre-prod Plantiac, we went to the
actual expedition - the place where all UTO Company products are
stored and made ready to be shipped to licensed victuallers and
Due to certain custom laws, all bottles were not allowed to go
outside before they got shipped (don't ask me to explain this law
as I didn't quite get it myself). For this purpose, they had not
torn down an extremely battered and ultra-old bit of building
that joined the buildings of the actual factory and the
This building had to be propped by metal supports, the same kind
you'd normally find in coal mines and such. Without these
supports, I am sure it would have collided as we spoke. The walls
were literally breathing age. You could smell it. It was as if we
entered a different era of time altogether - only the presence of
bright yellow striping on the floor and the repeated passing of
lift trucks with flashing lights reminded us that we were in fact
in modern times, in the year of The Pilgrimage, the year 1991.
The building of the actual expedition company was modern again,
and it was buzzing with activity. Even more lift trucks drove to
and fro here, and many people were busy compiling packages that
needed to be sent to retailers either in the Netherlands or
Here, van de Klooster also told me that they imported and sold
wine (mainly German), sherry and port. They didn't bottle that
themselves, though - they import it with bottle and all.
At this point, standing between racks piled with storage of many
different kinds of UTO Company products in many different
bottles, I found the moment right to subtlely complain about the
fact that 'they only sell 1 litre bottles in Utrecht'.
He got the hint, turned around, dove into a carton and took out
two miniature bottles of Plantiac - the ones that are quite rare.
We walked back to the office now. I had seen everything there
was to see. On the way back, I did get a chance to catch a
glimpse of their development laboratory - i.e. a kind of kitchen
in which lots of existing drinks are tried out when mixed with
Seven-Up and the like, creating new drinks that may be
marketable. Their latest development was a kind of vodka with
We spoke a bit about marketing before he finally had to go back
to his usual work of making schedules and deciding what product
would have to be next on the production list. He told me Plantiac
was actually one of the major products of the UTO Company,
together with Mansion House whisky, Vlek young gin (Dutch: Jonge
Jenever), the Kabouter product brand and lots of liqueurs among
which Cool Brazil (which was promoted a lot at the moment).
They don't advertise for Plantiac because it sells steadily to
regular buyers - especially in the North. A long time ago,
Plantiac had sponsored a Utrecht student society, and van de
Klooster claimed that would probably be the cause for it to be
available in selected shops in my home town.
I left at three.
Mr. van de Klooster had called Mrs. Kort to tell that I would be
arriving soon, holding a bunch of flowers.
I thanked him for his time and the trouble of guiding me. Again
I shook his sweaty hand and left.
Mrs. Kort was in another building, at about 100 yards' distance.
It was raining quite heavily, but I escaped major wetness. Mrs.
Kort was in the new, most modern part of the UTO complex, which
housed the marketing-and export-departments.
As I arrived she came down the stairs. My arch angel.
She was an awfully nice woman who just refused to cease thanking
me for the flowers. She had rummaged through some drawers and
cupboards, on the search for promotional material they might
still have lying around of days when Plantiac was still promoted
She had been able to find two decks of Plantiac cards and a set
of Bamzaaistokjes ('little bamzaai sticks' - don't ask me to
explain as I don't even know what to do with them in Dutch). She
handed them to me. I received them with shaking hands and
carefully deposited put them in my bag.
Now it was my turn to thank her.
We talked a bit about Plantiac and ST NEWS, after which she let
The hazardous bit
It was raining much more intensely when I emerged from the
building again, at about ten minutes past three. Autumn was still
finding it necessary to make its presence known, and started to
soak my coat in not much of a gentle way. The rain lashed at my
face as the wind yet increased. I spat a curse and went in search
for the railway station.
Chilled and soaked to the bone I entered the main hall of the
station after a quarter of an hour I had spent fighting the
I went up to the platform where my train would leave in about
ten minutes' time. I bought a Coke and a cheese sandwich and
listened to the sound of the birds whistling inside the station.
This was soothing, as outside there had merely been the sound of
wind and cars driving on wet streets, the downpour of rain.
When the train finally arrived and I got in, I couldn't help but
wonder how much richer I was than all those people occupied with
boring parts of their daily routine. I had seen Plantiac
produced. I had seen the Creation of The Divine Fluid. Utter
I had to switch trains for the last time that day several
minutes later, at Rotterdam Central Station.
Of course, my connecting intercity train left right before my
eyes. Another bad omen? God - or Whoever - was surely punishing
me for the blasphemy I had committed that day.
I hoped that a girl with beautiful legs would get to sit
opposite me again when I finally entered another train, but I
hoped in vain. For a couple of seconds. a nice female did sit
opposite me. All she did, however, was look outside and suddenly
leave so she could get to another train.
I was getting sick of bad omens.
Of course, the train was delayed.
It was near dark as I came home.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.