My wife cooked a delicious pasta dinner, I’ve had some wine and now I get to post a new interview here on the blog… a lovely evening. And now I fully intend to make it even lovelier by sharing Marco with you!
Please tell us about you!
That’s always a good beginning: My name is Marco Batenburg, almost 51 years of age and residing in a village called Nunspeet, in the province Gelderland, The Netherlands. Google Maps
The greater part of my days are usually filled with portrait photography and only a small part with issues about safety in the workplace. So, in the first place I am a portrait photographer and in the second a senior safety officer.
Self-portrait 1 – the one I use as calling card.
In May 2013 I managed to get married to the loveliest woman of my universe. I met her in a photography shop, where I worked at the time. She walked in the shop to buy a camera, I looked at her and was completely in love, and she smiled the sweetest smile to me, as if she knew. I think I could fill a whole book with the story of how we met and how we got married. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. Please tell me I need to.
My wife is a teacher with Special Kids. Kids who have all sorts of special needs, physical or mental disadvantages or syndromes (you know Down syndrome, Asperger and what not). I like to go to the school whenever I can. Visit, drink coffee. It is such a delight to meet them all.
My own family is my little sister who lives in Switzerland with her four brilliant kids. And my own four brilliant kids, who are either married, living somewhere or still living with their mother. The family I married contains of a lovely mother-in-law, seven brothers- and sisters-in-law, who are all married and have loads of kids. So lots and lots of people.
Just us two happy people.
Behind our 1930’s house is a garden filled with all kinds of houses for pets. Chicken coops, bird houses, aviaries and a bunny rabbit house. And a variety of plants and huge trees from that same era. My interests seem to be all over the place. Check it out: gardening, pet animals, caravan camping, portrait photography, reading books, drinking coffee, cooking Italian and Indonesian food, drawing and painting illustrations, watercolour painting, copperplate calligraphy, writing letters, writing books, creating and sending postcards to people who have their birthday, or anniversary, or to people who are ill, or who just need to receive snail mail so they know someone is thinking about them. So, a whole heap of things to do and keeping me busy.
So anyway, if you want me to write you a letter or make you a nice postcard, or you know someone who needs a postcard saying hi… just let me know. No costs. Just… snail mail. ☺
All my details to reach me are as follows:
8071BC Nunspeet (Gelderland)
My website is currently only in Dutch, so rather troublesome to read for outlanders. And needs to be updated and refilled with nice photographs of beautiful people. ☺
Details about my height and weight are not that interesting. I was a redhead but since my early twenties it’s all bald on top and I have a big walrus moustache under my nose.
By the way: Fair warning to those who feel the urge, or the need to act like a nincompoop, a dunderhead, numskull or ignoramus regarding my detailed address and only sends inappropriate mail, gets no further warning, but will be viciously attacked by one of my silky chickens. (Not you, dear Denise, nor your lovely Julie – do not fear)
One of our bunnies. ☺
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Big cuddly huggable bear with the patience of twenty monks.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
It feels like I have been penpalling all my life. From the early teen days when my cousin and I wrote letters to each other all the time and several friends all over the country I wrote with on and off through the years. There is a significant gap after I got hitched the first time at the end of the nineteen eighties, but since about ten years I picked it up again, and it has become a part of my life. Writing letters, nice writing paper from La Papierre, ink, fountain pens…
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
Most of them are in the United States, but there is one in India, several in Europe, Canada and Australia. There’s about twelve of them. Male and female mixed. From librarian to professor and from housewife to medical professional. Brilliant people. A lovely mix of lively people. All with their own sets of troubles, blessings, questions and memories.
The last card I made for a birthday girl.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
Whatever is happening right now? What someone is doing during that day? Little details, something they saw or experienced, something nice or something that raises questions. All sorts of things. Life.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
Precisely that. What somebody is doing and would that somebody be willing to write about it in a letter?
Our little caravan I take with me on big shoots.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
Writing. Putting words on paper with a fountain pen. Folding the paper, stick it in an envelope, lick a stamp on it and whack it in the postal box. Snail mail.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
The language I was born in, is Dutch. And the most used language whenever I am in my own country. I know German, as in reading and writing. And if I have to, speaking it with an awfully bad accent. I know way too much Swiss-German, which can be heard in the part of Switzerland my little sister lives. I know way too little about Italian. The language. I know a lot about the Italian food. ☺ But the language I love the most by far, is English. I can read a book in English much faster than the same book in Dutch. And my writings are not too bad if I may say so, but there are some grammar issues. I think English is by far the richest language, at times rather complicated, but fun to read and writing in English, like this collection of ramblings about my own person. (I hope I don’t overdo it.)
Example of my handwriting.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I have a small desk in the only guest room in the house, with a lamp, all my art supplies, pens, papers, envelops and what not within arm’s length. Usually I try to write back within two weeks and a letter can be as long as four A4 sides. Or eight A5 sides of paper. All written with a fountain pen or dip pen, which depends on my mood or the speed a letter needs to be written in.
Self-portrait 2 – made while testing new lights.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
Sorry, no weird, strange, funny or inappropriate requests were penned to me. Not in a long time anyway. ☺ The last snail mail that reached me and made my jaw drop down several feet (cartoon style) was a letter from Lady Pamela of the Jane Austen Alliance. It was wonderfully sealed with string and a gold coloured wax seal. Beautiful. But the letter contained several strange formulated sentences and I couldn’t find out why they were there and build the way they were. When carefully searching the envelope, there was another envelope. A very small one, with the tiniest of letters within. And in that letter was a kind of quiz about the life and works of Jane Austen. The answers on these questions were carefully ‘hidden’ in the main letter. Hence the somewhat strangely formed sentences. Brilliance.
Have you met any of your penpals?
No, I haven’t. Well not lately. The only penpal, no, the two penpals I have met are my little sister in Switzerland and my cousin I mentioned earlier. My sister in 2014 when I last saw her and my cousin sadly passed away in his early forties in 2010.
The class my wife was teaching at our wedding.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
There is always room for one more. Be it with animals in our garden (too bad my darling better half won’t allow a dog, cat or birds in the house. I know, right?), or people in and about the house. So the answer is yes. Not actively looking, but snail mail is always welcome in our letter box.
As I was putting this post together, I thought that Marco is probably a good giver of hugs. I have not been to The Netherlands… but if I ever go, I would like to meet Marco and give him a hug!
Virtual hugs to you readers… I’m off to go watch some episodes of Nurse Jackie with my love.