Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stormy 60

The beautiful summery weather has changed into a stormy spring. Which is good, because we finally had two days to start finishing the house, and staying inside doesn’t hurt now. Maud succeeded in creating a stormy look all around the house. She decided more cleaning out is needed before we can start building, so there’re boxes and piles of stuff around everywhere. Poor mothers, they’re grannies now, so they definitely need books, toys, et cetera. Poor Bram is cycling back and forth to the ‘give-away shop’, where you can bring things you don’t need anymore, and people can shop for free, with the surplus.
Sunday we celebrated the 60th birthday of Maud’s uncle Aernout with a stormy sailing tour on the IJsselmeer in his 104-year old botter (wooden fishing boat).

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Yet another weekend with a lot of socializing, a bit of gardening and no revamping the house at all... By the way, does anyone know how to get rid of the bright red bugs that eat lilies? (Preferable without using poison. I already tried catching & killing them, and the eggs and larvae, last year, but there are too many.)
It’s still a summery summer, so we did the boat-thing with our Thursday-, Saturday-and Sunday-guests. Floating around town, the boat loaded with friends, drinks, and nibbles, Holland is nice again. As long as we’re on our own island... Which includes loitering in our garden with friends this Friday-evening.
By now everyone is wondering why this post is titled ‘Unicorn’. Because of a weird item in one of Maud’s language-newsletters. Unicorn used to be the name of the Dutch peace-mission in Afghanistan. It’s a name that has good connotations with the Afghanis, they say. Now they changed it because it makes English speaking soldiers (Americans, I suppose) think of a gay movement in the us of a. When we first read it, we thought it was a joke, but it seems to have really happened. Words fail to express what we think of this.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Last weekend we learned an abfab new word: Portanol. It’s what you get when you mix Portuguese and Spanish.
We had Rachel, who is doing her post-graduate design studies in Eindhoven, over for the weekend. It was great having someone around with so much ideas, plans and experiences. Special for the old uncle Bram is that he first made Rachel pictures when she was a toddler still, this babe has come a long way indeed.
Saturday tio Haroen & tia Marisabel & kids joined the party. Because Marisabel, Karen & Daniella don’t speak English, and Rachel doesn’t speak Dutch, they introduced us to Portanol. We’re lucky Verdonk doesn’t rule (yet?); she proposed this ridiculous rule that you have to speak Dutch on the street. Going to the market with the young ladies Bram would’ve been in serious trouble. By the way, what about Fries, Limburgs, Twents, Leids, et cetera? Is that confined to the home too? Can we still speak Dunglish and Nefrikaans in the garden?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Promises, promises

The promised weekly blogging has been a disaster up till now because of ‘too much happening’. We came home with the usual great plans: orderly go to work, renovate the house, do the garden and in between have fun with friends and family. As usual life isn’t orderly and takes over.
After we were home for exactly one week a very good friend died totally unexpected so we set everything aside to help his sister organize the funeral and all the things that have to be done when someone dies.
So everything else got pushed forward, and still is pushed forward. Like adjusting to the Netherlands. Back in the brick jungle we long for space. Physical space, obviously, but bit-by-bit we also feel enclosed by narrow-mindedness and intolerance. We know things have been changing over the last couple of years, but after some time away from it all it suddenly hits you harder. To be honest we don’t even want to adjust to this atmosphere of fear and how it makes people behave.
Still ... seeing everybody is good and the Dutch cheese is delicious.