Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The Three Kims And Curry Sauce

 
I didn't just venture forth this week . I sallied ! All the way to Assen , about another fifteen minutes on the train . It also has a nice museum and there was an exhibition I didn't want to miss . I have a weakness for propaganda posters ... the more uplifting the better . And there's no doubt about it  , The Kim Utopia was full of pictures of Paradise .

North Korea is officially the Land of Milk and Honey


 

  ... or rather of polished ostrich eggs , noodles and expertly sliced vegetables .  
 


 
Everybody is young and heartbreakingly pretty and brave ... and wearing a uniform .
Everybody laughed  , everyone's hair was lightly tossed , everyone's eyes were raised to an ever more glorious future . Any unpleasantness from The Enemy was faced with resolute nobility .
 It was all perfectly splendid !

I was reluctant to leave but very hungry so wandered up into town and found a cafe that could have been a model for Kim's official artists .
De Brink had comfy sofas and excellent coffee and two kinds of toasted sandwiches ... ham and cheese or "would you prefer one with our own goat's cheese ?" . Of course  . And it was , indeed , delicious . The owner then bustled over to offer more coffee and ask if I'd like some ketchup with my 'tosti' .... or mayonnaise ? ... or curry sauce ? before rushing out to the back to drill a few more holes in the wall .
He seemed to be barista , chef and handyman and partner of the pink haired young woman who ran the adjoining hair salon . He supplied endless coffees for her clients as well . Altogether I felt that Kim would be proud to welcome them onto his team .
A bit of window shopping and then I headed home , determined to go back in September when there's a new exhibition . The Glasgow Boys .

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Hailstones Temporarily Discontinued ...

The sun's shining every now and then and one can venture forth without three layers of wool and a vest !  So I've made the odd sortie , slightly further than the shops  .

 And here are some of the things I've admired:




which just goes to show that one doesn't have to live in the country to see things grow

or even some exotic wildlife

 
 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Feeling Liberated !

Faint sound of bagpipes coming over the river ... ?  It must be Liberation Day . 

Well , Leeuwarden was really liberated in 1945 with the rest of Europe but it's still being celebrated with the same enthusiasm each year and veterans from the Royal Canadian Dragoons are always welcome .


To make them feel even more at home a Dutch association of vintage army vehicle enthusiasts have set up camp outside the High school for five days


 

and everyone's wandering through admiring the tiny chaplain's tent , the sandbags , the sleeping arrangements ( "modern conveniences such as beds and fridges only permissible if kept out of view ", according to their website ) , a stage where English singer Lola Lamour and a Barber's Shop Quartet entertain each night


and the camp cook who posts the day's menu every morning on a blackboard and then strides about impatient to start .





The VE day tea waits again for a group of mothers and children like in the town archive's original photo . This years marble cake looks a bit dry though . Someone must have gone the whole hog and used reconsituted egg .

Today when I cycled home there was a group of men sword dancing and even more old codgers mooching about



admiring the tank and small landing craft and doing that man thing of peering in fascination at pistons and handy extras .

And through it all , this woman busily crocheted a wavy blanket .


Perhaps she's facing a long summer of similar reenactment weekends with her husband and , while hoping for good weather , doesn't intend to freeze .

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Must Rush ! Mustn't Miss The Mice ...


 
The Peepshow exhibition's been on for six months so I only had myself to blame as I galloped , puffing , across the bridge and round the corner to the Natuurmuseum on the very last afternoon .
As always it was all beautifully staged and children rushed about between Scratch'n'Sniff exhibits ( "Eeeugh Mama , mouse pee smells disgusting !"  "No Mama , rat pee smells worse !!" ) , tiny skeletons  ,


 a large array of lethal antique mousetraps and the biggest stuffed mouse in the world . 






The art exhibition at the entrance was good too , though it did seem slightly tactless to have filled walls with paintings of owls .

 
 
 

Altogether I was glad I'd managed to drag myself away from a very good book , Ian McEwan's The Children Act , to go ... even if I don't seem to have come back alone .

Friday, 17 April 2015

Culinaria Village-style




I do love our local free paper . Every week it opens a vast world of possibilities ... enough village jumble sales , plant sales , Get To Know A Sheep day , concerts and bird watching to tempt us all .

In Bitgummole tomorrow , for instance , there's a Culinary Fair with stalls full of organic honey , sausages and herbs . There's coffee and delicous home made cakes , ices and petit fours , cooking demonstrations , lessons on how to build your own BBQ oven , drinks , tapas and snacks , nibbles and treats galore .
What makes this village's event slightly different is that food technician Folkert Follema will be entertaining  us with "An Edible Bible History"and at 4 o'clock there will be a performance by a local women's choir , the Bitchbeat .
Only the thought of the 7 km. bike ride each way is putting me off .

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Modern Mania


 
Tulip mania has mutated and rages through Holland again . Wherever you look ... Pinterest , Facebook , newspaper columns ,  keetsmakelijk.nl , and school notice boards  ... updates on everyone's AH seedlings pop out at you . According to YD , her colleagues even keep them on their desks in the office . So I make no apologies for showing you mine again .

 
I suppose the big difference this time is the fact that no one I've talked to hopes to make their fortunes out of them .

Easter was very low key this year and we paid tribute to the Easter Bunny with Carrot and Ginger soup instead of chocolate . Afterwards , I chaperoned my paprikas as we sunbathed briefly on the balcony and celebrated the end of winter .
On Monday Leeuwarders were spoiled for choice  . There was a Friesland Food Festival in the center , but my Scottish blood rose at the thought of paying 10 Euros entrance money so that people could sell me their cheese , especially since there's a perfectly good outlet in the town which  currently even gives you a free peppermint when you buy the stinkiest .




 Instead I went to the Spring Fabric Fair on Monday and only saw one thing I wanted  and even then , there was only a meter left and it wasn't quite the right shade . So I wandered about getting giddy with this summer's prints and colours  , wondered fleetingly what I'd make with this


... a toga , perhaps ... and realised it was time to go home when I found myself wondering whether I should buy a couple of meters of these , just in case .

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Things I Haven't Done This Week


Well , obviously I can't list everything I've neglected to do this week ... we'd be here all night . But , leaving aside my failure to dust the top of the wardrobe or take enough exercise , there have been a couple of omissions that I do regret .

In common with nearly everyone south of Inverness , for instance , I didn't see the eclipse . The cloud cover was complete ... it just got a bit gloomier mid-morning . The ducks , much too busy eyeing each other up to care ,  ignored the hype and quacked raucously through the whole thing . It's a bit like Grease here , at the moment ...
Meanwhile , it was the Provincial elections on Wednesday and while , as a foreigner , I didn't have a vote , like every resident , foreign or home-grown , I was allowed to vote for those responsible for water management . Considering how important the dykes and land drainage are to Holland , it's astonishing that we're all allowed to have any say in the matter at all . It was a pity though that I had to cast my vote in the old dears'  home round the corner and couldn't cast my vote in this rather cool  'vote-boat'  . It went round a  constituency in the south , whose inhabitants are too scattered to reach the election stations by road.



 And what I definitely didn't do this week was go to the local Intratuin garden centre with my kitchen garden-ette . These children did , having taken up its offer of free advice and the chance to repot their burgeoning Moestuin  veg. crops



Given that mine , having been planted a little late , are barely visible yet , I felt the comparison might  crush my Lamb's Lettuce's self esteem altogether, not to mention mine . 






About the only thing I did achieve all week was learn a new way to describe my unKondoed clutter . A young , highly popular interior decorator , interviewed in the paper this weekend , described his collection of robots as 'a cluster' , which does sound quite contained and attractive ... almost gives me a spark of joy .
Perhaps , I could cluster my 'clusters' ...