Not quite the land of the midnight sun, but dawn broke at 5.19 this morning, flooding the sleeping cabin with light. There are four portholes, and a large overhead glass hatch.
Not being a naturally early riser, I pull the quilt over my head, but even I respond to the longer days, and was voluntarily up and working by early morning – not at all like me!
These days I’ve been doing quite a few things not at all like me.
For instance, I watched a football game. It was the second (and crucial) game for the Netherlands in the European Football championships, and HO and I went to watch it at a pub, with friends. Those of you in North America erase from your minds images of sports bars…. This was the 3rdoldest pub in Amsterdam, so it had 3 small tables and a few bar stools. A dozen people in there and it’s
Part way through the game, impressed with my own brilliant analysis of the players and strategy etc, I realized that I’d never actually seen a whole football game before – anywhere. However it worked exactly as I’d always been led to believe these things go. 22 men chase a white ball round a field, and in the end, Germany wins. And so it was.
Keeping up my new-found sporty nature, on Saturday HO and I did a MASSIVE bike ride. Well, it was massive for me, nothing much for HO. We took our bikes on the fast ferry (hydrofoil) to where the river Ij meets the sea. HO plans his 65th birthday party in September in a beach restaurant which is near the ferry stop there.
Well, near the ferry stop, but on the other side of the waterway. We wanted to check out local transport/bike route options to see if that’s feasible for people coming from Amsterdam. Short answer is it’s 20km, you have to detour round the massive steelworks, take 2 local ferries and cycle like the wind (which you hope is at your back) to manage to catch the last fast ferry back to Amsterdam at 18.20 or else you’re stuck. Try doing all that in a frock and heels. So no. Not a practical way to get to the birthday party.
But personally I felt magnificent for having cycled so far. There were even HILLS. (Well, roads through the sand dunes.) I allowed the saddle on my bike to be put up a bit from the lowest position possible to NEARLY the lowest position possible, and was amazed at the efficiency gain. And I only fell off once. Really, someone should have given me a yellow jersey.
On other fronts: My dad is home from hospital which is a big relief to everyone. He still has some rocky days. Still, to look on the bright side, hopefully soon he’ll be walking better and less painfully than he was before his fall.
No sight of the swans for the last two weeks. I am pleased that I had a glimpse of them then, and that all 7 young were still thriving. No ducklings or baby coots either, so I guess I’m officially an empty nester. But here is a mystery: Swans have gone but no geese have re-appeared. And last night I was on a bike ride (yes, again! I’m getting really sporty) to explore the neirhbourhood a bit more, and the patch of grass where the geese usually hang out was not only goose-free, it was goose-shit free. Either those swans had an even greater impact than I thought, or the city has been putting out goose-poison. I’m going to investigate!
My couch has been in constant use. A colleague was ‘between flats’ for a couple of days, he is new to the organisation and I probably wouldn’t have got the chance to know him otherwise, so that was a real pleasure. And then I had a couchsurfing family, mum, dad and two lovely daughters from the US. It was such a delight to have them here. They were all lovely and the girls were wonderfully enthusiastic and engaging, a real energy burst.
Went out with HO’s boat again on Sunday. (I didn’t tell you before, but the handle to the outboard motor was stolen one night by some drunken wag. It cost about 300 Euros to replace.) The weather was nice and we stayed away from low bridges, slappy waves and other hazards. Much more pleasant than the boat ride with Geoff, though I sort of missed not kneeling in an apple pie!
And I’ve left the two best bits for last. While I was out on that famous bike-ride I had a phone call from Joost, the boat’s owner. He tells me that they are really loving life in Hungary and will only be back in Amsterdam for a few months this winter. While here, they will stay on Richard’s boat next door. Richard is from Los Angeles, where he is a session musician on Hollywood film scores. He loves Amsterdam, but not the cold weather so he’s away for the winter. So I can stay here – at least through until the end of next summer! Brilliant!
Finally, the very best thing, my daughter arrives on Saturday, and my son on Wednesday. I am so looking forward to seeing them both. I was very worried that I couldn’t remember what they like to eat, only that they are fussy eaters. Then I remembered – when they were kids I could always get them to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into the shape of a teddy bear. Problem solved!