Saturday, November 20, 2010
Warm and Dry at Home
I am in Paris for a day and a half, having got home about 9:30 last night, the train being late as usual - the Dutch railways seemed to be in chaos, because of some problem at Utrecht, which meant that no trains could go there. This would have meant that half the office would have had problems getting home, as a lot of my colleagues live in Utrecht.

I haven't been both warm and dry at once for the past two weeks, so it is nice to be here. Earlier I went out and at one point I was basking in the sun on boulevard des Invalides while waiting for a bus, it was very warm with no wind. And no rain!!! The Netherlands has to be the wettest country I have ever been to, no wonder they have so many nice rain boots in the shops. It's actually worse than it should be for me, because it is my third winter in a year, and I am finding it very hard so soon after the last one. I complain a lot more about the cold than I ever did in Estonia, where the weather was theoretically much worse. And I feel as though I have been in darkness for about a year.

Last weekend I was in the Netherlands - we have to stay every second weekend - and I went to Amsterdam for the day on the train. I've been there before as a tourist, so this was just to visit some book shops and a yarn shop, which were all near each other in the centre. It was a fairly successful excursion and got me out of Apeldoorn for the day. Next time I have to spend the weekend I want to go to Zutphen and Velp for some more crafty shopping. Zutphen is where the shop of a woman I met at Fete de L'Aiguille is - she sells woollen felt, patchwork and stitching things. And there is evidently a good embroidery shop in Velp.

If I were Dutch, I would probably ride my bicycle to all these places. I had a huge argument with the work real estate agent because she was trying to tell me that I could get from the unsuitable apartment she was trying to get me to rent to work by cycle in six minutes, and that I didn't need to catch a bus at all in Apeldoorn. I had to point out my vast age and lack of experience, and was informed that even 80 year olds cycle thousands of kilometers every week. In Apeldoorn people walk their dogs by cycle, so it is only the dog that is walking, and they can also cycle with no hands, so that they can hold an umbrella in one and a cellphone in the other. It is a skill developed from the cradle (which can also be attached to the bike ridden by the mother).
posted by Ally at 6:04 pm ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, November 08, 2010
A Quick Weekend in Paris
I went home for a very short weekend - arriving at 10:30pm on Friday night, and then leaving home again at 10:30am on Sunday morning. And it rained all day Saturday, not light, normal Paris rain, but heavy, constant Apeldoorn rain, I must have brought it with me!

Saturday was spent collecting parcels from the Post Office, going to the hairdresser and doing necessary shopping, all in this rain, and I was exhausted by the time I made it home, so early to bed. I slept for ten hours, which is highly unusual for me, then had to get up in order to pack and catch the train...... at least this time the Thalys was not late, so I got to Apeldoorn on time yesterday and was at the hotel just after 5:30pm.

The hotel is quite funny in some ways. Last time I arrived on a Sunday evening and wanted something to eat, there was consternation because I hadn't booked a table before arriving and they were always very busy on Sunday nights. So this time I booked a table - and found myself in a deserted restaurant served by a waiter who looked as though he would much rather be somewhere else, so much for the busy Sunday nights. Then at breakfast this morning, there was a party of about ten Russians, and I am wondering what on earth they are doing in Apeldoorn. Some of them were clearly husbands and wives, but I couldn't tell if it was a business trip with some spouses, or a sightseeing tour, or what. Apeldoorn just seems the strangest place to see such people.

The hotel does seem to be quite popular for conferences for Dutch businesses, or for weekend stays for people who want to see scenery, and also with local groups who have meetings there, I guess groups like Rotary or social groups. Last week I was absolutely electrified by a large group of men in the bar, who must have been the local gamekeepers' association, by the way they were dressed. I haven't seen Harris tweed plus fours with long green socks off the stage for about thirty years, and was hard put to it not to burst into laughter!

This week will be much the same as last week, I guess, and then I have another weekend in Apeldoorn. Think I may take a trip to Amsterdam, but I've got another five days to decide that.
posted by Ally at 11:30 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Apeldoorn Landscape
In Apeldoorn, one thing there is no shortage of is trees:

The ones above are outside my hotel roon, here is the hotel with lovely autumn leaves on the trees around it:
And for something completely different, here are the angry grass reindeer at the CODA museum in Apeldoorn:
I suppose they are angry because they have to stay outside in the rain, but it does give them such lovely green coats, doesn't it?
Another week at work, but it will be interrupted by a visit to the Hague on Thursday, as I have to do bureaucratic things, in the company of our lawyer. I have to catch a train from Apeldoorn at 7:30 am, so guess who is not going to work that day? It means leaving the hotel before breakfast, and definitely in the dark, so I am pretty sure I will be sitting on the train doing my embroidery, NOT work. And I am pretty sure I will be doing some shopping in the afternoon, NOT rushing back to work.

posted by Ally at 10:59 am ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments