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 ¤