donderdag 23 oktober 2008

Truth or Lies - family history in the flesh

Its taken some time to sort out my grandfathers autobiography, which he wrote in the early seventies, not long before his death. Its a collection of memories which he wrote by hand - I remember him sitting in his wheelchair in the living room of his bungalow in Seaton sluice, Northumberland, filling an excercise book with notes.
Not long after he finished, his daughter, Joan, typed up the notes, but I never saw the finished work, and it was only when I got the parcel a few weeks ago that I read them for the first time.
I promised to publish the memoirs here, but then had a sort of block, as it all seemed too grim, he was a butcher after all, and he spent his life killing things.
I had a moment of madness when I thought about rewriting them, giving a cottagey, cosy glow to his life, and taking away the bitterness by adding a soft focus, sepia tint to the words.
But it would not be true, so I've simply retyped them, and added photos to the text.
You can read his story here.

zondag 5 oktober 2008

The "Oma Fiets" Craze

She been pestering us for a "big" bike for ages, and we felt that when she got her brace fitted at the beginning of September, a "Big" bike would be a good incentive to view the process positively!
But I did not realise the latest craze is for these traditional designs. Of course Dad insisted on the added features of hand brakes (instead of pedalling backwards, like in the olden days, remember?) and gears. Although why gears are necessary on flat dutch roads escapes me!
The additional features raised the already high price of the bike to something approaching the cost of my first car, but what the heck, she's our only child!
And you've got to admit its a beauty - trendy matt purple paintwork, and rubber baggage strap on the baggage rack, as well as a painted canvas chain guard. All the features are there - but boy is it big!

its too big for me, but I'm assuming she will grow into it, and the predictions are that she will be a head taller than me by the time she is sixteen! And she rides it beautifully, doesn't she. Doesn't she?

Was that a wobble? nah!

Weekend in Drenthe

I promised to post pixs, so here they are - very late I know, but we've been so busy this is the first weekend I've had a moment to "effe computeren" as the Dutch say. We went to Drenthe because the tourist blurb talked about the "beautiful nature" of the area - does this look natural to you?

In fact, green, open and fresh as it is, Drenthe looks much the same as the rest of rural Holland. However, if you have lived here as long as we have, you begin to see subtle differences in the flatness. We feel a bit like the Inuits, who reportedly have 150 adjectives for snow, in that we can describe Drenthes flatness as very slightly undulating!

The area has been inhabited since prehistory, and we went to the Hunnebedden centrum. Here's Jolanda on top of a neolithic burial site!

And finally to show that we do sometimes spend time together, here is a rare picture (slightly out of focus, I know) of me and John!