Week 51-2017. Amersfoort.
The week started very slippery indeed. After the snow from the past week, it now gets wet and since it is still cold, the roads are freezing up: a situation quite dangerous for my friend Hanke. Back at her home we had coffee and I handed her the birthday presents I bought for her. I did not stay long because my daughter-in-law had tickets for an event in a tiny local theatre. One of her friends is singing in a group of enthusiastic housewives group called VocalEasy. Logically their performance is related to Christmas and it is fun. I like this sort of small scale local activities.
On Monday, I do some shopping and notice quite a change in town. At one of the diagonal roads of town a shortcut to another one had been possible for ages. The situation is gravely different and the shortcut does no longer exist. It was a surprise to me, but then, I don’t go to town to often.
At home it is busy this week. Electricians are pulling cables across the hallways and in the cellar a new hot water boiler is being installed. The old boiler, is was told, was something like 30 years old and appeared to be leaking. In all the corridors they are going to install routers for wifi, in order to raise the standard of the service which happened to be rather diabolically bad. According to the technician, this job may take another month to finalize. The same applies for the renewal of the electrical substations in every kitchen: that was supposed to happen on Friday but they managed only one item, out of ten.
Leaky hotwater boiler.
After the spell of wintery weather, the temperatures are too high again. During one of my daily walks, I came across a hedge full with blackberries. These berries are not going to be consumable in any sense, but they grew pretty well.
At a nearby railway crossing I watched the traffic there. You see large lorries pulling up before the warning lights are off (because another train may come), you see teens looking at their smartphone even when they are crossing the pretty busy road. I did like sitting there for a while. Maybe I go do that more often and sit with something to eat or drink at the cafeteria there.
One of our former tenants came back from Vietnam, where he is trying to built a life. His stories were very positive and interesting. He happened to be back for the wedding of his father. Those things happen.
Rail crossing and pancake house.
It had been a quiet week, with most people preparing for a rich Christmas.
My friend Hanke came to my home, with a backpack full of foodstuff. All those things she cannot eat; I will take all of it to my family in Eemnes. They will know to deal with it. Hanke also brought me a tin full of vegetable chips. I finished the previous load and I love them: Healthy, tasty and homemade.
Bonus: Argentina on horseback.
1998, December 17-24.
This week at the Centro Hipico all the children taking lessons there, are having a Christmas celebration. The smaller children stay overnight and that is great fun.
The older children, teens, come with their parents and have a massive ‘asado’ or BBQ at the centro. I am always invited to join. Since I am living at the centro now, I help with everything. I help the stable gaucho Christiaan, with feeding horses, with grooming horses and with getting horses out of the wild outback. I do help Adolfo and his wife with preparations for the BBQ, with tables and chairs, with anything that pops up like putting up a Christmas tree.
When I do have to go to town, I nowadays take one of my own horses. It is a one-hour ride one way and I love it, but I am becoming restless: I want to go. I am waiting for materials from Buenos Aires, like a saddle, and I am waiting for the official paperwork which has to come from Buenos Aires as well.
I am residing in my tent. Usually I get up around 5 o’clock. The sun hardly goes under and the dark of the night is totally absent these days. So, it is summer, but I have great difficulty in getting warm during the night. That’s why I take to bed when I feel like it, even in the middle of the day when it is warmer. I usually sleep very well then for some hours.
Preparing asado for the smaller children and party time for the older ones.
The parties were a lot of fun, communicating with a tiny bit of English, a tiny bit of Spanish and a lot of gestures. Getting sufficient money down here in Ushuaia was not at all easy. I did send a telex to my bank and in the end, it all worked out: I did get money after a week which I consider quite good.
On the 24th all the elders and the children go to town: buying Christmas presents. The day is full of hassle, busy packing presents, cooking, running around, taking care of the horses, which is to go on as well.
Jut and Jill are performing very well and getting very much accustomed to me. We go on well, so much is clear.