corders in the hague

It's like having the Corders round for dinner - except the kids don't smash stuff and Mike doesn't drink all your booze. And when you're bored you can get rid of us with a mouse click rather than having to start tidying up the house.

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Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year

This picture is how the Christmas/New Year period feels now - bit of a blur and receding fast. Our naked christmas tree is out in the front garden waiting to be either picked up by the garbage collectors or doused in lighter fluid and torched by local youths, whichever comes first. The smart money's on the latter.
The Dutch, generally a pretty restrained and moderate bunch, tend to let their hair down in a fairly big way on and around New Year's Eve - the only time of the year when they're actually allowed to let off fireworks.
This was our first year back and the first year extremely large fireworks have been legally sold (previously you had to go over the border to Belgium to stock up on the most potent pyrotechnics).
I was always pretty shocked when I saw generally sensible grown men puffing on their one and only panatella of the year and then using the glowing end to light bangers. Seeing them use the same cigar to set off an explosive device that would probably blow an American Humvee of an Iraqi highway was just plain alarming.
The toll this year was surprisingly low; one man dead and another who survived but whose friends scraped his face off the nearby cars and walls and gave it to him in a bag. Both were victims of the excessive alcohol/cigarette/short fuse syndrome. An elderly couple went up in smoke when their apartment caught fire shortly after all hell broke loose at midnight. In The Hague, the commander of the city's constabulary proudly called the evening a huge policing success because only about 150 cars were torched, and only one of them actually had police in it at the time.
I just went out for a first bike ride of the new year and the remnants of the fireworks, which on January 1 are a pretty red confetti strewn over the streets, have degenerated into the sort of gray sludge you see on the edge of English motorways the day after heavy snowfall.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Tim & Meraiah said...

It seems strange -- or strangely fitting -- that a country that allows its citizens unfettered access to mind altering drugs won't trust them with powerful explosives. Happy New Year to you too! Looks like you had fun.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Beecroft Shields said...

Policing sounds dull in Holland-no drug arrests, people setting off huge explosions...I suppose the cops don't carry guns either and let the crooks shoot at them!

4:40 PM  

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