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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


In response to my fine friend Daniel's comment re the rising tide Web site mentioned below, I hereby credit him with bringing it to my attention. Of course, he can smugly sit back and sneer at a 15 meter rise in sea levels as he lives near the coast but at the top of a hill that rises sharply from the place where the Thames estuary meets the North Sea.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

video choice

I just got back from renting a DVD for tonight.
After the usual seven hours of wandering around the aisles in Voorburg's criminally understocked Videotheek, it came down to a choice between The World's Fastest Indian and Al Gore's global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Irmie didn't like my last choice of film, so I opted for the documentary which I thought she'd like (enjoy seems the wrong word) more than a movie about a New Zealander trying to break the landspeed record on a motorcycle.
Now I'm thinking that maybe I should have got the motorbike film because after watching the Gore we might decide to boycott the Indian on the grounds that clocking up hundreds of kilometers an hour using an internal combustion engine and two wheels may not be exactly what the environment's waiting for.
I'd been a little concerned about the whole rising sea level thing as we now live below the existing sea level let alone whatever it might be in 100 years. However, thanks to a handy online map that shows where the beach will be depending on how high the sea level gets, I now know that it will have to go up by a whopping two meters before we need to move the fridge up to the first floor.
To see when your home will become a coveted beachfront retreat, go to:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kroller Muller Museum

Today we went to the Kroller Muller Musem, a very nice art gallery hunkered down in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe Park in the central Netherlands.
For those interested, you can find it on Google Earth at Latitude 52° 5'44.08"N Longitude 5°49'0.82"E.
An aerial shot is actually quite useful, because it shows the forest and lawns that surround the museum - all of which are dotted with sculptures - Henry Moores, Barbara Hepworths (don't feel like some kind of philistine if you haven't heard of Babs, I just had to google her to get her first name) and a load of others whose makers i've already forgotten. It also shows the big sand dune pictured in the posts below - and don't i feel pleased with myself for writing these three posts in reverse order to get them in the right sequence on the blog.
The museum is crammed with exceptionally good stuff. It's not huge but has lots of Van Goghs, a room full of Mondriaans and loads more Dutch stuff as well as a scattering of French 19th/20th century stuff, a few Picassos and lots more extremely interesting things. It was a little heavy on conceptual art for my likings - a room which had a rectangle on the floor made of slightly bent nails was one of a few exhibits that lit up the neon "But is it Art?" sign above my head. Fortunately, my fine friend Daniel was visiting from England and happens to know a thing or two about art so he was able to reassure me that, Yes. It is art. I left the "But what does it all Mean?" question unasked.
You get to the museum itself by abandoning your car at the edge of the park and hopping onto one of 1,400 frees bikes left out for visitors then pedalling a few kilometers through pine forests and barren heath landscapes to the building.
The park and particularly the dunes somehow reminded me of Australia - I remember running over dunes near Hawk's Nest a couple of hours north of Sydney with Esther and Julia when they were still very young. Also, the sculpture above put me in mind of a bleached miniature version of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).
I'm guessing that anybody visiting us from Australia, England or anywhere else may well get taken here.
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After taking in the art we set off on our white bikes around the park and after coming out of a pine forest came across this amazing dune landscape miles and miles from the nearest coastline.
Of course, if Al Gore and all those UN climate folks are right, the sea may well catch up with this place soon enough.
Still, it was very odd to suddenly find yourself in the middle of a desert in the middle of the Netherlands.
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Corder family

Here's a bit of a rarity - a family portrait. Courtesy of Dan. The rosy cheeks are caused by cycling around when it's only six degrees.
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Crappy job

Those horse-drawn sleighs don't clean up after themselves. So enter this bloke with the least enviable job at the skating: The skating shit shoveller.
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I just got back from the World Allround Speedskating Championships in Heerenveen. For those of you who weren't following it, this is Dutchman Sven Kramer who won the men's allround title (they race over 500, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000) on Sunday and broke the 10,000 world record in the process. It's amazing watching somebody break a world record. He did the 10k in 12 minutes, 48.99 seconds - which is considerably faster than you can drive 10k in a car pretty much anywhere in the Netherlands given the crippling traffic congestion.
After being presented with his medal, he and the women's champ get driven around the Thialf Stadium in horse drawn sleighs with skates instead of wheels.
Ireen Wust, also from the Netherlands, (and yes I did use the phrase Double Dutch in headline of my story) won the women's event (raced over 500, 1,500, 3,000 and 5,000).
Both Wust and Kramer are only 20 and give refreshingly frank and amusing press conferences afterwards when they sit down, shake everybody's hand and then chew the fat until the stupid questions dry up.
My favorite Wust quote _ which sadly didn't make it into my story _ was in response to a question about how she felt after narrowly losing the European Championships last year in Italy.
"I felt (pauses to mull over exactly the right choice of word) ... I felt like a (this is a family blog, so please insert here a noun used to describe a part of a woman's anatomy just south of the belt line which rhymes with a flat bottomed boat propelled by pushing a stick into the river bed).
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

More snow

Yet more snow today. Three full centimeters. Enough for the Dutch meteorological service to issue a "weather emergency warning." I didn't read it, but the warning (highest priority, batten down the hatch-type stuff that was flashed all over the news) probably advised people to wear wellington boots and wrap up warm.
The girls were very pleased. This is the first snowman (the Dutch call it a snow doll for some reason) I've ever built with them, so it was fun for me too.
We also got to use their new sled/sledge for the first time. This sounds exciting until you remember we live in the pancake-flat Netherlands so a trip on the sled(ge) involves me dragging the pair of them around the park over the road to us and thanking kind old mother nature that she put something in dog turds that makes them melt snow around them - even the old, cold ones.
Last night I played hockey _ using a white ball _ with a few other hardy souls on a pitch covered in frozen snow. It's a miracle I didn't re-wreck my ankle. Actually, for those of you who care even a tiny bit or (Tim Shields) have their own Achilles nightmares going on, the interesting news is that the left (surgically darned back together) tendon actually is performing far better than the undamaged right one.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Finally, a bit of snow. This was this afternoon as Irmie went to pick up the girls from school. I'm writing this at 11 p.m. and there's still a bit of snow turning to ice outside. Should be fun cycling to school tomorrow.
Sadly, it's not expected to stick around for long. Hopefully long enough for it to be icy at the world speedskating championships I'm covering Friday-Saturday.
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