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, March 21, 2007

Dingo facts and figures

A quick Dingo-related running tally four days into her life with us:

Indoor piss puddles mopped up: 20, 25, Oh, I don’t know.Oceans.
Indoor turds picked up (and in one nasty case wiped up): 8-10ish.
Sleep-deficient nights: 4.
Complaints from the snotty next door neighbor: 1. She suggested we get a cat. I suggest she gets a new house.
Dining table chairs eaten (partially): 4 (two to go).
Longing looks by attractive women in my general direction (but primarily, I fear, in Dingo’s direction): 6.
Longing looks by unattractive women in my general direction (but primarily, I fear, in Dingo’s direction): who cares?
Number of times Esther and Julia have reneged on their absolute, cross-my-hear-hope-to-die promises to take the dog out morning, noon and night: Surprisingly few, but give them time.
It's not scientific, but I'd estimate she's defecated about twice the weight of food she's eaten. Don't ask me how that happens.
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

New bitch on the block

Meet Dingo. Our new dog.
We picked her up today from the Hague pound at eight weeks old. The middle picture is of Irmie with Dingo's mother so I'm guessing our puppy's good looks may not last all that long.
We don't think she's going to be accepted at Crufts any time soon. The mother may have once been related to some kind of mountain cattle dog, but who knows. The father eloped before his pedigree could be confirmed.
Here's your Dutch word of the week: Mongrel = Bastard.
If I could have got away with it, I'd have called her bastard - I consider it a more affectionate Australian name than dingo.
If there is an excess of puppy shots in the coming days, I apologize. She is very photogenic. I'll try to keep the pix to a minimum.
Irmie read about a little of puppies and mother that were left in a doorway a couple of months ago. She and the girls went to the pound that was looking after them and that was about that. We had been thinking of getting a pedigree Labrador, so the cold-hearted owner who dumped the mutts did us a favor.
She's been with us all day and is settling in nicely, and by that I mean she's crapping and pissing on the floor.
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Friday, March 16, 2007

A hole lot of love

Could somebody explain to me the fascination people have with holes in the ground? This week, workmen are digging up our street and laying pipes. Apparently it will improve drainage and prevent our cellar from filling up with water - submerging our freezer - when it rains hard. This has to be a good thing, but is the hole itself really that interesting? People - crowds of people - stand there for HOURS. You can't see him very well in this photo from my balcony but there's a little old bloke on the right who has been looking at the hole all morning (honestly!).
I'm thinking of selling tickets.
The photo itself is about as interesting as I find the hole, but my take-it-or-leave-it attitude to the hole is getting me worried. Am I missing something?
It must also be weird for the blokes actually digging the hole. They're enclosed in this steel fence designed to keep out kids like Esther and Julia and their friends in the street who also are affected by the magnetic pull of the excavations. But from here, they look to me a lot like animals prowling around their cramped enclosures in a zoo.
The only things I care about are that the digging doesn't trigger some kind of land subsidence that swallows up our house and that it's over soon because it's causing parking problems in our street, which has a self-regulating and strictly observed parking policy. The unspoken rule is that everybody has a minimum one parking spot in front of their own house. Second cars (I think we're the only ones in the street with only one car and don't think the neighbors haven't noticed the fact) are parked as near as possible to one's own house without encroaching on a neighbor's parking privileges.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Julia dishes the dirt

Julia went for a shower this morning. She kicked up the usual stink: I had a shower in February, why do I need another one now? I’m not dirty. This shower cap is too big. The water’s too cold. The water’s too hot. Close the door. Open the window.
Before hopping under the water she weighed herself, coming in at a svelte 22.5 kilograms.
After 30 seconds of standing near the streaming water and occasionally glancing at the soap (which at that time in the morning was good enough for me) she sauntered out and dried herself.
She then stepped back on the scales and said: “Still 225. I told you I wasn’t dirty.”

Monday, March 12, 2007


These are pix from our walk Saturday when the skies were still unaware of the fast approaching spring. The river scene on the left is deliberately black and white, the hay shed underneath is naturally bleached of color. I also (smiling as I ticked off another Dutch cliche) saw a farmer wearing wooden clogs. Apparently clogs are highly practical footwear for folks who work on the land - they are reasonably waterproof and can withstand being stomped on by cows.
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Alright, I take it all back about the rain. This weekend Irmie and I left the girls with their Oma and Opa and headed out east to Ommen where we stayed in the family vacation house of our friend Wietske.
Saturday was a little cloudy but Sunday was just wall-to-wall blue skies. The region is dotted with all these beautiful little thatched farm buildings. Barely a farmer in sight, of course, they're nearly all inhabited by yuppies who renovate them like the one pictured here. The real farmers knocked down the drafty old places and replaced them with ugly new ones, parked their Mercedes outside and surrounded them with corrugated iron sheds and piles of stinking manure.
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

New vocab

New Dutch word learnt this week: Onophoudelijk.
Meaning: ceaselessly.
As in, it's been raining CEASELESSLY for so many days I can't remember when it started.
I understand all you Australians with your dead lawns and empty water tanks will be jealous, but believe me the novelty wears thin.