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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bike ride

To test Esther's new bike, we went for a cycle under our favorite motorway underpass with the dog.

Oma bike

Esther has a new bicycle. Sort of early birthday present due to Julia growing out of her old bike and shifting up to Esther's.  Julia's old one will be sold at the girls' Queen's Day stand, along with about a metric ton of other old toys. For those of you who don't know what Queen's Day is, go back into this blog's archives to the end of April last year.

Swimming success

After Esther, Julia has now taken up competitive swimming. Nervous times and much nail biting by Julia and her parents. But no problem - she came third in her first ever 25-meter breaststroke race. In her heat, she was second, a fraction of a second behind a boy who somehow had sneaked into a girl's race.

This was a little hard to swallow for Esther, who has been training hard and swimming competitions for months with about the same level of success. While she didn't win a medal, she did carve four (count 'em,  four!) seconds off her personal best in the 50-meter freestyle and swam a classy 25 butterfly. I don't think I could swim 25 centimeters of butterfly, so I was very impressed.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Today was one of the unbelievably frequent "teacher-free days" for Julia's class, which meant that it was also a pupil-free day for her class, which meant in turn that I got to take a day off and make sure Julia didn't burn the house down. It also meant we were both free to go see something called Pipo Hour, a Fame-like afternoon of the performing arts put on by kids whose teachers did decided to turn up at school but frankly couldn't be bothered to actually do any teaching. 
Obviously, Esther's play - written and performed by Esther and two friends - was the dramatic highlight of the hour (which actually was two hours and felt a lot like three). I would try to describe it, but I don't think I could do it justice - their mission was to dramatize a Dutch saying that translates loosely as "Getting up with the chickens" and I think means getting out of bed, or going to bed- I'm not sure which - early.
I used the occasion to try my hand at a photographic technique called panning where you freeze a moving subject but render the rest of the image a blur by moving your camera with the subject. 
How hard can that be? Well quite hard. The above mess is the closest I got all afternoon. In my defense, the light was very poor in Esther's gymnasium.
I may on occasions in the past have suggested that photographers are a bunch of overpaid gadget junkies whose idea of a hard day's work and creativity is sitting in the sun at the Sydney Cricket Ground pushing their right index finger up and down a few times, but it turns out some of the stuff they do is quite hard.


We'd talked about it, of course. 
Show me a couple who have been married for more than 10 years who hasn't already taken the plunge or at the very least read about it in Cosmo (in the dentist's waiting room) and wondered about the ethics of it. The Morals of it.
Anyway, this week, almost on a whim, we took the plunge. 
Irmie and I got a Brazilian.
I just wish we'd done it years ago.
We're new people. Suddenly, we seem to be spending more time together.
Nothing really feels the same any more.
Suffice it to say, the bedroom is a more inviting place than it has been for some time. Going to the toilet is more fun!
If there are any new mums out there among my readership (and I secretly suspect my entire readership may be made up of two new mums - take a bow, Becky and Meraiah) this is a must for you.
All I can say is that if any of you have been mulling over taking the plunge - go ahead: Get yourselves a cleaning lady from Rio like we did. You won't regret it.