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, October 12, 2008

Zutphen





It's been a while. I have no real excuses.
Back to work after holidays. Back to the daily routine/grind. There just didn't seem much to write about.
On the upside, I now hold the record of 3-under-par on the girls' Wii golf game - and I can still use an apostrophe.
We just got back from an incredibly pleasant weekend away in the beautiful little town of Zutphen. We'd visited pretty towns beginning with every other letter of the alphabet, so it seemed like time.
Plus, it was our wedding anniversary today.
We received a handful of cards/emails from friends and family not one of which correctly guessed which anniversary it was - my mum was close with 11, as was our friend Wietske (who organized our wedding) who inacurately hedged her bets on 11 or 10 years. Irmie's uncle picks up the booby prize for furthest from the pin after weighing in with eight years. Irmie, scandalized, said: But Esther and Julia were born more than eight years ago. She's a Catholic.
When we got back today, Irmie's parents came through with a bunch of flowers and a card correctly congratulating us on our 12th anniversary - although it looked a bit like the 2 in 12 might have started life as a 1.
To celebrate a dozen years of wedlock and the fact that we're too poor to actually suffer very greatly from the credit crisis, we - and by we I mean Irmie - went shopping yesterday.
Actually, we were not wholly untouched.
Last week, the Icelandic bank that was holding our life savings went belly up and took our hard earned cash with it. Irmie, whose idea it was to deposit our wealth there because I'm too lazy to research things like what accounts give you the most interest, was a little upset to learn it had all gone down the toilet. So she was very happy indeed when the Dutch government took the politically inevitable decision to guarantee all deposits up to 100,000 euros. An amount that dwarfed our little chunk of readies.
Even so, we felt wealthy again.
The nice thing was that all the shops in Zutphen are in its beautiful town center which somehow both the Nazis and Allies managed to avoid bombing back to the stone age during the last days of World War II.
The town is on the banks of the river Ijssel and was once a thriving and prosperous inland port. As a result, it has little harbours, a spectacular church and hundreds of beautifully preserved old mansions and converted warehouses.
One of the nicest things about the whole weekend was that we left the girls with Oma and Opa. Yes, children enrich our lives in so many ways. Yes, we love them to bits. Yes, they're gorgeous. But come on parents, let's be honest, what is better than springing for a weekend off from the offspring?
We were able to wander about the town, looking at historic little courtyards and the remnants of ancient defensive walls and watch the sun go down over the Ijssel all without having to endure a single request for an ice cream, without hearing how boring ancient defensive walls and courtyards are and without hearing a word said about how sore anybody's legs/feet/arms were.
More importantly, we were able to go for a 50-kilometer bike ride this morning without any whinging requests to be pushed/turn around/stop for an ice cream.
Before the ride, we also got to lie in until - jikes! - 8:30 a.m. And when we went for breakfast at our B&B nobody complained about the fact that our hostess considered organic cheese laced with stinging nettles an acceptable foodstuff for first thing in the morning.
The bike ride was nice. We saw a whole bunch of storks.
Hang on, better look up that collective noun.
Wikipedia suggests both a phalanx and a muster (apparently a phalanx is when they're airborne so we saw a muster because they were all kind of standing around in a field).
I guess there must be more storks in New Zealand because they have far more CNs ranging from the unimaginative flight and flock to the more colorful cluster and clatter and then the plain odd filth of storks.
The nicest thing about the ride was spending four hours in the saddle and never tiring of things to talk about - which is pretty cool after eight years of marriage, let alone a dozen.

3 Comments:

Blogger Hong Kong Merretts said...

We have every opportunity in the world to get away for a weekend without our kids (lovely though they all are), but rarely do so. In fact Lee, our over-efficient helper, is endlessly coaxing us to take a weekend break sans-enfants and Boyd and I have no doubt they'd be in much safer hands than ours. So ... Boyd, just in case you're reading this, how about it?

4:25 PM  
Blogger Tim and M and Little M said...

You're lucky you got out of Australia still being able to use an apostrophe. I've heard that skill is now an automatic disqualifier for Australian citizenship.

Here's one I saw the other day:
"Sale: Cherrie's $14/kilo"

You're trip away from the chillie's sounds lovely. Your lucky you can still ride a bike for 50 kilometers after that vasectomy and all.

(Yes, yes, I know.)

3:32 AM  
Blogger Guy said...

A lovely post Mike - and beautifully written too. Love to Irmie & the girls.

Guy & Helyn

9:17 AM  

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