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Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jan-8-2010

It is cold here, in The Netherlands.

And I am receiving a lot of comments about my inability to deal with this cold snap : why, you grew up in Massachusetts ( don’t I just love spelling that without SpellCheck ? ), you lived through one of those famous blizzards in the 70′s, when the snow was so deep you could not open the front door of your house, your family had a snow blower and you knew how to use it ( as we took turns every hour snow blowing the driveway), you know what a cord of wood is and your brother knows how to split a log.

After so many years, the only remnant of my shivery past is a well stocked larder : our family of five, two dogs who each weigh more than I do, that fool Sparrow and all of our fish could survive a nuclear war just fine for about two, maybe even three months Perhaps not a very healthy diet, but I do suppose it is better than gnawing upon one’s leather shoes.

But we are so ill prepared for this cold weather, as a family and as a country. None of us has a down vest, no one has insulated boots, the few and chosen actually still have gloves that fit and hats, scarves.

I am not a member of the chosen few.

As a country, we ( they ?) are running out of salt to put on the roads and are actually taking to using bath salts in some areas. You know, pink and green stuff which, rumor has it, smells lovely. Here in Town, I have yet to see a speck of sand or salt on the roads, most likely because it might damage the granite cobblestones from Sweden, who knows. Doing the daily shopping is a teeter- totter affair, and many of the elderly are not leaving their homes at this point.

Snow tires have never been a part of winter in The Netherlands. As well as salt, there is a run on snow tires. At times, we use the company truck, as The Father’s Business Man car cannot handle the ice and snow. Although I must admit that a few weeks ago saw me, 5’2, 48 Kilos, pushing the truck and giving a very Rocky like hands over my head as a salute when the truck finally was released from it’s icy prison.

Our children never had a sled, for until last year, there really never was enough snow to sled upon. Imagine that, The Girl is almost 17. This year was the first winter that the children could make a *life size* snowman ( oh well, boys will be boys…). Last year, it was cold enough that The Baby learned how to ice skate. The other two were too old to care about it, didn’t feel like falling on their….posteriors …in public.

Teenagers, dontcha know.

The Baby’s favorite movie is * Ice Princess* ( recently chomped to pieces by our Pyr). Last year, she skated exactly 3 times. I walked with her to a very safe place, run by some skating club, about a mile away. They measure the thickness of the ice, have big lights, a few trailers where one can buy warm things to eat or drink, and blast out music- the dutch version of a Bruins game.

After a while, though, I was frozen, and so I dragged her off of the ice and we made the long march home.

This year, The Father and his Business Mobile will take us to the ice. I am hoping that we can take turns sitting in the car, having our butts warmed by that fool seat heating.

And this morning The Baby asked me if her skates needed sharpening. Uh….

And where were those plastic protectors for the blades..


And should we have oiled the blades ?

  1. jo Said,

    I really am having a general laugh over the news from Europe as people along the same parallel as us finally encounter frozen stuff. I guess we really are rather stoic about it here.
    Sure, everyone panics and buys all the eggs , milk and bread in the store when they hear a storm is coming (in fact the local aggregate for Boston Universal Hub, has a French Toast alert system to rate the upcoming storms based on the frenzy being whipped up by the local weatherman and the run on staples in the grocery stores) but life certainly doesn’t stop here when it snows or freezes. This past weekend it snowed for 3 days straight, we only ended up with about a foot, but there were still people jogging along Comm Ave in shorts.
    There was even an article in the paper this past weekend about the drop in the economy causing the local towns to stop verifying that the ice is safe to skate on. There used to be people who were paid to check the thickness of the ice.
    I guess we New Englanders really are a rather tough lot.

  2. Brian Said,

    Now you have spoiled my fantasy image of Holland in winter and Hans Brinker and his silver skates gliding on the frozen canals. Next you will tell me there is no little boy with his finger in the dike, keeping you all from being flooded out.

  3. Mummy Dearest Said,

    Jo, I know, it is a hoot. But the biggest problem is that no one is prepared for this kind of weather, on a family level ( I don’t have gloves !) right up to the highest levels, you know, like snow plows.

    Rather like the little black dress, having the right clothes would help a lot at this moment. But winter food is so good- all of those fats !

  4. Mummy Dearest Said,

    Brian, my dear, I am sure that you have seen a dike, so think about that tale : even The Boy’s jumbo carrots would be to no avail, as a dike is about 20 meters thick at it’s base, perhaps more, really, what do I know ? But they are very big and very thick.

    And all through The Netherlands a thrilling murmur can be heard : Elfstedentocht, an exquisitely Dutch skating event which hasn’t taken place for a cooties age, due to the…lack of ice. In the mid- eighties there were two, and in 1997 the last one. A skating race of almost 200 kms, ( I could give a link, but it is in Dutch, not really *world * language..),

    But what is so fine about the Elfstedentocht is that while the winner gets the glory, the ice is lined by cheering crowds for the poor dudes who are dying on the ice. Come on, you can do it, clapping and singing for the exhausted skaters, trying to help them get the little silver pin that one gets when one completes the Elfstedentocht.

    Very Dutch, very touching.

    I kid you not.

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