ZEELAND 2006 (29 july 2006)
29 July: Siep
Yesterday, the family went on holiday. Within one day the temperature dropped as much as ten degrees centigrade.
Pussycat Siep behaved herself in the car (it's not her fault that a Nissan Micra is not equipped with a standard cat's litter box).
After arriving at De Platluus, the family inspect whether the inventory has undergone any changes in the past two years. For Siep it's also two years ago since she was here; a thorough inspection will be required.
The first day Siep has to stay indoors, but then she is allowed into the garden. With great caution, she explores every inch. Her ears turn in all directions.
After a very thorough inspection Siep disappears behind the foliage.
Half an hour later, Siep is seen to return. And exhausted but satisfied she spreads herself elegantly on the floorboards.
3 August: Cruelty
In case you're soft-hearted or otherwise oversensitive, you'd better read something else. What I'm going to relate is not exactly pleasant neither is it meant for the weak of heart.
Any idea what you see here?
The picture shows part of one of the walls of De Platluus. Into this wall a screw hole has been drilled. There is, however, no screw in this hole, but it houses a spider, which has spun a tangle of threads around his hole.
Patiently, the spider is waiting. From time to time, insects of various sizes get entangled in the threads. Immediately the spider is seen to approach - not to save the poor creature, of course. No, our arachnoid friend starts wrapping up its victim. In the process, it injects a caustic fluid which is reputed to promote decomposition.
You think this cruel? Oh well, if fighters in the Middle East are using civilian dwelling places to launch rockets in order to kill other civilians, I can't find our spider very cruel. Or do you think otherwise?
6 August: Warning
Today, our youngest daughter returned from her big trip. From the Dutch Railways she and three friends had bought a so-called Interrail ticket, which enabled her to travel three weeks in Southern Europe and Morocco.
She turned out to have taken seven hundred photos. For hours on end, we were told how special these countries are and how helpful the people that live in them.
Or at least ... some people. In Tanger, a "helpful" Moroccan was so "kind" to find a hotel for them (which probably netted him a nice commission as well).
But suddenly their 'helpful' Youssouf wanted to receive 20 Euro for his altruistic services. He managed to intimidate my daughter and her friends so much that they eventually paid him the money.
So in case you go to Marocco and this Youssouf offers you his friendly services, don't tell me later I didn't warn you . . .
Yoessouf in Tanger
11 August: Turbulent times
The month of July had been the hottest ever measured in The Netherlands. And right when the family went on holiday, the weather changed from one day to the next; this month threatens to become the coldest and wettest ever. From the sky we saw hailstones falling that - as far as their size is concerned - would have been very suitable for a nice game of marbles.
Platluus & dark clouds
The Middle East is in turmoil as well. In that part of the world, missiles are being launched from densely populated areas. And if those who receive this explosive stuff dare to respond, all the world turns against them indignantly.
My own situation
I have never aspired to have any sons. The prospect of taking your son to football, which seems to excite other fathers infinitely, utterly fails to appeal to me. God has been good to me and has blessed me with only daughters, for which I'm very grateful to Him - and of course also to my sweetheart.
But unless one gets only dikes for daughters, one will have to accept sons-in-law one day. Not that I go to football with them . . .
But on holidays they are bound to come along if the daughters wish so. Last Saturday, my elder daughter's friend came along. He turned out to be quite ill, which - I admit - was unpleasant to this youngster.
After a few days, the others were affected as well (or as badly ... or even worse). One after the other, the members of the family succumbed to a syndrome that is characterized by the fact that fluids ingested orally came out after a while at the other side in similar consistence, albeit less attractive in appearance. Yes indeed: diarrhoea, also referred to as bowel-hurry.
Tonight, for the first time this month, the family were together. And that's definitely something to celebrate. Dinner was eaten at De Jonge Leeuw at Aardenburg, where the food was tasty and wholesome and the atmosphere cosy and pleasant. We were served a salad mixture which I had never seen before and which the cook referred to as kluun.
Turbulent times can often be weathered without too much damage provided one occasionally takes the time to eat together and have fun.
15 August: Mushroom
It looked so appetizing, about the size of a breakfast plate, with the colour of chanterelles.
For over a week I passed it daily and every time it looked more attractive.
Today I could no longer stop myself: I got a knife from the kitchen and cut a piece off, about the size of a child's ear.
Fried with some garlic and soy sauce it tasted quite alright.
So again I took the kitchen knife, went outside and cut the whole mushroom off.
After about half an hour, my tongue started tingling with a sensation as if I had chewed nettles. Would the mushroom be poisonous after all?
The pieces of mushroom have disappeared into the trash can.
But I'm still wondering if the mushroom had been poisonous, or had the tingling sensation just been the product of my wild imagination?
19 August: Last day
For those who love huge quantities of rain, this must be an ideal holiday. Unfortunately, my sweetheart and I do not belong to this rare species.
To my eldest daughter, however, the weather was not too much of a problem: her medicine study of the last year has not been fully completed.
So daily she was seen bent over books, in which horrible boils and other disfigurements appeared to play an important part.
Yesterday she left for Amsterdam. My sweetheart and I took her to the ferry.
And today we also return to Amsterdam. The weather-gods appear to be well-inclined towards us. The two-hundred-or-so miles that separate De Platluus from the Overtoom in Amsterdam are covered in dry weather.
But then the aforementioned weather gods probably think we've had enough. Hardly have we unloaded the car when a violent storm blows up.
Which can be called an appropriate ending to this holiday.