I HAD A VERY VIVID DREAM that I was living in Amsterdam and learning what I called (in the dream) my "Gibberish" (Dutch) with gusto so I could "do" the supermarket like a local ...
Ever since I was in Norwich, Norfolk, literally across the water and similarly flat with bikes everywhere and countryside full of windmills) I've had the yen to escape to Holland. Also as a child I spent a week there on family holiday. We saw plenty of the Dutch countryside. Dykes and ditches. So I have an accurate view, from experience, of what Holland is about. To me it's like England with a magic wand waved over it. I've always wanted to escape there.
Years studying German - a language so similar it is practically a dialect - mean Dutch is far from "gibberish" to me. I should still have coursebooks and tapes (somewhere) from my first "wanna be in Amsterdam" days. And I heartily disagreed with (and still do) everyone who proclaims the commonly held view that there's no point bothering with the language because "they all speak English" ...
My answer is: the newspaper and TV don't translate themselves, do they? And people only speak English when they're addressing you directly. Which means you'll get left out all the time with people talking over your head. Which I hate. But native English speakers are so used to abroad, I don't think many of them even notice it. My plan was to pretend to be Swedish with a poor command of English. That way they would have to speak to me in Dutch ...
Anyway all that was back in the days of dark depression. I was due to go to Berlin for a year as part of my uni course. Berlin! One city I've always wanted to go more than anywhere except for perhaps New York City (and Amsterdam, but Amsterdam kind of came along later ...) But I was in no fit state to go there. So why should Holland be any different?
Anyway, that was my dream. I somehow managed to sleep from about 9 at night till midday today. 15 hours. Now that is sleep!
IT'S WARM AND MUGGY today. Yesterday we had thunderstorms. Which I got stuck in. I had that strange feeling you get when lightning's in the air (if you are about to get struck, so I hear, you really feel it - your hair literally does stand on end). Monsoon-style rain beat the pavements and when the lightning came it was only a second away from us - a real tree-feller of a strike.
Unfortunately we don't get American or African-style storms where the lightning lights up the entire horizon like trees. Ours comes more in horror-film craggy forks.
Once, not long ago, a tree got struck about two roads from me. The thunder literally tore the air open and the lightning at the same time flickered in a bright streak through my closed eyelids and through closed curtains. The air, split in two, took ages to rumblingly roll back together amid grand electrical buzzings.
The best thunderstorm of my life I remember from Hatfield. We were in a modern townhouse with panoramic views of town from our first-floor livingroom. My Mum had left us by this time and I stayed up with my Dad watching this storm all night. One particular strike seemed to light up the entire sky in three sections then came down like the biggest stack of bricks you could ever imagine. Another one I actually saw hit the lightning conductor on an office block across the way. The entire horizon was flickering as if someone upstairs was trying to turn on a failed fluorescent tube.
Then it started hailing in golfball-sized lumps. The hail was even harder than my dumplings ... just kidding....
But it was one hell of a performance by the "Powers that Be" ...
Blog of the Day Awards say I have won! Wow!!
A WOMAN WILL TRY AND DOMINATE A MAN. She will try and get away with it. But realy, inside herself, she wants to be dominated. She wants the man to take her. If he does lean on her, everything goes slightly off key, like a bad chord. She hopes it will pass, that the guy will come through. When he doesn't she begins to needle him. If nothing happens she goes on needling - until he stops listening. At that moment she becomes bitter and he goes deaf. Finally there is no more dialogue, they have no rapport.
- Elizabeth Taylor
COMPIEGNE - NAPOLEON's PALACE - On our senior citizen excursion we also visited the Palais of Compiègne. It was an enormous building ! Built by Louis XV and Louis XVI, and remodelled by b...
3 hours ago