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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: netherlands

Pompom showdown...

Pompom showdown…

This post is for everyone who will receive a hand-knitted sweater from an aunt or granny this Christmas.

Please remember there is love and care in every stitch.
(however hideous the design might be….)

Loes Veenstra from a quiet street in Rotterdam has knitted over 500 jumpers since she started in 1955.
In this video the people from her  neighbourhood showcase all her hard work, by wearing her sweaters that had never been worn before…

Only in Holland!

In a way it is sad this craft and tradition is slowly disappearing…

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Today I realised the deep rooted ambition of every Dutch country girl…

Well heeled…

I got a pair of clogs.

 

And in case you were wondering…
Yes. They are comfortable, very lightweight and strangely keep my feet extremely warm without getting sweaty.
They are available at the Boerenbond. (Farmers union), where they are sold as work wear. Apparently they are according to working safety regulations… And it is nice to support the clog craftsmen…

So I dare anyone who wears crocs in their garden to try this.
Plastic really ain’t all that fantastic…

Can’t wait to take them for a spin in the UK… 🙂

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Salvaged from the shed…

One of the reasons I am a little bit odd, might be that my parents let me play with lead when I was small… And I don’t mean lead as in the ‘lead pipe with Colonel Mustard in the Library’ kind in the Cluedo game, I mean molten lead!

Our lead was sourced from the bottle tops of my grandfather’s wine bottles (mostly Nuit St. Georges). My brother was most interested in playing with the end result, Lead soldiers…
I mostly enjoyed doing the actual casting.
The moulds we used were from Ireland, Cork. But we also had a pre-WW one from our grandfather.

Bad pic, but see how this headless soldier is trying to outrun it’s pretty red and white lead oxide. Bless!

What I loved most were the miscasts… The little un-soldered soldiers, with the strangest parts missing. Sadly most of those were simply remelted, instead of being sent to war.

We soon became experts in the typical character of each of the moulds. And what would be the special ways in which to work them to get the best result. How to tilt them, tap them or press them together while pouring in the lead.

I remember that the guns were always the trickiest. They took longest to cool, and the round barrels could have all kinds of dents and glitches due to shrinkage….

I guess I never really considered how much this game actually taught me about the manufacturing process. Not in the least the lesson that melting lead in the shed would give you a pretty good headache after a while.

Looks like a rainy day…

It also taught us to tell the weather. Pouring molten lead into water at room temperature would result in a wonderful (and in this case just forget dangerous) ballet of spluttering steam. We would be left with either a wildly shaped stream of lead, caught in action… or a pile of loose drops at the bottom.
In case of the latter there would be rain!

Pity children aren’t allowed to play around with this kind of thing anymore…

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Time hanging around…

This morning when visiting the market in Wageningen I was surprised to learn that today was the day of the LEEF festival… The local Festival of fools.

The theme this years is ‘Bubbles’.
It was quite sweet to see the dancing workshop – involving several older women and a hippy guy performing vague motions to music) and being invited for a ‘brain wash’, including a pre and main (in Dutch the same word for head) wash… 🙂 being asked by a woman with gold painted bubbles on her face and a wig made of sponges didn’t make it more enticing…

The city was decorated with all kinds of strange signs made of waste products and occasional ‘mobiles’ made of unexpected items… Teddies, time etc…

Imps and trolls ran around the crowd and bats on stilts hovered over our heads…

The most surreal experience was a butler (with a tray of bubbly) joined by a collection of chamber maids dressed in true Downton Abbey fashion approaching me with slight reverences, Milady… Wonderful and surreal.

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Rose in hand…

I had cards read by a fortune teller called Joli in a wagon, who did a rather good job in describing me and my wanderings.
(Ace of cups, Knight of Swords and Death, alas not the Fool…)

But above all the most impressive thing of this whole festival was how completely harmless and in-offensive the whole experience was.
There were local girls giving a pole dancing demonstration dressed in the most sensible sports underwear imaginable. They sweetly looked on while local children with strained faces tried to climb the pole…

All people were smiling, friendly and jolly.

Oh is there any more blessed than the Feasting Fool?

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Party on!

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It is rare that expatriated Dutch people long to come back to their ‘little cold frog country’. (NL: Ons koude kikker landje).

But a picture like this surely brings up Dutch patriotic pride and homesickness:

Skating into the sunset...

On the other hand I only have bad memories of being on the ice.
Gargantuan blisters in my skates, bruises a-go-go… and all my friends disappearing in the distance, while I fall yet again on the cracks…
No, alas. I fear I will just enjoy the aesthetic pleasure of it, seated next to the fireplace…

Making the cold bearable...

PS. Sadly the epic skating tour along 11 Friesian towns (NL: Elfstedentocht) has been cancelled. The ice was not thick enough after 11 days of frost… Pity of all those extra gallons of Beerenburg they had distilled beforehand, just in case…
Better luck next year, hic!

PPS. On a happy note, may be my tulip bulbs will make it through to spring after all!

Oh, I love Holland!

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My American alter ego...

Yesterday I found a great blog, writing about the weird country I am from. It is quite funny to find someone else’s collection of thoughts on Dutch idiosyncrasies.

Enjoy: http://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/

(I have to admit that their review on No.3 Hagelslag is much more thorough than mine…)
You live, you learn…

 

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Yesterday I attended several lectures on Historical interiors and restoration at the University of Amsterdam. (It was actually the leaving colloquium for Prof. Anne van Grevenstein.)

It was an interesting day with some interesting people sharing their knowledge and experiences.
But let’s not get me started on this, that would take forever…

On the way back to the station I walked through the red light district and saw the following sight opposite the Casa Rosso theatre:

No no, I was just swanning around to see the architecture...

And I thought swans were considered monogamous?!

On second thought I shouldn’t be surprised… Right Leda?

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