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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Tag Archives: NL

This morning I was surprised to find something I had not seen since my childhood.
A sight I only remember from early mornings after sleep-overs at my grandparents….

Everyone with central heating will probably not know what I am going on about.

Frozen florals...

Frozen florals…

Ice flowers…
or: IJsbloemen, as we call them in the Netherlands.

I haven’t found a similar name for it in the UK. Here it is simply called frost on the windows, or slightly more poetic ‘Frost ferns’.

Beautifully intricate crystal patterns are formed from the condensation, blooming gradually up onto the glass.. As the sun gently grew stronger, they slowly melted down onto the window sill…
The sight was so pretty I almost forgot how freezing my bedroom had gotten…
Brrrrrr and chattering of teeth.


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My concoction…

Some people just can’t help but get their hands dirty. As do I.

Instead of just talking about how lovely Elderflower cordial is again, I actually got stuck in and made one.
I was surprised about how easy it was.

We had cut back a long branch off the Elder, so the initiative for this event was mostly due to the lovely scent of the severed flowers.
Picking the small flowers off the corymbs takes a little work, but eventually it is quite satisfying to find yourself surrounded in the sweet smell and your hands covered in pollen. (so this is not for the pollen averse, drinking the home made brew might have the opposite effect though…)

Pity the flowers are only around end May, early June…

For the recipe:

1. you add equal measures of sugar (preferably raw cane) and water (half a cup each ~120gr.) and boil it up to a thick syrup.

Then pour the hot syrup over the plucked flowers (about 1 ounce of flowers ~28gr.) and leave to steep, over night outside of the fridge, or 3 days in the fridge.
Most people add lemon or citric acid at this point, as a preservative and to add some zzing.

Just pour through a fine sieve or piece of cloth and keep in a nice bottle or jug in the fridge.

One table spoon is enough for a large glass…

I just wanted to try mine pure before diluting the flavour… I found the plain stuff on its own or with a slice of lemon most refreshing.

Whether this is really the most powerful potion the druids wrote about, I am not sure.

But it surely works like a tonic on me.
It is always such a pleasure to have a new experience… learn a new skill.

Now all we need is a sunny day so we can drink the brew in the shade.

Summer and a slice of lemon, do we need anything more?

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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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Gloves like wings...

Last Monday I was at the local train station, dropping off my dear friend and Swedish/Parisian glove designer Thomasine. (please check out her amazing collection and Haute Couture work.)

As we were saying our goodbyes we were standing in the door and on the platform. As the whistle blew we exchanged our final goodbye kisses before the doors would close…

Tweet tweet...

Only to find out that it had not been the whistle, but actually it was a blackbird sitting in the tree opposite the door of the train, impersonating the sound!

I am sure this little bird had been watching us promising to visit each other soon. Both marveling about how we were looking forward seeing Paris together and Sinclairsholm…
I am sure he picked the moment best suited to interrupt us, well before the real whistle would blow, giving us some extra minutes.

Over the years the poor bird would have had to listen to that whistle at least once an hour. So I am sure he just wanted to be sure to call out first this time!

Or friendly blackbird could take a leaf out of the Lyre bird’s book and include some new sounds… Then again, I am not sure there is anything more exciting to listen to in this tiny country city…

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Yes really…

I am flying today…

… see you all on the other side.


PS and thanks to everyone for their support and kind wishes.

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One of the things I will have to do once moving to the States, is invest in some wheels.

As I have always lived ‘down town’ so I never actually needed a car, but I guess in the States I will eventually need one.

It probably doesn’t need too much explanation how ‘car culture’ differs between NL, UK and US.
The three following cars (from the same hey day of automotive excellence) give a pretty good impression:

1963 DAF 33 - NL

The Dutch encouragement of: “Drive DAF if your are tough…” doesn’t really help. These little cars have a variomatic gear box, which allows you to drive backwards in several gears… This lead to the 80’s popular broadcasts of ‘ter Land Ter Zee en in de Lucht…’ on Dutch TV, featuring the hilarious ‘Backwards racing’. additionally they added the even more fearsome Caravan racing. A whole generation of Dutch kids grew up with this bizarre spectacle. I wonder what made them stop this brilliant entertainment… Enjoy:

1966 Morris MiniCooper - UK

In the UK the high point of cars is discussed in the international success of the STIG and his mates in ‘Top Gear’. No need to go into this any further you all know what I am talking about.

My favourite from the British arsenal remains the Morris Mini Cooper. (my grandmother drove one, which was a great success on Dutch Bicycle paths. 😉 )

Off course there are many cars that I could have chosen instead. Aston Martins, flexing their V’s is a much more powerful view of the Uk car industry. But most of the stuff under the bonnet is no longer British.

1966 Ford Mustang - USA

Still none of the above compares to the ultimate dream of the American open road in a Mustang Convertible…

What could possibly be wrong with a car that has its own song about it. 🙂

But it will be more likely that I will get some cheap second hand or economical car instead…

But in the meantime a girl can dream, no?

Can’t wait to get in one, turn up the volume and put my foot down…   Ride Freddie Ride…

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After giving this blog some thought during my lunch in the park, I came up with a main aim for this blog.

When I left the NL to move to the UK, four years ago, I found that actually I missed completely different things about my motherland that I had imagined.

Some of the famous Dutch traits were a relief to leave behind, while other minor details of Dutch Life started to become much fonder memories that I could ever imagine.

So I decided to make this blog a collection of misses and wishes…

There will be several cathegories of things:

  • I think I will miss… (from UK as well as NL)
  • I am happy to leave behind…  (from UK as well as NL)
  • I look forward to… (in US)
  • I dread… (in US)

After my move I will comment in hindsight…

Was my idea of the States realistic?

We will see…

Dikke zoenen,

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