5 Januaries

My first January in Amsterdam I had nothing to do but wait for my ‘verblijfsvergunning’, (residence permit) so spent the days walking and exploring. It snowed, quite a bit, and to someone from a country where it doesn’t snow in everyday-situations, only on special-trips-to-mountains-especially-reserved-for-snow, having snow on pavements and bridges, cars and bikes, your hat and your nose, was pretty special.

By my second January in Amsterdam I had my permit (but only just!) and had started work and thus discovered cycling-to-work-in-the-snow-wrapped-in-a-flock-of-woolens. I also discovered ice, quickly followed by what-the-road-feels-like, what salt is used for and why you should sleep in and let all the other cyclists go first.

My third January in Amsterdam I was a dab hand and only briefly glanced at the RAI thermometer and it’s -11C reading as I whizzed past on my bike. Riding home I loved the sudden silence descending with a snow-storm as I was transformed into a cycling snowman and the road underneath me from a greasy wet black to a crisp crunchy white where my wheels were the first to leave tracks.

My fourth January in Amsterdam I wrapped our new son Jacob up in five layers of clothing and two blankets and a jacket and took him out in the pram and wondered if he could see the snow yet.

So now in my fifth January in Amsterdam I was just a bit startled to discover crocuses (croci?) in the Sarphati Park and blossom on the trees in the Vondelpark! And no sign of snow at all. Looks like we won’t be getting a chance to buy that little wooden sleigh for Jacob after all.

Into the woods

We escaped from the flat, and Amsterdam, for an afternoon in the woods.

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November is the first of the really miserable months in the Netherlands, the very damp cold sets in and darkness descends earlier and earlier each day. Upload_004 Upload_006

It suddenly strikes you that this is only the beginning, this is how it will be until next March, April or even May. Upload_010 Uplaod_009

Everyone starts booking their March trips to the Canary Islands.

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Time to get outside while you can!  Upload_007

Uitje

Yesterday we all packed in work early and went off to Vinkeveen to inflict our combined cooking skills on each other. Luckily the weather was with us, (OK, cold but dry and sunny) and a gezellig feest was had by all. Two companies have merged, various people are leaving and new ones are joining so it was a good chance to get to know each other all over again! The photos are here.