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.

Les Arcs

Jacob had one of the more surprising weeks of his life this week when a two day car trip was followed by a week at 1800m at Les Arcs, where everything was white. Just when he got used to this, all the new strange people and french baby food, it was back in the car and another two days back to the Netherlands with a stop-off in Neufchateau in France.

More on that later………….

Descartes had it all wrong. According to Jacob its “I move therefore I am” or maybe its just the after effects of two days in a Maxi-cosi and a body full of white blood cells from a week at high altitude.

We have to stop feeding him.

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When we got back from Les Arcs I found an email from Hasitha waiting complete with a photo of his son Kieran who is now three months old. Kieran is very handsome although I’d be worried if I was Hasitha, he also looks very determined!

And today is Uncle Benny’s Birthday!

Happy Birthday Ben

from Jacob, Faith and Ron! Gefeliteerd Jonge!