…. of my vacation. Sigh. Bigger sigh. It’s amazing how two weeks can just fly past as if it hardly happened. Today is my last day off and tomorrow I go back to work.
When I first moved to NL I found it curious how Dutch people obsess over the weather. They are constantly talking about the weather. The most popular web site in NL is buienradar (rain radar). But now that I’ve lived here for several years I understand it. For example, yesterday I was planning to go to Amsterdam and visit the Monday Noordermarkt and see what crafty things were for sale. Sunday afternoon I heard several times, from several sources, that Monday’s weather would be perfect, sunny and very warm. Tuesday and Wednesday the weather would be lousy again. Based on that information I changed my mind and instead of Amsterdam, DB and I went to the beach yesterday. Boy am I glad we took advantage of the weather and time off and went when we could! We went by bike of course, and arrived at the beach just before 10:00am, a very early hour, as you can tell.
There were a few joggers, a few horses and riders and just a couple of people making themselves comfortable. The breeze was just a tiny bit chilly still, but it was so nice to be outside in the sun. You know that NL is the most densely populated country in Europe, and even out here on a very quiet morning, it’s not entirely quiet. We watched plane after plane appear as small dots from the west, coming in to land at Schiphol. We imagined they were coming from California, from New York. The ones staying high in the sky were surely heading to Berlin. The planes taking off and staying low were going to London. There were also a few freighters coming out of the Noordzeekanaal, heading out into the North Sea. And one lonely fishing boat.
While on the beach I finished reading “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami. It’s a nice little memoir and I enjoyed it very much. It’s always interesting for a beginning runner (which I very much am) to read about how an experienced runner experiences running. What does he think about? How does he keep up the training and what does the running mean to him? I think I gained as much insight into what it is to be a novelist as much as what it is to be a runner, and that they are not so dissimilar.
After hanging out for a while, and then having some lunch at one of the beach restaurants, we hopped on our bikes and decided to try a different route home. We biked through the dunes, on a designated bike trail, between Parnassia and Santpoort Zuid. It was beautiful! It’s about a 12 km route and seemed to take no time at all to bike it. I took a couple of photos along the way.
We saw these shaggy haired bovines in a few places along the route. I think they are wild and you should really stay out of their way.
This the aptly named Vogelmeer (bird lake). There were all kinds of water fowl here making big noise.
So, that was Monday morning and afternoon, in the sunshine and lovely weather. We wore summer clothes. I biked barefooted. By Monday night, however, the weather changed dramatically.
Last night I went in to Amsterdam for SnB night. It was another fun evening, as usual, although the group gets smaller as the weather gets better. The die-hards were there. When I left at 10pm it was still really warm and nice out. When I got to the central station I got an sms from DB saying to look at buienradar on my iPhone and beware of what’s coming. The big red storm monster was about to eat NL again! Our train was delayed, but finally after changing tracks there was a train heading to Haarlem. (I saw then that the next train to Haarlem was canceled.) By the time we got to Haarlem the worst had passed over and only a slight rain and flooded streets were left. I actually kind of like biking in this weather – it was still warm-ish and lightly raining. When I got home I was pretty wet, but still in a good mood about it.
At 4am this morning we were woken up by a huge lightening and rain storm. I thought I’d better go downstairs and unplug my computer because if it is fried in this lightening I’ll be SICK. I thought about Andy and his blog trauma (more on that later). The poor cat was sitting on a dining room chair, too afraid to come upstairs. This morning when the alarm went off we heard on the radio about all the traffic delays due to downed trees and flooding, and also plenty of train delays. I’m so happy this is still a vacation day for me. We didn’t suffer any damage or hard feelings over the storm. Even the little tree rose in the front of the house chose today to start blooming. Silly thing. It’s still cloudy and rainy today (Tuesday), so you see, you have to keep your eye on the weather report here in NL and always be prepared to change your plans to accommodate the weather. You never know what you are going to get and when you’ll have a summer day again.
Now, about Andy and his blog. If you read my blog you are sure to have come across the many times I’ve linked to my friend Andy’s blog. It was (is?) on Blogger. If you go there now you will get a very ugly message stating that his blog is spreading malware and terrible things will happen to you if you try to reach it. Even if you try, you can’t. It’s gone. Poof. Gone. Andy is beside himself. He’s done nothing to deserve this Google robot shut down. He’s tried everything to find someone at Google who will help him but no luck. Google’s robots have run amok and are shutting down, seemingly randomly, perfectly innocent blogs. BEWARE! If you are on Blogger, find a way to back up your blog regularly so you don’t loose everything, or just move your site somewhere more reliable. This hasn’t happened only to Andy, but he’s found a lot of other people who have had this happen to them in the last month. It’s scary if you are a blogger. It reminds me that I have to manually back up my blog regularly and THEN back up my hard drive. This is something I want to do today.
I usually read blogs via Google Reader. When I heard about Andy’s blog problem I went there and discovered that in my cache, or somewhere, I could access 2 years worth of Andy’s blog posts and copy/paste them into a text file for him. At least he has 2 years of blogging saved. That’s how long I’ve been reading his blog, so that’s what I had. He’s been blogging there since 2004. Such a shame. Well shame on Google for letting this happen and making it impossible to get any help about it. You’ve been warned.