Say Goodbye

I expect that today was the last day of warm beach weather this year.  Tomorrow will be cloudy, maybe rainy, definitely cooler.  And it’s probably downhill from there.  So right after work today I drove directly to the beach, to Zandvoort.  It’s only about 35 minutes from office parking lot to beach parking lot.

There were lots of cars and people still enjoying the last of the sun.

I walked for almost an hour, north and then south, and by the time I was back to where I started it was getting a little hazy. The sun was heading down like the final curtain on summer’s stage.

Goodbye summer. I’ll miss you.

In Other News

This morning DB and I left the house at 8am to bike to the beach.  It was cool and a little drizzly when we left but the drizzle didn’t last long.

We biked our usual route to Parnassia beach, 10k door to door, through the dunes.  This year, because of the very mild winter, we see so many bunnies in the dunes! We must have seen 16-18 of them, without even trying, which is 10x more than usual.

The plan was to have drinks and croissants at the beach restaurant, then head back home right away.  We had a busy day ahead.  But we got there at 8:40 and they weren’t open yet.  So we went down to the beach and kicked a ball around for a while.  We found the ball on the beach.

It was so quiet! There were only dog people there, and us.  And even then only about a dozen people in total and just as many dogs.  The clouds were dark and impressive.

When we left, our bikes were still the only bikes in the parking area.  I’ve never seen it so quiet, even in the winter!

This afternoon we started getting ready for the big kitchen rebuilding.  We took everything out of the cabinets and put it all in plastic tubs and on the dining table.  Tomorrow we’ll empty the fridge and cover everything in plastic.  Monday morning begins two weeks of camping upstairs.  It’s going to be annoying, but the final result will be so worth it.  I’ll be sure to take in process photos during the 2 weeks.

Good-bye red kitchen! I won’t miss you at all!

Parnassia in May

We were at the beach before the crowds today.  Actually we were surprised at how quiet it was.  I went for a 5k run and DB sat at a table at Parnassia strandtent as he was recovering from a night with friends in Haarlem.  And his long run will be tomorrow.  Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day in the dunes and at the beach.

I did the usual 5k loop and even in that small distance I saw bunnies (too fast to photograph), 3 groups of highland cattle, 2 groups of wild horses, a shetland pony, lots of furry caterpillars, lots of birds and waterfowl.

I’m sure that tomorrow, Sunday, there will be traffic jams getting to the beach and back.  It’s a lovely place to come hang out or walk around or just sit and read or knit and drink coffee.  But come early or come by bike or train.  But definitely come.

Windy Beach Selfie

Windy Beach Selfie

Notice anything different on the blog?  New theme (again)? If that’s all you notice then I’ve done a good job of migrating from WordPress.org to WordPress.com.

Why did I bother?  Several reasons. Blogging became more of an IT chore than an enjoyable self expression exercise. I needed up upgrade myself.  And fight spam. And if I wanted to change the theme I had to worry myself about compatibility and quality of the theme. Not to mention paying for a host and worrying about backups.  All I want to do is make this blogging easy and fun.  If it’s not easy and fun I just won’t find the enthusiasm to continue.  I needed a change.

I looked into tumblr, which looks like a fantastic platform for simple blogging and the networking and social aspects look really interesting.  However, I couldn’t import my 6.5 YEARS worth of blog posts and I didn’t want to lose them or split them into two platforms. That would be stupid. Seems like I’m kind of invested now in WordPress.

So after playing around a bit yesterday with WordPress.com I decided to move everything over here and give this a try.  I exported and then imported all my posts and then I moved my domain name to point to this site and off we go! Easy peasy.

I’ve got this set up so that a copies is also posted at a tumblr blog for underdutchskies and also sends a tweet and Facebook post. I’m everywhere.

Let me know if you see anything strange, or anything you miss or even anything you like!

I’ve also decided that as of next weekend I’ll be posting a weekly Knitting News on Saturdays.  I might not always be specifically about knitting if I’ve been spending time sewing or other crafts, but it will be a craft focused post showing what I’ve been working on during the past week.  There is always crafty news.  I’m always crafting.

So, new year, new energy to carry on with the blog.  I hope you stick around to see how it develops!

(btw, the photo above was taken this morning at the beach (Parnassia). I’m wearing my lovely orange hat which I definitely needed!)

Windy Day at the Beach

Windy Day
Windy Day

As we often do on Sundays, we went to the beach and dunes for a run/walk.  He ran, I walked.  And I took some photos.  It was sunny and cold and very windy.

The wind made interesting relief sculptures out of small stones and shells.

wind sculptures

I haven’t seen any animals here for quite a while.  I don’t know where they are hiding! I see lots of sheep and cattle poop, but not the animals themselves.  I did find a hole in the side of a hill where I think the fox lives.  Maybe I’ll have to do a stakeout and see if he comes out.

trees in dunes
winter lake

Summer So Far

This has been the best summer weather we’ve had since I moved here 10 years ago.  At least in my opinion it’s the best.  Some people are complaining about the heat, but for me it’s wonderful to be able to actually wear summer clothes!  Normally I get my shorts out of the closet about 5 days per year.  Since the first of July we’ve had mostly sun and heat.

I’ve been biking to the beach a lot these days.  It’s helps that I’m unemployed.  OK, it helps to have the time for fun things, but there’s a definite down side (moola).  (And that is all coming to an end… more news later.)

Here are some sights from my trips around, on the bike and on foot, to the beach and back.

This little frog was seen on a street in Bloemendaal, during an early morning walk/run.

A typical sight here – Mom with a couple of kids, on bikes, going as fast as the kid’s little legs will go.

Parnassia, early Thursday morning.  Pretty quiet.  But it’s early still.

Wild horses hanging out in the noonday sun.  Seems like a hot place to be if you ask me.

Parnassia Friday morning 11:00am.  People streaming down to the beach.  The parking lot is sure to be full by now.

The horses and cattle have moved to the “lake”, now a watering hole for animals in the dunes.  Seems like a good place to be in this heat.

My last free days of summer will see more trips into the dunes, that’s for sure.  It’s been too warm for me to do any running.  These trips on the bike are all early in the morning.  We’re all trying to beat the heat.  And will remember these lovely summer days long into the cold dark winter to come.

Beat the Heat

We’ve been having a heat wave! Our weather has certainly gone from one extreme to the other.  Everyone has been heading to the beach this past week or so.  And so have we.  We try to beat the heat and beat the crowds by going early.  For example, this morning we biked to the beach and got there around 9am.  Here’s what it looked like:

DB went for a run.  I sat at the cafe at Parnassia and had coffee and a croissant and did some knitting….

When DB finished his run we went down to the beach and hung out for a while.  We dunked ourselves in the sea.  When we left at 11:30 the same part of the beach looked like this….

And people were pouring down to the beach.  We were salmon swimming against the tide as we walked up the hill to leave.  While biking home we passed this handsome swan family.  I thought I should take their picture.

Tomorrow should be cooler.  I’m planning to do some yarn dyeing so it had better be cooler!  I’m hoping for rain tonight so I don’t have to water the garden tomorrow.  Stay tuned….

Winter Wonderland

This morning DB wanted to go running on soft ground, and given that the ground everywhere was covered in ice and sleety snow, he asked if I would drive him to the beach so he could run there.  My first thought was that I would sit in the warm cafe at Parnassia and drink hot chocolate and knit while he ran (I’m still injured and not running).  After driving through the dunes to Parnassia and seeing how beautiful everything looked covered in a fine dusting of white, I decided instead to go for a walk and take photos.  Of course I hadn’t thought to bring my big camera, but my iPhone takes pretty darned good photos if you ask me.

I didn’t walk very far – about 15 minutes out and 15 minutes back, plus some photography time.  DB and I got back to Parnassia at about the same time.  We got in the car and drove back home.  Once again I’m so happy and grateful that I live only 10 minutes by car from the beach.  How lucky am I?

Here are some more photos from the morning.  The sun is still shining bright and it’s cold and crisp outside.  These are winter days that I love.

Parnassia in the Snow

Yesterday afternoon DB wanted to go for a run.  All the sidewalks were snowy and icy so the only place to easily and safely run was at the beach.  I’m still down with this dreadful cold so my contribution to the event was playing taxi.  I really wanted to go to the beach anyway.  It felt like a long time since I was at the beach and I missed it.

We had a break from wet weather yesterday.  It was sunny all day.  Cold, but sunny.  We didn’t get to Parnassia until about 2:30pm and by 3pm the sun was sinking fast and the shadows were long.  It was so nice to walk on the beach and take a few photos.

The photo above was taken from outside the Parnassia cafe, just above the beach, looking south.  The photo below is looking north.  In the distance you can see IJmuiden.  The air was so clean and clear that everything seemed closer than usual.

DB ran for 45 minutes.  I walked for 30 minutes.  Hopefully I’ll soon feel up to running too.

End of Summer

You’d never know that last weekend we had summer-like weather and had to smear on sunscreen all weekend.  Gone.  All gone.  This morning I went to the beach to walk and take photos.  I took my big camera for a change.

I parked at Bloemendaal, where I took the above photo.  You can see that they are starting to tear down the summer restaurants.  Here too, a little further up the beach:

You can see how grey the morning was.  It was windy, but it wasn’t cold.  I walked up the beach to Parnassia.  It was a lot more lively than Bloemendaal, for one reason only….. DOGS!

There were little bitty dogs

Funny dogs:

and really really BIG dogs:

Herds of dogs, such as

6 Golden Labs owned by one family

3 Bernese Mountain dogs owned by one man and his son

2 very large poodle looking dogs owned by one couple

There was the very proud dog owner.  This man was smiling ear to ear with his little dog.  He was busy making movies of the dog fetching a stick.  Ahhhhh.

Eventually I ran out of dog beach and doubled back to head up into the dunes from Parnassia.  I figured, I wasn’t running, I needed the exercise, I already had my camera with me, so go into the dunes and walk to the little lake and see what you find.

The first thing I found was a herd of horses.  These wild horses roam around the dunes, north to south.  I don’t know if they are ever moved around by people or if they belong to anyone besides the National Park (this being Kennemer National Park).  I hadn’t seen them for nearly the whole summer.

And then there were the trees and flowers and grasses of the dunes:

As you can see in the last 2 photos, the sun finally did come out by the end of my walk.  And by the end of my walk I was TIRED!  I had not intended to walk for nearly 2 hours, but once you are that far from your car you have no choice but to walk back.  I often have this problem.  I want to walk farther and farther and I deny to myself that getting back will be long and tiring.  I always make it back though.

When I left the house I was feeling kind of bad because I wasn’t running or biking.  I felt like a lazy slug, taking the car and a camera.  But by the time I had walked all that way through sand and hills, I realized how good it was for me and how well it cleared my head.  And I have the photos as a bonus!