27 Jun

Today our young guest writer Alex de Leeuw shares with us the fun he had sailing this weekend. A few months ago Alex helped us fixed the boat and we finally got to test it out on the water. Since Alex is Dutch I have translated his story into English for him.


“Zijn wij er bijna?”
Vandaag was ik heel vrolijk, want we reden naar de haven…

“Are we there yet?”
Today I was very excited because we drove to the harbour…

… zodat wij konden gaan varen met de boot.

… so that we could go sailing with the boat. Yay!

Wij gingen het water op en ik was de eerste matroos.

We went out on the water and I was the first mate.

“Dat is heel veel water. Zou er ook vis in zitten?”

“That is a lot of water. I wonder if there are any fish.”

“Dag vissen. Zijn jullie daar? Nee?”
Ik heb geen vissen gezien, maar ik weet zeker dat ze er waren.

“Hello fishes. Are you there? No?”
I did not see any fishes but I’m sure they were there.

Daarna ben ik in de mast geklommen, zodat ik het hele meer kon zien…

Next I climbed the mast so I could see the whole lake…

… en toen heb ik gekeken of ik ook piraten boten kon vinden. Ik denk dat ze zich verstopt hebben.

… and check for pirate ships but I didn’t see any. They must have been hiding too.

Toen gebeurde er iets heel engs. Ik viel bijna in het water.
“Aahh! Laat me niet in het water vallen! Misschien zitten er wel haaien!”

Then something really scary happened. I almost fell in the water.
“Aahh! Don’t let me fall in the water! There might be sharks!”

De rest van de reis moest ik dus een reddingsvest aan.

So I had to wear a life jacket for the rest of the trip…

… maar ik mocht wel aan het roer.

…but I got to steer the boat.

Aan het einde van de dag wees ik de weg naar de haven.
“Deze kant op.”

At the end of the day I guided us back to the harbour.
“It’s this way.”

… en hielp ik met het opruimen van de boot.
“Ik denk dat ik hulp kan gebruiken.”

…and helped tidy up the boat before going home.
“I might need some help.”

(Special thanks to Ladybird for the translation and who also has more about this trip)

21 Jun

Summer Ransom

Dear Holland,

I am holding your summer captive. If you ever want to see it again you will meet with my demands. If my demands are not met you will never get to wear that new bikini you just bought to the beach. I know you are Dutch and will most likely go to the beach in the freezing cold anyway but you know what I mean.

To prove to you that I am serious I have enclosed ten minutes of partly sunny weather between out bursts of rain, just enough to make you think wearing shorts was a good idea this morning.

Now that I have your attention my demands are as follows:

1) My own windmill.
2) A canal named after me.
3) A lifetime’s supply of Speculoos.
4) Tea to be served as god intended, with milk and sugar.
5) A pair of clogs (size 41).
6) My upstairs neighbours to stop having loud noisy ‘intimate time’.
7) A very large wheels of cheese.

An address for a drop of point will be sent later.

Do not call the cops. If I see any cops your summer will become a victim of ‘global warming’ if you know what I mean and that large amount of money you just spent on that air conditioning installation will become a very poor investment indeed.

Kind regards
The kidnapper

17 Jun

Some of you might have been wondering what I do for a day job. Am I Superhero? A ninja? A pirate? A spy? A super hero ninja pirate spy? Well I can finally reveal what I have been doing to pay the rent for the last few months because my latest project has been announced:

I’m a designer on the Killzone computer game franchise. That’s right, I get to play computer games and call it research.

8 Jun

Once you have become familiar with the sounds of the Dutch language in any way it becomes a very easy language to recognize and once you can recognize it you will realize it is impossible to escape the Dutch. They are everywhere. No matter which far away country you run to you will find them or they will find you.

This was something I was reminded of during my holiday to Scotland last summer. Everywhere I went the Dutch were there and I don’t just mean this because I was traveling with my Dutch girlfriend.

At first it did not come as a surprise when we heard Dutch amongst the other multitude of languages being spoken in our Edinburgh and Glasgow hostels. We did not go a single day without hearing the familiar throat clearing sound of the Dutch language from unknown Dutch people.

However, when we went even higher north into the highlands of Fort Williams and we were still hearing Dutch I started to wonder if I should get a restraining order.

One evening while we were enjoying a quite meal in an Indian restaurant I spotted a couple approaching the menu in the window for a read. From the way the man was dressed I got the strong impression that he was Dutch. I quickly dismissed this theory since it was possible that fashion had simply gotten that colorful and that bad in the rest of the world.

However, I quickly discovered I was right the first time when a short while later they entered the restaurant and spoke to the waiter in an accent so thick that I thought they were about to order a tandoori stamppot (I breathed a sigh of relief for the fashion sense of the rest of the world).

The following day we visited Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland. I felt pretty confident that it would be just us, some sheep and the odd Scotsman. We had not been at the summit for five minutes before I heard a child shouting, “Mama, kijk,” several times as he expressed his absolute surprise (and maybe fear) at being (a) above sea level and (b) on a vertically inclining surface steeper and higher than a speed bump (more commonly known as a hill).

Maybe that was it. Maybe we had never actually arrived in Scotland. Maybe we were actually in some rare part of Holland that had hills.

During the train trip from Scotland to London (which was starting to feel more and more like it was for the purposes of escaping the Dutch) we were still surrounded by Dutch couples speaking their native tongue.

By the time we arrived in London to stay with my parents I had heard so much Dutch that I would not have battered an eye lash if they had greeted us with, “Dag. Hoe gaat het?”

2 Jun

“Wat is dat?” asked my girlfriend’s three year old cousin as she pointed to the image of a brightly coloured sheep.

“Het is een schaap.” I informed her.

We were sitting on the sofa of her parent’s cabin as she proudly showed me her new story book and inquisitively asked me the names of all the animals within.

“En wat is dat?” She asked pointing to another smiling animal.

I didn’t know the answer so I tried to cover by telling her the English name. “Er… het is een duck.”

She responded by looked at me with the kind of confusion only a three year olds can pull off, the kind where they just stare at you in the vain hope that you will make sense and stop being strange.

She quickly realize that I probably would not be making sense anytime soon so she decided to correct me instead, “Het is een eend,” and then point to another animal, “wat is dat?”

“Ik weet het niet.” I confessed this time, deciding to go for the honest approach.

“Het is een koe.” She informed me like a teacher correcting her student.

And then, since questions about farm yard livestock seemed to be too complex she continued to identify them for me;

“En dit is een konijn.”

It was while she pointed to each animal that I realized…

“En dit is een geit.”

…she was no longer doing for her own amusement or benefit…

“En dit is een haan”

…it was for mine.

“En dit is een varken.”

This is how I ended up being taught Dutch by a three year old.