Case File #113
I should have seen this coming… In hindsight it was the logical conclusion to all the stories I shared about my Speculoos addiction… but I didn’t see it coming.
It all started on a normal day like any other. There was no reason to suspect it was going to be any different. I woke up, got ready for work, took the train and walked into the office. Nothing was out of the ordinary so far.
But then, as I approached my desk, I did discover something out of the ordinary. I discovered this…
A single jar of Crunchy Speculoos Sandwich Spread. No note. No name. Nothing to indicate where or whom it had came from. It was a mystery, a mystery jar of Crunchy Speculoos Sandwich Spread.
The mere presence of this jar raised so many questions. Where did it come from? Who is my mysterious Speculoos benefactor? Is it a gift of friendship from someone who wishes to remain anonymous (a shy admire maybe) or is it a warning from a hidden foe? Someone who has had enough of me saying Speculoos instead of Speculaas? Is there a greater game a foot here? Could this single jar of Speculoos only be the beginning of a complex game of cat and mouse? It will take all my deductive reasoning to solve this mystery…
There would be easier ways but apparently interrogating co-workers is “against company policy” so deductive reasoning it is.
First let us look at the clues we have available to us. We know that this mystery person is aware of my Speculoos addiction given the very specific nature of the gift they chose to leave on my desk. From this we can deduce the mystery man or woman reads this very blog. We can also deduce that they are someone who has access to my office. Perhaps they are someone I work alongside every day, perhaps they bribed a security guard to gain entrance, or perhaps they used the stealth of nightfall to break in undetected. Unfortunately this still leaves a wide variety of suspects.
Luckily our mystery supplier has slipped up. The biggest clue can be obtained from the jar itself if you look very carefully at the photo. Do you see it? It’s right there, staring us in the face… Studying this jar we know without a shadow of a doubt the fiendishly clever mastermind behind this while mystery… shops at The Jumbo!
Unfortunately as a civilian I am apparently not allowed to demand security camera footage from all the Jumbo grocery stores in the Amsterdam area. This sadly means that this clue is another dead end unless I start stalking co-workers to find out where they shop (which is also against company policy and I have been requested to stop doing).
But perhaps the jar has more clues to reveal to us. Upon dusting the jar for finger prints I was able to discover several distinguishing marks!
And a very clear finger print…
But again, unfortunately I do not have access to a finger print database to identify them and sending an email to all@office requesting that they submit their finger prints to me is also against company policy (what are they trying to hide?).
With no more leads to follow I must sadly close this investigation for now. However, it has not been a total loss. With my considerable detective skills I have been able to deduce that the suspect is a person who reads the internet, might be someone I work with, shops and The Jumbo and has fingers!
For now the identity of my mysterious Speculoos benefactor remains unknown but the net is slowly closing. One day I will find them… or maybe they will make themselves known. It is only a matter of time.
This cartoon first appeared in the September/October edition of DUTCH:The Magazine
, a bi-monthly magazine for Dutch descendants and expats living in Canada.
I have some very exciting news to share with you this week. I’ve been working on a new t-shirt design based on some of your suggestions and it is finally ready. Now you can show off the progression of your integration into (the often confusing) Dutch culture with the ‘Integration 75% Complete’ t-shirt (assuming that you are at 75% or there abouts).
There is a male (grey) and female v-neck (purple) version of this t-shirt which are both available through the webshop or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. They cost 19.50 each.
As I walk through a particularly busy part of Amsterdam on my lunch break I notice two girls across the street. I’d seen them there several times before, every day in fact. They were always standing outside the shop where they work, both wearing aprons and holding a plate of free samples which they would offer to passers-by.
At this particular moment on this particular day they had attracted the curiosity of a short middle age couple who were walking towards them. One of the girls notices this, holds her plate a little lower and asks if they would like a free sample. The man who seems the most interested picks up one of the free samples and sniffs it cautiously.
Between them the two girls start to happily explain what it is and that their shop sells a lot more of them inside when suddenly he does something that (it seems) neither of them were expecting; he takes a great big bite.
There is a sudden look of horror on the girls’ faces. The man simply looks confused. The two girls suddenly start talking very fast, trying to stop him from doing it again. They are too late. As if in hope that the taste might get better with a second try he takes another bite.
But the taste does not get any better because these two girls are not giving out free samples of cake or sweets or anything else tasty or edible for that matter. No. They are giving out free samples of soap.
The man slowly starts to chew.
Suddenly realizing that he is a tourist who does not speak any Dutch or English, the two girls resort to sign language. One of them starts to frantically mime bathing with an imaginary bar of soap while the other repeats the word ‘soap’ over and over again in a desperate attempt to stop him swallowing.
This only results in the tourist looking even more confused as he tries to work out what on earth these two very strange girls are doing and why they would have given him such terrible tasting candy.
Eventually he decides that he has tried enough. He spits the mouthful back into his hand and shakes his head apologetically at the two girls as if to say sorry but in his opinion their baking is not very good. He walks off, talking to his wife in a foreign language (probably about the strange eating habits of other countries) and throws the sample in a nearby bin.
The girls, looking slightly stressed, breathe a sigh of relief.
I carry on walking down the street, chuckling to myself.
A few days later I returned to pick up my own sample for this photo. The first thing one of the girls said to me was, “Do you speak English? Don’t eat this. It’s not food.” It seems they are not keen to repeat the incident with the soap snacking tourist.
Camping is extremely dangerous. Not many people realize this but it is. Explorers of undiscovered jungles and unclimbed mountains have some understanding of the hazards involved but even they have never faced anything as dangerous or deadly as a family camping holiday on an ordinary (already discovered) Dutch camping site. If they had they would never want to look at a tent ever again and would most likely give up their adventurous life in favour of a much safer career.
Camping is extremely dangerous! Especially when you are an accident prone Englishman like me!
It all happened on what first appeared to be a nice sunny day (mainly because it was). My wife, daughter and I were enjoying a very Dutch holiday in our newly purchased second hand caravan. Everything seemed to be going fine until I undertook a very dangerous and foolish task… trying to find some shade!
Don’t laugh. Men have died trying to achieve less.
To be more specific I was attempting to put up a sun umbrella so we could enjoy breakfast in the shade. Unfortunately, the sun umbrella was not as enthusiastic about this idea as I was. In fact, it was being extremely stubborn about it and preferred to stay firmly closed. No matter how hard I tried to force it open it simply refused to budge. It continued to show its stubbornness and unwillingness to do its job for several minutes as I pushed and pulled and struggled and generally lost a battle with an inanimate object. That is until it very suddenly and unexpectedly gave in and popped open.
I was about to cheer triumphantly but a not so triumphant collection of swear words shouted in quick succession came out of my mouth instead. This was because the sun umbrella, unhappy about being forced open, had decided to let it’s feelings on the subject be know by slicing the palm of my hand open in the process (thus adding to my very extensive collection of personal scars).
I finally had my shade but for some reason I was finding it a little difficult to enjoy the victory as I bled all over the ground from the large hole in my hand. Maybe it was because the first aid kit suddenly seemed a lot more important.
This particular first aid kit looked like it had not been opened since the 80’s. Luckily it still contained everything we needed to treat my injury; disinfecting alcohol (hurt like hell), plasters, bandages, and various other medical supplies. At the very bottom of the box it also contained (rather worryingly) four screws! I couldn’t really figure out what kind of first aid emergency would require four screws but I was very glad that my injury (which suddenly seemed a lot less severe) did not. I can only guess that someone had borrowed the bone saw and forgotten to return it.
As we bandaged up my hand, just to add insult to injury, the sun disappeared behind a cloud. A short while later the sun umbrella fell over.
Over the course of the next few days I discovered that some things are very hard to do when one of your hands is tightly wrapped in bandages. For example; I was only able to apply sun screen to one side of my body (which could have resulted in a very distinctive sun tan if my wife had not been there to help). Whereas things like cleaning up spillages became considerably easier (but not very medically hygienic).
But the main thing I learned is; camping is very dangerous!