Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring has sprung so time for a spuddle...

This last week has seen that sudden flick of the switch from winter to spring. It's odd how that can happen overnight, isn't it? Last weekend, it was still cold and I was wearing my immersion heater winter coat, as well as a scarf and hat, without feeling I was overdoing it at all. But then on Tuesday it all changed and spring shouted its welcome from the mast tops.

On Wednesday morning, we were up early so that Koos could go and do his duty as a citizen and vote (I can't as I don't have Dutch citizenship, not yet anyway). I won't go too deeply into the complexities of Dutch politics here, but suffice to say there were around twenty one parties on the ticket. Of those, there are about ten big ones and the rest are small, particular interest groups; for example, the party for older people, which focuses on pensioners rights etc. In the Dutch system, all have them have the chance of gaining a seat in parliament, but despite my interest in how it all works, it still foxes me at times. Nevertheless, I think that because of the issues at stake this time, the turnout was impressive. - over 80%! Anyway, the weather was glorious and we were able to have the hatch open for the first time in months, the downside of which was I saw all the dust in corners I don't usually notice. So while Koos was away, I did some much needed smooshing, both outside and in.

On Thursday, it was even better. The sky was cloudless and the air sweet. I looked out of the hatch at the Oude Haven and fell in love with it all over again. It really is a special and lovely place to be, and for this time in March, it was a deliciously warm and balmy day.

My view from the hatch - such blue, blue sky

Dew on the deck - this time last year there
was ice instead!
With this in sight, I decided that it was THE day for a first spuddle in the rowing boat - an occasion that we greet with much enthusiasm every year. Last year's didn't take place until early May, so we are more than a month and a half ahead.

Last year's first spuddle - 5 May with the trees in leaf
Of course, opportunity is everything and it may well be there were days last year when we could have done it before May, but just didn't have time. Anyhow, yesterday was the day this year, so as I only had to teach in the afternoon, I spent the morning cleaning out the little boat, after which I invited my daughter and her boyfriend to join us after work. We had two sets of oars and set off with great gusto; an easy enough accomplishment given that we had the impression were rowing on a slack tide.

The forward team cracking on
Once we were through the bridge we made great pace going upstream along the neighbouring harbour, Haringvliet, and had a lovely view of the ships. Koos was in good form yelling neighbourly greetings to all and sundry and almost deafening me in the process, but it was all great fun.

The Haringvliet
We even played the fool a bit, pretending to get snooty with each other and everyone else too, as captured by one of the forward team.


Koos and I playing the fool
But then we had to turn round and go back. Did I say something about a slack tide? Well, it was still coming in, so no wonder we raced upstream. Going back was an exercise in fortitude and endurance, not helped by Koos' ribald comments that had us going every which way and quite frequently in circles! Still we made it eventually and congratulated ourselves on a greatly enjoyable start of the spuddle season.

Oh and by the way, the elections turned out to be no table-turning of the status quo or the move towards extremism we'd feared, which was definitely a relief. Now we await the negotiations for who else will make up the coalition government. That's when the fun starts!

15 comments:

  1. Delightful, as always, Val! What a great change in weather. Adventures away! Let the spuddling season begin...that way we get to read more about it!

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    1. Thank you, dear Stephanie! I hope there will be plenty more spuddles to come :)

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  2. Have you visited the various dictionaries on-line and looked the various meanings/ attributes to from Spuddle to spuddling to spuddled ? No well I think you need to nudge, nudge wink wink.

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    1. I have indeed, Mel, but this one's stuck and so we're sticking to it :)

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  3. What a lovely, happy post Val, really full of the joys of spring. You use such delightful language and I love the words smooch and spuddle. Glad the elections went well, wishing you a very happy spring xx

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Angela! Spring is my favourite season!

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  4. Such a happy post. As I lay here with the wind howling around me and a large furry blanket over me I too can reminisce about the heady days of spring last week! Have a good weekend xxx

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    1. I have just realised I nicked your title, totally unintentional, sorry (although great minds think alike!) xxx

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    2. Ah Fran, it's not mine so you didn't nick it from me, dearest...I nicked it from the rich pool of sayings we have too. Now I shall read yours! Xxx

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  5. Replies
    1. As continuous cruisers, I suppose you don't need to spuddle, do you, Carol? Or maybe that's continuous spuddling :)

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  6. Spuddle is such a lovely word - does it only apply to pottering about in boats or can us landlubbers find a meaning for it too!

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    1. It is a lovely word, isn't it, Jo? I think I owe it to my brother originally. He was always adapting words to his own use. I'm afraid the dictionary's definition isn't so nice as it's a sort of bickering, but I have chosen to ignore that :)

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  7. Oh, goody, I see the yellow Cubist buildings :))
    It sure looks like Spring has Sprung early this year, and a spuddle about is a fine way to celebrate. What fun you two are having in that last photo! Enjoy the sunshine!

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    1. I'm afraid the sun has gone now, Patricia, but I planted some spring flowers today, so hopefully it will be back soon!

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