Monday, June 30, 2008


I've never been in a bumper bashing (well, not outside my parent's driveway anyway), but today I had my first ve-hic-ular accident. I hit another bike. I hit it good.

He was coming from the opposite direction, turning left. I was going straight, with the intention of turning left after him. He turned in front of me and stopped at the traffic light. Unfortunately, whether he knew it or not, his back wheel was still in the bike path - I didn't have a choice, there was no time for me to stop or swerve - I hit his backwheel so hard that spokes dislodged and the frame bent.

I felt terrible and said so - but he was having none of it. It was my fault, I was stupid, I was blind, I hadn't even tried to stop. In fact, as far as he was concerned I had aimed. Again I apologised, and then pointed out that he had actually cut in front of me, was on my side of the road and hadn't left anywhere for me to go. This, of course, unleashed another tirade of abuse.

Sitting in the middle of intersecting bike paths, at peak hour, meant that our accident and my verbal bashing was becoming an obstructing spectacle. So I suggested we move to the pavement. He carried on cursing me and inspecting his bike. I started to wheel my bike around to the pavement. He decided I was making a runner for it, so he grabbed my arm and handlebars to pull me back.

"You're not going anywhere!" he shouted.
"I'm moving out of the way, you fucking arsehole!" I raised my voice in response. Classy.

With such a crowd of spectators and after his verbal - and bordering on physical - abuse, I was then surrounded by three very protective men who had witnessed at least the latter part of the incident. One giant of a gentleman made it very clear that he would be staying by my side until I said otherwise. I appreciated that and I hope that the aggressor felt like a tit. He certainly looked it.

The aggressor tried to tell my bodyguard in Dutch what a klote idioot I was, because I hadn't even looked before ploughing into him. I responded in Dutch, and defended myself, again, in English. My bodyguard responded in English and suggested that we keep the correspondence to English. I appreciated that too.

I do feel bad for the guy's bike. Not for him. It was mortifying to get shouted at so publicly. I know it fucked up his evening, but it sure as hell fucked up mine too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

What not to iron

Yesterday, I ironed my hip bone.

It's like this, you see... I was getting dressed to go out for the day. I had also been out not-celebrating Oranje the night before. Anywho. So I selected shirt and jeanpants, but as usual, my outfit assembly took a while. So having got as far as brassiere and thongie-thing, I then decided that my selected shirt was in need of ironing. Yes, it probably would've been better to simply select another top, but who ever did things the easy way?

Anywho, so ironing board out, iron on, I get so enraptured in my task (and possibly a bit distracted by something on TV) that I don't notice when I step on the iron cord. Iron cord pulls taut, hot iron nudges in towards self. On to exposed hip flesh.

"Oh goodness gracious, sweet mother of an innocent child," I exclaimed with my characteristic and dainty restraint.

I have since then been nursing a blistered line in a rather indiscreet region.

Poor me.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No further comment

I still don't think that Russia should even by playing in the European Cup.
The disappointment last night was palpable. I shouldn't have such an affinity for the oranje jongens, but you know... there are just no words for the game last night.

Letter from Den Haag

Dear Bob

How's life in the world of despotic, rabid ruling? Violently badgered any opposition members lately? Ag, just kidding, hey... but I know your wicked sense of humour would appreciate the image. Saw you on telly the other day... you look fit and healthy, no traces of rolling eyeballs or frothing at the mouth, despite the other indications.
Anywho Bob, I was thinking of sending you a postcard, but am not sure how well the postal system is holding up in Zim, so here's an electronic picture of the Vredespaleis in The Hague. It's where the International Court of Justice is housed. It's prettier than the ICC (International Criminal Court) buildings, so I thought I'd brighten up this social letter. Now, I can hear you thinking out loud, why is she going on about these buildings in a country far away, in the land of the colonial oppressors? Ag, no particular reason, they're just two buildings where a number of international war criminals, genocide perpetrators and state tyrants have ended up. But not before killing off a few thousand of their minions each, so not to worry from your side!


Just thought I'd pop you a line to say keep fighting the good fight. I can see from the international news that you're catching quite a lot of heat at the moment. Hard to believe that everyone is ganging up on you like that. After all you've done. Hang in there, in just a short few months, the land will be completely bare of all resources and signs of life - and then it will be yours. All yours. And you will have won!

As a matter of interest, is there a name to your strategy? I know the Russians had the "scorched earth" technique during WWII, so perhaps yours will be known as the "destroy and implode" policy? Maybe you should start pushing the phrase now, so you'll be credited with the inception and naming of it. I don't mind, you can have full rights to the phrase - you've earned it.

Okay, Bob, I know you're a busy man - what with the arrival of all that ammunition from China, so I'll leave you to it. (By the way, I'm sorry that Sky News got hold of that story, it my great-auntie who leaked the news internationally - a little bit awkward at the time, but we're working through it.)


ps. the moustache rocks. Never give in.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

EK HotShots

In de rust van elke EK wedstrijd, kunnen iedereen Hotshots Lingerie op Veronica kijken. Twaalf vrouwenlijke teams bestaande uit vijf schaarsgeklede babes penalty's tegen elkaar*.... much to the delight of every male football supporter.

The beauty of this competition is the camera work. Chicks in bras and undies, clearly not selected on sporting prowess, taking 'shots' at each other. The camera focusses on bums and cleavages, regardless of where the ball goes (or doesn't go). If it were in England, they would be called "glamour models" (lit: prepared to take their kit off on camera). You can meet all the team members, here, if you feel so inclined.

The highlight on Hotshots this evening was the male streaker dashing across the penalty area. The conscientious producers at Veronica diligently blanked out the offender's face, but not his dangling gear. No ID parade, but there you go kiddies - full frontal nudity in prime time TV hours.

I love the cloggies.

*My attempt at Dutch: Between each European Championship game, everyone gets to watch Hotshots Lingerie on VeronicaTV. Twelve female teams consisting of five scarcely clothed babes take penalties against each other...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ghent, Belgium

Mills and I went for a random weekend away in Ghent, Belgium. A beautiful city with medival/renaissance buildings. You can really see the French and Dutch influence... literally, one building will look like a Parisian home, the next has a pointed roof and gables.

The historic centre is really small, but has about 4 cathedrals and a castle, so plenty to see on the weekend. Ghent is often done with a visit to Brugge as well, but we decidedly to just relax and enjoy Ghent (it is half an hour closer to Den Haag and Brugge is apparently the European equivalent of a tourist village, and therefore more crowded. Ghent is more 'authentic', sneer the locals...)

It really was lovely - we stayed in a hotel just across from Castle Gravensteen, which used to house the Counts of Flanders and various other VIPs from the 1100s on. Every room in the castle seems to have some historic link to torture, even the abbey was at one stage used to 'contain' and get confessions from prisoners. There was a whole collection of medieval torture tools that absolutely turned my gut. Naaaasty stuff.

Walking through town was pleasant enough, although the weather didn't help, with random downpours that lasted 10-20 minutes at time. We tried to avoid them by stopping for a bite or some coffee each time it started raining, but our attempts were foiled by the rain gods - it would generally stop raining just as our food had arrived, then start raining again 5 minutes after stepping off on our walking tour...

It did not help that I had beautifully straightened my hair that morning, in an attempt to look nice for our planned romantic dinner later that day. Please understand that straightening my hair is not something to be taken lightly. It requires pre-preparation and reliable weather forecasts. Downpours of rain that wet the hair, then dry patches where the weather warms up, followed by downpour and dry patch (rinse and repeat) adds frizz upon frizz layer to my carefully 'straightened' hair, until eventually I look like a frothy capaccino. This weather led to a mild princess fit on my behalf, where I went off to the hotel room to regroup and Mills went off in another direction (any where other than where I was going) and returned with a placative offering of Belgium chocolates. Clever boy.

The next day was more of the same - more gothic cathedrals and medieval revisiting. More dry weather mixed with thundershowers. The fact that we had an umbrella with us did little to help our relationship... as Confucious would say, "one brolley a couple half happy does make". Or something similar. When Mills was controlling the umbrella, I had to walk with my body at 45degree angles and when I was controlling the umbrella... well, it was perfect, but he was muttering something and I wasn't really listening.

As the sky got darker and the rain got heavier, we decided to make our way back to the hotel for the final time. With the umbrella pulled as close to our heads as possible (TOO close - I felt like the spokes were growing out of my spinal column), and both of us trying to walk in different directions around puddles and piles of horse and/or dog poo, we were not making ground quickly. About 100m from our hotel it really started tipping down and we found shelter underneath scaffolding set up along the road. It seemed a good enough option, and we certainly weren't alone in our sanctuary. I noticed that we were actually down a slope from the road and even remember thinking that it was amazing that there was no water running underneath our feet....

...with that the weather gods weighed in again. The wind changed direction and rain started slanting directly into us. We had no where to go but sideways, and were now getting just as wet as if we had been standing in the middle of the bloody square opposite us. And it was now starting to flood under our feet. Quickly.

As the wind whipped around us, the umbrella went tits up (literally) and we decided we had nothing for it but to run to the hotel. It was just around the corner. Mills and I took off, to the delight of onlookers, safe in their residential shelter. Bastards. Halfway across the square, it started to hail. Hard.

By the time we squelched into the hotel we looked like we had just swum up the nearby river. But I'm glad we could amuse the locals as we squelched and squealed our way across that sodden square in the mother of all hailstorms.

Belgium - good food, good chocolates, shit weather.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Warning: there is going to be lots of orange in this post.

We're in the throws of the European Championship (EK, for Dutch locals), which means that everyone and everything has gone orange. Everything.

Orange flags, posters, promotions at every turn in every shop... they have a term for occassions such as this: Oranjegekte. Some buildings paint their entrances orange, and streets compete for the most orange decorations. This is not a drill; this is nation puts the fanatic into fan.

My personal favourite is the brul shirt that can be purchased at Blokker stores nationwide (click on the advert link in the website for the full affect). It's orange, obviously, and has a giant face of a lion on the front. But the shirt is deceptive... underneath the lion is another layer of material, when flipped open it becomes the lion's mouth.

Awesome. I really have to get me one of those shirts.

Mills has got his heart set on a Trom-Pet from Heineken. It's a drumming hat. See video link. I stand firm in my objection.

Oranje's recent trouncing of Italy has only upped the excitement. Bring on the NL-French game tomorrow... I can't wait to hear the trom-pet's drumming through the streets. Again.

I heard that the last time Oranje won the EK, there was a massive street party - with cheers erupting everytime the traffic lights changed to... orange. I can believe it.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Gym bunnies

Mills and I have joined a fancy-shmancy new gym. Everything is computerised, and our personalised gym programmes are memorised on a computer chip.

I'm not much of a gym bunny at the best of times, so the little memory stick does come in handy - it tells you at the beginning of the sessions exactly what you should be doing, how many sets on each apparatus, how long on the bike/treadmill etc.

At each apparatus, you insert your computer stick and the programme automatically loads for you. For the weight machines, it tells you what weight you should be on, how many you have left (handy for people like me who stop counting after seven), whether you should be doing them faster or slower and if you're over-extending, etc.

The bikes and other cardio machines all have TV sets in them, with headphones for each gym user. When you change from bike to treadmill, for example, the TV jumps to the channel that you were watching on the last machine. Like I said, shmancy.

Beautiful and simple, right? You get your programme set up for you by a personal trainer, they load it onto your memory stick; all you have to insert memory chip and you're off for your training session...

And it works just fine when Mills uses it. But when I use it, things go awry.

"Invalid selection" was my favourite on the leg press yesterday. What selection? There is no selection to make, you insert key, you do the sets. Somehow my computer chip decided that I had made the wrong decision.

Put it down to technical fluke. I move to the abductor machine. I start the first of my sets. One, two, three... beep beep beep. The computer informs me that after three crunches, my 2 sets are complete. Huh?

The really annoying thing is that at the end, the clever computer tallies up your results and plots them on a pretty graph, compared to what you should be doing. Because it didn't register two of my exercises, I have 'underperformed'. Computer says NO.

Still... I'll try to keep it up, I do quite enjoy watching cable movies on the bike.

Back home from the gym, I pounced on my boyfriend in a playful and energetic way (no euphamism on pounced, it's quite literal. I generally wait until he's watching his favourite program on TV). In my enthusiasm, my foot managed to knock over the full jug of water HE had left on the side table next to the couch. Full jug of water toppled off table and onto, over and under the extension cord and plugs next to it.

During the clean up operations that followed, Mills and I had the following debate: Who's to blame for this?

He maintains: Koekie did it, Koekie should take responsibility. End of story.
I maintain: Mills failed to Koekie-proof the house. After 6 years, Mills really should know better than to leave a full jug of water near my play area. Mills should be blamed.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bag lady

The other day, I was going through my handbag, frantically searching for my minty Body Shop lip balm (shimmery, but not glittery, because that's a different lip balm, also somewhere in the bag). Of course, my lip stuff had all filtered down to the bottom, so I was forced to do a inventory check on my lap...

This is what I pulled out of my bag:

My wallet
My camera phone
My camera
Mills's camera
Two pens
One pair of shoes
One scarf
A book
A box of headache tablets
A box of muscle relaxants/cramp tablets
Two plasters
A handful of tampoons
Mouth ulcer cream
Foot blister plasters
Make up travel kit
One stack of chewing gum
(one chewed gum in a used tissue, yes... disgusting)
One box of chewy sweets
One comb
A multitude of hairbands and hairclips
Two lipsticks (different colours for different purposes)
One lipstick/lipbalm (depends which end of the stick you're using)
One lipice
Two glitter lipbalms (one for night, one for day wear)
One tub of Zambuk
One tub of vaseline
A packet of tissues
One tube of handcream
Business card holder
A travel guide of Paris
My house keys
Mills's house keys

...But no minty shimmery Body Shop lipbalm. Damn, I must've left that in my other hand bag.

The really scary thing is that, apart from the cameras and Paris travelguide, it wasn't actually that different from my daily handbag contents. My day-to-day inventory generally includes a change of shoes (heels vs flat, open vs closed toes... you just never know) and a scarf (cos you never know when that North Sea wind is going to kick up). My daily handbag will also most likely include a 'brat pack' - some biscuits or a snackbar to keep the irritable nibbles at bay.

And my handbag isn't even that big.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

French Open 2008

My family aren't huge rugby fans. Sure, we would watch a game of national importance, but our Saturdays were never dominated by the the Super 10/12/14 etc. But tennis... that's a different barrel of balls.

So when I got to go to the French Open this weekend, I was like a 6-year-old on E. Tennis, tennis, tennis at Roland Garros. ROCK ON!

We headed down to Paris by car in a group of 12 on Saturday morning. Spent the afternoon wandering around gay Parrreeee and ended up in an awesome little dodgy club, with a beach-themed dance floor. We kicked our shoes off and danced the night away on the beach sand.. throwing some serious name in the process. The long walk home at 3am was totally worth it.

The only problem was that Sunday morning... 12 hungover revellers sat having coffee, croissants and breaking the previous night down in detailed description. This was all very well and gezellig, but I had ants in my pants. We had tickets for one day at the French Open and trying to get this group moving was like trying to herd jellyfish.

First everyone had coffee. Then a few people decided to have a full breakfast. Then when their omelettes arrived, a few more decided that looked quite good so more food was ordered. Finally we managed to pay the bill, but then we lost a few to the ladies' toilet queue. Just as they returned, someone realised they had to draw money. Then it was mentioned that everyone needed ID to get into the stadium (this was not news, they had been informed), so that one went back to fetch his ID. Then another realised that he also didn't have ID so he left as the other was coming back.

I was gritting my teeth and trying my best not to scream, but not hiding my irritation well (to say the least). I was trying not to get pushy, but we had me (frantic and fanatic) on the one end of the scale and then on the other end, we had a couple who weren't sure if the French Open was a tennis or golfing tournament.

Djokovic and Jankovic were playing on the big screen (we had el cheapo tickets, so no centre court seats for us), but we did get to see Cara Black (Zim) and Liezel Huber (USA, formerly RSA) win their 3rd round doubles game. We also watched another scintillating doubles duo as the Ukrainian Boderenko pair snatched a sure win from the French tennis darling - Alize Cornet and her partner.

Just as the doubles games finished, the heavens (and subsequently umbrellas) opened up and we decided it was time to head home. But not before I bought myself a little keepsake.... another teddy bear to add to my international collection. Cheesy as gouda, he's even wearing a Roland Garros t-shirt. His name is Philippe Chatrier. Of course.

Now I can say it: I've been to the French Open.
Been there... bought the teddy bear.