Casuality Part 2 The Netherlands 2016

 

On a winter’s morning in Rotterdam, in early 2016, I fell off my bike. Easy to do with a strong wing, snow on the bike track and more fatally, a layer of ice underneath.  

I wasn’t wearing a helmet, which wasn’t obligatory in The Netherlands (after this incident, I promptly went out and bought one). 

The fall off my bike was like in a dream.

One minute I was on my bike, the next minute I was sprawled flat on the ground. There was no sense of the bike keeling over and me falling. 

As soon as I got up I knew that there was a problem.

There was blood on my clothes and on the snow. The blood was coming from my forehead.

Two other bicyclists stopped and helped me up and offered to phone an ambulance. One man looked at my forehead and said that it would definitely need stitching. For some reason I didn’t want an ambulance. Instead, I held a handkerchief to my head and rode home with one hand. The sunglasses helped in keeping the blood out of my eyes.

When I got back to my apartment, I put fresh clothes on and got a taxi to the casualty department of the nearest hospital……

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Swansong

 

Anya brought the bible to our apartment one day, shortly before her mother died.

I had seen it countless times over the years on visits to her parents’ place, lying on top of a polished wooden cabinet in the lounge, along with framed family photos.

But never once did I make any attempt to examine it closely.

Then it appeared in our apartment and shortly afterwards, I picked it up for the first time and looked inside……

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Mixed Blessings


 

This blog was written two years ago in the summer of 2018. Reading it today brings home to me just how quickly our world can change. I have to wonder if the international air travel industry will ever return to what it was. The incredible logistical and technological capabilities which I have depicted here have been brought down by invisible microbes. 

Who could have possibly ever imagined this scenario in 2018?

 

‘On a flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Dubai Airport – 8 hours – with a connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur, I thought about the logistics of modern air travel.

To get my flight out of Schiphol, I had to sit around for a few hours before my flight departed. It was June, tourist season, and Schiphol, even by its own standards, was busy. It took me quite a long time to check in and get through security. The length of the cues and the number of people crowded into a confined space was daunting. And it was the same on the other side of security. To buy a sandwich and coffee meant standing in another long cue. 

Schiphol was one the busiest airports in the world. On average, 150,000 people a week came and went. There were many busy airports in the world of course. Dubai was another one.

Once in the air and mercifully away from the thronging crowds in Schiphol, I reflected on what I’d experienced.

I was just one person in a vast global operation which involved millions….

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Rotterdam – The City of Howard Roark

Rand Ann

 

I have lived in Rotterdam on and off for many years, using it a base for travels in Europe and Northern Africa. I can’t say that I’ve ever found it to be an attractive city.

The point is, I don’t like modern architecture.

However lots of people do.

This is something I realized when Rotterdam began appearing in international tourism surveys as a must-see destination. 

And why?

Because of its ‘cutting-edge’ architecture.

I really couldn’t believe it.

Rotterdam?!

It seemed as if there were an awful lot of people around who had no taste.

Give me one of Europe’s old historic cities any day!

Then a time came when my attitude to Rotterdam changed…..

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´Your Country´s Burning!´ – Part 1

It was on a Saturday night in January 2020, shortly after Anya and I had returned from a month of walking in La Palma. We´d arranged to go to Anya´s niece´s place, who´d invited some friends around for the night.    

It was meant to be a pleasant, convivial evening.

But thanks to me, it turned out a bit differently.  

 

It started with flamenco and ended with aboriginal fire stick agriculture.

Quite a distance to travel in a few hours: Spain to Australia.

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