Thursday, August 27, 2009

Love Is In The Air...At Last

In the rush to get away on holiday I forgot to update you all on a most important occurance here at Matchmaking Central. After months of anguish (that would be me), stamping feet and upturned noses (that would be them), and rivers of blood from savaged ankles (me again), Rocco and Punky Muffin are finally bonded.
An item... stuff... luuuuuurrrrve!

You may recall that I thought we were well on the way to bonding them about a month after Punky arrived. She'd been through a botched spey - never ever let a vet put external stitches in a rabbit as they rip them out in seconds - so I kept her well away from Rocco while she recovered and settled in. They were happy enough to hop around the garden together and I separated them at night. Then one dreadful day he tried to hump her once too often and she flipped. Luckily I was standing close by admiring what a lovely couple I thought they made when she attacked him, he retaliated, and I fortunately managed to keep them apart by fending them off with my feet. Hence the bloody ankles. There followed a couple of months of serious time out.

I was beginning to despair when finally it happened. After days of spending just a couple of minutes a day together in neutral territory (locked in the kitchen) while they reacquainted themselves, I dared to let them loose in the garden and...nothing. He humped her, she sneered disdainfully at him before hopping off with a flippant flick of her ears. He was all "mon cherie, I vant to ravish your body and make ze muzik of lurve..." and she was all "like, whatEVER", and that was that. They were a couple.
Such are bunnies.
This might be a good time to point out that humping is about dominance in this situation; they are both desexed of course and basically whoever gets to be on top is the boss. A contentious issue if you're a feisty young thing like Punky.
However despite the age difference they are very happy together. He's a true dirty old man at 7 .5 years, the equivalent of about 75 in human terms, while she's a veritable teenager at just 18 months or so. He does have the slightly offputting habit of occasionally spraying a few drops of urine on her, a practice which while no doubt is in demand for a fetching price in certain clubs in Amsterdam, is treated by Punky with the same sneering indifference as all his displays of lapine love. He hops after her devotedly all day wanting nothing more than to be pressed against her glossy body from the tip of his furry nose to the point of his fluffy tail, whereas she frankly prefers a good dig in the sandpit to lust on the lawn.
But at least they are a couple at last.
Now if only I could convince them they aren't supposed to sneak into the kitchen every time the door opens...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back from Legoland at Last

Wow, now that's a break from blogging! Yes we're back in the country, after two fun-filled weeks in Denmark. While a diet consisting solely of hotdogs and spicy mayonnaise and the humorously sing-songy language may seem reason enough to visit the land of the Vikings, our real motivation was always to visit Legoland again. And again...and again, as it turned out.
In fact Legoland was so good - and we were savvy enough to pre-order season tickets on line to avoid queues and pressurised visits -that we returned no less than FOUR times. I'm so impressed with us that I'm going to repeat that: WE VISITED LEGOLAND FOUR TIMES.
We have been there before so knew what to expect. Holger had visited the place as a kid and while the 'old part' with the miniature cities and world landmarks constructed solely of Lego blocks are still there, useful things like electricity and hot food have been invented since those dark days and this is now an awesomely entertaining park for kids up to about 10 years old and their sentimental 'ol Mum & Dad. We couldn't wipe the goofy grins off our faces as we rode the Lego monorail, whizzed down the Viking water ride (block your ears to protect them from screaming girlies) and ripped around the loopy track on the Dragon ride. There is just enough adrenaline to keep the kids pumped, not enough to reduce them to tears. At every ride there's a huge bin of over-sized Lego blocks for kids to play in just in case there's a queue, although we rarely had to wait for more than 10 minutes.
We visited every inch of that park and still didn't get sick of it. From the very high tech Power Builder ride, where you pre-program your own personal chipcard with a series of moves which are later executed while you are strapped into a pod whirling on the end of a huge robot arm in a massive darkened building, to the Falck Fire Engines where families compete against each other to 'drive' their engine down a track, douse a fire then race back to the finish line, everything is fun. The underwater world with its Lego submarines and divers hovering in a real aquarium filled with sharks, rays and fish was brilliant. The 4D Bob the Builder movie was fun, especially watching the kids trying to grab the images on the screen then shrieking when they were sprayed with water from jets hidden in the backs of the seat in front. Even the pimply students manning the rides and snack venues are having fun, having sword fights with kids on the rides with foam Lego swords, and dressed in costumes as pirates, princesses and rogues.

Because we had season tickets we took life pretty easy, spending about 4 hours at the park before leaving, and returning a couple of days later. That avoided anyone getting too tired or sick of the place and prevented us from having to try and talk the kids out of wanting to go again. We'd all discussed beforehand exactly what they were allowed to buy from the huge Lego shop at the exit, a tactic which worked well to prevent the endless whines of "I want" that every parent knows and dreads.
Of course we did do other things in Denmark; we visited a very cool Castle, swam in the frigid Baltic Sea and flew Niels awesome kite on the beach. However I'll save those for another day. I'm still enjoying reminiscing about Legoland too much.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Box Full Of What???

I know, as a non-native speaker of Dutch I shouldn't take the piss, but honestly...sometimes they just ask for it. Just outside of our village is a paper recycling depot where you can deliver boxes guessed it..paper and cardboard for recycling. Being conscientious little greenies we are often there doing our bit. The depot is run by two wizened little old men who have obviously decided that a life of retirement with the missus doesn't offer as much excitement as sitting on a hard wooden bench every day overseeing deliveries of old paper which they then chuck into a huge metal container, to await transport by truck to a central depository.

These two old guys are true Achterhoek relics: they must be eighty if they're a day and are faithfully turned out in their wooden clogs and cloth ccaps every time I see them. Only the fat cigar is missing, although this may have more to do with the flammable nature of their business than some moral code.

Anyway, I turned up recently with a car full of paper-stuffed boxes. That's the problem with recycling, isn't it? The stuff builds up into a huge looming pile until you either simply have to deliver it to its rightful resting place or spend half an hour jumping up and down on your wheelie-bin trying to stuff everything in before the rubbish truck arrives.

This day I was feeling quite proud of myself; not only was I about to recycle a months worth of paper junk, it was all packaged neatly into the moving boxes left over from the Big Move from Singapore. I merrily slung the boxes into the metal container until one of the old codgers offered to help. Picking up the first box, he suddenly turned to me and said (in the broadest Lochem dialect you have ever heard and which I can barely understand): "This box is pretty ain't full of Tampax is it???!!"

I swear, the world stopped turning for at least 15 seconds while I absorbed this. Had I understood him correctly? Did he seriously think I would deliver boxes of TAMPONS to him to recycle? What sort of pervert was this? What sort of pervet did he think I was? And what the hell did he think I would say in reply? Before I could gather my senses enough to even stutter he continued: "Lots of people try to pass off Tampax on us, you know. Fill up their boxes, they do. Think we won't notice. I'll just have to take a quick look..." I mean eeeuuuuuuwwww!

By this stage I'm calculating the distance between me and the car and the degree of disappointment he's going to feel when he tears open one of my boxes to discover its only filled with old paper and cartons. The newspaper headlines are flashing through my mind as I back towards the car: "Foreigner killed in tampon rage", or "If only she'd confessed her tampon crime I wouldn't ha' killed da bitch".

Just as my hand reached the doorpost I suddenly had a flashback to my local friend who runs a D.I.Y. shop. From the depths of my mouldering gray matter I suddenly recall that years ago she had explained to me that Tampax was the Dutch name for the foam chips commonly used to package fragile goods when they are shipped - I was safe! The old pervert wasn't really a pervert, just another weird local! With a laugh of relief which bordered only slightly on the hysterical I got into my car and sped away just a little too fast with a compensatory friendly wave to the two local characters. Now that's something I never had to deal with in Singapore!