Friday, February 4, 2011


Dear sisters,

It will be no surprise that the landing bubble eventually burst- it was bound to happen, wasn't it? -letting out the happy gas with a soft sissing sound. A slither of pink disappearing into the winter air.

I may not be recalling this correctly, but it happened just as I was gearing up for a hill, not a big one, but an upwards slanting road nontheless, leading over a bridge, against the wind, with my shopping balancing on the front of my bike, and a child on the back.

Without the bubble to protect us, the cold drizzle makes us wet, a bit like a plant spray being squirted in your face all day long. And the alarm clock goes off in the middle of the night. It can't be morning, yet, can it?

But it is morning, it just happens to be very dark in the morning, and the kids have to go to school. Our cold fingers fumble with the junk-proof locks, that have been carefully threaded through frame, front wheel and a secured pole, to prevent certain removal. It is coming back to me.

The school is surrounded by grey apartment blocks, hugging close and leaning in, and a small strip of tarmac for playing. It couldn't be further from the Greenschool, but the kids do not seem to be troubled by this at all. I am suspecting they might even enjoy the coziness of it all.

It took us a while to figure out the family cycling logistics, there are so many new exciting options in bike land and the children have grown since we left five years ago. An extra saddle between the handlebars, and one on the back?, two seats on an extended back?, a bakfiets (which is a bike with a box at the front)?. In the end we put Jip on his own bike, and Rosie on the back of ours, which is proving to be one of the highlights of Amsterdam city life. Suggesting a bike ride of reasonable length gets the son off the couch in a flash.

Jip wrote a letter to George Lucas at Lucasarts. I am paraphrasing slightly, but essentially this is what it said:

"Dear Mr lucas,

My name is Jip, I am eight years old and I live in Amsterdam. I am a big fan of Lego star wars and Lego Indiana Jones wii games. My friend and I thought of a great idea for a new wii game. It is a game with pinguins and polar bears. They fight each other. But don't worry, you don't have to do it alone, we will help you. Jip (email and address)."

He didn't actually let us read it all, but I caught a glimpse before he put it in an envelope. He now rushes to the mailbox everyday, waiting for an answer and doesn't understand why it should take so long. I hope they are kind at Lucasarts and send something back.

Rosie is also doing well -even in Amsterdam she is a head taller than most of her class mates - speaking Dutch whenever we turn our back, and with a her first wobbly tooth wobbling more each day, she would be happy anywhere at the moment.

To be expected in the next installment: why is S1 finding herself back in the gym? -will it have an effect? What is that clean eating she is going on about, and why is A. drinking so much coffee?

Watch this space.

Love S1


Roland said...

Lieve Claire, wat schrijf je toch fantastisch, echt waar. Geniet elke keer weer, ik zeg: kom door met je boek!! Liefs vanuit Barcelona, Roos x

Anonymous said...

I love the colours of the photographs , beautiful. You will have to tell me how you did that, is it a special camera ?
Don't worry , we are all house plants with water getting squirted in their faces, here in Prague it is very cold water, a little bit frozen , a bit like snow. But today the sun is shining ! Hurray ! Going out for a walk with Adam. Will write soon ! Love, sister three in Prague