Shotgun holidays

Coming from a border town, the distribution of holidays has always baffled me slightly. (Can one be baffled slightly?) Germans seem to have a different holiday once every two weeks.

Here in the Netherlands, the method of determining holidays seems to have been as follows: 1) hang a calendar on the wall; 2) take a shotgun; 3) aim at the space between April and May; 4) fire.

The odd thing is that the one day exactly in the middle, Labour Day, is celebrated all over the world, even in the staunchest bastions of worker exploitation, except in the Netherlands.

But what we do have: Good Friday, Easter, National Holiday, Liberation Day, Ascension, Pentacost. It would seem there is method to this madness, as all of these holidays occur during (early) spring. It would allow people to enjoy the onset of better weather.

Except, of course, that as long as I can remember May has been a rainy month…

Afraid to read

There are many books that I started reading but never finished, because I got bored. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was among them. (Borrowed from the local book mobile when I was 8 or 9 years old. The librarian had been unwilling to lend me large books before, convinced that I would not finish them. Boy, how I would have liked to have proved him wrong on this one too.)

The book that sported the protagonist I was named after: De Bruiloft der Zeven Zigeuners (The Wedding of the Seven Gypsies) by Aad den Doolaard. Super sugar sweetness; I could not bear more than two pages, even though my father had kept the book for 18 years to give to me on my birthday.

However, recently I stopped reading a book because it was too good, too exciting. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a thorougly convincing story about a disfunctional family, about how we cannot get away from those who torture us, about how meanness can be dispensed in tiny portions, not to be protested against, yet have far-reaching effects. About the holes we dig for ourselves.

I would like to get back to this book, because it seems one of the greatest works written in the English language. Yet for now, I want to keep the thorougly convincing account of pettiness at bay, and the feelings it evokes in me.

Best before end of…

My friend had left a bottle of Leffe Blonde in the fridge. I don’t drink much, and my fridge is firmly FIFO, so the bottle had moved deeper and deeper into the unknown. Had I not gotten a rush job and could I not use a beer at this nightly hour, I would have never ventured into the heart of darkness myself.

The bottle said: best before end of… May 2004. Hm… Should I drink this now, or wait? Can you rush a Leffe Blond? I did not even have the right cheese to accompagny it.

A meagre bookhunt, yesterday. Something Asimov, something Huxley, and a Project Gutenberg clearance nightmare, because I did not realise in time that the third book, a history book, was a collection of translated essays.