Practical product placement at our local drugstore. I’m curious to see if they offer a crossover deal, such as “Buy one vibrator with lubricant and get a free pregnancy kit”.
After a series of workshops at the University of Amsterdam, we retired to Café Van Zuylen for beer and soup, waiting out the Friday evening traffic before heading south on a three-hour drive done in 2 hrs 10″, thanks to my driver’s belief that speed radars don’t work at night.
In the lower bar, I saw a familiar head — grey flattop, hangdog features — red party tie and sobre overcoat. I only put the name to the face a few hours later (Ronald Plasterk, former education minister), and later still, realized that he must have just come from the election for the Labour Party leadership, which he lost.
The new year had barely begun when I learned of the death of a colleague who worked in the office opposite mine. A very Dutch death, he was out cycling on New Year’s Eve, probably going home to celebrate with his wife and four kids, when he had a heart attack and ended up in the sloot, or water-filled ditch that line many country roads here. His body was later found in the water.
The wind has been very strong these last few days, gusting up to Force 9, so maybe the exertion of cycling was too much for his heart. I don’t remember him as being especially unhealthy, and maybe he wasn’t — he was only 45.
His death has been on my mind since I heard about it. After all, I have four kids too, and next week … I’m turning 45.
All of the Netherlands turned out yesterday to welcome the return of a pensionado (retiree) from Spain — Sinterklaas! And his merry band of pranksters, the Zwaartepieten (Black Peters), whose political incorrectness is tempered by the addition of fantasy Piets, such as the Elvis Piet.