Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sunday 30 December

Quite a breezy day, but with good spells of sunshine. We avoided the showers that plagued the north of the country through the daylight hours of today. Just as well, as some of the showers brought 1-inch hailstones. The causative depression, far away beyond the Hebrides, brought those islands a brief spell of galeforce winds this afternoon. In the meantime, my dad and I went for a walk in the woods - specifically the woods - to avoid the worst of the wind. It has turned a lot colder, with a daytime max of just 6C / 43F, as compared to yesterday's 11C. Winter is still a long way off though, and no major changes are forecast.

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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Saturday 29 December

A bright and breezy day, and quite mild, with the mercury at 11C / 52F. That is set to go down over the next few days, as the year comes to a close. Went for a walk in the Heathlands, north of the village, in the afternoon, and was not the only one who had that idea. It was most enjoyable for all that.

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Friday 28 December

A non-descript day in terms of weather here in the Netherlands, but ending on a very wil note over in the Western Isles. After the cancellation of all the ferries to the entire archipelago, winds rose to a sustained force 9, with gusts up to 86 mph.

I went to the shop to find a charger for rechargeable batteries, which I use in my GPS device. I do have one, but neglected to take the adapter for European electricity sockets with me, when I came to Holland last week. The first three shops all quoted me €35 (£30) for a charger plus 4 batteries, and even 4 loose batteries came to as much as €15 (£13). I was directed to a discount store, which gave me the lot for €5 - and yes, they do work.

I scanned and processed photographs from a Scottish vacation in 1981 today, bringing back memories from that year. Things have certainly changed.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Thursday 27 December

The day started a bit damp and overcast, but on our journey towards Amsterdam, the clouds broke and the sun came out between Ede and Utrecht; north of Utrecht, the clouds took over. Fortunately, rain did not really start until about 4pm. After eating some customary end-of-year goodies ("oliebollen") at my sister's, we headed towards the village of Vogelenzang, south of Zandvoort, to take a walk in the Waterleiding Duinen [Water filtration dunes], a nature reserve. We saw deer, swans, foxes and smaller birds. Many people go there for the wildlife. The reserve can be accessed for a small fee from two gates near Vogelenzang and one near Zandvoort, as well as from the North Sea beach just south of Zandvoort. After a bowl or two of peasoup for dinner, we took the 7.50pm train back home, where we arrived two hours later.

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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wednesday 26 December

A day of varying fortunes, but we did have decent spells of sunshine in the afternoon. Went for dinner at my aunt's place, 7 miles up the road, and was given a lift with my dad by another uncle, who lives two streets away. A good time was had by all, and the hours just whizzed by. My dad and I shared a private joke, as the dinner was - exactly the same as what we had yesterday (stewed pears and pork roast), except that my aunt added brussels sprouts (which I'm not too fond of) and cauliflower (which I do like). Got back home before 10pm, when it was absolutely tipping it down.

Tomorrow, I'll be off to see more relatives, who live rather further away, near Amsterdam.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Went to the church service at 10 am, where I sang with the wee choir. Late last night, I also joined the Watchnight Service at 9.30pm in a similar capacity. Services were well attended, but the church was not totally full.
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This afternoon, my dad and I walked to the river IJssel, about 3 miles away beyond the town of Velp. The weather turned out quite reasonable, with some winter sunshine. The river was very high, due to recent heavy falls of rain in Switzerland and Germany, which flow down the Rhine to the Dutch border, where the river IJssel splits off. The latter then heads north towards the IJsselmeer (formerly the Zuiderzee) at Kampen.

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Monday, 24 December 2012

Monday 24 December

An overcast day, which started with some rain and drizzle, which soon moved away north. It's quite mild today, with a current high of 11C / 52F. At breakfast, I was treated to the sight of a great tit exploring a nestbox; yes, it's only December 24th. There are huge flocks of all sorts of tits (great tit, blue tit &c) around at the moment. Apparently, they have moved west from Russia, to flee a lack of food. Only to find the same problem here.


Went for a stroll around town this afternoon, just over 2 miles to break in the new walking boots. Also had a nosey into the church where I shall attend the Watchnight Service later this evening. I use the Scottish expression - of course, this refers to the shepherds watching at night.

PC240137 Town Hall
PC240129 Xmas tree in church
PC240125 "Go forth and do likewise"
PC240124 Church organ, AD 1758
PC240120 Leafy estate
PC240118 Forest trail

PC240112 Fungus eating dead tree

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday 23 December

Today started with pouring rain, lashing it down - until lunchtime. It dried up after that, but it remained overcast. Went out for a walk in the country park, which was pretty sodden underfoot. However, the new walking boots stood up to the test and I was quite happy after a brief, 2 mile, walk. In the evening, my sister and family took us out for dinner in a restaurant in the next town, which went down a treat.

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Saturday 22 December

A gloomy day, although not foggy anymore. After lunchtime, rain started and it is still raining as I type this, after 10pm. I therefore spend a couple of hours scanning old photographs, from 1977 and 1980. I have processed the harvest from 1980, and post a selection below.

P7150001 Around Oban
P7130001 Rob Roy's grave, Balquhidder
P7120002 Sheep near Kenmore, Perthshire
P7110004 Glen Lyon
P7110003 Dochart Falls, Killin

Friday, 21 December 2012

Friday 21 December

A foggy and cold day, with visibility only a few hundred yards. The former airforce base at Deelen, 6 miles north of here, reports a temperature of 4C / 39F. It should be getting milder over the next few days, as the cold continental air is pushed back east, where it came from. The Atlantic will then hold sway; which is what I'm used to at any rate.

Went to Arnhem this morning to purchase a new pair of hiking boots. The old ones had fallen to bits on my last foray to Strawberry Hill in the Castle Grounds at Stornoway. I'm fussy about my footwear, but managed to locate a suitable pair. I'm wearing them (indoors) as I type this, in order to get used to them. If I do not encounter any unexpected problems, I'll try them out of doors in a few days' time.

It was nice to have a short amble around Arnhem city centre; I grew up in this area, and it has not really changed that much. The only thing that changes is the shops. It was as busy as it always is on a Friday morning, just ahead of Christmas. Arnhem boasts of an extensive network of trolley-buses, which run on electricity, supplied through overhead cables. The buses are very quiet (except for the number 1 bus we used on the return trip) and you have to be careful if you are along one of the routes - you just don't hear them coming, certainly not among the noise of the rest of the city traffic.

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