Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I'm in the flat lands...

...and it's bringing back memories! I learned to ride a bike here, in the Netherlands, at the embarrassing age of 25! It wasn't a success. I rode into a wall three times, fell in a canal and got stuck in tram lines in Amsterdam. Plus, we had problems finding a bike small enough for me. I am five foot two, which makes me a midget in the land of the giants. The Dutch people are now the tallest race in the world and very proud of that fact. To the Dutch, I'm a genetic anomaly. Anyway, back then I ended up with a kids bike. Two actually. The first one didn't work out. Because there are no hills here most bikes don't have any gears - or brakes. People cycle backwards to stop their bikes. Being a tiny, accident-prone Scottish woman, I completely missed the cycling backwards concept - hence the crashing into walls. After a few months we managed to track down a bike with hand brakes, which was better but still didn't stop me cycling into a canal. Needless to say, after we left Holland, I gave up cycling.

But I did use my experiences for the heroine of Laura's Big Break, which is set in Holland. Laura is blackmailed into taking a cycling trip through the flat lands and, yes, she does cycle into a canal. 

It is lovely being back here. Wonderful to spend time with family, but also great to introduce our children to their Father's culture. I could use some better weather though. It's cold, foggy and grey. A far cry from the beautiful blue skies and sunny days I left behind in New Zealand.  Still, having access to chocolate vla again (a chocolate pudding unique to Holland) makes up for a lot of things! 

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