Goodbye to the forest

It’s time to say goodbye to this beautiful forest where we have lived the past two months. Tomorrow we will be moving to another temporary home, this time within Hermen’s new congregation. It’s a good spot as well, so I’m looking forward to discovering the photographic opportunities there!

Dutch safari

We had heard about the deer rut in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, so we decided to check it out yesterday. Waiting for the gate to the park to open, it hit me: this is a safari! We drove our car slowly through the park, full of anticipation. The map indicates a few hotspots for deer, which were already filling up. There must have been a hundred other people in the park, setting up their tripods, waiting for the deer to arrive where they should be according to the map.

From where we stood, I could see a small group of deer resting on a grassy field. There was a strong wind blowing from behind us. I was worried that the deer would smell all these people waiting for them and wouldn’t come out. But, a little while later, Hermen came running, saying that he had spotted a deer a hundred meters down the road.

It was amazing! It seemed like the worst (or best) part of the rut was already over. The male deer had already collected their groups of females and were not that interested in fighting each other – at least not while we were there.

Such proud animals, with their heads held high! And such antlers must weigh quite something! Back in our original spot, the group of deer that were resting had also woken up and came close to the road. Great, these animals that follow the maps! We’re very happy to have had this chance to go on safari in the Netherlands.

Autumn equinox

A celebration of the sun on this autumn equinox, the day in which the sun crosses the equator and day and night are roughly equally long. This morning, the sun had to fight the fog first, which led to these beautiful rays of light filtering through the trees.

Poes

This is Poes. Poes has adopted us. After staying in our holiday rental for two weeks, we saw her peering at us from the bushes. She walked to our terrace, inspecting the table and the chairs, completely ignoring us. The next day, when we were having a braai, she was back again. I gave her a little scrap of meat, and she started purring. Now she comes multiple times a day.

I don’t think she has an owner. Her nails are long, she thinks inside is a strange concept, she doesn’t want water from a bowl and she doesn’t understand how fun a box can be. We don’t feed her, but she seems to be getting on very well without that. Last week, she brought half a baby rabbit to our terrace for a snack.

What she does like is to have a chat. When we are inside, she meows outside our window till we come out. She would prefer that we sat outside all day, so she can lie around close to us. Yesterday, we played badminton and she started running around like crazy next to us, jumping, crawling, sprinting. I think she was imitating our fun.

The bad news is that we will only be here for two more weeks…

Plans and actualities

We had all kinds of plans for this weekend. I had taken this photo of a Dutch windmill a few weeks ago, and the miller wanted to use it. That was fine by me, but I wanted something in return. On Saturday I could come and pick up a packet of cookies for my efforts. Then on Sunday the old pastor of my husband’s new congregation had a farewell service and we were planning to go.

Plans don’t always come to fruition. On Saturday, Hermen had a bad headache and a sniffy nose. What to do in this time? It’s probably nothing, but you never know, do you? So we put our plans on hold. No windmill, and no farewell service. (Nice introduction to the congregation: the pastor who is sick. I guess it’s better than the pastor who made everyone sick…)

On Sunday, Hermen was feeling a lot better, and I snuck out for a little while to get my cookies. They were a nice companion for a quiet day. Different than expected, but also rewarding!

Holiday?

We have been living in a holiday rental since we arrived in the Netherlands at the beginning of August. The scenery is beautiful, and people tell us, “Oh, it must be nice to have a bit of a holiday.” But that’s not how the last weeks have felt. We’ve been busy arranging all kinds of paperwork, worrying about not having found a house yet, getting to know the congregation, and working from our temporary home.

This week, however, we have decided to have a proper holiday and do some fun things. We went to the zoo and are taking things easy – as good as it goes!