So, after three weeks living an idyllic life in the Dutch suburbs we’ve left Hoofddorp. Leaving was sad but we’ve taken plenty away with us. Mainly dog hair to be honest, but memories, thoughts and hastily-formed opinions too. Here’s a snapshot of our favourite experiences from the trip.
Mel - I miss the sound of snoring coming from under the sofa.
Nick - This is tricky. As much as I’ve loved looking after Spike (the bearded dragon) and Nexu (the cat), it’s got to be something from the back catalogue of Boba and Beru. They’re brilliant dogs. I’m going to go with the switch in body language when they pick up a really good smell. Head down, nose to the ground, tail waving like a flag, a singular determination to chase down the smell. They rarely look happier.
Mel - Haarlem, better than Amsterdam and Delft. I’d like to get a house-sit there to experience it properly.
Nick - Haarlem. For more on why read Mel’s pieces, one on our daytime visit, another on our evening out. All I’ve really got to add is Haarlem is now on the small list of places I’d consider settling down.
Mel - Coming home to find a lost Boba sitting outside the front door.
Nick - Mel coming down the stairs one morning and announcing she’d got a job. Of course, I’ve heard Mel announce she’s got a new job tens of times. But this one – and what it signifies – was a bit special.
Mel - Moonrise Kingdom, seen at the bioscoop in Hoofddorp. The fact that we were the only people in the cinema did add to my enjoyment, but the film was really good. I also like to think that they didn’t bother with the intermission because we hadn’t bought any drinks or snacks in the foyer.
Nick - Having access to someone else’s DVD collection is massively exciting so I’m going to go with a film. It’s between two very different roles for Cary Grant – North by Northwest or Bringing up Baby. Both are brilliant but I’m going to go for North by Northwest. It’s silly – but knowingly so – has a great performance by Grant, Saul Bass titles and a few shots that are so, so perfect. The overhead as Grant leaves the UN, the US Capitol reflected in the Central Intelligence sign – both sublime. I could go on. And on. And on.
Food and drink
Mel - My favourite aspect of the Netherlands was the variety of vegetarian food available. Having spent three years in the veggie wasteland that is France it was a welcome treat. I also enjoyed the 8% beer brewed at Jopenkerk and the dutch gin that was only available with the other spirits in a separate section of only one of the local supermarkets.
Nick - Having written 500 waffling words about the sociocultural significance of eggs I really should pick the seven eggs. The bitterballen in Het Pakhuis in Haarlem were superb too though.
It made me think…
Mel - It would be nice to live in the Netherlands one day. It’s all so well organised. Maybe a little too organised.
Nick - The Dutch are pretty good at life. Stuff just works. But at the same time, the level of organisation kind of freaks me out. Would I swap dysfunction for efficiency? What if it meant sacrificing a little of the charm and character of a place? More questions than answers at the moment.
If you’d like to experience life in Hoofddorp for yourself, the house that we stayed in is listed on airbnb. Say hi to the hairy kids for us! And the scaly kids and of course Nexu the cat, if you see him! Oh and the people aren’t bad either. Thanks to Sarah and Mark for letting us live in their beautiful home.