zondag 26 december 2010


It looked like it in our local neck of the wood but the temperature proved otherwise (+3).
After a fresh dusting of snow last night the weather had clearly changed. On 'the day after' only my eldest son, Gillean, was up for a daunder with me and the dog this morning. After leaving the carpark we started looking for, and following, shoeprints in the now soft snow. We gave them names like Plus1, Plus2, V, Wave or Square, after the prints the owners of the shoes left in the snow. Prints of small deer, squirrel and rabbit were seen also.

After half an hour or so we decided to go cross country. We enjoyed ourselves ploughing through the snow. Virgin country was crossed and the going was slow. We pretended to be in prehistoric Siberia looking for food for survival and being aware of predators like wolves that could hunt us down. We regularly stopped to listen to the sounds of the forest and the melting snow falling from the top of the trees might, in our imagination, have been caused by dangerous animals who would certainly eat us alive if we were foolish enough to get caught.    

Thanks to our excellent survival skills we managed to get out of the forest alive. We could hear the wolfs howl in the deep, dark forest. It was a narrow escape.

dinsdag 21 december 2010


-12 C. last night. According to a weatherexpert december has been 'unstable' and he predicts januari will see a longer period of subzero temperatures.
In a few moments I'm off to hibernate, ehhhh.....to work.

zondag 19 december 2010

I remember the old days when we had 1 cm of snow for 1 week in November, a lot of rain in winter and some snow in March. I also remember the good old days with snow upto your dangling bits. Yes, they were much closer to earth as I was just a little boy in those days but a 40cm snowcover was no exception.
You woke up one morning and you had this strange feeling that something was wrong. Or better said : something had changed during the night. What could it be ? Yes, the sound ! No sound !! And then you heard those creaking footsteps and a shovel scratching the pavement. SNOOOOWW !!! You ran down the stairs, your mother shouted 'breakfast' but who needed breakfast ? Breakfast is for southern softies.
You played outside all day, having snowball fights, rolling up a huge snowball to build a snowman and even building iglos.

winterview from the attick
Those winters seem to have returned. A good snowcover although not as high as in some parts of Holland but enough to have great fun with. What did I miss this morning ? The silence was there, I could clearly hear it. What was missing then ? It was that other sound, the sound of children playing. Where were they ?
Were they inside like my own kids ? Yesterday I had to force them out of the house. "Go outside and play. Have snowballfights, build something with snow!" "But what should we build with snow, papa ?" Aaaaaaarghh. My mistake. "Start your Wii and make funny moves with your arms in the livingroom, the one with the highest score gets a hot chocolate". I wonder if my digital image will get cold in this virtual world  of snow.

vrijdag 17 december 2010

Winter returns

Winter returned today with a vegeance. We drove Cameron to school for his last schoolday of 2010 and my wife Katinka, my daughter Kayla, our dog Atilla and I went for a walk. We were just in time for sunrise and we saw some stunning skies. I hope the pictures do justice to the beauty of this morning.

As soon as the sun appeared above the horizon these incredible colours returned to normal. Clouds were moving in and we could see more snow coming from the northwest. There wasn't much wind and the temperature was close to zero degrees Celsius. The walking was pleasant. 
After an hour and fifteen minutes we returned to the car and drove home. It didn't stop snowing until about 4 p.m.. The snowcover is 10-20cm thick and traffic has come to an halt in The Netherlands.
More snow is forecasted for tonight.

zaterdag 11 december 2010

It's all gone now.

The thaw/freeze cycle has been won by the thaw. Yesterday the tarmaced paths in our local neck of the woods (10m above sealevel) were as icy as Striding Edge in winter. Some Microspikes would have been handy (footy?) yesterday.

zondag 5 december 2010

More snow

A warmfront is closing in tomorrow. That means more snow today.
The walking wasn't difficult. The Spanderswoud is a mixed wood with broadleafs and conifers. Here you see a typical beechlane in this 213 hectares sized naturereserve. Originally created during the 19th century by a 'nouveau riche' landowner a lot of the wood was (illegally) used for heating by the locals during the Second World War. After WWII a lot of trees have been replanted and in the 1980's local authorities decided to let it grow back to it's 'natural' status. In reality that means creating or preserving what the owners think is natural. A lot of American Oak have been cut down rigorously because 'they don't belong here'.
Not my definition of natural.

woensdag 1 december 2010

Winter arrived last week

Last week winter arrived early in Holland and today I had the first opportunity for a little stroll. It's -5 C. today but the strong wind makes a windchill of -15 C.. My Paramo Alta jacket was very good in keeping out the wind and the cold. Only my fingers were freezing.
As you can see there are still autumnleaves hanging on. They make a colourfull contrast with the snow.

Our dog Atilla doesn't mind the cold. He's a crossbreed between Alsatian and Mastino Espagnol so his genes are used to it.