For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Friday, July 18, 2008

Knock, knock... I'm home!

After two weeks in Holland I was even more tired than I thought I was and I literally arrived back home with a bang. Having managed to drive to Holland, through Holland and back home without any problems whatsoever, totalling over 1400 miles in a fortnight, it went wrong at the very last moment.
I drove up to the house and saw four vans parked on the drive and on the pavement, belonging to the builders doing the extension. So I went to park on the pavement in front of our neighbour's house. I still don't know what and how it happened, but I heard this loud bang and was checking my mirrors to see if maybe one of the builders had dropped something or slammed a car door. "What was that?" I asked. To which Owen replied: "You just drove into the neighbour's fence, Mum."
And he was right. I hit a concrete post first and then buried the car's bumper into the wood of the fence. Couldn't go backwards or forwards without causing even more damage. I was so annoyed with myself and it took me a while before I could be grateful for the fact that my extreme tiredness hadn't caused more damage than a broken bumper and headlight. Anyway, Ken lived up to his Mr Superglue reputation and that same evening the car was legal to drive again.

Our time in Holland flew by and we didn't get to do everything we'd planned to do, and we didn't get to see the people we wanted to see. But that's not unusual. Every time we go back to Holland it's an agonizing choice of where to go, what to do and who to see. You can't just go and see somebody for an hour or so after not having seen them for such a long time. So it's always a challenge to avoid too much frustration, on either side, and we always end up having to make choices that we'd rather not have to make.
As this trip was also part of Myrna's birthday present, I wanted to make sure that she had a good time. But because I also wanted to spend as much time as possible with my sister we both had to compromise. When having to choose between seeing people or seeing places, Myrna eventually chose to see people, even though she'd looked forward to visiting 'old' places...
I had so much looked forward to visiting our old next door neighbour from Brummen, who'll be 95 this year and who I still write with a few times a year. I thought this might well be my last chance to actually see her. I'm glad I didn't tell her we were coming to Holland, because I know she'd have been so disappointed to not have seen us. In the end I had to choose between just dropping by for no more than an hour and not going and I chose not to go, because I was afraid such a short, unannounced visit would just be too stressful for her. Such a shame, though...

Obviously I also had too little time with my sister. But the time we did spend together was good and valuable. For both of us. I was pleased to see she looked a lot better than when I saw her in hospital and although I know she has a lot of hard and painful work still to do, I can see that she definitely is on the road to recovery and improvement. And I'm sure that in the end she'll come out happier and stronger. It would be nice if within the next few months she could come and spend some time with us here, in England. At least we'll by then have the space to put her up...

While I was in Holland a lot of work got done at home. It looks like the builders are true to their word and will have the whole job done within 6 to 8 weeks! When I tell people we're having an extension put onto the house nearly everybody feels sorry for us 'being in a mess' and 'having the builders in the house'. But I can't agree with that. All the people involved in the building so far have been nice. Hard working, cleaning up behind them every day, causing as little mess as possible for us, and overall just very pleasant to have around. I genuinely enjoy following the whole process and seeing all these people doing what they're good at. I think in my next life I want to be a joiner, because judging from the ones I see at work here it must give such enormous job satisfaction to build or beautify a home. 'Our' builders are always keen to answer questions we throw at them, and we take great pleasure in plying them with coffee, tea and the results of our baking sessions.

I tried to take pictures of the work in progress and I'll publish a few of the ones I took from the outside here below. Photo's of the inside are to follow later and I'll try and not let so much time go by again before the next post :)!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW - that is an amazingly cute extension, looks really well with the rest of the house.

I am glad to hear that your sister is doing well now.

And welcome home! :)

EF x