July has been the month of the end of the World Cup (go Germany!), Days of Warmth™, and MH17. That’s before we even start on the rest of the world also joining in the Handbasket Hellbent Express.

Oranje didn’t win the World Cup. I know I should be linguistically consistent and say that Orange didn’t win the World Cup, but this is my blog en ik ga talen door elkaar mengen als ik dat wil, dank u. Besides, Orange is a village in France, orange is too messy to eat, so there’s only Oranje left over to be able to say that Louis (his first name is Aloysius) van Gaal is our countryman. Booya.

Being a resident of the fair North-West European Marshes was (is!) enough to support Oranje. Being of the noble Britannia, however, provides so much weight in terms of anti-Argentinaism that during the semi-final I almost forgot I was wearing an orange top.

But could anything have really measured up against the almighty visceration that Germany had dealt out to Brazil the night before? My Mate Mulier and I had established a worthy tradition (give it two hundred years and I expect the rubrics to be taken up in a Rituale) of Skyping during football matches. In Dutchieland I am spoilt with NOS (like the BBC, but better, not least because a mate of mine makes sure that their online streams work, and she is excellent at what she does) and their enlightened approach to streaming stuff live, so every now and then my part in the conversation would abruptly stop, my eyes would widen, and Mulier would say something like, “You’re not telling me Germany have scored again…..”

Those poor Brazilians. Ha ha ha.

And then Argentina *spit* beat the Oranje lions, and then Brazil lost to us for third place.

I’m torn between a patriotic disdain of South America and simple pity.


I am typing this on a train zooming diagonally across this fair sceptered isle. The rain has just started. I feel completely at home.

En ja in het Engels zeg je dat je op een trein bent, en niet in een trein zit, en nee dat betekent niet dat je letterlijk op het dak zit. Het is niet dat we het opzettelijk “niet letterlijk waar, dus wellicht en eventueel verwarrend” maken…maar leg mij nou eens uit waarom ik keer op keer op sodemieter keer naar uw geklaag erover moet luisteren en mijn eigen taal moet verdedigen, terwijl ik juist (waarschijnlijk) veel meer van uw eigen taal – inclusief vergelijkbare rare-ig-heden – af weet dan u zelf.

Dat moest ik maar even kwijt.


It was a month of the most debilitating heat I could imagine. Those in the know have informed me that 30C is perfectly survivable when your humidity is low. The problem was that our humidity wasn’t low. Unless you use the word “low” to mean what the rest of us mean when we say “blisteringly, suffocatingly high”, in which case you are a numpty with a poor grasp of the English language.

For the last few years I haven’t worked in the month of July; it’s one of the few perks when you are employed enslaved in the education system. There is, however, a certain breed of superhero that works in that blistering sun on railways and the like. A couple of years ago I offered to take a crate of beer round to one such site, only to be told that whilst the men would certainly have appreciated the gesture, alcohol isn’t permitted at work.

Poor sods.


I have just been on a day trip (!) to Liverpool. It had to do with passports. I’m sure you understand the predicament and I thank you in advance for your sympathy. But all went well and once back in Cloggieland I shall be legal once again – which is surely a life goal of any self-respecting expat, I’m sure you’ll agree 😉

Liverpudlians are, I was reminded, lovely, charming people! I hadn’t been there in something like fifteen years, and I ought to go back and spend a bit more time in the area.

I have, however, absolutely no good explanation for what happens to my accent whilst talking with a local. I think it probably wobbled between Runcorn and Wakefield. Sorry, Liverpool.


This is the first trip back to Our Lady’s Dowry where I have felt slightly Other™. Perhaps I have been abroad too long.

But how can ten years be too long? Ten years isn’t much, in the larger context. I’m reminded of the psalm which says,

Our span is seventy years, or eighty for those who are strong.

And most of those are emptiness and pain….

Now I’m not a psalmist by any stretch, but I can empathise with a sentiment expressed in there.


My train has whizzed through many miles and it’s time to put my sandals back on. Benediction this evening. My GA’s desk is open.


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