Sea spirit

With the weather becoming better, an invitation from Jilly to come surfing in Newquay and Portugal getting closer it’s very hard not to think about waves, my surfboard and me on top of it. Alas, I won’t be able to make it to Newquay, it’s just too expensive to pop over and conditions in the Netherlands usually far from ideal, not to mention the crazy hours that small time frame of good waves happens to be. But I guess you can’t have it all.

Last week I noticed that my bikinis needed replacing. My favourite bikini is 7 years old now (bought it in Devon :)) and the top is still more or less OK, but the bottoms aren’t, like most of my bikini bottoms…So to cheer myself up (not that I really needed cheering up, but still) I decided to pop ’round H&M’s after work yesterday to see if they had anything, and a lot of swimwear happened to be on sale! Now, H&M stuff isn’t expensive in the first place, but it gets even better with a 50% discount, so I bought 3 bikinis. Well, for one bikini top I couldn’t find a pair of matching bottoms but I got two pairs of bottoms matching another top so together that makes two bikinis. I also did something I thought I’d never do: I bought a white bikini (with little palm trees on it). It was only 10 euros, I will test it in the shower tonight though :P. And I scored a big sun hat for 2 euros 🙂

This morning I managed to get up early to go for a little morning session as the swell forecast was quite positive. I must say I’ve never seen such clean waves in the Netherlands, but I’m still a total kook when it comes to surfing in the Netherlands. Reading waves here is a lot more difficult than reading those in surfer’s paradises such as Fuerteventura or Newquay, but I had a lot of fun in the morning sun with the sea to myself. And at least I got some paddle practice and fresh air 🙂

(I did wear and old bikini though because I couldn’t sacrifice one of my cheap new ones yet)

It’s really happening now..

After spending a considerable amount of time listening to a loud voice telling me that “all our operators are busy” and which documents I should bring to my appointment (assuming I will succeed in scheduling an appointment) I finally got through to someone to schedule an appointment: 17 September.

Hopefully everything goes alright and I’ll have my passport + visa back before the 24th, otherwise I have a problem :S

What a day!

Today started way too early after having gone out until about 2:30 with Judith and Bram (Annika, Arthur, Bas, Chiara and Liesbeth gave up partying a lot earlier :P). But hey, it was Judith’s last night out in Leiden (unless you’re not packing now but partying? ;)). Anyway, I had to get up early to go to Etten-Leur for my first windsurf lesson with my brother Frank. There was hardly any wind, but for a first timer that’s only good, getting a feel for the balance on the board is interesting enough without being taking down by gusts of wind. Though the wind dropping dead in the middle of lake leaving you there waiting for the next wind is also not ideal, but at least I got some basic things done and I think I like windsurfing. Its certainly something I want to do more often, when there’s no swell that is 😛

I did lose my wallet though; before changing into my wetsuit I had put my phone and purse underneath the passenger seat in the car and my purse must have fallen out when I took some stuff out, but I only found out when we were back on our way home. After turning the car upside down I rang up my bank to block my cards and it turned out that someone had already tried to use my cards (!) but didn’t succeed (phew). Luckily my grandparents lent me some money, and when I arrived at my sort-of holiday destination (I’m looking after my aunt’s dog, cat, house and swimming pool this week, so I’m also typing this from my private pool-side :D) I got a call from my parents that the police found my wallet, hopefully with my driving licence still in there, but I won’t know until I get it back 🙂

Hmm time for some lying down on the deck-chair with the nice soft cushion and drinking some wine now I think…

Quiet Saturday

For the first time in weeks I got to spend a Saturday in Leiden without having to do stuff. And I turn out to be quite productive when I don’t have to do things. As Saturdays should start with sleeping late, I stayed in bed until about eleven. I guess I still needed some sleep, and of course I got home late yesterday because I went to see the new Harry Potter film (excellent!! I don’t know what the problem of the reviewer was on nu.nl saying that the film was boring…) which didn’t finish until 00:05…

Anyway, around 13:00 I went into town to shop a little (not just random clothes shopping, but target-oriented shopping, mind you). It’s a shame I didn’t have my camera with me, or my phone to take pictures because there seemed to be some Rembrandt themed thing going on as there were lots of people dressed up in clothes from the 17th century depicting paintings by Rembrandt or playing music supposedly from that era. On the Hooglandsekerkstraat there was also an art market. I think I will miss Leiden….

When I got home I didn’t go out into the garden to sit on my arse and tan, but I decided to finish something I left unfinished over a year ago: painting the last wall in my apartment. I kind of hate myself for being such a procrastinator, I’ve so been dreading that job, and when I finally did it this afternoon it only took about an hour (plus half an hour cleaning afterwards). And I find very often that I dread something and then it turns out to be not as difficult or time-consuming as I thought, and actually quite enjoyable and satisfying. Now if only I remember this when I next need to do something 🙂

Because I was in the mood for DIY’ing I also decided to have a go at the tiles in my kitchen. There are a couple of tiles with silly images on them, and my housemate told me they’re very easy to get rid of if you use some ammonia and a scraper. I didn’t have ammonia, but I did have a scraper and the silly fish and shells came off really easily.

scratching

The fun lasted only three tiles though until the scraper broke (it was only €1 and with my enthusiasm it was bound to go wrong :)). But I reckon I can get the job done with two other scrapers. But the shops are closed now, so maybe some other time.

brokenscraper

I then treated myself to some sushi and a steam meal from the Albert Heijn (I love lazy cooking) and now I have to wrap up and go to Judith’s goodbye party because she’s leaving for Scotland for two months on Monday…

Billabong Girls Days

A bit late perhaps (a week after the event) but I still want to post a few things about it. As I said in an earlier post, the waves were great. Perhaps not the best day ever there, there were some flat spells between sets, but still infinitely better than The Netherlands. I like my little country, but it’s just not a surfer-friendly country…Anyway, the day started early, I had to be at the site around 0830 for registration…after that it took ages before everyone was there and the programme started. We started with a yoga session in the grass on a cliff, breathing in the sea breeze 🙂 After that we got divided into groups according to age and whether you had surfed before. I was in team red, which meant green waves!! I got a board that has exactly the same dimensions as mine at home, so that was good. I was crap during the first session though, immediately tired while paddling out and I didn’t catch many waves. Perhaps due to waking up all the time during the night because it was so f*cking cold in the tent, and eventually putting on my jeans and jumper inside my sleeping bag..Anyway, during lunchtime I took a little nap, got a bit sunburnt, put on some gel with SPF 40 and went back out again, and yay! The nap helped, I caught a few nice ones 🙂

After the second session we got a hiphop session, but after two surf sessions and half an hour or jumping we were all too tired, so Hannah, Flora and I and a couple of others decided to watch the other 100 or so girls do the remainder of the hiphop class. Then there was another long wait, a concert of Billabong team member Ashleigh Mannix (great songwriter, great guitarist, great singer: just great), a sneak peak of the 2008 collection and then finally food!! I think that was about the longest day I spent on/near a beach: from 9 til 21:00.

On Sunday we only had one surf session because the day before they’d had some trouble getting boards back onto the cliff. Mainly the little girls (as the event was for girls from age 10 on) had trouble getting the big foamies back. But it was all OK, because on Sunday I did something which was starting to look like a bottom turn and I my timing was perfect on one other gorgeous wave, so I was well pleased with that session. After lunch we got to be creative and draw some love surfing pictures with our group. During the hiphop session I sneaked away to Woolacombe to score a new pair of surf shorts (I deserved it after my almost bottom turn!). After about an hour or so I returned to the Billabong site just in time to receive my certificate of participation :P.

Then there was a little bit of panic, or rather irritation from my side (and I can be really annoying when I’m annoyed) because Marco didn’t know where he’d left the car key. After we tried to reach the car rental company, which we couldn’t because it was Sunday and that was probably for the better anyway, and after I had taken a long hot shower we went out for dinner at the campsite restaurant. And lo and behold, the waitress said Marco had left his jacket there after he’d had breakfast there that morning, and in the jacket was the car key!! Extreme relief took over, and we enjoyed a simple but decent meal while looking out over Woolacombe bay. It was handy that we had the key so now I could take out Marco’s tracksuit bottoms and abuse them as pyjama bottoms 🙂 I was still a little bit cold though. At some point it also started to rain heavily, but luckily we had replaced the tent poles so the tent was stable. One side was starting to leak a little, probably because I had almost tripped over a guy line, the main problem however was the hole in the floor nylon my brother had forgotten to mention. Luckily we were on a big air mattress so we stayed dry, and so did our clothes on the floor which happened to be in the right corner…

On Monday we stuffed out bags in the car and left Woolacombe. We stopped for breakfast in Barnstaple (where I had some more scones, but they weren’t as good as the ones on Friday) and to stash some salt and vinegar crisps (3 sixpacks for 2 pounds!). We then drove on to Bath, where we packed our bags properly and went for a short walk and a coffee/chocolate-stop at Starbucks 🙂 Around 1700 we arrived at Bristol airport, where we had to hang around until 1830 to board our plane. Then on the aircraft an annoyed pilot told us we weren’t going to leave Bristol on time (1855), as because of clouds above London we’d gotten assigned a different timeslot (1940). So we spent about 45 minutes on the aircraft eating salt and vinegar crisps and reading magazines before we really had to go back to Amsterdam…

I miss England!!!

I just got back from Katwijk where I spent my lunch and where I probably had the worst surf session ever. I spent the better half of about half an hour trying to paddle out which was made virtually impossible by the wind and a strong current, and when I finally found myself out far enough the current had made me drift away from the sandbanks where the waves broke. So I decided to admit my defeat and paddled back to the beach (there wasn’t even a proper wave that would take me back!!). I also feel exhausted. Not good.

I miss the sunshine and the nice clean waves in Devon!!