Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Queen's Day

Monday, 30 April was a great national holiday called Queen's Day.  In Dutch it's Koninginnedag.  After 4 years of living here I can almost pronounce it if I try to say if really fast. (Learning Dutch has been a rough go for me.) 

  It's a day when everyone wears orange and orange banners, etc. are hung from everywhere. People reserve spots on the side walk for up to 2 weeks before the day by tape out their patch and putting the word "bezet"on that spot. Sometimes you only see the letters "BZ". On the big day these spots are where they set up stalls mostly to sell old junk. Some people sell food and pancakes or poffertjes (little donut-y things) are very popular. A very big part of Queen's Day is that everyone over the age of 18 (and a few under) feels the obligation to get drunk. (Much like the Irish do on St. Paddy's Day, noted from my years of living there.) Public transport is interrupted and the city is full to the brim of Dutch day-trippers, Amsterdamers and tourists from abroad. Since I have trouble getting around and don't really like to make a day of drinking and regretable behaviour I avoided all the hoo-ha and stayed home.

The weather has continued to be awful. It's as though spring lost it's invitation to visit us this year. But miracles of miracles, the sun came out and warmed us up a bit on Queen's Day. (The Queen must be feeling very special that the sun honoured her.) So I used the day to tinker and potter in my little outdoor garden aka my balcony. I'm working on adding more and more perennials or making cutting of things from the year before and bringing some plants indoors for the winter . Some of those make it and some of those don't. It's a learning process. All of this is to try to save some money by not having to buy so many new plants each year, I love plants and flowers, both inside the house and outside so that's one of my spending weaknesses. But I finally got my tomato plants outside. I'm a bit worried about the temps not being warm enough for them but I put them out for a few hours a day before finally locating them permanently outdoors. I checked on them in the morning after their first night and they seemed to be just fine--no dropping leaves, loss of colour, etc.

Here they are now:

They're still quite teeny but I can see some growth on them since last week.  For space reasons I put three plants in one big pot.  I did this last year and had a very successful crop.  

Now if the sun would just come back out and warm them up a bit......


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