Monday, 23 November 2020

So what about Brexit NOW then?

So here we are. Four and a half years later. It's been like having toothache for an extended period of time, knowing you're going to have your teeth pulled out and not knowing if it will fix the problem. 

A lot of Leave voters say ‘stop complaining, it’s democracy!’ Well democracy doesn’t always work. If five people democratically elect to take your iPhone, it’s still a mugging!

It's been a hard watch being a dutchman living on this lump of land in the north seas. My thoughts throughout this entire process has always been that I understand the desire for more independence, national identity and taking some control back however with the open world we live in today it is almost impossible to isolate yourself. 

However, now balls deep in Disney plus and having reacquainted ourselves with the misery that is scrolling through utterly dire and pointless Instagram photos of our "friends'" children building an exact replica of Arundel from 500 toilet rolls and calling it 'home schooling', we are getting a taste of what isolation might look like. 

If and when the world finally does crawl out of their piyamas and we all work out how deodorant works again, Brexit might not look quite so appealing anymore! The fact that a Portuguese and a Kiwi nurse saved Bojo's life is surely the mother of all irony's. 

The World has lost its Smile

So now we're all wearing masks. 

My phone doesn't recognise me anymore and I can't tell if my neighbour is smiling at me or sneering. Probably the latter. The other day I'm sure the cashier at Waitrose mouthed "now be off with you, you homeless wanker". I could see it in her eyes but of course I couldn't prove it. 

Then there are those who don't understand how face masks work. They wear them under their nose or above their chin. This demographic is either born in America or over the age of 60 and male.

The mask has become a real fashion statement and a form of expression. 

There are the colourful, flowery hippies who love that they are able to express the fact that they are happy, vegan and undoubtedly wearing similarly colourful underwear. You also have the military style, doomsday preppers who generally wear black or camouflaged face masks with air vents. Then you have the simple, light blue, no nonsense medical face mask which says you don't care to express yourself through a pandemic inspired face covering and you think those who do are pretentious twats. 

This is the brave new world we now all live in. Undoubtedly an overreaction to the worldwide pandemic, but how can we risk infection? Until the vaccines are approved and everyone has been vaccinated the world will mask it up. 

One lasting legacy of the COVID pandemic will be the great face mask pollution that will haunt us for the next few years. If we can't be trusted with plastic straws and earbuds why would anyone think we can handle used face masks?!  

Many years from now we will find used face masks littering 300 year old ship wrecks at the bottom of the Atlantic and clogging up the air-conditioning vents on the international space station. It is a sad truth and another nasty byproduct of this horrible virus.

Ommen: De speeltuin van mijn jeugd

Als klein kind ging ik niets liever dan op bezoek bij mijn Oma, die in Ommen woonde. Een sprookjes dorp richting de duitse grens. Hier kwamen al mijn jongens dromen uit. Een bos dat aansloot aan de grote achtertuin, uren lang fietsen door de ongerepte natuur en een friet en ijs tent om de hoek! Alles wat je hartje begeert. Hoeveel kilometers ik wel niet op de fiets in de omgeving van Ommen met mijn broer heb afgelegd. Zo veel mooie avonturen en zo veel prachtige herinneringen.

Dagen lang ‘stoepranden’ voor de deur en s’nachts kamperen achter de heg in de tuin. Een bezoek aan mijn lieve oma was altijd feest en nooit saai. Oma woonde op de Schamelte, huisnummer 29. Een typisch Ommen's huis. Aan de rand van de zand duinen en de Emmerdennen. Dit was HQ. Hier werden onze excursies gepland. Onze dagelijkse avonturen in de bossen.

S'avonds was het altijd knus en gezellig binnen. Echt op z'n nederlands eten, alemaal rond de tafel. Als de kinderen hun zin kregen was het een familie zak patat met kroketjes en apelmoes of Nasi Goreng met extra sate saus. De beste patatjes en softijsjes in Nederland kwamen van Ekkelenkamp. De hoeveelheid softijs met chocodip dat ik daar gegeten heb is ontelbaar. 

Ik ben in 2018 terug geweest met mijn jonge familie en heb ik mijn dochter ook de wonderen van Overijssel laten proeven. We hebben in hotel De Zon, naast de Vechte geslapen. 

Ik hoop in de komende jaren nog vaak terug te gaan naar dit speciale plekje in mijn verleden en mijn hart.

2020 on Lockdown

So now we're into this years second national lockdown, playing a game of chicken with a family Christmas. Across Europe similar restrictions and lockdowns are in place while across the pond Donald is shining a light inside the body and drinking bleach. 

Back to lockdown life, except this time we don't have to pretend laugh at your friends having their hair cut by their wives and girlfriends, we don't have to pretend to like Joe Wanks and his morning workouts, we don't have to come up with new excuses for not joining Zoom calls with your overexcited "mates", keep having to think of new inventive ways of keeping your child entertained, or standing outside in pyjamas with our third bottle of red in hand, clapping for the NHS.   

This time we're prepared. We have a plan. We are all experienced lockdowners. We are semi-professionals at this shit. We're going to nail this lockdown. Streamline our days. So then why the fuck is this second lockdown even more shite than the first one?!

Clearly the novelty has worn off. It's dark outside. Everyone's grumpy It seems we're all working harder and getting more stressed from home, we're all still doing the school run and we're all not allowed to see our family and friends or get shitfaced at the pub. 

This year has been the one shitshow after another. So what will be the legacy of this year's unprecedented lockdown experience? I'll tell you what the legacy will be. The legacy will be 18 billions non-biodegradable face masks that will choke the planet to its knees. 

Many year from now we will be talking about this with our children and our children's children. Our grandchildren will ask us what we did during the pandemic lockdowns. Did you learn a new language grandad? Did you write that book you always claimed you had in you? Did you use your time to do good? What will your answer be...?