Up early!

So, a new year beckons. What to expect? To be honest I’m not sure. It’s been a strange 12 months. Just a quick scout over the blog says that much. I’ve not actually written as much this year as I normally do. Maybe i’m losing my edge? I don’t know. 

I suppose the most significant thing to have happened is Julia’s death. Mid 40s is no time to die. They say you should always expect the unexpected but I tend to lean towards expecting stuff that, to me, sounds plausible. Ju not being around at the end of the year, simply doesn’t/didn’t fit that description. 7 years a constant, removed without so much as a "By your leave", is kind of so out of character for her that, it does incite the reaction of, there must be some mistake. Unfortunately there isn’t. 

Here in Holland things have remained much as they were. The interaction with Esther’s family has pretty much drawn to a halt. I think the tally of two visits in total from her mum / dad / sis / brother is appalling but then apparently it has always been like that. Which, it seems, makes it ok in Esther’s eyes, but not in mine. We have visited on numerous occasions, up until an incident around her mothers birthday, and from then on, its been left alone. I think I have come to accept that this is just the Dutch way. I however, won’t change my mind that it is wrong. Or rather, their treatment of her is wrong. At least I know it’s not my fault that they are not visiting! I suppose that’s better than them actually visiting, and visiting to get to know me, rather than spending time with Es! Grins, down that road, resentment lies! 

The turning down of the management job at the pub seems to have worked out in my favour. The idea was sound, the practicalities and application, were not, which is a shame. The final outcome of this is that, the person who I would’ve worked for has left and moved back to the UK, and the pub was, at last viewing, closed completely over Xmas and New Year, the two times where custom is virtually guaranteed! Who can say how it would’ve turned out if I’d’ve taken the job… but from the outside now it looks like I chose the right option. 

Life-wise over here has turned into mostly mundane stuff. Day to day piffle is as it was yesterday, or last year, etc. I still get very frustrated at the fact that people here, really, honestly, seem to be ok with being absolutely ripped off monetarily. 33% income tax i still beyond a joke. I sat and worked out the figures only a few days ago regarding costs of living. If a person here earns E39,000 a year, after tax is the same as roughly earning E33,000 in the UK (29k in pounds). That’s nearly a straight E6000 loss purely from tax! Add onto that your obligatory insurances, and the fact that the house here costs between 2 and 3 times the price and I think it equates to about 25k (E27,000) so logistically it is a E12,000 loss just for living here! I suppose job security is something. It’s almost impossible to fire you over here! And then there are the medical costs here. Utterly abhorrent! Must….. not…. rant…..!

People-wise… well that’s a curious state of affairs. Being a Brit in a foreign country when you don’t speak the language, kind of  limits your choice of friends to the people you can communicate with. In a small community you can tend to "make do" and forge relationships with people who, in the UK, you’d probably not spend time with. Forge. Interesting choice of words. I suspect I have done just that! However, the time has come to purge this I suspect. People for peoples sake is not good. I suppose in a way I might have been looking for a sense of community, a common bond if you will, which would obviously mostly consist of "We’re not in the UK anymore", whereby you can insert any country other than Holland into the UK slot. Turns out, for me at least, that’s not really enough. I think I’d rather go to somewhere like Brothers of Beer in Leiden and not really speak to many people, but enjoy the music, than go to where I have been frequenting, and compromise myself by acquiring acquaintances rather than friends. People go to Brothers I think for the love of the music, a positive, if you will, rather than the people who go to the Kings who the majority (i think.. lol) go there because of a negative, a missing of what it’s like in the local pub back "home". Perhaps for some, that convergence is enough, and that’s fine, but for me, I guess I just don’t get the nourishment I want. Oooh.. interesting.. I typed Need and then deleted it! What would Freud say? lmao! 

It will be nice to see the New Year in in the UK and catch up again with a few people. Assuming all goes to plan we’re staying with Phil for a few days. Snow Ice and whatever else the elements can throw at us might mess with that though. A little bit of weather and countries grind to a halt. Baffles me. Not like we’ve never had bad weather before. 

I have at least attained one thing. I’ve got to, and stayed under 12 stone! Another half a stone off would be nice. Reading back, I injured my shoulder at the back end of July, and it’s never really gotten better. The gym therefore has pretty much been just Esther’s thing in the latter half of the year, which is a shame really. Eyeing a weights bench again to see if I can get back to something like I was a few years back. It would be nice to get back to that stage but I wonder if it’s even doable all these years down the road. My shoulder serves as a reminder each time it goes CRUNCH that I am indeed much older now. Such is life.

Anyway… enough of my musings. Coffee calls!

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