I recently turned our spare room into a hobby room and as a consequence we had to get rid of the bed settee. We placed an advert in the local paper for our 2 seater bed settee for £35. A couple of people enquired, a woman texted and a bloke rang, both said they’d get back but never did.
Last night in the middle of the football I received another text. After a lengthy exchange of messages during which I understood the young lass had not got a very large car, I agreed to deliver it myself providing she didn’t live at the other side of the world. As it panned out it emerged she lived a stones throw from my parents house in a village only 5 miles from ours.
We agreed I’d deliver it today. We arrived and immediately I noticed a “Hup Holland” flag in the window. The lass was sitting outside on the front step when we arrived. Astrid, half jokingly asked if she was Dutch and she replied that she was. What? I mean, what was the chance of a Dutch person reading my advert in the local paper that Astrid my Dutch wife works for, then telling me she lived in the village of my childhood? What a massive and brilliant coincidence.
It emerged she was from Amsterdam, Dad is Dutch, Mum is English, partner is English. Now, we have only met a couple of Dutch people in the 14 years (jeez, time flies) Astrid had live in the UK but this was a coincidence too far.
As both Astrid and myself spoke Dutch with her on the doorstep of a typically English semi detached in a typically Yorkshire pennine village, the lass described the coincidence as like being in a weird dream. It was perfectly surreal. We unloaded the settee and exchanged names for Facebook. That is how we do it these days. We will probably go out with them for a meal. We even gave each other the typical Dutch 3 kisses as we departed.
As I write, England, which is increasing more embarrassing to be associated with, have lost to Uruguay in the World Cup. The Dutch lass asked if I wanted England to win and I said I was more Yorkshire than English so it didn’t matter. Not one England player on that pitch tonight was born in Yorkshire. I’m kind of making a point here.
Tomorrow the orange teeshirt goes up in the window because we haven’t got any Dutch flags but I’ve got three orange teeshirts. At least one person in this household will be represented by the country printed on her passport in the next round of the World Cup.
I also have 4 out of a possible 10 hamsters from Albert Hein supermarkets, the latest of the usual Dutch World Cup souvenir gadgets, dangling from the mirror and the coat hooks in the back of the car.
To any foodies on here: has anyone ever had peteh beans or as they might be otherwise known, petai, bitter bean, sataw, twisted cluster bean, yongchaa, yongchaak, zawngtah or as the Dutch nickname them, stinkbonen? Like the enigmatic Durian plant, which has a quite disgusting pungence but an exquisite taste, peteh beans also stink a bit but when cooked, are delicious. They need cooking for longer than other vegetables to soften them a bit but make a wonderful addition to a meal. This meal was diced turkey thigh meat with rosemary, lemongrass and garlic. The vegatables were peteh beans, sliced onion, garden peas & sweetcorn beads to which I added a smidgeon of sambal peteh, a chilli paste made with peteh beans. And rice, no stirfry would be anything at all without rice. We had brown rice. In Dutch, we called the meal kalkoenvlees met stinkbonen. Turkey with stink beans.
And here it is.