Wednesday we went to a nearby store to look at some garden furniture. Now that it is likely we will spend most of the summer at home, and for certain will not be camping somewhere else in Europe, we wanted to have comfortable seating on our waterside terrace.

The store is on the edge of our neighbourhood looking out over the highway. We spotted something that has been very rare the past 10 weeks: a traffic jam!

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Today is King’s day, our national holiday. Normally it turns the entire country into a giant orange colored street festival and fleamarket, but this year we’re all at home. It’s been dubbed Woningsdag, or ‘houseday’, which differs from Koningsdag, King’s day, in its first letter only. In my head King’s day is the start of ‘flag week’, as April 27th is followed by May 4th Remembrance day, and May 5th Liberation day, the only three days in the year the general population flies a flag. The Netherlands isn’t at all big on flag waving.

This year it seemed there were more flags visible around our neighbourhood than last year, regularly with the telltale folds of newly bought and unpackaged flags visible.

When Y woke up and came downstairs we unfurled the flag together and mounted it next to the front door.

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Today E and I concluded we have a cool event space right around the corner. While we were thinking about whether or not to do an unconference this spring (we decided not to, in the car to France two weeks ago), I realised a building around the corner from us seemed to have new occupants. Until then it had only been in use on Sundays by a local church community.

The building itself is from 2007, when this area was newly built, and it was intended to serve as theater and community meeting and event space. A few years later it went bankrupt, and since then it wasn’t used except for Sunday services.
But late last year it has re-opened, under the name De Kamers (the rooms)

We visited today and saw how it is a very informal and warmly decorated place with lots of daylight. With a number of different spaces, a professional kitchen and large outside area. Perfect for unconferences like ours, where creating a relaxed informal atmosphere is important, and very close to our home, almost like it is an extension of it. It left us imagining what we could do with it. It would be a shame to not use a beautiful facility like that. We will receive an indication of costs soon, to help us guide our thinking as to how and when we might put that venue to good use.

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Jaren geleden keek ik al eens naar broodfondsen, die toen net een beetje ontstonden in Nederland. Broodfondsen zijn verenigingen voor wederzijdse hulp bij arbeidsongeschiktheid. Gebaseerd op kleine groepen, die elkaar kennen en vertrouwen, en die bij nood elkaar geld schenken. Door een berichtje op Mastodon over een op te richten broodfonds in Leeds (UK), waar aan Nederlandse voorbeelden werd gerefereerd, kwam ik terecht op Broodfonds.nl waar inmiddels zo’n 500 groepen te vinden zijn, met zo’n 25.000 ondernemers. Dat is een flinke groei aan initiatieven.

Voorjaar 2019 blijkt er bovendien een groep te zijn opgericht in mijn woonplaats, die nog leden zoekt. Ik ben nieuwsgierig, zowel naar hoe het concept in de praktijk tot uitdrukking komt, als (en vooral) naar andere ondernemers in de stad. Een mailtje gestuurd om mijzelf eens uit te nodigen voor een kennismaking.

Finally got myself a shredder for the garden. I’ve been pruning the laurel today. A few times per year there’s a lot of pruning to be done, like recently the apple tree. I didn’t want to spent a lot of time again cutting the stems and branches back to a size that fit the waste container. And besides throwing away all that green material seemed a waste in itself.

So when I was done pruning the laurel and saw the heap of branches I cut, I measured the biggest branch and with the 3yr old visited the hardware store to get a shredder that could take it all.

With the shredder I made short work of it, and ended up with a very fragrant bag full of shredded laurel branches and leaves. I added it all back as mulch to the garden, which insects (now temperatures are dropping) and worms will enjoy. Much better than throwing it in the bin. A pleasing act, I found. The tribe of blue tits that uses our apple tree as a meeting place seemed in agreement, chattering above my head.