Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer along the Maas

DSC07493 Stitch (1300x420)

Neighbors and friends say that the storms have been relentless across Limburg the past weeks, lightning and thunder with the occasional Code Oranje for high wind and risk of local flooding.  But it’s been hot and humid this week, barely a cross-wind stirring between the open windows, front and back.

I’ve been laying into the yearly financial reporting, 2012 Annuals, 2012 Corporate tax, 2012 Income tax, Q2 VAT.  I keep everything, but matching up invoices, payments, bank transfers and receipts takes hours, days.  Neat piles of paper multiply across the floor, first the living room, then out into the hallway.

When I take a break, I’ve cleaned the refrigerator, defrosted the freezer, and rescued a houseplant.  Balance  shall return to the mansion (Evenwichtstoestand zal terug naar mijn herenhuis komen?).

DSC07467 (1300x948)‘No Dutch lessons scheduled on this visit, it’s been too long and I’ll be here too briefly.  William Alexander wrote in The Times yesterday about the benefits of failing to learn a language: improvements in working memory, inductive reasoning, sound discrimination and task switching. 

I know that I need to do it (along with the “Life in the UK” test).  My reading ability actually hasn’t declined much, I still understand most of the Spits and Metro throw-away’s on the train to Amsterdam (and even occasional overheard conversations). 

I will return to it, likely in the Autumn.

The Rantree restaurant downstairs is doing brisk business: it’s a squeeze to get past the tables outside the doorway.  The reviews have been good, and the rumor is that they have gained their first Michelin star.  Spillover business benefits the entire street and keeps my end of the ‘skade bustling past sundown.

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It’s a nice vibe, the owners are relaxed and we’ve had some good conversations about their menu, the economics of the business, and expansion plans.  Late at night, the cooks sit at a table on the rear terrace outside my bedroom, smoke, and laugh over stories.

Early evenings, I take a break to visit with friends, catching up with a beer, a snack, a few stories along the river.   Everyone seems to be doing well, families happy, careers moving ahead, summer plans laid. 

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For me, the focus is still contracts, fundraising, clinical trials and partnerships.  Vacation will come with some small-boat sailing in August and some foreign travel at half-term.

‘Nothing on a European 3-week scale, but still, something to work towards.

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