The runtiest of them all

We saw a litter of piglets, biggetjes in Dutch. One of the piglets was tiny – the runt. Husband couldn’t come up with a Dutch word for the runt of a litter. I began to wonder whether the concept exists…

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Trying not to be subservient

I’m often aware that some here would interpret my behaviour as subservient. For example, if the kids have a doctor’s appointment, my normal impulse is to ask the teacher for permission to pick them up early. I have managed to…

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Polite and rude egalitarianism

I’m reading ‘Watching the English’ by anthropologist Kate Fox. She’s studied the English and come up with a list of cultural rules to define them. For an English person who has lived outside England for a long time, it makes…

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Shiver me timbers

At the breakfast table Daughter asked what timber meant. It’s what you shout if you’re felling a tree and it’s about to fall down, I told her. Husband put down his beschuit met vruchtenhagel and thundered “van onderen”. “Van onderen”…

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