Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
160Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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Bernadette is amazed at the amount of time I spend poring over books. 'Still reading?' she calls every time she passes the house.
She thinks I'm bone idle, but I'm an addict - got to read whenever I can.
But not today. Peter implored me to do some cleaning as the kitchen was crawling with ants.
Well, yes, I'd seen them too, and quite liked them running up and down in nice straight lines, going quietly about their business. Can't figure out what that is, but I appreciate their company when I'm in the kitchen preparing meals.
Still, to please Peter, I set about tidying work tops and splashing soapy water around - it seemed like they'd disappeared.
By the time everything was back in it's place, so were they. They were just keeping a low profile till I was done.
Maybe Peter was using them as an excuse to get me to do some housework. Never mind, I made an interesting discovery while I was at it.
I keep the salt in an old Chinese ginger jar. Giving it a wipe I noticed some strange lumps in there, so I fished them out and rinsed off the salt - yuck! The lumps turned out to be - dead - snails, all bloated and frayed at the edges like jellyfish.
After a bit they shrunk into tough dark oblongs, like liquorice.
Now what I want to know is why on earth would a snail voluntarily make its way up to the top of the jar to then slither? dive? into a sea of salt, to a certain and unpleasant death, unless it were seriously suicidal?
I want to know these things.
Like the mice that come here, soon as we've turned our backs. We find walnuts (left in a bowl on the table) behind the toilet, where the mice have created their own private entrance to the house.
But they didn't take the size of a walnut into account when the did, so they have to abandon them once they've reached their back door.
What puzzles me is, why didn't they stop at one? It must be an enormous undertaking for a mouse to carry or roll a relatively large nut all the way from the coffee table to the bathroom. And very frustrating to find it wont go through the hole in the wall, after all that hard work. You'd think they'd give up, but they keep on doing it.
So should I make the gap a bit bigger or would that be seen as unsolicited interference?
Peter says just don't leave nuts lying around.
I suppose he has a point, but isn't it fun to be back in Amsterdam and know the house is not completely empty and abandoned, to imagine the spiders, the mice, birds, lizards, bees and ants - the place alive and vibrant, all sorts of mischief going on?