Irene’s sister and I cycled into Maastricht today. The sun was shining and it was delightful – and flat – with the one small disadvantage that I have short legs and am considerably shorter than most Dutch people. They put the seat down for me, but getting on and off the bike was still a bit precarious. However, all went well and I got there and back safely.
Maastricht is delightful, with lots of narrow cobbled streets and old buildings. It wasn’t bombed in the war because of its position, at the tail end of the Netherlands between Belgium and Germany, it wasn’t really possible to defend it so there was no need for it to be attacked. Erica used to work at the tourist board so knew a lot and took me on a tour round the city. A walking tour that is, we left the bikes in a free underground park. She was amused, when we got back, to find that I hadn’t locked it – since we were given tickets that were checked when we left, I hadn’t realised the need, nor that bikes have integral locks in Holland, with the key in the frame just below the saddle. I explained that we have to carry round chains with padlocks, such locks don’t exist, as far as I know, on English bikes.
I gather we are going out into the countryside tomorrow to see the sights. They are looking after me wonderfully well and I’m enjoying myself very much.
In other news, Ben has a hot spot, which is an alarming skin condition that comes on in a matter of hours – he’s been taken to the vet and is on the mend – and Weeza and Phil have been turning out one of the workshops. Huge amounts of rubbish have been burnt, much has been saved and there’s a big pile to go into a skip. The Sage and I had a turn-out last year and filled one skip, but we realised it was just the start of a very big job. It’ll be great once it’s done, but lord knows how long it’ll take before we get things into some sort of order.