Happy Saturday all. Yesterday’s “highlight” was getting drenched by Storm Odette (article from regio15.nl in Dutch). I did have a rain jacket with me, though, and I knew I wasn’t going to get back home without getting thoroughly drenched. I tried to stall a bit in the Albert Heijn by the Holland Spoor train station, but really there’s only so many rows of food you can browse before you get bored.
By the time I got home my rain jacket and the bottom of my jeans were thoroughly drenched. A napkin in my backpack also fell victim to the wind and the rain. Luckily Marco was home so I could stand outside the front door and hand him my jacket and backpack before taking a step inside. After that it just a matter of getting into dry clothes as soon as possible.
I learned two things yesterday:
face masks are a lot less annoying when the weather turns colder. A bit of hot breath can help keep you warm now. I should remember to bring some mints or gum, though. Stale breath is still way too noticeable.
Apple Watches might be waterproof to a degree, but even they will stop responding if your fingers are too wet. Okay, no restarting my music then. I’m too busy avoiding this burst of rain and wind and trying to walk forward anyway…
And for some strange news – from bbc.com: Old TV caused village broadband outages for 18 months. I can’t believe it took 18 months to solve this, but I’m sure the villagers were excited to finally not having internet issues anymore. And the fact that someone was so into routine that they would turn on their TV every day at the same exact time…? That’s crazy.
And because everyone needs to see a rat with a mini medal:
Today Marco visited the city centre to do a bit of shopping. Lucky guy had the day off! But he did take a photo for me (thank you). It turns out he found a fuze tea stand handing out free samples:
He chose the blueberry jasmine flavor and remarked about how they tried to make the giveaway corona proof. Normally it’s a chaotic group of people standing around, cutting in line, hoping to get in and out quickly. But today they had a line (see above) with self-service – you reach into the display case and grab your own tea. Which had the nice benefit that they don’t open the drink and then hand it to you to drink right away.
Today’s weather in short: sudden buckets of rain that fall onto your head without warning, lasting about 5-10 minutes, while a blue sky shines mockingly above you. And cold weather. Much colder. Apparently we went from an extreme heat wave to lower-than-average temperatures. Hmph.
Some of the streets also have banners hung up between the buildings letting people know which side of the street they should be walking on (see Tweet below).
The problem is that the bottom of the banner contains small pipes to help weigh them down so they do not move around that much in the wind. And what did we have yesterday evening and today? A huge wind storm. It turns out that the pipes were not properly secured, meaning there was a risk that the pipes would fall out, possibly injuring shoppers in the process. Opps! The streets were closed for 3-4 hours today while the fire department removed all of the pipes.
In other news:
Cafés violating customer privacy with Covid contact data (nltimes.nl). Restaurants, cafés and terraces must now ask you for your contact details, per the Dutch government. It’s not required that you leave your contact details, but it is strongly encouraged. I’m sure the stories linked above won’t help the government’s case, though. Example: a journalist left her contact details at a restaurant. Shortly after she left the restaurant she received a phone call from the bartender asked if she wanted to have a drink with him sometime. What???
Overvallen door een plensbui? Weerapps minder betrouwbaar door afname vliegverkeer (omroepwest.nl). The title is: Do you find yourself in the middle of an unexpected, quick rain shower? Weather apps are less trustworthy now that there are less flights taking off. The article talks about just that – when a plane takes off it automatically measures the outside temperature and wind speed as it rises in height. That information is also passed on to the Dutch weather service to help predict weather changes. During the lockdown (when flights were very scarce) the Dutch weather service released an extra weather balloon to gather additional data points for their weather reporting.
And, amusingly enough, there’s a bouncy castle festival going on in the region. The organizers mentioned that the festival would be cancelled tomorrow and they would be letting the air out of the cushions in preparation for the storm coming this evening. Seriously, a bouncy castle festival. How cool is that. My six year old self probably would have loved that.
The thermometer reads 30.5C or 87F. I know it’s probably not the actual temperature, but it does make me pretty glad that rain will finally be coming tonight after an 8 day heat wave. Lots of records were broken in the Netherlands this week. The seven day average temperature for the country was 33.1C, with the previous record of 32C back in 1976 (about 91F).
Another record broken: the Netherlands had 8 straight days of temperatures above 35C (95F) somewhere in the country. De Bilt, a small town in the centre of the Netherlands saw temperatures above 30C for 8 days in a row. That is significant because De Bilt is the official site for average temperatures for the country (and also home to KNMI, the Dutch metrological service).
Of course, it will probably take a while before the apartment cools down, but hopefully not too long. I’m crossing my finger a lot while saying that!
Covid-19 testing at Schiphol from today – also from nltimes.nl. That is of course Schiphol airport. Any travellers coming from high-risk countries can get a “fast” Covid-19 test done upon arrival in the Netherlands. At the moment this testing is voluntary, although strongly encouraged.
Today’s photo is of the landscaping round the Grote Kerk, taken sometime last week. In this weather I’d be surprised if half of it wasn’t drying out.
Due to weather, water companies in the Netherlands warned there could be water shortages (article from nltimes.nl). The issues are due to the warm weather and the fact that a lot of people are staying in the Netherlands for vacation this year.
Oh, and the beach in Scheveningen has never been busier (article from omroepwest.nl), with roads in that direction shut down by lunchtime yesterday for a while. The heatwave is here to stay for a bit longer, so buckle up. It’ll only get warmer! ☀️
Today’s photo is of the Muzentoren in The Hague, about a five minute walk from The Hague’s Centraal Station. Muzentoren translates roughly to “Muses’ Tower”. It’s a relatively new building, made in 2001 according to the Dutch Wikipedia page.
The statue in front also has an interesting meaning, although my photo only shows half of it. It is called “Light and darkness”. The side you see is the light – standing up straight, looking straight ahead. On the other side is darkness (see this image from indebuurt.nl) where the other half sags down, looking dejected.
In other news… did you know it was a year ago yesterday that the Netherlands broke the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded? A city in the south of the Netherlands reached 40.7C or 105F. Yikes! Yesterday the average was around 17C or 63F. That’s a bit of a difference…
After a long working day, both Marco and I are ready for the weekend! The weather looks like it will be cooperating as well, with highs around 25C (77F) tomorrow. I definitely have not been getting outside enough this week so I am looking forward to a nice, long walk. I’m not sure where yet, but anywhere I can stretch my legs and socially distance myself sounds good to me.
Here’s a photo from the Holland Spoor train station last week:
It’s definitely a dirty floor, so I decided not to give you an extra large version of this photo. Ha! But as you can tell these stickers are reminders about what to do in the train station (wear a face mask, keep your distance and stick to the right).
The Netherlands is in a minor heatwave that will last for about 3 and a half days. High 80s, low 90s temperatures (Fahrenheit). That does not sound that hot, but for us poor souls without air conditioning (or an office to retreat to) – whew! I am warm. I didn’t have as much trouble yesterday, but today I am definitely feeling it. We have one more day of high temperatures tomorrow before the weather turns on Saturday, including a bit of rain.
From next week the corona statistics that RIVM (National Institute of Public Health) reports will be reported on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. Statistics include number of positive cases, hospital intakes and deaths. This is because the corona crisis is winding down. For now at least.