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Aug. 22nd, 2003

I've noticed that the days are growing shorter again, and I've even seen the first leaves start to fall. Kind of makes me sad a little, the fact that this glorious summer is so obviously drawing to a close, and soon it'll be six months of grey skies and bare trees again - not to mention the wind and rain. We should be alright for another 6-8 weeks, but...

It's not the onset of autumn I dread so much as that of winter. It's still some time away, luckily, but I'm really not looking forward to the January-March time frame, which I regard as being totally depressing and blah. Mostly because of the afore-mentioned combination of wind, rain and grey skies.
Unless it's a good old-fashioned, rich in snow and ice and brilliant blue skies kind of winter - those I positively enjoy. There's nothing quite as exhilarating as going skating with your friends and drinking endless cups of hot chocolate along the route; and the Netherlands can be a beautiful country when everything is white and cold and ice-encrusted! But unfortunately we don't often get winters like that...

I got a bit of a shock the other day. Nils (who is my closest male friend) called and blithely announced that he had been out of work for the last 3 months. The news didn't come as a complete surprise: I knew his company had been having some problems lately, but when he last swung by in February, Nils was confident he could still turn things around and they'd be OK (it was his own company and he had several people working for him - he feels worse for them than for himself at the moment). So it wasn't the fact that unfortunately, he'd gone under that bothered me so much as the fact that he hadn't managed to find another job in the meantime. Nils has never been idle before. He's multi-talented, highly qualified in all kinds of fields, and a damn good manager/salesman.
Of course, we are dealing with an economic crisis at the moment. Companies are letting people go in their hundreds, thousands even; and for the past year, within the company I work for, we've had to contend with drastic re-organisations as well, losing 3500 people world-wide. I'm currently doing the work of three people, because the other two have been given the sack - but somehow, I never thought it would be this bad; that someone who had never been inactive through no fault of his own could be forced to stay at home and potter about in the garden a bit (which is what Nils explained he had been doing, minding his 2 year old and laying turf). He told me he applied for jobs left, right and centre, but rarely even got invited to an interview - and when he was, he was offered ridiculously low salaries. His tale of woe made me thankful I still have my job, even if I hate it every now and again.
Anyway, we made plans to spend another weekend and potter about in his garden together soon, and even if what he told me was essentially bad news, he still sounded cheerful and optimistic enough. He's very like me in that respect - nothing ever gets him down for long!

Actually, he's a lot like me. It's the first thing his then girlfriend noticed about the two of us when we first met in Egypt 4 years ago; that we were exactly the same in our actions/reactions, behaviour, sense of humour, and even mannerisms, like our way of talking or gesticulating. We often make the same comment or observation at the same time, and usually have no problem completing each other's sentences. It's like a constant round of snap, and it's no wonder she dubbed us 'the twins' only hours into our acquaintance. Her words were truer than she at first believed, because we found out later that we had been born only hours apart, with Nils being only ever so slightly my junior.



( 13 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Aug. 22nd, 2003 05:31 am (UTC)
wow...non-familial twins, eh? interesting phenomenon.
do you look anything alike?
Aug. 22nd, 2003 06:02 am (UTC)
Do we look anything alike? Erm...no, not really. I mean, we're both dark-haired, but his is curly and his eyes are blue, and he's tall and skinny and angular -- whereas I have brown eyes...and yeah, perhaps he could pass for my brother, after all!

I have a sister, you know. We look nothing like each other. She's a very skinny, tall, green-eyed redhead, and no one can believe we have the same mum and dad.
Aug. 22nd, 2003 06:47 am (UTC)
that happens a lot, i think.
i also have friends that look so much like family that people swear we're related, even when we insist that we're not.

the world is a strange place. :]
Aug. 22nd, 2003 06:15 am (UTC)
I love the autumn. We live surrounded by woodland - actually, enveloped is probably nearer to the truth. The trees are taking over. Anyway, this time of year the leaves start to look so tired and dusty, I can't wait for the autumn colours. I love crisp, sunny mornings that turn the trees all gold and russet, and kicking through piles of fallen leaves, and the smell of bonfires, and the first nip of frost, and the crispness of a good English apple fresh from the tree. And when the leaves are gone, the autumn light slanting down through the woodland is breathtaking. And winter too, with the hoare frost on the branches and our lane covered in a sheet of sparkly ice. But - yeah, Jan- March is depressing. Howvever, on the plus side, the days are getting longer again then and the daffs are out and Spring isn't far. On the downside - March birthday...

Oh, bummer for Nils. Glad to hear he is taking it all so positively. I know it can be a life-changing experience for many people - look at me - I was made redundant and ended up pregnant! Bugger. No, I actually meant a positive life-changing experience. It can be difficult - Jon was out of work for 2 years, and although looking after the kiddies and pottering around the house sounded fine in principal, the novelty wore off. Like Nils, he applied for loads of jobs with no luck or derisory offers. But something came up in the end, thank heavens. I hope it all works out for Nils.

Are things dodgy over there, then? I've always kind of assumed that, unlike the UK, the Netherlands had it about right. Is it all down to the euro?
Aug. 22nd, 2003 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: Autumn
No, it's not all to do with the euro (I wish it was, then we could quite easily do something about it); it's something of a world-wide phenomenon that Keynes would have been able to explain to you clearly and succinctly, but which I, a complete dunce in the field of economics, can't.

I love the autumn</b>

Well, your description of it does make it sound very appealing! Late Sept/first few weeks of Oct is my favourite time of year: the days still balmy, the skies still blue, the leaves all russet and gold, the yummiest mushrooms springing up everywhere; that peaty smell, that tang in the air, the geese cackling overhead in their winter migration...Pity it never lasts.
Aug. 22nd, 2003 06:53 am (UTC)
Mmmm...joining you in the vaguely depressing feeling of impending autumn. According to Harmonyfb I have something called (I forget) winter depression. After midsummer I can feel it creeping up on me, thinking, the days are growing shorter again, I don't want summer to end...
But I think those brown leaves falling off here are because of the drought, not the autumn...Should be some nice weather still!
And on the job front; yeah, my hubby's been laid off, and our uber boss in the Hague is wanting to fire us en masse. Swallow. *hangs on to boring job grimly*
Aug. 22nd, 2003 07:03 am (UTC)
And on the job front: yeah, my hubby's been laid off, and our uber boss in the Hague is wanting to fire us en masse. Swallow

OH NO! Kill the Ueberboss - will that help, do you think? I'm in The Hague, I could do him for you...
Aug. 22nd, 2003 07:19 am (UTC)
Ooh! Girl, you are so caught! Ueberboss is a she (cigar smoking, genever drinking under office hours, leggings and blue eyeshadow wearing since 1981)!

Granted, the only or one of the only female Director Generals but still...
Aug. 22nd, 2003 07:26 am (UTC)
Shit! I knew I should have used singular them! But whatever - do her for you, then?
Aug. 22nd, 2003 07:41 am (UTC)
Um, no. I hate to admit it, but she's doing good things. Any successor would be even worse. Her plan is really to get rid of all the fifty+, badly educated, resistant to change people. But I'm not a core-business person, so I might fall to her axe as well, as even civil servants have to tighten belts. No profits, less tax, less government budget.
Kill Balkenende for me, or Zalm, with his insane frugality plans. Would you?
Aug. 22nd, 2003 08:33 am (UTC)
Let's discuss this over tea and biccies, shall we? I'll see you tomorrow!
Aug. 22nd, 2003 11:12 am (UTC)
Well, maybe not; :-) - much too serious for LJ anyway (apology) and really i'm not politics girl at all...
Aug. 24th, 2003 07:22 am (UTC)
Oh good - cuz I'm not, either!
( 13 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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