I asked enigmaticblues to give me 5 words to write about, and these are what she came up with:
I had to throw out my trusty hiking boots the other day. They'd served me well these past 14 years, getting me over mountains and streams while keeping my feet warm and dry and free of blisters, but now they were falling apart and it was with something of real sadness that I said goodbye to them. They weren't the prettiest, but they were easily the most practical and comfortable shoes I've ever had. I hope I can find another equally good pair soon.
What can I tell you about The Netherlands? If you google it you'll find that it's a small country in the northwestern corner of Europe, so small in fact that you could drive around it in a day if you were so minded. As it's basically an alluvial plain, it's green and flat, and it lies under a grey sky most of the time. It also lies below sea level which I found hard to visualise as a child; from where I was standing on the beach it certainly didn't look as if the sea was higher...It wasn't until we went on a school excursion to the Delta Works that I started to get an idea of what was meant.
Personally, I like living here. Although at times I could wish for the Mediterranean sunshine or the excitement of London or New York, life in The Netherlands is generally okay. It's an affluent country with a great deal of political stability, a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy to provide the necessary pomp every now and again, where no one has to go hungry or is denied healthcare regardless of whether they're covered or not. It's no paradise, and in recent years there has been a worrying rise in popularity of right-wing politicians preaching intolerance towards Islam, but when all's said and done it's home to me and my family, and home is where the heart is.
The first time I experienced Common Rotation live in concert, back in 2004 in the Poconos, I was won over. My reaction to their music was one of immediate and unconditional surrender. It surprised me, but I went with it, and have been going with it for the past 5 years; and going to their gigs has given me so much pleasure and has allowed me to meet so many lovely people over the years, that I honestly can't thank them enough. If I have to analyse what it is about their music that appeals to me so much, it's their originality, musicality, the quirkiness of their songs and the force of their personalities on stage as well as off, and I admire their talent, focus, hard work and dedication to their art. Also, they're very very likeable as people -- but mostly, for me, it's about the music and the joy it's giving me.
Nieces/Nephews (there isn't just one word for both)
Of my sister's children, my niece is the one I feel closest to. Because of circumstances beyond my control, I didn't get to know Mick until he was almost 8 years old, but Soraya, who was 1 1/2 when I first met her, soon had me wrapped around her little finger. She was such a happy, openly affectionate child, I couldn't help but love her right away. Now 15, she's grown into a beautiful, confident young girl who has her head firmly attached to her shoulders and has a fair idea of what she wants to achieve in life. Seeing as she's doing very well in school, I have no doubt that she will reach her goals too -- which is something I'm not so sure about when it comes to her brothers.
I have always enjoyed any programme that Fry is in, but I do wish he would stop fiddling with his cue cards on QI. It's really most distracting.