Moving to Holland was one thing . Moving to Friesland was a step further than I'd reckoned on . Most of the time this northernmost province is much the same as the rest of the country .... a bit leary of strangers , but so is Vermont or Cornwall or Galicia . But they say once a Friesian for a friend he's your friend for ever ....it just takes a while .
But occasionally I'm suddenly a tourist again ....
It's been a brutal winter , snowing every three days with black ice far too often in the early mornings as I go to work . But not enough ice to skate on , except on the specially flooded fields in every village . A Friesian is virtually born on skates and considers it his birthright to skate from village to village on his doorlopers ( very low wooden skates that strap onto your shoes ) , stopping to warm up with hot chocolate at little stalls set up on the ice .
Which explains why , yesterday , a young man stood in the middle of the river , round the corner from my house , hacking a hole with a screwdriver to measure the thickness of the ice . "It's 5 cm." he bellowed , whereupon his girlfriend hotfooted back to the bank ... while he started to jump up and down . "No , it needs another day " . 12-15 cm. is the recommended minimum .
We were given a C.D. made by a new acquaintance the other day . So I dutifully listened to "It Meallen Fan Dyn Brein " , "Tee Foar Twa " and " Do Bist Nimmen Oant Ien Fan Dy Haldt " .... ( The Windmills of Your Mind , Tea For Two and You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You )
But I drew the line at "Myn Wei ".