Changing Gear

As I write this, the 2009 Tour de France has just got under way. Lance Armstrong is riding through the streets of Monaco in glorious HD, the first-ever HD broadcast of Nederland 1. In that respect, it’s a pisser that we go on holiday tomorrow, as I’ll be lucky if I manage to catch any stages on TV after today’s prologue. Still, our car has built-in DVB-T TV, just in case.

It’s that funny time of year. School has broken up, it’s baking hot outside and the city already feels as if it’s switched down a couple of gears as the seasonal exodus gets under way.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon in the Amsterdamse Bos for Het Speelhol’s climactic Indian Picnic. At the end, we said our reluctant goodbyes to Wanda and the other parents, as it’ll now be an infrequent occurrence that our paths cross.

After the summer, Eloïse starts at primary school. We went there last Monday to introduce her to her new teacher, Yvette, and give her her the chance to look around her new classroom. Although she was shy at the beginning, she had loosened up somewhat by the end and was very positive about what she had seen. I’m confident she’s going to fit in very well and she seems completely ready for the next big step in her life.

The parents seated themselves in semicircular fashion and Yvette played a little bit of harp before telling a story about a cat, using plastic farmyard animals to bring it to life. Lukie, especially, found this immensely entertaining and giggled all the way through. He must have seemed to the parents of the other new children the world’s easiest, most joyful baby. Little do they know that even cherub-like Lukie has his tantrums.

Our confidence that Eloïse will thrive at her new school notwithstanding, it was hard to say goodbye to Wanda. It’s even harder to imagine that we’ll no longer make that five minute walk twice a day to Het Speelhol. It’s become such a regular fixture in our lives, a daily metronome, tapping out the rhythm of our afternoons.

Perhaps the hardest thing to imagine is that I’ll have to start getting up early to ride Eloïse to her new school on the bakfiets. Ugh. She’ll probably be used to her new school before I get used to that.

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