Dutch New Year celebrations started officially yesterday morning, with the legal sale offireworks in Holland. Legally, they must not be let off before 22.00 hours on the 31st Dec.; but unrealistically, billions of bangers, rockets and other heart jumping noisy explosives, are now in the hands of millions of over-excited Dutch youth.
So, since I am not allowed to leap out, screeching bloodcurdlingly (and brandishing my broomstick) onto the backs of our local youth - and physically remove their fireworks from them when they let them off right under my windows (!) - that just leaves the following: Check list: Wheelie bins under cover. Letter box sealed shut. Last minute shopping done. All windows closed. Monitor the dog's pulse and respiration.
A friend's German Shepherd mix is staying with me, while her 'mam' holidays in Dubai - and she is cowering on top of my feet. She has been there for almost the last 24 hours and my feet are numb. Toasty, but numb.
This poor dog is my greatest concern; what with all the smoke and noise coming from the street she is a nervous wreck, so I have created an elaborate, 'escape' route, out of my scullery door (mine is the only residence on the ground floor - a sort of granny flat) and into a small enclosed back passage. Then out through another door into the main hall, past the lift and out through the electronic back doors onto a large cul-de-sac of grass and trees - and from there it is just a couple of minutes mad dash across the grass, around a corner, across a road and into a large wooded park, where an 'off lead' area for our four footed friends, offers sanctuary. Phew!
After a bit of a run, I will put her back on the lead and since the local New Year's bonfire is being built further up in the park, we will then proceed the opposite way, past monuments and duck filled ponds, towards an area of high prickly bushes - to relax and sniff at rabbit holes. (The dog, not me (!) I gave up rabbit hole sniffing years ago...). It seems to soothe the dog's nerves and the local rabbits are apparently used to us now, since they don't bolt anymore. I just hope that these cute, seemingly unafraid bunnies - and the local tame ducks - have the sense to bolt and hide from the growing swarms of kids armed with thousands of 'bombs': i.e, bangers that get louder and more dangerous every year... *shudder*.. Because some of them really are like small bombs. Obtained illegally from Belgium and smuggled into the Neths. I saw two of them blow a couple of impressive holes in the tarmac outside a party in Amsterdam, a couple of years ago.
Happy New Year everyone - and be safe! And that goes for your pets and the local wild life too.