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Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Irrepressible Farting

Yesterday was our first experience of New Year’s Eve in Breda, and I found myself asking, over and over, what went wrong?

Mr Sunshine and I woke at 7.30 am, not to the friendly toll of the church bells, but to the loud proud blast of our neighbour’s first firework. Alfie feigned raising an eyebrow, Mr Sunshine mumbled something unprintable, and I assumed it was the act of a sensible dad type figure testing out his safety procedures for the evening celebrations while his children were securely tucked up in bed.

24 hours later I laugh at my naivety

Looks pretty?
By 8am the city rang with challenging detonations. Battle lines were drawn where once had been garden fences, rivers became frontiers and the streets were a no-man’s land. Only a few brave souls ventured outside their own four walls.

I was one of those brave souls.

I may never recover.

Aflie’s walk waits for no man, and by lunchtime he’d made his need for walkies pretty clear. So wrapped in my Christmas scarf, I took to the streets where I saw no adults, only children. Gangs of roaming kids had taken over the city like a 1980’s futuristic film. I saw one child, who (to give his parents some credit) was at least 6 years old, lob a lit firecracker to a group of children a few metres away. Alfie padded on indifferently, while I pursed my lips in righteous indignation. What had happened to my lovely new home-city and the sensible, practical Dutch I had come to so admire?

Working in the office that afternoon was torture, as eruptions and explosions rattled the glass in our windows. It felt as if the whole city was suffering from a severe form of irrepressible farting.

Calm before the storm

Here we go

Andy having braved a closer look, runs back to his troop

War torn Beirut or sleepy Breda?

Luckily, for us, we spent the evening at a great New Year’s Eve party where good food, wine and company pushed away the thoughts of the flatulent city.

Then, 10 minutes before midnight armed with nothing more than umbrellas we hit the streets.  I expected an organised firework display; instead, we entered, what was not unlike, my image of a raging battle torn street in Beirut. There were no barriers, no safely officers, and no delighted children gazing in wonder at the sky. Instead crowds of people hugged doorways, while gangs of less than sober youths ignited industrial sized fireworks in the middle of the streets.

Rocket launched

This morning I’m reeling, I’m confused; I see a little chink in Breda’s perfect armour. 

Andy and Alfie completely ignored the whole thing, I think they have the right idea


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