Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I took the dog out for a walk. We walked from the street behind the Dam Palace around to the front of the building.  I was waiting for some friends to meet me.  I decided to talk to one of the coachmen on the square. “What’s his name?” I asked looking at the horse, a solid brown and white example with thick hooves.

“Bram.” The coachman said.

“It’s a different horse from yesterday.” I remarked. This one was squatter.

“That was Arie.” He replied looking down at me in his worn top hat. “They work three days a week.”

My friends found me on the square ruminating about Arie and Bram’s work schedule.

“I thought,” my friend said to me, “That I needed to look for the woman in the green shoes with a dog.”

Since moving to Amsterdam I’ve worn out seven pairs of shoes: white, red, black, black, pink, brown and black.  End of the month, no cash and lime green, I surmised looking at my remaining shoe collection, was definitely in my season. A three day work week would be a heck of a lot easier on my remaining pairs of good shoes.

Days later sitting on Igor, formerly a beach horse, under a watery blue sky I waited for the Tuesday morning riding lesson to commence.  Six of us were lined up ready to go. To my left the rider next to me was getting settled.  The woman assisting the rider stepped back, blood ran copiously over her hand.  We watched in horror as she ran towards the stables.  It was obvious she would have to go to the emergency room. The horse that bit her stood calmly next to mine. One rider further to my left was being sallied about on back of the black horse who refused to stand still. Cautiously watching scene, the sleek animal rearing up on its hind legs and the groom trying to steady the beast, I noticed the horse next to me, quietly disdainful, spit out a piece of finger.  It lay, pale, white and motionless in the dark sand directly under the muzzle of the horse. “There’s a piece of finger on the ground.” I called out.  It was collected, the next two days my nerves were shattered.

I took the dog out for a walk. We walked from the street behind the Dam Palace around to the front of the building.  The Dam is where it all started, a small cross section of roads around a bog no-one cared to see. Then a miracle and the herring trade happened and this made Amsterdam a place to visit. Night time, dark and drizzling, the cobblestones shone. For the first time ever I noticed that the square on the dam rose up from the ground, slightly arched. Once upon a time, a typical 19th century fountain with a grey obelisk, ornately uninteresting and out of scale to the fantastic building behind it, stood at the top of the little dome.  Two men crossed the square, their shoulders hunched up, hands digging in their jeans pockets. “We were sexually incompatible,” one of them explained in plain English under his knitted cap to his friend, “She liked to be fisted, and I’m not good at that.”

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