by an aching, throbbing Rach
Doesn’t that just have a ring about it? Choosing our route northwards, this sounded
as good a place as any a delightful place to make the border crossing. Dinxperlo.
And so we found ourselves in a town, which has streets with yellow crosses along the roads, sometimes right down the middle of a street delineating the border – a D on one side and an N on the other, a real border town.
And what a welcome we received. The carpark, where we were supposed to park was closed, but we found another a little further along the street, so we drove in to investigate. Out of nowhere a HandPaintedClog-wearing man appeared on a bicycle. Only if he’d been carrying tulips and cheese would he have been more Dutch, and we guessed we were in the Dutch part of Dinxperlo. In a crude German-y-Dutch-y conversation he established that we could not park where we were, but directed us to a spot under some trees that would be fine. He took off to see if he could organise power for us – well beyond the realm of duty! In the end it was not possible, but we had a friendly introduction to Dutchies….talking about his shoes and our origin and, of course, thanking him profusely for his help. Who was he? No idea. Why did he help us? I really don’t know. Did he have to? Not at all.
After dinner we took a short stroll around the neighbourhood. A tidy compact manicured place it is. Every home, most of which are duplexes, has a well-kept creative garden out the front, large picture windows filled with carefully arranged potplants and decorations, and many have the characteristic Dutch lace. It feels like stepping into a Home and Garden magazine! Except there are goats and chickens in some of the backyards – Dinxperlo is so small it doesn’t know if it is urban or rural.
This was the end of the day. We had already enjoyed the last of the German countryside (and finally found some cows – we had been wondering where all the cows were to provide the vast quantities of milk and cheese and quark and cream that the country seems to use – in all our previous travels we had not seen any grazing cows – but today we found them in the north), but our day was ending later than if our morning activities had not got accidentally drawn out. It’s not that Rob played nurse too slowly – he certainly did not, gouging away at small stones and dirt as fast as he could. It’s just that he shouldn’t have even needed to. As Grandpa and I rode down through a stone tunnel I took note of the council worker’s water coursing down the hill and the inch-fat hose we would need to cross at some point. With these factors in mind, and with perhaps three seconds to do my thinking in, I slowed (or maybe I was still just thinking about slowing) and tried to choose the point where the hose was furtherest away from the wall to give me more space to get over it straight. But I didn’t make it. And before I knew it, at the moment just before my head hit the wall, I thought that this would be really good time to have a helmet on. The things you think! Following very quickly behind came one shoulder, one hand and both legs, making contact with solid wet muddy ground and I realised I had fallen off. Clutching my head, teeth clenched for some unknown reason, I sat there in my puddle wondering how the computer on my back had fared. Hopefully better than my ripped (new-in-China) jeans. Or my thumb nail, also ripped off down one side. (By the way, I don’t do blood well, so I covered that quickly with a plaster – always carry a small pair of scissors and strip of plaster – you never know when you’ll need them….and I didn’t even look at the knee or ask about the face….I just thanked Grandpa for removing some of the mud to make me look more respectable!)
What do you do when you fall off a
horse bike? I know the answer to both those questions! You get straight back on and head for home. Much the same as when you get hit by a motorbike in Vietnam! My nurse-with-tactful-bedside-manner pointed out these increasingly regular, alarmingly similar occurrences as he splashed antiseptic solution around. And I was glad that we were laughing together. I felt loved as children took my clothing to wash in a bowl quickly before setting off. I felt loved as the smallest children showered me with hugs and kisses and concerned questions and efforts to not knock me all day long (I must say The Bear Cave feels small when there are eleven of you assembling for a meal and you’re trying to protect opposite shoulder and knee from the unaware!) And I thank God that He answered my recent prayer, albeit in an unexpected way, to help us love each other more deeply.