Loitering With Intent

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October 9th 2009
Published: October 8th 2009
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Some couples have a favourite song but we have a favourite joke, and it goes like this:

A man visited a farmer and noticed a large and handsome pig, hopping about on three legs. "I see you have an unusual pig," said the visitor, "but I can't help wondering what happened to his other leg." To this, the farmer replied: "This is indeed a wonderful pig. When a fire broke out in the barn, he came to my bedside and woke me before my house burned down." The stranger was impressed but still curious. "But what about the leg?" he wanted to know. "Well," continued the farmer, "not only did the pig wake me and my wife, he went around and roused all of my children." The visitor was impressed. "An intelligent beast, to be sure," he said. "But, what does this have to do with the leg?" The farmer went on to explain: "After he woke me and my family, he went to the barn and freed all the animals. This pig saved man and beast from the fire." The visitor was amazed by this story but still puzzled. "Was the pig harmed in any way? Is this what happened to his leg?" "Oh no," answered the farmer, reassuring the visitor. "This is an heroic and noble beast. But he was not harmed by his ordeal." "Please do not keep me in further suspense," insisted the visitor. "Tell me about the leg." The farmer paused and stroked his beard. "Since you ask about the leg, I will tell you at once. This is a noble, heroic, wonderously intelligent and handsome pig, who did us all a good deed and saved us from a fire," said the farmer. "A pig like that you don't eat all at once."

How does this apply, you are wondering? Whenever Ron and I want to prolong our enjoyment of something (or even when we don't, and are searching for sarcasm) we always use the line: A Pig Like That. And then we laugh uproariously. So, when we spend a whole morning buying Dutch underpants or sitting in a coffee shop, it's in honour of the pig. (Occasionally, this applies to unpleasant experiences too, such as repeated trips to the dentist for the same miserable tooth. She says: "Next time they're putting on the crown." He says: "A pig like that...") A good travel philosophy, right? Or maybe you think it's just a zen-like excuse to justify a slothful lifestyle. Either way, it's our story and we're sticking to it.

So, we go slow. Each morning, when I empty the coffee grounds into the canal, it feels like an event. When the ducks come to the back door for leftover toast, when thick slabs of gouda arrive at the table, when the morning mist creeps through the bullrushes by the side of the road, nothing more needs to happen. On the days that we make it only as far as the old weeping willow, washing her hair in the waters of the canal, it feels like enough.

It would be damn peculiar to come to the home of Rembrandt and windmills and not marvel at those things. Don't worry, I'll get there eventually. But for now, I'm enjoying the wooden contraption on which I hang the daily laundry. It is raised and lowered from the rafters by a pulley, and counts on the warm air of the house rising. Colours, today. Whites, tomorrow.

As I think I mentioned: A pig like that you don't eat all at once.


8th October 2009

That is the spirit!
Thanks for sharing your story. What a lovely, authentic way to experience a country. How wonderful that the ambience is engulfing you in this way. Your exquisite descriptions are delightful. May you continue to enjoy at this very civil pace. Miri
8th October 2009

Liz and Ron if I didnt know you better I would say you have been in the sauce. Hope the pig will always have three legs better then two
8th October 2009

catching up
Hi there...finally catching up. My life sounds about as slow as yours...not least because nothing moves in this part of the world. I like it though.Good to hear you are having fun. Have sent you the link to my newly started blog.
9th October 2009

Just wanted to let you know that I read your blog - keep savouring every moment. It sounds very idyllic. Miss you.
9th October 2009

with intent is the best way to loiter
Sounds divine. Keep on sharing. That is, when you feel like it. No shoulds. We're working on the trip. Probably arrive 23rd or 24th. I need to get to NY as late as possible for Seth to be able to have more time with me. So many variables. love ya, Vera
9th October 2009

sink your teeth into another leg, only then can you enjoy the art anyway.
28th October 2009

Have I told u how lucky u r?
Where's Joan's long hippy hair? Is she taking her calcium? I can just smell the Gouda. And I want a contraption to hang my freshly laundered clothes on, but then could I have a covered outside drier next to it? Keep em coming. Sara
23rd October 2010

I say a pig like that you do enjoy

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