Tottiford Reservoir

Yesterday I went for a walk along the Tottiford Reservoir, which is about 20 minutes away from Exeter. It was a grey day, but practically wind still. It was lightly wooded all around the lake. It was also nearly empty of people. During our one hour walk, we only saw four people (and about eight dogs.) And besides that, it was completely calm and quiet. The only thing you could hear were birds and the crunching of your own footsteps.

The Enemy

“Did you know that my French colleagues call me Madame le Doyen?”
“What does that mean?”
“Madam dean, I guess.”
“What would the Germans call you, Frau*..?”
“The enemy.”


Running Away With the Circus

This weekend Joasia and I went to London in order to stuff our faces with food (Exeter is a bit of a wasteland) and to see Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios show, which has just recently premiered in Europe. I had seen one of their shows in Amsterdam once, but the venue was significantly smaller than the Royal Albert Hall this weekend, which made a big difference in the grandeur of the show they could put on.

The show was spectacular, with amazing set designs and incredible performances. All of it was woven together in such a way that you were given lots of things to feast your eyes on in between the main performances. So while the sets were being changed in preparation for the next act, there were several smaller acts to entertain you and to drive the over-arching story forward.

One of the acts made me think. It certainly was not the most impressive act, but it reminded me of something that happened at least fifteen years ago. My father, who was still alive then had seen that a travelling circus had pitched their tent not far from where I lived. He said he wanted to go, and offered to take my sister, my brother and myself. It turned out to be an old-fashioned circus, with old-fashioned acts, which, when you compare them to Cirque du Soleil, were a little stale. I remember I enjoyed the show because there was something romantic about the simplicity of the performances. My sister, on the other hand, did not appreciate it, and was actively hating the whole experience. She thought it was a waste of her time and I remember finding it difficult to respect her in that moment.

Fortunately for me, my sister has changed quite a bit since then and I have a lot better understanding of where she’s coming from. I also think that she would be able to enjoy a old-timey circus show like the one we saw fifteen years ago. And if not, then I think she might just enjoy a Cirque du Soleil one.

Excuses voor het slavernijverleden

Het Nederlandse kabinet heeft besloten om excuses aan te bieden voor het slavernijverleden en een fonds op te zetten voor de bevordering van de bewustwording van dit verleden. Goede zet, denk ik. Je ziet onmiddelijk bepaalde gelederen krampachtig dezelfde argumenten van ‘t stal halen; je kunt geen excuses aanbieden voor iets waar je zelf niet voor verantwoordelijk bent.

Onzin, natuurlijk kan dat wel. Je kunt namelijk spijt hebben voor iets wat een ander is aangedaan waar je zelf geen hand in had. “Het spijt me dat dit je is overkomen,” heeft iedereen met een ons aan sympathie wel eens gezegd tegen een ander. En zelfs als je geen spijt hebt kun je geexcuseerd worden voor het slavernijverleden als je daar vandaag de dag nog de baten van ondervindt in welvaart.