Reflections #10: Surviving a Dutch Insect Plague and Receiving a Touching Email

Zarina in front of a Sarah Morris artwork at White Cube Gallery

On the last Sunday of the month I always reflect on what happened in these last few weeks. What films have I seen, what places did I visit and what exhibitions did I go to? Find the answers and so much more in my Reflections on June!

Surviving the current insect plague in the Netherlands

I returned from a very short work trip to the Netherlands last night and experienced a bit of that heatwave mainland Europe’s been struggling with for a few weeks now. But besides the heat, there’s another big topic everybody in the Netherlands seems to be talking about: the oak processionary moth caterpillars (or eikenprocessierups in Dutch which sounds much catchier).

These nasty buggers are covered in long white hairs which are toxic and cause a horrible rash upon contact. Staying away from trees unfortunately isn’t the solution as the caterpillars shed their hairs which are then spread through the air, landing on the skin of humans and animals. I heard people talk about this horrible itch everywhere: on the news, on the bus, at the train station etc. Even my mum and some friends I managed to meet had this horrible rash. Fortunately, I did not encounter any of these floating white insect hairs and left the country absolutely itch and rash free, phew!

CoffeeLab café in Den Bosch

Instead of using a photo of nasty caterpillars, I chose a photo of the new café CoffeeLab in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. This hipster place is a very popular destination for work meetings, but I came here for breakfast with my bestie instead.

What did I write about this month?

You know, despite that I (usually) enjoy writing a blog post each week, I often wonder who my invisible audience actually is. Am I just writing to a bunch of imaginary readers, besides my mum and some friends? I’m always especially unsure about publishing more personal blog posts, thinking no one’s really interested in reading about my life which isn’t really that exciting to be honest.

So, when I posted my blog post about what a typical work day looks like for me, I didn’t expect any comments or feedback. Surprisingly, this article got quite a lot of traction. I even received one of the greatest emails I’ve ever had as a response to my blog. It appeared I had managed to inspire someone who himself deliberated to make the switch to being self-employed for years now. The fact that he found my blog post helpful and encouraging AND took the time to write that in a personal email to me really meant the world to me. So, thank you P! I hope you’ll soon make the switch and feel happy about it.

My other inspiring blog posts in June:

Screenshots of blog posts written in June

  • The Dutch Girl Tales #15: Volg jij deze 5 Nederlandse Instagrammers al?: On each first Sunday of the month I write here in Dutch. In this month’s Dutch post, I mentioned my five favourite Dutch Instagrammers. They cover anything from travel to art to architecture. Go have a look if you could use some new Insta-piration. Some accounts are only in Dutch, but you know what they say: ‘One picture is worth a thousand words’. (I know, I know…)
  • Ahoy from Lizard Point, Britain’s Most Southerly Location: Earlier this month hubby and I spent a week in Cornwall for work. We explored the fascinating heritage communication sites around Lizard Point, mainland Britain’s most southerly location! Here’s where I not only had a cup of coffee admiring the stunning views from Britain’s most southerly café, but also followed in Tolkien’s footsteps who had a special relationship with Cornwall.

  • A Typical Work Day in the Life of Dutch Girl in London: It might spoil the mysterious image some people might have of me, but in this blog post I described what a regular work day looks like for me. I was quite overwhelmed by the number of responses afterwards (as you could read earlier).

  • The Tide Is High and It’s Coming For You – Welcome to Greenwich Peninsula: After having sworn secrecy about hubby’s involvement in this upcoming high-profile event in London, I could fiiiiiiinally tell you all about it. It’s taking place during the first two weekends of July in London’s brand-new hot destination. Check out the post to get the inside scoop!

Street art in Singapore?

Oh YES! I had never expected it, but I discovered there’s a flourishing street art scene in Singapore. Of course these artworks are all made with the approval of the authorities so don’t expect some guerrilla painters at work here. But still, the fact that you can find dozens murals all around this strict Asian city-state is quite remarkable.

I shared some photos of these stunning artworks in my Singapore street art guide on my travel blog Done That Been There this month.

Street art in Singapore

On my watchlist

June hasn’t been that great for cinema visits. We only saw two films in the cinema and they were both not that very exciting to be honest. We did see some great TV series though and I especially watching the mini series Escape at Dannemora. I’ve marked my recommendations with a * in the overview. I’ll tell you a bit more about three of my personal tips in greater detail below.

In the cinema

  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  • Men in Black: International

New on Netflix

  • Murder Mystery

Documentary

  • * She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved (2018)

TV series

  • Black Mirror SE05
  • * Escape at Dannemora
  • Good Girls SE02
  • * Kidding SE01
  • Twilight Zone SE01
  • * You SE01

Indie film

  • Thunder Road (2018)

Bizarre true story of a prison break

Escape at Dannemora is based on the bizarre true story of two inmates (played by Paul Dano and Benicio Del Toro) who manage to escape a high-security prison with the help of their lover played by Patricia Arquette. You would never guess so when you watch it, but it was directed by Ben Stiller!

Jim Carrey as the star of a puppet show

Also the series Kidding, starring Jim Carrey, totally captivated me and took me by surprise. It’s directed by Michel Gondry, who also worked with Jim Carrey on the classic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s less ‘quirky’ than some of Gondry’s other films but it still has the sense of ‘magic’ and dreaminess you’d expect from him.

Moving and confronting Australian documentary

Finally, I’d like to highlight the Australian documentary She Who Must Be Obeyed Loved that was saw as part of the Fragments Festival at our favourite London cinema, Genesis Cinema. I found it very touching that the director followed around her mum, Freda Glynn, documenting her mother’s extraordinary tale as an Aboriginal woman growing up in a country that wasn’t her people’s country anymore. But her mum takes the opportunity to find out what exactly happened to her grandmother who was shot to death.

And then there was Art

  • Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition @ Design Museum (until 15 September 2019)
  • Writing: Making your Mark @ British Library (until 27 August 2019)
  • New Waves, Mohamed Melehi @ The Mosaic Rooms (closed 22 June 2019)
  • Machines do not make us into Machines, Sarah Morris @ White Cube Bermondsey (until 30 June 2019)
  • Original State of Mind, Zhou Li @ White Cube Bermondsey (until 30 June 2019)
  • DARK MATTER @ Science Gallery London (until 26 August 2019)
  • Secret Rivers @ Museum of London Docklands (until 27 October 2019)
Sarah Morris artwork at White Cube Bermondsey

Sarah Morris artwork at White Cube Bermondsey

Did you know that Covent Garden is named after the ‘convent garden’ that used to be on this location?

Well, I sure didn’t! I discovered this a few months ago while doing research for one of my tailor-made London tours.

Today Covent Garden is mostly known for the iconic former market hall that now houses cute shops, bars and restaurants. However, in the past there used to be a convent here. The fruits and vegetables grown here in the convent garden used to be transported to the nearby Westminster Palace, which we also known as the Houses of Parliament today.

(Although this enormous government building is in fact technically still a palace!)

Covent Garden in London

Find out more ‘secret’ London facts in part 2 of my London city guide on my cultural travel blog Done That Been There. It’s especially aimed at first-time visitors but has some great insider tips to even inspire Londoners.

Travel guide for your first visit to London

So far the highlights of my past month. What have you been up to in June?
As always I’m curious to hear your stories, so please share them in a comment below!
Thanks, Zarina xx

2 thoughts on “Reflections #10: Surviving a Dutch Insect Plague and Receiving a Touching Email

  1. Esther van den Bergh

    As always a busy month for you! I often wonder how you find the time to see so many movies, exhibitions, read books etc.
    I think a lot of people do read your blogs, leaving a reply is something I do to let you know I have read it. Not everybody does, I know, but I do think they read you…
    And about my month, I made a few trips with my Canta, twice to visit my sick friend in Haarlem. On one of those visits I took her to lunch in a nice restaurant near the Ringvaart, next to the water which was nice with this warm weather we had in June. Warm? Tropical I mean! There were quite a few days I could not go outside, not even in the garden, as a temperature above 25* C is too much for me to handle with my COPD. I visited my old neighbour in her ‘aanleunappartement’ here in town, she is 91 years old and still going strong. I made three trips to Haarlem to visit my father, one of these was on Father’s Day. It is nice to see him more often now he has sold his house in France.
    So nothing special but still, I am a grateful person that I can do these things these days!!
    Liefs xx Esther

    1. Dutch Girl in London

      Thank you Esther, I can always count on you for leaving me a nice comment here 🙂 It sounds like quite a busy month for you too, but in a good way. We had quite bad weather here so I would have loved to have some of that warm weather here too but I understand it’s not good at all for people who suffer from illnesses. I therefore hope the rest of the summer will be more agreeable for you! xx

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