October 4th/5th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Mr Kuipers on his tractor

A late start, partly because it was Sunday, partly because we were recovering from the wasting the night before.  However, a cup of tea + some toast did the trick.  Rob found an old electric ring outside a couple of days ago – that’s a real godsend, since it means tea when we want it, rather than whenever the stove happens to be on.  Worked a full day, had a big omelette for Sunday dinner, + then played cards again.

Monday was work as usual, basically pretty unexciting.  In the evening, Rob cooked a terrific meal – sardines, a tomato + onion sauce, mashed potato + mushy peas.  And then, for the evening, a real treat.  Rob had been chatting with the Kuipers a few days previously, + they had invited the 3 of us over to look at the slides of their travels.  Every winter, they all go travelling to exotic places, in 2 groups it seems, + they have lots of slides of them.  It made a change to go elsewhere from the cabin, + they did provide a bottle of Guinness + some cheese + crackers.  However, the evening did go on too long, a lot of their pictures were of plants + trees – an interest of Mr K’s, + they weren’t arranged very intelligibly – they seemed to jump from city to city, country to country.  The Kuipers really are an amazingly crackpot family.  Vincent, the son, is a bit simple.  Charlotte, the daughter, is great.  She always seems cheerful, but is remarkably scatty, + has the habit of saying crazily irrelevant things, eg “Have you seen my pussy?”  “Val, have you ever rubbed your tongue over the top of your mouth?”  Mrs K is canny, like any farmer’s wife, I suppose, but Mr K is the funniest of the lot.  He’s really quite nice, but it’s difficult not to laugh at him.  Most mornings he does something to his tractor, + then tells everyone in sight about it.  He also has an impossible to answer way of starting a conversation.  One is “Every country has its day”, + our favourite, “I don’t think people are normal any more.  Do you think people are normal?”  It’s become one of our catchphrases.

Incidentally, the “every country has its day” went on with him showing me a wrench, which apparently came from Poland, as a physical demonstration of his assertion that Poland had now taken over from China as the world’s factory.

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