It’s a tongue twister I never got right: “The Dutchman’s not the kind of man who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam that holds his dreams in“. To me it’s one of the most beautiful lines in one of the most beautiful folk and love songs. I had to think about that when I went out for my first long run today, in preparation for the Hamburg marathon. I went up the road, to the the first and then the second dike, across and down to the marshland with the Westerhever lighthouse in the distance. It was a dark, really cold morning, with nobody out for a walk, except for me ‘running’ along the dike. I was thinking about the Dutchman and my ice-cold thumb not being jammed in the dam, allowing my dreams to flood the marshes. There they were. All around me.

Against all odds, I made it back home. It took my body about an hour to defrost, turning into all shades of red and pink in places. But you know what? I felt great. So much so that I thought: being able to do this every day (or… every second day:) and being with the people I love is all I really need. – I know, I know. It’s not. But that is how it felt.

Today, we didn’t make it to a cake shop or to a nice café or restaurant. No waffles for Pádraig. Instead, we went to one of those incredibly big electronic shops they have in Germany where you feel you absolutely need to upgrade your phone, get this super-fast 128GB USB stick for your laptop, and change your boring white fridge for a fancy-looking NY-style fridge and freezer and ice-maker. It was hard to resist. In the end we bought Pádraig high-tech, highly-reduced headphones we had tried out with him while exploring the shop, listening to Bell X1 and Snowpatrol.

While I was humming the chorus of the Dutchman –

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me.