The funfair is under construction, bits of the city centre are pleasantly traffic-free thanks to all the funfair-related roadblocks, and you see ready-packed carrot'n'onion mixtures at Albert Heijn - it's Drie October time again! Leiden is about to go slightly mad to celebrate the relief of the Spanish siege in 1573, and for further information about what's going on I refer you to last year's Drie October homepage. The taptoe this year is on Saturday night from 7.30-9.30 (roughly); this parade is to honour the heroes of Leiden, and it's a chance for all Leiden clubs and societies to march through town in their club colours. Monday is our very own Leidse bank holiday, when schools are closed as well; the www.3october.nl website has a complete list of what's going on where and when all weekend.
Special this year is that Leiden has acquired its very own Suske and Wiske strip cartoon story, Het Lijdende Leiden , set in and around the siege of Leiden. There isn't really space here to explain quite what the place of Suske and Wiske is in Dutch (and Flemish.) hearts and culture, but if you think of it as a kind of combination of Beatrix Potter (ie. your parents read it to you, so you know the books well and have your own well-worn copies) and Asterix (meaning that the author just keeps on going, so your children know and like it too ...) then you won't be too far off. The Lakenhal www.lakenhal.nl has a 'family exhibition' running from 30/9/11 to 8/1/12 entitled 'Vrijheid! Leidens Ontzet 1574-2011', with lots of information about the city and original drawings from the book.
Exciting news from Mandy Trujillo who has for some time been running an informal playgroup at the Speelschans playground on the van Vollenhovenkade: the Rainbow playgroup is turning into an official peuterspeelzaal (pre-school) in the building of Speelschans , where on two mornings a week you can leave your children (from age 2 up) for a morning of play, music and activities accompanied by Mandy and her colleague Sonja.
Mandy is English and Sonja is Dutch. Both have years of experience with care, education and play of young children, and both are qualified in early years teaching. They will each be speaking to the children in their own language, thus giving your child the opportunity to learn/improve in both languages.
They have a whole range of activities in store for the children, from making their own organic bread every week, through craftwork (knutsel ing) and singing to playing outside in the wonderful playground. Children of all nationalities are welcome. I've known Mandy for years and having seen her with my and other children I can't recommend this group enough. Timings will be 9.30-12 on Mondays and Thursdays during primary school terms. Click here for their leaflet with more information and details, or email Mandy/Sonja at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or if you have any questions.
Jill has organised another Swishing Party, on Thursday 20th October at 20.30 at her home near the Haarlemmerstraat (please mail email@example.com for address). No idea what Swishing is? Here's how it works.
In order to take part, we kindly ask you to bring along good quality ladies' clothes suitable for the autumn / winter season, such as tops, skirts, dresses, trousers, suits, jackets, coats, shoes, boots, accessories etc. All sizes, styles, fashions are desired. The items can be something that you no longer wear, or perhaps that you bought and have never worn - we've all got something like that in our wardrobe. Why do we do it to ourselves, girls? But that is the great thing about swishing; it's your chance to say goodbye to those items of which you have tired but you know others will desire, and in return you get to freshen up your wardrobe with new and exciting designs for free ! That is the best bit, it is for free!
From 20.30 - 21.00, the clothes that you bring on the night will be displayed. This is your chance to check out what's on offer, spot what you really fancy and of course have a good chat. At 21.00, the swish officially begins and it ends at approximately 22.30. To avoid disappointment, don't be late!
Naturally wine, tea and coffees will be served. What is a Home in Leiden social event without a few beverages? For additional information regarding Swishing , drop Jill an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will happily clarify any issues.
Have you already seen the 'Find a Babysitter' section linked on the right of the page? A boon to any and all parents seeking some help / time off! (Nearly) all the sitters advertising here can be recommended by one of the HomeinLeiden team (just mail email@example.com), or there are testimonials on the page itself. And I can personally recommend the Dutch childminder in the Stevenshof who is looking for (a) new child(ren) to look after in her own home for up to four days/week - she was a much-loved part of our life for seven years!
Do you have some skills or knowledge you'd like to share, and do you enjoy the company of young children? Talk to Leiden Homelearners!
Homelearning in the Netherlands is not common, but Leiden boasts its own homeschooling group, run by Marie Vijendran and Rippy Gray. The group is thriving and celebrates its first birthday this month. Marie and Rippy already coordinate various different events for the children, but they'd like to reach out to the community for new volunteers who may have special skills (in any area! They're open to all sorts of ideas) that they would like to share with young children. Anyone interested in volunteering for a session can contact Rippy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group meets every week, either on a Tuesday or Friday, and their hours are are usually 11:30-3pm; have a look at their brochure for more information.
We couldn't work out where all the ideas from 'something for the children' and 'something for the grown-ups' ought to go, so they're being collected in a new separate section, HIL Top Tips, a link to which you will find on the right.
A HomeinLeiden reader recently attended Marie Vijendran's Mindful Birth classes, and wrote us a great review, which you can find here.