‘Mama, why are the birds walking on the water?’ My eldest asks as we ride through the park on the way to pick up her sister from school. The cover is on the bakfiets and I have to lean towards her to hear her over the wind. She is drawing pictures in the foggy condensation on the plastic windows.
‘Because the water is ice, sweetheart. It’s been so cold the water has frozen.’
Groups of Dutch kids stand by the water’s edge. They are plucking shards of ice from near the bank and then casting them across the iced surface, watching them skid and bounce and shatter.
‘Shall we stop?’ I ask my eldest, whose eyes haven’t left the kids.
She climbs out of the bakfiets and races to the waters edge. She picks up a piece of ice and looks at me. I grin and nod. She hefts the shard, giggling with surprise and delight as it shatters and slides along the ice.
‘Again?’ She asks.
I pull a larger piece out of the water, my fingers burn with the cold and I hand it to her. She throws it and it digs a whole in the ice further out, water splashes up through it. All the kids cheer. We’ve accidentally stumbled onto the point of their game.
Twenty minutes later, our soggy gloved fingers are pounding, but my daughters cheeks are flushed. We hop back into the bakfiets and continue on our way to pick up my youngest. Our secret little adventure for today.