An Artistic Collaboration

Posted on December 3, 2016





Merry Celebrations! The holidays are coming up and for those of you looking for that unique present to take back home, may we remind you that our book A Sample of Gouda is available at both the Verkaaik and Smit bookstores and Museum and St. Janskerk in Gouda.  In Amsterdam the book is stocked at the American Book Center on the Spui. Retailing at 18 Euros, the magazine style edition gives the reader an inside look to cultural integration in the Netherlands. We’ve heard a lot of thumbs up from friends and reviewers, so don’t hesitate to check it out! We’ve even heard people have rounded off their gift for that special someone with with chunk of cheese, Gouda presumably.



Thank You!

Posted on July 14, 2016



What can we say but thank you!

The launch was small but very fine and such an enjoyable afternoon.  Thank you everyone for hosting, coming and supporting us.

We have received our first review of the book. Thank you Dutch News for the thumbs up!

A Sample of Gouda is currently on sale in Gouda at Christelijk Smit Boekhandel, Boekhandel Verkaaik, St. Janskerk boutique, and Museum Gouda or you can order it online.  We handle both domestic and international orders.

Next up on September 2 from 10:00 to 14:00 the View Finders Photography Walk lead by Dawn Black. Cost is 30 Euros which includes one copy of the book A Sample of Gouda.  Sign up at Dawn Black Photography.

After that we will be coming to locations including Amsterdam and The Hague, so keep your eyes open for the announcements. Happy summer!



Upcoming Presentations of A Sample of Gouda

Posted on July 7, 2016

The pow_MG_0653er point presentation for our new book A Sample of Gouda wandered about between John Graham-King from Angloinfo South Holland, Vinita and me for a few days via bustling emails in preparation for the book launch. “What do you mean by slide 5?” John asked.  John likes clarification, not my short hand notes. “I want to talk about which pictures didn’t make the cut.” Vinita said and sent in a number of photos from our walks.  The power point presentation is ready for customization and the coming season with an option for a longer version than the 30 minute presentation we gave at the book launch in Gouda on June 30.


Our next gig on August 25, 2016 is (wo)manning a table at the Women’s Business Initiative International in The Hague at which Vinita Salomé Photography and the new book will be showcased.


Our summer special, a free PDF of The Bee’s Tour of Gouda, Buzzing Through Vinita’s Lens. with every purchase of A Sample of Gouda is on until August 31, 2016.


On September 2, 2016 Dawn Black will lead a photowalk around Gouda. Vinita and I will be present during the walk and we looking forward to meeting photographers interested in discovering the city. For more details/to register email: Dawn Black Photography


Viewfinders Gouda Poster PA version (1)

“I think we should just aim for one presentation and one walk for the coming months,” Vinita proposed during one of our last meetings. Still, despite breaking down the work load we keep finding ourselves chasing after the backstage issues popping up here and there.   In the meantime this summer Angloinfo South Holland is featuring five short stories specially written for the promotion of the book, each  one using a character of one of the stories in the book. A few extras! We hope you enjoy them.

You May Pre-Order the Book Now

Posted on June 10, 2016


“It’s real,” Vinita said looking around her with wonder. We were sitting in our publisher’s office. Behind us giant industrial printing presses clattered continually, the noise somewhat dampened by the closed door.


Our book, A Sample of Gouda, has become within our community of friends and family a topic brought up every so often with muffled irritation and a hint humor thrown in to take off the edge. We thought it would be released in 2013 or let’s say 2014 at the very least. That’s what we thought back then. The manuscript was an almost-book, appearing in endless versions of PDFs before our eyes, and so elusive it was witnessed by few people, such as a mythical snow leopard.


To her great joy Vinita was finally at the publisher’s office with her security badge hanging around her neck and the year is 2016. The photo is proof!




“I was beginning to wonder if the book would ever be released,” joked John, the editor and support from Angloinfo South Holland as he helped swing the promotional tour in motion and emails began to scurry to and fro after handing in the final corrections (thank you Becky and Deborah).


It’s so real, people can now pre-order the book! And even better, Persephone and Vinita will appear in person for a reading and book signing afternoon on June 30, 2016 in Gouda.  Location and time to be confirmed. Book costs 18 Euros, you may pre-order in two ways: reserve a copy for the June 30 book presentation in Gouda (email: or reserve on the Facebook event page) or through our website which calculates shipping for within the Netherlands. If you would like to have the book sent outside the Netherlands, please email Persephone.)


Water Under The Bridge

Posted on December 23, 2015

The Bee's Tour With Vinita _Amsterdam | Gouda

Ever feel like the New Year requires a little water-under-the-bridge motto to get it started in the right direction? Vinita and I began our collaboration in 2012 and quickly produced a book together, and then…..and then it’s nearly 2016 and the new book is still not out…..and then more phone calls to the publisher…..and then wanting to move on…and then the cannot-let-go mood comes over us and we plot and plan some more about a possible release. A release from worry would be a great New Year’s Resolution but is that realistic? A book release would be fantastic but in the meantime, learning to let go and welcoming in the new, even be it old-new, is also a blessing.
Season’s Greetings to all you and a Happy New Year.
Vinita and Persephone

Emergency God Street

Posted on August 7, 2015

_MG_5397In 2001 I moved to Gouda. “”Gouda?”  Dutch people asked me, turning up their noses. I had lived all over the world, and I wanted to avoid ending my life in a modern suburb near Rotterdam. We bought a small house on the Lange Noodgodsstraat. ““It’s funny to see you living here.”” Visiting friends said. The house, a former shop, stood in the city center on the so-called “”Emergency God Street, the Long One as Opposed to the Short One”” along with a few other former shops one of which had been a milliner’’s store. The milliner’’s store had not changed; the milliner had drifted into a retirement home but the store was still represented by a few dusty hats and a soft hued, romantic painting of the owner displayed in the dirt streaked windows. In some ways the defunct milliner’’s shop represented Gouda, religious women in hats, hard economic times, forgotten moth eaten glory, the backwoods or backwaters of the Netherlands.


The street was named after a medieval chapel in which seafarers could pray before leaving for the wider world or after returning from a voyage. The chapel no longer exists. Perhaps the street was my Emergency Street, my marriage fell apart after 13 years on the Noodgodsstraat, my home became a battle ground. I fled to Amsterdam. Although I stood many times with my nose pressed to the glass, I was never able to enter the hat shop.


Reviewing Amsterdam

Posted on November 28, 2014

book review

It is a curious thing, this curse or blessing of national identity. How do you see the world? More importantly how does your national identity change? I recently read Mr. Russell Shorto’s latest book Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. Until a year ago Mr. Shorto had the prominence to be in the position of the director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam. Reviews on goodreads (the every person’s site for opinions on books) were very favourable, and equally some were less favourable. From what I could gather, the supporters of the book were generally Americans who had limited experience abroad. In this manner the references made in the book to facilitate cross cultural understanding made sense to those particular readers and, at the same time, irritated other those who might be described as perhaps more globe trotter types of readers. The more experienced traveler might prefer a more direct non interpretative approach. I am not going to argue that either side is superior to the other; this would be futile for what I am attempting to describe is the difference of experience in relation to the shading in a book which most people would not call in any way controversial. In fact the book appeared as a gesture of goodwill between the nations. Indeed, how could it be misconstrued of unworthy attention with the title declaring “most liberal” and written by an American? Liberty is valued, and what about a most liberal location? Is that always valued? Mr. Shorto’s book gives insight into the famous Dutch habit of “tolerance” from which perhaps his own book may have benefited.


Is tolerance liberty? Safe to say that repression is more than often a source of unwanted attention. Should it not, then, be wiser to “let it fly” and watch the wind take it away someplace else out of the limelight? Quite often during the twenty odd years that I have lived in the Netherlands, I have felt that I was allowed to say my part, and then after that was done, the Dutch in my life moved me back to, shall we say, a safe harbour where all the boats were tied up neatly as they should be in an orderly world. Still, on a personal note, I found parts of the book quite interesting, historically speaking, however the argument of the title was at times, far fetched and perhaps the Dutch in me disagreed but I kept my peace.

Reflections from the Cheese Market: Curly Kale

Posted on November 13, 2014

Curly Kale Stampot

Curly Kale Stamppot

It is ironic that kale, the main ingredient to the national dish Curly Kale Stamppot, is ever beloved by the Dutch while America has rediscovered the forgotten delight and how pertinent it is to promoting health when it comes to pushing vegetables in glossy magazines. A colleague said to me, proudly, that he’d signed up to attend a cooking course on Forgotten Vegetables.  For him, being Dutch, that meant: turnips, parsnips, and quinces.


“I’m having some kale,” a kale non-affectionado wrote of his gin and tonic, “Cheers!” I thought that was the best portion of kale I’d ever seen. “What should I write about?” I asked one day at large for a subject. “Kale!” came the reply. I wrote about kale, for which I was rewarded by a pile of kale salad on a plate the next time I was invited to dinner. I’ll happily write about it, and happily avoid eating it. I had some explaining to do. My greatest fear is being served that one lump of a Dutch meal, curly kale stamppot, on a dire winter evening by some well meaning red cheeked host with muscles for mashing and me going hungry for supper. However, I am an exception to the positive public opinion of kale. Lumps of cheese, now there’s a topic that ever whips up enthusiasm when desperately hungry. Ever make parsnip cake (akin to carrot cake)? Delicious. And home made quince jam in large spoonfuls on toast? Delicious. Ah, winter is coming, after quince season, for the cheese market is fading into winter retirement and the dark threat of mashed kale is looming closer.

Love From Beyond the Pump – Reminiscing

Posted on August 24, 2014

Geraldine was outside in the courtyard.  In between the rain storms, taking advantage of the sun and wind, she’d strung up her mother’s rug on the communal clothes line. Standing in the shadows of the building, she raised the carpet beater and slapped the rug with decision. As the dust flew, Geraldine thought about her mother.  Perhaps it was time to go and clean the pines needles from the grave. She hadn’t been in a while, and she thought she’d try to persuade her sister to join her this time. Whack! She beat the top again, starting over from the beginning.  Bert stood in his window across the courtyard and watched Geraldine beat the rug on the clothes line. The dark rug was an unimaginative and heavy imitation of an Oriental carpet.  Small, murky, and just large enough to cover a card table. He remembered drinking coffee at Geraldine’s house when they were teenagers, his cup resting on the dull pattern. He’d tried courting Geraldine, her mother disapproved of him. Undeterred he’d redoubled his efforts. Lost in pleasant reminiscing, his thoughts once again centered around the jiggling of Geraldine’s chest under her autumn cardigan as she set about her household chores.  Now featuring a zipper, the cardigan used to have buttons which somehow seemed more exciting to him. (Text P. Abbott)



Love from Beyond the Pump (Another Episode in a Short and Unfulfilled Story)

Posted on August 12, 2014

Bert signed up for Tai-Chi.  His fourth wife, Elise, was relieved to see him taking an interest in his health. She also thought it was about time he got out of the house more since he’d retired. Bert stood outside every morning in the courtyard practicing his moves after the neighbour’s kids got off to school. He didn’t fool Geraldine, who had nerve enough to wave to him nonchalantly as she set about her household chores. Bert was trying out the move called “Snake Creeps through the Grass” which he’d mastered, so far to his knowledge, fairly well. He was slowly moving past the pump on the far corner of the 16th century courtyard where he lived. He was hoping that Geraldine would offer him some freshly baked apple pie and a cup of coffee. She didn’t.  She said the pie was for the vet who’d examined her daughter’s horse as a favour during the weekend. In irritation Bert stubbed his toe on the planter next to Geraldine’s door. Watching him standing on one leg in his yellow exercise trousers, she remarked that he looked just like a golden rooster. (Text: P. Abbott)