The Dutch have a word for Hula Hooping, Hoeple, it sounds like hoople.
All it took was one person to turn up to a yoga class with a hula hoop and a group of old birds got into a flap; instantly. Why would anyone bring a hula hoop to a yoga session? Who knows. This was the moment that marked the start of what became The Happy Hoeple Grouple.
At ten every morning we would gather to hoeple, roping in any passing, or gawping person who was daft enough to make eye contact with a Hoeple Grouple member. Men and women, old and older, from all sorts of European nations were press-ganged into giving it a go, with varying degrees of success and much laughter.
Our tiny gang of English people burgeoned to include a Dutch beginner. It seems that what us plucky Brits take for granted, the enforced hulaing at infant and primary school, is a British preserve. For the rest of Europe, hula hooping is a novelty, like stilt walking or unicycling, best left in the circus ring.
Our Dutch beginner took four weeks to learn to hula with grace, which meant she became our; Happy Hoeple Grouple Star Pupil 2019. She says she will lead the group next year, but not in hoepling, but in art. And when you take a look here at Josien’s work, you will understand why we are all as giddy as old goats about our next winter here, learning to paint beautiful handbags like a pro.