The friendship that I had with the cows was very special. D'oh.
I figured at 150 odd pages in, if I really didn't believe anything I was reading and didn't much care either, I should probably just give up. There's no way I'm getting through the whole thing before book group anyway, and it's increasingly clear to me that I avoided reading it this month for a host of very, very good reasons.
ETA: Who knew that the pronunciation of Gouda could be so difficult to nail down? On Sunday, one of my best and longest friends said a Dutch woman down the street told her it was pronounced "How-duh". I was like, um, pretty sure you mis-heard that, because that's not an "h" at the beginning. It's more like a throat clearing. I didn't debate the "ow" part, however. But then a sentence pops up in Duolingo with the throat clearing G but a very clear "oo". What?!? As near as I can tell, if it isn't a regional variation, Duolingo somehow managed to get a speaker who said it wrong. Which seems impossible, so I'm betting on regional variation (and yes, I listened to it several times -- since the word "gouden" showed up in the sentence, there was the opportunity to do a direct comparison and ou was pronounced "oo" in the city name and "ow" in the adjective golden). If I come up with an explanation, I'll add it here.
8Dori says "h" with no apparent throat clearing. All four agree on "ow".