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Category: My Month of Sundays (Page 1 of 3)

A detailed log of my trip to The Netherlands in 2006.

Erm, my humblest apologies

I had the best of intentions.

I figured that I could go on holiday, write daily and let people have a bit of a vicarious travel experience.

Turns out holidays are EXHAUSTING and that it was a rather lofty expectation on my part.

So, here is the remainder of the holiday in point form. Long point form. Technically its a novella with strategically placed asterisks to stop me from appearing overly verbose.

*Visited Rotterdam and saw the house where PSWC threw garbage from the roof for the express purpose of watching it go splat.

*Dropped in on the Dutch heart-throb of the Betta scene and met his girlfriend, his gorgeous chinchillas and sussed out his breeding set-up. It was a bit scary as to those unfamiliar with Dutch architecture you could be forgiven for thinking that this chap lives at the top of Everest. 3 flights of stairs in a space of about 1mx7m, straight up. Every so often there was a landing about an inch bigger than the size required to open the door it sat in front of. Heaven help the poor sod who comes barrelling down the stairs only to be met with a 40yo hardwood door.

*A shopping trip was required to gather gifts and so on for those we adore and who would get miffed should we arrive home with nothing. It was decided we should gather our odds and ends in Breda because it had a higher number of women’s fashion shops and art galleries. The Duchess wrangled a book out of an art dealer that was technically for display only, and I spent the time scurrying from one shop to another gathering bits and pieces. It was very much a “one for them and two for me” day.

*I finally got to visit Tinfoil and his lovely family. I briefly considered forcibly adopting his oldest daughter, but thought better of it after discovering how much energy she had to burn. We visited a fish shop and I got the low down on how to make those gorgeous fake rock backgrounds from scratch. There was a castle involved, and a giant M&M, a whole bunch of tadpoles, and I have a rather vivid memory of the boy across the street screaming into his battery operated soccer megaphone in between blasting the street with its pre-recorded song. I fed my first scat and saw a wonderfully patterned algae eater. On the way home I rode in my first Dutch train which, although we were seated in a 2nd class talking carriage, was much like a roomy modern plane, complete with drop-down tables from the chair in front.

*A visit was made to the youngest of the cubs and his girlfriend after much confusing about being at tea markets and being awake and generally being. We sipped tea and chatted and I was loaded up with LEDs in order to try out a new jewellery project. I got a tiny bit gun-shy when, while attempting to make something glow, the youngest cub managed to solder the back and front of a battery together causing it to explode in a shower of battery acid and metal. Apparently that’s not common, but I’m not so sure. Electricity and I have never gotten on really well.
*It was decided that on our way to the airport we should do a mini-tour of Europe. After a few days of mapping and internet bookings we started on our trek from the south of the Netherlands, through Belgium and into Luxembourg for the afternoon. PSWC’s father is the ultimate super-tourist, making sure you stop at all the landmarks, get plenty of pictures and always take the scenic route. So scenic was his exit from the winding roads of Luxembourg that, about 20 minutes after we had decided to leave and I had dozed off in the back seat, we ended up right back where we had started, winding our way down towards the foot of the city wall. I chose this moment in time to rouse from my slumber and had an odd sense of being stuck in a fold in time. Eventually we found the road we needed and drove on to Metz, a university city near the border of France and Germany. The elevator in the hotel was quite possibly the smallest in existence. It was limited to 4 people according to its safety information, but unless two were levitating dwarfs I think it was fairly limited to two. We had a gorgeous dinner where not only could you select the cut of meat you were served from this fancy-schmancy diagram on the menu, but you could select the breed of cow that you wished to consume. At some point we ended up with 15 glasses on the table so, based solely on excess glassware, I’m thinking its one of the snazzier restaurants I have dined at. The next morning after locating the car and piling in, we drove closer to the centre of Metz, and Mr Super-tourist managed to insert the family Accord in between a rather sturdy car and a Mini Cooper. Unfortunately the space was really only suitable for another Mini Cooper, but that was no obstacle. Back and forth and back and forth until at one point we felt a little bump and everyone held their breath waiting to see if the poor little Mini behind us was going to start screaming for its owner. Thankfully it didn’t and when we returned from our wanderings, it had been replaced by a Citroen who had the presence of mind to park a good foot back from our rear bumper.We made it to Germany and, after a few wrong turns found ourselves at the guest house where we’d be spending our last night in Europe. After a gorgeous dinner I choofed off to bed, only to wake up an hour later and find PSWC had gone to watch a movie with his folks. I settled with the television, and after 10 channels of ‘football’ I finally found something worth watching…A Bollywood flick dubbed in German :) Who says Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

*After boarding the plane at Frankfurt, I settled into the long haul flight routine, only to find that halfway through the flight my personal DVD player wanted to howl at me in garbled static. I watched lightning until we landed in KLIA

*”Our plane is having some technical difficulties and the take-off will be delayed approximately 20 minutes, we apologise for the inconvenience” PSWC and I had spent the remainder of our ringits and were waiting somewhat impatiently in the departure lounge.

“We regret to inform you that…”

Does any plane traveller need to hear more? After watching the little Malaysian man standing on the tarmac, staring blankly at one of the engines for 10 minutes and scratching his head, we’d pretty much already figured it out anyway. We received little yellow passes and were told to follow the man in the green jacket, so a planeload of people were scurrying around following the man onto the Aerotrain, over to the other terminal and then on to the immigration and customs section. That is about as far as I got before losing my legs completely. Several crew members and PSWC manhandled me into a wheelchair and we were escorted to the hotel. Let me just say that being delayed in Malaysia is an experience I’d happily repeat. I slept for several hours until it was time for dinner and then back to the other terminal for departure

*On the flight from KL to Sydney I had the misfortune of being seated right up the back, in the middle of PSWC and a stranger with a personal entertainment screen that was stuck on a Linux error screen. I got to stare at Tux and some very fuzzy text the entire trip home.
So there you have it, my very long exhausting trip is finally wrapped up. Its almost a month later as I write this and things are already beginning to fade. Thankfully I have committed to scrapbooking the entire holiday before the end of the year, so I’ll get to live the whole thing over again, only this time with pretty cut-outs and copious quantities of fancy paper.

Big shop again

Today was a nothing day.

It is some sort of Catholic holiday, and most things are closed. More so than usual even, instead of opening at midday on Monday, they don’t open at all.

Except for the big ones.

We went Makro shopping for things to bring home. I bagged a few gifts (one for them, two for me etc etc) and PSWC bought bulk coffee pads and a giant box of these things called Tikkels. I went with teas and little chocolate pieces in the shape of coffee beans.

And this.

And that.

And a few more of that.

Who can say “excess baggage”?

Lions and Tigers and Bears OH MY!

Safari Parks are COOL!

Now we have that vital piece of information out of the way…

I heard tell of monkeys climbing on the car and giraffes licking at your windows. I heard nothing about the ostrich that comes over to eat squashed bugs off your tyres and bumper, but that was who greeted us as we entered the autosafari. A little further on there was a herd of zebra munching on some hay, and a way past that there was a group of deer doing whatever it is that deer do.

We drove through continents, passing leopards, gnus, and a bunch of very dozy lions. Somehow we ended up in Australia where a bunch of red ‘roos dozed in the sun. I am still not sure why kangaroos were on a safari, but I figure it is because they are so lively and intere… OK, no, absolutely no idea.

We parked the car and started on the walking leg. I had run out of legs so had been informed that the day was by chair. I am of the opinion that wheelchair drivers should need to be licenced. It seems like such a simple thing, steer and push, but it becomes something completely different when you are moving at considerable speed down a cobbled path towards the hyena enclosure. Unlicenced wheelchairing has its good points though, like when a set of low steps comes up and not one, but two attemps are made to simply ram the contraption up them, while the foot rests make unpleasant grating sounds against the concrete.

In general, the animal parks over here are very nice. The animals are well cared for and the enclosures are simple and unobtrusive. The problem lies with trying to house large species on small plots of land. One large wrinkled female elephant leaned over and took the twisted steel line of the fence in her mouth, stretching her trunk out over the moat and grabbing a small amount of dried grass. She stood back and ate it. Then she wandered away to find something else to do, and found a stick. She toyed with it a bit and left it alone. Its not a wonder really, there was nothing but tree trunks, sticks and dung in the enclosure. No fresh pick, no hay, no tyres to throw or places to swim, it was modern and efficient and utterly boring. Its a wonder the elephants didn’t go stir crazy.

The sun-bears did. One of them anyway. There was nothing up on the walls of the veiwing platform, but the faces of the little bears look very much like the sad faces on the WSPA ads. One thin, misshapen, mangey bear looked as though he had spent the early part of his life in a tiny cage. We watched him for about 10 minutes. Walk to the top of the hill, turn left, reverse down the hill, turn right, repeat. It was a lovely enclosure, and his playmate looked perfectly sane, but this little bear just couldn’t see it. The deep rut in the ground suggests that he hasn’t been able to see it for a very long time, and it doesn’t look like he is going to improve any time soon. At least he is in a nice place now, with a companion and room to move, but it really is ‘at least’.

The otters were hiding as per usual, and the baboons were delousing in between beating each other to a pulp. We had great fun watching the gibbons. Their enclosure was on a large penninsula, and their playground was on a smaller island that was connected by a narrow bridge. Gibbons are fantastic. I wish I had gibbon arms. They seems to have some sort of code when running along the bridge, the left arm always had to be in the air. If it wasn’t, they turned around and started again. I’m not sure what it meant, but there was no baboon-like bashing, so I’m assuming it was a good thing.

We caught the last ferry, the safariboot (boot=boat, but safariboot has a cartain something too), back to the car. Our captain, Bas, was giving us a running commentary on the animals that we were passing, uncluding a small herd of deer that apparently dive underwater to avoid predators. We disembarked near the flamingo enclosure and I tottered back to the car where I promptly nodded off.

Tiny Chairs, Gnomes, and Shopping again

“hunny?”

I grunted and rolled over.

“Hun, you know how we were going to go to the safari park today? Well, its raining, so I thought we could go to the dollhouse museum and er… the bead shop?”

I think there was another grunt, but it was a happy one. I got dressed and ready in record time.

We rugged up and headed off to the local markets for some fruits. A box of cherries, strawberries, a bag of nectarines and a bag of oranges were lugged back to the car and we started our journey to the house of beads and tiny furniture.

I had found an enormous ad a few days ago for a big bead shop and a scrapbooking store in a place called Heesch. The part that made it a family day out was the dollhouse museum. The Duchess has a bit of a thing for porcelain children and various tiny household items. It was pretty much a done deal between the two of us, and the men came along for the ride.

We arrived in Heesch in the afternoon and let our little navigation lady lead the way through the cobbled back streets, past a rather suggestive blue metal sculpture and up a tree-lined lane. The driveway opened into a large green car park with little street signs pointing to the various shops and offices. The reason for the enormous ad became clearer as we parked in front of the magazine publisher’s building.

I’m not a girly girl. I’m not a doll person. I had one Barbie doll as a child so that my girly friends had something to play with when they came to visit, and a doll house that my uncle had built that drove me completely batty because it was totally unrealistic as there was no way for the inhabitants to get to the 2nd floor. This was different. The detail was incredible. The dolls still looked like dolls, but the houses and furnishings were just simply amazing, the lighting in particular. It would want to be for 170 euros, but cost aside it was just gorgeous.

Sometimes you gotta wonder.

I got to wondering about halfway through the exhibits if all doll house museums include an erotica shop complete with miniature DVDs and ‘pearl birds’. I am pretty certain that it could only happen in The Netherlands.

One of the doll houses in Heesch doll house museum.

One of the doll houses in Heesch doll house museum.

The bead shop was like heaven. You get a bowl at the door, and a bunch of little baggies and you go around filling them up from racks and racks of drawers.

I was SO GOOD. I only had a tiny bowl. I was very selective. I didn’t make everyone stay until closing time.

I couldn’t walk to the checkout. I handed my bowl and baggies to PSWC, kissed him good luck and went and buried my head in the silver section.

Downstairs in the scrapbooking shop I found a selection of Dutch this and that’s for my scrapping endeavours. PSWC was beginning to sweat by my 2nd approach to the cash register. I was less good in the scrapbooking shop.

We broke into the box of cherries and carefully deposited the pips on the manicured lawn before driving off to a nearby town for dinner. We had Greek food in Holland, how multicultural is that? I had something called stifado, which I ordered as “number 95” on the off chance they were having me on. PSWC ordered me ouzo before dinner, so I was pleasantly touchy-feely and lolling all over the place by the time we left.

In the city all the shops were open, and there was a large used book market in the centre square. There has been a lot of talk about gnomes recently and so when i spotted a book with a big picture of a gnome on it, I swooped down and picked it up, only to discover it was a story that I had adored as a child, David the Gnome. Turns out that David is Dutch. PSWC bought me the book :)

We headed back home through the old streets and lane ways and back to the canal where the car was parked. After some brief cherry eating we clambered back in and made the drive home.

The Wedding

There are many things that run through your head as you wake up in the morning. One of the most confusing I have had came to me this morning as the bride scuttled about getting ready for her hair appointment.

“Where am I and WHY am I in her bed?”

It was a fleeting thought as the one that followed told me that it was now OK to get a couple more hours kip, complete with snoring and kicking and general blanket-stealing before she returned. I don’t know how many have tried to share a bed with a friend or relative after years of sharing a bed with a significant other, but its incredibly difficult. Adding to that difficulty was the added complication of the wedding. All night I lay in this dream-like stillness reminding myself at every waking moment that I should be alert for signs of pre-wedding jitters, and not to be restless or snore or roll over and grope the poor girl while having a smashing dream about scantily-clad sailors.

It makes for a very weary girl come morning.

The bride slept like a log.

I dragged myself out of bed at about 10am and hunted for breakfast before showering with doors partially open in case I had to leap out and buzz in any relations that happened to arrive early.

In jeans and several shirts I sat on the couch and amused the bride while we waited for the girly party to arrive. There was nothing to clean. In hindsight, it would have been better to leave something to do for the morning of the event, some light washing up perhaps, or laundry folding. We resorted to organising and reorganising the frozen profiteroll nibbles and reorganising a few books.

People started arriving. I pretended to meet them all for the first time. Letting out the secret of the photobook and the quartet game would have been frowned upon, so we all went through the motions of introducing ourselves. I figured there were plenty enough people there to keep the bride occupied so I stuck off to get dressed.

Someone had stolen my boobs. Heaven knows why, they wouldn’t fetch much on the open market, but there were definitely more of them there when I first fitted the dress. It hung like a wet rag. Goodie. Well, I had a jacket now at least.
I’m not even going to go into how odd Hush Puppies and bright white leg look with evening dress.

The boys arrived. The bride walked out. They kissed and tried to take each others appearance in with little glances, but eventually both stepped back enough to really appreciate the sight. They looked stunning. The groom in a chocolate brown suit with a cream waitcoat and tie, and the bride in a champagne skirt and bodice that was embroidered in creams and silver. The most eyecatching were the smiles. I don’t think they took them off all day long.

PSWC was wearing a suit. He looked GOOD. Its the rare day that you spot him in anything other than shorts and a t-shirt. It has occurred to me that perhaps he had a phobia of button-up shirts, but he looked simply stunning. I filled half of the memory card in case suit-wearing was not going to be a repeat occurrance.

We left for the venue.

Now in Australia, wedding cars are big business. People have even been known to plan the entire ceremony around when they could get the classic T-birds booked. You can imagine my suprise when the bride and groom were popped into a white Corolla. It had gold ribbon on the bonnet and a ribbonned pompom on the rear antenna. It looked remarkably like an iced cupcake.

The ceremony was an intimate affair with only about 25 people in attendance. It was held in an old building with perfectly gorgeous grounds that were somewhere between manicured gardens and meadows full of wildflowers.

We were ushered into a small room lined with chairs. A man in a dark black robe appeared and started speaking about the room and the wedding and things in general. Then he started welcoming important guests. When he got to PSWC and myself, he did the most marvellous thing. He started speaking in English, and explained to me that the part I should be waiting for what when they both said “ja”. I looked over to the bride and groom, and the bride winked. A room of their closest friends and relatives and I was getting a personal run-down of events by the celebrant in mid-ceremony. I did a whole lot of nodding and trying not to burst into tears.

They said “ja”.

We went outside for photos.

A complicated ordeal. First there was the photo with everyone. Then there was the photo with the parents… all 6 of them. I imagine that ordinary wedding photographs are a bit of a hassle, but when you have a set of divorced and remarried parents, that adds a whole other layer to things. I was in “bride and groom with brothers and partners” and was then free to go to the pub.

Getting clowns in a Mini Minor had nothing on getting into this pub. It was at best 20 metres long by about 7 metres deep, and in squished all 30-odd ceremony attendees and a bunch of ring-ins. I sat down with Oma and watched.

Oma is a funny old bird. She has the ability to look very stand-offish and generally intimidating, but it is just a cover for the cheeky interior. A relative presented the bride and groom with a tabletop sculpture of a couple hugging. Oma bend over and poked me.

“See that?” she said “thats art.”

OK, I put on my best quizzical face and waited.

“You get that when you get married”

She winked, grinned and went back to her cigarette.

I may as well have caught the bouquet. It couldn’t have been a bigger hint if it was naked, covered in glitter, and dancing around singing “hint hint”

People eventually started filtering out of the tiny pub and the family group walked along the canal to the restaurant.

sitting at each place setting was a little menu, prited with the name of the bride and groom and a gorgeous image of the ceremony venue. Mine was in english. I just assumed that they all were until I reached the last line. It made mention of dessert-desserts, a topic that had come up in a conversation with the bride and groom earlier that week. I checked PSWCs menu. It was in Dutch, and very formal.

I didn’t cry, I just grinned like a madman.

Around dessert, and post-quartet match (I won with 6 points, a good accomplishment considering I couldn’t read the cards) I began to droop, so I caught a lift with the rest of the sick and injured to the next venue, the dancing school. We navigated purely on luck, and after the Cook’s Tour of Maarsen, we ended up popping out on the correct street.

I had just enough time for a quick loo break. I thought so anyhow.

Here Comes The Bride came blaring into my cubicle. Talk about pressure! And the rest room entrance came straight out onto the dance floor. Fantastic. I poled my head out and was relieved to find that everyone was lined up on the other side of the room singing some sort of congratulatory song about gloria. I tried to look enthusiastic.

The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur. I recall being extremely interested in eating the sugar cubes and taking many blurry photographs of people dancing and generally having a great time. I think I may also have gotten an agreement out of PSWC to take dancing lessons, but I’m not holding my breath.

Although, if it involves more suit-wearing, I may just hold him to it.

Today’s the day the brothers make their photobook

The house was full of testosterone.

The brother of the bride and the two brothers of the groom decided that there needed to be a brotherly send-off.

Flashes were going off all over the place.

Funny how embarrassment seems to be the in thing with big events like special birthdays and weddings. The boys wanted to remind the happy couple of some of the little life bloopers that had come before. Alas, no photographs existed, but that is not a big problem when armed with a camera, Photoshop, and a plastic rain bonnet covered in yellow wool.

Every 20 minutes or so I watched scenes from the memories materialise and de-materialise after a suitable number of photos had been taken.

I was handed a fish. At least I *think* it was a fish, it looked a bit like a cow femur out of cardboard, but they don’t generally have eyes.

“Can you make this more realistic?”

“Er, sure”

I summoned the art materials and the Duchess and I ‘made art’.

I’m not quite sure what sort of fish we made, but it was very well dressed. Ideal for a photography subject, and very impressive for a bit of cardboard.

There was some writing of haikus and limericks and a bunch of attempting to rhyme in Dutch.

There was a great fire in a travel barbeque and some poking of flames.

And lo.

A photo album was born.

A velvet jacket and a dyke

Its cold here.

I wasn’t expecting it to be cold, so my attire had quite a summery twist.

I needed a jacket.

The Duchess and myself hopped in the car and trekked to a nearby town in search of something warm to wear over my dress. Our first girls only outing, I was very excited and just a teensy bit intimidated.

I was even more intimidated when we ended up in a store with only one of each item of clothing, everything sorted by colour and a price tag that needed a magnifying glass to read the text. Once I managed to read the text, I couldn’t look bad enough in the clothing fast enough. No way was I spending 230 euros on something with daggy buttons! For that price I’d expect the thing to sing and dance and preferably serve apple pie after the event!

The next shop was nowhere near better. The sales assistant watched like a hawk and I trembled in my very street clothing as I paraded the jacket in front of the mirror. The price, again, made my eyes water. I wasn’t willing to risk that sort of money on something that could well be the wrong black to go with the dress. The Duchess asked them to hold it for us and I skittered off to a shop that looked a bit less like it wanted my first born child in payment.

The black section yielded no results, but then the Duchess proved her practicality by suggesting coppery brown. YES! a brown velvet jacket was swiftly purchased and we went off to complete our other shopping missions.

On the way back, the Duchess stopped in to tell the overly-attentive sales assistant that we could not buy the jacket because it was too far to come to return it should it not match the fabric, to which she was told in a rather snooty fashion that it could not be returned anyway. I don’t think they’ll be extracting excessive amounts of money from anyone within the Duchess’ circle any time soon.

We went back and picked up the boys from Oma’s house, I executed the perfect 3 x kiss, and hopped in the car.

PSWC was grinning.

I fell asleep.

When I awoke we were surrounded on both sides by water. Our navigation device was showing us driving between the ocean and a very large lake. PSWC was grinning even more and took great pleasure at pointing out what side was what. In the centre we pulled off and drove down the salt water side to a little sheltered mooring area, or what probably used to be a mooring area before its walls turned to rubble.

We got out of the car.

Immediately I realised this was a stupid stupid move. Sea spray bit at my hands and face and the lazy wind managed to get through even the thick winter jacket I was wearing. We clambered up onto a cobbled wave break and stood shivering for the camera, and then found some somewhat grippy footholds so we could get back to ground level.

I couldn’t get back in the car fast enough.

PSWC got out again on the freshwater side. Silly goose. The Duchess and I sat in the back seat trying desperately to defrost while the big brave men pottered about taking photographs.

We got everyone back in the car and thawed out enough to drive and began making our way back towards home.

I dozed off again.

The things you will remember

There are some thing you remember even though they are perfectly trivial.

I will remember my knitting lesson with Oma.

We drove up to the house and PSWC and I went to ring the doorbell. Now, there are some things I’m hopeless at. Dutch kisses are one of them.I went for the hug as Oma went for the first of 3 kisses. Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it. On the up-side there was no painful nose bumping.

Inside, sitting on the table was a thick knitting book, a ball of wool and a set of needles. PSWC had ratted me out.

We went wool shopping.

In the attic.

20 minutes later I was the proud owner of a pile of wool and 3 sets of knitting needles and was sitting on the couch being shown how to cast on with the thumb method and how to make buttonholes and checkerboards and little frilly stitches. It was wonderful! The Duchess added a piece of frilliness and Oma cast off.

She also un-knitted the last row of my scarf and re-cast off so that it didn’t look so much like a piece of singed nylon rope.

We went to bed in the attic and PSWC told me about the old days at the house with his grandfather throwing the most splendid parties with all of the family attending. For the most part it sounded like everyone got along and really enjoyed themselves. I would have liked to see that, just the once. :)

The old clock chimed melodically every 15 minutes from the downstairs entrance, and we slept.

Efteling

Today was our birthday. Well, today we got our birthday gift from the bride and groom.

A visit to a theme park called Efteling. Its based around fairy tails and folklaw. It sounds daggy, but its been a long long time since I’ve had so much fun! So much craftsmanship, and anamatronic magic and some serious smoke and mirrors.

Key in a rock

The ATM required a PIN key. Some dill had stuck it in a rock. Typical.

We had a ball. I went on rides that I’d not ordinarily be anywhere near, simply because I couldn’t read the signs that said Avoid: big, fast and scary. One especially freaked me out. We were taken into a room and shown all the loot adording the loft (including a powder-coated wrought iron garden chair?) told a story about theives who rode about on goats (I think, it was in Dutch) and eventually robbed an Abbey (bad move) and the head theif was cursed to never find peace anywhere, not even in his house. We strapped ourselves in to his dining room… that should have been a clue. if anyone knows the Pirate Ship ride, imagine that on bench seats in a dining room, complete with lino floor and spinning mirrors.

In fairytale land, I learned that I didn’d know as many fairytales as I thought I did. For example, the one about the table that sets itself, the donkey that passes gold and the club that beats theives to bits. The donkey is so popular it has become an attraction in its own right.

Donkey

The donkey that delivers gold on request, or on deposit of 0.30.

And no fairytale themepark would be complete without magical wildlife. There were a few lone peacocks wandering around begging for scraps in a very regal fashion, and someone had thought it a splendid idea to dye some white fantail doves in food dye. It certainly made for an eyecatching display and the birds seemed in wonderful health, but why bother when the original is so utterly breathtaking. Besides, show me the fairytale that includes a magenta dove, or a blue marle dove!

Doves

In fairytale land doves come in all colours that food dye is available in, but purest white is always the most magical.

So Efteling, the source of the screaming rollercoaster picture in PSWC’s photo album, has finally been visited. And it was wonderful.

Belgium for an afternoon

*Bang bang. Bang BANG bang taptaptap*

12:25 in the afternoon.
I practically slithered down the stairs to find that breakfast (surprisingly) was well and truly over. I raided the cupboards before venturing out to find out what all the banging was.
It was the man of the house. There was a bit of a struggle going on between some belligerent folding stools and the man of the house who wished for them to hold a bit more than a pot plant. The folding stools eventually submitted to the constant hammering and the secret weapon of super glue.

No plans for the day.

Lets go to Belgium said PSWC.

Er, OK?

I was dozing in the car and PSWC said “the next town will be Belgium…well, half of it is anyway”

It turns out that there is this one town left where half is under Dutch rule and Half under Belgian rule. It is inelegantly divided down the centre of the main road with a wavering line of metal cats eyes. Its very amusing to watch the cars coming towards you as they attempt to stay in one country or the other. In other places there is intricate paving work and in the middle of the beer shop it is indicated by parallel rows of flags.

Two Countries

How many people can say they have straddled a country border?

We had a waffle. A big Belgian waffle with warm cherries and whipped cream.

We bought chocolates. A box of Belgian chocolates, including whipped cream-filled ones and crescents of candied peel.

We bought beer. We don’t drink it so we guessed at what would be tasty.

We pressed the button on the miniature town model on the front of the second church to split the town in two. Turns out half of the school is in one country, and half in another, with the split through the corner of the main building. A few private homes also had a country boarder straight through them. Their front windows were Dutch, the back of the house, not so much.

Its amusing to find a town where you can legally sell fireworks on one side of the street and not the other.

About 10 minutes away was ‘real’ Belgium, we drove on and bought some strawberries to take home.

A blissful day :)

Chocolates

YUM!

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