The front pages of all the local newspapers hurled images of crashed cars at anyone who did, or did not, care to look. And I wanted to go to Exeter! And from there fly to the snow-impeded Netherlands. I was scared to drive, which made the decision easy: I had to go by car. Only when driving has become self-evident you don't have to do it anymore. So I was nervous! Forgot my toothbrush, and several other things. But I mounted the satnav and went. And it all went fine! I arrived at the airport without any kind of incident. And could enjoy a comfy chair, a good book, and on the go blogging until the slightly ice-delayed plane would show up. All going well!
The "Koppelpoort" in wintery attire
My first stop tends to be my mother, and this time was no exception. I stayed long enough for two mugs of mulled wine, and then went back to Amsterdam to meet Roelof. It's good to see him so often! Of course there was nice catching up, great food, plenty of alchohol (hics), and 16 Horsepower videos, perfected by additional guitar work of Micha. And of course I went to bed fairly late. And not without consequence! I woke up with a sore throat and a runny nose. After breakfast I took my faltering body to Harderwijk, where I dived headfirst into the chaos caused by my two nephews. The calm conduct of the present adults and my little niece went near unnoticed in that storm. The calmest time was that spent on a game of "kolonisten van Katan", in which all were swept off the board by my sister's husband.
More wintery Amersfoort
After the copious dinner the riot, loosely disguised as my sister's family, left, and I could enjoy a cup of coffee with my father and stepmother. And then it was time to return to Amersfoort, for a quiet Boxing day with my mum. When I arrived she was just in the process of sewing a burqa. People sometimes think I'm strange.
I slept long, and enjoyed a nicely uneventful day. Well almost uneventful; I still had to organise the day after, in which I knew who I would see, but not where and at what time, and that needed to be fixed. This involved contacting Floor. That made me so nervous I immediatley started to send messages to the wrong people, but it all worked out. And a while after the christmas pea soup I went to bed. The next day would be more demanding!
It looks like a very non-descript picture of any part of snowy Netherlands, but it is just outside my birth town Nijkerk
Having breakfast in the train I went to Leiden to meet Frank; a meeting directly resulting from the recent PhD defense. Nothing had changed, really! Well, his kids were hundreds of times bigger now, but beside that all was very familiar. I may become his private shell collector when I'm running around the world poking in salt marshes. I'll try! There's room for improvement in my shell and gastropod knowledge.
Scenery near where Frank lives
The next rendez-vous was the most unnerving. Floor! Who I hadn't seen or spoken with since we broke up. Dripping with cold rain I stumbled into the pub that would be the stage for this encounter, and almost immediately I saw a familiar shape walk in through the other door. Again, nothing had changed! Somehow it was not strange to see him. Due to very crappy live music we decided to go somewhere else. And when we sat down we caught up 1,5 years. He'd lost none of his magic. And I had lost none of the complete null and void I had to offer. So it wasn't really easy, but I'm glad we met again. Maybe next time I'll hear it from him when something major happens in his life.
Castle near where Frank lives
I was glad my next goal was Erik. Good one to catch ladies with shaken hearts! And he did. And of course the evening ended with nerdy things online. New tradition! This time without alcohol; I was still suffering from a general physical not quite well-being, and I went to bed well before Erik did. But I slept well! I could breath through my nose, and that helps.
I did not fly until three, and initially that meant a long morning for social interaction. But my throat had decided otherwise. So I took it easy, felt a bit guilty at the small number of people I had met, bought some cheese, and went to Schiphol, for an uneventful flight back. It was way above zero, so no ice on the roads, so even the drive back was uneventful. That was another christmas! Not my favourite holiday, but seeing family and friends is good. And in only two months I'll be back, to see at least my mum.