Thursday afternoon March 1st 2012.
The month started well. Leen, Arie and Harry left for Newcastle from IJmuiden with one of the channel ferries from DFDS Seaways. The crossing takes all night. So a floating hotel really. Boarding at 5pm and arriving in Newcastle at 9am. Spend the day and board again 5pm. Arriving home next morning. A nice outing especially with good weather. This was Harry's maiden overnighter although he had been to England before. The 3 of them thoroughly enjoyed themselves and had good weather.
While they were away, Hinriette and I enjoyed "quiet time" at home and also treated ourselves to a brunch at Restaurant Altro in Kijkduin, Den Haag on the Friday morning. Quiet decadent really but oh such fun. The service was attentive, the food was well presented and very fresh. The prosecco was ever so delicious. Although it was a chilly morning the clouds parted and we managed to walk the boulevard in sunshine. We walked through the shopping arcade where there were lots of smallish boutiques, more restaurants and the like.
On our way back we stopped in Delft at one of our largest IKEA stores for a couple of items we wanted to buy there. Neither of the two were present but we still managed to accumulate some " necessary's". By the time we got home I was totalled. Didn't get to plant the bulbs I had bought. I did however try out a new recipe using bulgar wheat. It is like couscous only coarser. Made a nicely tasting oven dish and had enough for 2 nights.
www.hogeveluwe.nl/). It's about an hour and quarter from home.. so not an arduous drive at all. The clouds parted somewhat and even though there was a wee breeze, the temp was pleasant. We lunched at the Koperen Kop in the park itself, drove through the park and checked in at the hotel De Boer'nKinkel, Hoenderloo.(www.boerenkinkel.nl)
We sorted out our dinner time and deposited the bags. Returned to the park and took to the free white bikes ( 1700) for a ride in the park. A visit to Jachthuis St. Hubertus and after spotting some deer, we were happy chappies.
Dinner was at 19:30 so we made sure that we were changed into suitable dress and seated on time. And what a heavenly meal it was. A 6 course meal of which we couldn't fault anything. The wine served was perfect with each course. The waiter knows his stuff! All in all a superb day topped off with a delicious meal and a good night's rest on comfortable beds.
The next morning after having spoilt Leen a day early for his birthday and having enjoyed a leisurely breakfast we left the hotel and went to Burger's Zoo, in Arnhem. Awesome. Had been there on the 3rd of January when they held their annual Indonsian Festival there. Now all the animals ( well nearly all) were back outside and the Safari was open. We spent the whole day just oohing and aahing! At the end of the day the weather changed dramatically. We were glad to have " done" the outside attractions earlier in the day. Inside in the tropical conditions the temperature was pleasant and we stayed dry save for the dew drops off the plants etc.
To round off this "instead of London" weekend we dined at the Goudrenet Restaurant along the A15. And scrumptious it was too. Now it is back to the grind....
As I said, March started well, as did February and January. Looking back a good start to 2012 and fun to boot. Quite a contrast to last year I must say. The highlight there being a visit to the kids seeing how much the Duncan 3 have grown, sending time with Toni, Craig and Steve and Kylie..... Summah's first cuddle and special time with Reece, Ros Max and Kirk. The rest of the year wasn't something I want to repeat in a hurry - wasn't all bad just the bits that were were aweful!
Sun is out, time to check and see if I can find our rebel chook..... wish now I had clipped those wings!