Queensday 2008

Queensday this year was quieter than previous years. Although we had reasonable weather, there were fewer people in town, or it seemed to be so at least. We still managed to have a good time. There was no traditional brunch over at Wim & Nick’s, so Jan, Thomas and I wandered around town for a bit, looking at the stuff on display on the freemarket. Not much interesting stuff, but I did manage to find a small coffee jug that my mother was looking for.

Afterwards we had a look on the Zeedijk, but the music was very loud, especially because it’s a fairly narrow street. So we went back to the Amstel, and took up our usual position in front of the Café Rouge (the former Monopole).

The pasta dinner on board Jonathan, after the music stopped outside, was – again – not as busy as other years, but we all enjoyed it.

The soldiers are busy building the stage for the Liberation Day concert (May 5). We’ll have the TV-crew here again, like other years. It looks to be nice weather (sunny and 20°C) over the weekend.

Some pictures.

And another year begins…

I’ve been busy today, clearing up the Christmas decorations. Not that we have that many, but it’s always more than you realise. And this year, instead of just shoving everything into a big box, I actually checked the fairylights. And then neatly stowed them in their original boxes.

You can see a couple of pictures of our traditional Christmas (well, day after Christmas for you Americans, Boxing Day for english visitors) dinner on this page.

Fairy lights

Lederkerle und Fummeltrienen

…or, leathermen and dragqueens. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself, but I think that – at least during Karneval – we don’t fall into the first category. As is witnessed by most of these pictures.

Just a taster:
Outside Zipps watching the parade

The Kostumball was fun, as usual. We didn’t win any prizes this time round again, but Frank and Mark did, dressed as a castle gate. The theme for the ball this year was ‘Geburtstagfest im Märchenschloss” or “Birthdayparty in the Fairytale castle”. We went as puss in boots. The boots being hip-waders, in our case. Maybe we were just a little bit more Lederkerl than Fummeltriene after all…

winter in Amsterdam

This year, we’re having a very mild winter. This picture was taken a few weeks ago, but it was still on my camera. Right now, I’m busy preparing for Karneval in Cologne, and I needed to make some room on the memory card of my Canon.

So be prepared for some pictures after this next weekend!

Rainbow over the Stopera
(click the thumbnail for a larger view)

Stormy weather

Apparently, we’re having the worst storm in years – windspeeds up to 11 Beaufort, with blasts up to 13 Bft. It’s enough to make a person seasick – just being home.
You can see some pictures here: www.nu.nl
At the moment (8:45 pm), it’s at its worst; it should quiten down as the evening goes into night.

Stormy Weather

back home

Actually, we’ve been home for over a week now, but only now did I have (take) some time to organise the pictures. I’ve put a selection up on this website.

Pool Party

The trip, over 4000 km (2500 miles), took three weeks, and we travelled from Amsterdam to Sitges and back, stopping along the way of course. Sitges is a very popular destination, but you don’t generally go there for the peace and quiet. In hindsight, we could have stayed a little longer in France, and spent less time in Sitges. But then again, it was fun to see all our friends from all over in Spain.
Contrary to what they tell you in school, bears travel in herds. At least our kind does. So you meet the same people in all the same places: Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona/Sitges… It kinda makes you feel at home in all those places.

We did do some culture as well – saw the cathedral in Reims, took the waters in Vichy, admired some of the prettiest villages in France, were amazed at the Citadel of Carcassonne (and appalled at the tourist traps inside), were awed by the Sagrade Familia in Barcelona, visited the former home of Gerard Reve…
It was an interesting trip.

Tarred, not feathered

Last week the “Broedertrouw” (the houseboat where we have the Friendship BnB) was towed to the wharf for its three-yearly check and maintenance. The insurance insists on regular upkeep, understandably, and the last inspection was three years ago. So we packed all the crockery into boxes (contents may shift during the voyage, after all) and organised a tow. And although the AYOR is a tugboat, it is no longer usable as one. Besides, Jan nor I is licensed to tow ships, so the whole operation would be illegal – and uninsured.

Everything went very well: we only just fitted under the bridge over the Achtergracht, but the rest was smooth sailing, as they say. The inspector from the insurance company could find no faults, and the wharf put on a fresh coat of tar on the hull. So the “Broedertrouw” is canal-worthy again for another three years.

I’ve put some pictures up here.

And the winner is….

…the Fokker Friendship – the aircraft that is. Not the Friendship BnB, although that too has received much acclaim.

In a recent survey/contest to find the best dutch design ever, organised by the dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, the Fokker F27 (Friendship) was voted as the best dutch design.

Obviously I couldn’t agree more.

You can see an overview of the nominations on the design.nl website.

Article on the NRC website (dutch only).

Another Queensday is over

Another year, another Queensday… This year it was very cold on Queensday. The traditional pasta at our houseboat was more than welcome! But although it was cold, the sun was out for most of the time, so people still had a good time.

Queensday 2006

The next day, Sunday, Jan took a couple of guys for the first boattrip of the season. Again, it was cold, but everyone had a good time. Hopefully it will be the first of many trips this year.

First boattrip in 2006

out patient

About 2 months ago, I spent the night at the emergency room of the OLVG (local hospital) because of a gall stone colic. That was not an experience I’d care to repeat, so I avoided fatty foods, coffee, chocolate and eggs since that night. (All over Easter, too!)
Of course, I went to see my doctor, who referred me to the hospital. The diagnosis was, indeed, a stone in my gall bladder.
The only way to get the stone out, is to remove the gall bladder itself. Or so the current medical practice says, anyway. So I was put on the waiting list for an operation.

Fortunately, medical science has progressed and nowadays it’s possible to have the operation as an out patient: you turn up in the morning, they take your gall bladder out, you’re home before dinner.

And thankfully, that’s exactly what happened. Jan took me to the hospital this morning (actually we cycled there – it’s only five minutes) and I was in my operating gown by 7:30am. Not very fetching, by the way – unlike some gowns I’ve worn. But I digress.
By 8 o’clock I was in the operating theatre, by 8:10 I was out like a light.

I woke up in recovery at about 10:30am. With a little cup on my nightstand, which contained this. (Not the coins, they’re for comparison!) All in all a necessary operation, I’d say.

After a couple of hours, I was well enough to go home again. Jan and Wim came to pick me up, by car this time, and I was home by 4pm. So far I’ve not had any great pain or discomfort. I do have 4 cuts in my belly though. Something to show off on the beach this summer I guess.

So Queensday – which is celebrated tomorrow, Saturday April 29 due to some strict Christians not being allowed to have fun on a Sunday – will largely pass me by. I’ll be happy to take it easy at home.Forecast Amsterdam (centigrade) It’s going to be cold anyway. Although I’m up and about, I think I’ll have to take it easy for a while. On the upside, I can have a Oranje Tompouce tomorrow without having to worry about the fat-content….