The Empty Nest – it’s not all about sex and drugs.


Family Check:-

Eldest:- no crisis – Christmas and partay season plus has a birthday coming up.

Middle :- slight crisis – pale skin and sunlight lying by the pool in Johannesburg don’t always mix .

Youngest:major crisis – Stomach pains and nausea!

Me :- major crisis – just realised Christmas is nearly upon us and still much to do.

Other Half:- major crisis– too much work, too little time – needing to wrap up work ready to shut down for Christmas. (Should also be panicking in case he hasn’t wrapped up my pressie)

A long weekend to Amsterdam seems an excellent idea for empty nesters when you book it back in the summer. As it approached, along with my Christmas to-do list, I realised it may not have been one of my finest. Still, we were booked so we were off.

Youngest:-‘ I’m not feeling well.’

Not the kind of message you want to get on your way to the airport.

Me:- ‘Oh dear. Symptoms?’

Youngest:- ‘Bad stomach pains, feeling sick, don’t want to eat.’’

He’s definitely ill. For youngest not to eat is like the world not spinning.

Me:- ‘So, at worst it could be appendicitis. At best you need to do a good poo. I need more details.’

Airport negotiated. I settled into seat 27C. It’s only a 50 minute flightYoungest will be alright until I land. I will not feel guilty.

Top tip:- don’t get a cab at the airport from the men who harass you outside saying it’s only 40 euros. They mean 40 euros each! We went to the taxi rank and paid 45 euros for four people.

Our legitimate taxi driver got us here:- Max Brown Hotels

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Loved it – Small, quirky but well positioned for walking around. Top tip:- Don’t have room 003 – downstairs and right next to the kitchen area – it sounds as though the staff are in your room with you when they clatter the plates in the morning. I was all prepared to moan when O.H. woke up. ‘Too bloody noisy’ and out he went to ask for a change of room. Room 407 was much quieter but only suitable if you don’t mind climbing three floors of very steep stairs, like this:

stairs

Our friends in room 001 had no complaints.

Breakfast was a do-it-yourself job; perfectly nice, very continental. O.H. worked out how to make the perfect coffee from the machine which, of course, endeared him to me.

Walking along the canal, I sent a message:

Me:- How’s the pain now?

Youngest:- Whenever I move it gets worse like a twisting all across my stomach.

Blimey that doesn’t sound good. 

Me:- Best get yourself to the walk-in or ring 111 for advice. Have you pressed your right side? Do you have acute pain?

Youngest:- what’s acute pain?

Me:- So bad you’re doubling up.

Youngest:- Doubling up?

It can’t be acute – he’d be doing it, not asking about it. 

I skipped onto the pavement to avoid being knocked down by a bicycle outside the shops.

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Next, Anne Frank’s house. We joined the queue.  Top tip:- It’s online ticket entry only from 9-3.30 – book well in advance. After that you must queue. We waited an hour but when we came out at 5pm the queue was short.

There are more profound words than I can ever say on this but how they managed to stay sane in those small dark rooms for so long is beyond me.

Youngest:- ‘The walk-in takes hours. That’s what my friends have said.’

Me:- ‘Well that’s an option if you’re bad. Better waiting hours than a burst appendix. What have you been eating?’

Youngest:- ‘Chicken burger, baguette, chicken pasta dinner. Breakfast – regular hash browns, beans, egg and sausage. Best get walking into town. Hope I don’t chun.’

Dinner was a bad Argentine steak. Chewy and fatty. But the chef came out when I (nicely) complained, to apologise and give us a dessert platter to say sorry. Can’t moan too much when he was trying to make amends. Dessert was delicious but a bit off the bill as well would have guaranteed to raise his trip advisor rankings.

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After another broken night’s sleep in our garret room, this time not because it was so quiet but because the small double bed wasn’t used to having a 6ft 3ins O.H. sleeping diagonally across it, so decided to push me near the edge to see if I would fall out. The only option was to shove the bed right up against the wall and show it who was boss.

Another breakfast. This time managed to get the perfect coffee combo.

We found the sex museum. Verdict? It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m not a prude but I was amazed at how promiscuous the photos were from the 1800’s. And once you’ve seen one willy – you’ve seen ’em all, eh? Best if you have a photo of a pretty street instead.

 

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The streets and canals were very picturesque but not very Christmassy.

Woops, you may have a bell but mind my back you cycle, road hog!

Me:- ‘How’s the pain?’

Youngest:- ‘Still terrible. I haven’t eaten anything.’

Me:- Not always a bad thing. ‘Sometimes it’s good to have a fast, in case it’s a bug. Are you drinking? Water?’

We queued for the Van Gogh museum.  Such a talent.So many paintings from such a tortured soul. He only started painting at 27 years. Proves there’s hope for anyone.

Youngest:- ‘Can’t drink the water it’s cloudy.’

Me:- ‘Boil up the kettle and use that then.’

Youngest:- ‘But it will be hot.’

Not only Van Gogh who is feeling tortured.

Youngest:- ‘Just rung 111. They said go to the walk-in.’ Funny, is it me or did I not suggest this earlier?

Van Gogh’ed out, we caught the tram back to the hotel before heading out for dinner.

Youngest:- ‘The walk-in’s a long way. I don’t feel quite so bad now. What’s good for getting poos out food wise?’ 

 Hmmmm. Not so sure about this delicious burger now. Black and Blue
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Another morning and yes, another breakfast, but this time I didn’t have to wait for a wifi hotspot for an up-to-date report.

Youngest:- ‘Went to the walk-in.’ Blimey. Must still be feeling bad to warrant that.

Me:- ‘And? ‘

amsterdam

We were out again and walking the streets. There are 15,000 bikes that end up in the canals. If you come past me so fast like that you might just join them.

Youngest:- ‘She poked my side to see about the appendicitis and gave me some anti-sickness pills.’

Well, at least he’s been checked out by a health professional. He must be ok. I’ll remove the ‘flights from Amsterdam to Newcastle’ page from my ipad.

Youngest;- ‘How’s Dam?’

Me:- ‘Lovely.’ 

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‘We’re just on the train to the airport to come home now.’

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I amsterdam.

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About Teresahamiltonwriter

Recipe for a Writer Ingredients: • 1 woman • 1 writing habit • 2 husbands • 3 children Method 1. Whisk suburban childhood; followed by a tablespoon of teaching. 2. Mix with travel to produce a stewardess. 3. Stir in love potion, marriage; resulting in daughter. 4. When mixture reaches boiling point, beat in divorce. 5. Slowly marinade extra love potion and 2nd husband. 6. Blend in two more children. 7. Steep in inspiration by relocating. 8. Toss in imagination and perspiration producing: articles, novels, children’s stories and a memoir. 9. Bake in Sussex countryside. 10. Serve with competition successes,publication, red wine and enjoy.
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