We went to Holland on Wednesday-Sarah lives near Roermond and we got the Eurostar to Brussels then changed for Liege then Maastricht then Roermond.
These are the stools and chairs in the departure lounge at Ebbsfleet International. I liked their 70's colours. It was much easier going from Ebbsfleet than St Pancras. It is a 20 minute drive from our house and 20 minutes nearer to wherever we go, and travelling from there saves a whole lot of hassle going across London with bags. Sarah and Roel had three other couples coming to celebrate. We had delicious food, lots of wine and a very relaxed and cosy time. I loved Sarah's place settings-the trees are made from some kind of bark and the little stars are felt.
Fireworks are a very important part of New Year and we had lots! My favourite was called a Red Dragon and is a very long coil of bangers that goes off loudly and spectacularly, throwing off debris as it goes. I did take a little film but part of it consists of me running away as I was getting hit by pieces of firework!
Here is a small part of the dragon.
We came back slightly earlier than planned, as I was hoping to catch my sister before she went back to Leeds. We had to collect our tickets from a machine at Brussels which was a bit stressful, as there were no signs to say where the machines were. They are in the Eurostar departure area which I suppose is obvious. We went through the x-ray machines ok and went to UK border control next. The man took my passport and instead of giving it straight back as normally happens, said,
"You know what I am going to say now don't you madame?"
"Your passport has expired"
I proceeded to assure him that no, it expires in May this year. He showed me the date so I then started to tell him about losing it and nearly not coming blah, blah. He was not very interested in this. I said that they had not spotted it on the way and he said that did not surprise him. He advised me that I may have trouble travelling on a plane with my passport. I said " So what happens now?" "Nothing" he said. He could see I was a British citizen so let me go on.
After all the palaver with losing it I just thought it was so funny! I am so glad I didn't check it or I would not have gone or would have panicked when in Holland! We had an otherwise smooth journey home. The sun had not come out for three days but on the way through Belgium there was the most amazing sunset and I saw a cloud shaped like the British Isles! It was one of those clouds with a bright golden lining and huge. There was also a yellow tinged full moon later on in the journey. Beautiful!
We came back Friday and it is now late on Saturday night. I have spent all of today cleaning and sorting and chucking stuff out which I no longer wear, want or need. (Some charity shop, some recycled, some rubbish) If I am in the right mood to do this I have to take advantage as generally I am a terrible hoarder and find it hard to do. I am pleased to have clawed back little pockets of space here and there. The bathroom cupboards for example are super organised!