Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year Trip That Nearly Never Was

We planned our new year trip to Holland in the summer when Sarah, Roel and Milly visited us. Then we looked forward to it during fireworks night. When we came back after Christmas I thought I had better get my passport out. I looked in the bag where I keep it and it wasn't there! I looked again, Andy looked and then I searched increasingly silly places around the house. After a few hours of searching I phoned Sarah to tell her the bad news. The day before we were due to go, I spent all day working, catchng up on my assessments. I thought I would have one more look in the bag I originally looked in, and there it was! There are so many pieces of paper-bank statements and other seemingly important things, that it had got caught between it all.

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.

Firework hearts!
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!


Rattling On said...

Looks like you had a great time. I really like those stools as well. Good for you for having a clear-out, we've done a bit in the cellar, but I have a lot of sorting to do this year. I am determined...

snoopydog said...

Glad you had a good time even with all the passport stress. You're very good, spending a whole day doing assessments. Mind you, I guess I may well wish I had done the same once I get back to school on Monday. Happy New Year to you. Ros

Linda Sue said...

What an adventure- with real dragons, the lot! Passprts can be scarey items- so fussy to borders these days...hmph! I say! I, too have been unloading only because forced to do so. Gotten rid of some unfinsihed projects and things gone wanting...feels goo to not have them hanging around to remind me to deal with them. Cheers for a great new year in your corner of the world!
Cheers to you!

Linda Sue said...

Feels GOOD not goo...

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah - your trip looked lots of fun!! I have been having a good sorting out in the studio - but more of a 'I'll put it on this shelf, instead of that shelf' .... but I am making an effort to tackle the backlog of projects! Love Anne

Candace said...

FUNTASTIC photos. Love that last fiery beastie of a picture. Well, my first trip over with T, I was pulled out (which T found hilarious) as I looked like some woman they were searching for. Instantly (almost) obvious I was not her once they shook me up and down. Geez Louise!
Haven't been to Holland yet but this lovely post makes me want to check it out!
Take care, Dear Sarah.
Candace x

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a great trip minus the passport drama! How neat that in some places it's custom to set off fireworks for New Years. I have never experienced that. Happy New Year!

Lynne said...

Hi Sarah,
Your passport shenanigans made me smile, the sort of things that happen to us all. I'm convinced I have a Black Hole that follows me around, I'm always loosing things which will turn up later in the first place I looked! I thought it was lovely here the way everyone (or so it seemed) let off fireworks at midnight. It was a happy occasion. It sounds as though you had a happy time too. May 2010 be happy to you.

Relyn said...

I've been so busy doing nothing much that I haven't been around to visit my friends in too long. So, though my wishes are late, I mean them with my whole heart. May your year be filled with laughter. May all your surprises be happy ones. May you remember to count your blessings. May you know each day how very much you are loved. Happy new year, my friend.