First off: the bad news: I’m not going to be able to post photos from here. You’ll all have to wait till i get home! The little laptop we’ve got here isn’t up to much, and can’t cope with lots of photos so they’re being transferred to my memory stick as i go along, and I’ll upload the good ones when i get home.

The good news: I’ve already taken 170 photos. Oops. i got a bit carried away with the available opportunities – Michiel’s parent’s home is a beautiful one, and although many are duff shots, there are also many lovely ones that i’m really proud of.

The journey over was okay. very tiring: we left home just before 2pm, went to Manchester coach station, bought tickets (i went free as i have a disabled concessionary pass) to John Lennon Airport in Liverpool, then waited a couple hours for the flight. They’ve instituted new security procedures: if you want to pay £2 each and bypass the queues, you can, otherwise it takes around 30 minutes to an hour to get past security. Bah. There were many very stupid people there – one spectacular example was this really stupid group, a family, who insisted on getting right to the front of the queue for getting on the airplane, even though they were told that parents with children under 5 and a certain other group go first, then group A (which we were), then group B (according to when they had checked in – we checked in just after the checkin point opened). Despite being told they were group B they refused to move out of the way so that others could get through, meaning anyone else had to push and shove past them.. stupid idiots… Michiel shot a dirty look at them as he went through the easyjet final boarding gate and i know he was so tempted to say something, but i’m glad he didn’t, it might’ve caused a ruckus and that we didn’t need.

The flight otherwise was uneventful, although the plane seemed to shake and bounce a lot more than i remember from previous flights, perhaps the weather was a bit rough on it. We got through passport control at Schipol relatively quickly and hooked up with Michiel’s mom, then drove “home”; we were here by 10.30pm, 9.30pm UK time, so a very long day.

Today we’ve taken it easy – chatted with Michiel’s Mom, went for a walk, took photos, had gorgeous 2 inch high steaks for dinner – i don’t really do steak, i dislike the hard work of chewing, so i ate about half of mine and gave the rest to a very grateful and happy Michiel. That was served with new potatoes, green beans and jus from the meat.. lovely.

Tomorrow we’re going to Alphen aan den Rijn, one of the local towns, to do a little bit of shopping, before catching the train to… Maarstn (i think i got that right) to visit with Michiel’s uncle – this is a much younger brother of Michiel’s mum, so he is nearer in age to Michiel than to Michiel’s Mum. He is married to a lovely lady and they have two children, both teenagers. I’m looking forward to seeing them, been a very long time since we saw them.

On saturday is a party for Michiel’s father; his birthday was last week so its a belated party. All the wider family (Michiel’s parents both come from large families) will be there, as will Oma (Michiel’s grandmother, Oma is dutch for grandmother), Michiel’s sister and brother-in-law, and i’m looking forward to seeing them too. Sunday Michiel’s sister may come for a visit here with her children, two girls, a 4 year old and an 18month old, who won’t be at the party, so it’ll be a chance to spoil them rotten – they’re adorable girls. We’re hoping to fit in a visit another day to Oma too, on her own, and on Wednesday there’s a trip to Amsterdam to meet up with some of Michiel’s friends from the Slackware chat channels we both hang out in – should be fun.

Either way, it will be a busy trip – i’ll try to blog as much as i can, for my own memory, if nothing else – but if not, i’ll do my best when i get back – but a fun one.. afterwards, we’ll have to go home for a break and a very relieved to see us jess (who has been left at home with a flat/dogsitting friend)…