says dorothy, clicking her red shoes together. Of course, she desperately wanted to go home.. and i desperately wanted to stay. I really did not want to leave the Netherlands. I’ve fallen totally in love with the country, the inhabitants.. each time i visit, i fall a little more in love with it, even with all the drawbacks (like not speaking the language, and the bloomin stairs).. i know i’ve seen the nicer parts of Holland, and that there are parts of the country that, like the UK, no one in their right mind wants to move to. But even with all that, i look around in the UK and i really wonder what this country has for me any more, other than my family and my friends.

Other than all that, i actually came home feeling refreshed and raring to go. well.. mostly. I’ve picked up a cold – i always pick up a cold when i fly, in fact i started to get it the day before we left, and the journey home wasn’t a pleasant one – drippy nose, sore back, cramps, and fighting lethargy.. i ended up sleeping on the trip from Liverpool Airport to Manchester city center (probably a blessing). We had the olibollens before we left, with coffee (this was for lunch, and was after a good breakfast of croissants, ham and cheese, and coffee, of course). Michiel did the final packing; i ran around taking photos like a madwoman. After we got home, J (who was dog/flatsitting) left fairly quickly, he had a date, we said hello to a deliriously happy puppy (and got fairly licked to death in the process) and set about unpacking and sorting the flat out. I knew if i sat down and relaxed with a cup of tea i just would not get back up again so i stripped the bed (where J had been sleeping while we were away), remade it, hoovered the flat, and got everything unpacked in fairly short order. Michiel concentrated on getting the computers sorted out, i also pulled up the garlic (which needed doing badly – its now drying in the kitchen) and after that Michiel went to get food – we ordered takeout pizza – which we ate while watching The Tudors. I crashed into bed fairly shortly after that.

Saturday involved shopping. It was also my birthday! I treated myself to a new jumper, skirt and top from the catalogue shop up the road (but i did so in typically frugal fashion – the lot only cost me £11!), and had a variety of birthday cards from friends and family. Sez posted me some chocolate, a smelly giftset (with lovely jasmine scents.. gorgeous), some cardmaking stuff (always handy, that!) and a pattern to make a winter jacket with (so i can make mine, then make one for her. LOL). i had a few text messages from people, which was lovely too. Michiel cooked for me that evening – spaghetti carbonara, so all round i had a lovely day, although having that cold wasn’t too nice.. i think its starting to break some now.

Today i started work on the photos. I’ve loaded the photos i took on day one up to flickr, and messed around with the picnik facility, which enables you to do some truly cool things with photos – i’ve saved my amended versions in the “Conversions” set if anyone wants to have a look. I’ve still got loads to post up, i went through all the photos today and deleted from the blog directory on my computer any photos i didn’t want on the blog (e.g. photos of people who haven’t consented to be on the blog, or anything that invades other people’s privacy) as well as the photos that just didn’t turn out very well (we all have them!) and got the numbers of photos down from just under 550 to 288. so it’ll take me a while to get them all loaded up.. !!! If you want to look, they’re all in the “Netherlands” set, but for now, here are some of the best ones, or what i think are the best ones… (which do you prefer?):

isnt it a picture? this, believe it or not, is at the end of the canal that runs past the bottom of Michiels parents house, about 200 yards away from their house..

isn't it a picture? this, believe it or not, is at the end of the canal that runs past the bottom of Michiel's parent's house, about 200 yards away from their house..

me, on the bridge by the windmill, all relaxed

me, on the bridge by the windmill, all relaxed

more behind the cut…..

if you look in the background you can see a modern day equivalent to this 200+ year old windmill.. the wind turbine.

if you look in the background you can see a modern day equivalent to this 200+ year old windmill.. the wind turbine.

i was taking photos around the house when Michiel struck this pose. I couldnt resist, so snapped it.

i was taking photos around the house when Michiel struck this pose. I couldn't resist, so snapped it.

yes, grapes are growing on the vine in his parents garden! Its a side garden, and as such, very secluded from the weather (it has brick on three sides, a fence on the other, which its growing up against, and a whole row of fences - his parents house is the end of a terrace. even so, its impressive when you consider the Netherlands is at the same latitude as Norfolk.

yes, grapes are growing on the vine in his parent's garden! Its a side garden, and as such, very secluded from the weather (it has brick on three sides, a fence on the other, which its growing up against, and a whole row of fences - his parents house is the end of a terrace. even so, its impressive when you consider the Netherlands is at the same latitude as Norfolk.

Youll notice a lot of my photos are sort of still life images of either garden or house. There are touristy images too, but they come later on. This is a stone pagoda, comes about waist high, and is hidden in the bushes of Michiels parents garden. In fact, Michiel didnt know it was there until he saw this photograph.

You'll notice a lot of my photos are sort of still life images of either garden or house. There are touristy images too, but they come later on. This is a stone pagoda, comes about waist high, and is hidden in the bushes of Michiel's parent's garden. In fact, Michiel didn't know it was there until he saw this photograph.

doesnt this give a cool, jungly feel? its amazing to consider that the snap above was taken just a few seconds after this one, and just 2 yards away from it..

doesn't this give a cool, jungly feel? its amazing to consider that the snap above was taken just a few seconds after this one, and just 2 yards away from it..

i love this photo, it just speaks of natural decay, working in tune with nature. i took several photos of this, from different angles, and on different days. i have yet to decide which i prefer.

i love this photo, it just speaks of natural decay, working in tune with nature. i took several photos of this, from different angles, and on different days. i have yet to decide which i prefer.

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