Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007 ? A load of wank, best forgotten.

Did not climb in the Alps or Pyrenees, did not descend any caves or climb any rocks.

Did manage a trip to the Ardennes, which was a laugh and a half. Ended up earning my miserable and tiny crust in Holland. And because I'm managed by a bunch of cunts I had to work Monday and Tuesday in Dartford then get me to Enkhuizen, 70 k North of Amsterdam on Wednesday. So I drove through the tunnel. That day started badly. Checked out the Holiday Inn at 04,55. The night porter was somewhat tardy, drove down the M2 at 90 mph but arrived 2 minutes too late to get the 0650 train. Had to wait for the next one, thus I hit all the heavy traffic in Belgium and Holland. Arrived mid-afternoon to the dismay of the folks at the place I went to work.
In the evening went for a blowout. Nice meal, cheapest wine was 30 Euros, going up to a nice Bordeaux at 955 Euros. Ha ! That would blow my company credit card limit and my ability to have a card in one fell swoop ! Tempting though.
Anyhoo, a bottle of wine and 2 beers inside me I went to explore the town. First off was a corner bar, and there were a bunch of reprobates, got talking, mentioned I was a Scot. Ended up going and putting on my kilt, off to more bars and had lots of drinks bought me. Remeber having to find a taxi as I couldn't find my way back to the hotel. Next morning awoke to find I had lied on my specs, my new specs costing 300 quid and broke them, so had to spend the rest of my time wearing expensive specs fixed with a bit of sellotape. Tosser.
Behaved myself the rest of that week.
Come the weekend decided to go off and explore. Had thoughts of finding the Chouffes
So on Saturday headed off south, through to Maastricht and over the border into Belgium.
What a nice place, Belgium, and what a contrast with fussy, rules oriented Holland.
Ended up in the spa town of Spa, what a dump. Went deeper into the Ardennes in search of an idylic village. And found it; Stoumont. Went to the local tourist office where my pigdin French told a rather pissed old guy manning the office I was in search a room for me, here. He gave me directions to a town of closeness where a man of the hotel would aquire my room in a building close by of his friend. Well, so much for my grasp of French, or so I thought !
Made my way along to La Gleize a couple of ks East. Found the hotel, a fine place entered through a sort of hunting lodge type lobby. The patron intimated there was a room 500 metres away, follow me. He jumps on a quad bike, only pausing to pull a pair of wellies on, no helmet but a nice wooly scarf to protect him, we go at breakneck speed for 2 miles. Stop outside a splendid house, he unlocks the door and informs me this is mine for 50 Francs, sorry. Euros ! Off he goes, only drawback is no heating. More of that later.

So it was 2.30 so went into La Gleize to see the sights, there weren't any, but there was Museum 1944. Excellent little museum of The Battle of the Bulge, Nice Tiger Tank outside;

Drove back to Spa and bought some excellent red at a Delhaize supermarket, the lion of Flanders in Wallonia ! Back and to the hotel. Menu; biche ? What is biche ? Ah, Bambi says mine host, so I had a meal of Bambi and mushrooms, with 2 big glasses of Hoegaarden. Back and knocked back the wine in the cold watching Blade runner, into bed and it was fucking cold. Woke up next morning my breath had condensed around my mouth making a little puddle on the duvet. Creaked my way to awakeness and settled my bill and back to boring land of clogs-and-windmills. Drove back over one of the dykes built over the old Zuider Zee, now long gone but what a strange drive over the water, it looks like the sea, but went down and tasted it, its brackish; of course its not the North Sea, its an lake protected from the sea by dykes with lock gates.
Quiet week, on Friday went to Hook of Holland and got the ferry to Harwich, like Horwich with a a. I have been on cross-channel ferries, and on long boat trips in the Agean this was new. Like a multi story car park with a hotel on top complete with restuarants and shops. Had a cabin which was a good idea as the trip took 7 hours.

Crap drive along my most hated road, the A14 took me home. Weekend of feeling knackered, back to Holland Monday, a long drive through freezing fog. Onto ferry, windy and slower because of the head wind, bumpy ride to Holland, work, a good meal on Wednesday evening and back on Thursday, cold, -6 and -1 during the day. drive home into the office on Friday, got my specs fixed. found out I have exceeded my overdraught limit so the bank charged me some stupid figure, fuckbottles I'm skint.
Spoke to H, hmm.
So Christmas and what have I done ? Bugger all. Ho yus, lets knock back some Tanglefoot.
Collected J and J and J stayed with us, sleeping on the floor. J went back today as he has an appointment with the shrink tomorrow moring, J I take back tomorrow.
Net effect of 3 weeks in Holland - lost 4 kilos. Ha ha fucking ha.