>> Monday, 25 June 2012
Due to the fact that we are now in full-on summer holiday mode (Wk 2 started today. Oh, sorry. Did I mention already that the Boys have a loooonnnnggg summer break? Did I? DID I?), posting on here may be sporadic for the next few weeks. I will snatch the opportunity when I can, as I'm doing here, when my sons have finally gone unwillingly to bed, giving me a moment of calm - ignoring the unpacking from our weekend away, the laundry, the tidying up, and the preparations for visitors tomorrow.
We just arrived home from 3 nights in Amsterdam. You've got to love the Dutch, you really have (well, clearly I do; I married one of them). In this case however, I guess I'm referring specifically to the Amsterdammers. They have a certain brash in your face character that - if you're not used to it, as the family we were visiting the city with weren't - can be rather... surprising. They know how they want things to be, they know what they like, and they aren't shy of sharing that information with those who they clearly view as hapless tourists.
There was the waiter in a smart hotel who, having given the four boys under 9 in our party strict instructions in a very no-nonsense maner on what they were and weren't allowed to do in the garden cafe we were sitting in, then turned up with a gift for each of them, courtesy of the hotel (we weren't staying there, by the way - just stopping for a cuppa).
There was the manager of the terrace cafe outside the Rijksmuseum where we stopped for an afternoon snack which turned into a glass or two of wine whilst the kids played in the adjacent playground, who on hearing our order, proceeded to tell us how the bottle we had ordered was her very favourite wine in such a way that we actually believed she meant it.
There was the waitress in the poffertjes* restaurant who took a fancy to one of the boys in our party who was being particularly cheeky, and rewarded him with a big lipstick kiss on the cheek.
And then there was the waiter in the restaurant where the adults in our party went for dinner. He gave us truly dreadful service and was hilariously unaware that he was doing anything wrong on what he freely admitted was his first night on the job. I think the high point for me was when my husband complained about a dreadful smell of sewerage coming in through the open window next to us and instead of closing the window the waiter chattily replied "I know, isn't it awful? You should smell it in the kitchen. The poor man who had to go and deal with it was retching when he came back inside."
We didn't ask which part of the restaurant the 'poor man' was working in...
*Poffertjes: a tiny version of pancakes - but puffier - around 15 to a serving, dredged in icing sugar and butter, a heart-attack on a plate and not to be missed if you visit The Netherlands.
** No, that is not my husband or child standing in front of the I Amsterdam sign. Just two people who had the temerity to get in the way of the shot I was trying to take. No, seriously. My family are FAR better looking than that...