Wednesday, May 31, 2006

BIRTHDAYS, CHAMPAGNE AND A LOT OF RAIN...

It’s so long since I took a proper holiday, I’d forgotten how exhausting they are, but the dh and I have birthdays within a week of each other and we decided, this year, that we’d celebrate by giving ourselves a break.

We booked a car to take us to Cardiff International Airport (that would be on the bijou side of “international”) to catch the Cityhopper across to Amsterdam. Since we live in Wales the driver offered to get in bread and milk for us for our return. You just have to love this place!

We stayed at the hotel where John and Yoko had their love-in for peace back in ’69. We could have had the same suite but decided against it – it really would be too pathetic, wouldn’t it? I swear the eye-watering cost had absolutely nothing to do with it!

The dh thought his luck was in when he discovered a “pillow menu” by the bed. What kind of room service were they offering? This was, after all, Amsterdam! But no, it was exactly what it said. A pillow menu. You could phone the housekeeper and ask for ‘warm and soft’ or ‘multi relax’ or ‘extra flat’ (er, and what would be the point of that?)

At some point during the booking process, we had to provide our dates of birth –something to do with security, apparently. On the morning of the dh’s birthday, breakfast was interrupted by the maitre d’ and staff walking through the restaurant with a lit firework, a cake and singing “Happy Birthday”. We both looked round to see where the kid with the birthday was sitting. No. They headed straight for us, opened a bottle of champagne to go with the orange juice and eggs Benedict and my poor blushing husband had to acknowledge the clapping of a room full of total strangers. In the evening the hotel sent another bottle of champagne and another cake to our room. Believe me, we scarcely noticed the rain!

Did I mention the rain? No. Petty to bother about the weather when there was so much to see. Great art, fabulous diamonds, windmills, Delft, a clog making factory. It did let up on the day we visited windmills – although in keeping with the occasion it was jolly windy. We walked in the rain, had a lunch party with friends at a harbourside café, took a train ride – they have double-decker trains in Holland, how cool is that! And it stayed fine for our candle lit evening dinner cruise when we toured the city by boat -- strongly recommended by my editor and much enjoyed.

I returned to a pile of work – and, oddly, three Dutch translations of my books. The page proofs have been dealt with, now all I have to do is deliver a short story by the second week in June. Which is ... eeek...

7 comments:

Kate Hardy said...

Liz, welcome back (and happy birthday to you and your DH). Sounds as if you had a fantastic time. You've made *me* want to go on holiday, now. (Pouts, then remembers am sitting in the reason why we're not having a holiday this year.)

What a fabulous hotel. And double-decker trains? There's definitely a book in there! *g*

Margaret McDonagh said...

Delighted to hear you had such a fab holiday and belated Happy Birthday to your dh.

Love,
Mags

Sue aka MsCreativity said...

Happy belated birthday to you both.

Ahh, so that's why you had to provide your
d-o-b! What a lovely touch from the hotel.

It sounds like you had a fantastic time. Welcome home. :-)

Kate Walker said...

Happy Birthdays to you both!

I'm so glad you had a lovely time. Please hug DH Happy Belated Birthday from me - and ask him to do the same for you

Nicola Marsh said...

I can feel a future Liz Fielding book with an Amsterdam setting coming on...sounds like you had a fabulous time.
You're so lucky to have the gorgeous Europe on your doorstep!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for dropping by everyone. I had planned to post pictures, but blogger just isn't co-operating. Yesterday I couldn't even post a comment.

Maybe the glitch will be sorted after the weekend and I'll have another go then.

Julie Cohen said...

How wonderful! Happy birthday to both of you and I'm glad you had such a fab time.