Friday with the Fisher Clan

This morning I was planning to tidy up, but got a text from Emilia to go for breakfast together at Dobbies.

As you see massive bags under the eyes, I can barely see over them before 11am. This handsome guy has had a new “Matt Damon” haircut and is eating more different things, and saying mamamamama a lot.

Then we had some good chats. From there I went straight to town with Lola & she helped me choose 3 dresses & a pair of trainers. Cos my trousers are literally falling apart.

Then it was 5pm so we hitched a lift with Lee to his mum’s, as we were having takeaway dinner with the Fisher Clan. Matthew (27?) & Natalie, Brandon (20), Sarah with Ben & Lois (approx. 8 and 5) were all there with Laurie & Edith. We had tea and a good laugh. Laurie & Edith have already sent off their passport applications, they really are raring to come visit us! It was a very fun evening. Laurie did take some pics, so I will try to get hold of them.

dob3Another busy day, another farewell dinner type thing. We are very much loved.



Hi Wednesday morning Fred and I nipped to Asda with a couple of errands and then I got him to do a bowl of washing up, which wasn’t as simple as it sounds! Then I went to sleep as we had a date with friends at the Otterspool Harvester. We had a really lovely time and after the meal the 3 boys played hide & seek outside for about an hour.


awful colours cos it was getting dark.


It was lovely to see them so involved!

The Relocation Help people have contacted 2 Amsterdam schools with ISK: international switch classes that have places available. That’s classes specifically for non-Dutch speakers. The boys will probably have to go to these as soon as we get there. They are not too enamoured by this idea but I am! I am planning to spend time looking after myself in that posh flat!

Thanks for my pink diary mum, when you bought me it I had no idea how useful it would become for all my organising & planning to move across the continent!!

Thurs morning Fred cycled & I walked to Hunts Cross about 1.5 miles to the bank, then he got a bus home & I cycled. I have dropped a paper in the solicitors in Garston, then noticed the old fashioned bakery open, so treated us to some tarts & such baked on the premises. It’s still about 1975 in there, and the people who own/work it are about 75 too. I got egg custards, rhubarb tart & blackcurrant tart. Had a nice phone call with my sister.

Thursday evening I went to homegroup at Jonny & Simonne’s. Obviously I’m rather tired with all this socialising, and I am acting out the emotional side of leaving by getting angry every time someone says “We’ll miss you!” (approx. 1000 times a week!) so I got a bit shouty in homegroup, which was quite funny actually!






I had a lovely meal out, last night, treated by my friend Agatha. We had a good long chat, she is one of the ones I am loath to leave behind!

They still have C&A clothes shop in Europe & I was just looking at some Dutch plus size dress shops, and I came across these at OTTO.

They’re fun aren’t they! In fact Otto have 195 different dirndl dresses in my size, and 34 different dirndl blouses to go underneath. I might have to try one on!

So on Thurs or Fri I was told the buyer has withdrawn, but we have the 2nd buyer, He is a local man with cash & no chain, and it is going ahead. I just tried not to think about it and trust that God is pushing this sale through.

also. In Volendam you can dress up and be photo’d like this!







Two surveyors have been this morning for packing quotes for all our furniture and personal effects. It occurred to me that they could pack all our stuff & move it after we’ve gone. Surely that would be easier? As long as we have a key drop arrangement and a clear list of the few things we’re not taking.


I finished this book, I wasn’t as cringeworthy or predictable as the cover suggests!

I am reading Report For Murder by Val McDermid now.

Jojo looked a bit ill yesterday so he’s in bed today.

I haven’t got to pack anything, except the 1 or 2 suitcases each we are taking on Moving Day. But can’t really pack those yet as I only own about 4 sets of clothes altogether & I need to wear them. But I want to go thru the kitchen cupboards and all the half-empty shelving units & really purge stuff. I find it Very Difficult to make decisions about all this guff. Also I’m really tired so I might just not do any today.

I have someone to meet / I am out every single evening this week, which is fun/regrettable! I must rest each afternoon to survive this.

I am filling in my tax credits form, which feels like a complete waste of time!


Happy thoughts of the future!

Jojo 15 today


That handsome guy came to breakfast with us & then he has gone to town to have lunch in Tortilla with friends. He is such a sweet fellow with a quick smile, very respectful and caring, and never asks for much. It is a joy to be able to give him a treat.

I went to Penny’s to catch up & we had a cry! Will I ever find a neighbour who understands like Penny?! She’s worth her weight in gold!!

Chris & Di came, they gave us a generous housewarming gift. They missed Jojo as he’d gone on to the cinema with his schoolfriends.


And today he has been to lazerquest with his lifelong friend who is a day older.




Friends Round

Well, Lee obviously didn’t learn a lesson* about making us suddenly socialise on an empty stomach after a hot flight, because he just invited our friends the Ahmeds round this evening before we’d had tea or anything! I was really glad though as time is running out and I haven’t seen them for a couple of years. The boys are 14 and 10 and little princess Noor is 5. They looked so grown up! I sent the 4 boys to the chippy for us.  S told her boys they’d get beaten up by the locals, a slight exaggeration! They were fine. It was wonderful to see them, We’ve known S since they married in 1999, and Lee’s known the hubby literally about 27 years. S and I had a lot to agree on about mothering! She is on a health research advisory board now, sounds interesting.


A couple of Lee’s pics of the kids at Artis Zoo.


*or maybe he did


Intro to Amsterdam – part 2

Later I napped and Lee walked with the girls for a drink in a chic bit of town. Saturday night we had tea in a small Turkish place near the centre. There are 6 of us & we had no reservations, so we just ate at the 1st place that could seat us all outside.

Then the girls & I took a walk all over the central areas of town & saw all kinds of sights, for hours. It was really fun and exhausting. We really enjoy getting to know the routes etc. Above right, it says “Read the bible, the book for you” on that building.

We also checked out some shops, had a load of fresh bakery goods for  breakfast, Fred bought some ‘hagelslag’, the chocolate sprinkles that you have on bread. Today we had lunch in the café of the Historical Swimming baths near the Museum Square. It was fab. We found people very friendly and accommodating. I was really impressed with the Rijksmuseum building – you can cycle right through it!

There is so much to explore. We are feeling very positive about it all!



Intro to Amsterdam part 1

Wow! We have got back from our 3 days in Amsterdam. May I say it was quite fraught at times, travel tensions especially. And our family dynamics are always awkward to negotiate. But actual being in Amsterdam , we LOVED IT!

Our houseboat was in a handy, central-ish position, and we enjoyed the watery freedom. But the urban side was a lot of night noise. It was a bit shabby (bathroom, of which I shall speak no more!) and cramped, but a good fun experience.

We took trains & trams. I didn’t even bother finding out about any bus routes. The transport was very good, frequent, efficient, easy to use. The bikes whizz past at an alarming rate, but we will soon enjoy whizzing about in the same way. Don’t wanna sound like a nerd, but we kept being impressed by the infrastructure!


Above, a gorgeous mosaic ceiling, and tired people on a clean, comfortable train.

We had 2 gorgeous sunny days and today was a bit wet but warm.

The Friday we got there and wanted showers & rests but instead hastened to his new boss’s on foot. I was so not in a good mood by then, from coping with everyone and travel. Feet were killing, we were sweaty,  some of us were frazzled. I was trying to be cheerful & chivvy the slow walker and get ready to cheerfully, not tearfully, meet his new co-workers. ARGH! I was praying to be cheerful and wondering if this situation is what God wanted. He has given me freedom, no?

As soon as I realised I could just turn around and go straight to the houseboat and lie down if I wanted, I got OK. We trudged there and had a wonderful evening. “A” was extremely gracious & good host, we all relaxed, had lovely chats with 4 international people Lee will be working with & 1 wife. The food was lovely & she had provided thoughtfully for the kids. Wow! What a lovely lady and dare I say what a different atmosphere than of K&N UK folks. YAY!

We got an Uber taxi back and though extremely tired, we weren’t sleepy, so just talked about what we had seen, and listened to the geese honking and the trams rumbling very close by. Thankfully we are going to be living somewhere much quieter and far out of town!!


Saturday: Artis Zoo in the Plantage area of town. It was highly recommended and rightly so! Plantage is a beautiful decorative gardeny area, and the zoo is quite upmarket and is excellent. We had a fab time.



Michel Roux Jr


These pics came up on Lee’s timeline from May 2010. It never fails to make me laugh.

I finished Out Of Bounds, it was very good storytelling.

outofboundsI have just cancelled all our mobile phone contracts from 29th May which is a bit scary! I will literally be waking up that 1st morning with “what is the Dutch version of carphone warehouse?” on my mind!

I went out with Fred and Lola, went & paid the solicitor, had breakfast in Cafe Cargo, then to Asda & Matalan for a cheap suitcase for Lola. Also the struggle of getting trousers to fit Jojo! He has a 28 inch waist but regular or long leg. We looked all over but finally found a pair of jeans in Next clearance.

Oh yes Fred has been decorating his case.

Progress and a sheriff. OK!



Our apartment can be seen here!

And it is found a bit closer to Amsterdam itself, than I imagined, super!


My lad is very pleased with his £5 Volcom coat. Just the colours he likes, and it goes with his trainers. We went in TK Maxx to look at suitcases and found this coat is quite “in”!

We were quite shocked that the smallest cheapest cabin bag/suitcase in TK Maxx were £40 each so went to Tesco and got some more reasonably priced ones, the kids chose their own colours.

I have just given Cheddar the cat away to a nice couple who were recommended by a friend.  Obviously we all have feelings about this and Fred did a bit of screaming and blaming, but it was soon over.  He was fine choosing his suitcase colour and thinking about decorating it.