13 January 2009



We had breakfast at the hotel after a lie-in, then went back to Haarlemmerdijk for more of a look around and a cup of tea at teabar. I had green tea with nuts, vanilla, and spices, and OMG IT WAS SO YUM – I bought some to take away with me.

We saw two sets of cousins along the way, too! On the way back to the hotel, we got slightly lost and somehow ended up walking the wrong way! Luckily we realised pretty quickly and eventually hopped onto the tram back and to the hotel with time to spare.

We sat down for lunch in a lovely café, but ended up having to get the food takeaway so we could catch our bus.

espresso and biscotti

sardegna olive oil choco & chilli tea

We ate the food in the airport, and it was DELICIOUS. Oh my word, the Brussels sprouts and beans cooked with garlic and onion were superb, and the roast pumpkin was delicious. The risotto was good, with whole cloves of garlic and tender but not overcooked pieces of broccoli, topped with slices of pecorino (I think).

At check-in, the assistant called over another staff member and asked her about the discrepancy between the F on my passport and the Mr on my ticket. I told her it was because I’m trans, and she was very accepting of that. “Don’t they change the passports in Australia?” she asked, and when we told her it wasn’t easy she shook her head and said, “It’s your life, I think.” She was awesome and I loved her. The end.

The flight was half-full and very short – we arrived about 20 minutes early. Despite my worries about my cold and the lack of PROPER decongestant, my ears didn’t get too painful. They popped when they were meant to, and so I counted that as a victory to the nasal spray. We got to watch the sun set from the runway in Amsterdam, and then again just as we were coming in over London. It’s the first time I’ve flown that way – we saw the Channel, and it’s true that England and France are very close together! We flew in to London on the north side of the Thames, so we saw the bridges, the Millennium Dome, and various other landmarks. By that stage it was getting a little dark, though, so we couldn’t make out much detail. However, we could see heaps of ice and white patches in a lot of the parks – it was exciting!


M picked us up from the airport in the pitch black of 5pm and drove us home via the chemist, where I picked up some blessed, blessed sinus tablets with pseudoephedrine! My ears started feeling better within half an hour of taking them. Back at the family K residence, A had heated up some delicious soup, and we sat around and had a chat for a while before D and I fell into bed at some ridiculously early hour and slept and slept and slept.


Wednesday was a family day – I hardly have any time in London, I’ve just realised, so it was good to see heaps of people. We have one day in London, then to the Cotswolds from Thursday to Monday, Tuesday in London, Bologna from Wednesday to Friday, the weekend in London, then flying home on Monday.

from the window in finchley: winter

In the morning D’s sister in law came over with her son T and our newest and snuffliest nephew Y. S, D’s cousin, also dropped in to spend the day – she is here from South Africa. The family is in the process of making a video for E and L’s wedding, so a friend came over with a mini-setup (2 lights, camera and mic, etc) to do some filming. Adam arrived for that, so combined with E (the cleaner) and L (the office assistant), the house was pretty full! I escaped at one point to have a nice long bath, and consequently missed H (D’s grandfather) popping in for a visit. L (D’s grandmother) was quite ill recently and had to go to hospital a couple of days ago. She is feeling much better now, but she and H weren’t able to make it to the Cotswolds after all.

I spent a bit of time fiddling with some chords on the piano, to get a small song out (it’s been simmering in the back of my mind since Ameland, but I needed a piano to write it), and D did some admin stuff. However, D wasn’t feeling very good, so he also had a bit of a nap, and I looked after him before we all piled in the car to go to R & B’s house for dinner. I hadn’t been there before, so that was nice. D’s cousins B & A were also there, and it’s always good to talk to them.

B was telling me about the time he spent on a small island in the middle of a huge lake in Germany one winter – it sounded amazing. There are two islands, one with a monastery and one with a nunnery, and the one he was staying on could be walked around in 15 minutes (I don’t know if that’s an exaggeration). When he was there, a heavy mist surrounded the island for the whole week, so he could only see a few metres in front of him at any time. He was there for an osteopathy conference, and really the only other people on the island were nuns and people visiting the nunnery on a silent retreat. It sounded like an incredible (and slightly eerie) experience!

Dinner was very tasty, and I got to meet the ancient cat, who is 20 years old and quite . . . well, I’d say scrawny, but she is so beautiful despite being decrepit that it hardly seems a suitable word. Aww. I do like cats. There were a few in shop windows in Amsterdam, and I took photos of a couple, but most of the pictures didn’t turn out so well!

cat on the shelves

cats in amsterdam: hello?

cats in amsterdam: NO FRESH SANDWICH FOR YOU!

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