One of the things we did was debate – at length whether it was OK to call it Holland. Boy One, insisted it was The Netherlands despite maps showing him we were in South Holland.
We learned the joys of Lycra-free cycling! And encountered the remarkable phenomena of patient motorists who give way to bikes. The Panther lead the way with Boy Three pedalling like fury on a tag-a-long, Boy Two cruised along next and Boy One and I brought up the rear on our bicycle made for two. No one laughed or tooted at us, even though a tandem doesn’t go very quickly at all.
I achieved a new level of maturity when I didn’t snigger at the rude bits (not out loud anyway) but not as much maturity as Boy One who, in response to suggestions that we take a stroll through the Red Light District, sighed deeply and said: “No mum, that would just not be appropriate an any way.”
Played Monopoly. We played a lot of the playing card version of Monopoly while eating sweeties – Haribos. Boy Two eventually learned that his tactic of having it in for his mother meant that everyone else picked on him while his back was turned.
We didn’t get lost or stressed on our cycle trips thanks to well signposted and safe bike lanes and helpful citizens happy to show us the way.
We learned that sight-seeing boat trips aren’t that interesting. The Amsterdam one was enlivened largely by the extraordinary grumpiness of the skipper. He had clearly been badly advised on his career choice as he didn’t appear to like the public very much and certainly didn’t seem inclined to do anything to improve their experience. Except that we were quietly (in case we drew his wrath) amused. His veins bulged at the chap with the camera who didn’t take his refusal to be photographed (even accidentally) seriously. “It’s a privacy issue,” he insisted. Wrong job, mate.
We watched a gladiator fight with actual blood (fake) at Archeon. Seemingly hidden in a housing scheme, this little gem of historic recreation kept us all busy for a day as we explored pre-historic, Roman and Mediaeval settlements . Apparently, you can book weekends to stay in Mediaeval houses, dressed in Mediaeval clothes and generally hanging out doing Mediaeval things. For a brief moment we were tempted.
The Panther complained about the heat whilst mopping his brow. He’s a proper northerner who gets a heat rash when the rest of us are flirting with the idea of taking off our cardis.
We got lost driving quite a lot. Seemingly I can’t navigate when there are no hills to serve as landmarks.
I learned to love living on a theme park. Considering that just driving past M&D’s can make me shudder, Duinrell was a revelation. We spent happy hours on the rides and the queues weren’t even that long.
We had a fantastic time, all the more remarkable when you consider that the five of us all like different things none of which on a bad day is each other.