Just when we thought we were in the middle of nowhere to have a quiet life, our social engagements continue to stream in. We left our good friends Andy and Anya in Molenhoek on Saturday morning so they could prepare the birthday celebrations for their daughter Anouk on Saturday. Bowling, Bunting and Buns (ie, cake) seem to be the plan. We headed back to our lovely Garden Room for a quiet day. Little did we expect an invite from our hosts, Tonia and Andre, to dinner that evening. The invite was a “get to know you” type of thing but it was also to keep Jon away from the 8 ladies staying in the Africa House. I don’t think Tonia thought it was appropriate from him to “entertain” the ladies with his cooking skills and innuendo.
Tonia made a gourmet meal which was served under their outside eating area. Onion soup followed by a small salmon salad then a roasted dish of potatoes and shoarma (which is turkish organic meat). All washed down with some Rose and a beer or two. For dessert we moved up from their accommodation to our patio (we were tracking the sunshine). Ice cream and chocolate…yum. It was a lovely social evening and we feel they are more like friends than hosts.
On Sunday morning we went down the road to the centre of Groesbeek (for you plum-in-your-mouth-English types it is pronounced Hoosbeak), to watch the start of the 5km, 10km and 15km run that is an annual event. It started at 12 noon with a lot of hoo ha, music and sheep (grazing in the square). The 5km started first, followed by the 10km and 15km. In the afternoon there were races for youngsters of 7 and 8 years old so all very inclusive. It was fairly warm but the first aid team were belting around on a moped keeping a check on everyone. There was a real community atmosphere and a brilliant thing to be a part of. If I had know I would have entered!
In the afternoon we ventured back to Mook, on the river, then to Andy and Anya’s for dinner and meet their charming daughter, Anouk who is 11 years old. It took us a while to get our head around the fact:
- her Mum, Anya, spoke to her in Dutch
- her Dad, Andy, spoke to her in English (in the main)
- Anouk replied to Anya in Dutch
- Anouk replied to Andy in English (and sometimes Dutch)
We felt linguistically inept. After Anouk returned from feeding some horses, we had a lovely meal together. Anya beavered away in the kitchen to make Hunger Buster Pasta. Me, being me, wanted a way to remember the name so it became Ghost Buster Pasta. (Much the same way as Mook, because of the pronunciation, has become (mini) Moke. Too many years of trying to get the boys to remember things by association I suppose. I digress….
The main course was followed by a delicious Tiramisu, coffee and chocolates. This is when it got interesting…. Andy insisted that he light the chimnea. Anya and Anouk were not so keen. I think they had endured a few too many evenings of smoke and near scorched garden furniture. Fear not, with Ringwood assistance the chimnea was less smoky than of late and it even encouraged Andy to break out a very precious bottle of award winning Whiskey which he had picked up on a trip to Japan. We had the background story to make us appreciate it’s worth and although Jon and I do not normally partake of the “hard stuff”, we decided this was too rare a find, such an exclusive bottle, being such a very very special occasion that we should have a dram to assist with the cycle home. Truth be told, the whiskey was very smooth and flowed all too easily. This is where you expect some calamity on the way home, but all went swimmingly and we made it back to our Garden Room in record time (I wonder why!). Many thanks to our lovely (three kisses) friends for a lovely Ghost Buster evening……..
That brings us to Monday morning, one week from departing the UK. We feel that we have done so much, met so many people, and we have only just finished the first week. We were invited to breakfast with some Dutch cyclists (Willi and Els) who were on the final day of their cycling holiday. They were around 65 years old and only had 60 km to do on the final day back to their home. Good job they had a boiled egg for breakfast to keep them going!!
After saying goodbye to them, we decided to cycle to Nijmegen. Monday is market day and we thought it would be interesting so we headed off for the 11km ride. Lovely weather, again, so it was fair weather cycling. Even though we have been to Nijmegen a number of times, neither of us remembered it in detail so it was good to explore. We felt a beer and some bitteballen in the Grotemarkt was only polite before heading off across country back to Groesbeek via a different route.
That, more or less, brings us up to date. Apart from meeting more new guests. These are two Croatians who are working in Nijmegen for a couple of weeks and taken up lodgings with Tonia in the Africa House. Apart from Croat, they only speak German so it was interesting to see how much we remembered as we attempted conversation while cooking dinner. Strangely their car is registered in Slovenia so who knows what is going on there. Maybe we can cadge a lift to Lake Bled for Sam’s wedding in August!!
Time to say goodnight one and all……hope I haven’t waffled on too much………