Aaaah, home at last!
I do love to travel but even more so, I love to arrive home. My own bed and pillows and bath..bliss. Our hotel in Amsterdam was amazing as usual and very comfortable and the week at my SILs house was very warm and welcoming but nothing beats climbing into my own bed.
I feel as if I have been away for longer and that is always the sign of a good holiday. The weather was patchy and in fact, it was warmer in Edinburgh than London on the day we travelled back. However, it was sunny enough to bask in many a Dutch canalside cafe. I slaked my shoe lust in the Kalverstrat, which is the Amsterdam mecca of shoe shopping. Cheese was purchased for gifts, as well as eaten in copious amounts by us. They were celebrating the 50th birthday of Miffy in the DeBijenkorf department store and I fell in love all over again with that cute bunny.
We saw some real live windmills this time, a cheese farm and did the tour of the Heineken brewery (free beer!). I caved and saw the latest Star Wars at the Art Nouvea masterpiece of the Tuschinski cinema (with Dutch subtitles!). I did not make it to the Sex Museum as the red light district does not do much for me but the combination of Cosmopolitans, a very large mirror as a bedhead and romantic lighting made for some interesting nights back at our hotel! There is something about sex in hotels that adds a little extra oomph (well, it certainly does for me haha).
London was its usual cool self. My SIL and BIL were fabulous in their welcome as per usual, which was just as well as we were staying for a week. Mr P and I hung out a lot in Ray's Jazz Cafe in Foyles bookshop as I adore scrummy falafel sandwiches against a backdrop of Coltrane. They also do iced tea and dandelion and burdock if coffee is just not hitting the spot. The Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Tate Modern was out of this world and it deserves a whole separate post to itself. I met up with my good friend Jane and her new man and we caught up with all that is going on in our worlds.
During our stay, my nephew and his wife arrived from Tobago for a 3 week visit with their 6 month-old baby girl. I was a bit apprehensive, not least because of the whole great-aunt thing! I am too young to be a great-aunt, for Gawd's sake! At home, there are not too many babies in my life so I was wondering how I was going to deal. However, she stole my heart. The daughter of a white Londoner and a black West Indies girl turned out to be the most delicious caramel scrumptious baby and I just wanted to eat her up. She was good as gold and everyone was eating out of her hand within minutes of her arrival. She was the queen of the household and I took every opportunity to inhale that baby goodness from that fold in her neck. I had to tear myself away to come home.
The journey home though was quick and uneventful. Before we reach the end of our drive, I am craning my neck to see my front garden and the trees and the clematis on the front of the house. I ooh and aah over the flowers that have erupted over the last 2 weeks, exclaim at the length of the lawn grass and swear at the weeds that have appeared as if from nowhere. Aaah, home sweet home!