Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas etc

Another city, another pair of crazy shoes.

Our ten days in Amsterdam with Trish, Ol, Kate and Jost went by in a cold, snowy, delightful flash. Kate and Jost moved into their new house on the 24th and while the last thing I would've done would be host Christmas lunch for 13 people the following day this is what Kate did. With grace and elegance. We did help though. For instance, Trish and I spent a delightful couple of hours trimming the Christmas tree on Christmas eve with Kate's gorgeous decorations. That's helpful, isn't it? It was supposed to be a kid-based activity but the kids could not have been less interested. We forced them to hang a few things on and then allowed them to escape.

The photo really doesn't do justice either to Kate's decorations or to the extrodinary trimming abilities of Trish and me. You'll just have to imagine it. It was stunning.

Owing to the lack of a kitchen at Kate's place (it's being installed next week) Christmas lunch was an Australian-style spread with lots of salads and sashimi and prawns which was absolutely fine by me. There was also an impressive dessert-buffet which was absolutely fine by Mads.

A large cardboard box had been installed in the middle of the kitchen-to-be as a sort of make-shift work bench and also to cover up some wires sticking up from the floor. Under instruction from Kate Trish and I wrapped it in Christmas wrap. I wish I'd taken a photo. We did a magnificent job.

So it was a very nice Christmas and a very nice holiday. Kate's house is near the Vondelpark and every morning we would vondel through it, pretending to skate on the ice, admiring all the houses.

No one in Amsterdam seems to have blinds on their windows. Someone on the train told me this is because they are desperate to allow as much light in as possible but Kate had another theory. 'It's to prove that you have nothing to hide,' she said.

One morning in the Vondelpark, near the iron igloo, we found this tree.

The next day the temperature soared to 2 degrees and the face disappeared.