Now this “GOING AWAY” is in capitals as it’s exciting, I am not shouting, because when you have children of school age you cannot go away in June in the UK ever…especially at High School age. So this gap was the first time we have BEEN AWAY IN JUNE (when it is cheaper) in about 20 years. What excitement!
This is the 7th year we have had "big" exams on the trot GCSE, AS or A levels. 2 more years to go (not that I am wishing them away, but the exam time bit I will not miss.) Middle daughter L is home from Uni (she has also gone to Newcastle and just completed her first year) for the summer and she managed to get some time off from work to come to Groningen as well.
Even better than just GOING AWAY was arranging to go and visit our eldest K who has been living in Holland since last July, we saw her last at Christmas. This time last year we were at her graduation in Newcastle, and now we are off to visit her in her house in Groningen, up in the North East of Netherlands and about 30 minutes from the German border. She has been working in a shoe shop saving hard, has passed the higher level Dutch exam required for studying and working in the professions, and is starting her Masters in September. Her Dutch BF is lovely too.
We booked one night in a Premier Inn in Dover on the Wednesday night and a £39 return ferry crossing to Dunkirk on Thursday morning and for once we turned left and not right, we are very regular visitors to France. My crochet comes too, when I am not driving I am a crocheting demon in the car and get very strange looks from the lorry drivers and on the ferry! I was determined to finish some heart bunting as a present for K’s house.
We had a lovely few days, staying at their typically Dutch town house a stone’s throw from the park with a pretty back yard with room to store their bikes. Perfect for the Pimms that she had requested from the UK (cheddar, mustard and sliced bacon were the other requests) It’s an easy bike ride into town, and the buses are so efficient. The weather wasn't brilliant, in fact it was dire for June, but we managed to see Groningen, climbed the clock tower, and not get that wet.
Fortunately we visited Amsterdam on the Saturday when it was just about dry for the whole day. We enjoyed “the best” Dutch Apple Pie, saw the market and went on a river cruise. Unfortunately all the tickets were gone for Anne Frank’s House when we looked online the previous week; we will have to go back!
It was only the day before that I decided to make the heart bunting on a whim and found Sandra Paul’s cheerful Granny heart Bunting pattern on her inspiring Cherry Heart Blog, thank you Sandra! After a couple of fluffed attempts (me being a dimwit and being pedantic rather than intuitive with the pattern) I got it and was whizzing off hearts every 20 minutes. This is slightly naughty behaviour as really I am in the middle of a ripple throw, and I try not to make more than one thing at once but this was essential, a present is an exception, so I used the Stylecraft Special DK I am using for the ripple, I love this yarn. I thought “cheap” had to be “2nd choice” but not with this Stylecraft, it doesn't feel like the stiff squeaky acrylic that I used on my flowery throw, when working or as the finished item, there is a great colour selection and it washes well as well as being very economical. I made 15 hearts with picot edges and just joined them with a chain and made a loop on each end. I finished 30 minutes before arriving in Groningen and I was all crocheted out for the day. Hopefully they are enjoying their new home!
Sunday was so so wet but K and I visited Groningen Museum, and enjoyed the Yin Xiuzhen exhibition
. Bikes, boats and flowers everywhere! I crocheted my ripple throw in the car all the way home.