Winter White Weekend

“Who the hell organises an outdoor BBQ in February?” said the lady from the National Theatre Costume Hire (this explains the comment in a previous post). A fair question. The answer was mad Dutch friends. We had been invited to celebrate Jeanne’s 50th birthday. She can’t help when her birthday is, but an outdoor BBQ?

The fancy dress theme was Winter and (fairytale) White. We weren’t sure what that meant but the National came up with two stunning costumes.

The weekend started on Valentines Day when we arrived in Arnhem both in time for and armed with dinner. Jan had made one of her famous, well famous between the four of us, Stoventoppenhagen for our double date (Stoventoppenhagen is Jan’s made up Dutch word).

Friday we prepeared the house for the party, had a business meeting for REMND 2020 and then a walk for a cheeky one, or two.


On the way I spotted this black tree. Why was it the only black tree amongst the others?


It caught me eye becuase it was directly in line with the shadow from another tree across the road. Simple pleasures.


When we got back to their house the marquee and BBQ area had been set up. Attached to the house it was indoor/outdoor BBQ. Not so mad after all.

Travel broadens the mind. Every trip we make we learn something new. This time we learnt that the 50th birthday is a big thing in The Netherlands. From where Jeanne is from they erect a big sign in the garden talking about the person and their life. It’s not a tradition in Arnhem so the neighbours thought it a bit strange.


What gift do you get for a Dutch 50 year old? We had a lot of fun putting it together. We started in December when we were in Cornwall. We bought a wicker basket, sprayed her initials on the top and filled it with 50 items if British treasure. Maybe not all treasure as we discovered some of the naff foods from our childhood are still made. A combination of lovely food, a lot of beer, and some shit food for a laugh.


The party was fantastic. The caterers were brilliant. They sorted out everything so that Jeanne could concentrate on having a great time with her friends and family.

Sunday morning didn’t exist for the four of us. We did manage to get out in the afternoon. We visited the TeamNL Olympic training centre in Papendal, scouting it for a possible location for the REMND 2020 Time Trial.

Looking slightly less glamorous than the night before.


A wonderful weekend.

Happy Birthday Jeanne.

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