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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Meeting some Dutch Army folk and singing "I'm A Barbie Girl." car share fashion.

I met some very interesting people during my time in Holland including Arthur van der Linden, a police officer in the Dutch police. Arthur accompanied Ronald, Emma and myself in the car all the way across Holland to Brabant where Emma was engaged to sing with the Band of Liberation. Two of the travel highlights were singing "I'm a Barbie Girl" in the car and seeing the impressive image of Rotterdam looking like a mini Manhattan on the distant horizon.

The army barracks experience was fascinating and I spoke to a real life sergeant major who reminded me of Windsor Davies from the TV show 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum' but nowhere near as funny or Welsh. Although he did appear to laugh nervously when I mentioned the French Foreign Legion. He said they were 'really really tough guys'. He looked very warm all dressed up in his uniform. At one point during the bbq lunch a big bead of sweat ran down his face.

It was a day for an army veterans reunion with HRH Prince Jaime Bernardo of Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi, D-day Veteran Major-General Rudi Hemmes and many more old soldiers male and female. In fact it was the  reunion of the Royal Guards Regiment of Fusiliers 'Princess Irene. My friend Emma sang two short concerts during the afternoon barbecue.

Emma talking to D-day Veteran Major-General Rudi Hemmes
Not Windsor Davies. (middle)

The Band of Liberation with Emma Brown.

The image above isn't from the army barracks but gives an impression of what the band look like all together. They are all volunteers. Images below are from the event.

Then one evening in Leiden I had the honour of meeting JJ. Jan Jaap van Weering owns the Distinguished Etiquette & Protocol Consultancy and he the author of 'Distinguished' - a book teaching etiquette that emphasises refinement and courtesy as well as sociability. The book is very popular and is on its fifth edition.

J.J was invited round to Ronald's gezellig house and upon introducing ourselves he told me of his Army background and how he knows of the Nottingham Sherwood Foresters, his love of Royalty and he turned out to be a very interesting, and interested,  pleasant guy. Emma and Ronald showed me a posh homes magazine in which there was a feature about J.J and his beautiful home full of military artefacts and old pictures. We four also shared some lekker Indonesian take away food and had a gezellig time watching (and laughing at ) the semi finals of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Previous to J.J's arrival we went to the Dirk supermarket and purchased some Dutch biers and snacks including bitterballen. I was very impressed at the huge range of Dutch and Belgian biers on offer at Dirk. A whole wall of them!!!

I don't think I have mentioned this but from my top floor bedroom window on Vendelstraat, over to the left, I could see this windmill! So Dutch! The other way was looking over these other houses.

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