1973 – 2007
In 1973 I decided to go on holiday on my own, thinking this would cause a row with my parents who wouldn’t allow me to go. A nice challenge for a 17-year-old stubborn teenager….
But no, my Father thought it was a great idea, even when I told him I wanted to travel to the UK. He asked me if I was going by train, ferry or plane. Then I got worried, as this was not at all my plan! I was only hoping for a row!
I decided to go by Ferry, booked a ticket, bought a big yellow suitcase, asked my parents if they wanted to drop me off in Hoek van Holland (but no the nearest station was the real start of my holiday they said) and off I went.
Sweaty hands, a little nervous because I had never been on holiday on my own, let alone abroad.
I was going to stay with a Yorkshire couple in Glastonbury – Somerset (a cheap address via a friend). They sent me a letter in which they told me to get off the bus at Town Hall, a red telephone box was my guide.
Still a bit nervous (I hardly spoke English at the time) I took the buss from Bath to Wells and from Wells to Glastonbury. When I noticed the first road sign “Glastonbury” I looked for a Pub and a red telephone box. I had heard that Pubs had the weirdest names in the UK and it never crossed my mind to search the dictionary for Town Hall…
I got off the bus at the nearest pub with a telephone box in front and waited…….. and waited….. and waited. For hours! A green Morris Minor Traveller drove by, 2 grey headed ladies in the front, woollen twin sets and tweed skirts.
The 4th time they stopped and asked me what I was doing there. After I used my hand and feet to explain, they laughed, hoisted me and my yellow suitcase in the back of the Morris and dropped me of in front of the real Town Hall, 20 miles away.
As soon as they hoisted me out of the car, two elderly people ran towards me, hugged me if I was the lost daughter and told me how worried they had been: the young girl from Holland and her yellow suitcase got lost.
This elderly couple became my Foster Mum and Dad. I felt at home immediately and found as much love with them as with my real parents. Foster brother calls me his NOAF sister: Non Official Adopted Foster Sister.
Both my real Father and Dad, passed away many years ago. My two Mums are still alive. They met each other several times and are always talking about “our daughter”. My Mother is 79 and Mum turned 91 two weeks ago.
Thursday April 26, I am going to visit Mum again. I booked the Ferry Europoort – Hull and will return next week Tuesday.
During my first trip to the UK, I carried an international plug with me to connect my Dutch hairdryer to the English wall socket. But these little things tend to worn out and back in the 80’s I welded a Dutch extension cord to a UK plug. This is still my companion on my journeys to England.
But times change: the suitcase is now a roller bag + laptop bag. Last year one plug was not sufficient anymore. It needed organisation skills to have the batteries of the camera and my mobile phone (although this one has a car charger too) loaded before using the laptop or any other of my equipments.
And this year? Well, I bought a 6-plug-socket, which will be plugged in, to my Dutch-UK extension cord to avoid unnecessary thinking about what to charge first.
6 will do? Yes: laptop, WiFi phone, mobile charger, two camera chargers (I am known to take an awful lot of pictures), Bluetooth charger, hairdryer…..
Uuuhhmmmm…….. do I really need my laptop? Yes, showing Mum loads of pictures of her 95th birthday, my building activities, the new office etc. And what about my Wifi phone? Not sure yet, I have not used it outside my own office so yes, might take it with me. My mobile? yes, although it will charge in the car too. Bleutooth? Yes, pure safety.
Will I log on to the Internet, no, it is holiday!!!
How easy was life back in the early 70’s………..