Last post of this working week. I'm back home, with an arrival party meeting me at the train station on my return.
The travel from Schiphol to Varsseveld took almost longer than the trip from the hotel to Aberdeen airport. There was no service between Utrecht and Arnhem because of an accident. So that meant I had to stay in the train to 's Hertogenbosch, after that taking the train to Arnhem for the connection to Varsseveld. As my taxi driver would say: "Aye, it's absolutely mental!" (do the right intonation here).
Another phrase I liked from him: "If i'd done something wrong when I was a kid I'd get a proper bollocking! Ye know what I mean???" (We were talking about teachers being "bollocked" by parents when their kid had done something wrong instead of it being the other way around). I like this nuanced phrase.
Looking back it was a good week. I experienced good preparation from both sides pays off. Working with the Scotsmen is like working with "Achterhoekers" and "Twentenaren". No nonsense, hard working and having a laugh. Scotland is beautiful, and the taxi driver told me that if I was to be back later (not decided yet) than the country would be more green.
Now I'm going to relax and enjoy the weekend.
Tomorrow I'll fly back to Schiphol. I'm being picked up by Taxi at 6:30 in the morning. My flight is at 8:55. I hope to be back at home early in the afternoon.
I have had a good time here. The Scots are very friendly. At home if somebody speaks dialect, I can manage and know most of what is being said. But here, if there is a Scottish contractor or employee telling me something in Scottich (because he/she forgets I only know English) I have to tell them: "Sorry, I don't understand, could you repeat that please?". Then they understand and it gets easier for me.
This evening I talked to an Suid Afrikaanse guy. Funny to meet someone that if you speak in Dutch he can understand and if he talks Suid Afrikaans it rings a bell. I understand, but not for the full 100%. We gossiped and In the end we concluded that the Dutch and the Suid Afrikanen are very direct in dealing with others. I don't pretend to know how many other nationalities deal with themselves and us, but I think we sometimes indeed are a little too direct. So beware for the future!
That was the serious note for today. Please note that we each had a Scottish Whiskey (last one for me this week). I'm going to pack my suitcase (determine what's dirty and what's not) and look forward to tomorrow when I'll be back with Carrie and the apes.
First the thing I promised to write about: Deserts. Yesterday desert was "Sticky Toffee Pudding Served with Toffee Sauce and Butterscotch Ice Cream". Today and the day before yesterday I had "Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake with Cherries in Red Wine"... need I say more?
Today was a day that I was attending casting of grouting (cement). I did not do a lot physically today. Not disappointed about that since I am experiencing aching muscles after last nights hammering M24 bolts. I didn't know I had that much muscles in unexpected places like my toes.
I talked with Carrie, Simon and Lucas when I returned in the hotel this afternoon. Although I like doing this job/project, I am also looking forward to friday afternoon when I will be back home.
I like Scotland and the no-nonsense way around here. It's relaxing to sit in the hotel bar, eating your dinner, reading a book, listening to "old" music (Bagpipes, John Denver, the Bee-gees, the Proclaimers), drinking a Scotch Whiskey and just not having to do anything at all.
When I went to the toilet I suddenly
experienced a great cold. This could be the "Green Lady" (according to a colleague, every castle in Scotland is haunted by a Green Lady) or maybe this time of year it's just the cold of the castle. I now understand why there are so many carpets everywhere.
There are also a lot of tiny things that are different. Cars drive on the left. Which is quite unsettling if you are in the passenger seat (left) where you are used to having a steering wheel in front of you. When opening the door to my room the lock is to be turned right while turning the door handle to the left. Maybe something specific with my door, but I still haven't got used to it. Cold water on the left, instead of on the right....
Going to read some more, under blankets which do what they need to do. Keeping me warm. I have had blankets not doing their job in past hotels. Not so now... Excellent blankets.
After arriving monday (yesterday) in Aberdeen it took approximately 50 minutes to get from the airport to the job site and hotel. This is the hotel I am staying in. Nice??? Yessss!!! I can see the driveway when I open the curtains in the morning.
Yesterday was a long day because of the early travel. Today was a long day because a lot had to be done. Without getting into details I can say that for this installation there will be some M24 bolts that are being anchored in the ground with chemical anchors. That means drilling holes of ø28 240 mm long before putting the glass with the chemical (20 cm long) in the newly made hole. If the hole is not straight then it will break before it's meant to. Also the treaded rod M24 will put up a fight. So because they did't fit nicely we were forced to use bigger hammers. I will have aching muscles in the morning.
Now the hotel:
It's a real castle, with carpets on the floor, high rooms, stairs up- and down in the hallways. Bar with couch where you can eat. In fact, I m writing this before soup (yesterday lentils, today chicken-mushroom). Next will be (yesterday "seared breast of pheasant") "seared highland venison". I'll update on the dessert later because I haven't made a choice yet and have forgotten what I had yesterday.
So, here I am, in the train, travelling from Varsseveld to Schiphol. Surprised by the internet available in the train (meaning I do not have to tether to my phone).
Today was very early, leaving home at 5:15. The funny thing I noticed while sitting on the bench waiting for the train was that the entire world is enormously quit... Until approx. 5:30 when suddenly a lot of car are on the move.
This week I am going on a trip for work. I am going to help installing preparations for equipment in the vicinity of Aberdeen, Scotland. I am flying back on friday march 1st.
I am looking forward doing this. In the past I have made many trips to the south of France (Toulouse vicinity) with not always good news. Add a pretty big language barrier to this (technical french is something else compared to the "Bonjour, ça va?" french of high school) and you'll understand these trips could be frustrating.
So, now I'm on the train expecting to have a week of hard working, but in the same time having a lot of fun doing a job/assignment that (I hope) is not going to be as frustrating as the trips I made for work in the past.
I am curious to see if I have the same opinion of my trip on friday as I have today so I will try to update during the week.