Local Heart, Global Soul

June 18, 2014

Strange Staff Arrangements, Surreal Meal: Family Harmony Wins Out Over The Food…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself’s extended family have started a new family tradition, the idea is that as much of the family as possible meet  together for one weekend per year, and the inaugural  meeting was made in September 2013 in the province of Zeeland.

We are staying at  the Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard” holiday park, and  Oma (Grandmother), my mother in law wants to take everyone out to eat at the restaurant on site to say Thank You for the  family members organising the weekend and taking her out to see old haunts and favourite places.

It’s the end of the summer season and the holiday park is fairly quiet,  the on-site restaurant is about a quarter full,  so it’s already a surprise that no-one comes to even give us a menu.

After a descent time one of my sister in laws approached a staff member to enquire about this and was told rather gruffly that we may not take menu’s ourselves, but someone will be over shortly to bring some.

After yet another long wait I decided that “instructions” or not I would go and ask someone else, which I did, explaining that our party had several younger children who were close to their bedtimes and getting rapidly harder to keep quiet because they were very tired and very hungry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This member at least allowed me to bring menus back to our table with me and we ordered as quickly as possible.

The second snag came because  Himself tried to order plain boiled pasta without sauce for Little Mr.  Apparently this wasn’t possible, pasta only comes with sauce.

Himself  orders himself a pancake for a very tired Little Mr. without telling him that the pasta option was off the menu,  which meant my youngest exploded into a flood of tears when his plate appeared before him and it wasn’t what he expected.

Who said that eating out was the easy option?

When the rest of our parties food arrived I think some of the adults secretly wanted to cry too.

The pizzas looked like they came out of supermarket packets: one order was for a mushroom pizza and it arrived looking like a few mushrooms had been dumped on top of a  four-cheese one and it’s still cold in the middle…

I start to wonder if this is one of those places that gets frozen food in bulk and just heats up the orders:  it would explain why they say they can’t cook plain pasta for Little Mr…. Who knows?  At the very least I’m starting to have doubts about how much is made from scratch here.

One of my sister in laws ordered a fish dish that came sizzling to the table in a black cast iron pan, that and my schnitzel  seemed to be the best dishes on the table, but that said, it wasn’t a meal that I was ever going to be  dreaming about repeating.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The rest of the pizzas ordered only got  “so-so”  reviews but when I whisper to Himself that we should complain he  said “No”,because  if we did then his mother would feel terrible that no one had a nice meal and he didn’t want to ruin her evening.

It went against the grain when the waitress came over and asked if everything was ok, and he said yes if it fine…  but I bit my tongue and kept my thoughts to myself for the sake of family harmony.

The final straw was when the staff started to pack up for the night before we had even finished our meal.

Not just wiping down empty tables type of cleaning up, but actually stacking chairs on tables.

At first when they did the first table I thought it was a joke, but no, they were serious and they kept on, snapping up chairs as soon as diners were getting up to leave. There appears to be a few older staff in charge, and then there are at least six trainees, all very young and all on “stage”  (pronounced “star – juh) which are work experience positions that can be either paid or unpaid. Himself was horrified to see several of these trainees waiting on tables in the evening (not ours) because he went for an early morning walk with Little Mr. at 6:00 a.m. and saw the same trainees getting out the hire bikes, cleaning, setting up tables and getting the trampoline area sorted the same morning. The kids saw them too in the middle of the day when on the  trainee supervised trampolines … We started to wonder just how many hours these trainees were being required to work?

If  you see the same person working hard at 6.00 a.m, midday and at 8:00 p.m. it certainly raises question marks.

“Surreal” doesn’t even begin to cover this situation… As far as meals go, Himself and I agreed  we wouldn’t go back in a hurry, but  if you discount three mega tired children and the strange older staff behaviour (what’s new in The Netherlands?) But at least Oma was happy. … And in the end that’s what matters most.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

June 11, 2014

Holiday Villa Ownership, Costs More Than We Guessed… Luxury Sea-Side (For A Weekend At Least)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve arrived at the Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard”  holiday park that my sister in law has organised,  there are large houses that are holiday homes for the owners, but individually let out to the public  via the holiday  park website when they are not using them. Houses vary in size (and thus price) .

We have a three bedroom house that has a large kitchen, dining area and living room.

One set of in-laws also has a three bedroom place, for themselves, their youngest son and Oma (Grandmother) and the other in-laws have a slightly smaller two bedroom house that has a double, plus a room with two single beds for their two children.

Our rented house has a large double bedroom for Himself and I, a room with two single beds for our two kids and a smaller with singles for our friend and her toddler daughter.

Our double room has French doors leading out to a balcony that overlooks the street and which is the roof of  the veranda below. We aren’t the sun-bathing types (Like all New Zealanders these days, I’m only too well aware of the risks of skin cancer, and our family prefer Factor 80 sun-block to any sort of tanning lotion) , but if you were you could opt for a spot in the shade or in the sun as takes your fancy.

There is an extra cupboard (or it may be a small room) downstairs that’s locked, it’s storage for the owner’s personal belongings, understandably they need somewhere to keep their own bed linen and private effects that are not meant for casual tenants to use.

Other than that there is not a massive amount of storage in the house, but since I think that there are rules that prohibit year round occupation in the holiday park and most tenants would only be hiring for a week or two at the time, that’s less of a problem short term.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The living area is nice and large downstairs, our villa may have the same amount of bedrooms as one of my sister in laws, but is considerably bigger inside, so after the family sharing a picnic dinner at their place on the first evening, on the Sunday, everyone did the same at ours and the larger amount of space was noticeable when filled with a crowd.

It appears that there are various floor plans available for owners to choose from and the houses are more or less compact as a result. Judging from the house rules and reading material our owner is clearly of German nationality,  and I think that many of the houses here are also German owned: it’s an established fact that with large land area but  limited coastline, German nationals love to holiday in the Netherlands and be close to the sea.

This frequently leads to German families returning year after year to their favourite places on the Dutch coast, combined with the fact that many Dutch speak German and communication is easy,  has lead to a trend where owning  a property of your own by the sea is a good long term family investment. The holiday houses aren’t cheap though,  One of my sister in laws had a brain wave and thought that one of these would also be a brilliant idea, until we checked out the website and discovered prices between 300.000,– and 400.000,–  Euro for the types of villas we were staying in and her dream one a little larger.   Ouch… her dreams quickly evaporated at those  prices.

There are various modes of “transport” to play on and to get around with: short term hires of tricycles plenty big enough for adults, with a “side-car” sort of arrangement that the kids were delighted with. Then for a set fee you could hire a little cart, to take your stuff to the on site swimming pool, playground, or in our case, to transport tired toddler back to the villa.

We had all weathers during the weekend so my photographs reflect that… Let’s take a look around …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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