Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paris is for lovers

Paris is for lovers, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

We are just about to set off for a romantic wekend in Paris, starting with the very fast Thalys and ending up at our Palace Hotel near the Gate of St Martin, taking in the Arc on Sunday, all being well!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fred's a Jamie fan and I am in love with Nigella

Apparently, Nigella has a new series starting on the BBC on Thursday.

Having been a fan of Sophia Loren when I was younger, I think Nigella has successfully taken her place as the sexiest woman in the media. You just have to love those curves and that dark sulrty look!

Not to mention her food... We had her sweet potato stir fry (with thyme, garlic cloves and beans - instead of asparagus) last night and it was DELICIOUS!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Group portrait

Group portrait, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here we were in Frankendael, our local park on Sunday, after the clouds ahd parted.

I was hoping we might go to Kaap Kot for lunch, where the gils could have gone swimming in water with a temperature of 28 degrees, but the sun just came out too late, not to mention us leaving teh house too late.

Anmyway, it was great to have Lucy, David, Lizzie and Anna staying, especially as the girls behaved so well!

The low sun of a late September Sunday

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A bright showery day in Amsterdam

Here we are staring our day in Amsterdam, the sun shining brightly at the front of the house.

A bright showery day in Amsterdam

Friday, September 24, 2010

Charles in Swaziland 1991

Charles in Swaziland 1991, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

My dear friend Lucy, with whom I shared a cottage back in the mid-80's is staying with us here in Amsterdam with her husband and two girls, one of them my god-daughter.

Lucy went to live and work in Swaziland in the early 1990's and I visited her back in 1991, which was my first time in Africa since I left as a baby. I can still remember smells of the eucalyptus trees as I arrived. Time to get out the envelopes of Swaziland photos, not that they were the best I have ever taken...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cheese seller in Homs

Cheese seller in Homs, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

A flashback to Syria in Spring 2008, as I trawl thgrough my hard drives for photos to place onto flickr.

Well, this is more yoghurt than cheese. It was a beauitiful spring day and we had just bought a kilo of strawberries, which we wanted to add to this delicious yoghurt, which he is serving us here. We bought some plastic spoons and gorged on this tasty but messy combination.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The wedding - The bride and groom

Our dear friends, Martin and Femke, got married on Wednesday (15th September) at a quiet ceremony in the local Town Hall.

Saturday was the day for the big wedding reception, taking place at Kaap Kot, on the Amstel. Fred and I were asked to be the Masters of Ceremony, for which Fred did most of the work, standing up in front of the guests and proposing toasts etc.

The evening would start off at 5, with guests arriving for drinks and snacks, with Martin and Femke arriving by boat on the river. This would be followed by a sit-down dinner at 6'ish, with speeches and acts and so on, followed by a dance party with DJ from 9 to after midnight.

The weather was perfect, bright sunshine (if a little cool in the shade), followed by a succession of interesting cloud formations passing through the sky on the other side of the river.

The food was excellent and the wine and beer kept flowing the whole night long (being the erason why we did not get up properly until after 2 this afternoon).

Femke looked extremely beautiful in her wedding dress as did Martin in his tailored suit, as you can see above, whilst Fred and I dressed on the smarter side pf smart casual in our suits without ties, as you can see below.

Martinn and Femke are off on their honeymoon already and we wish them all the best for many many happy years together.

The wedding - the Masters of Ceremony

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fifty years ago - Mum and Dad's wedding

17th September 1960 - fifty years ago - my parents get married at St Mary's Church in Guildford, Surrey. I was born exactly nine months later!

They are no longer together, so there will be no celebrations. BUT! We will be celebrating Martin and Femke's marriage of last Wednesday with a lovely party at Kaap Kot on the Amstel, here in Amsterdam, where Fred and myself will be Masters of Ceremonies!

Fifty years ago - Mum and Dad's wedding

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A few snatched moments in Milano

Arrived at Milano Cadorno from Milan Malditesta airport, at just after seven. The light wasn't so good but I could not resist taking a few snaps of the scenes around the station.

Had two evenings in Milan, with delicious meals, walked into the historical centre last night, felt SO GOOD to be back in Italy - it had been four years...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

They are getting married today!

Martin and Femke, tying the knot after five years of relationship. Good luck today and look forward to seeing you on Friday and Saturday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Up at the Acropolis

Up at the Acropolis, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

All of a sudden, my meeting at work was broken up as another meeting needed to take place to which Iw as not invited. Itw as towrads the end of teh day and we thought what an excellent opportunity it would be for my dear colleague Panagiotis to take me upo to the Acropolis and then out for dinner... and so we did.

It was a lovely evening, the sun hiding at times behind a high bank of clouds, sometimes coming from behind and shedding a beautiful golden light.

As Panagiotis said, we were at one of teh most important places in the world for human development, where many of the great ideas which underpin our western society and also the christian religion were developed, thanks to Socrates, Aristotle and Plato, amongst others.

Up at the Parthenon

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fred and Charles in the sunshine

Here we were in Bergen-op-Zoom, having a lovely weekend celebrating our 26th anniversary, coming down by train and staying at the Draak Hotel. Our trip coincided with lovely weather (sunshien adn 23 degres) as well as it being Open Monumenten Dag, which gave us entrance to many interesting old buildings which would normally be shut.

Bergen-op-Zoom is off the tourist's beaten track but is an attractive town with an interesting history, well worth a visit!

Here we were sitting down together many years ago in Tontenano:
26 years years Fred and Charles

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Having a quick look back to teh Somali kids of Old Jeddah whilst wishing everyone a Happy Eid!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mutlu Bayramlar!

Mutlu Bayramlar!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Ramadan ended in Turkey today - although I think it will be a day later in Arabia. I am totally baffled about the fact that they don't know in advance when Ramadan begins or ends, despite the movements of the moon and the earth being so predictable, but still...

Happy Seker Bayram to my Turkish friends!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The hard walk home

The hard walk home, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Back in Jaddah, a Somali women walks back home while a Pakistani man squats begind her, phoning home...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Somalis on the streets of Old Jeddah

On a short businesstrip to London on a day when I could enjoy one of the infamous Tube strikes! Actuallym, it was quite fun, first fighting to get on a 94 bus from Notting Hill to Picadilly, hopping onto a number 6 to Aldwych and walking up Fleet Street in the bright sunshine, up Ludgate Hill to St Pauls Cathedral and then onto Bank and to the office next to Fenchurch Street. Excellent stuff!

Anyway, I have a little bit of time here after long meetings in the office to upload some pics from my work laptop and decided on these joyful moments from my short time in Jeddah earlier this year. Hoping to go back there next month, just got to get the boss to sign off..

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Worth getting up at 6.30 for?

Worth getting up at 6.30 for?, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

And this was this morning. Not too much mist, but just enough to be seen here.

Turned out to be a lovely sbright sunny day. Was out on the bike a few times and had a nap at aorund 4 pm ebfore going off to Gien's for her birthday party, which was very very enjoyable. Lazy bums as we are becoming, we tookm the tram to the far end of Amstelveen, instead of cycling.

Anyway, back hom reasonably ealy and at a quaretr past ten we are ready for bed. Excellent.

Good night, Iyi geceler and Tsbah al kheir!

On the way to work

On the way to work, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

As we move into what miht bne late summer or early autumn, depending omn your point of view, nature seems to have taken a turn towards autumn recently, with the leaves turning colour, the flowers producing seeds and the smells turning less fresh, whilst the birds stopped singing a m onth ago at about teh time the swifts left. Pigeons are at our (very disappointing) grapes (too much mildew - yuk!).

The weather has joined n too, and after a week of raiun, we have had a few days fop quite weather, with dry wionds coming off the North Sea, keeping us reasonably cool and a bit sunny. The best opart is early morning just after sunriose as the earrly train passes through teh countryside of the Green Heart of Holland, where we see banks of mist hovering over the green fields. I took mny camrea with me on Friday and stopped off in Abcoude to take some pics, this being one of them.

Friday, September 03, 2010

While we were at it...

Having made a video of Henk's 50th birthday, we decided to make one of his 49th, which he celebrated in style at Cafe t'Pandje in Diemen, this time last year... this one is a bit slower...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Henk 50!

It really IS video time!

Henk turned 50 today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Henk!

We gave hima surprise birthday meal out in a Spanish restaurant in De Pijp, having invited him for dinner at our place. We sat outside and had some champagne but Henk was a bit surprisd that neither of us seemed to be too busy in the kitchen and there was not the nice smell of cooking coming from the oven eother.

At 7, a taxi arrived and of we went... this is the video of what happened next...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Child Star

My newest video, to Marc Almond's wonderful Child Star!
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