Wendy’s Week; Rollercoasting, Birthday and all Things Dutch
BY WENDY HUGHES
The last few weeks has been a health rollercoaster to hell and back half a dozen times for us both, so please forgive a rather shorter article this week.
Earlier on in the year we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and it was my BIG birthday on 2 September and we had decided to enjoy a break away between the two events, but my health had other plans, and after various CT scans and appointments I finally had a diagnosis, which we both had difficultly taking on board, and more about this next week when we know how the medical profession is going to deal with it. More tests followed, so our celebration plans were put on hold. Then it was finally decided I could enjoy my birthday with my family and return to King’s College Hospital in London on the 3 September for a decision on the best way forward me.
At last, I thought, finally we would have some answers, know what was being planned, and perhaps get our lives back on track once more. For the last forty years I have lived with ill-health but have never allowed it to rule me, or prevent me from living a full life within my limitations, but again fate intervened as it does, and last week I received a letter to say that my appointment would now be on Monday 10th September. Although I was annoyed I know the multi-disciplinary team have my best interests at heart, so we decided to turn the situation on its head, and instead of spending a week worrying and anxious, we decided to snatch a much-needed week away. It is not the holiday we planned but I chose our favourite European country, the Netherlands. This must be the about the 30th time we have visited the country and love the laid-back friendly atmosphere.
So… we spent my birthday with our two boys and later on in the evening enjoyed a delicious Chinese meal at the Imperial China in Worthing before setting off early on Monday morning for Dover where we would the ferry to Dunkirk and head for Oisterwijk in southern Holland. Laptop was left at home, so you will hear more about this later on. Oisterwijk It is an area we both know well and love, surrounded by glorious walks in a wooded area interspersed by lakes and wooden benches to rest.
The last time we went I was recovering from my hip surgery and failed to walk far, much to my disappointment. Ironically, despite a major health issue hanging over our heads this time I am much fitter thanks to hydrotherapy every week, and have built my walking up to a mile, which I can do with ease. Not far I hear you say, but not bad for someone who has had two total knee replacements and one hip replacement!
We are staying in Fletcher Hotel in the middle of the forest at Oisterwijk, which is often called the hidden pearl which has been able to hide from the outside world for a long time, and I am sure that the peace and tranquility will do us both world of good. Situated near Breda and Tilburg with s-Hertogenbosch just above there will be plenty to see and do, even if the weather isn’t brilliant. This city’s official name is a contraction of the Dutch des Hertogen bosch, meaning the ‘Duke’s forest’ and his Duke was Henry I of Brabant, whose family owned a large estate at nearby Orthen for at least four centuries. He founded a new town located on some forested dunes in the middle of a marsh, and some remnants of the original city walls may still be seen. It was also the birthplace and home of one of the greatest painters, Hieronymus Bosch.
Not too far away are the windmills at Kinderdijk a group of 19 monumental windmills and is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands and is best-known Dutch tourist sites. protected since 1993 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997
I do hope have whet your appetite for this area of Holland and on my return will tell you the outcome of my appointment and all about our short break in the Netherlands. Until then, please think of us on the 10 September.