Holland: 20 May 1969

Awoke very cheerful, birds singing,weather dry at any rate, though cloudy. All ate good breakfasts, visited camp shop – Gareth got given an orang-utan (plastic) toy, such is charm. Shop is well – stocked and prices seem reasonable. Set off for Dinant. Then calamity – gears wouldn’t shift, David sweating away trying to do something and car immovable. This at a busy point in narrow streets and traffic everywhere. Pushed car  to side and just as if in answer to prayer, Belgian AA van appeared. Unbelievable! Nicely perfumed young man, not speaking English, but managed to tell him roughly what wouldn’t work, and he fiddled away.  False hopes after a little while, eventually had to send for garage. They came  promptly and had a dramatic drive through town in 3rd – no stopping or slowing!- David in car behind (I later discovered, after somewhat worrying journey…).

Garage diagnosed transmission trouble, car would be ready at 5.00pm. Well, at least they could do it today, and and it was fine, so off we set (need I add – passport was at the camp site, we needed some cash of course  – fortunately the bank was willing to use the Green Card, which – and  how, we had decided to bring into town with us). Had a large lunch in a cafe (ham omelette, ham, chicken and chips), then went up the hillside  in chair lift. Felt quite brave  – 2 seaters, Sarah and I, and the boys behind. At the top  a large playground for children, crammed with kids. Ours weighed-in cheerfully and held their own. Andrew had a go on the go-cart track, Gareth had a slide and Sarah went in a terrifying revolving drum affair. View from here was very impressive – deep valley  in plateau. Dinant crammed in, rather reminiscent of Rhine gorge but sans vines.

Descended in chairs (worse than ascent I think). Retrieved  push-chair and did some shopping, including ferry boat for Andrew and inflatable toy for Sarah, a cherry tart, Ardennes paté and bread. Children played with new toys by the river, all3 filthy, and fed slices of apple by 2 ladies on a coach tour.

When we went back to garage car more or less ready – out on a test run. Cost £25, thank heaven for A.A. 5 – Star Service, letters of credit etc. Drove home very relieved and ate a large tea…


4 responses to “Holland: 20 May 1969

  1. Some lovely phrases here which make me smile – ‘Nicely perfumed young man’ and ‘fed slices of apple by 2 ladies on a coach tour’.

    Keep them coming – get that lad typing more regularly! 😉

  2. LOL Trish, it’s like getting blood out of a stone as it is!

    He is getting faster though, so I’ll try and get him to up the pace.


  3. What kind of a car? I remember my dad having endless transmission problems with Morris 1100 and 1300 cars, but then, he’s Irish …

  4. I think we had a Ford Cortina at that time. The one with the round back lights divided into 3rds. All cars had endless trouble then, didn’t they? My dad was hopeless with cars, too!


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