Newsletter Number Twenty Two -December, 2007

Given the time of year and the fact that everyone else of note seems to be either broadcasting, webcasting, podcasting or emailing a Christmas message it seems only appropriate then that I do the same. However, unlike most newsletters I am going to present this one in random chronological order…the clever ones amongst you will work that out!

Firstly, as I set here on Christmas Day, let me, and the world’s mobile phone companies, thank the many of you who have sent group wide text messages wishing me all the best for the festive season and a happy 2008. I was touched by the personal nature of your 144 charachter messages.

Winter has officially started. I have already had the fireplace going, pulled out my mittens and endured a jab in the arm for my flu shot – why is it the nurses inflict pain with a hint of a smile. Mid December saw the first snows of winter cover Amsterdam. Although not a white Christmas this year, the few days of white were lovely. Below are a few pictures of this years covering.

                       

Mid November and I started a new job. No I have not left Shell, just changed departments. I have moved into our consulting business providing change management services to external companies. Whilst this will mean more travel for me I hope to be able to see a few more exotic places - well maybe that is being a little optimistic. We all know that oil and gas tends to be found in some of the more remote, inhospitable locations. One of which is Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. I had previously worked with the company Yansab running sessions in Bahrain and Jeddah. I was pleased that they had recognised my professionalism and years of training when …. The first thing I was asked was whether I had brought more games for them to play. Oh well, you take whatever credit you can.

               

And then there is my sideline job. A friend of mine here in Amsterdam has thrown away a career tied to a lab bench and now runs one of Amsterdam – no Europe’s best dance parties. With over 1,500 people for each party, and a sell out, someone needs to look after the entrance and the guest list. You guessed it. I must it is fun working the front door with my two lovely assistants Tabitha and Mabel. The best line some tried to use to get extra tickets was from one guest from a former Soviet country. His request went along the lines of  “look… we are both men and I have cash so how much for an extra ticket to let my friend in?” The irony of the whole thing was that this ‘man’ would have been all of 19.

One of the more decadent things I did in November was to take a week off work and stay home. It is quite fun playing tourist in your own city; lunching with friends, visiting galleries and a few museums, and best of all sleeping in. I would highly recommend this to everyone. During the week I visited the Van Gough Museum, Amsterdam Historic Museum and the very interesting Dutch Resistance Museum.

Van Gough Museum
Self Portrait of Van Gough



Van Gough Museum
This page has an interesting movie on the
growth of Amsterdam
Van Gough Museum
Link to the Resistance Museum
Oz
Lunch with Oz at Waggamama
I also went to check out the new Amsterdam public library with Stefan and Ray. The library which opened only a few months ago has an amazing view of Amsterdam from the top floor.


Stefan and Ray

Despite what some of you might think, my life is not all work and dance parties. This year I have taken a subscription to the Netherlands Symphony and was taken to see L’orfeo by Monteverdi. The challenge with opera here in the Netherlands is that the subtitles for this Italian opera were in  Dutch. Thankfully I was able to find a copy of the libretto (words) in English and had a quick read before each act.

The last few months have seen a few visitors drop by including a long time friend from Melbourne. Ian was on an extended tour of Europe and stopped in Amsterdam long enough to sample some of the regions finest ales and try his hand cycling through Vondel Park. For someone who had not ridden for a number of years he did quite well - only took me an hour to readjust the handlebars after his little altercation..... 

Finally, I recently ventured out of Amsterdam to the neighbouring city of Haarlem where my tour guide, Michael, took me to the Grote Kerk or St.-Bavokerk is the largest church in the city. Like most churches of its era it has had a mixed life. For those interested follow the above link to the church web site.

So, as the year draws to an end whethere you are in Sydney, Amsterdam or somewhere in bewteen let me wish you all a happy new year. What ever you do to bring in 2008, do it with style, do it with pride but please do it safely. As for me I will be in Edinburgh for Hogmanay. If I am able to remember the festivities there will be a special report next month.
   

People of 2007
And as we get all sentimental towards the end of the New Year I have collected some pictures of the wonderful people I have spent time with in 2007. I know that I was not able to include everyone probably because I either didn't take any photos of you or they really aren't appropriate for a family web site like this.




People of 2007
Mark

 


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