Newsletter Number Two - 2 September, 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen, (Dames en Heren),

Here is the second instalment in the adhoc, occasional, every now and then newsletter from abroad. In this edition we discover they joys of getting connected, living on the fringe and a royal encounter plus much much more.

For those who received (and read) my first letter, you will recall that I was living in a house that technically does not exist according to the local council. Well I am glad to report that I know am registered at a legal address. The fact that the address is the hairdresser downstairs does not seem to worry the agent, owner or local council. So for all "official" purposes I reside at O'Briens Salon. I believe they do a nice colour and blow wave. However, my neighbours report that the lady who runs the shop is a little blind and suggest staying away if you want a cut included.

Getting Connected

I have recently had cable broadband installed onto my PC. The fact that the machine is six years old might account for the reason why it decided to spit the dummy last week and just shut down of its own accord. This is not quite as bad as the technician who came to make the connection. Casema has two installation options - a "DYI" and full service. Given that all of the instructions are in Dutch I went with the full installation option. The first challenge was to find the "green" cable which enters the flat. This it turns out is in the metre box and where the modem needs to be connected - so far so good. As both my neighbour and I share the cable we needed to install a splitter, so far so good as he had one in the truck - my lucky day. Then he asks where the computer is. It turns out that I need to run the network cable from the modem to the PC - three flights of steps away from the modem. It turns out that the 30m of cable that Casema supplies was sufficient after I had wrapped it around pipes, along the banister and up the steps.

Next was installation of the network card. Our hero takes apart the PC casing and installs the card. When the PC is turned on, rather than that whurr and really annoying windows startup we get three short beeps and no graphics. The advice I get is - it is broken. The fact that the PC was working 45min earlier does not seem to factor into the diagnosis. Our hero leaves with the parting advice of you need to have your PC seen to. The next day I haul my PC (remember I don't have a car in the Hague) across town to have it repaired. This takes all of 3 minutes. Our hero had knocked out the video card and installed the network in the wrong spot. Anyway, I managed to install the software and create profiles etc with the help of my little Ducth-English dictionary. At least I now have broadband. And what about our hero? Causing havoc on other unsuspecting technophiles

The Edinburgh Fringe

I recently went to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival and meet up with some friends. The five days were wonderful, great weather, great company and great atmosphere. In total we saw 6 plays. For me the highlight was seeing Jimeoin and Bob Downe perform as well as NewsRevue 2002 (a parody of current events in Scotland and the UK; one thing that was clear the Scottish really do not like the English). Of the 6 plays 4 were great, 1 was OK and 1 a dud; but you get that at the Fringe. The street entertainment was fantastic; much better than the piano accordion players who torment me by playing under my balcony. We also visited the Scottish Museum of Modern Art - now I just wonder whether some of these folks are taking the piss out of the art world. As well as the pics below, I have a few in the gallery section of my site - click here to go directly to the Edinburgh pics.

 

Princess Street

Me on the Royal Mile

Princess Street

Victoria Street

Walter Scott Memorial

On the travel front I have a week holiday in Nice coming up and then a week in Nigeria for work. From one extreme to the other really.

Royal Encounter

Every year the Hague plays host to the Europa in beelden scuplture exhiibtion. This is a collection sculpture and installation art located on Lange Voorhout - my street. The event is renowned throughout Europe and is officially opened the Queen. Well that is the official line. A few months ago she made an appearance below my balcony to welcome me to The Hague and wished me a pleasant stay. So nice of her to come with a full entourage and security service.

We Actually Did Score a Few

The summer hockey season has come to an end. My team "Liefde is ... hem ook laten scoren" which means "Love Is...Letting Him Score As Well" finished a credible 5th overall. I also discovered that my career as a forward my be slipping and I am better suited to the back line less running, easier to chat to your team meets and those on the side line. All in all it was a lot of fun. It also encouraged me to join the local gym which I have been going to on and off for about 5 weeks now. I am slowly developing muscles a nd loosing a little weight - please don't tell mum (you all know what mums are like).

Tim Tam Anyone

Speaking of my mum she came to visit in August for a few days on route to South Africa. One of the things that I asked her to bring me was a packet of Tim Tams. Now two packets would have been extra special, but the reason for this commercial quantity - they were on sale. Well I am not complaining; nor are the other Aussies who have been rationed a biscuit or two. Whilst she was here we went to the Floriade. This is a once every 10 year flower expo held in different parts of the Netherlands.

Well that is about it for another jam packed few months. I know that it is a bit impersonal but it is an easy way to stay in touch. Always happy to get an email from friends and I promise I will reply.

Regards to all,

Mark


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