Archive for the ‘Netherlands’ Category

DT #266, 23 September 2014 (Palm)   2 comments

Palm at the Hop Inn Swindon


If I had faith, Mom
Rotting in hell this birthday
Would be a comfort.

Name: Palm
Type: Belgian ale
Venue: The Hop Inn, Swindon

Review/notes: Walking with Jackie to her job, she asked what the date was.  “23rd,” I replied.  Then, after a shudder, “oh, right, it’s mom’s birthday.”

After her own brief shudder, Jax asked, “How old would the old bitch be, now? It must be in her 90’s.”
“No, only 87, but there’s a LOT more fire than that many candles could provide where she’s sitting.”
“Yeah, and it’s always 5 minutes till 5.”
“And, she’s destined to carry a massive ice cube that always melts just as she reaches the glass.”
“Liquor stores are all closed.”
“The tabs for the childproof lids on the pharmaceuticals have all broken off.”
“It’s ‘No Smoking.'”

Ahh, how we laughed. I could tell lots of fun stories about mom (she shot me in the face–by accident–while firing on the television in my room because I “don’t spend enough time with family”), but here’s the one we referred to in our little riff, above.

We made an obligatory visit not long before moving to Holland because my dad wanted to sort his estate and my sister, who had systematically and repeatedly stolen from them (granted, he sired a child with her, as well…this could get really complicated if I go on), wasn’t deemed the best Executor of our parents’ final wishes. Jackie only went every other trip like this so only saw them every three-to-four years but we consoled ourselves that Mom’s giant bag of drugs would be worth exploring.

Mom generally worked three or four GP’s at a time for prescriptions and had pharmacists up and down the Georgia coast filling them. Prone to migraines, I would occasionally be struck with a bit of a tension headache (imagine that) which would prompt her to toss the Giant Bag generally my way and say, “there’s something in there for what ails you.” She often would follow this by lobbing a gigantic copy of the Physicians’ Desk Reference a few feet my way. [The PDR is the Bible of the scrip-head.] For reference sake, you can’t have a drug problem if your Doctor prescribed it for you.

So, Mom sat around this particular afternoon and Jackie was mixing us a couple of beverages at a normal-to-quite-strong pour when she asked if Jane wanted one. “No, thank you darling. I’m waiting till 5.” Five. FIVE? When that sank in, I looked at Jackie whose mouth was agape; she felt my gaze and shook it off and brought me mine. Turns out, Ma got it in her head that even if you drink a bottle and a half of bourbon everyday, your can’t be an alcoholic if you wait till five pm to start.

It was a quarter past two.

Mom started chain smoking, lighting one off its predecessor (yes, even faster than the 60-a-day habit normally dictated). Her watch became unbearable, sliding on and off her wrist then suddenly was slammed on the table next to her chair as her foot tapped away at a disco cadence. We made trips out to my dad’s workshop where he was pounding rum and not pretending 5 makes any difference. When he or the south Georgia heat became a nuisance, we would go back in the house to hang with Mom.

At about 4:55 pm, Mom creaked out of her chair and started lining up her drinking tools: a glass that would hold close to a fluid quart, a shot glass (that wouldn’t be used, seeing as the standard measure is third of a glassful–it was just there for show), a bunch of ice trays, a 1.75 liter bottle of Early Times, and a half empty bottle of club soda (which would last until the Early Times was just vapour). Then, she put both hands on the countertop, exhausted. And, watched the clock till 5.  Victory.  One 5 o’clock at a time.

So, today’s tipple is in Jane’s honour. I got a Palm, an old favourite from my time in the Netherlands, the last day of which tenure I received notice that mom died. Actually, that’s been in dispute since the 70’s when a friend posited that maybe she died in the 1950’s but all the chemicals provided an illusion of animation. We wondered if switching out some of our favourites from the Giant Bag for placebos might be a worthy experiment to test this theory but the delicate balance of pharmaceuticals, nicotine, and grain neutral spirits might result in a conflagration of Biblical proportions should it be upset too dramatically. It was simply too big a risk.  Besides, the bitch was armed.

Anyway, I got a Palm: because in the Deep South until the 1980’s, anything you did with an open Palm couldn’t be considered child abuse.  Happy Birthday, Mom.  Say, “hi,” to Dad.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

DT #260, 17 September 2014 (Robinson’s Trooper)   Leave a comment

Trooper pump clip

My life has now been
Plagiarized by Private Eye
Without apology.

Name: Robinson’s Trooper
Type: bitter
Venue: Steam Railway, Swindon

Private Eye versus me

Note: This was using a film camera (remember those?)

Review/notes: I got the Iron Maiden themed beer and settled into the newest edition of Private Eye which the postie had just delivered. Normally, this is a fortnightly highlight but on page 18 I found a cartoon lifted directly from my life without acknowledgement.  To have one’s life made a mockery of by the press barons at the Eye leaves one feeling quite distressed.  I could use a beverage.

Trooper and Private Eye


[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

June Update: Daily Tipple and Chippy Challenge   243 comments

Meisenfrei Bremen me and Haake Beck

Not much to say about the month except we are now past the halfway point…here’s the tally for June.  Interesting that not one beer — on the list — was at the house:

DT # Date Name Type Venue
156 05-Jun Mary Jane bitter The Britannia
157 06-Jun Full Brazilian bitter The Savoy
163 12-Jun Otter bitter The Eagle
167 16-Jun Young’s London Gold bitter Green Dragon
177 26-Jun Staropramen Dark dark pilsner Hotel Deutsche Eiche
153 02-Jun Negra Modelo lager Phoenix Picture House
165 14-Jun Tyskie lager near the bus stop
166 15-Jun Coors Light lager The Mailcoach
171 20-Jun Meantime Pilsner pilsner Big Society
173 22-Jun Jupiler pilsner Cafe Het Bolwerk
174 23-Jun Haake Beck pilsner Stadtgeflüster
175 24-Jun Konig Pilsner pilsner Mexcal
178 27-Jun Veltins pilsner China Restaurant Peking
179 28-Jun Duvel pilsner The Doors Coffeeshop
164 13-Jun Young’s London Stout stout Angel and Greyhound
176 25-Jun Franziskaner weissbier Double Ti
Meisenfrei Bremen

The Meisenfrei…great little bar but the beer choices had already been covered so while I recommend it highly, it didn’t make the list.


DT # Date Name Type Venue
154 03-Jun Cape Original Shiraz Malbec red wine house
155 04-Jun Arpeggio Sangiovese red wine house
161 10-Jun Cooperative Piemonte Barbera red wine house
168 17-Jun Alexis Lichine Bordeaux Superieur red wine house
170 19-Jun Sainsbury Select Barbaresco red wine house
172 21-Jun Chateau Sainte Marthe Languedoc red wine house
180 29-Jun Contenda Shiraz red wine house
181 30-Jun Tiger Horse Shiraz Mourvedre red wine house
152 01-Jun Blossom Hill White Zinfandel rose wine house
158 07-Jun Calvet Cabernet Franc rose rose wine house
159 08-Jun Sainsbury Select White Zinfandel rose wine house
169 18-Jun Jacaranda Hill Shiraz Rosé rose wine house

at Bremen Hbf

DT # Date Name Type Venue
160 09-Jun Gin and Tonic booze house
162 11-Jun Rosie’s Pig cider The Prince of Wales

2014-06-23 Boetcherstrasse Bremen day s

June was a good month for chippies, as well.  The new herring, best of the year, was arriving in Amsterdam but didn’t call me until the last minute and I didn’t want anything on my stomach for the flight home.  And surprisingly, the best F&C of the month was in Germany.

# Chippy Challenge
63 The Britannia Oxford, Oxfordshire 05-Jun Pub
64 Treasure Chinese Takeaway Shrivenham, Oxfordshire 11-Jun Chippy
65 Posh Fish Headington Headington, Oxfordshire 13-Jun Chippy
66 Dolphin Fish Bar Highworth, Wiltshire 14-Jun Chippy
67 Yeung’s House Fish and Chips Marlborough, Wiltshire 16-Jun Chippy
68 Poseidon Fish and Chips Oxford, Oxfordshire 20-Jun Chippy
69 Happy Seafood Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam 22-Jun Dutch fish stand
70 Star Food Fish N Chips Bremen, Germany 25-Jun Chippy


CC Chart June


Psilocybe atlantis   3 comments

Psilocybe Atlantis 1


The trip back home from Amsterdam became a Trip back home from Amsterdam.  It started with a run through the east side partly to effect the G-Had, partly to investigate the Science Park (which I haven’t seen since I worked there 10 years ago.  AMOLF moved to a new building a few years back and the old place looks empty and forelorn:

AMOLF forelorn

But, it was a nostalgic day, indeed.  An Elvis Costello song popped up on my mp3 player and it dawned on me that the records I checked out of St Louis Public Library were overdue 30 years to the day (the ASMS Annual Conference is there next year, though, so maybe I can return them then).

bowling pin s


I finished my run and was heading to Centraal Station to get back to Schiphol and the bowling pin struck me as surreal and immediately I decided to pick up the run again and go see if the Magic Mushroom place was still open near the Oude Kerk…and it was!  Hooray!  I picked up a dose and a half of P. atlantis and then had to think about timing: going through customs with nothing would be okay and I’ve had enough psychedelic experience that the UK passport control would be a snap but I didn’t want to deal with any security on the Dutch end.  The plan, then, was to drop off my baggage and drop my dosage 45 minutes before boarding.  This was perfect and I was just starting to feel a little weird as I arrived at the gate.

In fact, I arrived about 20 minutes early and popped into the Irish pub for a beer to even things out.  Lighting was awesome in there and the beer was good and no more expensive than in a pub in the UK and by the time I drained it everything was cracking between crystalline and cartoon and I needed to get on a little bus to head out on the tarmac to the plane.

Murphy's Irish Red Schiphol

The plane was not really thought through and I got to my seat to find the one next to me empty.  Could not have planned it better, except it got even better.  Another busload arrived and the first group down the aisle was a family with a baby and a 5-year-old and they didn’t sit near me!  BUT, a 5 foot tall, 400 pound overly pierced and angry-looking black lesbian came down behind them and plopped in the wee seat next to me…for about ten seconds before flagging down a sky waitress and asking if the two spot I hadn’t spotted was free (it was and I was free, as well).

Oh, and the mushrooms were especially nice…and I still had residual the next morning.  It really was like going home, or at least what I imagine other people feel about going home.


who's a trippy boy then

DT #179, 28 June 2014 (Duvel)   1 comment

Duvel The Doors Coffeeshop Amsterdam

It’s a fucking curse
Seeing through the other’s eyes
And having mirrors.

Name: Duvel
Type: pilsner
Venue: The Doors Coffeeshop, Amsterdam

Review/notes: I know loads of people get high right out on the streets in Amsterdam, but that is technically illegal and I’ve been busted for it twice already (typical Dutch police response, “if I find you doing this again I will have to write you a ticket”).  Out in quiet suburban neighbourhoods I’m pretty comfortable with it but there is too much to keep your eye on in central Amsterdam so I popped into a coffeeshop intending to get a coffee and a pastry; the Doors, however, had a full size bar set up inside (kind of a rarity).  Plus, it was peaceful with me the only smoker this morning.  Perfect.

The haiku came to me on the plane home…never look in the mirror on mushrooms.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

Happy Seafood, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, Chippy Challenge #69   2 comments

Happy Seafood Schiphol Airport Amsterdam kibbeling kabeljauw


[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: kabeljauw (cod)
Sides: geen
Evaluation: My train from Swindon to Bristol was an hour late, then the bus was 15 minutes late. My plane was delayed, so I was fairly pleased to find that I had some time to grab a bite to eat.

I really miss kibbeling and the kabeljauw at Happy Fish in Schiphol was primo if a bit expensive (in the airport, so what else would it be?). This was generous, despite that, and chunky and juicy and lovely. I hurried off to my train, which turned out to be five minutes late…of course.

Days since last: 2 (Poseidon, Oxford)
Map link.

Happy Seafood Schiphol Airport Amsterdam

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

Surprising Things That Can Ruin Your Run   Leave a comment

surprising email

Email newsletter came in (haven’t read this article) that reminded me of the many instances of Surprising Things That Ruined A Run.

Actual examples from my past (some more than once):

*Fresh mountain lion tracks spotted in a box canyon (Tucson)
*Unseen open manhole cover (Atlanta)
*Stopped by Savannah River Site security and some military helicopters (nuclear reservation, South Carolina)
*Sudden outbreak of gang turf war (Tucson)
*Arrest (Athens, GA)
*Tornado (Alabama and Southern Illinois–not the same tornado)
*Pot farm (North Georgia mountains near Cohutta…decided it might be prudent to re-plot my route through this one)
*Wildfires (California, Colorado, and Arizona)
*Flooding (Missouri, Arizona, Oxfordshire, and Wiltshire)
*War games (on the tank tracks around Ft. Stewart, GA, then again more recently in the Salisbury Plain)
*Struck by falling tree (Cook’s Trail, Athens, GA–required several stitches in forehead and caused massive changes in sense of smell and taste for about a month, as well)
*Armed robbery (Decatur, GA near Emory: guy looks through wallet while holding the gun on me and demands, “Credit cards…where are they?”; I laugh and say, “look at me, dude…do I LOOK like I have credit?” at which point he flings the wallet back at me and tells me to run which, ironically, is what I had been trying to do at the time)
*Struck by golf ball (Griffin, GA)
*Alligator in road (Brunswick and Savannah, GA) [also, venomous snakes on trail more places than I care to remember in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas]
*Dead Family acid (surprising, everytime, just how quickly it hit and how clean it was, Atlanta and Athens, GA)
*Jumping Cholla cacti (Tucson–newby surprise)
*Lock maintenance 14km across the Afsluitdijk (had to turn around and go back)

And, most frequently: the pub at the turnaround point of a long run is closed for the afternoon or closed down completely (happens too often to keep up with).

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