2011 Farewell to Babette
|A mournful gathering at the appropriately (but incorrectly) named Weeper's Tower, to say farewell to Babette|
The Schreierstoren, scene of our farewell drinks party. It was a "bring your own handkerchief" affair. We wept buckets
Typical Amsterdam street scene
Coreine tells Fedde that we are all missing him dreadfully, especially Paul
View along the canal .... looking suitably depressed
More moody dreariness
Rob and the much missed Annelies commiserate with Babette
Rob gathers together his speech and asks us all to step inside, away from the incessant tinkling of bicycle bells.
He asks us for a moment's silence....
However, his plea falls on deaf ears. We are much too busy drowning our sorrows and clacking (assets that feature prominently among our skill sets).
The sound of wagging tongues gradually eases down to a dull roar.
Rob waits patiently for the penny to drop.
Ahem! We are gathered here today - oops - wrong speech ...
Rob ploughs on regardless "I well remember the day when Babette turned up for her job interview ... looking and sounding very professional, and dressed to kill..."
Oddly enough, Babette says that she could have sworn that she was wearing a business suit on that occasion (I think that we all accept her version of events, eh readers?)
If the expression on the faces of Eric, the divine Annelies and Eugene is anything to go by, Rob's speech is being well received.
Rob gives his usual, well-balanced presentation, taking the good with the bad. We fish around in our pockets for tissues and hankies, and climb aboard the emotional roller coaster.
Turning to Marja, Rob asks "What do you think of it so far?" ... "Rubbish!" she says. Rob returns to his speech, muttering under his breath "Everyone's a critic!"
Eric puts on his poker face, while the lovely Annelies raises an equisitly formed eyebrow ...
Everyone is starting to show signs of "speech fatigue", so Rob quickly winds up and hands over a pressie
Babette examines the pressie .... what could it be?
There is only one way to find out ....
Of course ... embarrassing pikkies of yesteryear ...(we are good at that too).
Not to be outdone, Marja bounces up and declares that the foot soldiers of the TC-VU have been working their bottoms off, and getting covered in glue and bits of paper in the process, to create their own fitting farewell for Babette.
OK Marja, don't make a meal of it, hand over the pressie, give Babette a peck on the cheek, and we can move swiftly on to Babette's response to all this speeching.
The ladies hug and rub noses
Oh hang on, that's an Eskimo thing, isn't it? What is it that the Dutch do again?
Babette tells us that she is not one for long speeches, so we should get back to the beer as soon as possible (we all cheer, and swiftly order another round).
Kar and Juuth have absolutely no staying power whatsoever, and bugger off home ...
...leaving the serious drinkers to get on with getting totally smashed (yep - you've guessed it - another of our skill sets. We are nothing if not versatile).
We pause for a moment to make rude comments about a bunch of segway tourists, before we realise that we will look just as ridiculous in Nijmegen next Friday (all except Nigel, that is, who will sensibly be attending a terminology conference in Groningen).
At this stage we were kicked out to make way for a wedding reception..
We head off to the Herengracht, to soak up some good restaurant food
Paul caught in mid-flow .... shamelessly chatting to our idol La Verhulst
Striddie Mulder gives an encouraging wink ....
Next thing you know, she and Nigel are shamelessly cuddling in front of numerous witnesses (it's going to cost a fortune in hush money to keep this quiet)
David and Katy are high on life
Babette and Annetti engage in a spirited debate ... amid the clamour of the restaurant neither of them can hear what the other is saying, but that doesn't diminish their enjoyment in the slightest (unlike blunt, factual male communication, female verbal interaction often has far more important emotional undertones ... or so I am reliably informed. Being a mere male, I am, of course, entirely oblivious to this).
Rhian shows up, but is soon involved in a serious conversation with the fabulous Annelies
Marja struggles with the menu, while Coreine tells the drop dead gorgeous Annelies the joke about the bishop and the actress...
David ordered a side of beef..... but gets half a slice of mouldy bread instead (sometimes, in life, your bottle really IS half empty).
Babette and Nigel discuss the meaning of life and other trivial matters ....
The goddess at the end of the table thinks that they should lighten up and have another beer, and who am I to contradict this stunning creature?
While Nigel and Babette bare their very souls to one another (it was that sort of occasion .... you just had to be there), David and Katy discuss the price of haggis.
Not sure what this is, something Belgian?
Something arrives on a plate .... David sends up a swift prayer to the patron saint of the victims of food poisoning ... St Vitus
Blimey, seems that Katy is not sure about eating this either
Babette browses through the images of bygone days
Marja looks as though she might have overdone the joy juice (not a criticism, we were all a little the worse for wear at this stage)
Coreine doesn't seem to share Maud's enthusiasm for the food
Rhian still looks far too serious
... not something that anybody could ever accuse Paul of ...
Striddie has clearly overdosed on photos (time to take pity on the poor girl ... it is not her fault that she is so photogenic)
Nigel gives his fellow diners a break and starts photographing every inch of the restaurant (as you do)
Good grief .... will everybody please lighten up?
The eye-catching Annelies decides that enough is enough and buggers off down to the light-hearted end of the table
Not sure how to respond to this setback, we all reach for the vino (it's not the answer, but it does help you to forget the question)
The evening wears on, but we still haven't run out of things to say...
David and Katy share a joke about the Sassenachs
So far Rhian has not cracked a smile on camera .... should we worry?
Babette contemplates her main course, then expresses her views of its appearance:
Good Lord, Katy looks as though she is about to lose her lunch
Come to think of it, Marja looks a bit queasy too .... what WAS Maud talking about?
No problem down at Paul's end of the table though
Someone delivered Coreine's meal to Nigel's place .... with the inevitable results. Coreine had to eat the course that Nigel had ordered, she asked for a replacement meal but when it finally arrived it was still the same course that Nigel had ordered (face it, when the universe gets an idea into its head you can try what you like but you are basically buggered).
Belgian chips .... NOW you're talking (Marja removed the mayonnaise and laughed at Nigel's suggestion that we ask for some vinegar ... that woman is SO cruel)
Coreine looks less than enthusiastic about eating what looks like pavement pizza
but you can't keep this kid down for long ... that dazzling smile is back before you know it
Kirsten and Paul put the world to rights (again)
Everybody at our end of the table ordered chocolate crumble, in the entirely reasonable expectation that it might actually contain some chocolate .... sadly we were to be disappointed
Paul (lucky bugger), however, actually had chocolate in his chocolate crumble ... and decided to taunt us
OK - we got the message .... when we asked the waitress, she explained that they were having all sorts of issues in the kitchen, and that one of the ovens was faulty ... why couldn't they have told us beforehand?
Disaster in the kitchen ... the oven has exploded
After a great evening, we bid Babette farewell, promised to keep in touch for ever - if not longer - and to meet up regularly for hamburgers and gossip. All the very best of luck with your new career Babette!!!! You'll be just fine.
Last Updated (Sunday, 02 October 2011 16:16)