Its traditional to go out for a breath of fresh air on Boxing day, to walk off the excesses of the day before and feel as if the holiday was not totally wasted by us being totally wasted!
My family were dressed and ready to go by 1.15 p.m. - a personal record, and we set of for the coast, in full sunshine and full of hope for the easy trip ahead.
First problem: Satnav was not working, but no matter, I know the way!
Second problem: left hand indicator was not working, no matter, just a new bulb needed, as a fuse was out!
Third problem: the Alkmaar Ring....... Its beaten us more times than we care to remember, and this time was no exception. We wanted to go west, but only ring north was open - so no problem, we go round east and north and we will get to the coast in the end!
25km later and there was a glimmer of hope that we would be able to turn west - but we were much further up the coast than our original plan. No problem - we could go to Schoorl!
We joined the other hundreds of cars similarly diverted, and sat in the traffic for another 20 mins.
Tempers were beginning to fray, to say the least, as we finally made it into Schoorl Centrum, found a car park and paid the parking with John muttering we would need LPG before we tried to go back home.
We walked the 100meters into the centrum to be confronted with the main atraction - A HILL.
Only in Holland would you make a hill into an attraction - cafes clustered at the bottom of the 51meter high sand duin, their teraces were full of parents watching offspring struggle up the incline, and abandoned grandparents stood lonely at the bottom as the rest of the family streaked ahead.
We braved the slope, and it was a challenge after years on the flat, but I was not about to be outdone by buxom blonde amsterdammers in high heeled boots and leather trousers, or four year olds little girls powering up it pushing pink babyborn buggies, so, stopping frequently to admire the view, we reached the top, and had a lovely walk in the dunes and pine woods beyond.
We reached a popular outlook point and glimsed the sea in the distance, but any vague idea we had of actually reaching the beach was nonsense; A map of the area would have been essential, as well as emergency rations, and one of those tents Ray Mears seems to be able to knock up in an instant in any sort of terrain!
We felt quite proud of ourselves, as we found our way back though Schoorl and found the car. It was a relief that we found the satnav worked now, and set it to guide us to a garage selling LPG and through the maze of Alkmaar. The first objective was sucessful, but the Alkmaar ring defeated even TomTom, and we ended up in a garden centre Car Park.....