We all have an Amsterdam story whatever you like to do or not do in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is the sort of place where you can get into what ever trouble you like with a whole of host of other folk who you may or may not know!
Missy and Dave live in Amsterdam so they have many Amsterdam stories to tell. The Baron and Dreads spend far too much time there even though The Baron pulls faces at me when I say he would be happier if he could live there full time. Life on The Bus is tough sometimes !!
Rocksey went to Amsterdam once on a stag do, he doesn’t say much about it to be fair but I do know he ended up in a bar which was full of men in leather – which brings me to the story of the ageing parents Amsterdam experience……
For this we go back to the early 1980’s when they of course weren’t the ageing parents although in my teenage eyes they were still ageing parents not capable of having a good time and far too old to be having said good time in Amsterdam !! Looking back now they were younger then than Rocksey and I are now and therefore probably had a good reason to be visiting Amsterdam themselves anyway!!
Of course, Amsterdam in the early 1980’s was pre-Aids and pre- stricter drug laws and so I think everything went in those days! Not that for one moment I suspected my parents of going anywhere other than the Van Gogh museum, Anne Franks House and the Amstel brewery.
Yesterday Rocksey and I caught up with my dad for a drink in his local. It was Missy’s birthday earlier in the week and she had surprised the ageing parents with a phone call so a discussion started up and then we ended up on the subject of ‘The Dam’, with Rocksey telling dad about the gay bar he had ended up in. ‘ah, well thats nothing’ snorted dad ‘what about when me and your mum went for the weekend?’ Well I was expecting the usual story abut when my parents go away ( find the nearest Wetherspoons and stay in there for a day or so only venturing out to buy tacky souvenirs, have a photos taken with a shot of the sea/ museum/hotel in the background) , well I nearly fell off the chair! I thought I had heard all my dads stories over the years but I hadn’t heard the Amsterdam adventure ( neither had I heard the Tax Evasion Scam until last week but thats for another day!).
So the ageing parents ( when they were not so ageing) go on a coach trip to Amsterdam ostentatiously to visit the Tulip fields/flower markets and in all innocence off they go. Of course after a hard day looking at tulips and ordering bulbs to be shipped back to England they arrive at their hotel in the City Centre on a spring warmed Saturday night. The coach driver announces that he is happy to take anyone on a walking tour of the sight after dinner and to meet in the Hotel lobby at 10pm.
The ageing parents and others are pleasantly surprised of this freebie which is preferable to wandering round unattended so after dinner, gather in the lobby for their pleasantly rotund jolly coach driver in his smart navy uniform and jaunty cap.
Imagine their surprise when Mr Driver appears in slightly different uniform of leather chaps, vest and studded biker boots along with a jaunty leather cap, complete with dog collar and chains. ‘off we pop then’ he saunters off swinging his chains and they dutifully follow like a scene from a Carry On film.
Mr Driver is an aficionado of certain parts of Amsterdam nightlife and despite his middle aged entourage who are obviously not of a similar mind set they jiggle and wriggle around several bars with similarly leather clad like minded coach drivers.
The ageing parents manage to escape after 2 drinks when Mr Driver announces that the next stop will be to a ‘Nite Klub’ where there is an entrance charge but you can ‘ get that back when you pay for other…ahem… services’. Escaping with them is an ex RAF Major and his wife who announces that’ I know Amsterdam well, I was here in the War, I can find the way back to the Hotel’. They manage to give the Major the slip when he walks round and round in circles muttering to himself ‘ this street wasn’t here then’, No it wasn’t, there was some big bloody bomb holes, tanks and a few thousand Nazi’s, the ageing parents run off and spend the next couple of hours ‘shop-window browsing’ and getting high on passive smoking from the Coffee shops which line the street, finally finding themselves back at their hotel with a bag of steaming fresh chocolate doughnuts ( I suddenly had a craving to eat something sweet – dad says without a second thought).
The ageing parents wake late with the cloying stench of marijuana sticking to their clothes and chocolate smears over their faces, they make it to the coach with minutes to spare. Mr Driver is back in his smart navy uniform cap at a jaunty angle, a big smile on his face, greeting his customers as they take their seats. We will be back at the ferry point in no time – he announces over the tannoy system -although we will have to make a detour to pick up some passengers who got a little lost over night- The Major and his wife are waiting patiently at the main railway station – probably the only building which still looked the same as it did in 1945.
The tulips arrived by post a few weeks later as a reminder of their trip – some still pop up in the garden in the Springtime- an annual reminder of that weekend. My parents never went back to Amsterdam but sometimes after their weekly visit to Asda there are chocolate doughnuts as a late Saturday supper treat…….