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My "International GOY Week"


By david


Last week, I had a very hectic few days, but made special and memorable, by two fellow GOYers; Arlene and Hildadorrisen, and their husbands.

I’d been studying for a few weeks for a “must pass”, work-related course. which took place on Saturday and Sunday, 13-14 Nov.

On Friday 12th, I took an early morning, 1hr 20mins, flight out of Edinburgh airport.

(not a pic I took, there were no blue skies, this is from Wikimedia, but is the exact type of aircraft and airline).

Where did I go?

Croeso i Gaerdydd, Prifddinas Cymru

Castell Caerdydd

This was my “first ever” visit to Wales. No time, however, to explore Castell Caerdydd (Cardiff Castle) in depth. The weather was atrocious and, after meeting up with Arlene and Charlie in a coffee shop, we decided to visit the National History Museum/Museum of Welsh Life at Sain Ffagan (St. Fagans), where we could be both indoors and out, exploring the interiors of the castle, reconstructed cottages/farmhouses, shops, etc., as well as the (now bare) garden areas.

The main crop seen in the cottage gardens was “Good King Henry”, a.k.a. Poor Man’s Asparagus/Lincolnshire Spinach/Perennial goosefoot/Markery, a plant which was grown as a vegetable in cottage gardens for centuries.

(looks like snow in the pics, but shows how heavy the rain was).

There’s Arlene, with her blue brolly, just so that I could find her among the crowds on such a lovely day. :-)))

You know? Who cared about the rain – certainly not me. This was an amazing place to vist, with its formal garden areas, woodland, village, castle and indoor exhibition areas. We really enjoyed being able to look at the old agricultural and horticultural machinery and tools. too.

Last month, Arlene had sent me a book as part of my birthday pressy. I was thrilled, as had nothing pertaining to Wales on my “gardening” bookshelves. It was great to be able to say that I have, now, seen one of the places included in it. :-))

If I won a lottery, I think that I would choose a gardens tour of Wales (in season) before a Caribbean cruise – seriously!!! And……Charlie got me to my hotel, in time for the course registration, with a couple of impressive Starsky and Hutch-style manouvres (OK! Well, I did always want to own that car at the time, lol!!).

Thank You So Very Much, dear Arlene and Charlie XXXXX

Well, the course went well, and I passed, so am “fit to practice” for another 4 years (phew!). Last flight to Edinburgh on Sunday night, up at 5.30am for work Monday morn. but, midweek had another wonderful treat in store.

A few weeks ago, GOYer Hildadorrissen (from Belgium) had PMd ne to say that she and husband would be holidaying in Edinburgh from 14-21 Nov, and invited me to dinner in their holiday flat. We settled for Wednesday evening (17th), as I had a meeting at work, and could escape earlier than my normal finishing time.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is always a treat to visit, with its medieval buildings oozing history and character. Having to find a particular address, with the promise of a fine dinner, prepared by Hilda’s cookery-loving husband (a passion I share), added greatly to this visit. The address was easy to find, however, being almost next door to one of the Royal mile’s most famous landmarks, the medieval John Knox House.

John Knox House

Dinner was amazing, with a real international flavour!!! Scottish salmon on a bed of salad leaves brought over from Belgium; Moroccan lamb couscous with gravy and fresh veg, again, brought over from their garden in Belgium (Philip has a special academic interest in Morocco, and his truly authentic main course far surpassed anything I ever tasted in Moroccan tourist traps), polished off with mixed fruit in tall glasses with whipped cream. Apologies for sounding like a guest on “Come Dine With Me”, but can still taste it all, yet, lol!).

Hilda, et moi

Hilda had, prior to leaving home, baked me her “4 dough” bread, frozen it, and brought with her. This went down a real treat with me an’ ye crew next day, with homemade soup.

Hilda also wanted to share some of her lovely succulent plants with me. I always wanted to start a collection, as I have a large, south-facing window, and was amazed by what she brought me!!!

Echeveria, Crassula, Tradescantia, and more, including rooted cane begonias………………

We potted them all up next day, temporarily, as I know, exactly, how I want their containers to look, but have yet to find.

Belgian chocolates had to be included, of course!!!!

Hot on the heels of Arlene’s recent gift of chocs, too!!!

Diolch yn fawr lawn, Arlene a Charlie!


Dank je wel, Hilda en Philip! XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Isn’t GOY power amazing????? :-)))))))

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Wow David I had just Pm'd you and click there is your blog about your visit!
What an interesting visit you had to Wales and congratulations on passing your exam too boot :o)
Lovely to meet up with Goyers that sounded such a super meal with Hilda and Phillip lucky you :o)

24 Nov, 2010


Aharrr!!Bo'sun!!!!! An' ye posted this, be chance, whilst I was PMing ye, too!!!!! LOL! Many Thanks for the congrats re ye awful exam!!!!! XXX from me an ye crew!!!!!

Am still "recovering" from my wonderful week!!!

24 Nov, 2010


David....what an interesting time you have had :) and a lovely haul of succulent plants, a wonderful dinner, good company, a visit to Wales, and a pass on your exam! How great you must have felt with all that goodness coming your way :)

Glad you finally got to Wales. An international traveller? Woo hoo!! Fancy you!! lol

24 Nov, 2010


Wow.....Who's a lucky Cap'n then?? Chocolates, homemade bread, succulents and gourmet meals!! Touring castles and cottages and ancient machinery. Sounds like absolute heaven.
I've never been to Wales either...someday, like you, I'll get there.
Heartfelt congrats on passing ye olde awful test. Hope you had a 'bottle o' rum' to celebrate!!

24 Nov, 2010


Hallo David. A very interesting blog. Although I originate from the UK I only went to Wales once...on a school camping that is very many years ago. Good that you passed your exams..even at my ripe old age..hihi I still have to do exams at times. The photo of the aircraft reminded me of the times that I was a rep for a German car company, getting the first flight at 6 AM from Düsseldorf to Birmingham...a 90 min flight..several times a go to Vauxhall Motors...the in-flight meals were at times the only meals I got during the day time. Happy but tough times.

24 Nov, 2010


As you know from my blog - I missed you at St Fagans by two days! Had we known, and met up, then you would have been able to add Spain to your International GOY Week!

LOVE Cardiff and St Fagans! LOVE Edinburgh's Royal Mile! We were lucky enough to have been invited twice to Edinburgh - all expenses paid - complete with tickets to see games at Murrayfield! Lovely memories of a lovely city.
I shall definitely make sure I enjoy both cities again! By the way ... did you at least get time to check out the animals on Cardiff Castle walls?

24 Nov, 2010


Proof as if it were needed that the Internet really isn't as bad as some would have you believe. It's so nice to read of a positive and interesting meeting of friends who met 'on line', I've met a few good friends on line too. Glad you all enjoyed it in spite of the 'British weather' and congratulations on succeeding with your course.

24 Nov, 2010


Well done David...
good blog, excellent result from your course....
and lovely for you to meet up with GoY friends :o)))

24 Nov, 2010


Oh, well done, David - you must be sooooo relieved that the exam's done and dusted. I'm sure that meeting up with the GOY-ers made it more bearable, too - something really nice to look forward to, instead of the exam. :-)))

24 Nov, 2010


What a wonderful blog David, sounds like you had a dream of a time, how wonderful to meet up with GOY friends, everything you have done since leaving home on the flight to dinner with Hilda and Charle just seem incredible, just can't thank you enough for sharing this magical time with us,.

24 Nov, 2010


thankyou for sharing your weekend with us David and what a treat you had-- they always say hard work pays off-- many congrats-- and I agree the international side of Goy is indeed very special

24 Nov, 2010


Wow!!!...what can I say!! have had a lovely time of it (except for the exam....congrats for that xx). So pleased you enjoyed your meet ups with Arlene and Hilda. Errm....have you been on the scales since all that

24 Nov, 2010


First congratulations on your exams, and sounds like you had a lovely time aswell :o))

24 Nov, 2010


congratulations david ~ would you have to walk the plank if you didnt pass
thanks for the blog ~ some lovely photos and all so interesting; i love that folk museum with the re-created houses and i loved hearing about that wonderful meal. what a great road to live in!

24 Nov, 2010


What a fantastic time you had David, not only in meeting and enjoying the company of Arlene and Hilda, but in getting that all important exam under your belt.

24 Nov, 2010


congratulations on passing your exam David,how great to meet other GOY members as well as having your first visit to Wales, sounds like you had a good time and a lovely meal..:o)

24 Nov, 2010


Congratulations on passing your exam David , well done ..
What an exciting week for you , you couldn't have squeezed any more in if you tried and brilliant that you were able to meet some of your lovely GOY friends plus all that food and goodies ! it was making my mouth water it all sounds so delicious .. I don't suppose you had any left-overs to spare ... LOL......

24 Nov, 2010


Well, what a lovely long weekend you've had, David. Many congratulations on passing the exam, always a worrying time, but you can relax now. I'm wondering what Customs & Excise thought if they searched Hilda's luggage, all the salad and veg. in there! Lovely to see your photos from Wales and pleased you enjoyed your time with Arlene and her OH. : o ))

24 Nov, 2010


Brilliant blog David, lovely photos and congrats to you, it's funny but I was going to meet Hilda in London not so long ago but I had family commitments and these made it impossible, however we might yet meet next spring ! Hilda is amazing and wanted to bring me plants too. I know Shirley that Hilda investigated C. & E. re. bringing in the plants because she asked me what to do. There are some lovely folk on here.

24 Nov, 2010


wow wot a visit ... so nice tooo meet peaple you have chated to on here ... its brill isent it . lovely presents as well. gud 4 you. and congrats on the xsam !! dont know wot it was 4 ... but well dun on passing anyway .;0))))

24 Nov, 2010


David this is a real treat to read, its good to see and hear of good times, Endinburgh is on my list of places I`d really like to visit. Pleased you had a smashing time and congraulations on your exam result. Lovely photo`s and gifts.....

24 Nov, 2010


Congratulations, David, on passing your exam! :-))

It was so interesting to read about your week! It was very good you were able to meet Arlene & Hilda & their OHs. It was good to see your photos in Wales as well as in Edinburgh! The while blobs in your photos had me fooled - I was sure you had caught snow in them!!!

What presents they brought you! You're one lucky man! :-))
I hope your plants do well in your South facing window. It'd be good if you took a photo or two & uploaded them here for us all to see & admire.

24 Nov, 2010


What a fabulous blog David, thank you for sharing. It made my heart sing at the kindness of people, especially GoYer people (of course !)

24 Nov, 2010


Well done to you David on your exam success.....How nice it must have been to meet up with fellow Goyers...sounds like you had a great time....:>)

24 Nov, 2010


Well David what can I add to all the foregoing?
I am back in circulation again, and reading such happy accounts as yours really help me keep going. I am so glad people like to share their experiences as I haven't much to write about these days.
Today we have real snow, it is cold and I am indoors being coddled by Roy (and the odd cuddle) so the day is going well.
I noticed that, like myself, one or two did not know what exam you have just taken and passed but unlike me they were too polite to ask..... so???????????
My curiosity is mounting and the comment "fit to practice" for another four years is so intriguing.
By the way, you look so different without your pirate hat on!

25 Nov, 2010


I'm sorry the Welsh rain didn't keep away for you, but I'm pleased you enjoyed your visit.
Glad to hear you met another GoY friend. What great succulents. I love them :o)

25 Nov, 2010


Thank You, everyone, for the "congrats" re the course. Hi Lyn, Welcome back! The course was a Resucitation Council Advanced Life Support course (since you have asked, lol!). Can hardly believe that 4 years have passed since the last time I had to do it. Not really a very jolly subject, is it, but I really do need to have the certificate for parts of my job.

I haven't had time to "celebrate" it, Gilli, lol!!

That early flight several times a week must have been rather tiring, Rogi - tough, indeed!

Didn't see much of even the castle walls, Nariz, as it was too wet, cold and windy, even for me, and was in a hurry to get to the shipping centre to meet Arlene. Would have been fun if Spain could have been included here, too :-)).
My workplace is just 10mins walk from Murrayfield stadium and, occasionally can get the chance of free tickets. Do let me know if you are ever visiting again. :-))

We haven't scoffed all the chocs yet, Alice, lol!!!

I would have felt like taking a long walk off a short plank, Sticki! :-D)

Sorry, Amy, nothing left! :-( I was actually thinking about you, as Hilda found a little slug in some of the salad leaves (NOT on the salad on the plates, I hasten to add)! When I got home, I found a Belgian centipede among my plants. It is definitely okay to transport plants, foodstuffs, seeds between member countries of the EC, btw, Shirley, but, I think that the slug and centipede could be classed as "illegal immigrants" - :-D).

I know that you missed each other earlier this year, Grandmage. I hope that you both catch up in Spring. :-))

I hope to get better pics of the plants, Balcony, when I have got them potted up properly. ;-))

Yes, lincslass, you must come up and see us sometime :-))

No need to apologise, Hywel, it was forecast and I was prepared, lol!! Until I ever get to visit again, I'll just have to enjoy Wales "vicariously" through your lovely blogs and pics. :-))

Many Thanks, again, folks!

25 Nov, 2010


Nice to hear about your trip and god company.

I´am also so lucky to have met other people, on a danish website like goy.

25 Nov, 2010


Well done David on the exams and isn't it wonderful to have super friends. Life is great isn't it.

25 Nov, 2010


Congrats on Examination pass. Enjoyed you post...makes we want to go out an do some exploring myself! Hummmm where too....

26 Nov, 2010


Congratulations on passing your exam, great blog.

26 Nov, 2010


hope you weren't too wet and uncomfortable David~ couldn't believe how fine and dry it was the following day!

26 Nov, 2010


David....What a fantastic treat.......meeting up with other GOYers and seeing the sights too How wonderful... Maybe this is something we should consider....having a big get together....Like a school reunion type thing......wouldnt that be lovely meeting up personally with lots of other mates from here.......Lol

26 Nov, 2010


Oooo Milky, what a great idea. How lovely that would be.

27 Nov, 2010


~ David was going to organise a weekend last year but it folded due to lack of interest~ would a day out somewhere where we could all meet be a better bet?

28 Nov, 2010


Many Thanks, again, all :-))

Hi Arlene! No, I wasn't at all too wet, etc. Yes, the next day was lovely, wasn't it? Just typical, lol!! Many Thanks, again, for that great afternoon out, and for all the trouble you both went to. XXX

Yes, it was a pity that the "GOY Weekend" never happened, but a day out to a castle/estate with great gardens, within reach of many GOYers, sounds like a great idea. :-))

28 Nov, 2010


so much diversity & interest David, lifelong memories are'nt they?

30 Nov, 2010


well done on your exam David....glad you enjoyed Wales...i always enjoy a visit to St. Fagons there is always something new there...

30 Nov, 2010


Good God, that aircraft looks prehistoric, I don't believe it could fly!

"Koffiehuis" is pure Afrikaans (huis = house).

Wales is beautiful. We have a calendar of Welsh scenes in our entrance hall, sent to David (our David!) by his friend in Wales (another David!) Not to mention that the most frequent visitor to this house is yet another David.

9 Dec, 2010


Surprisingly the plane is new its a Dash 8 made by DE Havilland Canada

11 Dec, 2010


Hi David,
still catching up on what i missed. I was checking on when Glendoick is open for Scotlands Garden Scheme this year as members of the Cox family are on hand to talk to members of the public. I noticed that there are seasons passes to The Gardens of Perthshire available for only £16.00 or £25.00 for two. Included are 11 Gardens which you can visit as often as you like throughout the season. For visitors on holiday there are 14 day passes for only £10.00. Follow the links - Maybe if Goyers were interested we could arrange an outing to meet up.

31 Dec, 2010


Goodness, Gurthbruins - so many Davids!!! :-))

Yes, as Bjs says, definitely a very modern aircraft, and very comfortable flight, despite lousy weather. :-))

Hi Scotsgran. I shall be checking the Glendoick calender, myself, for dates. Many Thanks for the reminder about the garden pass tickets. I got one a couple of years ago, and was well worth it!!! I shall definitely be getting myself one for 2011, and would be very interested in a meet-up. :-)))

31 Dec, 2010


Hi David,
Only now did I read your blog, while in London again for a week, and after having met up with Grandmage (Gill) from London, and her husband Peter, who told me about your blog, otherwise I still wouldn't have known about it.
I have to admit that I have neglected Goy a bit recently, but there were so many things happening at home. As you know our youngest daughter Laura had her third baby, and wanted to have it at home, not in a hospital, but due to building works at their house, they had to move to a small flat for the time being, which was far too small for a confinement, so she had the baby at our house, with all the extras that included (very nice homecooked food, big pampering, and of course Oma's babysitting for the two other children all the time, so she was very happy with this solution. Of course this meant a lot of extra work and preparation (in Belgium only very few mothers have their babies at home).
Philip and I really enjoyed your lovely comments on his couscous meal (and my homemade bread). We went to bed with big smiles ;-) I had a good laugh with "Hilda, et moi". 'Moi', being Flemish, and having Dutch as mother language (speaking French too of course).
Yesterday was a very nice day too, with Gill and Peter. I had brought over almost the same plants and cuttings for Gill, but alas for her, our landlord here in Kennington is also a keen gardener, so I gave him a few too. But we'll be back soon, and next time I'll arrange for some sort of container so that I can bring over at least one small plant or cutting of àll my plants (perhaps two containers will be necessary ;-) Lol!)
We first discussed Goy ;-) , and then went out to have a very nice vegetarian lunch (buffet) at the Indian restaurant Chutneys in Drummond Street, a place we regularly go to whenever we're in Londen.
I have to stop writing now, Philip wants to be off, but I'll continue later on.
Have a very nice weekend, David, Gill & Peter, and àll Goy members!

Hilda (and Pip) from Belgium, but London-lovers ;-)

26 Feb, 2011


Hi Hilda!

Have been rather busy, myself, lately. So nice to read that you all met up in London, recently. Of course, I know that you have been very busy in recent months! :-)

Having been fooled into a false sense of security with recent lovely weather, and started off preparing our garden for an exciting new season, we are, once again, under a blanket of snow - so everything, once more, on hold here! :-((

Love to All X

12 Mar, 2011 good to see you commenting. I was only wondering about you and your 2011 garden plans when I was on GoY last night....

Sorry you've got that dreaded snow back....just rain here in Merseyside....we have been lulled into believing spring has arrived and then the white stuff returns!

Happy planning, David.'ve been back on our shores once again and it sounds like you had a very nice time too. Your daughter's homebirth will have been a good experience for you all, despite all the extra preparations. I was present in my daughter's home when she home (water) birthed her 4th child and it was a very lovely calm and her other 3 children and hubby were able to be present too :)

12 Mar, 2011


Hi Whiston!

So nice to have time to be back here, after what has seemed like an "eternity". Have been very busy, lately, but was glad to get back to "The Haven" on Wednesday, for the first time since November!!!!! All was looking so Spring-like, and was filled with plans, but awoke, this morning, to another snow blanket. Seems to be melting fast, though, Thank Goodness!

Had just been out, the other day, checking on the progress of the Narcissus bulbs in our pirate treasure chest,planted last Autumn. They are all coming through, but, now, again, under snow. Two varieties, named "Fortune" and "Golden Ducat". They should be blooming, hopefully, by Easter, lol!!!

Should be "ship-shape" again, soon, me" 'earties"! :-)))

12 Mar, 2011


Too bad about the "white stuff"...nice your bulbs are coming up in the treasure chest :)

You've been busy..."The Haven" mistress will be happy to see you returning to her beautiful grounds. Lots of work ahead for you there with the start of the growing season.

I wonder how the bank of daffs are looking that you planted at the Haven? I bet alongside that path it will look spectacular.

12 Mar, 2011


I thought about you the other day when they forecast lots of snow for Scotland. Hope you are able to get on with your plans for your garden for this year,David.

13 Mar, 2011

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