To the Netherlands!

We left Rome in the brilliant sunshine and crisp air of a perfect winter´s day. Two hours later we were beginning our descent, sliding over the candy floss cloudscape and watching the shadow of our plane ringed with a rainbow aurora, down to another world of gloom and rain. Oh dear. I told the kids to say goodbye to the sun for the next week.

We flew in to Eindhoven, a former military airport, now equipped with a single baggage carrousel made out of mechanno, powered by a Scalextric motor, which meant that the suitcases shot off the corners just like the racing cars always did. The welcomers were ruddy-cheeked and windswept, striding through the sleet, cheerfully underdressed in T-shirts and fleeces. We were wrapped like a polar expedition and still shivered. We´ve grown soft in the south.

To be fair, the sky cleared shortly after we headed north but the wind is still howling at the windows of our bedroom. I haven´t mentioned it to the kids, but it IS a little scary…