Hup Orange!

Okay, I am one day late – but better late then never! All I can say is that I am glad that today is an official holiday in Botswana, Labour Day.

Yesterday living in the diplomatic enclave was a real experience……..

For those of you who have not been following the news, yesterday marked the hand over of royal authority from the Netherlands Queen Beatrix to her son, Prince (now King) Williem-Alexander. Of course living within the Botswana residence of the Netherlands Honorary Consul, the ever regal  Jetske meant a in-house celebration. Her home was open to Dutch nationals who wanted to watch the festivities live on a large screen.

By the time I joined the celebrations  in the afternoon, they had been well under way for many hours. The mood around this coronation is definitely very happy and jubilant. It was wonderful to watch the pride of the Dutch nationals and supporters gathered in Jetske’s living room. There were paper crowns, orange decorations and sashes along with traditional foods.

As I noted in early posts, Jetske and I had prepared for her reception last Saturday night the home made liquer, Advocaat which really is a lethally potent drink. Having gotten somewhat tipsy by just inhaling the fumes of brandy and vodka while whisking the concoction as it was cooking I should have been prepared for actually drinking it. Then watching grown and very tall men drink it last Saturday night all the while exclaiming how extremely potent it was should have been the additional warning to beware.

Jetkse and I had made three batches of Advocaat and ended up keeping one bottle as we felt it hadn’t turned out as well as the other later batches…we definitely got better at it after making the first batch. Of course, yesterday our bottle came out for the celebrations. The always impeccable hostess immediately prepared a glass of it for me when I first settled down in her living room to watch along with the others.

Advocaat is traditionally served in a glass (it is very like egg nog) topped with whipped cream. I now fully understand why you need the whipped cream on top of an already very sweet drink….it helps dilute the potent brew. Let’s just say that it took me some time to finish my glass and had several eyes watering moments. It truly is potent. The Honorary Consul kept noting how slow I was at consuming it. Eventually while still sitting upright my glass was done. An accomplishment that I am proud of. 

Once the living room had emptied out of visitors, Jetske decided that now she would have a glass as well. She had not indulged in it early when she poured my glass. So I was given a second glass of Advocaat and I knew that I was done for. After Jetske’s first taste she fully understood the potency of this batch. First we attempted to dilute it with ice cubes then she had the brilliant idea of getting out the ice cream and using it as a topping.

So for the first time in my life, yesterday I got totally drunk off of ice cream thanks to the coronation of the new Dutch King. Thank you King Williem- Alexander and Jetske. This picture Jetske took of me pretty much says it all:

Who says alcohol and ice cream don't mix?
Who says alcohol and ice cream don’t mix?

And note to self – never try to cook chicken curry when inebriated. I ended up opening a can of tomatoes instead of coconut milk by mistake….luckily Jetske was making a homemade soup that the can of tomatoes could go into….and my curry actually turned out delicious in the end.

But I am so thankful that today is a national Botswana holiday and not a Dutch one! I really need to recuperate!

 

   

 

Diplomatic Success

Well, the big event has now come and gone – and was a total success!

Honorary Consul Jetske certainly knows how to throw an excellent party! It was her first as Consul and a very important event. There are changes happening in the Dutch Royal Family as Queen Beatrix has resigned in order to allow her son, Prince Willem-Alexander to become King.

April 27 is Prince Willem-Alexander’s birthday and will be known as King’s Day during his reign. He will be the first male monarch of the Netherlands since 1890. His succession to the throne on April 30 is highly anticipated and will be a huge celebration in the Netherlands.

The regal Consul Jetske provided a perfect reception honouring Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Maxima. As has been noted in early postings preparations for this reception have been taking place for a while. All of this preparation certainly paid off as the event could not have been any better.

The advance crew formed of Jetske, Louis (resident of #3) and myself arrived at Botswanacraft, the venue for the reception two hours in advance to set up. We joined there by Jetske’s best friend, Daphne who assisted me with decorating and preparing the cheese trays. Transforming the venue in which I am use to dancing up a storm late at night happened surprisingly quickly but with not a lot of time to spare.

As Louis, the bartender for the evening focused on setting of the bar, we set to work moving tables, decorating and ensuring all was ready by the time the invited guests would begin to arrive. I wish that I had of thought to take before pictures but as a goal orientated person as soon as my feet climbed out of the vehicle I was in full accomplishment mode and forgot to stop to take pictures.

However this what the venue looked like after we had worked our decorating magic:

IMG_0917

IMG_0918

 

#3 aka Louis and bartender for the evening
#3 aka Louis and bartender for the evening

 

 

The Royal Couple
The Royal Couple

 

Dutch Flag
Dutch Flag

 

Our decorating handy work
Our decorating handy work

 

 

Cheese anyone?
Cheese anyone?

 

Hope I have made you hungry!
Hope I have made you hungry!

So you can see, the venue looked wonderful and ready for the arrival of guests. I have no more pictures on my camera as I switched to the Consul’s camera to be official event photographer, logistics coordinator and everything else that needed to be done. I did capture a great picture of Peter taking a picture of me taking a picture of him 🙂

Oh, by the way the Advocaat that Jetkse and I made last Saturday was a huge hit and apparently extremely potent! Jetske and I are looking for to drinking our reserved bottle some quiet evening. I will let you know how it goes…….

What a morning!

After a very stormy, windy and cold night this morning has been action packed!

Suffering a little due to lack of sleep – no, I wasn’t out dancing last night! My lack of sleep is a result of the storm which lasted all night long. Here when it rains, it really pours at times. Combine that with the tin and tile rooftops it makes for quite a noise. Add in thunder and lightning and strong wind it is very difficult to sleep through. Last night the storm lasted most of the night off and on with about 40 minutes or so sometimes between the thunder & lightning and downpours. At one point there was even hail.

There are many pluses to this weather though. Rain is desperately needed so any downpours are celebrated. And the chilly rainy weather last night was a perfect reason to curl up in my Goldilocks bed and read. No laptop allowed when there is lightening! Thankfully, we did not suffer our fourth power outage of the week as the power stayed on against the odds. See lots to be happy about!

So the morning dawned cold, rainy and grey! Today is Jetske’s birthday and also preparation day! Not for her birthday – we are having a family dinner tomorrow night to celebrate it if the power stays on.

The preparation is for Jetske’s first official reception as the Honorary Consul of the Netherlands. You can view the official invite by clicking on this link:

Uitnodiging

The event is next Saturday and I am happily assisting Jetske prepare traditional food and drink for the event. So this morning started with me delivering Jetske’s birthday present and getting straight into rolling cookie dough into little balls. Following the first batch of cookies, we immediately went into preparing advocaat, a traditional dutch drink that is very similar to eggnog as it is made with eggs, sugar and brandy.

All I can say is that by 8:30 am this morning I was drunk from the fumes of the potent brew that we were making. After making 3 batches it is truly a wonder that I could still stand, let alone continue to function as a cook! Let’s just say that not only were there lots of fumes to inhale but there was a little batch testing to ensure that it was adequate for consumption at the reception next week. We determined that our first batch was not up to the standard of the next two so that simply means that Jetske & I must force ourselves to consume that bottle on our own 🙂

So, as you can see it has been a busy morning including a trip to Game City grocery shopping for the items that I needed to work my birthday dessert magic for tomorrow night. And now, I have to go as there is another double batch of cookie dough chilled ready to rolled into balls. Just pray that we aren’t making any more advocaat…..I will need to sober so that I can go out tonight!

 

Living with Royality

I am now living in an official Diplomatic enclave!  The flag has been hoisted –

The Netherlands flag
The Netherlands flag

 

The shields are up –

 

Embassy Row
Embassy Row

 

Consulate Office
Consulate Office

 

It is now official, Jetske Trueman is the Honourary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Botswana

 

The Consul & Consort
The Consul & Consort

 

So now I must officially behave myself…physically impossible I know but I will try… and I must curtsey to Her Majesty upon seeing her first thing in the morning. Thankfully, I received diplomatic training twenty-five years ago when I was completing my Masters in International Relations in Paris, France so only a refresher course is required.

When I moved into Peter’s Place, I had no idea that I would be residing within diplomatic walls…guess that means that I have to start wearing underwear around the property on really hot days:)

Seriously, I am so happy and proud of Jetske. She is the perfect person to perform this role, as not only does she have a storied career in the diplomatic corps before she gave it all up to marry “young handsome” aka Mr. Peter. But she is a caring, compassionate, intelligent and extremely organized woman. There is no doubt in my mind that she will not only excel in the performance of her duties but will set a whole new standard to which her successors will need to achieve as well.

Congratulations Jetske on assuming the full duties of Honourary Consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Botswana!