I've been in Goes many times, visiting 'my' client, an insurance company. They had been having trouble with their installation lately: they tinkered with something, tried to restore that, and accidentally broke their testing environment. Normally this wouldn't be much of a problem, but they were on the brink of switching to a new application for their car insurance (more than half of all the cars in the province of Zeeland are insured with them!) -- and now they couldn't test the output. They tried calling the helpdesk, but they were unable to really get them going: the installation is a bit complicated, and it's hard to gasp just what is happening from logfiles. Only me and colleague J. would be able to quickly fix it, but our agendas are completely filled up until somewhere in the middle of August...
So I said: "OK, I am in Goes on Friday. I could pop by, but then I want them to pay my hotel bill!" (Which would be around EUR 200.) After some deliberation, I got the go-ahead from the account manager and one of the CEOs to call them and propose this. They agreed (paying my hotel would be cheaper than having me come over for a day). So I dropped off klik at ishtar's (which was only two streets behind my client's office) and went there. After an hour, I had their installation up and running again. I guess that was the most that I ever earned in one hour -- not bad. :)
Anyway, after a quick cup of tea we went into the city centre to check into the hotel and amble through the city for a bit. Goes is a pleasant city, and we checked out a (free) exhibition of home-made (and often home-designed) embroidery works, about which I've posted earlier. We had a delicious cup of tea near the hotel. Then we went back to ishtar to have dinner there. It was very pleasant, but I found myself falling asleep late that evening, so we retired to the hotel.
Next morning, there seemed to be a problem with our reservation. We were (promptly!) served a very fresh breakfast, but then afterwards it turned out that we hadn't been properly entered into 'the system' -- so we caught them by surprise when we asked for breakfast... The lady who ran the show was very nice about it, though, and promised to make things right.
We had the whole morning and early afternoon in Goes, and we did some shopping. Not much to say about that, other than that we bought too much stuff again. Then we met up with ishtar and her family to go hunting for oysters! It was pretty cold and windy, and the tide was already coming back in, so we couldn't really go out on the pier to collect them -- but we did manage to scrounge up a bucket full of them! It was nice to be at the sea-side for a bit.
Then it was back to home to prepare the oysters -- I did manage to avoid eating any, but klik did have them as well as the traditional mussels. Again, a lovely evening was had by all.
Back at the hotel, we heard loud groups of drunk youngsters roam the streets -- fortunately, our room was not near any of the 'main' streets, so we could sleep without being woken constantly. The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel again, and then packed up our stuff and checked out -- the bill had to be made manually, because our booking still wasn't in order, and I needed the bill to get my money back!
Then it was off to Middelburg. We didn't want to go to Sluis (where the shops are open every Sunday) because I didn't want to tack on another hour to our trip back. Middelburg turned out to be a very charming town (though indeed all the shops were closed). We spent a few hours in a cafe, drinking tea (and coffee) and reading designing magazines. Then we saddled up again and went back, all 175 kilometers of it!
We collected the cat from the pension where we had brought him on Friday -- our usual place didn't have any place for him, so we found another one. We had our doubts when we dropped him off, but when we collected him, I was shocked with what I found. He had spent all weekend in a small, unheated cage, because the lady "didn't know him". I just have no words for it -- my overriding concern was to get him home immediately. I don't care what I have to do, but he is never going back there.
nathreee also needed a place for her cat, and we had pointed them in the direction of this place. So I called them when we got back and told them what had happened. So now we go to their house to feed the cat every day this week -- because I don't want him to go there either. Today I went for the first time, and he was unusually sociable -- untill he had his food. ;)
Written on Tuesday, but I could only post it now after the kerfuffle has blown over.