To Holland and Back Again

At the beginning of 2014, I went back to live and work in Holland. Why? Please read on.

I said goodbye to my English dance school, which I ran for 15 years, I said goodbye to my whole family. I said goodbye to the good friends I have known in England for many years. I said goodbye to my Epping Forest Outdoor Group friends. Why? Because I felt I needed a change of scenery and a change of work.

Returning to Holland, where I had previously lived for 20 years, revisiting my old life and old friends seemed to be the way forward.

Maz”, I asked, “Could you please continue sending me the weekly EFOG emails with all the activities. I want to keep in contact with The Epping Forest Group and their members and all the club news!"

Once I was settled in Hilversum, (the Dutch centre of radio and television), with my own apartment and garden (for my dog Serena), I wanted to do some exercise (a second nature to me) but what should I do? Should I join another outdoor group in Holland? Instead I chose tennis, which I played four times a week. Also I had extra tuition from my coach, Ingrid, as I wanted to go back to playing competition. By joining the local gym I could build up my fitness level quicker. Twice a week I trained in the gym.

I was quite happy with all of this for a while, but noticed how I missed my outdoor group and its activities. Paul Ferris and Val Shepherd and I are qualified RYA Canal Boat Handlers. We were so excited with the canal boat trip in Wales organised by Peter Gamble that we had to take it a step further. I trained further to become a helmswoman for Canalability in Harlow, taking groups of disabled people on day trips along the river.

gill en serena artAlso my dog Serena, who was used to regular group walks with EFOG, did regular weekly dog group walks. The big dogs always leapt out in front whilst the small dogs like Serena - my Shih Tzu -  and Marvin the Chihuahua, always followed in my footsteps

The forest walks with Serena in the area were delightful. Serena loved that, but it still wasn’t the same as the walks we did with the Epping Forest Group. Serena missed all the attention she received from the adult members and I missed all their friendly chats along the way.

As time went on, I realised that I was not happy in Holland - all my good Dutch friends now had families and therefore had little time for anything and anyone else. That is what can happen when you are living alone, unfortunately. That made life pretty lonely for me. When I caught a nasty bacteria in the spring of 2017 and felt very unwell I realised the importance of family and friend support, so I decided to return to England for good.

So back to:

Thursday EFOG club evenings – full of quizzes, bring and buy sales, various themed parties, dance events and guest - or club-member - speakers.

Weekend walks; visits to places of interest; foody evenings in our favourite restaurants; bike rides through the forest; boat trips.

I love it.

Wow, I am so pleased to be back with the Epping Forest Group!! And I am building a happy life now which is full of family involvement plus plenty of Epping Forest Outdoor Group activities.

Gill L,  5th February 2018