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Category: Entertainment

Bobbie Beer himself

Bobbie Beer himself

Cole turned 10 yesterday, so, to celebrate, we went out for dinner at Bobbie Beer in Almere. This was our first dining out experience as a family since we moved to the Netherlands, not counting places like Burger King, so it was quite exciting for us.

Now, I can tell what you are thinking, and no, I did not take my 10 year old son to a pub for his birthday dinner. Beer is the Dutch word for bear, so in fact, we went to a bear-themed family restaurant. To be fair though, you are able to buy beer there too.

The restuarant has a lovely atmosphere, and is great place to go to with kids. It is also perfectly situated with a perfect view of the Weerwater, a large lake bordering on the edge of the Almere city centre.

Some of the decor

Some of the decor

Being a Friday night as well, you would expect the place to be bustling and unpleasant, but the noise levels were low even though the restaurant was rather busy.

The food was good and came in fairly large quantities ensuring that we did not starve. Cole and I had spare ribs that we perfectly tender and absolutely delicious, while Claudia treated herself to a scrumptious chicken salad.

The service was also excellent, and Cole even got a surprise for his birthday. The staff came to sing to him while bringing his dessert.

The most surprising thing of all though, was the affordability. Restaurants in the Netherlands are not known for their low prices, but Bobbie Beer certainly cost a lot less than we would have expected, especially compared to the quality of our experience.

All in all, they score full marks in my book for a value-for-money family-oriented restaurant.

Me and the birthday boy

Me and the birthday boy


One of the guys at work told me that I cannot considered myself integrated into Dutch life until I have watched my first Eurovision Song Contest.

The Dutch appear to be absolutely crazy over the competition, even though the local entry did not work out for them, not making the final round, much like the last 6 or 7 years before.

This is surprising, since it appears that the vast majority of Dutch TV is devoted to local talent and singing contests.

So I settled down to watch the finals, which I would find hard to miss, as it was broadcast on three of my available channels.
Out of 43 countries entered, 26 had made it to the final.

My musical tastes cannot be considered hip, since most of my favourite music is 200 years old (classical and opera, in case you working that out – but I do love rock and light jazz too), so many of the acts all sounded rather boring and boy-band like, but there were a few really interesting performances inbetween, my favourites being France and Italy.

The judging system is rather tedious and you have to sit through all 43 countries tell you who they liked the most, which this year turned out to be Azerbaijan.

People clearly seemed to like them, but the voting clearly showed to me that I have absolutely no clue as to what is happening on the music scene in Europe.

And, can someone please explain me why on earth Isreal enters a European song contest…..


I was born at just the right time to be able to grow up enjoying folling the adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise in Star Trek – The Next Generation.

Much like my previous Friday Flashback post on Into the Eagles Nest, I was around Cole’s age when the series started and got hooked, although I wouldn’t consider myself a true Trekkie – Star Trek uniforms were rather hard to come by in South Africa in the late 80′s and early 90′s.

Well, tonight I introduced Cole to the best series on TV when I was his age, starting with the first ever episode, Encounter at Farpoint.

It is rather funny to watch the dated special effects, which I grew up believing were superb, but it is still so fun to watch, but then maybe that is just nostalgia talking. I also do not remember Deanna Troi’s uniform being quite so short. No wonder the male officers had a thing for her!

Captain Picard was a big hero for me growing up, so I have no need to say ehich camp I am in in the Picard vs Kirk debate…


As a South African living in the Netherlands, one of the first questions people often ask me when they meet me is “So, do you like Die Antwoord?” This highlights everything that is wrong with the world.

Die Antwoord (translated as “The Answer”) consists of Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek, and I am pretty sure that there is more musical talent in my goldfish in my fishpond than there are in these hacks.

Now, I don’t mind that the band exists, or that there are people who would want to listen to them. Everyone is free to enjoy whatever music they like, no matter how bad it is.

What I do mind though, is that suddenly all good taste in the world seems to have disappeared and this band is now the most recognisable – and popular – band coming out of South Africa, causing a global sensation. They have even had a world tour.

It gets worse than that though. The Guggenheim Foundation – who apparently know what good contemporary art looks like, but I am not so sure anymore – voted one of their videos one of the top 25 internet videos in the last 2 years”.

Seriously? Was the rest of the millions of videos so bad that they had to include Die Antwoord? Heck, I would even count Rebecca Black as being more talanted than these guys.

I have been unable to sit through an entire music video of their’s, fearing that my IQ would suffer a permanent drop after listening to Ninja and Yo-Landi’s whiny voice singing those white-trash lyrics.


I adore opera music. I really do. And I have my mother to blame for that.

You see, when I was 6 years old, my mother took me to see a ballet, The Nutcracker Suite, and ever since then I have had a love for all things theatre, and that includes opera.

The downsides of this of course is that opera is not exactly seen as an “in” art form. People tend to give you strange looks when you sitting next to them in traffic with an Aria from Carmen or The Magic Flute playing loudly in your car.

Well, I, unfortunately, have repeated the mistakes of my mother. I have introduced Cole to opera and ballet, and he now loves it too.

This raised it’s head this weekend. Cinema Nouveau have over the next few months planned to show several recorded versions of operas at the cinema, and I was planning on taking Claudia to go watch a few. Cole, however, told me in no uncertain terms that I dare not leave him out of it. How many 7-year-old’s willingly want to go watch a full opera?

Maybe opera will never die….


One of my favourite things when I was growing up was the circus. Another one of my favourites was pirates. Not the Somalian oil tanker hijacking variety, mind you, but rather the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean kind. Now take both of these and combine them and you get the fantastic show I saw last night.

I went to see The Pirate Experience, put on by Boswell Wilkie Circus at the Grand West Arena, with Claudia and Cole and we enjoyed it thouroughly. And trust me, it takes a lot to hold a 7 year old’s attention for almost 2 hours. 

It has everything you could ask for including a drunken sailor harassing the crowd, sword fights, a lake with actual water on stage, a huge ship and many supurb acrobatic and aerial acts.

It also had a story of sorts binding the whole show together, but that played second fiddle to the acts. There was never a moment when the action stopped and at times there was two or three different acts happening at once.

There was only one element missing from my youthful circus experiences and that was the tantalising smell
of sawdust and popcorn, which was more than made up for by the caliber of the performance.

I am very glad to see that the circus is able to reinvent itself in a time when I feared that it might become a relic of the past.
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