Chairman’s Corner March 2013
Friends, Amsterdammers, fellow CADS….
After last month’s witty and motivational speech from Dr Willem about the new Scheepsvaartmuseum (do go and see it, it’s great!), we have a change of pace and subject this month. Don’t forget that we are a week early (22nd).
Wullie MacMorland, who organises the Alkmaar Whisky Festival each year, and owns the Hielander restaurant, is coming to talk to us about the water of life…. Uisge beatha in Gaelic.
(Whisky to us sassenachs). Don’t bring your car!
Mike and Jean went to the palace, and Mike managed to recruit Princess Anne as a future guest speaker (it runs just like a London club, Ma’am). Note that on May 7th we are all going to the ambassador’s residence for an evening reception to celebrate. HE has kindly loaned us the use of his reception room for the event, and we will be sending details around shortly. Don’t miss it…
Last Monday, the CADS committee was invited to a reception on board HMS St Albans, which visited Amsterdam for 2 days R&R before returning to Portsmouth for her first refit. She is a type 23 frigate, a relatively small but very businesslike warship armed with both ship killing and cruise missiles. She has more punch than any of the older battleship or cruiser classes. Her principal role is submarine detection and destruction, using long towed arrays of passive sonar, backed up by active buoys dropped by her helicopter. During the reception it was noted that Anglo-Dutch trade is growing rapidly, and we are now number 3 in the rank of countries for UK exports. Is this the Nick Clegg effect? I think rather more the Paul Arkwright effect, together with his team and particularly our member Mark Ashwell. So do congratulate him when you next see him.
And a major rap across the knuckles for NS. Since obtaining an OV card my expenses for Dutch rail travel have tripled. In order to understand this I had to visit the travel desk at Schiphol, which I did on the way from London last evening. They cheerfully informed me that due to system difficulties, and my own learning curve of touching in and out correctly, they have managed to charge me a penalty fare of 20 Euros additional for each and every journey I’ve made to date this year. The result is they defraud their customers, and keep it quiet unless you check. Then only refund monies at their own discretion if you write to them with the evidence using snailmail. I have offered them the use of the London Oystercard team to help them improve. In the meantime the message is clear. Don’t use the OV card to travel, and if you absolutely must, then ensure you perform a 100% audit!!!