Last but definitely not least!

DSC_0341 This is the whole staff team here at IBTSC Amsterdam – at least until Our Leader leaves in September. The one person I have not yet introduced in the blog is beside me on the right of the photo – Marianne van Zwieten. Marianne is the Study Centre Administrator and she joined IBTSC in 2014, right at the start of the Amsterdam era. Earlier that year she re-migrated to the Netherlands after living for 40 years in South Africa. Marianne’s administrative, financial and organisational skills are a fantastic boon to IBTSC and she keeps us all on our toes in so many ways. She also makes sure we are well informed about all aspects of international swimming, as her son competes for the Netherlands and swam in the recent world championships in Budapest. Marianne van ZwietenMarianne is proficient in both English and Dutch (very helpful for an English speaking international organisation located in the Dutch capital). She really enjoys the challenges of working in a multicultural organisation and always goes out of her way to make each colleague, student and visitor feel welcome at IBTSC. Much of the stylish décor and furnishing of the new Baptist House is due to Marianne’s good taste and design sense – she certainly has a wide range of skills. She makes decisions pretty quickly in work, so I tried her out on a few really important choices:

Dutch or South African food? South African –especially braai (BBQ)
Bus or bicycle? Bicycle
City or countryside? Countryside
Classical or rock music? Classical
Trousers or skirts? Trousers every time
Main course or dessert? Main
Books or Kindle? Books – I like the feel of an actual book
Leading or following? Following – most of the time!
Favourite hobby? Astronomy
Best advice you ever received?
-Do to others as you would have them do to you.
-Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.
-Nothing is coincidence.


Dot in clogs Aug 17Just enjoyed a touristy weekend. Our friend Barbara came to visit from Belfast for a few days and, in between the inevitable and incessant chatter, we did some touristy things.   We took the bus and train into Amsterdam and did a tour of the new Baptist House where David and I work (Barbara treated everyone to cake at coffee time, so she is welcome to come again!). Then we wandered around the streets, bridges, canals and shops of central Amsterdam for the rest of the day.  On Saturday we visited Zaanse Schans – according to the website it is ‘a unique piece of Dutch history on the river Zaan’. As well as lots of windmills, traditional weaving, chocolate making, museums and souvenir shops, we saw a clog being made (fascinating process) and also tried on some slightly oversized ones (silly touristy thing number one). We ate apple tart (compulsory fare here) and even took a selfie in front of a windmill (silly touBarbara J and Dot Aug 17risty thing number two).  We completed the weekend by going to the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam on Sunday morning and having lunch with the Blythes at our favourite wee pancake house in the Flower Market. Then we were off to deliver Barbara to Schiphol so she could go on a proper holiday for a week to recover!