Hope in Holland: Tweeting on the stairway to Haarlem during Pools tour

I'LL GO TO THE FOOT OF THE STAIRS: My Haarlem hotel
I'LL GO TO THE FOOT OF THE STAIRS: My Haarlem hotel
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I RETURNED to Twitter yesterday after a close-season break.

I would call it a self-imposed exile, only my other half actually reads this column.

I recall the conversation (one-way, may I add) going something like this, “If I hear so much as just one notification alert on your phone then it will be you getting your notice”.

I logged off. No time for goodbyes, either. I simply winged away into a Twitter-free sphere.

Yesterday, though, I reacquainted myself with life inside 140 characters.

Announcing my return to Holland to cover Pools, there was just one topic populating my “notifications” feed.

“I hope you’re not going to upset anyone this year” … “Make sure you give it to them if they’re rubbish” … “Looking forward to round two” …

The cause of such comment was, of course, a minor Twitter-housed disagreement I had with one of the Pools lads last summer during the pre-season tour.

He didn’t like something I’d written and said so, fair enough.

At the time it prompted much debate on social forums and, evidently, it hasn’t been forgotten.

Sadly, for those anticipating a rematch, I must report that myself and said Pools player have since kissed and made up – well, we phoned each other and had a chat.

In fact, during a soccer-starved summer of gardening, decorating and auditioning for Supermarket Sweep (and that’s just my morning shift) it was a relief to have a decent conversation about all things football.

Of which, I am happy to reveal, the upshot was to hope for a more enjoyable season on both the pitch and in print.

We’ve just got to get through tonight’s game first ...

MY STAIRWAY TO HAARLEM

I HAVE arrived in Haarlem – twinned with Chernobyl, at least judging by the amount of people on the streets.

Busy, it is not.

I thought my first impressions (empty seats and empty promise) may have been skewed by the fact that my arrival coincided with a Wednesday.

But no, apparently Haarlem isn’t that busy on a Saturday either.

I saw one decent-enough place en route from the station to my cell – I’ll probably head back there later on for a Subway Melt.

As for the alleged distance between the station and my abode, the hotel website had, quite boastfully, declared just five minutes.

For Robin van Persie, perhaps.

Not, sadly, for an out-of-shape reporter.

And that is before I got to the hotel stairs (pictured above and on my Twitter account).

If Colin Cooper and Craig Hignett thought they had it hard climbing Mount Kilimanjaro then try negotiating these after a couple of Amstel.

One wrong step could rule you out for the season.

But, thus far, I have survived both the stairs and the crowds (!).

Something tells me this could be my second visit to Haarlem – the first and the last!