Friday, 23 February 2018

Brom and the sinking ship


Remember the party I went to on Tuesday evening? Well, it lasted through the night and into the morning and me and Mouse really weren't in a fit state to go anywhere. So, Mara and Gera left us behind while they went on their big day out and she will have to tell you all about it.

The only way to eat that scrumptious pavlova
Thank you Brom, hope you feel better now 😃. Indeed, me and my sister went on our big day out. Usually when I visit my sister or my sister visits me, we don't do outings every day, but one or two during the visit. 

The tender called Nomadic
Since my sister, despite having lived in Northern Ireland for 12 years (exactly, today!!) had never visited the Titanic Experience, we decided to do that. By the time we got there though, we were quite peckish and decided to have lunch first. Quiche and pavlova. Double yum! 

One of the first class areas on the tender
After that we visited the only tender left that was built by Harland & Wolff shipyards. All the others had perished over the years. It was used in Cherbourg (France) to ferry people from the quay-side to the big ocean liners waiting for them, because the water was too shallow for the big ships to come all the way in. And one of the ships it served was in fact the Titanic!

My sister trying her hand at the telegraph spelling CQD (the fore-runner of SOS) 
Next we went back into the main Experience building to see the Titanic exhibition. It was fairly dear, but my goodness, it was worth every single penny! The few attendants we talked to knew what they were talking about and gave good and clear information. There was a small ride that again was very informative in how the ship was built. 

You can see a faint outline of the ship on the left.  
We saw the actual site the Titanic and one of its two sister ships (Olympic) was built, we saw some examples how some of the cabins looked like, first, second and third class. I feel even the third class cabins and accommodation in general would still stand up today as decent. 

An example of a double third class cabin, with sink
Last but not least there was of course the section about how and where the ship went down. Stories about survivors and about some of those who didn't make it. But also a section about the eventual discovery of the wreck and how it looked and what they found. All in all a very informative visit.

After a short visit and dinner to/at Ikea we made our way into Belfast itself. Our first stop there was a pub that was run by the National Trust. It was beautiful and I would have loved to take some more photos than I actually did, but just enjoying the atmosphere and our drink was good as well. It was however just a little stop-off before the main event: the theatre!

Recent research has shown that the fire in one of the coal storages (known about at the time) probably contributed heavily to the eventual sinking.
You may remember that I got a ticket to see 'The Importance of Being Earnest' for Christmas and last night was the night it was going to happen! At first it was a bit strange not to see Colin Firth and Rupert Everett on stage (I love that version), but the actors on stage did such a good job that they were soon forgotten. I loved the performance and it was a fantastic ending to a great day.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Brom is traveling again


And here I am again! Finally really, because we left Norway on Monday and now it's already Thursday!! But Mara says she and Gera have been really busy doing not much and that is tiring work.

Mara, I think we're in the wrong country!!!
But let me get back to Monday first. It was early. Really early. Like 4 am early that we had to wake up. First there was a car to pick us up and take us to the airport. There we took a plane to Oslo, which was late. Then we took another plane to London, which was late leaving but on time arriving. 

It was the right country... pfew!
And then we took yet another plane to Belfast. From there we took a bus, then a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaally slow train and another taxi and we were finally home away from home. 

Crocuses in Belfast, on our way to the train station
On Tuesday we took it easy. Mara was still a bit tired from the day before, even though she had slept for ages (like 87 hours or something like that) and since it is a holiday... 

Where are we going again?
In the afternoon however we went for a little walk. The walk was around a local lake and was really quite pretty, also because the weather was quite nice. By the way: the weather is supposed to be good all week!

Blooming gorse
In the evening Gera had to go out and left Mara and me on our own. Well, I say our own, Mouse was of course there as well. Plus some friends of Gera's. Party-time!

The lake we walked around

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

L'amour, de Paris


Surprise! Ç'est moi!! Ç'était trop longtemps, mais je suis retourné! Et Mara m'as dit, que je peux écrire quelque chose, parce aujourd'hui ç'est le Jour de Valentin! Et ç'est un jour spécial, parce que ç'est le jour de l'amour! 💓💓💓 Ah, l'amour...💓💓💓

Mais, pourquoi j'ecris en français? Parce que Ville de Blog a décidée d'aller à Paris pour célebrer ce grand jour d'amour. 💓💓💓 

Je pourrais vous montrer le Tour Eiffel ou le Louvre. Le Sacré Coeur, la Notre Dame? Ç'est un peu embettant, n'est-ce pas? Alors, je vais vous montrer quelque chose d'autre: le Palais de Versailles et l'Hameau de Marie-Antoinette. 

Il y avait beaucoup d'amour 💓💓💓 au Palais. Des rois et des reines, des princes et des princesses et tous les maîtres et maîtresses. Madame de Pompadour était une maîtresse. Le roi l'aimait 💓💓💓 mieux que son épousse! Ooh la la, l'amour! 💓💓💓 

Dans le palais il y a beaucoup des salles et des chambres. La salle aux mirroires est fantastique avec les grandes mirroires et les chandeliers. La chambre d'une reine était ouverte. Tous le monde pouvait voir la reine, pendant elle était au lit! Mais le palais manquait des salles de bains! Quand le roi devait fair pipi ou caca, il le faisait dans un coin! Eurgh!!

Au dehors, il y a l'Hameau de Marie-Antoinette. Un petit hameau qui était fait pour elle, parce-que elle voulait fair le boulot d'une laitière par example! Elle le ne faisait pas bien sûr, mais ç'est un jardin magnifique quand même.

Il n'y avait pas seulement une laiterie, il y avait aussi un moulin d'eau et des autres bâtiments. Et en plus des animaux comme des vaches, des cochons, des oies et beaucoup plus. Mara m'a dit, qu'elle aimait 💓💓💓 ce jardin, ç'était encore mieux que le palais!

J'éspère que vous tous ont pris plaisir de ces photos et que Google traduction vous a aidé, si vous avez besoin bien sûr! Moi, j'ai aimé 💓💓💓 écrire en français. 

PS: vous aimez 💓💓💓 ma tenue? Ç'est la Maman de Madi qui me l'a fait! Merci beaucoup, je l'aime 💓💓💓.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-05

For days now the prediction for today was snow and heavy snow at that. This was at 11am. Yes, it looks very snowy indeed...

Friday, 9 February 2018

Oh my!

It's been over a week since I last wrote. Another bout of not much going on, not willing to go online (honestly, the computer remained off for several days in a row) and having found a nice book to read. 

Of course some things did happen. I got news from the Northern Irish bus company. They sent me two trial tests that I would need to do. Now it's just a case of finding a date to do them. Apparently it is not possible to put me in a small corner of an empty office while I am staying with my sister soon, so I would have to book a flight (cost between 300 and 600 pounds) take the train and/or bus and/or taxi (all at extra costs) to do a test that will not last more than two hours. Frustration is putting it mildly.

Today was another big day. First of all: work. Nothing really special there. Then, once I was finished at 8.45 am it was time to make for the dentist. Fortunately I now know that when they say Maria they probably mean me, since they can't pronounce my proper first name. They took their x-rays, put some paste on my teeth, cleared a bit of plaque and told me I was done for another year. Brill...

Next it was the physio. A bit of creaking and pushing and pulling and a bit of current and then I was done. Cookie Car was thirsty so got a drink, I needed some more pills (as in 'the pill' against my endometriosis) and then it was off home. Because...

It was Olympic time!!!

Don't you just love it? I certainly do. I am not the most faithful of sports watchers. I don't do football or handball (a massive sport in Norway), but I do do the Olympics. And today was the opening. First country out: Greece. Nothing special. But then: Ghana! Huh?? Followed by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and all of a sudden the Netherlands walked in! 

Of course the countries walk in in alphabetical order of the host nation language. Which meant some complete surprises. When the United States came out, I thought the next might be Ukraine or the United Kingdom. It turned out to be Bermuda. In bermuda shorts no less! Although nothing on the gentleman from Tonga who came in bare chested. I was freezing for him, but he didn't seem to mind much. The entrance from both Koreas at once brought a tear to my eye. 

Ah well, the Olympics have started, a provisional list has been made of the sports I definitely want to see (biathlon, of course, and the longest speed skating events). Otherwise, I will see what I can catch. And I hope I will be back a bit more. No point in having a blog if I don't blog...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Money money money

Whenever I tell people what I earn here in Norway, they are always quite surprised: that much?? What they don't see at first glance is that when I buy things, it also costs that much! For example: a simple pint of lager in a bar downtown could easily set me back 100 kroner (more in some cases), whereas I would pay half that in the UK. It's relative.

I get by quite easily. At the end of the month I have been able to save up over 10% of my wages and usually still have some money left over. I don't complain. But it is quite a shock when you get to see the 'average wages list' of jobs here in Norway. And you just know you're in the wrong line of work.

You may have guessed that my job as a bus driver is not a high ranking one. Putting up our wages means having to put up ticket prices which in turn means fewer people take the bus which means that there is no need for so many lines and in turn that means no lines no buses and no bus drivers. A vicious (literally) circle. 

Every year a list is compiled with the average wage of every profession. A total of 335 professions made it onto the list of 2017. I definitely do not want to be working as a helper in a farming situation: the lowest of the bunch. Bingo hosts (yes bingo hosts) and bookies are not that much higher on the list: 322. Tour guides only make 314 (although to be fair, that is their wage, they might get some in tips which of course is not listed). The 'everythingpossibleman' (probably a handy man) made it onto place number 304. 

The top end of the list is filled with doctors, managers (the one in oil/gas is in first place), judges, engineers etc. 

So, where am I? What place on this grand list do we bus drivers fill? Drumroll.... place 252! Perhaps I should become a writer (88), 'another engineer' (77), train driver (63) or a politician (24). Or I could remain a bus driver and enjoy my job. 

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-04

I helped prepare dinner last night for our annual union meeting. Together with two other ladies I helped the main man prepare an absolutely scrumptious meal. We each got a box of wine as thank you. I got the pink one!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

This, that and the other

It's been nearly a week since I last wrote a post here. Don't worry: I am not sick, I have not ended up in a ditch somewhere and I have not been kidnapped by aliens. 

Instead I have been working long hours this week. Between nine and a half and ten hours each day. By the time I could take the bus home, I would be tired and fed up and not really feeling up to turning on my computer. Three days! And I didn't miss it either. Instead I watched television. No, I didn't even pick up the knitting needles, which is a turn up for the books. 

Then, yesterday I was off. A three day weekend, where the Friday would be spent making apple pie and the Saturday (ie today) will be spent with a union meeting. I will make my way to the meeting in about 90 minutes time from now, together with two large apple pies! 

Of course before I could put the first pie in the oven, I had to deal with the smoke alarm that kept blaring. The rack on which the pie had to stand was a bit on the dirty side. In the end though I did manage to get the first pie in. Of course I didn't have enough apple/raisin mix for the second pie, which meant that more apples had to be peeled. About four kilos in total!

I wondered why that was, since before I would have too much mix. Until I looked at the cake tin. I had used the biggest of the lot I have (28 cm ⊘) instead of the usual (24 cm ⊘). Puzzle solved! Now I just need to get the second pie away from its base without ruining the whole cake (I only sort of managed the first one).

So, now you know. No aliens, ditches or illnesses. Just not in the mood!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-03

A sort of ussie this week. Miss Oswin wasn't interested in looking at the camera. 

Friday, 19 January 2018

More snow

When I woke up this morning, it was snowing heavily and it didn't stop for several hours I think. Which meant that roads were nearly impossible to clear and conditions in some places could get tricky. I was okay though: the bus and I took it easy and we got everywhere we needed to without too much delay.

I finished at midday and my first stop (during another bout of heavy snowing) was the physio. After that it was home. Now, to get to the house, I have to drive UP ↑ the hill. Which I did. Until I didn't. The car started spinning, the direction changed and I stopped. I put it in reverse (right into the grass), back in forward gear, but nothing. No movement. *Sigh*

Definitely not its regular place.
Since there was enough room for the other cars of the household to drive past, I felt I might as well leave the car until the snow is gone again. I won't need the car for a few days anyway. I made my way to the house and as I tried to enter, my landlord's brother came out. He had had difficulties as well, although not to the same degree) and was now going to shovel snow. 

After about an hour I thought: even though he is shoveling snow, it might freeze over later and then there could be trouble. Because if somebody tries to get past my car, gets into trouble and then hits my car... So, I decided to get the car out. One way or another. 

On with the heavy duty snow clothes and shoes and out I went. Brother had just finished shoveling and drove off (past my car, no problem) and I started the car. Within seconds the car started beeping. Seat belt! That sorted, I drove forwards. Well, I say drove, more like tried, because it wouldn't budge. Reverse was a bit easier, but still not enough movement. 

I got out, removed snow, removed some more snow and got back in. Beep beep. Oh *&^%$&^&*!! In the end the car was at right angles in the drive. In other words: no car was getting past me! And then it hit me (figuratively speaking): don't try to go up ↑ the drive, go down ↓ it! Which I managed in about three seconds flat. And because the drive had been shoveled, it was easy backing up ↑ the drive again to park the car in its regular spot.