Friday, 31 August 2012


As promised I will show you several photos I haven't yet shown of various things I saw on my trip last week. And the first is a photo of a giant wooden fish I found in Bryggen. This small girl showed no sign of moving out of the shot, so I decided to keep her in. She was definitely fascinated by it! The fish is probably a stockfish as they seem to call them in Bergen and was very important to the economy. It was caught in great numbers and then dried. That way they could be kept for long periods without going bad, which in turn meant they could be shipped to countries further south who had need for fish like these.
The second photo is of a manhole cover. If you look closely you can see it shows the Bryggen quarter, a ship, some clouds and the sun. Quite a few of the manhole covers in the tourist area of Bergen were like this, sometimes even the small ones. Further in town they were more regular though, although still quite pretty.
Photo number three shows you one of Norway's most well-known playwrights: Henrik Ibsen. It is quite a modernistic statue, but I must admit I quite like it. He is probably best known for his play 'Peer Gynt'.
This is it for today (I can't upload any more for some reason), but I have plenty more to show which I will do over the next few days and weeks.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


I posted this photo only the other day, but with a prompt like this one, how could I not? This photo certainly makes me happy! Whether he was happy I don't know. It certainly can't be nice to be in such a small place being photographed by everybody and their aunt!

This is my 34th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Photo taken in Akvariet, Bergen, Norway in August 2012

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

G is for...

Gobble gobble

I know, I am cheating a little, but I couldn't find another (recent) G I was happy with, so turkey it is! Turkeys originally hail from the Americas (North and Central) and are related to the chicken. They are now almost synonymous with Christmas as most of the English speaking nations of the world will eat turkey for their Christmas dinner.

This is the letter G for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A bit fishy

Stop with the photos already!
I know I don't look my best...
So, I didn't feel like spending more time on a boat (especially since the wind was quite a bit stronger today than yesterday) and I didn't think I could visit another museum filled with artefacts from yesteryear. So, in the end I made my way up to the aquarium of Bergen. Which also housed penguins, two seals, a couple of sealions, a few marmosets(?), a crocodile or two, many species of snake and they even had some fish. 

Some of the penguins were molting and looked decidedly dreadful, one of the seals was busy with a plastic milk bottle and the sea lions kept disappearing in the murky water. The snakes didn't do much, the iguanas, crocodiles and caymans dito and the fish just swam. They did have some nice looking fish though: herring and salmon amongst them. Of course they also had clown fish and crabs and whatevers, but the herring and salmon were there in great numbers. 

Don't rays look funny from the bottom?
After my visit to the aquarium I went to see the area behind the hotel. A nice quiet area made up of mostly wooden houses in quiet streets and alleys. Oh, and did I tell you it was very hilly? Well, it was! Knees and hips were not happy I can tell you. I didn't take any photos there, though, I was too out of breath. Later that afternoon I took another walk through the Bryggen area, visiting every store I hadn't yet been in and that was open. 

And now I am back in the hotel. I had the cheapest meal yet, in the hotel itself. I had ordered fish, but there wasn't that much of it. Fortunately there was plenty of salad. Tonight I will take it easy and tomorrow it's back to the Netherlands. Over the course of the next week I will show some great photos I haven't shown yet and tell you a bit more perhaps. For now though: ha det bra!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

On the road

'It rains in Bergen'
Have you ever been seasick? Feeling like a dirty dish cloth and looking even worse? Well, I have and that's the reason I went to the pharmacist yesterday and asked for something to help with my seasickness. I didn't get seasick today, although I did sleep through some of the five and a half hours on board. Boy, did that stuff make me drowsy! A great sleeping aid if you ask me...

When it was dry we would have views like this
So, today I ventured out of Bergen. According to the weather reports it was supposed to be the best day of the week. And if you are a duck, it probably was. Since I am not a duck though, it wasn't too good. It started off with rain (see top photo, still taken at the quay in Bergen) and finished off with rain in Bergen. Fortunately in the middle we did have some dry spells and the sun did try its hardest, never quite making it. During the dry spells we did see enough water anyway: we were on the water for those five and a half hours!

We left at 8am and by 10am we had made it to the longest and deepest fjord in Norway: the Sognefjord. At its deepest it was 1,3km deep! That is over three quarters of a mile! Of course you can't really see that from the boat, so you just have to believe the captain when he says stuff like that. He could have been making it up of course!

Pretending to be interested: we were still in the station
After arriving in Flåm, I had about an hour to kill, so I hit the souvenir shops. There were plenty of trolls to choose from, but in the end I picked up a small hand carved wooden viking. I don't often buy souvenirs, because I would need a bigger house then, but I liked this one. The train was on time and once everybody had gotten off, we could get on. It was a lovely old fashioned one, with quite high vaulted wooden ceilings and windows you could actually open. Which proved to be a menace as much as a joy: everybody wanted to take photos out of our window! It was a great trip though, although at times very loud: some oil for the wheels wouldn't go amiss.

Sme in front of the Kjosfossen Waterfall
When I got to Myrdal, I only had to wait a few minutes before my train to Bergen arrived. Since I had a reserved seat I went in search of it and found a gentleman sitting there. He had misread his reservation: he had car 8 and not 6. I left him to it and went in search of car 8, where it turned out to be a lot quieter. I slept most of the way and arrived back in a very wet Bergen around 6pm. 

I would love to do this trip again, but then without the seasickness pills (I will take my chances) and with a companion. Oh and better weather of course!

Friday, 24 August 2012


View from Ulriken, which stands 643m above sea level.
Notice the lack of a fence behind me!
The last time I had an interview is over 13 years ago. To be a bit more precise: the second week of January 1999! I had just gotten my driver's license and was looking for a job then. I made my way towards a place I didn't know and it was only by sheer luck that I managed to bounce in right on time! In my memory I was out within ten minutes again, but in reality it will probably have been a bit more. Whatever it was though: I got the job. 

View from Floi, taken yesterday
So, when I got the interview for this morning I was getting more and more nervous. I didn't sleep as well and while I was waiting for my interviewer to come down (I was early), I was thinking of what I should answer and how over and over and over. I needn't have worried. She was really nice and friendly and put me at my ease immediately. She asked why I wanted to move to Norway and I completely forgot to tell her that part of it was the winters. How silly, since it is quite a big part of it. After a while she told me that my level of Norwegian was enough to actually be hired. 'If they were hiring that is'. Which they weren't. 

The cable car towers going up Ulriken 643
Now, before you all jump up and shout at the screen that she could have told me that before: she had. I knew I would be wait-listed if I were to be hired. However, I had also done a bit of homework myself and knew there were other branches of the same company and when she explained about those I told her I wouldn't mind that much if I wouldn't move to Bergen but to Haugesund (or Trondheim). She then proceeded to call to Haugesund and they did need people there!!

Self portrait on Ulriken 643
Anyway, the interview went on, she asked me about my hobbies, my life, whether I had a car, whether I had had any accidents ever(!) or damages and she explained about what the work would entail. It sounded as if I was listening to a Dutch person explaining the work at a public transport company. During the interview she also arranged a test-drive for me, which took place almost immediately afterwards. I didn't drive for long, but I guess the instructor saw enough in a short time and he let me go again in the center of town!

I now have to wait for news either from the Bergen office or the Haugesund office. But from what I felt: it's looking good. Just hoping they felt the same...

Thursday, 23 August 2012


He must have waited a long time!
I visited one of the seven hills of Rome Bergen today. But not to start off with. First I took advantage of the discount on a tour through the town. I saw places that were as beautiful as Bryggen and with a lot less tourists running about. I listened to the Norwegian commentary where a man was rattling off a lot of things. At first it took a bit of time to get used to his way of speaking, but in the end I managed to get quite a bit of information. 

After the tour I decided to go up the Floibanen. It's a fenicular (is that it?) train that goes up one of the seven hills: Floi. The view from the top was beautiful and it was certainly helped by the fact that the sun tried to come through and actually made it several times! It was now possible for me to see how big this town actually is. Huge! After all, there are about 250,000 people living there, but unlike many other towns with that number of inhabitants, it is quite spread out due to the large amount of water. 

One of the many many stairs
When I had made my way back down, I decided to go and visit two of the attractions I saw from the outside yesterday. I had wanted to see them yesterday, but they close at four. This time however I did manage it. The first was the Rosenkranz tower and if you're talking about towers: this was one! Not good for people with a bit more weight on the hips (there were a few doors I had to squeeze through) or with disabilities: the amount of stairs I had to climb...

Hakon's Hall was a bit of disappointment on the other side. It had originally been built by King Hakon I back in the 13th century and was used for the marriage and the coronation of his son (amongst many other things). I had expected a lot of decoration and pomp and over the topness. Perhaps it is not the Norwegian way, but it looked a bit barren. Mind you, it was mostly destroyed during WWII due to a German ship exploding almost next to it. But, it still looked great and grand, despite the lack of pomp!

Not suitable for cars. Or wheelchairs for that matter!
I then found the shops where I found a book I really wanted (a Norwegian dictionary), a cd I really wanted (Odd Nordstoga and it was on sale) and a thing to keep me warm I really wanted (a red, pink and white scarf). I didn't get to talk to any of the busdrivers, because by the time I had finished sight-seeing, it was rush hour. I did however take the tram and saw where I have to go tomorrow and what stop I need. 

So, that was my day between the seven hills of Rome Bergen!


I don't know whether it fits this prompt perfectly, but there was only one set of photos that fit, at least in my view!

I always love watching a small, young family, especially of the animal variety. This duck family was desperately trying to get to water and was finding it rather difficult: there was a wicker wall in the way that was blocking one side of their route and people blocking another side of their route. In the end though, one of the humans (my colleague) took pity and with a firm hand and a lot of coaxing he managed to get them on the right track. After which they all took the plunge into the water. Aaaahhh...

Of course part of the whole trip to the water was to make them swim more and trust the water. Find food and grow up, become like mum! Big and strong. Quack!

This is my 33rd entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

It rains in Bergen

One of the fish stalls selling food from the sea.
I once read that the slogan that Bergen uses is: 'It rains in Bergen'. And day two showed me that was true: it rained today. Fortunately not all day long though, there were plenty of dry spells and there were plenty of places to go in case of rain. 

Bryggen seen from across the harbour
After breakfast this morning I made my way first to the Tourist Information. There I booked myself a seat on a boat (don't forget to get some anti seasickness pills) and on a train. Both on the same day: Saturday. I really wanted to see Flam and had planned to go by train on Saturday and then by boat on Sunday. But money is going fast and this option was also available: boat in the morning, train back during the afternoon/evening. 

My evening meal: salmon with potatoes and vegetables
After that I started walking and seeing what I wanted to do. I went to the Fish market, which is really hard to miss: if you do, you have got no olfactory or visual senses anymore. On that market you can get anything from sardines and herring to lobster and whale. I actually had some fish dinner tonight: it is definitely cheaper and it tastes great. I was thinking of doing a Betsy (not getting a hot dinner, just going to the supermarket and getting some salads and such), but I got tempted by all the fish. I might have to go back tomorrow!

The Hanseatic headquarters run by the Germans
(later by the Norwegians)
During the afternoon I went on a guided tour. I had decided I would follow a Norwegian tour instead of a German or English tour, just to give myself a chance of hopefully picking something up. In the end, I had a completely private tour, since I was the only one! She did propose to do it in English, but we decided she would do it in Norwegian and if I didn't understand, I could ask in English. I admit, I didn't understand everything, but she really made an effort of not speaking too fast and I think I got about 75% of it. I occasionally had to ask and I tried to do that in Norwegian as well. She told me I spoke very well Norwegian (wasn't she sweet). 

Fish was the main reason the Hansa was there,
hence the fish hanging from the ceiling: decoration
Anyroad, she showed me the Bryggen area of Bergen and told me all about its Hanseatic history (which basically is the medieval version of the current EU) and about fires and customs. I think our tour took close to two hours, by which time she had explained an awful lot about fish as well, the main reason the Hansa took up residence in Bergen.

A big fire in 1703 burnt down the whole town basically.
After it was rebuilt and the Germans took over that quarter
they said: no fires or lights (candles) were allowed in any
of the buildings, bar a few at the very back, where meals,
parties and heat and light during the winter took place.
The day was a good day, despite the occasional shower. Whether my feet agree is another matter: they feel as if they have been locked up, especially after several weeks of bare footedness and sandals! I made it back to my room early and now they're enjoying their freedom again. 

Tomorrow I will try to get on the bus. Just see how it all works, see some of the routes and perhaps even chat to some drivers. Just so I know what I am talking about on Friday.

F is for...

Fun Fair

So, when is the last time you went to the fun fair? And did you go on any of the rides? Get jostled on the bumper cars, get sick on the fast things, get scared in the haunted house? The last time I went was in May 2012 and I went with my friend and her two children. We went on a fast ride that went backwards and forwards, we went on the bumper cars, we had cotton candy and french fries, the children fished for duckies and they loved the caroussel.

The only thing missing was the haunted house!

This is the letter F for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A room with a view

Well, the photo above shows you exactly what I see when I look out of my window. A window I can't even open, even though I am only on the first floor (second floor for all you oversea people). But it doesn't really matter: I am not planning on spending too much time in my room. I am not too far from the old center (Bryggen) or the old Fishmarket. Not even a five minute walk I would say.

Anyway, I arrived on time and it was really easy to make my way from the airport to the center of town. I left the airport and hopped on the very first bus: ten meters away from the door! It dropped me off at the fishmarket from where I had to walk. Unfortunately I had misunderstood slightly, so in the end I ended up asking. At the hotel they misunderstood my last name and it took some time to actually figure out what he wanted, especially since I didn't want to speak English!

Speaking of English: this Norwegian lark is going to be a bit tougher than I originally thought. I have learnt the language of Oslo and am now in Bergen. They speak, sound and write completely different here! Help!! Why does a country with such a small population need two languages and a gazillion dialects? To confuse well-willing tourists?

Ah well, I will get used to it, hopefully by Friday, because that day (drum roll please) I have an interview!!!! It was hard to understand what the woman on the other end of the line said exactly, especially with the background noise of Amsterdam Airport. But I do have an interview Friday morning. Phew...

Now I just have to get this Norwegian down!


Well, I am packed and ready to go. I was going to take the bus and then the train to the airport, but my friend phoned and she works for the railroads and occasionally gets some free tickets, so now I will take another bus and another train to the airport. It will be a longer journey, but it will be good to see her again and I will be travelling on the train for free! Who am I to say no?

I am actually quite excited to go to Norway again. When I was first there I was able to get my car rented in Norwegian, but I understand so much more now. I should be able to find out which bus I need to get from the airport to the hotel in Norwegian. I didn't look it up on purpose: if I had done that I would have missed an opportunity of talking in Norwegian.

I haven't got any set plans yet, but I hope to get in touch with the buscompany tomorrow and hopefully schedule an interview. I also want to see one of the major tourist attractions in Bergen itself (Brygge) and one in the area (Flam, with a round thingy on the a). I have checked how much money I can take out and hopefully that will be enough! I have decided not to take an umbrella with me: it will not rain (she says without any conviction at all)! And if it does: I will get wet!!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

What if...

Dangerous. That's what 'what if' questions are. Especially if you are asking yourself 'what if I had done something different'? But for some reason they are the hardest questions to avoid. They keep popping up at the weirdest moments, catching you unawares and sending you back to a moment in time that you would rather forget.

As some of you know, I had an incident in France at the beginning of this week, which left me thoroughly shaken. And even though everybody has told me since that I was not to blame, I had done the right thing, the what ifs are still there. Because that is what humans do: trying to find blame where there isn't.

Apart from the what ifs though, I am doing fine. I have driven already and that went really good. I have talked to a professional about it all and she handed me a few things to replace the what ifs with. I have had colleagues call, email or just chat to me. My family and friends have been very supportive and my parents have looked after me as if I was a little girl: asking me what I wanted to eat, listening to me when I wanted to talk, comforting me when I finally shed some tears.

I came back home on Thursday and have been doing fine so far. Next week I will be going away to Norway, a change of scenery, a chance to leave the what ifs behind.

But I just wanted to say to everybody: thank you for thinking of me, for your prayers and your thoughts. They have done me the world of good. What if I hadn't had any friends like you??

Thursday, 16 August 2012


I went without holidays away for several years, especially during my 'paying off the massive self-inflicted loan to the bank' fase. I simply didn't have the cash to go away and spend any money. But before that fase, I did actually go away on holiday and did in fact raise my loan to do so! A big no-no of course, but I did enjoy that week away, so not all was lost.

Anyway, in 1999 I took a trip to Malta together with a friend, her sister and a colleague of her sister's. Most of the time we stayed close to the hotel pool, but we did venture out on two occasions: once to the USS Kennedy and once to the small island of Gozo. There we drove around in a jeep and we went snorkeling in or near a lovely blue lagoon. Before the snorkeling though, I just relaxed on the boat and enjoyed the sun, the sea and the view. Oh, to be back there...

This is my 32nd entry to Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

E is for...

Eiffel Tower

This iron tower was erected as a the entrance arch to the 1889 World Fair held in Paris. The original design came from Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, both senior engineers for Gustave Eiffel's company. At first Eiffel himself didn't really like the proposed tower, but in the end he was won over. After proposing the idea to the people behind the World Fair and winning over all the other entries, the tower was built. 

The tower was only supposed to be there for a limited amount of time: the duration of the World Fair plus some twenty years after. It was always the idea that it would be torn down again. However, by the time it was due to be torn down again, it was already quite famous and the radio had made a big entrance. The tower could now serve a dual purpose: be a tourist attraction and a huge radio antenna.

It is now (not counting the antennae on top) the second highest man-made structure in France, after the Millau viaduct and measures 320 meters (an awful lot of feet). I have never climbed it yet, but one day...

This is the letter E for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Due to personal circumstances I will not be posting this week, apart from the posts that are pre-posted for the memes. I didn't make it to England and am staying at my parents' for a few days, until I feel better.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Getting ready

After almost two weeks I cycled to work again yesterday. I had to see what the coach looked like and whether there was anything I needed to do with it before I could take it to England tonight. Fortunately a colleague of mine will be driving with it tonight and actually do the first stretch.

So, yes I am off to England tonight, to the not Olympics as I call it. A Christian Youth Festival, which had my mother in stitches when I told her (she is mean). Ah well, if all goes the way I think it might go, I will have a lot of time on my hands to do as I please: visit Norwich or even Cambridge and of course learning Norwegian. After all, I will be taking my course with me and there are plenty of words I still need to learn.

I still have my suitcase to pack though, although that is not so hard: I am after all quite used to doing so. I have a set way of packing, I have double toothbrushes and the like, so I am usually done within 20 minutes.

I also know whereabouts I will be going, so it's just a case of packing the right maps and doing a little homework before I leave tonight. Now, I will be driving all night (oh yippee!) and am not really looking forward to it, especially since I will be going South tonight and tomorrow morning I will go that very same distance North again. Talk about driving for the sake of it...

Anyway, I think it will be hardest on the monsters: they have gotten used to freedom: the door to the garden was open for most of my free time (when I was home) and they could come and go as they pleased! That will be a bit different for the next few weeks: after coming back from England I will go to Norway for a week as well!

Thursday, 9 August 2012


It took me a while to get my head around this prompt. After all, most things I photograph are decidedly unmodern. Old buildings that would probably have been modern in their time, but their time has come and gone a long time ago. And then I stumbled upon this photo. I have wanted to show it before, but didn't quite know when or how. This is the perfect moment though.

When I was in Germany a little while ago, we stayed in this tiny village called Klietz that is in the former East. It was like so many other villages in the country: sleepy and quiet. And full of little gems. Buildings that had been beautifully restored to their former glory, others that had fallen by the wayside and looked as if the only family happy to live there would be mice!

The building I am showing you now is a lovely big building that has only been partly restored to former glory and colour. Now, you have to remember that during the reign of East Germany, the only colour allowed for houses was drab. Beigish, brownish drab! After the wall fell, people didn't want drab anymore: they wanted it like they had it before: lovely yellows and soft pinks, bright whites and creams. On the left of the photo you can see the house as it was during the cold war, on the left the way it can be done up, including satellite dish!

By the way, the reason so many houses have fallen by the wayside and are not being restored is this: after the fall of the wall, many people moved away to the West. Also, many of those houses may have belonged to people who passed away during the Second World War (especially in cities and towns: many Jewish people had to leave their houses behind). And sometimes it is just impossible to find out who exactly owned the house and it then falls into disrepair.

This is my 31st entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Moving on...

Well, this is the week of reckoning. So to say. Basically it's the week in which it will be determined how far I have come along since I started back in November. If it were a pregnancy, I would be about to give birth now! It's not a pregnancy though, it's the Norwegian language course. And yesterday I went for my first five hours.

My teacher had made a few little tests to test my knowledge, but she was very impressed by me so far. She hadn't thought I would have been able to do all eight lessons from when I first met her only a few weeks ago, and if it hadn't been for those darn Olympics, I might have done it. As it was, I had only done 6 1/2! Of course the course I had done on my own had helped a lot as well. It mightn't have been as repetitive as the books I am learning from now, but it was very thorough on grammar. Perhaps even a bit too thorough.

Anyway, this morning, during my second five hours, we managed to finish that first book. Turning me officially from an A1 speaker to an A2 speaker. We have now moved on to a new book: stone on stone, which will help me get as far as B2. First I have to get past B1 though and if the lessons are as easy as the first one in that book, I should be sailing through. But let me not get ahead of myself just yet. I have only just started in this book. I might be able to take it with me to England though and do some more studying once my remaining 15 hours are up. Give me as much chance as I can get to get to the B1 level I need to be at!

There are a few pitfalls along the way though: adverbs and adjectives and all that nonsense keep throwing up exceptions, weirdinesseseses and other problems and I have to learn and know them all in order for me to be able to speak to somebody. And as long as it isn't a young person swallowing half his words, I should be okay.

D is for...


My friend Kay had invited me to show me around Alberta when I was in Canada in October 2011 and on our second outing she took me to see the Badlands, which are in the East of the province. Since we had her dog Lindy along as well, we couldn't go to the museum in Drumheller, but two days later I went back to the Badlands and I visited the museum.

Find the dinosaur!
I have never been a dino afficionado, but that museum was something different. It was fantastic. All the dinosaurs had been found in the province and there were so many different ones, it was mind-boggling. They had even opened up a wall so people could see right into the preservation area. One of the researchers was there trying to clean up some unsuspecting fossil and he got asked a lot of questions as well.

If you are ever in the area, go and see this beautiful museum, it is fantastic!

This is the letter D for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The story of the tree and the laundry

Still a little tree, it is now much and much bigger!
Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a tiny little sapling. That sapling was left alone because the owner of the land far away couldn't be bothered to do any gardening and it grew and grew and grew. Until it became a big tree. Cats loved to climb the tree or sharpen their nails on the trunk and more and more birds realised this was a proper tree in which to sit and watch the cats go mad below.

Now, the owner of the land far away (you have probably guessed by now I am talking about my garden here) did sit behind her computer quite a bit and when she did she got distracted by one of the tree branches scraping against the house. So, she got the saw out and cut it off. Of course she got covered in sawdust and had to pay attention not to let the branch fall just anywhere: windows and cats and so forth... Once the tree branch had been cut off, she proceeded to hack off all the smaller branches only leaving the bare branch in the middle of the garden.

Then one day she decided to do some laundry. The washing machine washed and washed and when it had finished washing she took it all out and went downstairs so she could hang it outside. After all, that is the green thing to do. While she was hanging the laundry out, she noticed the big dark clouds already gathering in the distance and thought that it might rain. And about half an hour later, lo and behold: it did. Big heavy raindrops. So, she ran outside to take the laundry in. The pegs stuck, the laundry nearly fell on the ground and it just kept raining very hard.

As soon as everything had finally made its way into the laundry basket, she carried it as quick as she could towards the house, situated only 5 meters away. She didn't however pay any attention to that large tree branch which was still in the middle of the garden and she went flying! She landed smack bang thump on the ground, although she managed to keep most of the laundry in the basket, actually partly landing on top of it, probably braking some of her fall.

The worst part of it all: two minutes after she got the laundry in, it stopped raining, the sun came out and stayed out for the next hour and a half!

The moral of the story? Don't leave tree branches smack bang in the middle of the garden. It can potentially change your happy ever after...

PS: I have grazed and bruised my right knee quite badly and my left upper leg is sporting two great bruises as well. It will hopefully pass before I am a little boy!

Friday, 3 August 2012

An apple a day

It was time for the annual trek to the vet again. Even if I have seen the vet nearly every single month this year (and have the vet bills to prove it)! A friend of mine was supposed to come over to drive us there, but she phoned half an hour before we were due at the vet and she had a 45-50 minute drive to do first! I took my bike.

Of course the cats didn't like it when I got the cat carrier out and decided they would try and stay out of my way. As if that ever helps. Linette usually flees and if she doesn't flee, she will make herself as small as possible: that way I can't see her! Yeah. Wuppie is easily duped as well: just open the garden door and he will come down. By the time he realises that he is not going out, he is already in the carrier. 

Not a recent photo, that's why is ear still looks good.
I strapped the single carrier to the bike and rode to the vet. After only a few moments (admiring a chihuahua puppy, so cute) I was called in. First of all it was Linette's turn. Now, she has always been a bit of a skinny Linny (see what I did here?), but she does stay more or less at the same weight. Her teeth were fine, her breathing was fine, no fleas, in with the vaccinations and back she went into the carrier.

Then it was Wuppie's turn. A bit bigger than Linette, but it turned out he had actually lost a bit of weight. About 4%, which doesn't seem a lot, but he is of course a cat and not an elephant (imagine having an elephant on your lap). His ear was clean and again the vet told me he was going to leave it as is. His age, his not being too bothered by it and the massive operation all going against it. As long as I keep his ear clean: not a bother.

So, I got them back home again, gave them some worm-medication and opened the garden door again. They are pronounced okay for another year!

PS: they don't like apples, perhaps a wriggly worm, but not apples!

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Japanese Kohei Uchimura, the gold medallist of the
individual all-round gymnastics.
I was on the phone to my mum yesterday. We were talking about everything and nothing and then we were talking about the Olympics. I told her what channel she could see the gymnastics on without any commercial breaks and from that moment we were basically talking to each other about the same thing we saw on telly.

I then said to her: do you know what really bugs me with the men? And she answers: the underarm hair of some of those men! Apparently I am not the only person who gets bugged by that. Now, let me get one thing straight. I hugely admire those men swinging and showing their strength and tumbling and all. I couldn't do that in a million years. But come on!

Now, I have noticed it is mostly the Japanese gymnasts sporting an underarm bush. They are not the only ones, there are several more, but the Japanese have black hair and it just looks terrible. I noticed it a few months back during the World Champions I think, and I found it very distracting. I wonder how the judges can judge with all that hair smack bang in the middle of the screen.

Anyway, just a little thought...


Whenever I see fuchsia plants in the Netherlands, they look small and tiny. Especially compared to the specimens I saw while travelling through Ireland. Because over there they're not necessarily garden plants, they're the hedges separating the roads from the fields. And when they grow too much, a mower comes past and mows them to a managable size again. However, within a week they are back in bloom and look absolutely great.

Fuchsias in the Netherlands don't really get the chance to become that big and that is mainly due to the weather. Because during the winter we get frost over here and they don't really like that. However, in Ireland there are hardly any frosts at all and the fuchsias thrive!

This is my 30th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

C is for...

Cemetery and Cross

During my trip to Normandy in March this year, we visited several cemeteries. The trip had been organised after the (mainly) boys and young men had asked why they were part of the honour's guards on May 4th, which is Remembrance Day in the Netherlands. They certainly found out why: beaches, tanks, planes, guns and many many crosses, all dating from WWII.

The first photo shows the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach. Row upon row of white crosses and an occasional Star of David. Underneath every cross lies one young man who died in pursuit of freedom for everybody, be they 'different' or 'normal'. The second photo shows the German Cemetery near La Cambe. Row upon row of small greyish flat stones. Underneath every stone lie two to three young men who died in pursuit of one big Germany and only one type of 'normal'.

In contrast to the American crosses, the German stones bear both name and age of the people underneath and what was the most shocking was the ages of the soldiers: about the same age as the young men and women on my coach. It certainly hit home for them.

This is the letter C for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?