Sunday, 31 December 2017

Mouse for Mama

See this little mouse? It's not for sale. It's a give-away mouse. And it's being given to 2017's charity: the Stomach, Liver and Bowel Foundation in the Netherlands. Right now it is on its way to the head office of the charity. A total of 233 euros (about 275 US Dollars/205 GB Pounds) was sent as well. Through PayPal, not through the post!

Thanks to everybody who bought a mouse (or more) for either themselves or to give away to somebody else. 

And coming to the end of this year, we needed to find a charity for next year. And (drum roll) that will be 'Guide Dogs for the Blind, Norway'. So, once the new mice arrive on January 1st (and onwards), you get the chance once more to get yourself a good friend and help that charity as well. And just in case you have lost the address: click on Mice for Mama and it will take you right to the site. There you will find all the details you need.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Christmas holiday part four

A very bright flash
And we stick to that explanation!!!
On Thursday we took an easy day. I had to see the physio and after that we wanted to some light shopping. And believe me: we managed to keep it light!! Well, apart from the woolen tops/underwear we both bought, but that is more of a necessity than an extravagance. The afternoon was spent relaxing and not doing much. Perfect.

Friday morning the alarm went off quite early. Because we were going to Bergen! We drove to the bus station from where we were to take the long distance coach and all piled on. A little over three hours later we had arrived. The first thing on our list to do was visit the Fløybanen. I had been there before, as had my parents, but the other three had not. It was cloudy we were told, but we were going up anyway. 

It's a funicular track that goes up the mountain, so we took it a bit easier than the cyclists did back in September (World Championships cycling took place in Bergen). Once at the top, there was indeed cloud covering, but it kept opening up, giving us glances at the view. 

Once we had negotiated the troll and the view we decided to take a (very) short stroll. And all of a sudden my sister saw something: a squirrel!! I grabbed my camera and actually got a few shots of it, before she said there was another one. I got some photos of that one as well, before it ran off into the forest. 

After our little trip up the mountain we took the train down again and had an absolutely scrumptious lunch. I had fish and chips and for afters an absolutely divine crème brulée. I think I can safely say it was one of the best I have ever tasted. 

By that time it had started snowing, which was very much not forecasted. So our little outing to the Bryggen area of Bergen became a wet affair. It was still lovely to walk around there, but it did become quite dreary after a while. 

So, we headed home. Me and my mum were lazy and took a taxi, the rest walked back to the bus station. The bus journey back was as eventful as the morning trip (ie nothing special). The day didn't end there though, because on our return home, there was a humongous stack of letters waiting for me: Christmas cards from all over. Well, apart from one which contained my new driver's licence!

Friday, 29 December 2017


Even though we are not a family who exchange Christmas gifts*, my sister and I usually give each other a present or two when we meet up over Christmas. This year there were several gifts under the Christmas tree however. Some for my sister, some for me and even one (from our landlord) for Miss O. Who was very appreciative of the ribbon, yet not so much of the present itself... Brom however thought it was perfect and has worn it every day so far.

My presents were great as well: a lovely necklace that I had bought for myself. I got two of them, this one with the pearls and another one with dark grey coloured stones that I gave to my sister. 

Then there was a pussycat. Not a real one, but a tea light holder. It was given to me by my friend here in Norway. I was supposed to make fudge for her, but I never found the time unfortunately. It will hold however and fudge tastes great after Christmas as well...

The next present was given to me by Yamini. I knew it was a book when I first got the present, but there is books and there is books. This was a brilliant 'knit Scotland' book. From Billy Connolly to Bagpipes and all other things Scottish in between. Plus there was some chocolate. Which is always appreciated.

Then I got a present from my sister. I already knew what it was really, since she had asked whether I would like to go, but still. It is a ticket to my favourite play: The Importance of Being Earnest. I remember reading it in English class while in high school. Everybody had to take a turn reading out loud, but I never got a turn. The teacher had seen me reading and chuckling and smiling and laughing and just skipped me. I have loved that play ever since and now I get to see it in real life. 

I think I was spoilt!

*When I grew up in the Netherlands most families celebrated St Nicholas on December 5th. That's when the presents arrived. Christmas was a purely Christian celebration in most families I knew. 

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Christmas holiday part three

After a lovely dinner with family and friends on Christmas Day, there was the clean-up left to do. We did move some of the furniture back again (I had a large living room table on my bed, not really good for sleep), but left the dining room table in situ. On it were clean glasses and plates that needed to be boxed again and put away in the cupboard. They could wait however.

On Boxing Day we did most of the moving and washing and clearing. And by the end of the day, the place looked quite decent again. Although for some reason the kitchen didn't seem to follow suit. Every time we cleared some away, new stuff appeared as if from nowhere! Weird that...

On December 27th I had some errands to run. First of all I needed to order my new driver's license. My current one was still good, but since I needed something else as well, it was decided to do everything at once. Fortunately the wait wasn't too long and pretty soon the money was paid and we were on our way to the next destination: the police. 

Here the wait was a bit longer. Apparently we had arrived at lunch time because there was hardly anybody about. But, finally it was my turn and I gave them the paperwork they needed so they could issue me with a new driver's note. Without it I am not allowed to drive a bus here in Norway. 

Then it was a quick stop at the office to get some bus tickets for me (more to follow later in the week) and then we got in the car. We wanted to see some nice things. Preferably white. So, we headed inland. And pretty soon the snow started. On the top of the mountains, occasionally a bit further down. But never much.

We drove through several tunnels and every time we were nearing the end we were wondering: what would we see this time. And every time we were disappointed: green/grey/brown! 

But then...

We got to the end of a tunnel and all of a sudden we saw white. And a lot of it as well. Gera immediately grabbed the camera we had taken with us and started snapping away. It was beautiful. At times a bit treacherous and even with spiked tires it was a bit slippery on occasion. But it was so lovely. We managed to get down to the waterfall we saw during the summer, where we took some selfies.

It was only a short stop before our feet and hands got cold and we made our way back to the car. As you may recall, we stopped at that very same waterfall in the summer and we drove on towards the Hardanger Plains. This time? We returned home. We had learned. The day had been a fantastic one however.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Christmas holiday part two

Christmas Eve started early for us. Several things needed to be made today: the oxtail soup, Yamini's pumpkin soup and a Queen Maud Pudding. So, we peeled and chopped, whipped and mixed and were quite busy all day. Of course no photos were taken during that period, but believe me: there was a fair bit of food at the end of it and the fridge was absolutely jam packed! We didn't have enough room in it to hold two large pans of soup, so those were put in the cellar. 

At the end of the day we decided to get ready for dinner the following day by rearranging the living room furniture. Normally the computer resides on the dinner table, so a solution had to be found. We wanted to put the table in the center of the room, but that is where the sofa stands. So, we had to push the sofa to the cupboard behind it (after first taking out all we might need: crockery, glassware and cutlery), clear the dining table and move that towards the center of the room. 

Then started the task of setting the table. First the table cloth I had made earlier this year. Then the plates, cutlery and glasses. Gera folded the napkins so it looked even better and finally the menus were placed on each plate as well. 

Christmas Day began even earlier than Christmas Eve had started. I was not nervous as such, but I was not relaxed either. We taped the list of things to do on one of the kitchen cabinets and off we went: the apple salad was made, the meatballs for the oxtail soup were rolled, the red wine sauce was boiled down. More peeling and chopping. We put sauces and creams in small jugs and pots. More rearranging of furniture.

And then the mishaps started. 

Since there was nowhere near enough room in the fridge for even a single bottle of wine, we had bought some ice cubes and were going to use a bucket. Fill the bucket with ice and bottles and a bit of cold water and hey presto. Until the bucket sprang a leak and the kitchen was nearly flooded! Fortunately I have a double sink, so one of them was used instead. 

Then I needed to put something in the dishwasher and accidentily touched a small knife. Which was sharp. I drew blood. Plasters were needed. By this time the ff-team started to arrive as well. They were plied with drink and sat down to solve a cryptic anagram bible quiz. In the mean time Gera and I continued in the kitchen. The main roast (reindeer) was put in the oven to cook and soon we needed to get the soups going. My mother helped with the oxtail though, so it tasted even better. 

Dinner was ready!

The soups were served and my father even liked the pumpkin soup (result thanks to Yamini). By this time the potatoes were boiling, the sprouts were on the go and the oven was on with the roast in. We took out the roast (to rest) and put in something else. The dirty plates went into the dishwasher and as we headed back into the living room to say it would take a few more minutes than originally planned...

The power went!

Oh no!! The cooker had been going all day and now the dishwasher as well. It was too much for the system and we had to have a forced break. Since I was the only one home, I had to solve it. With a flashlight I made my way upstairs, to find that it was indeed my kitchen that caused the problem. But the fuse box was on the warm side, so we needed to wait a bit for it to cool again before we were able to put the power back on. Fortunately the roast was done and so were the sauces and the apple salad. 

After about twenty minutes I turned the power back on (Gera had turned the dishwasher off) and we cooked the rest of our dinner. And even though it didn't come all at once, it wasn't too bad either. And there was certainly plenty of everything. But with six people around the table, most of it was gone by the time we were done eating. 

There was one pudding left over
Gera and I really enjoyed it on Boxing Day!
After clearing the table and waiting a while, we brought out dessert: Queen Maud Pudding*. Large portions, but very very very nice. By then however everybody was stuffed, so our final course never got its outing: the cheese platter. They did get to take it home with them though (with some left over roast, oxtail soup and several bottles of wine). It was a good day, despite the mishaps.

*Queen Maud was the wife of the first king of an independent Norway (back in 1906) and when she came on a visit to Haugesund she was served a dessert that she liked very much. It was then renamed Dronning (queen) Maud pudding in honour of her.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas holiday part one

We needed raingear when she arrived, certainly not sunglasses
It started perfectly. Even though I finished late on Friday, I was still in time to pick up my sister from the airport. What neither of us knew however, was that two flights were arriving almost simultaneously. Both were of course choc-a-bloc full with people traveling to spend Christmas with their loved ones. But finally we spotted each other and after her luggage had been located we made our way home. 

We only spent a few minutes at home before heading off again. This time to see our parents and friends (the ff-team from now on) who had arrived earlier that afternoon and were staying in a holiday home about 20 minutes away. It was lovely to see them all again, but I was slowly starting to lag. Even though there had been no traveling for me that day, my alarm had been the earliest (4.15am) and I was done in. 

On Saturday we were going to hit the shops and the ff-team was coming over for lunch. I woke up bright and early and realised I had a migraine attack! Oh no!! So, I took a pill and when we headed to the shops, I was in the passenger seat beside my sister who was driving. Fortunately the head did respond to the meds, but I wasn't feeling the best. After we got in all the shopping, we went home again where I took a second pill. Normally I would sit on the couch and do hardly anything, this time I had been shopping and the day was still not over!

The ff-team arrived, exclaimed over the place and was pleasantly surprised by the (at least on the surface) tidiness. We had coffee, then lunch and it was a nice few hours. After they left, it was time to set up the tree. My sister Gera had taken it down earlier that morning and it needed decorating. Which proved quite difficult. I was tired beyond belief, I was dizzy and I realised why there is a big red triangle on the box with the meds in! But, after an hour on the couch, I did manage to get the rest of the lights in and Gera then helped me decorate. 

The evening was spent doing not much and we went to bed early(ish) again, since we would have to start preparing the first dishes on Christmas day.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-44

The tree is up, the presents are placed and preparations for Christmas dinner are in full swing. Hope you will have a great Christmas wherever you are. 

God jul fra Mara, Brom (og Mouse) og Frøken Oswin

Friday, 22 December 2017


I should not be writing this blogpost. Nor should I be reading others' blogposts. I should be vacuuming and cleaning windows. I should finally sort the last mess that still is in the living room. I have about 4 hours left to do all I need (at least) before I have to head back to work. 

And then, after work... I go pick up my sister!! We will drive home so I can get changed into people clothes and my sister can drop off her luggage and then we will head out again. To see my parents who will be arriving together with friends this afternoon. They have rented a holiday home for their stay. The only other possibility was kicking my landlord out of his own home and even though he is a very nice and kind landlord, I think that might be pushing it a bit...

Anyhoo, first laundry of the day is in, hoover is standing at attention, Christmas music is playing and my four hours start... NOW!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

*PANIC* Less than a week to go!!

They are ready to go!
Well no, I am not panicking. Yet! Although my stomach has started fluttering a bit and it has nothing to do with some beau or other. It does have everything to do with Christmas dinner though. I have never done anything like it before in my life and I am a bit nervous. Well, not nervous exactly, but... well, you know. 

Mind you, just in case I burn Rudolf (oh yes) and the sprouts are cooked to a mush, I do have some chicken nuggets in the freezer and some ready made apple-sauce in the book case. And I do have plenty of booze, so maybe the guests won't even notice anything wrong. Still. A bit apprehensive.

Is it too much??
Other than: I got all the Christmas decorations down. The only thing still missing is the tree. Which I will hopefully take down tomorrow. Or the day after. The television area is looking festive when you first walk in. Then you turn around and there is crate upon crate upon crate with wool and yarn. Whoever said you can never have enough, didn't mean 'in any small place'. So, no more yarn for me for a while to come. Which is good for the purse strings as well.

Miss Oswin is not impressed
The other living area is slowly taking shape as well. The sort of sideboard is filled with decorations. There is still a way to go and I still have to figure out how and what we are going to do exactly with the dinner table. But I know my sister is a clever girl and probably has some great ideas of her own.

Right now though, I will continue clearing, cleaning, decorating and wondering why I have so much stuff. Not necessarily in that order...

Sunday, 17 December 2017

No Photo on Sunday 2017-43

Sorry! Even though it is snowing outside, the Christmas decorations are slowly going up and Miss Oswin is always a lovely subject for a photo, I have not found the urge to grab my camera and take an actual picture. 

Sorry again!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

One week to go

I thought my parents and friends would arrive on December 22nd and my sister would arrive a day later. Turns out, my sister will also be arriving that day. Which got me a bit in a whirl: what time will you arrive???? Well, she will arrive after I (should have) finish(ed) work. So, we should be good. Fingers crossed...

Yesterday I did my first bit of shopping for the holidays. Over the past year I had saved up money and when I went to the Norwegian state-run off-licence yesterday, that was the money I used. I got some rosé, two different types of white wine and one red. Multiple bottles of each! I can tell you, the trek back to the car was very long! Talking about alcohol though: I found out I had several bottles of spirits and other drinks. Including brandy! I never drink brandy, so I don't know where that came from.

Hungarian Forints. Not much use in Norwegian shops
Fortunately there was still some money left and today I did my second shop. This time it was the foodstuffs that can be kept a while. I will get the perishables next week. Even though I did have to dig into my account a bit, it wasn't as bad as I originally feared. 

Next week will be a busy week. I have split shifts on four of the five days. During the breaks I will have to do some work (read cleaning), so the house will look fine and dandy and ready for Christmas and visitors. On Friday though, I will have to go to the police for a new driving note, so I will be allowed to drive also in the new year. For said driving note I need a medical test, so on Thursday evening I will go to my GP. 

Right. I will just empty another Christmas crate (only six more to get down I think) and then slowly prepare myself for a good night in front of the telly!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Christmas preparations

I don't think I have ever been so slow with preparing and decorating for Christmas as this year. I have a good excuse of course: I had a massive cold recently and I do work on occasion as well. Another hindrance to getting to it, is the fact that everything is stored in the loft. Which is 'easily' accessible, yet not so easy at the same time. The stairs to the loft are actually a sort of glorified ladder!

Anyway, after having gotten down my Christmas clothes last week, yesterday I got two more crates down. One filled with knit wear (ie my wreath and my nativity scene) and the other filled with hangings of some sort or other. The first one (and largest one) was emptied out and then filled up again as well. With lots of dvd's. What with family coming over (although not staying, apart from my sister), I need room. For Christmas decorations, dining table and a tree. 

Which meant that I would need to clear out some other things. Dvd's do take up quite some room, so now I only have the Christmas Dvd's out and some other films I wouldn't mind seeing again. All other films and series (apart from Doctor Who of course) have been crated up. Not sure where they will end up though. Since that staircase really is more of a ladder...

Ah well, so far so good and I have the first decorations up. Two weeks to go!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Oh wow!

You will probably know (I have been banging on about it often enough), that I knit and then sell mice. I always have a lot of fun making the small mice: picking the colours, trying (and often failing) to put everything on straight and eventually taking a photograph for them to be shown on my other blog Mice for Mama.

I am not too fond of making the large mice. They are exactly the same as the small ones, same amount of stitches, same everything. Just thicker thread and they turn out bigger. I just don't like making them. The thing is though: not many people like buying them either! So, I decided to only make them to order from now on. I still have two left for sale, but other than those: order only. 

The third type of mice I knit are the special mice. The seasonal ones. I made two for Halloween and I made two for Christmas. I love making them. Picking out a theme, thinking of what special attribute or look they should have and then finding everything I need to make that special mouse. So far, I have made a clown with big feet and pompoms, a Mouse of Frankenstein with spiders all over. A Santa Mouse with sack and teddy and an angel mouse with wings and halo. These however, I will NOT make to order.

As of today, all I have left for sale are two large mice and the two Halloween mice. Everything else was sold. The one colleague today who wanted a mouse couldn't choose between the five small ones I had left and took the lot! Which means that I basically have to get away from this computer and start knitting the first of next year's batch! 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Brom has a birthday!!


Guess what! It's my birthday today. Unfortunately Mara was at work all day long, but while she was away, I celebrated with Oswin and Mouse! We had a ball. 

But then Mara came home again and she gave me my gift. A very good gift, since I wanted something that showed I was Dutch for a long time. 

She got me clogs! Now I can clog dance!!

Happy birthday to me.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

It's Calendar time!!


Guess what, Mara had me pick this year's winners of her calendar! A bit of a consolation prize I think, but I did the job and now here I am to tell you all about. 

First of all, Mara wrote out all the names of the commenters on little pieces of paper. Then she scrunched them up and came looking for me. 

She threw all the little balls of paper in the air and I immediately caught the first winner. A very deserving one as well. 

Then she did it again and I sniffed another winner out! Again very deserving. Both of them have won before, so I hope they like this year's version. WITHOUT ME!!!!

Oh, and congratulations to Yamini and Janice Adcock. The calendars will be sent this week Mara says.

Monday, 4 December 2017


I enjoy a quiz. I really do. I watch University Challenge and sometimes I actually understand the question. Even more sometimes I can answer it! I have a knowledge of a lot of things. Useless knowledge mainly, but on occasion it works. When watching a quiz for example.

But I also like to participate in a quiz. In fact, in my younger years, while living in England, I was part of the pub quiz team. Every Sunday we would drive to another pub for our weekly fix. We weren't very good, but then again: we were mainly a group of young people who knew nothing about the world yet. And the fact that we ended in last place? Fine with us! During my second year I couldn't do it anymore: a different job meant I wasn't free on Sunday evenings anymore. 

Recently I have been taking part in three quizzes. The first one was during the union course. Our team won. The second one was again during the union course. We won again, but some said we had cheated and when the deciding question came: we came up with nothing. So, we lost. 

I was the only there who had 'dressed up' for Christmas.
Dress, earrings and headband
The last time was last Friday. A local radio station had organised the Big Christmas Quiz at a local hotel. I was part of one of the 67 teams that took part. My colleagues felt that my knowledge of all things Eurovision (don't know that much really) would help us secure a win. And if that failed: my knowledge of Christmas films. 

It turned out I didn't know any of the answers. All the questions were on local people, sports, events and places. No Eurovision, no geography, no flags, no useless knowledge. And no Christmas, which I found to be quite strange since it was the Big Christmas Quiz! 

Halfway through we were right in the middle with our 14 points. The top team at that point had 28. And then the strangest thing happened. Even though we only got 12 more points (according to us anyway), we won. We actually won! We got the cup and we got the prize (five-course dinner plus a sleep-over plus breakfast for two for each of us). 

We still don't know how it happened and we may never know. But it was a nice way to start December!

Update: Late Sunday night (I wrote this post on Sunday afternoon) it was announced that there had been some problems with Excel, which resulted in the wrong team (ie us) winning. In other words: we did not win. Not even close to winning. I wonder whether we can keep the cup though?

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-41

It was cold in Haugesund the past few days. Freezing in fact! 

Unfortunately the tap had not been turned off inside and the drip drip drip had frozen over into a popsicle!