Sunday, 31 August 2008

Birthday

I've always felt that my brother's friends resemble Melrose Place. Not an ugly person amongst them! Now, all my brother's friends have children. Two with one on the way or three already. Which makes the Melrose Place look disappear a bit. However, with all the friends coming to the birthday party of my niece and nephew (number three is only three months away by the way) and bringing all their children, it was mayhem!

I don't have children. I have a goddaughter (lovely girl, keep forgetting her birthday and Christmas, sorry), a sugardaughter (same thing really, only not official and I do still remember her birthday), sugarson (I don't even know when his birthday is, sometime November I think), a nephew and a niece. Those children are easy. If they ever come to stay I can give them back again at the end of the day. Brilliant.
When I was younger I did want children. I wanted my first by the age of 21. I wanted five children in total. I managed neither. And to be totally honest, at this moment in my life, I don't mind that much either anymore. But today at that birthday party (even though there were way too many children about) I could see myself with a child.
For a day!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Aches and pains

It's been a few days. First it was because I was really busy. Mostly doing absolutely nothing, zip, nada. Only the last two days were really busy. But then, I did something stupid. I drank coffee. I never drink coffee, but last week, I had four cups in total. Wrong!

The reason I never drink coffee, is because it gives me a headache. I drink decaf, I drink herbal tea, I drink hot chocolate. I just don't drink normal coffee. But after three years of not drinking coffee, I felt it was about time to try drinking it again. So, I had a cup on Thursday. And I was fine. So, I had another cup on Friday. And again I was fine. Another on Saturday, another on Sunday. I had two aspirins on Monday and three on Tuesday. Just to get rid of the stupid headache I got. Today I finally got rid of it. So, four cups of coffee over four days equals four days of headache. I've learned my lesson: no more coffee...
My head's clear again, so I will try to write a bit more regular again from now on.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Tall Ships

I think I must have done something wrong and am being punished for it. It's either that, or I have just extraordinarily bad luck lately. I started out quite well, starting the bus in the morning, driving to Den Helder and standing still over there. I stopped the motor and when I wanted to start it again after about half an hour, there was nothing. No lights coming on, no sounds, no nothing. Well, I'm lying, the headlights did come on, even though they were off (do you still follow?), so that was quite annoying. But other than that: absolutely nothing.

We phoned the mechanics who came out within half an hour (by then it was 09.30am) and they started looking for what was wrong. It took them over two hours to find the fault and it turned out to be some sort of fuse that was blown! Three different mechanics on the phone and about a gazillion different drivers giving their penny's worth of not-knowledge.

All this time I couldn't drive of course and the other 25 drivers had to do the job. Thousands of people were expected and therefore 26 buses (half of them articulated, so double the space) were deployed to ferry all those thousands of people to the navy-harbour, where they could see all the 'Tall Ships'. Unfortunately only a few hundred showed up, meaning all those 26 busdrivers got bored out of their brains. The thousands had parked their cars all over Den Helder, but not at the parking facilities where we were...

Today was another day, another go. But again, no thousands, only hundreds and it was boring, boring, boring, bo.... yawn.

Tomorrow I will have to do it again and I will be prepared to be bored. Then later on in the evening, I will have to go some sort of festival (Mystery Land), to ferry people back to the trainstation. However, I will have to do something there. They will be drunk, they will be high, they will be rowdy. But most importantly: they will be there!

One good thing last night though was that there were 15 drivers staying at the same hotel and we all went out for dinner. It was brilliant, it was fun and the food was good as well. My colleagues were rude, they were disgusting and it was a riot! I loved it.

Anyway, that's the last two days. It was fun, but mostly it was boring!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Busy

Well, I'm going to be busy for the next few days. Tomorrow I will be off to Den Helder for a 'Sail' thingymebob ferrying people back and forth. Tomorrow night I will stay in a hotel and the day after another day of 'Sail'. I return home, so on Saturday I can go to not a clue for some festival or other to ferry people back and forth. On Sunday I have to work again, that day in a coach however, the first time this week! On the downside: until the middle of the night and I will have to clean the coach! I am not looking forward to it and am already tired.

The major problem with our 'new' articulated buses is the drivers' seats. They are just awful. There is no suspension, so you feel every dropped dime in the road. There are no armrests, so you steer in the wrong position, causing back pains and when you do get in a crash, whiplash is a given, since there is no headrest! And no, I wasn't planning of getting into a crash. But you know what I mean.

You might wonder why I talk about articulated buses when I'm a coach driver, but since this week, I have been driving those &%$#&@ buses. And no end in sight either for the near future.
Are you still with me? Or have you abandoned this blog altogether on account of incomprehensible babble? Blame it on the job!

Anyway. I will be busy for the next few days, I will not be able to blog for a few days. I will need my days off when I get them, because I will be hunched by back pain by then. Other than that I'm fine!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Shower

I don't often take a shower in the middle of the day. When I've taken one after getting out of bed, I am not too inclined to take one again a few hours later. However, today was different.

When I got to work this morning I saw I had to take one of those articulated buses in stead of my usual coach. I wasn't too happy about it, especially since it wouldn't move after starting it! But I finally got it to leave the garage and off I went! Not even three miles later a light came on. It was the coolant light, so it was fairly important. I drove back to the garage and opened the coolant tank. I was being blonde both outside and in! The minute I opened the tank, the (hot) coolant just went everywhere, but mostly on my uniform. My clean uniform!

After not being able to do anything (the coolant tank was full), I got the cap back on and with a soaking shirt I got back behind the wheel, stinking to high heaven! I did my round, picking up all the high school students, albeit a quarter of an hour late. But after I had finished that I couldn't even go home, since I had to change the bus. Which I was happy about, because the flashing coolant light was getting on my nerves...

The minute I got home, I just had to take a shower, because by then everything was smelly and stinky. Now I have another problem. I wore my only pair of trousers this morning. I have two other pairs, but a few weeks ago, I burst out of both of them. And no, they weren't too small, I just made some wrong moves loading suitcases on the coach. So now I am wearing my jeans to work this afternoon and my just washed pair of uniform trousers will go into the machine again tonight! (I do have four other pairs, but they are with a seamstress, since they were made for someone who probably is a foot taller than I am)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Love

It's the weekend. And like so many other weekends, I'm spending it on my own. I occasionally feel sorry for myself, but then I have to remind myself: if I wanted, I could go out and meet people. I could go and post my profile on a number of dating sites and try to meet the weirdest and craziest guys. Or I could get lucky and meet the love of my life! But to be quite honest, I can't really get bothered about it. Besides that, I never know what to put in a profile, let alone what to say to men when I would go out and meet them.

A few years back there was a program on British television, something about how to turn someone who was lousy at dating into a person who was great at it. They showed everyone on their first date, which of course was extremely lousy and then gave them a few make-overs. Clothes, attitude, the lot. At the end they went on another date and of course it was great! I could do with that.

Sometimes people ask me if I would like to meet someone. I always think that it's a stupid question. Yes, I would like to meet someone. Yes, I would like to come home from a hard day's work and find dinner on the table and the house in order. And yes, I would like to get down to the physical side as well.

Now of course there's an added problem. I want to move to Canada. What if I met a Dutch bloke who didn't want to move. What if I met a Canadian bloke, would my moving mean it was for him or for the chance to move to Canada. Difficult situation. And for now I don't know the answer. For now I don't need to know the answer, since I'm not seeing anyone anyway.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Remember

Every year on May 4th it's Remembrance Day in the Netherlands. All dead from the Second World War are remembered and of every war after that (we were neutral during World War I). But the Netherlands wasn't only involved with Germany, because one of our colonies at the time was Dutch India (Indonesia now) and another was Dutch Papua Guinea. Of course when the Japanese declared war on all countries in the area, the Dutch in the area were in for a couple of years of real hardship, being put in camps and all. After the Americans dropped a few bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, WWII ended.

The war officially ended August 15th in the East and today there were several remembrances in the country. I had to pick up a small army music group and take them to one of the remembrance where they had to play during the ceremony. But first they had to have some dinner, so most of them went to the Chinese. After that, they had to get changed and the only place to do that, was my coach. So everyone driving past got a nice eyeful of half naked men and women. It was quite funny.

The ceremony itself was interesting. I had never been to a Remembrance Ceremony before, only ever seen it on television, so it was really new. A few speeches, one of which was a real-life account from one of the survivors. Then the national hymn and after that there were lots of people who laid wreaths and bunches of flowers. And then the ceremony was over and the musicians came back to the coach.

I've never been involved in a war and hope I never will be. I tried to get into the army, but was not fit enough (and will never be), so was not allowed in. I've become a busdriver instead. A bit less war...
Anyway, that was my day...

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Interesting

Well, that was an interesting day. I had to pick up some holiday-goers and take them back home. Not a big problem. I was there on time. The other bus was on time and the passengers got back on time. Not even half an hour after I arrived I was ready to leave. I had worked really hard to fit all the luggage on board and everyone had had to find a seat on board, but in the end they had managed. All six of them! Yes, I showed up with a huge coach (a 50-seater) and there were six people on it. Not counting myself of course! To be honest, there should have been more on board. But the other two had decided to take a train home instead of the coach.

Still, it was a waste of time though. A taxi could have taken them home quicker than I could. After I had dropped off the last two people, I had to wait three quarters of an hour before I could go home. 'European Driving Laws'!!!
Never mind though, it gave me something to do today. Tomorrow is another day and another trip. The army I think, but I don't know where I have to go yet. I will find out tomorrow!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Dreams

Like everybody else in the world, I have dreams. Some dreams are easy to realise, others a bit harder. Just to remind myself what my dreams are, I have made a small list and put it on the side of this blog. They are not in any particular order, just the order I thought of them. Whenever there are new dreams bubbling to the surface I will add, whenever I've made a dream come true, I will first of all blog about it, and secondly, I will cross it off.

There are three wishes to learn something. The first one on the list is learning how to tapdance. When I was about 14 that wish first came to me. And I was lucky, there was a dance school in my town actually teaching it! My parents gave me permission to go, but there was a catch. On the evening of the dance lessons there were also bible classes. I was allowed to do tapdance. I had to go to bible classes! The choice was made for me: bible classes it was. I never had another opportunity to take the dance lessons (even though I did learn the waltz, the tango, samba, rumba, jive etc). I don't know whether I would be any good at it. And to be honest, I don't really care whether I would. I just want to learn!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Hard

I have been trying to find a subject to talk about today and I just can't think of anything. I have started this entry about seven times now and every time I deleted the lot. It sometimes is very hard to find anything to talk about, especially since my job isn't always as interesting as I would like it to be. Yesterday was another day of rail replacement and was quite uneventful. At the end of the evening my colleague did the last trip (with a total of five passengers) and I went straight home. I had a couple of beers with another colleague and got home in the middle of the night. I watched a bit of Olympics and went to bed at a quarter to five.

Today I have a day off and I didn't get up until quarter to twelve this afternoon. Another boring day...


Perhaps tomorrow I will have more luck finding something to talk about...

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Olympics

I am not the most sporty person in the world. I don't run marathons like my brother, I don't even try to run a 10k like my sister. There are sports that I did like to do, like skiing and badminton, but in the last few years I've not done either of those. Going to the gym is about my limit. But I do like to watch sports.

My favourite sports are biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, and hurling, an Irish sport which is both action-packed and major fun. However, the only chance to see biathlon is during the wintermonths and the only chance to see hurling is in Ireland. Since I don't live in Ireland, my summers can get quite sports-free.


Come in the Olympic Games! I watch swimming, diving, gymnastics, athletics, sailing, rowing, cycling, basically anything that moves. The daughter of friends of my parents recently said that the only reason to watch most sports is to watch those nice male bodies. They are fit, they are toned, they are bronzed and they look nice and healthy. Mmm, I have to agree with her!


Never mind the reason though, I just want to see it all, because I want to see how my country fares in all those sports. For the next two weeks I am set...

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Late shift

When I first started my job as a busdriver, I never got the early shifts. I didn't own a car at the time and the planner didn't think it was safe to let me cycle in the middle of the night. I didn't mind, since I hate getting up early. (He did however give me late shifts, which would end at the same time as the early shifts started. He was funny like that.)

Then he left, we got a new planner, I had acquired a car by that time and early shifts became part of my life. Fortunately there weren't many of those, so I didn't often have to do it. Late shifts however were a bit more common, since a lot of companies had evening do's which we had to do: drunk people on my bus are definitely NOT my favourite!


This week I am late shifts again. Yesterday and the day before it meant getting the staff of an amusement park back home and tonight and tomorrow I have to do Rail Replacement. In other words: the trains aren't going due to works on the tracks and all travel is therefore done with coaches and buses. I start at 6pm and finish after midnight and tomorrow the same thing.


Late shifts are easier than early shifts in my opinion. I never like getting up early (in the past I have had to get up as early as 12.30am), because it's so hard trying to get enough rest in advance. I don't go to bed at 7pm, especially in the summer. It's nearly impossible to sleep anyway with all the light (summer) and noise in the street. So you invariably go to sleep too late, don't get enough rest and then have to drive a coach full of people, find the way, be nice and not fall asleep behind the wheel! Not to my taste.


Give me late shifts: you get enough sleep, you are well rested and you go home again when it starts to quieten down again. Brilliant!


I just wish I wasn't working tonight!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Boring

There are some boring jobs in the world and I did one of them today. Even though I am a tourbus driver, it doesn't mean that's all I do. I also do public transport. Granted, we do it with a tourbus, but it's still public transport. Today I had to do one of the most boring routes there is.

First of all, there's hardly anyone on the bus. The maximum today was 7 (I drive a 50-seater), the minimum 0. And secondly, the route is just plain boring. You leave a town and have to drive across a dyke to get to the other town. Not too bad you would say, if it weren't for the fact that the dyke is about 30 km (20 miles) long and there is nothing to see but water. And more water. The occasional bird and if the weather is nice some boats, but mostly just water.

Even that wouldn't be so bad, if you only had to do it once, but nooooo, it's four times in a row! To-ing and fro-ing. Bleergh!


And guess what: I have to do the same thing again tomorrow!!!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Start

Another go at starting an English blog. I have been keeping my Dutch blog now for well over two years and manage that, so I thought I might as well give it another go in English.

As it says in the sidelines, I'm a tourbus driver from the Netherlands. I have lived here for 32 out of my 37 years. The other five years were spent in Yougoslavia, Belgium, Italy, France and England. When I came back from England in 1994, I spent the first few years temping. In and out of factories and kitchens. I got fed up with that in the end and decided (thanks to my father) to try and get my busdrivers' licence. I only needed a year and two goes, but finally on January 7th, 1999 I finally held my new licence: I was allowed to drive a bus!
I managed to get a job fairly soon and after a very rocky start (the bus itself, a lamppost, a car, another car, another bus: all damaged) I started getting the hang of it. After a few years I started doing international work and for the past five years I have been going abroad a lot. Starting with Germany for five days and gradually working my way up to Italy and Ireland for 10-12 days.

I want to emigrate to Canada, but in order for me to do that, I need money. I have a huge problem though: I don't have any. In the past I have spent so much, that I got a rather nasty debt to pay off first. However, during the last three years I have managed to pay off nearly €15,000 (over 10,000 pounds sterling or US $23,000). I am on the last stretch now and as soon as I have repaid the bank, I will start saving so I will be able to either go to Canada for a holiday next year, or move to Canada to work and live next year. For now, those options are open, it all depends on that money!

I will try to write on this blog quite regularly. Tell you what is happening in my life. If you want to react: please do...