Sunday, 31 July 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-27

I had been invited to a barbecue last night, but the weather was so bad (rain, no rain, rain, etc), that the host prepared and then we ate. Inside. 

We had lovely fish skewers (see above), vegetable skewers (and yes, I gave the mushrooms away) and for afters, cheese and grapes.

It was a good night with great people and fantastic food! Mmmm

Saturday, 30 July 2016


I can't imagine how they got to me!
What can I say? Last week's posting was great and this week's is absolutely rubbish. My apologies. Let's blame it on the pain. Or discomfort rather. Severe at that.

No, the H didn't come back, I think I have cracked that now. Cycling training and then a shower, followed by a minute long full blast with the 'burn' temperature and I have been doing okay. Let's hope it continues. The swim training this week went absolutely fine as well. I didn't need half as many stops and breaks to do the two laps I need, so I was very pleased with that. 

The blueberry picking trip that was planned for Wednesday was moved to Thursday, due to very heavy rains. On Thursday it looked like it was a wash-out for a while as well, but then it cleared and we were fine. I got a load of blueberries and filled three pots with jam. Need to recook two of those, since the pots didn't suck to vacuum properly, but that's a 30 minute job. 

The jogging training on Friday got nixed due to my fear of the rain. I feel there is no point in getting ill now, so we cancelled. Turned out, the weather cleared almost immediately after. So, in the evening, with guilt racking through me, I made my way outside and walked a brisk five kilometers. Not quite jogging, but nearly. 

The container in my left hand is full of blueberries
So, this discomfort. Severe at that. Well, stepping in an ant hill while picking blueberries, is probably not the best idea. They were swarming all over my right leg. But I don't think they were that bothersome. I think the midges were more of a problem and they got me. EVERYWHERE! My left arm has at least 12 vicious looking red bumps. They itch, they itch more, they hurt. My right arm may have a few less, but again: itch and hurt. Both my legs are covered with midge bites and they didn't stop there either: no my face has been gotten as well. Mind you, the ones there at least don't itch and/or hurt. 

In fact, the itching and hurting became so bad that last night I covered myself in burn gel and then proceeded to cover that up with large plasters and such. It worked to a degree.

I have now bought (finally) some insect repellent to be used next time I venture out into nature. Plus three more bottles with the burn gel, since the bottle I had was obviously empty!

Monday, 25 July 2016

33 days to go

Yes, only 33 days to go until I will be starting that madness called triathlon. It will be exciting to see how it goes. Right now I have done all three disciplines, but never one after the other. I do still have some weeks left though, so there will be plenty of time for training. 

In other news, this whole getting fit thing has resulted in me reaching my first goal: getting below the magic 100! Kilograms that is. And this morning, as I stood on the scales, a little fist pump was in order. It wasn't much, but it was below and I came in at a lovely 99,9! The first real result. 

Yes, the BMI thingy still has me at extremely obese (35,8), but part of the fat has been turned into muscle already. I know, because people keep telling me that muscle weighs more than fat and I do look like I have lost weight. And when I measured my waist a week ago and then again yesterday, I found I had lost about 4 centimeters. Not bad.

So, what with all that training, I should be able to loose a bit more. Although I doubt I will ever be as skinny as in that photo!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-26

I caught this fish yesterday, but we don't quite know what it is (the name Barracuda was thrown about), I just know it had several rows of vicious looking teeth, spiky fins and after filleting, there wasn't much meat left! 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Gone fishing

I got a text message last night. Whether I would like to come fishing today? My plan had been to go out and see whether the raspberries were ripe, but I could change my plan. So yes, count me in!

Puss was interested, but only gave it a lick
It was fantastic; sun, hardly any wind, good company. The fish thought so too, because they stayed away in droves! According to one of my friends, if you catch one mackerel, there are sure to be many to follow. Not today though. We did get some fish in the end though, so we didn't come away empty-handed. 

The gulls however, gobbled up the heads and such whole!
After the fishing part was done, I needed to gut and filet the critters. Last year I did that and in the end over half of good meat went in the bin. So, this year I got a lesson in how to gut and filet a fish. Then we fried some of them and yes, we ate them as well. Yummy!!

I came away from today with several more fish, two bags of redcurrants and a load of rhubarb. Now, about those raspberries...

Friday, 22 July 2016

The gizmo

As you may know I entered this mad scheme of getting fit. And not only that, to get fit enough to participate in a triathlon! What can I say? Marbles, senses, the lot. But...

Over the recent weeks I have noticed a difference. Before I stooped a bit when walking. No more, I go upright! Before I plodded a bit when walking. No more, I go delicately (ahem) now. Before I got tired just walking to the other side of the bus lot. Well, that's a thing of the past as well. 

In fact, I am really enjoying this whole getting fit thing. I enjoy the walking and even the climbing of hills and mountains. I enjoy the cycling and I enjoy the swimming. It has actually gotten so bad that when I don't do anything on any given day, I feel quite guilty and sorry, even if I am tired from the day before. 

Now, in order to help me understand how much I walk/run/cycle, I decided I needed a gizmo. A little thingymebob that would tell me all. A few days ago I bought a gizmo. And it is perfect. 

For example: last Sunday I cycled. Not just any old cycling either: I cycled the route we will be doing during the triathlon. And since that route is only 5 km, I needed to do it 4 times. The gizmo told me exactly how many kilometers I had done, my average speed and the speed I was going at at any given time. Plus, I even have the opportunity to use the heart rate monitor as well.

Once I get home and plug it in to my computer, I can see exactly where I have been, because of its gps. It shows the number of meters above sea level, it shows where I slowed down and where I speeded up. 

On Wednesday I used it again. This time I cycled and walked. Once I had stopped the walking part and was due to go back to the cycling bit, it told me that I had reached today's goal! And I wasn't even home yet!!

Oh, and before you ask how far I have come in my training? I actually swam 750 meters on Tuesday. For the first time! I cycled the 20 km on Sunday and I have done a lot of walking lately. Now it is just a case of training a bit more, swimming, cycling and walking the distances I have to do, preferably in the terrain I have to do them in. And this gizmo is certainly a big help!!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Miss Oswin escapes


Well, all that talk about what is good about this apartment and what is not, is just talk. And talk is not good enough. So, last night...


Oh yes. Mara woke up in the middle of the night and had to use the toilet. So out she went. And I waited stealthily by the door until she came back in. The second she opened that door, I was out like a shot!! Up the stairs and up the second stairs as well. Mara tried calling for me, but I "didn't hear" anything of course. 

But, she came up, she followed me. Found me and then I shot away again. Down and down I went. Now, I might have gone into the apartment, but the silly dope had closed the door! So, once she came down, I shot up again!

She tried rattling the treat tin, she tried with the good food, she tried calling again. But I was free. FREE!! 

After a long time sniffing around everywhere, I felt it was time to go downstairs again. The door was closed, but I just scratched the door a bit and then Mara came and opened it. 

Note from Mara: she escaped at 1am! The whole house fast asleep and she chose that time to run. Fortunately since it was so hot and I couldn't sleep, I heard her scratching and was able to let her in: 2.15am. She definitely showed me!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

My turn!

My front door
Well, after Miss Oswin vented her frustrations yesterday, let me give you the pros and cons as I see them. 

First the pros: my landlord. With four days notice, he got the place ready for me, including fire alarms, a new kitchen counter, a new(ish) fridge. He helped with the move itself, unloading box after box and carrying it in. After a few weeks he got hold of a trailer, so we could get MY book cases and bed. 

A quarter of the kitchen
He told me to use the basement to park my bike, instead of leaving it outside: it could get stolen you know! He told me to use the loft for any empty boxes and/or full boxes I don't need. Oh, and he allowed Miss Oswin to come and live here.

I don't have to pay for my electricity, it's included in the rent. Which is the same as I paid at the little cottage by the way and there I had to pay for the electricity. Come winter, that will be quite a bit of money. I don't have to pay for the tv and/or internet: they are also included in the rent, they weren't before. 

Dual aspect does create some problems, mainly: where do I put stuff!
I can cycle to work. Hop, I can even walk to work if I want and it wouldn't take more than 30 minutes. I save money on petrol, toll and general car use. Which again means more money in pocket to save up. The shops are also close by: about 400 meters or so. Several of them. There are several bus lines close by, so if I don't want to cycle or walk or take the car: I take the bus. 

The place itself is quite big. A big kitchen (room for a small table) with lots of storage space. A large bedroom, a good bathroom (from the bedroom, soon hallway instead of the kitchen), a large living room with a little annex. There is a dual aspect (I have watched too many housing programs) in every single room, large windows everywhere and that means a lot of light. 

The best things about this place? The presence of a dishwasher and proper drinking water straight from the tap.

The little annex to the living room
Now for the cons (yes, there are those as well): it's situated in town, which means the views are not the best. I don't feel tempted to take photos of the view every day, like I did before. However, we are not completely closed in and I do see a fair distance.

As Miss Oswin mentioned: there are people living upstairs and you can hear them. Then again, it's not as if they are massive party people who feel the need to celebrate every single night. The one night there were some friends over, they came over to tell me. I slept in the living room that night. 

The leaning tower of boxes
Other noise is worse I think: the road not too far from the house. It is the main through road through town and that means cars and lorries at all times of the day. I love my quiet and that is hard if you also love to sleep with your windows open!

Even though the place is quite big, it is too small for all my stuff. In fact, I don't have all my stuff here, a lot of it is still in storage. Mind you, all my books and dvd's are here, so the important stuff is around me. 

I have no toilet. Yes, I have a bathroom and Miss Oswin has her toilet there, but for me? Out of the apartment. As my landlord puts it: the outhouse. It's not as bad as it sounds though. It is still an indoor toilet and I am the only one using it. I just need to remember to take the key to my place to the toilet, because otherwise Miss O goes on the prowl. Oh, and during my upcoming holiday, there will be a toilet installed in the bathroom. So, it's like half a con. 

Talking of Miss Oswin: I don't feel it's safe for her to go outside here. Yes, there are cats roaming outside, but there is also the busiest road in town. Plus I don't have direct access to the outside, apart from through the windows.

Do I need to say more?
And then for the reason I am not looking for another place. Well, first of all, I wouldn't know when to fit it in! What with swimming, cycling, walking, hiking and oh yes, working, I am glad whenever I can sit and watch telly at night. Another reason is financial. Yes, I know that I might be able to get a loan from one or two communities, if I were to move there. And I don't think it would be hard to find a place there either.

But, I would like a bit more financial security from myself. So, all the money I am saving up (electricity, tv, internet, car) has a purpose. Even if it is only to buy a dishwasher for myself! Then again, if the perfect place would come up, either buy or rent, I am not that much of a fool to deny that! So, there you have it. My pros and cons. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Miss Oswin pros and cons the new place


It has been too long since the MBC in the WWU had a say here, so I plan to rectify it immediately. And I will tell you all about the new house. Or apartment as Mara calls it. 

First I will list the pros. There aren't that many of them to be honest. In fact, I can hardly think of a single thing that is better here than in our little house. Oh wait, when I look out the window there are more people to look at. Well, sometimes anyway. 

Now for the cons. The first one is that I am not allowed to go out. Mara says it's because of the traffic, but there was traffic back home as well and I was alright! Not going out means I cannot chase mice. Or birds. Or go running around in the nice green grass. Or climb trees. Or go visit the sheep and the cows. See how many negative things there are? And I am not finished yet either.

Not only am I not allowed to go out, I am not even allowed to go upstairs. Because there are other people living there! Don't they know I am the MBC in the WWU? An asset to every single household! Those people living upstairs make noises as well! They walk and move and when I first came to live here, I was very scared of that. But Mara told me I had to get used to that. Which I did, but I still don't like it very much. 

Another con is the view. It's not very nice. Not very nice at all. I want to see more than a single tree I can't touch. And grass. And animals. But here there are houses and apartments and people and cars and a lot more other stuff. Plus the sounds. There is always a sound. From the sirens of ambulances and police cars to the normal cars driving past to people moving upstairs to everything. It Is Never Quiet!!

The last big con is this: Mara isn't even looking to find another house for ourselves! How can that be? Does she want to live here?? Does she not know how a cat, especially the Most Beautiful Cat in the Whole Wide Universe needs space and open air and mice and such? I will just have to ruin her chairs a bit more so she will understand a tree is better to sharpen my nails on than any chair can ever be!

Help me readers! Help me get out of this place!!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-25

It's been way too long since I posted a photo of Miss Oswin, so here it is. Oh, and next week, she will have something to say for herself as well!

Friday, 15 July 2016


When I was 12, the world was about to end. It was 1983 and talk of nuclear weapons, nuclear attacks and the world ending were daily occurrences. Radio, television, newspapers. You couldn't get away from it. And when they started haunting my dreams it was made very real.

The plane that flew over, the bomb that dropped. It was terrifying and my last week at my old school (we were about to move to a new town and that probably had a lot to do with it as well) was not good to say the least. Nor were the first few weeks at the new school for that matter. The fear I had felt and that had kept me from sleeping and eating was now replaced by something else. Something else that kept me from sleeping and eating. A boy called Willem. He was nice. He was the first boy I fell in love with. And I was terrified yet again. Because if the result of being afraid and being in love was the same: not sleeping, not eating, fretting all the time, I hated it!

The bomb was never dropped, causing a nuclear holocaust. The Dutch dykes never broke, causing a flooded country. The end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties saw some positive signs in the world. The wall was torn down, uniting a country that had been separated since World War II (Germany in case you need a reminder). For the first time ever in its history, all citizens over 18, regardless of colour were allowed to vote (South Africa). The world was on the way up!

And then somehow it got ruined. Over the past 20 years it seems as everybody tries to outdo each other. A will bomb B, B will flatten A. C gets in the mix wanting a piece of the action. And after a while, all the other letters of the alphabet (including Æ, Ø and Å) join in. Because they can, because they feel threatened, because of whatever. Millions on the run, hunger, devastation, violence. Lost children, lost parents, lost everything. 

And that 12-year old? Sitting in her room right now? Fearing another idiot with a gun/bomb/lorry/suitcase? Invading her dreams and turning them into nightmares? Let's just hope that soon she dreams of the normal stuff again. Horses, flying bikes, butterflies. And boys (or girls)! 

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


Do you know I never had tasted blueberries before I moved to Norway? In fact, I can't even recall seeing them in the supermarket back in the Netherlands. But, once I moved here, I have eaten lots of them. Mostly foreign (from Poland and such), but on the weekend I had Norwegian ones. Picked by yours truly on my way to that mountain top. 

And then today I went blueberry picking. Together with a new hiking partner, who almost flew up the mountain. I was quite jealous, but then again, she had four legs and I only have two. Lotta (as this little dog was called) took her owner along and the three of us made our way up the highest mountain in Haugesund, a staggering 246 meters above sea level (Valhest was 313). 

That's Valhest in the distance
Along the way there was mud, more mud and even more mud. And blueberries. So many blueberries. Fortunately I didn't have to handpick them, my friend had a gizmo for that. I managed to get to the top with my blueberries and I managed to hold on to them on the way down as well. 

Mmmm, blueberries with vanilla sauce for dinne dessert tonight.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-24

On the way to Valhest yesterday, I saw some wildlife. This frog...

And this caterpillar. 

Saturday, 9 July 2016


At the top
Living where I live, means living close to a lot of beautiful nature. The sea on one side with several islands (I really need to visit them some day) and mountains on the other side. And for about three weeks I had been wanting to do a hike to a mountain top called Valhest. Weather, other training and work got in the way, but today was the day.

Yep, I fell. Into the mud. As if I hadn't been dirty enough already.
First I had to pick up two friends and then we drove to the parking place close to where the trail started. The first bit was quite easy: downhill on a gravel path and then a bit of tarmac. But once that was finished, we were in for it. Grass, swampy bits, stones, rocks, rivers (albeit small ones) and of course the mountains. 

Part of the view. The North Sea in the distance.
Since none of us had ever been there, we didn't really know what we were in for! We didn't know we would have to go up a nasty, steep, rocky, swampy (yes, all at once) path. We didn't know that once we had crossed that, we were still only halfway! We didn't know that we had to cross a mountain ridge, go down a bit and then up another ridge. We didn't know the treat in store when we finally made it to the top! 

It. Was. HEAVY!!!
Of course, once we got up there, we would need to get down again as well. Which sounds easy (you're going down), but can actually be equally tricky. Having to take care where to place your feet, so you won't go knee deep into the swampy bits. Or slide down into the mud (yes, I did). 

Bush, hand, mouth. It was that easy.
We started around 10.30am, we were back at the car around 4.30pm. What with breaks, me wheezing (not whistling anymore though) and us having to take a break every now and then to eat blueberries, take photos or just enjoy the scenery, I think it was a great day. Plus a great work-out as well of course.

Friday, 8 July 2016


Apparently a singer, Dutch Vanessa was more known for her... ahem... large boobs. And a few weeks ago I sent a photo of myself while getting my wet suit on to my friend Pepperfly. Who immediately realised the Vanessa content of said photo. 

I don't know how big her boobs actually were, but I do know about mine. I always felt they were in proportion to the rest of my body, and as I grew in size, so did they. But as I have begun this training thing, they did bother me somewhat. Running is not nice when you have two personal lifebuoys jumping up and down in your face I can tell you! I needed help.

Fortunately this internet thingy is perfect for getting help and soon I had a nice sports bra on its way. Would it fit? Would it help? Would it do the trick? Well...

Since I don't really run yet, I couldn't try it there. But I do cycle and every time I did go cycling, I ended up with a headache (lasting several days). I tried to keep my shoulders relaxed, I tried the shock absorber, I tried the sports bra. 

Guess which one works!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A new week

They were fit! (yes, in more than one way)
Last Sunday was a bit of an eye-opener for me. For starters, did you know how many good looking cute guys do those Iron Man competitions? And all those different styles of running? Plus all those people who just. want. to. finish!! 

And I stood there all day, handing back their personal belongings. Congratulating them on their achievement. In Norwegian, English, French, German, Dutch. They thanked me for volunteering. They thought it was so good to not having to look for their bag because it was already in their hands. 

I realised that I had been a bit slack. Yes, of course I had the excuses of ear infection and headache, but still, I could have walked! So, I decided that a real effort was needed now. No more dilly-dallying. No more excuses. No more tv instead of the gym. 

This definitely beats the gym
Today I was planning on swimming, but my colleague couldn't make it at the time I could make it. I thought about cycling, but then I saw my friend at work. How about a trip around Visnes? Oh yes please was the answer. 

Which is what we did. To prepare me for my triathlon in August. Fast pace from the get-go, slowing down a bit afterwards, but never stopping, no breaks, no 'I have to catch my breath now'. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-23

The personal belongings of the athletes participating in the Haugesund Iron Man. Nearly 1700 bags. It took close to two hours to sort them and hang them up in numerical order. We were about 20 doing this!

Every athlete that completed the Iron Man (and wasn't disqualified) got a medal. 

The winner: Norwegian Gustav Iden. He completed the course in just under 3h45m. 

Saturday, 2 July 2016


The cake for the not special occasion: a 'vlaai'.
Not my favourite!
The things that happened this week. I went to a 'volunteer for Iron Man' meeting (I will be part of the finish line crew), I suffered yet once again from a four day headache (thanks to last Sunday's cycling trip), I baked two cakes (one for a special occasion) and I celebrated turning 45 (the special occasion).

Oh yes, I had a birthday. Which started by oversleeping, but then I found out I hadn't and had a shorter shift than expected as well. In turn that meant I had more time to get the apple pie done. I found the recipe I used the very first time, but found the amounts of flour were not that good, so had to add. And then of course they talk about a handful of raisins. Whose hand? So, I used about four of mine. Could have been five. The same with the cinnamon, which I love. But only a tea spoon of it? Not nearly enough, so I just shook that little thingy and then shook it some more. 

Well, if I am not using my training gear....
The cake was appreciated by colleagues and landlord and friends and most was eaten after the last ones left. I froze the remainder for a rainy day. The strawberries and vanilla sauce were all gone though. 

I got some lovely gifts as well. Some financial aid towards a gps/speed tracker for bike and such; how to knit mittens; a crocheting booklet with yarn; a lovely plant and "chocolates" (in the form of nectarines). And then I finally got my act together and started struggling with Amazon to get me a Kindle. For some dumb reason I can't get one in the UK, so had to buy it in the USA. It is (as I write this) on its way from Louisville, Kentucky, USA!

So, that was my week.