Sunday, 21 October 2018

Saturday, 20 October 2018

The circus

Last night my sister and I made our way to Belfast. The circus was in town. Not just any circus either: Cirque du Soleil. Neither of us had ever seen them, so we didn't really know what to expect.

Well, what we got was stomach dropping acrobatics in the air, on trampolines, on the floor. There was a guy with a diabolo who was just amazing. A contortionist where I wondered whether she would ever be straight again and some fantastic clowns giving us a love story. 

This last photo is of my favourite act. She is just hanging off his neck and he is just holding on to some ropes. No safety nets or anything! 

Photos by my sister.

Thursday, 18 October 2018


All of us drivers out there know that parking on the motorway is not allowed. So, when I saw this lorry yesterday afternoon, while I was on my way to Glasgow, I knew it meant trouble. Well, no. It meant TROUBLE. See, it hadn't just parked. It had parked on top of one of the side barriers and there were lots of police cars around. There was also an ambulance and a large tow truck.

Of course the traffic on their way to Glasgow wanted to see what had happened and slowed right down as well, causing me to get to Glasgow a bit later than I had wanted, although still on time. I did not have any passengers returning with me to Belfast and left a minute after I was due. I got to the motorway in good time and then... I joined the queue. 

Normally, I should be able to get to a certain point in about 20 minutes. In heavy rush hour traffic it should take about 30 minutes. Yesterday it took over an hour and a half! Even if I went flat out (which I am not allowed), I would not make the ferry back by any stretch of the imagination. 

Instead I took my statutory rest (after 4,5 hours driving we have to have a 45 minute break) about half way to the ferry, after which I continued to the ferry, where there was a two and a half hour wait before I could finally board the same ferry I had taken in the morning. I had a small dinner, it was nearly midnight after all, and then put my head down. Normally I would read or knit or both (yes, at the same time), but I needed the sleep more. 

By the time I got to my own bed it was 3 in the morning. What a day. Fortunately, before all this came to pass, I had already had a change of plan for today. Instead of the normal Glasgow run I was put on another trip, which starts much later in the day. They must be psychic in the office!

PS: why on earth am I always drooling when taking a nap. I don't recall ever drooling when properly asleep in my bed! Or is it just me?

Monday, 15 October 2018

A lovely autumn afternoon

As I was off yesterday and so was my sister, we decided to go for a nice drive. However, as we could only start out after one in the afternoon, we felt that picking up the Mourne coastal route where we had left it last time (during my stay here in February) would take too long. Instead we decided to stay closer to home and visit Armagh, a lovely cathedral city at less than half an hour's drive.

The drive itself is quite uneventful, but since we had changed our aim from driving to visiting, that didn't matter overly much. When we got there, we parked at the protestant cathedral at the top of the city and walked down to the city center. Of course, it being Sunday all the shops were closed, but the park would be open and we headed that way.

From the park we had a lovely view over the cathedral. And as you may not quite be able to see in the photo: it was on the same height again as we were, because the park is on a slope as well. The bit of the park we saw wasn't that busy, mainly to do with the bike race going on further down in the park. We did get some lovely views though. One of them being two squirrels chasing each other round the trees. No photo of course: they were too fast and too far away.

I did however get a lovely photo of the path we were walking on. It is one of my favourites of the day, beating the one of the cathedral! I did take another one as well, which is a bit gloomier, but I just love this one. 

After the short walk we arrived at the main bit of the park with a children's playground, a small garden area, the stable block (with facilities fortunately) and the main house. Formerly the Archbishop's residence, now City Hall, from what we could gather. We walked back to the city again and finally read up on the old Friary. This is the only part still standing and from what we could deduce, it was the church part of the Friary.

Once back in the city center, we decided to get a drink, which turned into Sunday lunch with a scrumptious dessert. Yum! It was a lovely afternoon with gorgeous weather and great company. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

So, where's my sister from then?

We may look alike, but we are not the same. Not on the outside...
... and not on the inside
On the same day the results of my mother came in, both my sister and I got our results as well. They varied, which to me sounded very strange. Surely as sisters we should have the same DNA! My sister works with DNA and such, but could not give me a proper answer immediately. She knows, but needs to put it in simple person talk for me.

Fast forward to today and I got an answer to the conundrum, albeit not from my sister. In short it's like this: Even though you get half of your stuff from one parent and the other half from the other, it doesn't necessarily mean you get exactly half of everything. It is completely random what you get in fact. Here's an example:

My paternal grandparents
Grandfather A is 100% German and grandmother A is 50% Italian and 50% Scottish. They produce child A which is 50% German, 32% Scottish and 18% Italian.
Grandfather B is 50% Irish and 50% Scottish and grandmother B is 100% Italian. They produce child B which is 50% Italian, 36% Irish and 14% Scottish.
Child A and child B have two children. Child 1 is 41% Irish, 32% Italian, 27% German and 0% Scottish. Child 2 is 50% German, 18% Italian, 18% Irish and 14% Scottish. 

My maternal grandparents
And that is exactly what happened to my sister and myself.
My own results show that I am 44% Germanic (mainly Dutch), 34% England/Wales/Northwestern Europe (mainly English), 17% Norwegian and 5% Swedish.
My sister's results show that she is 44% England/Wales/Northwestern Europe (mainly English), 26% Germanic (mainly Dutch), 18% Norwegian, 9% Swedish and 3% Irish/Scots. 
Which means that I am more Dutch than my sister, yet she is more Viking than me.

Me, my sister and my brother
Now, we have a brother as well and were he to do this test, his results will be completely different again, although the results will point out to us that there is a high likelihood that we are related in the first degree (ie siblings), regardless of differences. 

PS: had my sister and I been identical twins, the results would have been the same. And if for some reason the results had been the same now, it would have been a complete fluke really.

PS2: the explanation was given by Marc McDermott, who is the founder of Genealogy Explained. He wrote a guest blog for MyHeritage, one of the genealogy sites. Even though we did our tests with Ancestry, the explanation is the same for all tests.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Where am I from again?

Over the past few years I have done some research into my family tree. Finding out about anything from royalty and murder (Mum's side) and religious persecution and Japanese internment camps (Dad's side). 

At one point my Dad asked me whether I knew for certain that some person was our ancestor. Well, no! Then again, how do I know my father is my father? His word does not really prove that much! So, we decided to get a DNA test done through Ancestry. 

While my parents were here, we all spat in a tube and sent it off to Ireland to get it analyzed. And on Sunday the first results came in: my mother's!

The thing we 'knew' from my research (based on other people's research mostly) was that her ancestors came from a wide area in Europe. Starting with Charlemagne and then trickling down, slowly converging on the Netherlands. Would the DNA substantiate that research?

Well, it does! As you can see from the image above. There were two surprises: the first was about the England, Wales & Northwestern Europe bit. On closer inspection it showed that the main focus in that area is England! Where did that come from? I would have thought Northern France would be more likely. The second and biggest surprise for me however was the Scandinavian percentage though: 20% of my mother's DNA is from Norway and Sweden! Vikings!! 

I can't wait for my father's results now and then of course my own! Will my own correlate with my parents' or did the milkman or postman have anything to do with my conception and do I need a completely new research?

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-25

Yesterday my sister and I went shopping. I got myself five books. I still prefer books over e-reader, although that is a very handy gadget!

And then I got lots of other stuff! Some craft supplies. A lovely jumper. Some coasters and some other assorted stuff. Not in the photos are the footstool and some shelving units for the garage. We had a great day, even if my purse is now decidedly empty!

Friday, 5 October 2018


In Norway back in 2013
It's always nice to have friends coming over to stay and do things with. Even if it is only talking a lot over endless cups of tea. And I was really looking forward to this weekend: one of my friends was coming over for a few days. Brilliant! 

She booked the flight. I asked for time off. So far, so good. And then? Then she decided to do something that she had wanted to do for some time. Jumping on a trampoline! Which in itself isn't so bad, but in her case it did turn out to be so. Back aches, trouble walking and even though she rested a lot, it was a severe no-go. 

In the end she had to cancel her trip, due to her possibly having a hernia. This is the second time she has had to cancel her trip, which is a shame, because when I am in the Netherlands, we usually only see each other for a few hours. 

Don't worry: I have made other plans: ironing, hoovering, doing dishes, doing laundry, knitting and tomorrow I will be going shopping with my sister. 

I told my friend though: next time make sure no aunts or uncles are ill and do NOT jump on trampolines!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-24

Practicing my Greek on the ferry. I think I might stick to English for now though...

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Another one

While my parents were here, my sister and I turned two boring brown cushions into lovely and comfy cushions: my sister crocheted the covers and I fixed them. But, as I said: there wasn't enough yarn to do all four cushions, so another solution had to be found. Enter: the tweed!

I had bought some tweed while at the small craft fair my sister and I had been to a few weeks ago. Two large pieces of fabric and some left-overs in a bag. I got out those left-overs and searched for inspiration. The minute I saw the orange piece of tweed, I knew! Of course: a ginger cat.

The fabric was even a bit in a cat shape (the way I draw them anyway), so it was perfect. My mother told me which stitch to use and before long I was on my way to make a lovely cushion cover. Of course the apple tree beside the cat is completely out of proportion, but hey, the cushion is only so big... Now there is just one boring brown one left.