Sunday, 30 November 2008


A day like today is so tiring. The alarm clock at 4.15am, trying to get the windscreen of the coach defrosted within 5 minutes (yes, I was late) and not being able to reach high enough to actually scrape it off and then a whole day of dreary weather (rain, sleet, snow) driving train passengers around. The worst thing was when people bugged me even though I had the sign on the bus changed to 'out of service'.
When I got home, I basically slouched down on the couch and sat/hung there for about two hours, before I felt even close to normal again.

Good thing I now have two days off and then it's back to Germany.

Friday, 28 November 2008


Something that goes with my job is staying in hotels a lot. When I first started a friend of mine commented that that was great! Well, after a while all hotelrooms look alike. They are not your own home, the beds are usually slept on by a gazillion people before you, the pillows are horrible, not enough blankets, the rooms are small, too hot, too cold, too noisy, the television only broadcasts local programmes or very snowy foreign ones, the food is questionable, the service is not service and all in all, hotels are not my favourite part of my job.
Having said that, there are always exceptions to the rule. I once stayed in an ordinary chain hotel (Mercure or something like that) and was given the best room! Flat screen tv, huge bed, great bathroom including slippers and bathrobe. Shame about the motorway that was quite close and the food served there was atrocious (French, need I say more?)...

Last night on my quest for the perfect hotel I stayed in a small hotel somewhere near Magdeburg (Germany). The room wasn't overly large, the bed was a single (half of the twin) and the bathroom wasn't too big either. But, instead of a pillowcase filled with fluffed up air it was a proper pillow, albeit quite large. The television wasn't a wide screen, but there were about 25 channels to choose from (24 in German, granted) which gave me a lot of choice. There were no goodies in the bathroom (I've got a drawer full of soapies etc), but it was clean and new. But the food... To die for! Grilled trout with head, tail and bones, boiled potatoes in butter and a lovely salad. Simple, but great! And the pudding... mmmm, lovely. Apple beignets with vanilla sauce. But I think most importantly the service was fantastic. I was shown up to my room, they didn't mind me having breakfast at 6am (which was a huge problem in a four star hotel with over 200 rooms), even though I was one of only four guests! The only thing was, I would have loved to see it during daylight. Arriving in the middle of the night (half past five in the afternoon, but pitch dark) didn't do much for the surroundings, neither did leaving at half past six in the morning.

Hotel "Waldschänke" in Hohenwarthe (near Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) gets four stars in my rating!

Next week I will have two more chances of hotel-gazing. One in Germany and one in London.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Off to see the world!

After a few days off it was back to work for me yesterday. Starting at 7 in the morning, by the time I had taken those soldiers to their skiing whatyamacallit in Germany, gotten to an airport in the Netherlands again and waited and waited and waited and waited it was gone half past eight at night and still no sign of freedom! In the end I was relieved by a colleague at the end of my allowed 15 hours of work. Of which I get about 12 hours paid!
Today is an easier day. I only have to go to Germany and find a hotel there. Then tomorrow it's back to the Netherlands, but with Dutch soldiers.
On Saturday it's a soccer trip and on Sunday train relieve (no trains due to works on the track, buses instead).
When I will find the time to visit my brother and sister-in-law who just had their third baby I don't know...

Monday, 24 November 2008


Nearly a week has gone by again. It all goes so quickly and sometimes I wonder where the days have gone. And most importantly: what I have been doing with those days.
I worked most of the days. On Thursday it was a whole day of ferrying kids back and forth between school and swimming pool/sportscenter. Then on Friday I had to pick up all the staff and their partners from a building company in the north and take them to Rotterdam and The Hague. First a boattrip through the harbour in Rotterdam. Unfortunately it was cut short due to the atrocious weather. On our way there a lorry had tilted over due to the heavy winds and was covering the complete motorway, blocking all traffic. And even though it was Friday morning, normally the quietest morning of the week traffic wise, I never noticed it! We were well and truly stuck and I even turned the engine off for nearly half an hour!!! After that it moved again, but since four lanes had to go into one.... You get the drift! We were over an hour late in Rotterdam.

After Rotterdam I had to take them to some swanky hotel in The Hague. I dropped them off and then drove to a not so swanky hotel just outside The Hague. Mind you, it was quiet, so I was happy enough. I even managed to visit my brother and his family for a couple of hours.

The next morning I picked the group up again and drove them home. So, that was my weekend. Quite an easy weekend even if the weather was bad...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


The only thing left to do for me now is wait for December 6th and mail the Christmas cards I wrote today. I just have to get one more for a certain person whose birthday I always tend to forget.
Job done!

Monday, 17 November 2008


Not my day today. Started off by nearly oversleeping. Then I cycled to work and left my bike next to my coach so I could take it with me. However I forgot to put it on the bus and left. While driving I missed a set of traffic lights. They were just gone! Well, they weren't gone of course, I just had run them and was now standing behind the lights. Not good.
After I finally got to my parents, I carried my bag upside down, but fortunately nothing had fallen out. Or so I thought, because half an hour later my Mum asked me what was lying in the street (my glasses, that's what).

The afternoon didn't get much better, the bus I had had to change to wouldn't start and I missed part of my shift because of that. And when I finally got back to the garage, it turned out I had actually driven over my bike, causing my rear wheel to be extremely wobbly.

Oh, and now I have a headache!

I wish it were Tuesday...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Good news

Yesterday I went to an information meeting about emigrating to Canada. I was told things I already knew and some things I didn't know yet, but would have to take into account as well. Of course the problem so far was money. And guess what: the problem from now on is going to be money!
Up to now I have been paying of a huge debt (all my own making, just spending too much), but that's nearly gone now. From now on though, I will have to save money. I will need money for the agency, the English test, my cats and of course I will need most money for trying to stay alive for the first few weeks in Canada. I need to pass my driving test again (!) for both car and bus, I need money to get a place to live and of course money for feed for both me and my monsters. All in all, I will need around €12,000! *Sigh*

On the other hand there was some good news. As soon as I have all the money I need, it should take somewhere between three and four months from signing up with the agency and me flying to Canada. So, that's good. The downside of course is that I am only allowed to stay for two years and then have to leave for four months. But I will deal with that once I'm there, no point in getting worked up about that now.

So, all in all fairly good news.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Time off

I wanted next week off, but thanks to a colleague of mine who felt it necessary to fondle a young girl at a busstop and was sentenced to 100 hours of community work (scooping poop hopefully), that was made impossible. However, I was told that any time off during the Christmas holiday would be acceptable.
And since I have over two weeks holiday left and some more days floating around as well, that just suits me fine!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Note to self: check under the bed before closing the bedroom door, just in case one of the monsters has decided to hide under it!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


There's a small village close to where I live. The people who live there are generally speaking not my favourite people. In the past the village used to be an island (until 1942) and the people are still acting like they live on an island. Large families (more than 10 children becoming a bit more rare now, but it's taken a while) and I think because of those large families all children are extremely loud and unruly. Horrid!
Today I had to drive two schoolclasses to some museum. Two different schools, so the children didn't really know each other. But the noise they made. They screamed and shouted and the teachers did absolutely nothing. An occasional sht wasn't even heard by the children in the first few seats, let alone by the rest. I bet most of them removed their seatbelts the minute I got behind the wheel and the teachers didn't bother.

On the way back it was bit different. One of the teachers was reading a book out loud. Well, politically correct it definitely wasn't! It was a book about some schoolchildren and it was set during World War two. No problem there. But when he started reading about the beating one particular school boy got for playing truant and not one single adult person on the coach said anything about it...

The village is quite old-fashioned in its beliefs. Most women and girls are not allowed to wear trousers (it's ungodly apparently) and they go to church twice every Sunday. No radio allowed on the bus (they do play the radio in the car home though), some people still without television. On the other hand, they make bucket loads of money in 'fish' (it's a fishing village) and it has been reported that cocaine use is rife. But mostly they are just 'us' against the rest of the world.

And not my favourites. At all!

Monday, 10 November 2008


I got my first Christmas card today. Not really expected and not from anyone I actually know, since it's part of the Postcrossing scheme.
I joined Postcrossing a few years ago, not really expecting it to work that well, but as you can see from my sister blog (Mara's Wall of Fame) it did. So far I've nearly sent 300 cards and received about the same. It's an expensive hobby, but I do like getting some mail every day!

However getting the first Christmas card before you're even halfway through November is definitely special. Mind you, I like Christmas and always send my cards out around December 6th (straight after Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas, which is celebrated on December 5th in the Netherlands).

The card itself is of a cottage and is by Thomas Kinkade. Snowman in front, snow on the roof, all the lights in the cottage on. It makes me wish for a white Christmas, but the chance of that happening in this country are extremely slim! The last time I saw a white Christmas was when I lived in England and then it wasn't white because of the snow, but because of the fog which hung around for nearly a week. And the only time I really saw a proper white Christmas was when I lived in the French Alps during the winter of '91/'92.

I won't expect a white Christmas this year, but I do love the cards and/or films to show that it is possible. It makes my dreams just a little bit more real...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


I don't visit my parents that often. For one, they are hardly ever at home, both having a social life and jobs to keep them busy. An other reason is I don't have a car, so just hopping in the car to go visit them on a Sunday afternoon is not really an option. I could always take the bus, but it takes an hour and a half to get to my parents and if they then aren't home...
When I do visit my parents, it's often in the way I've done it today. I'm working and in between the morning and the afternoon shift, I have enough time to visit my parents. I park the coach at the trainstation and then cycle to my parents' place. When it rains I usually take the bus, since parking the coach closer to their home has been made impossible during the last year.
My mum and I went shopping today. I have this information meeting coming up and I don't want to just arrive in my old and trusted jeans and a too large hand me down jumper. So I bought a new pair of trousers and some new jumpers as well. Now the only thing I need is a new pair of shoes, since I only own one pair of black shoes and the trousers are brown!
But that wasn't the reason I was visiting here today. The reason for visiting was a working sewing machine. I don't have one anymore and my mum does. So, after I've finished this, I will get it out and try and repair some uniform trousers, which have burst at the seam.
Quite a mundane day then...

Monday, 3 November 2008

Talking back

It's always quite hard for me to deal with people who have a louder voice than I do. I know I start talking loudly when excited or angry and other people do the same thing. But it's hard to stand up to people like that. When on the job it's quite ok, after all, I'm in charge and my word goes, but when not working, it gets a lot harder. I start nodding and agreeing, all the while thinking bad things about them.
I remember when I was about 19. It was my second season working abroad and I was a quiet, naïve person. I was in charge of a large group of children, but when the time came to make a show from scratch with those children, I was lost and couldn't do it. So when my boss started yelling at me in front of all my colleagues and all the children, something snapped. I started yelling back and for the first time in my life actually stood up for myself. It worked. After that, he never yelled at me again and he would never scold me in front of others again. He would come to see me and talk to me about any mistakes I might have made.

Since then I have learned even more. Some people can't handle 'lower' employees to talk back. Some people can't handle anything like criticism. And some people should be banned from working with other people.

Last night I had to get my coach back. It had been driven by a colleague I don't particularly like for the past two weeks and looked like a tip. He started shouting at me about the various problems, mistakes and shortcomings of the coach and I just told him to stop shouting, since I wasn't deaf. He looked at me and surprise surprise: he piped down. He then told me what was wrong and the whole thing became a lot more civil. After that he got his stuff and left for home.

But here sits quite a proud person, because I managed not to be overcome with dumbstruckness (I know it's not a word, but it should be) and actually stayed on top of the conversation!


Saturday, 1 November 2008


Out of the four cats sharing my home, three love sitting on my lap. Vying for attention! Mind you, it's also quite heavy, since the red one on the left is quite big and the other ones aren't underweight either!

But I love them...