Wednesday 29 December 2010


I broke with tradition this year. I didn't spend Christmas on my own watching dvd's and films on television and enjoying every minute of it. I spent it with my parents and my sister on Christmas Day and with them and my brother and his family on Boxing Day.

I cooked dinner with my sister without a turkey or any other bird in sight. I got a few lovely presents, not too many: we don't really do presents. I went to the theater and saw Alice in Wonderland with my sister and father and brother and sister-in-law and nephew and niece. I took my niece to bed, but couldn't find Horse. I saw a lot of Christmas films, including a few I didn't know.

However, I forgot to take my camera and neither my sister nor my father took theirs out. So, no photos of the fantastic mustard soup (I will put up the recipe tomorrow) or the dessert which partly failed, but still tasted yummy. Sorry.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Merry Christmas

I posted this last year, but felt it could do with another outing. Merry Christmas everyone!

Twelve days of Christmas
A variation on a theme

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
A partridge in a pear tree.
Well, here’s what I thought of that gift,
My true love’s mind must have been adrift.
The pear tree wasn’t even so bad,
It certainly didn’t drive me mad.
The culprit was indeed the bird,
My love for them was immediately cured.

I was amazed by its attitude,
Caviar was its only chosen food!
Now, if my true love had only thought,
The tree and bird wouldn’t have been bought.
Instead he could have gotten me a negligee,
Which I happily would have worn all Christmas Day!
Promising a lot of fun and afternoon delight,
Lasting well into the night!

When my true love arrived on day two,
He gave me a basket: “That’s for you!”
He said, pointing at two turtle doves.
“Those two are a sign of real true love”.
Now, what thoughts had entered his head?
My love for birds was already dead!
Turtle doves did not change a single thing,
Especially if they behaved like queen and king!

All day long I heard roocoos,
And then they found my Jimmy Choos!
They must have thought it was a winter’s fest,
A great place for them to build their nest!
With all of their royal zeal,
They picked and pecked at the poor high heels.
I cried, but then my dear,
Promised a better gift: “Don’t fear!”

However, day three did not get any better.
Three French hens and not even on a platter!
That I wouldn’t have minded much,
My true love was definitely out of touch.
All day long the hens went ooh-la-la.
All I could think of was foie gras!
Perhaps some drumsticks, nice and hot!
But live hens? Definitely not…

A partridge, the doves and now the hens.
My true love didn’t have any common sense!
Birds in any form or shape?
I just wanted to escape.
Roasted hens with onions, my mouth did water,
But that would have meant I had to slaughter!
I wasn’t really up for that.
Perhaps I needed to get a cat…

On the next day came four calling birds.
They made a racket like you’ve never heard.
What was he thinking when he thought,
More fowl is what I sought?
The house was filling to the brim,
The living room started looking grim
Poo everywhere and it stank!
And I had my own true love to thank.

I don’t know who they called all day,
Rosalind? Jennifer? Maggie May?
My true love thought it was a hoot,
I just wanted to give them the boot.
Unfortunately the boots were filled with grubs,
And the heels of my Choos were now just stubs.
All I wanted to do was holler and wail,
And end this sorry sorry tale!

And then finally some gold rings!
That sure was a fantastic thing...
But again he made me look like a tool.
The five were made for a certified fool.
Not really gold, oh no!
Cheap imitation, the jeweler told me so!
However, it’s the thought that counts,
Or so my true love found.

The rings turned my fingers fluorescent green
Even in the dark they could be seen!
I wanted it off, it was quite urgent,
But it couldn’t be done, not even with strong detergent!
Finally after over an hour,
I found the answer: use something sour!
So, now my fingers smell like limes.
I was hoping for better times!

More fowl arrived on day six,
Throwing more mayhem into the mix.
When the geese arrived at my frontdoor,
I nearly fell to the floor!
The only thing stopping me was the poo,
The place looked like an unclean zoo.
The geese were nasty: they hissed,
They tried to bite me and barely missed.

I managed to lock them in the bathroom,
Using a very heavy witch’s broom.
Eggs soon started to fill the place,
It seemed as if they had a race.
The tub, the sink, the windowsill,
They didn’t even use any skill!
The floor was covered with debris
I would need more than pot pourri!

On day seven came the swans
They pecked right through my long johns
The curtains had already gone
Eaten by a stupid swan
The water they left all through the house
Drowned even my poor pet mouse!
Everywhere they went it was wet,
I just wanted to go to bed!

But my bed now looked like a huge big nest
It looked like they were on a quest
To completely wreck my lovely home
I wanted to move to Rome!
But I really really had to stay
If only for a few more days.
So said my dear true love
But I had had enough!

Then finally on day eight
No birds arrived and it was great
Instead eight maids walked in with stools
Those were their proper milking tools
Milking stools for huge big cows
Eight of them, roaming around my house!
Everywhere I looked was hay and straw
My true love had a massive flaw!

The house resembled a zoo by now
All those birds and now the cows
But even worse was yet to come
It mightn’t be a surprise to some…
My true love started flirting with a maid
He acted like he was in twelfth grade
A little pubescent boy in heat
I nearly kicked him out in the street

I should have done, oh yes, I know
Because next day came another blow
More ladies arrived with dancing shoes
And I rapidly turned to the booze
They jumped and jeteed and they tapped
They swirled and twirled and I nearly snapped
I was ready to scream and shoo them all out
But apparently it’s not ladylike to shout

My manners were however disappearing fast
I don’t know how I had to last
Another three days of this mayhem
I wanted rid of all of them.
Poison, drowning, slaughterhouse
Kill every single awful louse.
Then send all those women packing
They drove me mad with all their yacking!

And then finally on day ten,
There arrived some gorgeous men.
But alas, they leaped those lords,
Nearly cracking the floor boards.
One of them actually fell through to the cellar
At least something I found stellar
Another one jumped too high and hit the ceiling
It must have been a nasty feeling!

By now it was my true love who was jealous
Of all those jumping and leaping fellas
Because hey let’s face it, now I was flirting
Even to me it was disconcerting.
But they looked good in their leotards
Then my love gave them his regards,
Shoving them into the garden shed,
Where they got stuck between the bike and the sled.

Day eleven saw the pipers
And they were über hyper!
While pushing the maids out of their way,
They just continued to play.
Eggs got broken, milk was spilt,
Even my flowers started to wilt,
Due to the noise the pipers made.
It looked as if they were ready to invade!

The house by now was a warzone
With my true love on its throne.
Pipers, dancers and all those critters
Doing away with all the Christmas glitter!
My poor nerves were slowly being shot,
Happy with my true love I was not.
He then promised me I could choose myself,
What I wanted on day twelve!

But did he listen, did he ever!?
He was on this great endeavour.
Twelve drummers arrived in all their glory,
Definitely making this a horror story.
The drummers were all very large,
The largest one was actually called sarge.
The sounds and the overbearing stench,
Was turning me into a mumbling wench.

The pear tree was rooting in the hall,
Where the dancers were organizing a masked ball.
The birds were not happy with each other,
Picking and pecking away, oh brother!
Feathers were flying everywhere,
And I can tell you, I’d had my share,
Of all those gifts my true love gave.
Just a few more hours to be brave!

Well, guess what! On day thirteen,
My true love was nowhere to be seen.
Because by the end of day twelve,
I, yes, I myself,
Threw a fit as never seen before,
And I kicked my true love and his gifts straight out the door!
Out they went, onto the street,
That feeling felt so incredibly sweet!

Of course there still was the mess to clean,
And I can tell you, it was an awful scene!
But it was fine, it really was,
Even if my true love was the cause.
He never listened, he didn’t care
He acted as if I wasn’t even there
So what did I want for Christmas? What did I miss?
Only an “I love you” and a little kiss!

Monday 20 December 2010

Snow, neige and sneeuw

Sorry about the wonkiness
Well, the trip wasn't too bad. Really it wasn't. I could cycle to work easily and apart from a bus parked in my way, so I had to reverse on black ice, I managed to get away quite well. I arrived right about on time at the first address, waited for ten minutes for a bunch of no-shows and tried to win back the lost time after that. But the roads were okay.

At the last pick-up point I had managed to win back the time I had lost on the other pick-up points and actually left ten minutes early. The roads in Belgium didn't seem too affected by the snow either, until I hit Antwerp. And then the trouble started. According to some bloke I heard on the radio, they had salted and gritted enough. Well, the photo at the top is from the road between Antwerp and Ghent. I don't call that enough!

Fortunately after Ghent the roads improved considerably and we were able to get to Calais in time. There a combination of peeers (read it again if you think I spelled it wrong) and customs wanting to see inside the hatches, we just about missed our train. And then they skipped the next one. And the next. And the next! But we finally managed to get to the other side.

I had heard that they were expecting some heavy snowy weather in Kent (Great Britain), but I didn't see any. For the first 10 miles that is. After that, the snow started falling thick and fast. It was a white-out. In the end though, we got to our hotel only two hours later  (2.45pm) than last week, when everything was fine.

On Sunday morning I did my tour of the city to show all the highlights, after which I let the passengers roam free again until we left at 2.30pm to return to Folkestone to catch the train. This time the roads were clear and I made good time. Under normal circumstances I would have been able to catch an earlier train, but as it was we were waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. We were finally able to get on a train at 7.15pm, we had been booked for the 5.20pm one!!

The worst was yet to come though: the roads in France were closed for all vehicles over 7,5 tonnes! I drive a coach. It is heavy. Then we learned that there was one road where vehicles over 7,5 tonnes were allowed: ours! But we figured that since it was the only road allowed, it would be impassable with all the traffic. So, with some trepidation we got off the train (by which time it was 9pm, timezones you see). We started driving and the only thing we saw was road. A clean and clear road. Hardly any snow on it and certainly not the amount of lorries and coaches we were expecting.

Of course it didn't stay like that. Within ten minutes traffic slowed and more and more lorries and coaches were on the road. Don't worry though: it was only two salting trucks keeping up the traffic. As soon as they left the road after 25 km (mainland Europe works with km, not miles), we could get our speed back up again and we were on our way again. After two hours we had a little stop right before Ghent.

After Ghent the road deteriorated fast. Snow, black ice, jack-knifed truck, we saw it all. We did an average of 45km per hour (just under 30m/hour) right up to Antwerp. The Belgians mustn't like that road very much! After Antwerp the roads were okay-ish and we finally arrived at 1.45am at the first stop in the Netherlands. I got relieved and went to a hotel near the stop. I was in bed by 2.30am. Worn out, tired and fed-up.

Oh, and if you were wondering what the title of this post means: snow, snow (in French) and snow (in Dutch/Flemish). Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Friday 17 December 2010

Let it snow!

As I am looking through the window right now, I am wondering how on earth I am going to arrive safely and on time in London tomorrow! Because it's snowing. Heavily! And there snow's expected all through the night and tomorrow. Not just in the Netherlands, but Belgium and France are expecting quite a load as well...

Now, don't get me wrong, I love that song (see clip). But, unlike the song, I have someplace to go, which is London! And we leave very early in the morning, so all the salting and gritting in the world, is not going to do us a lot of good.

We managed last week, let us hope we will this week!

Thursday 16 December 2010

Can anyone turn the shower on?

I was sixteen when I went to London the very first time. I think it was also the first time I was ever away from home and not staying with family. The coach picked us up from school and drove us to the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, where we found out we had missed the ferry. Some miscommunication about summer/winter time and/or European/British time. Anyway, we finally caught the ferry (Herald of Free Enterprise I think it was called) and made our way over to England.

After we finally arrived (after midnight) at our hotel, I had to share the room with three other girls. I had never met any of them, but we settled in quite nicely. The hotel we stayed in was no Hilton, so bathroom facilities were mostly in the hallway. However, we did have a lone-standing shower cubicle and a sink in our room. So, what to do when you are with 57 teens in a hotel? You try how many of those 57 actually will fit in that one little shower cubicle!

Well, out of those 57, 50 had to look on as 7 of us squeezed ourselves, amidst much laughter, in to the cubicle. And yes, I am in there as well: I am the one in yellow!

Tuesday 14 December 2010

V is for...

Venus Anadyomene

Well, we call her Venus, but this image and any like this one are based on the original painting by Apelles, a Greek painter who painted Aphrodite's birth from the sea. That original was brought to Rome (and is lost now) and copies were made for private homes and places of worship. However, Rome had its own goddess of Love and so the name changed to Venus.

This particular painting is a mural in Pompei and has survived for close to two thousand years, making it one of the oldest (if not the oldest) known depiction. The most famous depiction is 'the Birth of Venus' by Botticelli.

Carved in precious stone, Idar-Oberstein museum for precious stones

According to himself, Julius Ceasar was a descendant of Venus and had a special shrine in his house dedicated to her.

For more V-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Photos taken in May 2007 in Pompei, Italy and in March 2010, Idar-Oberstein, Germany

Monday 13 December 2010

Christmas meme

Since I love all things Christmassy, I thought I would play along with this Christmas meme I found on AC's blog.

1. Hot chocolate or apple cider? Well, I love both, but apple cider tends to give me a headache within the hour, so hot chocolate it is. With some Beerenburg (Dutch Schnaps) added... Mmmmm

2. Turkey or ham? Difficult, difficult. Neither. The point of eating ham has always eluded me and turkey is just... no.

3. Do you get a fake or cut-it-yourself-Christmas Tree? Neither. Fake ones are bad for my cats' health since they eat the branches, so I tend to buy real uncut trees nowadays. So, after Christmas it gets stuck in my downstairs loo for a while and when the ground is soft enough again, I will put it in my garden. I've got two in there already and they are both thriving!

4. Decorations on the outside of your house? I don't really live in what I would call a 'nice' neighbourhood, so nothing outside. And so far inside I've got one string of lights up and one little angel on the telly. I might decorate the two Christmas trees outside though. Some peanuts on a string, some birdseeds in fat as baubles...

5. Snowball fights or sledding? Sledding. I love the feel of going down a mountain at high speed.

6. Do you enjoy downtown shopping? What for? I will get the groceries needed for this year's feast in the week prior to Christmas and that's about it. We don't do presents, because Christmas is about the birth of Christ in my family. Not presents.

7. Favourite Christmas song? Fairytale in New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. 'You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, happy Christmas my ass, I pray God it's your last'. How can you not love a song like that. Or anything by the Muppets...

8. How do you feel about Christmas films? Well, I only own 154, so you tell me. If it's about a favourite: anything by the Muppets, White Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut (original), If you Believe, the Santa Clause, Home Alone, Bad Santa, the Christmas Card, Christmas in Handcuffs, Prancer Returns, When Angels come to Town, All I want for Christmas, All she wants for Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street (both), Love Actually, the Family Holiday, Willy Wuff (German films) and many more.

9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? Before seven in the morning. I want to be asleep in bed then!

10. Stockings before or after presents? Ah, no presents remember! And no stockings either.

11. Go to someone else's house or they come to you? Well, this year I will be going to my parents (my sister will also be there) and on Boxing Day we will all go to my brother and his family. Normally I will allow visitors on part of Christmas or Boxing Day. Definitely not all day and certainly not both days. It interferes with my Christmas telly...

12. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so, when? When I still used to live at home, the original Christmas story would be read to us after dinner over the course of a few weeks, either from the Childrens' Bible and when we were older the normal Bible, culminating with the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. Since I haven't been home for a few years for Christmas I don't know what my parents do nowadays.

13. What do you do after presents and dinner? No presents. After dinner we relax and watch telly. Perhaps a game if we feel like it.

14. What is your favourite Holiday smell? The smell of a proper tree and the food.

15. Ice skating or walking round the mall? Not too fond of ice skating, but I walked round an English mall on Saturday. Not that much fun either. So, it's a toss-up.

16. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas Day? No presents! Christmas Eve isn't that much of a deal in the Netherlands. Yes, we would like to be home earlier than normal and most shops will closer earlier as well, but it's Christmas and Boxing Day that count.

17. Favourite Christmas memory? When I lived in England, we used to go out quite often and one night during the weeks leading up to Christmas we went to this club called Banana Joe in Bath. The only music they played that night was Christmas music. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! I was on the dance floor all night long, even though dancing wasn't really an option since the place was packed tighter than a can of sardines!

18. Favourite part of winter? Cold, snow, hot (spiked) chocolate.

19. Ever been kissed underneath the mistletoe? I don't think I ever saw mistletoe in real life, apart from high up in the trees. Perhaps that's what Roberto did wrong...

Saturday 11 December 2010

Early to rise

Remember when I went to London and had to turn around with the channel tunnel in sight? Because there weren't any trains running and the ferries were too full and the roads in England were awful? If not, click here and read the horror story that was last year's trip!

But, the company I work for is not one for letting past trouble take them down and they are trying again this year. So, this morning at 1.30am my alarmclock went off! Around 2.45am I started driving and at 3.35am the first people were on board. A few more pick-ups and then we were off to Calais to catch the train. Hopefully everthing will run smoothly and I should arrive in London at around 2pm, giving the people enough time to shop.

So, wish me luck and feel sorry for me today.

Friday 10 December 2010

Wooing Italian style

In happier times
I used to live in England for about two and a half years. Great country, lovely people, fantastic food. I lived and worked at a four star hotel in the middle of nowhere (well, Castle Combe, but it might as well have been the middle of nowhere). My room was situated at the back of the kitchens together with a few more rooms. One was occupied by an alcoholic Frenchman working as a washer-upper, one by a slightly less alcoholic Frenchman working as a porter, one by a couple of Italians sharing a single bed and one by an Italian working as a waiter.

The Frenchmen were both a bit older than I was (at least in their forties, while I had just turned 21), but the Italians were my age. Roberto had a car and on occasion the four of us (Elisa and Alessandro making up the four) would set out and visit something like Avebury or Bath. Now, you have to imagine me at this time to be quite naive and even a bit dumb to anything relating to the opposite sex. So, I never noticed Roberto liking me a lot.

Then, a few weeks before Christmas, Roberto came to ask my underwear size (which I hasten to add, was still quite okay at that time). Since I had a massive hangover and was extremely bleary-eyed, I told him and tried to not vomit and go back to sleep. When I was properly sober again, I had forgotten all about it.

Fast forward to New Year's Eve and Roberto shows up with a little gift. In it was a bright red set of underwear: bra and knickers. What?? Why would he give me something like that? I thanked him and went back to the partying.

In the weeks after, I noticed Roberto wasn't talking to me anymore. In fact, he completely ignored me. He would say goodmorning when I said it first, but he wouldn't start a conversation anymore and would go out of his way if he saw me coming. In the end I asked Elisa (the Italian girl) what had happened, since Roberto obviously didn't want anything to do with me. It turned out that when an Italian man gives a woman red underwear for New Year's, ít's basically to stake a claim because he loves her. Rrrrrrrriiiiiight.

Well, it never happened between Roberto and me. Not enough love my side, too much hurt love on his side. He didn't speak to me until he left and I realised something very important: I am not one for roundabout ways: tell me straight or not at all. And the underwear? I wore it until it shrank...

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Judith of West-Francia

Over the past few weeks I wrote a diary of Judith of West-Francia who happens to be one of my foremothers (I am the 38th generation). The basics were fact, the details were (mostly) fiction.

Judith was born in October 844 as the eldest child to Charles the Bald and Ermentrude of Orléans. She had one little brother: Louis the Stammerer. When she was twelve she was married off to Aethelwulf of Wessex who was then in his fifties. After his death she was married to his son Aethelbald who was then about 16. Neither the church nor her father accepted the marriage to Aethelbald and after his death the marriage was annulled. After her return home she somehow met Baldwin. It's not really clear from the records whether she was a willing elopee, but since they stayed with relatives of hers (albeit ones that wouldn't mind pestering her father), I would (and many others would) consider her a willing accomplice.

After their marriage they travelled through Europe for a while before finally going to Rome to get some help from papal quarters. Fortunately Pope Nicholas I was willing to help and after his intervention Charles finally allowed the two to be properly married which happened in Auxerre on December 13th 863. As part of Judith's dowry a piece of land in the north of Charles' realm was given to Baldwin. It is quite probable that Charles expected Baldwin to perish within months, since the area of Flandria was heavily attacked by the Vikings at that time. However, Baldwin rose to it, managed to beat the Vikings, expand his lands and properties and raise quite a big army.

Judith and Baldwin had four children: Charles (who died very young), Baldwin II (who married a daughter of Alfred of Wessex, a former stepson and brother-in-law of Judith), Rudolf of Cambrai and an unknown girl. Judith died in 870, aged 26. Baldwin died in 918.

Judith's life wasn't very long, but during her lifetime she was married to three different men, travelled a great deal, was Queen twice and turned out to be the founder (with Baldwin) of Flanders.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

U is for...


The very first time I was in London was when I was 16 and on a schooltrip. I loved it. Especially the underground (or the tube). Waiting for the train to arrive on one of those platforms with the wind wooshing in first. It was so thrilling! And I didn't even mind being packed in tighter than sardines or the smells of all those sweaty people. I just loved the whole sensation of it all. It was one of the reasons I was homesick after returning home! I wanted to go back to London. Fortunately I have many times since.

The map you can see at the top is a map from 1986 as are the tickets. There are a few more stations now and the tickets have changed a lot as well. There are still paper tickets, but people who use the tube on a regular basis use the Oyster card (I have one too), which is a pay as you go system which works really well.  
For more U-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Female Nomad and Friends

Remember that book that I didn't want to review? Well, I better do it now or I will forget about it completely! It was brought to my attention by Miss Footloose, who is a Dutch expat and one of the friends in the title of the book. Now, as you probably know I am not a big fan of short stories, but then again: there were also recipes in the book! Which I love.

The blurb: Rita Golden Geldman, author of Tales of a Female Nomad, celebrates the wonders and joy of cross-cultural connecting with this collection of stories and recipes from more than forty authors. She also includes anecdotes about her own further adventures. Happy reading - and bon appétit, selamat makan, !buen provecho!

Well, I liked it! The stories ranged from meeting people who live around the corner from you, to meeting people in far-away countries. I got little snippets of people's lives and how they trusted people, because sometimes that's the only thing you can do: trust people. The recipes fit with the stories (not every story had a recipe) and there were some recipes I will certainly be trying out, while others were less to my liking. Overall though, the book was a nice addition to my bookcase. Although I am not sure where to put it: short stories or cookbooks?

If you do decide to buy this book (I would recommend it), the proceeds of this book will go to a special project in New Delhi (India) to send high school graduates who live in the slums to vocational schools. None of the authors make a penny from this book.

January 7th, 864

My heart is still in my throat. Papa has given Baldwin an area in the North. It's called Flandria and today we arrived in Bruges. It was very quiet on the way there and we didn't see a living soul for hours. When we were nearly there, we saw a massive bear. Baldwin was so brave! He immediately got off his horse to protect me. I was very scared because the bear was so big, but Baldwin speared the bear with his lance and the danger was gone. We could make our way safely into Bruges.

Monday 6 December 2010

December 12th, 863

Tomorrow I am getting married. For the fourth time. I should be used to it by now, but this time it's very exciting, because it's with Baldwin. With Papa's permission.

Sunday 5 December 2010

A post. Of sorts...

Well, I was going to write about this book I read recently, but I don't feel like it. Another subject could have been writing about visiting my friends, but since I didn't on account of the weather, that was out of the window too. I could talk laundry, but that is boring and Christmas dinner is a bit early to write about. It's not even completely decided upon yet either. We're still figuring out whether it should be beef or chicken or rabbit, since neither of us (ie my sister and I who will do the cooking) want turkey.

So, a nothing post this time. Which might be better than no post. Although I am not too sure about that...

August 22nd, 863

Father Nicholas has written a letter to Papa and yesterday there was a letter back. Papa doesn't like it, but because Baldwin and I have been away together for so long, he has had to give his permission. Yippie!

Saturday 4 December 2010

July 3rd, 863

Result: Father Nicholas has promised to help us. I so hope it works out.

Friday 3 December 2010

June 29th, 863

It was a long way, but we are finally in Rome. We have rented some rooms overlooking a big stadium. Baldwin says it's called the Collosseum and that the Roman emperors used to throw Christians in front of the lions. Strange people those Romans and I am happy they don't do that anymore!

Thursday 2 December 2010


Why do people always ask whether I am cold when I wear a big scarf and a lovely hat and warm gloves? Of course I am not cold, isn't that the point when I am wearing a big scarf and a lovely hat and warm gloves? So I won't be cold...

April 11th, 863

We've been everywhere from Trier to Paris, because Papa's men kept coming after us. But this past week we haven't seen them and today we are finally leaving for Rome.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

October 7th, 862

It's not safe anymore at Uncle Lothar's, so Baldwin has said we are leaving tonight. I don't know where we are going yet, but as long as we stay out of my father's hands, it's okay. Papa made sure our marriage is invalid and Uncle Lothar said that we have to try and see the Pope. Perhaps he can help us.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

T is for...


When I was young, I didn't like Doctor Who. I was always a bit scared by the opening tunes to the show and didn't really get it. Besides, I preferred playing outside with my friends than sitting inside. But when I caught an episode of the show a few years ago, I was hooked.

Of course it looks a lot flashier now than it ever did in the past. Aliens look alien now and not like a man in a bad suit and bad make-up. It also helps that the ninth, tenth and eleventh doctor are quite easy on the eye as well. Anyway, the Doctor lives in a TARDIS, which is an acronym and stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space.

It looks like an ordinary blue police box (as used by British police in the 1960's), because its shape shifting qualities blew a fuse and got stuck. When you enter it though, it looks nothing like an ordinary blue police box. Because it is massive! From what I can gather there are at least two bedrooms (one for the doctor, one for his companion), a dressing area, the hub where the flying takes place and I think there's even a swimming pool!

Not only is it used on the show Doctor Who, but the term Tardis pops up in other shows as well, most notably the ones that concern themselves with buying houses. (It's bigger on the inside!)

For more T-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Photo taken in March 2010 in London

January 16th, 862

We've arrived at Uncle Lothar's. He thinks it's a hoot we got married even when Papa didn't want us to and he doesn't mind us staying here for a while. Tomorrow he is throwing a party for us.

Monday 29 November 2010

January 2nd, 862

Baldwin and I got married in Senlis. Papa is furious and Baldwin says we can't stay around here. As long as I'm with Baldwin I don't mind.

Sunday 28 November 2010


Well, what I had suspected for the last few days has finally come through. It started off with a slight heaviness in my head on several mornings. A tiny raspiness to my voice. A hint of a sore throat. A few extra tissues per day.

I got the hint. I will take the aspirin into work tomorrow, and the Strepsils and of course plenty of tissues. Because I've got a cold!

December 26th, 861

We only stopped for a little while to change the horses for our carriage, so I have the chance to write something now. Baldwin came last night when everybody was in bed. He had a carriage at the ready and when my trunk was on it, we left. I only hope Louis won't get in trouble for helping me.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Baby, it's cold outside (shamelessly stolen from AC)

Well, AC used a slightly different title, but since my home is nice and warm and I have a full head of hair (although I have been told I have my father's hair, which is worrying, since he hasn't got all that much left) and it's very cold outside (Breathe!), I thought I would show you some lovely photos of me. In a bathing suit. To show that it could be done. At some point. Waaaay in the past...

Right, not the most flattering of photos of myself and I look decidedly white, but I promised bathing suit in summer so you're getting bathing suit in summer! Taken in the summer of 1994 while living in England (hence the milkbottle legs probably).

What can I say? I was in a funny mood! Malta 1999. Red hair in pig tails in a knot, snorkel, awful bathing suit and a gorgeous lagoon. Nothing more to ask for...

Thin, tanned and did I mention thin? This was taken at the end of the summer in Club Med Kamarina in 1991. And if you're wondering about the hands holding my knees: I was on top of a pyramid!

And the photo at the top was taken in 1987, while on holiday somewhere in Austria or Germany I guess. Not quite sure. It might have been somewhere else. No it can't. It was either Austria or Germany. Yes.

December 19th, 861

Charles the Bald
Baldwin went to see Papa, but Papa says I can't marry Baldwin. He wouldn't be a good match! Papa only wants me to marry creepy old men!

Friday 26 November 2010

I can't lie

When driving children from school to swimming pool and vice versa, you get quite a few questions and remarks. This afternoon was another great one. A few children wanted to know my age, so of course I told them I was 273. 'And when's your birthday?' June next year. When I will be 274.

Of course they didn't believe me. Although a few weren't so sure. After all, one girl said, when I lie, I have to giggle and smile and the driver doesn't giggle and smile, so I think she's telling the truth. And there was a boy who claimed that 'women can't lie, so I must be telling the truth!' Then some clever clogs asked me whether I was married and when I said no, she replied that I must be a bit of a sad case, since I was already this old and still hadn't found a man. But of course everybody knows I can only get married after the age of 712! That's how it's done in my family.

My Mum is 806 or 817 or 842, depending on her mood and my father is over 1000. And no, we don't want to be known all over the world for our high ages, we just don't want to bother with all those pesky journalists camping out on the front lawn...

December 12th, 861

I think I'm in love. No, I am certain: I am in love. His name is Baldwin en he is cute. I think he likes me too. At least I hope so.