Saturday 31 July 2010


This is a repost. I first posted this in October 2008 and when I reread it today, I felt it needed another outing! I changed the name of the American president though. So, here goes:

In most languages I know there is a distinctive difference between 'you' (when speaking to children and peers) and 'You' (when speaking to someone of higher rank, higher age or a stranger). In French it would be tu and vous, in German du and Sie, in Dutch jij and u. In English there is no such distinction, unless you count the (very) old fashioned thou. Anyway, this is about the Dutch versions.

When I was a little girl, I was taught by my parents to say 'You' (keeping it a bit simpler here) to anyone older or unknown. This meant saying it to my parents, grandparents, teachers and strangers. During my teens I was the last of the three of us (me, brother, sister) to start saying 'you' to my parents. It just didn't feel respectful. And even now I occasionally have problems saying 'you' to people that are older, even when told to do so.

The thing that really bugs me though, is children nowadays. Everyone and their aunt is treated to 'you' in a way that makes me feel really grumpy. What is the problem with teaching children a little respect for other people. Get them to say 'You' first and it can always change to 'you' later.

People who say that everyone is equal and should be treated that way are lying. Not everyone is equal. You don't call the Pope 'Benny', you don't call the President of the US 'Barry' or the Queen of England 'Betty'. So let's get back to basics: teach your children how to be polite and respectful and I promise you: the world will become a better place!

Friday 30 July 2010

Strictly Personal

I received a letter this week. Marked strictly personal. Mind you, it was strictly personal to the extent of the right address. And the mrs/mr. So, not really strictly personal.

It was a handwritten letter personally and only for me. Very discretely and in the fullest trust. Dear Sir/Madam... But no name in sight. Right! Here's what it said (literally translated):

In concern to very evil mean uncorrect neigbourhood gossip about 108 by A, B, C, D and E they are screaming "neighbour is crazy etc" even children are being turned etc. Okay, "barking dogs don't bite" the harder people scream... of course people gossip about everybody but this takes the biscuit a lot of people have caught on and an official inquiry has been started discrete information the inquiry has been started to avoid threatening escalation a lot of people are angry in concern to the gossip loudly present etc people wanted to play justice themselves It's tempting to react  but that's what people want and would be oil on the fire. We too have passed everything over. The case is being taken very serious. From our research it seems you are closely in this as well... According to our mother not she and we give you the benefit of the doubt. She isn't home often due to illness. On top of that she's mostly lost her voice. After years of struggle she is now losing the battle and there isn't much understanding for how her illness progresses and the taboo is great.
The gossip rests on this and other things like alcohol, money etc. public secrets play a big part in this and if things don't go as planned you get more of this gossip
Okay today us at number 108 tomorrow...
But time is moving too fast for her and we want rest.

Our apologies for the disturbance
we hope you won't see this as gossip, that's not what we meant at all! everybody has something good in them. We just wanted to let you know.

in general we love living here and it's quiet when the gossip club isn't complete or absent. that's a fact

the children of the crazy neighbour

her name is Wilma by the way

Well, if anybody can shed any light? Since I don't know what they're talking about or even who they are talking about!

Tuesday 27 July 2010

B is for...

Burren (Bhoireann)

Burren, or the Burren as it is now more commonly known, literally means Rocky Place and it is easy to see why. It can be found in Co. Clare in west Ireland and it is a stunning place.

It's the youngest landscape of Europe and has suffered a great deal during the last ice age (about 10,000 years ago). The landscape is formed of limestone which was laid millions of years ago in a shallow warm sea and is a result of dying sea plants and animals. When the last ice age ended, gletschers scraped off the top of the seabed and left the current situation.

At first glance the whole area looks devoid of life and containing only rocks. When you look closer though, you will see plants and small animals everywhere. It is in fact the most diverse habitat of the whole Irish island, containing plants that are usually found in both Alpine and Mediterranean regions.

The Burren end in the Atlantic Ocean with the Cliffs of Moher

Turloughs are holes in the rocks which are usually filled with grass. When it rains those holes fill up with water, usually from the bottom up (the ground water level rises). Some of those holes can be filled with water even in dry weather, others only fill up with very heavy rainfall.

Clints are blocks of limestone that make up the ground. Grykes are the lines that cut through the clints. The most important ones run from North to South and the lesser important ones run on both sides at even angles. The colour of the limestone (especially when seen from a distance) is a grey lilac colour, also depending on the weather. The further down you get, the more covered the rocks are with bushes and grasses.

In the area there are quite a few historical and archeological sites. Megalithic tombs, portal dolmen (amongst them Poulnabrone Dolmen), ring forts and Celtic Crosses can be found here.

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

Photos taken in July 2009 in Ireland

Smelling salts

Have you ever wondered what people smelt like in the olden days? Back in the day where showers weren't invented yet. When people thought dirt was healthy. Don't! Wonder I mean. I can tell you exactly how they smell.

Today as I was on train-replacement-service (a fancy term for us busdrivers being stuck doing the railroads' job), a family entered my coach and sat down in the two front seats. Mother was sitting behind me. Father and Son on the other side. They didn't smell. They reeked! A pungeant odour that made me want to throw up. As if the last time they had felt a drop of water on their naked bodies had been last Christmas. And even then they must have forgotten the soap!

I had to open my window and breathe through my mouth just to keep me from fainting! When they finally got off at the other end of the line, several people who had sat behind them were nearly gasping for air as well! They were certainly glad to be out in the fresh air again.

The last trip of the day was better. A young man who probably never would have Charlotte and Bas living in his coat, but at least it was a freshish sort of smell. I could stand it for half an hour. Without having to open the window...

Monday 26 July 2010

Monstrous Monday 6

My name is Sophie. I am quite nervous and don't like other cats very much. They sometimes bully me! But Mara doesn't. She gives me treats and hugs and kisses. Although she sometimes overdoes it (not with the treats though, you can never overdo it with the treats).

Sunday 25 July 2010

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

I bet Misfit in Paradise is just about eating herself right now on my account. Thinking about 'that ungrateful Dutch broad who didn't even have the decency to make one of those fantastic desserts I sourced for her, let alone use one of my very expensive to ship (thank you very much) ingredients'! Of course she would be completely and utterly right. And I beg a gazillion apologies and feel very very sorry...

Because you know the bad part? I actually made this dessert at the beginning of June! I made it, tasted it, loved it and took photographs. I bow my head to the floor in shame. So, from now on, the cake I will describe to you in a minute will no longer be known as Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes, but Donna's Cakes. When you use it yourself, please refer to it as Donna's Cakes. That would be the right thing to do!

Anyway, this cake, that she sent me the recipe of? Easy. First the ingredients (in American sizes, metric sizes are approximately only):

4 cups (450 g) sliced strawberries
1/2 cup (75 g) sugar
2 cups (275 g) Original Bisquick mix
1/3 cup (25 g) unsweetened baking cocoa
2/3 cup (160 ml) milk
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1/3 (40 g) cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
whipped topping (home made or out of a can)

And here's how to put it all together:

1. In a medium bowl, toss strawberries and sugar until coated. Leave for one hour.
2. Heat oven to 375 F (190C). Spray cookie sheet with cookie spray. In a medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, cocoa, sugar, milk and butter until soft dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop dough by about 1/3 cupfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops of shortcakes appear dry and cracked. Cool for 15 minutes. Using serrated knife, split warm shortcakes. Fill and top with strawberries and whipped topping.

You will be able to feed six people. This recipe was easy, quick and the result was yummy. Unfortunately, us Europeans will have to make our shortcakes some other way, unless you know someone who will send you Bisquick, since it's not for sale in Europe. At least as far as I know...

Saturday 24 July 2010


Yesterday was the monsters' yearly outing to the vet. They don't like it. I'm not too fond of it either, but it needs to happen. After all, they cannot tell you when they're feeling poorly!

Anyway, my Dad arrived at 9am to help me out with them. So, three baskets were put in the backseat (using the seatbelts as well: safety!) and the miaowing began. However, when we arrived at the vet's clinic they stopped. I guess they think that when they keep quiet, the vet and I will forget about them! Ah, no such luck...

The result? Linette was healthy, got her shots and I was told I needed to keep an eye out for her teeth. Wuppie was healthy, overweight (what's new?) and pretended he was scared. He actually did a brilliant impression as well: right up to holding his tail between his legs! Mathilda was healthy, although the vet had to keep her close to the running water to stop her purring so loud. Otherwise he couldn't hear her heart.

Sophie? Well, she is healthy, so that is good. However her teeth, especially her back molars, are quite bad and are bothering her. Which means, eating hard food isn't easy, which in turn means she doesn't eat as much as she should. Which then means she looses weight! So, guess what? I have to schedule a trip to the dentist and hopefully after her teeth are done up, she will be able to live to see her 12th birthday (she's 11 now)!

Thursday 22 July 2010


The NOP was only formed in 1942, when the last dyke was closed and the drainage could start. The Germans didn't mind young men working in the NOP (the last dyke was closed in the middle of WWII), since they also realised the need for new agricultural areas to feed the people. By the end of the war, there were several worker's camps in the polder, where young men lived in relative freedom. They had to dig ditches, build roads, plant trees and whatever else was needed to make this polder habitable.

After the war ended, those camps continued to exist, but with more and more land 'done up', there was more need for houses than baracks. However, a lot of people needed housing in the Netherlands and materials to build houses wasn't always easy to come by. Part of the problem was then solved by the Austrian government who donated houses to the NOP. Austria of course had been (a willing?) part to the German Third Reich and wanted to make amends.

These houses can be found in the main town/village of Emmeloord, two of the larger villages (Marknesse and Ens) and even next to the oldest farms. Made of wood, they are still quite a sight in the NOP, since the houses in the Netherlands are usually made of brick.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

A is for...


So, you want a knight in shining armour. A man to sweep you off your feet and show you paradise? Well, if you have all that, you have to count yourself lucky, because it wasn't easy to be a knight in shining armour, sweep a girl off her feet and show her paradise.

Armours were heavy and cumbersome. They were made to fit for the rich (no two were alike) and it took a while to put on (and take off, so paradise might have to wait a bit). They were made by steel plates and the areas that couldn't be covered by plates were covered by mail (like the back of the knees). They were fastened using leather straps, buckles and points. Helmets were also part of an armour. Underneath the armour knights wore linen or woollen underclothes.

In 14th century England a full plate harness would cost about 20 days pay for a man-at-arms. Plate armour was expensive, so only the rich could afford it. If you wore full plate armour though, you were quite well protected from swords, bludgeons, arrows and even early firearms. On the other hand, it didn't protect you much from halberds or war hammers.

A full suit of armour would have weighed a little over 27kg (60 lbs), so lighter than todays 40kg (90 lbs). But then again, men were shorter in those days and started earlier in life.

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

Both photos were taken in March 2010 during my study trip to Germany

Monday 19 July 2010


Sometimes when I'm out and about, I run into people I've met somewhere before. But since I don't see them in the place I last met them, or they are wearing a uniform, I don't recognise them. However, they tend to recognise me, walk up to me and start chatting to me.

On Saturday (festival day), I was waiting at the trainstation for the bus to fill up when all of a sudden one of the public transport drivers walks up to me and starts hugging me! Now, I've got nothing against being hugged, but I didn't even know the man. Well, he set me straight very quickly. I did know him. I actually wrote about him not so long ago. When he and his friend were 'spotting buses' during the Army Days.

I knew he was a busdriver, but what are the odds of actually running into him? He had liked the piece I had done on him and his friend and wanted to know whether I had ever received the photos he had sent. Well, since they only had my blog address, I had never received anything. So, he got out his phone, took a photo of me and sent it to me.

Isn't it great?

Monstrous Monday 5

Hello there. I am Linette. I am eight years old. I love to roam outside. And I love sleeping close to Mara.

Sunday 18 July 2010


One of the jobs we have to do more and more is festival transport. Stuff your bus with people at a train station or parking lot, take them to the site of the festival and drop them off. At night you do the reverse. And it's brilliant job. Really it is (insert the frowning of my eyebrows and the yucky look on my face here).

So far this year I've done Rock in the Park, a Christian festival and yesterday a hardcore house party (meaning a lot of boom boom, so not really music in my opinion). Well, from the moment the first people (read 17-year olds, which was the average age) walked up to the bus, I realised it wasn't going to be nice. And I was right.

Half way through my shift, I told someone to get off. He wanted to high five me. I refused. He then slapped me on the shoulder. I told him to get off. If I don't want to touch someone or be touched by someone, it means I don't want to be touched by that person. Especially if that person has already had a few.

By the time I had finished at five o'clock, the floor was covered with beer. I had removed about thirty empty (and not so empty) beer cans and red bull cans, one empty whisky bottle, sweets and other assorted mess. And I still had to clean out one of the small bins: someone had puked in it. At half past one in the afternoon!

I was happy I didn't have to do the night shift...

Friday 16 July 2010


Every Dutch person reading this post will know exactly what I'm talking about when I mention cucumbertime. But for all you non-Dutch people reading this blog, I will explain.

Cucumbertime is the word used for the summer months. No new television programs, all the old ones are finished, the only thing on are repeats. Same for the news: the big sports are finished (bar the cycling, but I still think they should just give all those cyclists granny bikes without gears and let them dope up to their hearts content) and the new football (of the soccer version of course) hasn't yet started. The roads are quieter, the neighbourhoods are quieter, even the news is quieter.

Well, it's hit me as well and I am now officially in cucumber mode. Nothing new to share with you. Sorry...

Wednesday 14 July 2010

First Aid

I play unconscious. I couldn't stop laughing though

New European rules state that if I want to be a busdriver I need a new type of driving license. One that proves that over a period of five years I've done at least 35 hours of courses, of which 7 hours are driving hours. One of our new clients has demanded that in order for us to do the work for them, we all need 'proof of good behaviour', CPR/First Aid and New Driving (not a clue).

The legless Marcos are being revived

So, on Tuesday me and several colleagues made our way to the class room for our day long course in First Aid and CPR. During the day we were taught how to recognize concussions, strokes, heart attacks, broken bones and what have you. We were also told how to do CPR (which I already knew and unfortunately have already practised once), turn unconscious people over, lift people and put on simple bandages to stop any bleeding. As long as we participated with the practical side, we would pass that. But at the end of the day we also had to take a written test. I think I made two mistakes (out of thirty), so I passed.

No blood coming through, so I must be alright!

We had to go through a lot of material and it would have been better spreading it out over two days. It would certainly have made it a bit easier on the brain. We did have a laugh though and since I took my camera along, I've got quite a few photos as well.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Z is for...

Zig zag

Okay, I admit, I am grasping at straws for this final letter of the alphabet. I've been all over my photos trying to find one that has the semblance of a z about it and finally I found this one.

When I was in France last year, the group wanted to climb the Mont Ventoux. Well, they would climb the last five kilometers, while I drove up and waited. The whole road up to the top was full of bends and curves and it zig zagged up to the top. Fortunately no real hairpins, although a few were quite hairy.

The Mont Ventoux is most well known for its inclusion in the Tour de France, the most famous cycle race in the world. In 1967 a combination of fatigue and drugs proved fatal to British Tom Simpson who died.

While the bottom of the mountain is nice and green with a lot of trees, the top of the mountain is almost completely barren.

For more (imaginative) Z-words from around the world, please check out ABC Wednesday and join in the fun!

Monday 12 July 2010


Wok restaurant on the Belgian Dutch border

Big sigh.

Because of the weather: hot, humid, windy, rain, thunderstorms, cooling. All in one day.

Because of work: driving into Germany, only finding out the roads your gps is sending you to are dead end roads. Or contain bridges that are too low for my coach.

Because of nights spent either sleepwalking or dreaming about my six-year old goddaughter and her four-year old brother (who are 15 and 13).

Because of the lost World Cup, although I must admit that it made it easier to sleep: no awful vuvuzelas!

Big sigh.

Monstrous Monday 4

Oh, this beats milk any day... (Mathilda being one of those cats who doesn't like milk)

Saturday 10 July 2010

The melting pot

Remember that snow we had at the beginning of this year? That snow that brought out the inner child in me? That made me make a brilliant snowman? Which stood until March by the way. Before it finally melted down and disappeared into the earth.

Well, I feel like that snowman right now. Not the January one mind, the March one. Melting and disappearing into the earth. Or the couch. And even the rain doesn't cool anything down.

Mind you, this might be the perfect weight loss program!

Friday 9 July 2010

It's a psychic given!

The suspense, the suspense. How to deal with the suspense. Who will be the winners of my semi-annual give-away? Where will I have to send the packages? Will it be the Netherlands or the USofA or will it be any of the other countries the nine commenters live in?

To pick the winners I went to the Psychic Science site and wanted two winners. And they, very psychically, picked two random numbers. After all, that is what a random number generator does: pick two numbers. Now, I can see you frowning there and thinking: will she just get on with it! Have I or haven't I won this not to be missed package all the way from the Netherlands? Well, hold on, I am coming to that...

So, the Spych Psychic Science site gave out two numbers and they were first of all: number (insert drumroll) one, uno, un, eins, een, 1. So, Gera, my sweetest sister in the whole wide world, you will soon be the recipient of one of those fantastic boxes containing only goodies that are a certain must-have in any home (albeit without the cat, as mentioned before!).

This of course leaves only one box to be sent off. Well, the second number randomly generated by the random number generator was: number negen, nein, neuf, nova, nine, 9! And guess what: she is wondering what's in those boxes and she will find out in person by herself very very soon. It's Just Breathe!

See what I did here, I dragged out this post until I had a very long post, when I could have just said number 1 and 9 and be done with it! But that's just boring. Anyway, congratulations to Debby and Gera and I will mail the packages asap.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Y is for...


I used to live on Sicily in 1991. A lifetime ago. I worked for Club Med and spoke a lot of French. Oh, and I bought a lot of photos by the resident photographer. Now, I had already changed my first name to Mara, leaving the j out, but my last name started with that very letter: j!* So, very soon problems arose. Because the Italians (at least at that time) didn't know the letter j. Well, they knew about it vaguely, but there are no Italian words at all that use the letter j. Or the y and w for that matter. Pretty soon we had struck a deal though: the j would be pronounced i-longua (long i).

So, what does this have to with anything. Well, we do use the j, the y and the w, but we also use the ij as a letter. It has the same place as the y in our alphabet (which is called the grecian ij by the way). Sometimes considered as one and sometimes considered as two letters. When it's at the beginning of a word, it's one letter and both letters should be capitalized. The same with names of towns, rivers or lakes.**

Of course that leaves the question of how it should be pronounced. Quite easy: the same way you would pronounce the 'ei'-sound (like Apartheid). Which proves to be quite difficult for children, do I spell a word with the short ei or the long ij, since there are not really any set rules about them (unless Pepperfly knows better).

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

*The letter j in Dutch is pronounced as the letter y in yellow, hence the change of my first name.
**Even though Flemish and Dutch are basically the same, there is a difference in the use of the letter ij. They will only capitalise the first letter, so where we would spell the River IJzer, they spell it Ijzer, even though the sound stays the same.

Monday 5 July 2010

Monstrous Monday 3

What are you doing with that little black box?

Sunday 4 July 2010

Barracuda, chicken and marbles

Wuppie, the original 'Weighty Matter'

The name of my blog is Weighty Matters. It wasn't always that, it used to be 'the life of Mara'. Boring isn't it? Then one day I was blogging about my monster Wuppie. And he is a monster. A big hefty weighty monster. And the title of that post was Weighty Matters. I thought it was a nice name, stuck it on my blog and hey presto. Nothing much to do with weight in the literal sense, more a floaty sense of the heavier decisions I would have to make.

Sophie on her way to the Vet

Last year Sophie (another of those monsters) was ill. Cancer to the bladder wall. They managed to cut the tumor out, but instead of saving 1 1/2 centimeters  (about half an inch) of clean cancer free bladder, they only had 1 1/2 milimeters (about one tenth of half an inch) left to work with. The vet also told me, that were she to get sick again, it would be the end of her.

Linette climbing a tree

Recently my cats have all starting losing weight. Partly to do with summer: they just eat less. Partly to do with being able to go outside: why eat when you can enjoy the great jungle (also called my garden, but that is an altogether different story). However, Sophie never lost a lot of weight. She was always a stable slightly overweight cat.

Mathilda loves the shade more than the sun

Yes, you've guessed it: Sophie turns things upside down this year by losing weight. A lot of it. You can see her backbone. You can feel her ribs. She's always loved cleaning out my plates. I let her do it now, even leaving some extra, because she will not eat properly. But yesterday I realised I had a small tin of catfood left. I showed the other two 'hungry' monsters (Wuppie and Mathilda) out of the kitchen, closed the door and emptied out the tin.

Barracuda, chicken and marbles

She was ravenous! The marbles* confused her a bit and I had to jiggle them about a few times, but she cleaned out her bowl. The best thing though: she managed to keep it all in as well: no throwing up at all...

*Cats who don't often get treated tend to just gulp the food in almost one go. Putting big marbles in the food, makes them having to search more and move more. Because of that, they eat slower. Not having another scrounger in the area will help as well.


I had asked for the time off this weekend. So I could celebrate my birthday. But having the job I have, I didn't really know too well in advance whether I was off or not. And then I still had to invite everyone. My parents, my brother and his family, a few selected friends, my uncle.

The first to arrive was my uncle. Shortly after that my parents. My brother and his family wouldn't come (prior engagements), nor did one of my friends (also prior engagements). So, I still waited for one friend and her family. And waited. And waited. Until I decided I would phone. They weren't coming either...

I did understand them not coming. They both work at weird hours, they have a young family, they have had trouble sleeping lately due to the weather and they had a party only the night before.

The thing I don't understand is how on earth I am going to be able to eat all the birthday cake I've got left...

Saturday 3 July 2010

Landon Donovan

Did you ever hear of Landon Donovan? If you haven't, I won't hold it against you. If you have, you are either American, or a football (of the soccer variety) fan or both. Or you've watched David Letterman. Which I did.

And I must admit, I felt sorry for the guy. First of all, there is some dimwitted presenter (ie David Letterman who I usually like) asking dimwitted questions. Then he is interrupted every time he's trying to answer a question. I know football isn't a 'big' game in the US, football (of the American variety), baseball and basketball being way more popular. But this was ridiculous. And you could see it on Landon's face as well. And then David Letterman didn't know what country booted the US out, which I don't know either, but I do know the difference between Slovakia (used to be part of Czechoslovakia in central Europe), Slovenia (used to be part of Yugoslavia in southern Europe) and Ghana (in Africa). Besides, I haven't got a team of researchers behind me. It seemed neither did David Letterman...

Anyway, since the Dutch beat Brazil today (2-1) and we're in the semi-finals and I felt sorry for Landon Donovan, I thought I would show you a photo of him. Him having scored three times in four games and not bad looking it wouldn't hurt my blog. Landon, I don't really care for football, but I bet, I could explain the offside rule* a gazillion times better than David Letterman...

*I recently heard someone say, they were only keeping the offside rule in, so men could seem very clever while no woman would ever understand. Seems about right.

Friday 2 July 2010

Opening my eyes

I've had some trouble sleeping lately. Most likely to do with the heat: it hardly gets under 20 degrees at night. As a matter of fact, when I cycled home from work this morning (at 4.45am if you please), the sun was starting to rise properly, while the heat of the previous day hadn't even left yet. So, having to sleep in that starting heat would be a challenge to say the least. (It did prove to be: I only slept four and a half hours)

But it wasn't the only problem I've had this week. On Tuesday night I went to bed at about half past midnight. I always open the door from the kitchen to the hallway and the door from the downstairs loo to the hallway. I went to sleep, nice and snug in my bed. I woke up only a few hours later. Sitting on the couch in the living room.

This hasn't been the first time this happened. I have woken up on the couch before (after having gone to bed) and usually I have been up to something. Probably needed the bathroom, since those doors tend to be shut. Sometimes quite a few lights are on all over the house (which I never do by the way). I have however, never gone outside. And hopefully I never will.

Tonight I will go to bed early-ish, to catch up on some of the zzzzzzz's I've missed this morning.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Give away!

Today is a very special day. Today is the day I am 39 years and 1 day old! Or young, considering I am still not even one third of the way to my ultimate goal of reaching 120. Anyhoo, since this is such a special day, I thought I would do a give away, feeling all Sinterklaasy (the one and only original Saint Nick).

Of course you don't just want any old thing. I bet you have enough stuff at home that you don't really need. Well, let me tell you, this give away will not be anything like that. Because I have selected only things that no home should be without. And since the postal services do not look favourably on people sending live cats in the mail, they will not be included! Even though every home should have one!

So, what should you do to be in with a chance to get one of those once-in-a-lifetime, all-you-could-ever-need and simply brilliant boxes? Ah, just leave a comment. Which will contain a reference to my almost coming of age yesterday (it will take another few years yet I'm afraid). And a reason why you should be the recipient of one of those two extraordinary packages. And a joke. A song, or a poem. Or you can just say hi of course! Why not give it a go? You've got until Midnight July 7th, Dutch time!