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.

Thursday 25 November 2010


There are times when I wonder about my own sanity. I will give you an example. I can only spend a set amount of money each week. It's not that I don't have more, I just want to keep saving, so I set myself an amount. And I can buy anything I like with that. So, if I see a china snowman I really like, I will buy that and hope there's enough food in the freezer. Last week though, there was no snowman in sight and it was just food. Apples. Three kilos (over six pounds) of them. Dutch grown, not too expensive. Great!

I hate apples. Don't get me wrong, I love apple pie and apple sauce and anything appely (new word people), I just don't like apples. Unfortunately they are also one of the few foods you can eat behind the steering wheel without mess. You don't need to peel them, they don't drip and they are not too big. It's just that I don't like eating apples.

So of course you are now thinking: then why did that blonde (insert insulting name of your choice here) buy three kilos of apples? Well, ehm, I don't know. They were cheap?

Anyhow, today I was supposed to drive school children to PE class, but the afternoon session was cancelled this morning. Which meant I had a few extra hours off. And I thought about those apples. When I got home I got the self raising flour out. The butter, eggs, sugar, raisins and of course the apples. And I kneaded and rolled, I cursed (the dough was too dry) and I chopped and I made not one, but two apple pies. Yes, the photo at the top is of one of my own apple pies.

I still have seven apples left though...

February 9th, 861

Finally home again. It was great to see Louis again. He was ill and was in bed, but he was happy to see I was home again. Mama was happy too. Papa said he had to start looking for a new 'good' match for me.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

December 20th, 860

The King is dead and I can go home. Finally!

Tuesday 23 November 2010

S is for...


I had one proper holiday in England while I lived there. My parents had arrived from the Netherlands and were going to travel through England to see a bit more than just where I lived. So, I had packed the car and off we went, staying in youth hostels along the way. We always tried to find the ones with the funniest names and I think the one we stayed in here was one called Woody's Top, somewhere in Norfolk or Lincolnshire. 

In the garden of this school turned youth hostel was a swing and this see-saw. So my mother and I climbed on and seeed and sawed to our hearts content. My dad looked on and took this photo. Ah, good memories...

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

Photo taken during the summer of 1994 at Woody's Top Youth Hostel, England

December 3rd, 858

Praying and being quiet, those are the only two things I am allowed to do. I want to go back home, but Papa says I am still married, so I can't!

Monday 22 November 2010

June 20th, 858

I am still Queen of Wessex, but with a different King: Aethelbald. He's Aethelwulf's son and he's a creep too. The priest didn't agree to the wedding and yesterday a letter from Papa arrived: he's very angry and I have to go to a nunnery!

Sunday 21 November 2010


Did I ever tell you I took dancing lessons? Where I learnt the waltz and the tango, the foxtrot and the quick-step. And I took another class where I learnt the samba and the cha-cha, the jive and the rumba. There were several years where I didn't have a steady partner and danced with whoever was available, but there were also a few years where I was in luck and danced with the same person throughout.

Me taking dance lessons wasn't some ploy from my parents to turn me into a 'proper' young lady. I have always been and will always be 'proper' (although my colleagues might have something to say about that and will bring up belching: don't believe them, my burps are thoroughly ladylike) and didn't need anymore help. No, I went because I wanted to. I wanted to take tapdancing classes as well and my parents were okay with that too. Unfortunately bible class was on the same night and I had to go there!

For some reason I never liked watching dancing contests on television. The Germans are very good at it and will show it quite often as well. But those dancers: pulled back hair, tanned to within an inch of their lives, fake smiles. And that's just the men! Over the past few years however, I've discovered something that I do like. Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC. Yes, I know they did a Dutch version, but I never saw it.

Last season they had a guy called John Sergeant who couldn't dance to save his life, stomping around the dance floor making elephants and hippos look gracious. He was immensely popular though and was voted through every time at the expense of much better dancers. In the end he kept his honour and left of his own accord.

This season they have a woman called Anne Widdecombe. She's small and overweight (I would say Rubenesque, but she's past that) and again: can't dance! Last night however was her lowest point. She had to do the Samba, which is a fun and sexy dance with upper thigh length dresses. She showed up in the most awful bright yellow ankle length dress. She occasionally tried a step, but would fail, while all the time her partner would be dancing around her, trying to save as much as he could!

I hope the British public wakes up and realises the title of the programme: Strictly Come Dancing. So no faffing about, no stomping like a rhino and no big overgrown canary pretending to dance. Vote her out!

February 27th, 858

I had hoped I could go back home to Papa and Mama and Louis. But Aethelbald wrote to Papa and wants to marry me. When his father wasn't dead yet, he always looked funny at me and he's a bit creepy. He's got a beard and a moustache and keeps scratching it.

Saturday 20 November 2010

January 13th, 858

He's dead. The King is dead!

Friday 19 November 2010

I read therefore I meme

Library in Wimpole Hall
Donna over at Misfit in Paradise has sort of nominated me for joining a meme about reading. And of course I can't resist a challenge, so I will try to do my best on this one! Join if you like, but no hard feelings if you don't!

1. What author do you own the most books by?
That would be Mr van Wijckmade, although it's a bit tricky. He wrote books for children in Dutch, but one day he decided to stop. The publisher thought that was a shame and hired another writer, who took over his last name and added his initial to the original author's name. This happened several times. I've got about 30 books by his (their) hand.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
Two of Persuasion, two Pride and Prejudice and two Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Although that last isn't really correct. I actually own one book and one book-on-tape

3. Does it bother you that those questions finished with a preposition?
Yes it does actually. As soon as I look the word preposition up that is. Okay, I've looked it up and I change my answer: no it doesn't!

Toby Stephens as Mr Rochester, what's not to love?
4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Well, if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore! But if you really want to know: Mr Darcy and Mr Rochester are top of the list. And Landon Park-Laine sounds good as well.

5. What book have you read the most times?
Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Billy London's girls.

6. What was your favourite book when you were ten years old?
Enid Blyton's series about Mallory Towers. I wanted to go to boarding school as well, but my parents wouldn't let me (spoilsports).

7. What is the worst book you've read in the last year?
Why would I want to read a book I don't like?

8. What is the best book you've read in the last year?
City of Thieves by David Benioff

9. If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be?
If you have to force someone to read, they will not enjoy it in the first place, so no forcing anything on anyone!

10. Who deserves the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
I think the Brothers Grimm should get one posthumously. They have doublehandedly put children's stories in the public's eye!

11. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I started it in 1993 and have yet to finish. It is so teeeeeeeedious!

12. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Eehm, do you want me to sound very cultured or very honest? Going with the first, it's a toss-up. Going with the second: I don't think I've ever read a French writer. I've never read a Russian either, but I have read an Estonian which is the next best thing in that case. Ooh, and David Benioff (question 8) is of Russian descent.

13. Roth or Updike?
Well, unless David Lee Roth has suddenly started writing books, I don't know either of them.

14. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Again, who?

15. What is the most embarrassing gap in your reading?
By the sound of the previous two questions it might have to be Roth, Updike, Sedaris and Egger. (Cringe)

16. What is your favourite novel?
Yeah, right, one? Who are you kidding? Here's a list with all my favourites!

17. What is your favourite play?
'The Importance of Being Earnest' by Oscar Wilde. It's funny and it's romantic! What more do you want?

18. What is your favourite short story?
Short stories annoy the *** out of me! But there is one story by Roald Dahl that sticks in my mind: Birth and Fate, which is about the birth of Adolf Hitler to a loving mother who is worried about her new baby boy.

19. What is your favourite work of non-fiction?
Cookbooks, especially about desserts. Yum!

22. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I would like to say Charles Dickens, but he's not alive anymore. So, I don't know...

21. What is your desert island book?
Surviving on a Desert Island for Dummies

22. What are you reading now?
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum and Thief of Time by John Boyne.

And if you want my guilty pleasure: Mills and Boon, especially the Christmas stories!

August 17th, 857

The ladies in waiting are angry with me. Because I've become 'a bit too arrogant'. Is it my fault that I am allowed to sit next to the King? I don't care either way, since it's very boring, but the King wants it and he wants everyone to call me Queen Judith. I do like that. I've heard I'm the first who's allowed to sit next to the King. Even Osburgha wasn't allowed to do that, but then she didn't have a Frankish King for a father. Haha...

Thursday 18 November 2010

And yet again...

It seems that my working life over the last week has revolved around football stadiums, because on Tuesday I found myself yet again at a football stadium. The crowd surfing stadium. And this time it wasn't football and it wasn't a concert. This time around it was a lot of youngsters being herded by riot police.

I've been on two riot police tests before and it's always fun to see. Of course the situation is not real, because if it were just 'test over' (or something like that) is not going to stop a lot of young men trying to break through police lines. They will not stick to the (provided) potatoes, but will also take rocks and bricks and paving stones. Of course it being an annual test, the police want to test and see what works and what doesn't, but they don't want people to break the law, damaging stuff or hurting people.

For us drivers it was boring really. After dropping our group of over 200 people of, they were herded through an estate on their way to the stadium. And then we were told we had to be 'available' if needed. So, we were stuck a bit. The weather turned as well. It had started off really nice and sunny and even warm, but the fog rolled in and so did the cold. When we made it into the stadium the warmth didn't exactly hit us like a ton of bricks either. It was actually rather cold there. We had our dinner of paper plates, standing up, in the semi-dark and in the cold!

After the potato throwing (600 young people against the riot police) we were finally able to go home. So, I turned on the engine of my (finally fixed) coach, turned on the heating and sat freezing in the driver's seat for the next hour and a quarter, since the front heater had packed in! I was a happy girl on Tuesday. Oh yeah...

May 24th, 857

Well, the King solved it. He did have quite a bit of support from the people here, but he gave Aethelbald the western part of Wessex and he keeps the eastern and middle part. I just think it's all silly.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

May 23rd, 857

Well, I hardly saw the king since we got off the boat. I overheard one of the ladies-in-waiting say that his son Aethelbald was conspiring with a Ealdorman from Somerset (I don't know where that is) and a Bisshop from Sherborne to prevent Aethelwulf to be on the throne!

Tuesday 16 November 2010

R is for...

Rocky Horror Show

When I worked for Club Med in Tignes, France, I was asked to be in several shows. Well, when you work for Club Med, being asked means that you have to do it. And I didn't really mind too much. One of the shows I was being asked for was the Rocky Horror Show and wasn't directed by the usual director/choreographer, but by one of the ski teachers.

For some reason (probably because he liked my bosom, at least he told me so), I was allowed to be at the front of the chorus and the choreographer was behind me. She was not well pleased, I can tell you!

The first time I saw the show on video, I thought it was awful, but since then I have grown to like it a lot and it is one of my favourite musicals. I would love to go to a proper showing some time and see it in real life as a spectator.

Let's do the time warp again...

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

Photo taken in winter 1992 in Tignes, France

October 9th, 856

First we took a carriage all the way to Calais and then we waited for a few days until the sea was calm. I had never seen the sea before and wished Louis could have been there: so much water! When we boarded the boat, the King got nauseous. He puked during the whole trip, I could hear it from the next door cabin. I didn't feel a thing and even went up on deck for a while. I could see quite a few boats.

Monday 15 November 2010

Crowd surfing

Just in case you were wondering how I ended up crowd surfing Saturday evening, here's the (little) story. I was in my seat enjoying Grace Jones strutting her stuff and let me tell you: she is very good at strutting her stuff too, when one of the coach passengers tapped me on my shoulder. The couple who had beens sitting next to me had left, because he had started shaking a lot. He had something wrong with his ears and combining that with a sleepless night and extremely loud music caused him to almost collapse. If he could please sit on the coach.

So, I got my coat and moved towards the exit. By then it was 8.45pm, the concert wouldn't be finished until 11.30pm! I told him he was welcome to sit on the coach, but it would be cold (and he was already freezing) and I wouldn't let the engine run for three hours. In the end he went with the first aid people to a little quiet room to sit out the rest of the concert and I made my way back into the stadium.

Of course the seats are never roomy and spacious, and the space between them is even smaller, especially with people sitting in them. As I bothered the first person, so I could pass him, I failed to notice there was a step down. I went sailing! Fortunately only sideways, imagine if I had been going downhill: a new Eddie the Eagle!! I managed to get back up and get to my seat and sat there until I had to leave, not even taken advantage of the break.

Right now it's very sore and tender and I have to be careful getting up. Well, as my mother always says: this too will pass before I am a little boy...

October 1st, 856

The priest told me I had to hold his hand and he pinched it so hard and now I have bruises on my hand. Tomorrow we're leaving for Wessex and I so don't want to. I wish Louis could come, because Papa always makes fun of him because he stutters. Louis had to cry too.

Sunday 14 November 2010

And again!

Did I mention about the football? I am sure I did, quite recently in fact. So, how did I find myself in yet another football stadium (home of Vitesse Arnhem)? Easy: the group I had to take had an extra ticket and asked if I wanted it. Well, it beats sitting in a cold bus or spending four hours at MacDonalds (the only other option really), so yes please!

I must say, I wasn't disappointed. For starters it was nice and warm inside and more importantly: no football fans screaming their heads off and stomping and beating drums. And when it got started... it got started! First some Belgians came on and then (in my mind anyway) the best part of all: Boy George! Yes, the singer in case you were wondering. And he was followed a while later by Grace Jones. Barry Hay (Golden Earring, a Dutch rock band famous in the US for Radar Love) and John Miles and last but definitely not least: Jon Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival).

Oh, did I forget to mention there was no football in sight? That's because it was the Night of the Proms! I knew there were some perks to my job. Although I don't know whether Grace Jones' bare back (from top to toe) is really that much of a perk...

Anyway, apart from a minor thing that makes me loose sleep that involved not seeing the steps I had to go down and falling headlong into the audience, I loved the evening, the music and I now understand why people go to concerts: It's brilliant!!!

September 23rd, 856

The King of Wessex is still here! But even worse: I am to be married to him and have to go with him to Wessex. Papa promised him. Oh, how I wish I were a boy, then I could run off. But I have to do what Papa tells me, otherwise I might never see Louis again!

Saturday 13 November 2010

He's here!!

Who? Well, Sinterklaas of course. Or Saint Nicholas. Or the holy man. Or the friend of children. He lives in Madrid (Spain) and comes to the Netherlands using his little steamer. His steamer is packed to the rafters with Black Peters, presents and of course his faithfull white horse Amerigo (yes, named after the explorer).

From now until December 5th when he celebrates his birthday by giving away presents, he will show up in every single show on television, there will be discussions about the pc-ness of Black Peters and children will have a hard time falling asleep at night because they are wondering what the Saint and his Peters will leave in their shoes, before the big day with chocolate letters, speculoos, hot chocolate, ginger nuts and of course the proper presents!

About the pc-ness of the Black Peters: since Saint Nicholas has taken up residence in Madrid a long time ago, they could be Moorish slaves. Then again, they could be black because they are the ones climbing down the chimney to leave the presents. But according to the latest film about our national gift giver, the Black Peters are black because their faces were burned during some raid or other. Needless to say, that film is a horror film! Whatever reason, a few years ago the pc Peters that were Blue, Yellow, Red and every other colour under the sun didn't make much of an impression on the children and they haver reverted back to Black Peters.

September 17th, 856

I haven't written in a long time, but not much happens here. Louis still stutters and Papa is still away really often. But right now Papa is home and we have a visitor. It's the King of Wessex. His name is Aethelwulf and he is very old already. He has been to Rome and is on his way home. He keeps looking at me and I think he is a creep and I hope he will go away real soon.

Friday 12 November 2010

November 3rd, 854

"I got a diary for my birthday last month, but I didn't know what to write in it, so I waited until I knew. Louis said I should write about myself and I think that's a good idea.

I am Judith and I am ten years old en I live with my Mum Ermentrude and my Dad Charles and my little brother Louis. He is sick a lot and he stutters, but I like him. Dad is away a lot to fight and then Louis and I can play a bit more. When he is home we have to study a lot. I have a little cat called Pippin and Louis has a dog that is black and white."

This is a fictional diary of a factual person: Judith of West-Francia. She is one of my foremothers.

The portrait is an impression by German artist Laumee Fries. You can find more of her work here.

Thursday 11 November 2010

The big game

Did I ever tell you how much I don't like football? I know I did. So how I end up having to drive football supporters and even watching football matches I don't know. But I did last night again.

As it says in the title it was the big game last night as well. For the supporters we were driving to the game anyway. One of the better amateur teams in the Netherlands was taking over 2000 supporters with them to fight the best professional team of the Netherlands (right now): PSV. To them it was probably a minor game, but even that didn't dampen the spirits of SV Spakenburg. They were going to win!!!!

Well, the game started and it very quickly became apparent that if SV Spakenburg were going to win, they would need some football intervention from Pele to Maradona, from Johan Cruyff to David Beckham. Because the only side they were playing on was their own, defending. I must say though, they managed to keep PSV off until the last ten seconds of the first half. They scored and it was 1-0 to PSV.

The second half wasn't much better and after the second goal, you could see some desperation creep in for SV Spakenburg. Whenever they got the ball away from PSV, they would try and shoot it to one of their own and only managed that about 5% of the time. In the end, the score was 3-0 for PSV and they are through to the next round.

I've got one question running through my head now: why, if I don't like football, do I always end up in the stadium watching the game??

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Q is for...

Hallowe'en 1997

I am not sure whether this would really qualify as a quiff, but I don't know what else to call it (and I needed a q. Badly).

Of course I know quiffs are usually made with shortish hair that is put into an Elvis coupe, probably using gel or perhaps even wallpaper paste (the son of a friend of mine did it like that). Well, I used neither gel nor wallpaper paste, I used something else altogether. And since I doubt you will guess what it was, I will tell you: a roll of toiletpaper.

When I was working at Club Med, I was in several shows and performances (always in the chorus line, but still, I was on stage) and for several of those shows I wore my hair up. Way up. And the way I got it way up was as follows:

1. Find a toilet roll that is between half and three quarters full.
2. Comb all your long hair (the longer the better) forward.
3. Place toilet roll on top of your head.
4. Cover with the hair.
5. Use (a lot of) kirby grips and (a lot of) hair spray to fasten everything down, making sure the toilet roll stays hidden at all times.
6. If available, use coloured hairspray: pink, blue, black, any colour really.

When taking this hairdo down I had to be very careful and take my time to ease off the hair. Otherwise I would be stuck with an incredibly massive headache.

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

Monday 8 November 2010


Sometimes I feel my job is so futile. Picking people up in one spot, dropping them off in another spot. Waiting for the people to show up. Waiting inbetween jobs. Taking a (mandatory) break. Waiting in front of traffic lights. Waiting for a colleague to show up. Waiting waiting waiting...

Of course it isn't all bad. I saw two 'great egrets' today. They have been coming to my area for a few years now and every year there are a few more. And while driving to my first job of the day I saw a long double line of cyclists all with their lights on (there must have been a police check recently) cycling to school. And of course I got back home to my four monsters vying for attention and wanting an open door to the outside (Wuppie and Mathilda) or food (Sophie and Linette).

Do you know, I promised you a better post, but I don't think it's quite happening right now. Would it be blogger's block, the weather (water cold, brrrr) or something else? I will tell you as soon as I have figured it out! 

Saturday 6 November 2010

Too early?

Well, they're written. They're addressed and enveloped and the only thing left to do is to get them all stamped and in the mail. And that won't happen until December 5th, because I hate sending out Christmas cards before St Nicholas!

Mind you, I don't go over the top. At least I don't think so. We don't send cards to everyone and his uncle in the Netherlands like they seem to do in England (it took some getting used to I can tell you), so the family and friends and I am done! I see my colleagues often enough and we share a few drinks to celebrate Christmas/New Year. No need for cards there.

Ah well, not a great post for today. I'll try to do better tomorrow!

Tuesday 2 November 2010

P is for...


We are (for the most part anyway) blessed nowadays with large supermarkets on nearly every corner that sell everything all the time. But that wasn't always the case. In the past people were depending on their own gardens and vegetable patches to help them through the winter, when (as most of you will know) not a lot grows.

People had to conservate their summer grown food, so they could eat during the winter. You could salt your food (fish, vegetables), you could smoke it (meat and fish), boil it and add sugar (jams, jellies, preserves), leave it in a cool and dry place (potatoes, apples), use it to make something else (milk to butter or cheese), ferment it (cabbage to sauerkraut) or pickle it (pickle), but the taste would always be different.

Enter the Mason Jar (US), Kilner Jar (UK) or Weck bottle (Netherlands, Germany). If properly used (ie good sterilisation, good boiling, good pressure, well closed), you could keep food fresh for the whole winter. Jars have been found that date from the twenties and the food is still good! Who is talking about a 'best before...' date?

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

Photo taken in July 2009 in Open Air Museum Arnhem

Weighty Matters

Last week I sent out seven packages filled with calendars. Two to the UK (I promised my sister one as well) and five to North America. The first ones to be stamped were the ones to the UK. The next one had to go to Canada and I was pleasantly surprised by the cost of the stamp. However, I wasn't that happy about the one that came after that to the USA. It was double the amount! Then another Canada and it was cheap again, then another USA and that also was cheap. So, the clerk went back to the first USA one and put it on again. And again: double the amount.

Fortunately the clerk was a clever lady and she looked at the weight. Turned out, the weight for that one package to the USA was two grams more than all the other ones. What to do in that case? Well, ask for a pair of scissors and cut two grams of paper off. Which is exactly what I did. I cut off the two grams, the clerk weighed the package again and this time it came in under and the packages were sent off.

(Now I just hope I didn't cut off any important bits of the envelope, like the bit that holds it all together...)

Monday 1 November 2010

A solution (of sorts)

Last Thursday I had a little run-in with the police. Because I had to use the toilet. Now, before you start thinking I got a talking-to because I had been 'going in the wild', don't worry. I didn't! I used the toilet provided in the building. Well, I might have been better off going in the wild as it were, since within ten minutes two security guards had turned up. And not two minutes after that a police car with two police officers made an appearance as well. The reason for all these people showing up because I had to pee? I set off the burglar alarm! I knew I had set it off. We have been setting it off for three years now. We never had any police officers before though!

This morning I went to see my boss. Who happened to want to speak to me as well. About me setting off the alarm and me needing to use the toilet. The result of this conversation? I am not supposed to use the toilet after hours anymore. If I can, I have to use the toilet on one of the coaches. But, if I have my period, I don't want to be in a stupid little toilet area on a coach, I want a proper toilet, with proper room, proper lighting and a proper washing up facility. So, starting next month: when I have my period, I don't work after hours!

Mind you, all this beats getting fined by the police for endangering them to come answer a burglary call and finding some woman needing to pee!