Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Photo taken at the Open Air Museum in Arnhem
That's how old I am today. In days that is. In weeks it would be something like 2087 and in years it would be 40. Minus one day of course, since my birthday isn't until tomorrow.

And when I celebrate my birthday I like to treat my passengers of the day. Which I won't have, since I am off tomorrow. So, I decided to treat one of you. With a give-away.

So, what am I giving away this year? Well, I'm not telling you yet, but I will give you a hint: it has something to do with footwear and the Netherlands.

What you need to do you wonder? Simple: leave a comment and on Saturday I will go to the psychic random selector thingy page and have it psychicly randomly select one of you! Isn't that easy??

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Photo taken at the Open Air Museum in Arnhem
It's quiet in my home. I don't have the radio on, Wuppie stopped miaowing, for a few minutes anyway and even outside the only thing you can hear is the leaves rustling. And then there are the beeps. In my home. I haven't got a clue what produces those beeps, but I can hear them. I know the washing machine and the dryer are both off and the only other electrical thing I've got upstairs is the hot water boiler/heating thingy. Which probably beeps just to annoy me! It sounds like morse code! Perhaps there's a garden gnome that got stuck and is looking for help, but since I don't read morse (yes I know)...

Thinking of garden gnomes: did you ever see the film Amélie? A fantastic French film that was a world wide hit a few years ago. And she helped her father by sending his garden gnome all over the world. If the garden gnome could do it: so could he.

I'm rambling about things now and nothing sensible comes out. So, I'll stop.

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Photo taken at Open Air Museum
For some reason I have great difficulties getting online and staying online. I cannot get on Facebook, I can hardly get to my email and just surfing is out of the question. For a moment I thought it had something to do with Finn being new in town, but when I tried Baby, I had the exact same problems. So, now I think it might have something to do with the modem or the router or some such. And since I received a new modem about three months ago and never bothered to install it, I think it might be time I did. And hopefully then I can get online properly again without me getting very frustrated about things not working.

The internet not working is not the only thing: I am not working either! I worked three days this week, which is completely ridiculous, especially since they called in outside help for this weekend! Ah well, a few more days off isn't so bad I guess. I can relax, sit in the sun... oh wait, it's raining today and expected to rain until tomorrow!


Thursday, 23 June 2011


Photo taken in the Open Air Museum in Arnhem
So, those Iranians last weekend, what were they all about? Well, as someone said in one of the comments: they probably were refugees and that is correct. A few Iranians didn't think staying in Iran was good for their health and they left home, hearth and family behind to try and make a new life in Europe. They tend to end up in refugee camps where they are thrown in with people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Tunisia, China and whatever other country refugees come from.

After a while they start to be 'processed', basically: someone verifies the person and the story to come to a conclusion that a. they are genuine refugees and have the right to stay in the country they are in at that time or b. they are lying through their teeth and will be send back to the country of origin at the earliest possibility or c. anything in between. This process can last up to ten years! In which period the refugees are not allowed to work and can only go to school up to the age of 18 (in the Netherlands).

Of course many of the refugees would like to return 'home' to their families and friends, to their jobs and their own culture. But, in the case of Iran, sometimes the country they come from has not changed (enough) to allow for a smooth transition back home. The minute they step off the plane in Teheran (the Iranian capital), there is in many cases a serious threat of being arrested and ending up in jail for years!

Enter an Iranian charity that paid for the venue, the hotels, the buses and the food so all those Iranian people from all over Europe could come to Paris and meet and wave some flags and do whatever else they did.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Well, after the weekend I had, I hope you will forgive me when I didn't immediately post again, although I did have to work. And since it's busy this week (according to the office that is), I have a three-day week! In June!! Which is the month where you should work the snot away from your eyes as the Dutch saying goes.

Anyway, after two days with two different school trips I have a couple of days off to finally recover completely from the trip and the coffee I had. On Monday I drove 4-5 year olds to a giga rabbit hole and before you ask: yes, that's what it's called! They had a great time playing in that indoor playground. Then yesterday I had a lot of 11-12 year olds on board to visit the open air museum my parents and I went to two years ago. I managed to get some more really nice photos as well. On Friday (the only other day this week I have to work) I have to take a group of high school students to Delft, a town I've never been to, so I will be following my colleague all the way.

In the mean time I will do my laundry and the housekeeping, look after my kittycats, get some groceries and watch telly. Not too shabby...

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Beer at 08.15am

Did you ever have a beer at a quarter past eight in the morning? And I don't mean it being one in a long line of..., but starting at? Well, I did. This morning to be precise. And number two followed twenty minutes later. Now, before you start planning an intervention and sign me up for AA, don't worry, I needed and even felt I deserved them. Which of course doesn't sound that good, but I had been up since eight in the morning. Yesterday morning to be precise!!

Last Friday I left with a coach load of Iranians and friends from the Netherlands and headed to Paris. A town I've only ever visited by train and had never driven a coach in. Let alone a much longer than normal coach. During rush hour! Did I tell you last year I loved Paris? I stand corrected: I hated it!!! Well, the traffic anyway. I have driven in Rome and the South of Italy and I've driven in Ireland, both countries that aren't that well known for their driving prowess. Paris was worse! There were about a gazillion lanes on this massive roundabout and people were trying to get from one end to the other, occasionally scraping past each other or even facing each other.

Mind you, the look of the Eiffel Tower made up a bit for it again, but after our hour stay near said tower, I had to face the whole thing again! I was not a happy bunny I can tell you! When I finally made it to my hotel (which was different from theirs), I just wanted a drink and something hot.

Saturday morning I picked them up and we went to a massive exposition place north of Paris. There must have been about a thousand coaches filled with Iranians there: from the Netherlands (about 60), Germany (over 200 at least), Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Britain and of course France. I dropped my people off at midday and then I had to wait for several other drivers so we could go to our day hotel for our nine hours rest. After I had finally gathered everybody we drove up to the hotel where we would stay until about 10pm. We ordered 15 pizzas and drinks and at a quarter past ten at night we were back at the exposition halls. Most coaches had already left, the only ones still there were the Dutch ones!

I could leave at eleven and decided to make a straight line to the Dutch border, not bothering to stop anywhere along the way! Tiredness permitting of course, because even though we had been at that hotel for several hours, I had not slept a wink and had ended up watching (first) a programme about the 'Bois de Boulogne' and then the French Countdown (cijfers en letters) with some Pink Panther thrown in for good measure.

Well, tiredness permitted and at 3am I had made it to the border, where it was absolute mayhem, since the normally one way traffic was now two-way, because of roadworks and the detour after leaving the service area was well sign-posted, if you saw all the signs that is! I didn't and several others (coaches and articulated lorries) didn't and we would be send back into this system of detours, one way streets, blocked roads and what have you! But I made it back to the lot at around half past seven having only yawned once. Perhaps it was the smell emanating from the toilet that kept me awake, because that thing smelt something awful! Instead of using service station toilets, everybody had decided the on board toilet was best! Yergh...

By the time I had finished clearing the coach and parked it, it was just past eight in the morning and I felt I deserved a beer. Or two! Cheers!

PS: after I came home I didn't want to go to bed, but I was nearly asleep standing up, so I gave up and went to bed for a few hours. I feel a lot better now.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

My last post

Noooooo! This is not going to be my last post, don't worry, I was just referring to my last post named: What's in a name. Because I was about to look for a name for my new (and might I say brilliant) laptop. But as I was writing my Dutch blog it hit me. Figuratively that is.

As I have a baby laptop (generally called Baby) and my Cyberian prison laptop was big I called that one the big laptop (with me so far?). But this new one is on the giant side. It's certainly bigger than the big laptop and then I figured: Finn! Of Finn McCool fame. He was a giant. He fought other (even bigger) giants and he created the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. And if you don't believe me, just read this post I wrote quite a while back. And since my new laptop is cool as well...

So, from now on, if I refer to Finn, I will talk about my new giant laptop. Just so you know!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

What's in a name

So. I have a new laptop. No, not a desktop computer, but a laptop. Again. I couldn't see how I would get a complete desktop home, since I only have my bike, so I went for a new laptop again. With a seperate number pad. And a lcd screen. With room for cd's and dvd's. And usb-sticks.

But I think the most important thing today was the fact that even though my external hard drive was fried, it wasn't the hard drive at all. It was the wiring that had burned. So, I will try to put up a lovely photo from my old ehd in a new casing into this post. Here goes nothing!

It worked, it worked! I now have a photo of a baby hippo that I took more than a year ago. I thought it was lost in the deserts of cyberia, but I was lucky! Yippee...

Itching powder and frogs

They look so small here, but small doesn't mean docile!
Last Friday I picked up the group from Northern Ireland. They would be here for the weekend to play a football tournament and needed a coach (as in bus) to take them to their accommodation. I was going to stay in a hotel for three days and pick them up every morning and drive them back every evening. It was a hard job!

The driving however wasn't the hardest part, the children were. Now, in the Netherlands children are getting more and more used to seatbelts and bus-etiquette. Those boys from Northern Ireland clearly weren't! They would not sit still for more than a minute and were continually getting up to punch someone in the face. On two occasions I've even seen them wrestling in the aisle! What was all that about? Don't get me wrong, the adults did shout at them to sit down. Every two minutes in fact, but... did you read the title? They must have had some of that in their underpants...

The empty half of the Irish team, on the first day the goalie actually texted during the games!!
Other than that, they were a nice enough group, I certainly had some laughs, even though I declined the offer of some craic, which probably was a very wise move, since I saw the dads the next day and they looked as if it had been a great night with a lot of alcohol (which turned out to be true, especially since the alcohol had been free at some point).

The boys actually won all of their games and of the nearly thirty teams in their age group they came first! Which was great of course. And even with my very limited knowledge of football, I know they were quite a good team.

The hairdo of this linesman must be the next big thing. It must be...
The result of all this was that when I had dropped them off at the airport on Monday, the coach looked as if a herd of cows had lived in it: cola, fanta and beer all over the floor and seats, the toilet was just gross and needed a massive hose down and in general it was very dirty. How 13 boys (and 8 men) can make so much mess is a mystery to me, but they did and before I felt it was good enough for the cleaning crew to come in and clean it, it took me over an hour to get it to that state!

Next, I will be off to Paris...

Friday, 10 June 2011

I give up!

I was ripping some music from a cd yesterday and playing it at the same time, when all of a sudden the music became one big whine. The (big) computer had crashed! Of course it had been slow for ages now and I normally use this one, but there are things that I need to do from the other one, since my baby doesn't have a cd-drive.

So, with a virus, a burned out external hard drive and now a crashed computer, I will be going to the computershop next week and get myself a brand spanking new one! One with all the latest updates and things, one with all the portals and gates and what have you that I need, one that doesn't crash on me when I am ripping a cd and playing it at the same time.

PS: I should have known something was wrong, when the music sounded as if from a bad cd. All broken up and scratchy, when the cd's were fine really. The joy of the digital age...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Pitying sniggers

Most of the time my job is quite mundane: schoolruns and public transport for example. And then there are the more fun things to do like schooltrips and outings with senior citizens. But sometimes you get the cherry on the cake (which in my case is not as good as it sounds since I hate cherries). And this week I've got the cherry: a four day trip, staying in a hotel and the like. I've told most of my colleagues over the past few days and the response I got from them? The pitying sniggers from the title! Because it's not just any ordinary four day trip. It's with little football players (the proper round ball game) from Lisburn, Northern Ireland. I've got to pick them up from the airport, take them to their meeting point and then to their lodgings and on the subsequent days I've got to drive them (all 21 of them) to their games, which happen to be in one place, and on Monday I've got to drive them back to the airport.

Of course that part doesn't really warrant the sniggers and the pitying looks. After all, I've done something similar before with a Dutch group in Denmark. But this time it's not Denmark with a Dutch group, this time it's the Netherlands with a foreign group. And even though the Netherlands is small, there are still quite a few places that are more than an hour's drive away. I stay in a town that's less than 45 minutes away! Which does warrant the sniggers and the looks and the guffaws and everything else my colleagues have thrown at me over the last two days...

In other news: I thought having all my photos on an external hard drive was safe. I was mistaken, since it burned through. They are trying to recover as many photos as they can at the computer place as I'm typing this!


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Pigs might fly

Don't you just hate it when you see something and when you take a photo of it and you look at it at home, it looks nothing like what you saw? A week or so ago that was exactly what happened! I could see it clearly and was so excited I got my camera out immediately. I stood in front of my coach and took a great photo. And then I looked at it at home and it wasn't what I had seen! See if you can see what I saw!