Sunday 31 July 2011


So, you wanted to see the frog I bought in Denmark? The one by Royal Copenhagen? Well, this is it... It's white on a grey stone and has a lovely red kiss on its back. It took some time finding this photo (apparently I deleted my own copy), because it was in the 2007 collection. But I love it!

Saturday 30 July 2011

Sarah's Key

The blurb: Paris, July 1942. Sarah, a ten-year old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard - their secret hiding place - and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty years later, Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, a journalist investigating the round-up. Sarah's Key is an emotionally gripping story of two families, forever linked to, and haunted by, one of the darkest days of France's past.

The first time I started reading this book, was when my dad handed me a Dutch copy he had borrowed of a friend. But, I don't like reading in Dutch and I couldn't get past the first chapter. Fortunately Pepperfly then gave the English version to me and I sailed past the first and subsequent chapters.

The story is a mix of real events (the round-up, the Vélodrome d'Hiver, the camps) and fiction. One story follows Sarah, a ten-year old Jewish girl, the other follows Julia Jarmond, an American journalist married to a French man. But at some point those two stories become one, because the place where Sarah lived, later became the home of Julia's French family. She then wants to find out exactly who the people were that lived there, where they went and how they ended up.

This certainly isn't a book for a lazy afternoon on the beach; I couldn't keep my eyes dry! But it is a very good and certainly very confronting book. It could have done with a little less relationship trouble for Julia, but I guess in the end it is necessary for the story.

My verdict: definitely worth the read!

Friday 29 July 2011

Random photos

I thought I would include some random photos of things I saw during my week in Denmark. At first I didn't really understand the first photo. Or why it was placed in the toilet (bathroom for you overseaers), but a closer look revealed all. This little box is meant for needles, razor blades and safety pins. Now I can understand the needles (drugs, either prescription or not) and the safety pins, but the razor blades were a bit of a mystery. Unless someone wants to kill themselves inside the toilet and I doubt very much they would then throw the blade in the little box!

The second photo was taken on our way back from Sweden. I had seen this sign for a while already, but it didn't quite dawn on me what it meant. Let me explain. The Dutch name of the capital of Denmark is Kopenhagen and the English name is Copenhagen. However, in Danish it's København. And for some reason I just didn't get the fact that in Sweden they use the Swedish name: Köpenhamn!

Photo number three was taken in Copenhagen (let's just use the English spelling) and is of a thermometer. When you look closely you can also see the weather woman at the top: ready to come out with her bicycle, of which there were plenty around. As you can see it's about 18 degrees Celsius at the moment I took the photo.

And the last photo is of something we could see both on the crossing from Sweden to Denmark and from Denmark to Germany: wind turbines in the sea. There were lots and lots of them! They do like green energy a lot in those countries.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Home again!

Did I ever tell you I hate traveling on a coach? When I'm not driving that is? Well, I do. Just so you know!

The floor in the bus!
Yesterday morning I was in the first of four groups to pick up the Dutch scout troops to take to Sweden. I left on time at 08.30am and arrived at the World Jamboree at 12.15pm. Everything was so well coordinated we only had to wait for two minutes before I was able to drop them off. They left my coach in a right state, but with all the rain and muck and mud of the past week, I was prepared. And since I was in the first group, I had a lot of time before the last ones would be there to actually clean the coach. At least brush the dirt out and make it look presentable again.

The toll bridge from Sweden to Denmark
We then had to wait for all the coaches to arrive, which took about four hours and finally at a quarter past four, all the drivers (bar two who were staying behind to look after the coaches) piled on one coach and left for the Netherlands. We passed through Sweden at a good pace, seeing coach after coach filled with scouts from all over the world. We then had to cross the toll bridge and tunnel to Denmark and came back to familiar territory again.

There was a train on the ferry!
We kept driving through Denmark until we reached the ferryport of Rodby (with the diagonal line again). We knew we were late for our ferry (it had left twenty minutes earlier), but managed to catch the next one, so we only lost half an hour. From Puttgarden (the German side of the ferry), we drove towards Hamburg, which I completely missed, since I slept my way to Bremen. We had a short stop to switch drivers and then drove on towards home. Our pick-up driver had to wake up extra early, because according to the planners we were about 2-3 hours early! We just thought there was no point hanging around for nothing!

I made it home at five in the morning and was in bed half an hour later. My own bed...

Tuesday 26 July 2011

The White Cliffs of Mon?

Mon should be written with a diagonal line through its o, but since I can't be bothered to find it on my computer you will have to do without. Anyhoo...

Today we had a lovely sunny day and we dropped off 1,000 scouts at the geocenter on Mon (with the line). While we were waiting for them to do their things we were parked about 3 miles further at a great looking farm. But I wanted to see the cliffs and so did some of the others, so we got on the coach and headed towards the center. After parking me and my colleague needed to decide from what angle to watch the cliffs: from the bottom or the top.

In the end we decided on the top: that way we were going up first and down later instead of the other way around. It was a big climb and since I have the condition of a hibernating sloth, I was panting my way up! I did make it though, because I didn't want to miss out on the view. It didn't disappoint: it was gorgeous! I took lots of photos, my colleague took a few of me and we treated ourselves to an icecream when we got back down again.

Tonight we dined with all the colleagues that are here now: 27, plus the wife of the coordinator. We had a nice dinner, good company and we found out what is going to happen tomorrow. I have to leave in the first group at 8.30am, completely loaded to the rafters with camping gear, luggage and of course scouts. We hope to arrive in Sweden a few hours later (it's not that far from here) and make it through check-in at a reasonable pace. Yesterday it apparently took over 3 hours for one coach to get checked in and shown to their site. Tomorrow there will probably be hundreds of buses arriving! The horror.

I will be off to bed now, but I have included a few photos I took today (or were taken of me today). By the way, the photo I showed yesterday was taken in Copenhagen which has a big elephant herd roaming the city in aid of the Asian elephant. How could I resist?

Monday 25 July 2011

The big event!

Today was the day of the big event. We had been awaiting it for some days now and today it finally happened: it stopped raining and the sun came out! Hesitatingly at first but at the end of the day the temperature was a bit more summer-like than the past few days (it was 11 degrees Celsius yesterday). Of course this sun immediately took my mind of the road and I got on the motorway going west. I needed to go east!

Other things happening today were very few. I finished my book, took only three photos and chatted to my colleagues. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be good again and we're going to some cliffs. I am hoping for some nice photos there.

Sunday 24 July 2011


The path was like this all throughout the museum!!!
It rained almost full stop today and I must say, even I got a bit fed up with all that wetness. According to the weather people, the rain should stop tomorrow or the day after (see how exact they are?) and that is very much wanted by every scout on board. They are nearly always wet and cold now and the only time they are drying out are spent on the bus! Where they sit with muddy boots and shoes, making a mess of it all.

Add to all that mud from the camp ground more mud. This time from the medieval open air museum! Since I don't travel to Denmark on a weekly basis, I had decided I wanted to see it as well and it didn't take long before I was covered in mud as well! I nearly slipped on two occasions, but fortunately I managed to grab hold of some colleague or other. It would have been a right sight if I had fallen flat on my face there!!

Where are the other four?
The medieval museum was quite good fun, despite all the mud and goo and what have you. They had a huge katapult they used and which I missed of course, a lot of different houses where you could go in and touch things and there was a small wooded area with vampyres, werewolfs, goblins, pixies, elves, hell horses, three legged sheep and other weird and dangerous creatures that were out to snatch you. And before you ask: no, there wasn't a viking in the whole museum!

Saturday 23 July 2011

A new day

Up the road without a paddle
The new day came with fresh rain. Which we were very happy about of course (not)! But today it was dry more often than wet and anyway, those children didn't mind anyway: they were out in the water all day! In the mean time my colleagues and I went to the center of the town and looked at some shops and had a coffee.

After our coffees my colleague A and I went out shopping and already in the first shop I found the perfect little statuette: a frog that had been kissed! It was quite dear, but it was made by Royal Kopenhagen (a china manufacturer), so I decided to go for it anyway. But when the salesman took it down I found it had been reduced in price! So, not only did I get the perfect frog, I also got a better deal: I was a happy girl!

When we got back to the coach I set about repairing the broken microphone system and by accidently breaking something I managed to do just that: I fixed the problem. I may not be a technically minded person, but sometimes the luck is with the dumb (as a Dutch saying goes)...

Tomorrow we are going to a Medieval museum with knights and joustings and a lot more. I am really looking forward to it, but I do hope that infernal rain will stop!

Friday 22 July 2011

Dora in the rain

The little mermaid
For some strange reason part of the kids on board has decided to call me Dora. Either because they couldn't remember my real name, or because they think it's a better name (which I don't agree with by the by). Anyway...

Today was Kopenhagen and it rained. All morning it came down, rain, rain and more rain. I was getting quite fed up with it all, but I wanted to see the town, so me and two colleagues hopped on one of those hop on/hop off buses and did the tour. We got off at a castle, walked around that for a while and then decided we would walk to the mermaid, since the bus was really hot and muggy and it had stopped raining. Well, for ten minutes anyway, because then it started again and we nearly got soaked. We sheltered somewhere and when I tried to take a photo of my two colleagues, I tripped and fell flat on my face. Fortunately the only thing that got bruised was my ego, but I felt quite silly with my face down in the street!

One of the many elephants dotted around town.
After about four more showers we finally managed to get to the mermaid and guess what: the sun came out for just a second! I took photos from nearly all angles (it's situated in the water, so I wasn't going in there to take more photos). We then hopped on the bus again and got off at the 'new harbour' which was basically one massive bar! It looked really festive and fun and by then the rain had ceased completely as well. A quick and very expensive drink later we hopped on again and took the last part of the tour.

I must say, Kopenhagen is a lovely town and I would love to go there again to see it properly. In the sun preferably! Another one on my list of 'must-sees'...

Thursday 21 July 2011


View of the Baltic Sea at 5.25am
I started work last night at 8.45pm and finished this morning at 9am. In that time I picked up a lot of scouts, I drove through Germany, saw a lot of 'Baustellen' (roadworks), took a ferry, met up with colleagues and finally dropped the scouts off again.

It's the World Jamboree next month in Sweden and the Dutch contingent have decided that the jamboree wasn't long enough and have added a week in Denmark. Which is fine by me, since I haven't been to the part of Denmark we're in now. We're going to Kopenhagen, we will be visiting a medieval museum and we go to some cliffs. They will also do some geo-caching and something with water somewhere.

A non-pooping seagull flying overhead
This morning however we arrived an hour early which was good and after we had parked our coaches and had taken the luggage to our rooms, a colleague and I went in search of a bank to change our Euros into Danish Kroner, since they didn't join the Euro zone back in whenever. The first bank we got to opened at 10. It was 9.30! So we went to the next one. Which also opened at 10. After having seen a lot of banks which all opened at 10, we took out some money of our own and went back to the Konditorei to enjoy some Danish pastry and a cup of tea. When we finally went to the bank, we went to the only one that opened at: yes, you guessed it: 9.30!!

Right now it's time for bed though. It's nearly midday and I need to get some zzzzz's in before dinner tonight. So, I will say goodnight. Or goodday as the case may be...

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Letting go of Sophie

12th May 1999 - 19th July 2011

Monday 18 July 2011


Apparently the summer is the time to go to some sort of festival and there are plenty of them to go around in our little country. Yesterday there were three to choose between. The Black Cross, The Free Festival and another one. I had to work as well: ferrying young people back and forth from train station to the Free Festival. Which by the way wasn't as free as the title would make you think. You can buy tickets to guarantee entry and if it's not sold out, then everybody and his aunt get the chance to go there and get in for free. Of course, you have to pay for the bus which takes you there and the drinks are not too cheap either, but the music is fantastic.

Well, the music is fantastic to those people going, because to me it sounds a lot like 'thump thump thump thump thump!' Enough to give anybody a splitting headache, let alone hearing problems! Especially because they will stand about an inch away from the speakers! I was lucky I only had to drop them off and could head straight back to the station to pick up another load of half drunk youngsters! I found several cola bottles that were filled with something that was definitely not cola, unless of course cola now comes in a orangy colour as well! I needed to empty those bottles, because I was taking them home (you get money back on large empty bottles) and the smell that came from the bottle confirmed my suspicions. Definitely not cola!!

You have to love festivals and there are about four more to come. First I will head to Denmark and Sweden however: the World Jamboree! Forty scouts asleep on the coach (hopefully) and off we go at 11pm! I have seen their programme and I won't forget my camera: I want a photo of the mermaid of Kopenhagen! First a week in Denmark and then we drop all the scouts off in Sweden, before heading home again. I am looking forward to it. I will take my Baby as well, so I hope to be able to post as I go...

Friday 15 July 2011


Yes, it's working again! Yesterday it was supposed to be the modem that was acting up. Today it was the router that was doing the bad things. So, I unplugged the both of them, plugged them both in again and now I'm online again and enjoying the www.

The picture at the top I got from the www yesterday and was the one I wanted to include that one in yesterday's post. Which didn't work. So, I put it in today because I know you were wondering...

Thursday 14 July 2011

Conspiracy or stupidity

Why oh why am I having computer trouble again? And this time with Finn! My lovely new giant of a laptop is giving me grief in large amounts. And it's bugging me big time. I don't know what I am doing wrong and there's bound to be something that I did wrong. Or perhaps it's some garden gnome not too happy about the photo I placed of his family not too long ago. Either way, it's hard to be online and stay online what with all the 'can't find the site' nonsense popping up all the time. Talking about my modem not working (it's working fine) or something within the computer itself. Why can't it just be nice and easy and work?

And do you remember the gasmen from last week? Well, apart from being ridiculously young, hitting my electrical cables and scaring my cats, one of them did do something good for me: he told me I needed to refill my hotwater thingy. Which I did with the help of the neighbour and a huge spanner (I think, it might have been something else). But I had forgotten all about the tap. I had closed it. So, when I tried to do my laundry this morning: no cigar! I blame it on my parents. I must have the blonde genes from someone after all...

PS: and now I can't even include the blonde joke! Stupid Finn...

Saturday 9 July 2011

Did you ever?

The pool I was in on Thursday was somewhat on the freezing side! Brrrr
As the gasmen were leaving on Wednesday, I saw some black rubbery thing on the kitchen floor. I asked whether it was theirs, which it wasn't and then threw it in the bin. Fast forward to Friday when I put something on the stove cover and found it was wobbling. When I looked, I realised a black rubbery thing was missing. The one I had thrown in the bin!

So, after I got home from the morning shift at work, I dug up the binbag and dove in. Well, not literally of course, but it felt like it. Fortunately with all the recycling we do in the Netherlands, there wasn't much in the binbag, but I still had to look for about 5 minutes in this dirty binbag to find the little black rubbery thing.

I put the binbag back in the bin and then started to wash the thingy and of course my hands. Because even if the bag wasn't anywhere near full and there was no left over food in there, it still felt pretty gross! But at least now the stove cover isn't wobbling anymore and everything works again as it should! 

Friday 8 July 2011

After the gas

Last Sunday I celebrated the fact that I've now joined the big four o club. Unfortunately I invited everybody a bit late, so most people weren't able to come due to prior commitments, but some managed to come. One of my friends was supposed to come with her boyfriend and her two children. But when they were halfway, they turned around and went back home. Not because she all of a sudden had decided she didn't want to know me anymore, but because the children were ill and one of them had just emptied her stomach near a big tree! She still managed to come at night though, all by herself. That action didn't earn her any good points in the eyes of her daughter though: she had wanted to come see Auntie Mara as well.

Then this week, the boyfriend celebrated his birthday and because I hadn't seen them all in quite a while, I decided to go over and stay the night. Which was a huge hit with the children, even if at first they didn't quite believe me. I took the little girl to school in the morning, had a very late breakfast with my friend who is going through some tough times right now, got into the icy cold pool in the afternoon and in the mean time I also managed to get some plaster make-up on my face for the video. Yes, I finally made another video.

At first we were doing it out in the backyard, but every time I started to speak, so did the dog next door, so in the end we gave up and went inside. Where it wouldn't have mattered if I had worn clown's make-up, since the video ended up being quite dark! But after about a gazillion tries, I finally had another presentation video, ready to send across the pond!

After dinner last night my friend drove me home again and I spent a quiet evening with my monsters.

Wednesday 6 July 2011


Several years ago, the housing corporation decided a big renovation of the area I live in was in order. They were right. Because the rent in this area is the lowest of the whole town, people with a small purse can rent here. The corporation really got stuck in: the houses would be painted: light green, light blue, yellow, white and pink (my house), new kitchens would be installed as the inhabitant at that time required, new bathrooms, new insulation both in the roof, the walls and the floors and to top it all: new windowframes and double glazing. The tore down some houses, the put up new fencing round everyone's back yards and generally made the place look a whole lot better.

This morning three gentlemen got into my home: one carpenter and two gasmen. Because the gasline needs replacing! I had to change my work schedule, my cats are in a right tizzy with Mathilda and Wuppie outside and Sophie and Linette locked in my bedroom and especially the gasmen don't seem to be old enough to be out of school.

They had to drill some holes first of all: one in the kitchen, one in the living room and one in the hallway. But for some reason when they drilled in the living room, the drill gave up. They broke it. They were saying to each other about the crap (sorry) equipment they received to work with, it being the third one they broke and all I could think of was: perhaps it's you! When they got it working again, they hit another snag. Literally, since they touched the electrical cable and now the washing machine and the dryer don't work anymore!

I hope everything will go smoothly from now on, no more hiccups when it comes to the electrics and definitely no hiccups when it comes to the gas, I don't want to be found in a smoldering heap!

Saturday 2 July 2011

And the winner is...

Isn't it always fun to try for a prize, whatever prize that may be? Perhaps you submitted a joke and hope it will be the best joke in the world, perhaps you bought a lottery ticket and hope for the jackpot or perhaps you commented on my blog and were hoping to get something along the lines of Netherlands footwear! And since there were only 8 comments, the chances of winning were certainly better than winning the jackpot!

So, today I put the numbers 1 to 8 in a random number generator and number 5 came up randomly! And when I looked at the comments I could see number 5 was Gattina! So, congratulations and I will send you an email with the details today!

Of course you all want to know what the prize is don't you? If you hadn't already guessed it of course. Well, it's a pair of Dutch clogs. What else?

Friday 1 July 2011


She phoned the main shop in the center of town to ask for my details. And then she was told: wash her hair with care and don't brush too hard. They really know me! Even if the last time I was there was over a year ago and I now go to the small shop half a kilometer away from me.

Because it was time to get my hair cut again, I decided a more grown up do was in order. I had been dithering and dathering about it for a while now, but I could only wear my hair in a plait on a daily basis and if it hung loose, I looked like a hippie. Minus the flowers in my hair and the bell-bottoms that is!

I felt a bit like a chicken, ready to go in the oven!
So, I went to the hairdresser, got my hair washed with care and the girl didn't brush my hair too hard either. And then the scissors: snip snip and my long hair was once more a thing of the past. Then both the girls were trying to figure out which colour would be best for me. Since I wanted to get rid of the old-blonde that was creeping in at an alarming rate. I know I am forty now, but really, that is no reason to go old-blonde at speed!

And now I sit here, with my hair loose, two shades lighter and fairly short. I like it!