Tuesday 31 July 2012


Cross-country running! And I am winning...
So, have you been watching a bit of the Olympics? Watched sports you didn't even know existed? To my shame I have to admit I have! Because I should be studying right now: words and grammar and pronounciation. But I have been drawn to the Olympics. So far I have only watched the swimming, the diving, the gymnastics, the three-day-eventing, some rowing, some judo, some archery, some beach volleyball and many more besides. Sports I would not normally watch, bar the gymnastics and the diving perhaps.

If you will watch the final of the woman's overall gymnastics, keep a look out for the Dutch girl: she is born in the town I now live in! And of course we have a great Dutch guy on the high bar in the final as well. Absolutely amazing. Perhaps you have already heard about the Dutch gold: Marianne Vos in the cycling road race. Fantastic, even if I didn't see it. Of course the commentaries are so biased, I keep switching between several channels to get the most of what I want to see.

But, as I said, I should be studying. And so far, I haven't done that much yet. But I promise: as of tomorrow, I will be a good girl (kicks little devil of shoulder) and start. Otherwise the course I will be on next week, will be a waste of money and time!

Sunday 29 July 2012

Small pleasures

You thought I was a nice person, didn't you? You know you do, because in principle I am a nice person. It's just occasionally that I am not that nice a person. Although most high school children will probably say I am never nice! But that is an altogether different matter.

Anyway. Picture the following if you will: I am driving along the motorway in a large bendy bus (ie articulated bus) which is absolutely filled to the rafters with about 100 people. Standing room and all. All of a sudden a car overtakes the bus, which in itself is not a rarity, I get overtaken a lot, but this car was different. I was in the inside lane and he was in the outside lane. As soon as he had passed my bus however, he slowed right down, annoying everyone behind him. He then proceeded to get into the middle lane and then in my lane. After which he had the nerve to slow down to about 70km/h (around 45mph). So, I flashed my lights and they speeded up again.

They didn't speed up a lot though, only to about 80km/h (50mph) and the girls in the back were looking at my bus and pointing at the sign. I gathered they didn't quite know where to go for the festival they wanted to go to and since I was going to the same place, the figured they could follow me. While driving ahead!

And then the little devil in me awoke. It sat on my shoulder, poking the little angel with a very large stick and gave me a glorious idea. I knew which exit I needed, they didn't. So, since they were in front of me, I wouldn't signal until they were past the point of no return and then get off at the exit. We arrived at the exit, the girls in the back still looking at the bus and when they were past it, I signalled and got on the exit. They braked, but of course there was nothing they could do, save endangering themselves and everybody else on the road.

Honesty commands me to tell you however, that they did beat me to the festival grounds, because they just took the next exit: it was sign-posted from there. It was still very funny though. The guy next ot me thought so too!

Friday 27 July 2012


Normally when we ask for our annual holiday, we ask from Saturday to Sunday. And so I did this year. At least I thought I had, until I got my request back and started looking at it properly. Sunday to Sunday! Ah well, it was in the middle of the school holidays, so what were the chances of me actually working on Saturday? Well, turns out: 100%!

So, now I've got a holiday from Sunday to Saturday, since the last Sunday of my holiday I gave up in order to not go to the Olympics. I don't mind that much though. It hasn't been busy at work at all lately and I have been able to enjoy time off without any problems.

Tomorrow one last day of work (another of those festivals) and then it's off for almost two weeks.

Thursday 26 July 2012


Now, I have shown this photo before, but since I do love it, I am showing it you again. Especially since it fits in very nicely with this week's prompt: symmetry! It's the rector's house at Wimpole Hall, now in use as a small restaurant.

It is also of course a type of house I would love to live in: all symmetrical and even, with the front door smack bang in the middle of everything. Unfortunately due to there being a restaurant in the house now, they felt it neccesary to add something on the right side of the photo, which is quite a shame.

This is my 29th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Wednesday 25 July 2012

B is for...


To stay with last week's theme, another photo taken at the Duxford Imperial War Museum in April 2012. Blackouts happened during WWII because of air raids and not just in Great Britain, other countries on the mainland had blackouts too. The main reason of course being that when everything is dark, you can't see what you're bombing, even on a clear night. Even a sliver of light was enough to show habitation and cause potential devastation.

Blackouts today are mostly caused by power failures and tend to produce a lot of children nine months after, especially if it was a long blackout!

This is the letter B for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Saturday 21 July 2012

What did you say?

Of late Wuppie has the tendency to sleep on his 'good' ear. Which means that when he is asleep, he doesn't hear as much. So, when I get up, he doesn't twitch his ears and doesn't look up at me to find out if there is a treat in store like the door to the garden opening. I daren't start stroking him either: I am afraid it will just startle him so much, he will end up clinging to the ceiling!

In the photo you can actually see the difference between his two ears quite well. The ear on the right (his left ear) is completely normal and the ear on the left (his right) is thick and feels very hard. He doesn't mind me touching it though, although too much is not good. Then again, touch his good ear too much isn't good either!

The chair he is sitting on while I took his picture, is actually the chair he prefers to sit on now. With only two cats in the house, they have their 'own' place now. Linette on her little couch and Wuppie the big chair. The only place they will occasionally share is the arms' bench in front of the window or me!

Thursday 19 July 2012


This statue stands in front of the 'Fram' Museum I visited when I was in Oslo in April. The Fram was the ship used by Roald Amundsen and his men as they originally made their way to the North Pole and then changed to the South Pole. They used both sail and engine and were actually very green with their engine: using vegetable oil and diesel, way ahead of their time!

Once they had reached Antarctica they set up camp, building housing for themselves, their dogs and all the supplies they had brought. When the summer started again, part of the men started making tracks towards the South Pole proper, setting up in between camps along the route and leaving supplies there as well. In the end five men, led by Roald Amundsen, made it to the South Pole on December 14th 1911. Amundsen beat Scott by a month, but where Amundsen made it home safely, Scott died on the way back across Antarctica and became almost more famous as a result!

This is my 28th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Wednesday 18 July 2012

A is for...

Anderson Shelter (or Air Raid Shelter)

It has been quite a while since I last joined ABC Wednesday, but I do love that meme and since I now have a completely new set of photos to pick from, I thought it was time to join again.

Anyway, this Anderson Shelter. Back in April I went to London with this school and one visit they always make is to the Duxford Imperial War Museum, which houses a lot of planes and some assorted other bits of World War II. This Anderson Shelter was part of the assorted other bits. They were used during WWII during any air raid by the Germans. 'Made from six curved sheets bolted together at the top, with steel plates at either end, and measuring 6ft 6in by 4ft 6in (1.95m by 1.35m) the shelter could accommodate six people. These shelters were half buried in the ground with earth heaped on top. The entrance was protected by a steel shield and an earthen blast wall.' (text taken from www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk)

People didn't particularly like using them: they were crowded, dark and damp and prone to flooding if built in a low area. In the end most people used other air raid shelters that were bigger and/or deeper underground.

This was the letter A for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Monday 16 July 2012

Happy bunny

This was the only bunny related photo I had!
Another hurdle is about to be taken. Because today I went to my new Norwegian class for the first time. A different school, a different teacher, although she knows my first teacher very well: they are in the same year at university doing the same study! But anyway...

Today was meant as a sort of intake and evaluation course. Only two hours instead of the normal five and not as intense probably as the proper course will be. My teacher had brought some exercises for me to fill out, but in the end left half of them behind, since she deemed them "too easy" for me! At the end of the afternoon we decided I would continue to study as much as I could from the books I have and by the time we would meet again (in three weeks' time), we would go over what I should have learnt and practice practice and practice some more.

Besides that she will try and ask me questions that might be asked in an interview, go over grammar and basically get me to level B1 before the end of the course. She felt very confident that that should be possible, which made me feel real good of course.

So, I am a happy bunny right now. What more can I say?

Sunday 15 July 2012


In Dutch my jobtitle is a buschauffeur. Nicely taken from the French as so many other words in our language as well. Like directeur or masseur. And people immediately think that because I am a woman the jobtitle should be womanised. Or femalised or whatever you call it. Making me a chauffeuse!

Now, a few years ago I heard the description of a chauffeuse: it's a woman who heats up elderly French men. So, needless to say, I never called myself a chauffeuse again!

A couple of days ago I had some people on the bus and they again called me a chauffeuse. I immediately told them the proper meaning and the conversation then went on to know what I considered to be old. In French men that is.

So you all know: French men are okay up to the age of 35, after that: no! Italian men are okay as well. Up to the age of 35 as well. As long as you don't catch a mama's boy (which I once did and jealous to boot) of course!

And then came the best part of the day: whether I really meant that 35 was too old? Well, in French men? Of course I meant it. But surely I wasn't old enough to know! I am 41, I think I am old enough to know thank you very much!! Well, I certainly didn't look 41 yet! Wasn't he nice?

PS1: if it were young French men I needed to heat up, I might reconsider calling myself a chauffeuse. Or youngish whatever nationality men looking like Matt Damon. Definitely a chauffeuse then!!!

PS2: I believe the proper French title for a female busdriver or any driver would be conductrice. Which happens to be a train ticket controller in the Netherlands. What do you mean: confusing!

Friday 13 July 2012

Mostly planned

Bergen is known for the rain.
Let's hope it stays dry during my stay!
Well, the hotel is booked and so is the flight. Originally I was due to leave on the 20th, but the hotel was full that night, so I changed my flight (for only €5,00!) and now I am leaving the next day. I will be staying in a hotel in the center of Bergen for a week and will do everything zebra-like or with public transport. I will send an e-mail to Tide Buss as well, saying I will be in Bergen for a week, so we can also plan our "intervju".

In order for me to actually be able to talk during said interview I have also booked another Norwegian class. Again for 20 hours, but this time a different (and a bit more expensive) company. On Monday I will have an intake/first lesson to see how far I am and what is needed to get me to the B1 level.

So, the plan is coming along nicely. Two more weeks of work (well, sort of, there's not much to do due to the holiday), then a week off properly, a week of Norwegian classes, a week of Christian Youth Festival goers to England and then a week off in Norway. Busy busy busy!

Thursday 12 July 2012


I have liked this photo ever since I first took it back in the winter. The two girls were trying to walk on ice and not the flat ice either. Due to the wind and the thawing of the ice, it had broken up and then amassed in great big mountains near the coast of Urk. It was absolutely freezing cold due to the wind and because the surface was so uneven, it was actually pretty dangerous as well. I think the girls managed to stay upright though, although this photo might suggest otherwise!

This is my 27th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The difference

Pigs take powernaps too!
What a difference a day makes. On Sunday night I made my way to bed at 8.30pm, I never expected to sleep, but I was fortunate enough that I did. So, when my alarm went off at 1.30am, I was quite awake and refreshed.

By 2.30 I was ready to go and started driving. I met up with my colleague and together we made our way to our starting point. We were nice and early, but it didn't take long before the first people started to arrive. We left a little late, but managed to get to our finishing point in time anyway, where our two colleagues were already waiting to continue the journey. And since the colleague I had driven with hadn't been to bed at all and I had, I drove back.

By the time I finally made it home though, I was starting to feel the effects of such a weird night and I actually took a little nap on the couch (well, an hour and a half). After which I was much refreshed and was able to continue the day.

This morning I didn't have to start so early, but I did have to work late tonight and didn't make it home until 11.30pm. And people wonder I occasionally get ill! Tomorrow I can also start fairly late, but I will finish quite early, traffic and weather permitting.

Sunday 8 July 2012

I didn't think

Church in Klietz, Germany where I stayed Monday
Notice the bullet damage at the top!
Did I ever tell you I hate cherries? Even if they do top a cake, they are not always great as I found out!

I had asked for this weekend off, when I was told I had to work on Monday morning. Taking a group to Germany for my colleague (who would take over in Germany and go the rest of the way). But said colleague was already leaving on Sunday, so there was a bit of confusion. In the end the confusion got untangled though and we knew what was what. He starts Sunday to go to a hotel, I start Monday to take his people to the hotel, where we change and I drive back home.

So far, so good. And then I asked where the group had to come from. Turns out it is close to both the German and Belgian border: all the way in the south of the Netherlands. And I had to leave there at 7am! Well, after telling the planner off for giving me the weekend off and then giving me this trip, he backtracked and was willing to let me start later. Of course I felt okay at that time and said, nooo, don't worry, I will do it. You can owe me!

I am sorry I said that now. Because in order for me to arrive in time, get my required rest and start driving again, I will have to leave at 2.30am! That is half past two in the morning!!! HALF PAST TWO!!!!!!

I should have known better, but as another colleague pointed out: I said yes, so no point in griping about it now! *Gripe, gripe*

Saturday 7 July 2012

The plan

I had another email this week from Norway:

Vi takker for din søknad på jobb som bussjåfør i Tide Buss.

Vi har for øyeblikket ingen ledige stillinger som bussjåfør. Dersom du er interessert i eventuelt å være på en venteliste for ledig jobber i Tide, vil vi ta kontakt med deg i august for å avtale intervju og testkjøring.

Ønsker deg en fin sommer og ser frem til å treffe deg når sommeren er over.

Which basically means: "thank you for your application for Tide Buss. At the moment we don't have any openings for busdrivers, but if you are interested to be placed on the waiting list for any upcoming openings at Tide, we will get in touch with you in August for an interview and a test drive. We hope you have a nice sommer and we look forward to meeting you when the summer is over."

Now, this was from the same person I had spoken to on the phone, so this was quite a nice email to receive. Even if she had told me this in person as well.

So, about this plan: here goes! I will be off from July 29th until August 11th and hope to get some Norwegian lessons in the Netherlands. I will then be going to England for 8 days (work), after which I will have another week off. During that final week I hope to make my way to Norway and have said interview and test drive.

Tomorrow I will be sending some emails to find a nice (extremely) intensive private Norwegian course. I will also be booking my flight to Norway. Exciting stuff...

Friday 6 July 2012


An actual real-life living snake around my neck
I never realised this morning as I left to go to work, that I would end up with a snake around my neck sometime during the afternoon, but that was what happened. But before that I got ambushed and painted green and black and brown.

The Russian Kaliningrad
It was the first day of the Navy Days, a recurring event in the Netherlands where the Navy shows off its work through their people, ships and other assorted thingymebobs. The first day is always reserved for the invited: veterans and schoolchildren. So, this morning me and two colleagues picked up a bunch of juvenile delinq high school students to take them to the navy yard. After having dropped them off, a couple of us drivers set off to the exhibition-part of the navy yard as well to see what was on offer.

I got quite a few comments looking like this. Why???
There was a big tent with coffee and stands that was filled with veterans, there were ships aplenty, including three foreign ones: the German Siegburg, the British HMS Lancaster and the Russian Kaliningrad which arrived as we were on the dock. There were tank-like things, helicopters, a guy with half his leg gone (I think it was a dummy), old fashioned tents and cots, field toilets and showers and there was a stand where you could get your face painted in camouflage colours. To which my colleague dragged me. As soon as I was only half in the chair, the 'painter' got to work and within a minute I had a green and black and brown face.

Perhaps I should also say that when we were walking along and I saw a little boy with camouflage colours I actually remarked that I would like that as well. Never let it be said that my colleagues are short of memory!

Thursday 5 July 2012


I had some difficulty opening the door!
Several years ago, when I was younger, I got stuck in the sand one day. With my coach. Which weighed in at around 14 tons. Fortunately I managed to get a farmer out with his tractor and he pulled me out. Fast forward...

Last Monday I had to take a group of people to a military base in Germany somewhere. The address wasn't right and they didn't really know where they were supposed to go, so when they saw their sign, they told me to take the turn. Which I did. I then drove on a cobbled road covered with dirt and sand. The next turning saw the road change to sort of gravel and dirt and sand. Do you see where I am going? So did I, but too late. And then I was stuck. No budging.

Hooking the tow cable onto the truck
Fortunately a recovery vehicle was close by and after a bit of 'where should I go?' between the men, they decided I would need to retrace my 'steps' (as it were), since the road was only getting a lot worse. They then proceeded to pull me out. The only thing damaged was my ego to some degree (not much though, don't worry on that score). After they had pulled me out, the recovery vehicle got in front of me and we drove back to the main road. I shook hands with the driver and went on my way to the hotel.

Another day, another adventure!


I don't know when I first started drinking beer. It certainly was several years after having the mother of all hangovers due to too much rum (never drank the stuff since). I usually drink lager, since that is a bit lighter, but when I was staying at my sister's in April, I saw this bottle of beer and thought the name was brilliant. So, it was bought and subsequently drunk.

I don't think I will be buying it again any time soon, even if it were available in the Netherlands, but for one evening it was okay. A bit heavy perhaps, but still quite nice. And of course the name remains to be brilliant!!

This is my 26th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Sunday 1 July 2012


I was clueless aged 20!
I did look good in yellow though....
According to my friend Pepperfly, I am now waiting for the 'Meaning of Life' (which comes at age 42), but this year will be the 'Clueless Year'. For some reason. Now, since my friend Pepperfly is a bit older than yours truly, I trust she speaks from experience and is just giving me her wisdom. If not, she is just a big meanie and knowing her, she can't be. Not really anyway.

Clueless? Well, I have been called worse!