Sunday 29 September 2013

Photo on Sunday 26

I am in Kivik right now and this weekend is the annual apple festival. Which means apples everywhere. The apple I show you is one that just grows on a tree by the side of the road. It doesn't seem to have an owner, so anyone can take and eat it. 

Friday 27 September 2013

My life 2

Gooseherding is not on my cv
When my friend C was over for a visit last week, she asked me: what was the best job you ever had? It required some thinking, but I did come up with an answer. And decided it would make a perfect post!

The best job I ever had, was the touring job I had while living and working in the Netherlands. Taking people to see different places around Europe and making them (hopefully) fall in love with that area. I got to drive a lot and to see a lot as well and absolutely loved it. For the most part. 

Not exactly the stage, more like the waterfall in the pool
I am in the middle
But hold on, wasn't the best job the job in Italy? Well, yes actually! I grew up on Sicily. It was the first time I ever yelled back at a boss and it empowered me. Before I was quite a shy person and it would take a while for me to come out and ask people ordinary things. But after that, I was a lot bolder. Besides that, I worked with lots of people and met lots of children who were always fun. I danced on stage, I played the clown, I was tanned and thin and in shape. I loved it! For the most part.

One of my favourite view points with the bus
Because the job I have now is fantastic! The surroundings here are beautiful and it is a joy to see the sun come up over the mountains and the mist over the sea as I am driving to my first pick-up point. I still get to drive a lot and hopefully make people smile, which is a lot harder in public transport I can tell you!

All the jobs I had (with a few exceptions) were great. Because I realised quite early on: if I don't like a job, don't do it and find another one. No need to miserable!

Wednesday 25 September 2013


I go to Sweden and take with me:

knitting, camera, book, baby, walking shoes, lbd, red shoes, cosy pj's, thick socks, recipe for apple pie. 

I hope to be coming back with:
all of the above, a lot of great memories, even more photos and perhaps some other things I don't really need but are always great to have. 

I don't know whether I will be able to blog a lot. We will find out together!

In the mean time I leave you with a photo of me and my friend C who was here over the weekend. 

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Of mice and men

The rain had just cleared. 
I should have known of course. Friend coming over equals rain. And so it was. On Saturday. And Sunday morning. But, by Sunday afternoon, the rain lifted and slowly moved away leaving blue skies with the occasional harmless cloud. We did spend most of Sunday indoors though, only going outside for about half an hour. Which caused my teamleader to exclaim that I hadn't walked nearly enough! But that is another story altogether. 

On Sunday night I also started my woodburning stove for the first time. I have never worked with one, never had one and it was fun to see whether it would function. Well, I only needed about half a box of matches and several bits of crumpled of newspaper. Oh, and about an hour, but I got it going then: a lovely comfy warmth that would have had any cat purring out of its skin!

Rotten apple? Noo, fire is better.
Then on Monday I needed to go back to the Norwegian equivalent of the DMV to exchange my Norwegian driver's license. I had already been there last week, but not having enough money in my account and not having one necessary paper meant no dice. Well, the driver's card is ordered and should be here soon, the license however is another matter. I now drive with a piece of paper saying that I am allowed to drive, while they send my Dutch license to the Netherlands to verify its validity etc. Then, after several weeks, they will (hopefully) send me a letter saying all is well and come and order your Norwegian license! Ah well.

Other business we did yesterday: we went shopping a bit. Even though I have no money to talk of at the moment, sometimes you just have to blow caution to the wind. Although in my case it's more a case of gentle puffs against gale force: ineffectual! But we had a good time. The fire at night got going after only thirty minutes, we had healthy snacks because we didn't feel like cooking and we watched another Christmas film. 

Emptying the sceptic tank
And this morning? Well, I had had problems with the toilet filling up again (typical: visit = full sceptic tank?), so yesterday I phoned them to come and empty the thing. Which they did. First thing this morning. While I was having a lovely dream! Ah well, the weather is still gorgeous and I will have to work in the garden today a bit. Before taking C back to the airport that is, since she is going home today. 

Sunday 22 September 2013

Photo on Sunday 2013-25

I have a visitor over from the Netherlands: my friend C. And while Friday saw blue skies, no wind and a nice temperature, Saturday saw the beginnings of rain and today it's raining even more. It's starting to be more than spooky now. First my sister, then my friend Pepperfly and her son and now C! All came over for a visit and all had pouring rain!

Ah well, a day with film and hot chocolate and Toblerone might be in order. And we might even start the woodburner up. We will enjoy ourselves!

Friday 20 September 2013


Everybody has done it. Made a bit of a booboo when it came to interacting with people. I remember one time I had to drive a group of schoolchildren and their teacher to the bowling alley. The teacher had just gotten married and was treating his current and before classes to an afternoon of bowling and french fries. I didn't like the teacher. He was loud, he was obnoxious, he was wrong and he told too advanced jokes on the bus (they were 8 and 9 years old). But, he managed his children well and they all respected him. 

I sat at the bar waiting for them to finish so I could take them back home again and sipping a cup of tea. A lovely lady sat next to me and we started chatting. Turned out she was a teacher at the same school. And just as I was about to say something negative about the male teacher, she turns around and says she just got married to him! Oof! Saved by the bell...

This is not a story about that teacher though. Actually it's a story about the Tide Games I went to. After arriving last Friday, me and my colleague had a few drinks in our room, before heading down for some dinner. As I was waiting for my food, hanging in my chair, a man came to our table. He shook hands with several colleagues he apparently recognised and then shook mine. I asked him what he did. Was he a boss of something or other, or just a driver? 

He looked at me. Smiled. He was the manager of all managers!

I sat straight up after that. I started blushing. It was partly act, partly real. But how was I supposed to know? I had never met the man before. Nor had I seen a photo. And after he left, I still had to find out his name!! Which I know now. And I know what the big boss looks like. So next year I won't make that mistake again. Which means room for other ones...

Thursday 19 September 2013


The good thing about a weekend away is that you usually have so much to tell it will take all week. And it was no different this time. 

Starting the three-legged race
As I told you I was in the old-fashioned relay at the Tide Games. We were eight in total and came in second (after those blasted Indians, who were so fast). However, we started off like a rocket. One of my colleagues just shot away and was first to the change over position. Another colleague took over and was almost as fast. Then came the three-legged race, which was a bit more difficult, especially since they were hindered somewhat by the later winners who were sprawled out on the floor. 

The eventual winners: big strong men!
I took over with the potato and spoon. But we were told to forget the spoon and just hold the potato between our knees! The winner (very tall) just jumped. I tried to walk and later on jumped. Until I keeled over, managed to just touch the ankle of my teammates and they wheelbarrowed the rest of the race. Finishing second. 

No blood!
With the fall I had of course grazed my knee (again). As one colleague said: you go out on a trip/tour and you come back injured. I guess she is right. I was able to get up though, it wasn't a major surgery-requiring injury or something. It was great fun though, although we might need some practice (or bigger stronger people) for next year!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Dressing up and down

The first time anybody talked to me about legwarmers, I didn't know what they were going on about. And then I found out that all the girls would be wearing them during the Tide Games. Which meant that I would have to make a pair to wear. So, I got out my knitting yarn and needles and started. Yellow and green stripes. But, since I can't knit with a round-knit needle, I had to think of something else of putting the things together. Buttons!

Not quite what I went for in the end, but you get the idea
Apart from the legwarmers I had decided to take my royal orange hat (the winner) and my orange/red/white/blue boa with me and wear those. And when we got to Voss, we got a blueish t-shirt and a green raincoat. Plenty of colour to wear. My teamleader and roommate had dug up her fantastic grey afro wig, found a pair of sunglasses (it rained all day), green raincoat and donned her pair of legwarmers which were yellow! We looked fantastic and got lots of comments and smiles. 

The evening however was completely different. They really do dressing up over here in Norway. I saw fantastic full-length dresses, I saw a dress that looked very like mine (and she had similar shoes as well) and plenty of lovely cocktail dresses in all colours. The men came dressed (mostly anyway) in suits with ties and it all looked very glamourous. Of course I wore my new red shoes and new black dress, trying to look as glamourous as the rest!

The evening wasn't just used to dole out prices for football and stuff, it was also to honour the best team, teamleader, planner and there was an open class. Unfortunately our team, teamleader and open entry didn't win the gold bus (as it was named), but we had a good night nonetheless. There was a comedian/singer and after a really nice dinner there was music and dancing. I went to bed early though, since I was quite tired from being outside in the rain all day. But I had great fun.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Tide Games

During the Tide Games I participated in two things: the precision driving and the old fashioned relay race. I had never tried precision driving before and it looked extremely difficult to me. Once I got started though, I realised it was extremely difficult in some places and other places were okay. 

I had to position the front of the bus over a circle and every centimeter off the center cost me points. (fail)

I had to pull a weight off of a barrel and then have it land in a bucket. (fail)

I had to pull two barrels apart to a certain distance enough for the bus to pass through. (I was okay-ish)

I had to touch a green bar while leaving the red one untouched (nailed it)

I had to drive past a cyclist with a distance of 1.20m! Obviously they have never been in Amsterdam! (9cm off, way to go!)

I had to back up the bus until the lights came on. (too far, the sirens went off)

I had to knock some green sticks down, while leaving the red ones standing. (four green, one red)

I had to park four meters away from an obstacle (way off)

I had to parallel park with a distance of 1.50m from the bus to the bar at the front. (nailed the parking, 84 cms off)

I had to park 1,50 meters away from an obstacle (only a few cms out)

I had to guestimate the height of a bar I had to pass under. (quite off)

I had to park the front wheels in a red square on the ground (short)

It was good fun to do and I managed okay-ish. I would have loved to know the score, but I forgot to ask! 

Monday 16 September 2013


I was away at the weekend. Stayed at a hotel in Voss. Spent Saturday getting soaked. Wore my new dress and shoes and lipstick. And I attended a gala dinner. All in honour of the Tide Games (pronounced Teeduh Games) which were being held in Voss and saw drivers and office staff from all over the country come together and try their hand (or foot) at football, ticket machine throwing, old fashioned relay and precision driving. I participated in the latter two. But some of my colleagues from Haugesund were also in the football and the ticket machine throwing. 

There were prices to be had for winning the football, ticket machine throwing, old fashioned relay and precision driving. Plus best costume, best supporters and several others. During the gala dinner the prices were doled out, some got cups, others got a large thing containing something. The best precision driver was somebody called Robert. I think. The best football team was from Trondheim. The best costumes were worn by the nuns and sheiks. And the best hat? 

This was the hat that won
Photo taken earlier this year
Well, the best hat didn't have a name. It was just the hat from Haugesund! And since I was the only one who had worn a hat that day... I had won! Completely unexpectedly I had won! They had actually made it a category after seeing the hat: they thought it deserved a price! I was in shock walking up, I was in shock walking down with a large plastic container containing nearly two kilograms of Toblerone chocolates!!

Get your hands off my chocolate!
Now I am just wondering what to wear next year, I can't wear the same hat twice...

Sunday 15 September 2013

Photo on Sunday 2013-24

Well, here it is: my new haircut! I gave the hairdresser free range and I think she did a wonderful job. I will be going back to that hairdresser's next time! I think I look pretty spiffy and my colleagues had the following to say:

*NOW you look good (with the emphasis on Now and implying that I didn't look good before)
*It takes ten years off
*What have you done? (He might need glasses, I thought it was pretty obvious)
*Very pretty

Of course all in Norwegian, not a word French amongst the lot! Anyway, I am away for a few days and will be returning tonight. With lots and lots of photos of course! I will have dressed down (or up as the case may be) and up (with my new funky red shoes and red lipstick) and I will have met lots of colleagues from the other branches of Tide in Norway (and perhaps even Denmark). 

Friday 13 September 2013

My life 1

Me in 1991
How do you feel about seasons? Do you enjoy one? Or two or four? Personally I like to live through four seasons in one year. Starting with winter, then spring, summer and autumn. And if I were to ever end up on the other side of the world: summer, autumn, winter and spring. I don't want to leave anything out however! Because it's the spring and autumn that make a year even better. 

In 1991 I worked for Club Med on Sicily. It should have been somewhere in Spain, but my passport needed renewing, so it became Italy instead. I didn't see much spring, because temperatures of 18+ Celsius (64+ Fahrenheit) meant summer to me! Little did I know that summer would see temperatures of well over 35C (95F) on a near daily basis. And I am sure it soared up to over 40C (104F) on several occasions. 

The water and fire show
The temperatures being so high, it meant that going swimming in the absolutely humoungous humungous humongous huge pool was only nice when the temperature of the water was a nice 33C (91F). One degree lower and it felt cold! How spoiled was I??? 

I got used to the temperatures though. Yes it was hot, but I only had to wear a bikini to work. Which meant that I got a really nice tan! All over! The only thing I really missed was the rain however. Sometimes the clouds would move in. And it would start to rain. And some of my colleagues would actually feel the rain on their head. But by the time it should have fallen on my (lower) head, it had already dissolved. 

I've got a thing for redheads and he was so cute!!
He was from Australia and so nice. 
The season lasted all the way up to October and early on in that month I got a phone call from Antwerp (my handling office). And they had a job offer for the winter season. Somewhere on an island in the Carribean! Were they mad? No thank you, I would much prefer to have a winter season! So, that's how I found myself on a TGV to Albertville only two months later. To picked up from the trainstation and taken to Tignes in the High Alps to spend a winter season in the snow!

Thursday 12 September 2013


This week's prompt was blue and although I could have posted my blue plum jam, I decided against it. Even if it tastes lovely! Instead I decided on this photo taken in our accommodation before my last hike (the fumes one). It's the door to the dining/breakfast room and it's... well... blue! So, I think that passes muster!

This is my 64th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join? 

Tuesday 10 September 2013


Unfortunately one of the pots cracked and was a lost cause!
As you know I have several fruit trees in the garden. And when the fruit is ripe, you have to do something with it. So, I picked all the blue plums (not that many) and made two pots of blue plum jam and a pot of blue plums in red wine sauce. I then went out and started picking the red plums. Filled one container after the other before I got the bucket out. Which I filled twice! 

There is also that many on the ground in my garden and probably that many still on the tree. Although, while I was picking, a flock of birds had already taken up residence and was feasting away as well. Besides, someone came and stole plums. About half a carrier bag. And then wanted to pay for them, which defeats the stealing tastes better than paying purpose. (I knew who they were, they had asked permission to steal!)

On Sunday I made more plumjam. Nine pots to be exact. They are all about half a liter (a pint), so they are quite big. But I have to admit, it tastes really nice. I only used a masher, so there are quite big bits in them, but I like it like that!

I still have about half a bucket left and have been trying to make plum pie as well. With custard. I finished one cake yesterday (the eating part), but it's only a four piece cake, so it sounds worse than it is. I've decided to take the remainder of the plums into work, since I am getting pretty fed up with plums. 

Tomorrow I will start on the apples. They are not really eating apples, more cooking apples, so it will be apple sauce and apple compote. I might keep some plums, just to make some apple and plum compote. 

Monday 9 September 2013


I have shown you the photos. Of me on hikes. Long walks that lead to milk acid in legs, dizzy heads, blisters and excruciating muscle aches. Long walks that lead to beautiful spots, usually quite high over sea level. But I am not the only one on those hikes. There are loads of Norwegians loving nothing better than going on those hikes.

The brand of chocolate featured in the commercial is a popular brand. I use it when out on hikes. And to get me hiking even more, every single wrapper comes with another tour! All over the country.

That is not the reason I show you this video though. It's more to do with how it looks like when I am out on a hike. The hard terrain, the weather (although I have not yet experienced rain while out on a hike) and the breath-taking scenery.

Norway isn't so bad...

PS: before anybody asks: yes, long woollen underwear is a must in this country! I still have to buy them, although I do own a woollen shirt and woollen socks. They work a treat!

Sunday 8 September 2013

Photo on Sunday 2013-23

Well, I tried. I made my first batch ever... EVER! Jam, of course. That's what I am talking about. There are two pots of jam in the photo (the smaller ones), both blue plumjam and the bigger pot contains blue plums in red wine! I won't show you what the kitchen looked like though. 

Today I will continue with the red plums. A whole bucket full of them, so that will be several pots and then there's a whole bucket still on the tree! I heard you can just freeze them and then make jam whenever you want, but alas, my freezer is not big enough, so immediate jam it will be!

I just hope it all tastes well. Of course I didn't read the whole recipe properly before starting, so it might just be awful. Although the left overs (not enough to fill a pot) taste quite nice. I think I might make some custard tonight and use the left overs for that! Oooh, salivating already!

Saturday 7 September 2013

Going shopping

The other day I wanted to buy something in my local supermarket. But when I got to the register, for some reason the price didn't come up. So, the cashier got up and went on the hunt for the price. Came back and asked me. We went together to where I found the product and looked and looked and looked. No price anywhere. As a matter of fact, there was no such product! 

Now, whenever there is no price available from the barcode, I ask the cashier if the product is free. It never is. They always find a price. This time however? No price and in the end I left with the product and with my money. That's a good day's shopping in my eyes!

Friday 6 September 2013

Pride in your work

One of my many many jobs
Yesterday I told you a tiny bit about all the jobs I had. And when I say tiny, I mean miniscule. I once made a resumé with all the jobs on. It was over four pages long and only listed, it didn't explain anything. I had to scale it down considerably and am still on two pages!! I might actually tell you some stories pretty soon, since there is so much to tell, but right now I will continue with the thought I had yesterday. 

Now, while I was still living in the Netherlands and working as a coach driver I had to take several courses. Like the one I did on First Aid. The courses had to be taken to get our code 95 as it is named in the Netherlands. Basically, every professional large vehicle driver (goods and people) has to do 35 hours of training every 5 years. Out of those 35 hours, 7 have to be practical. I did 28 hours back in the Netherlands. And then I quit, which meant my boss wasn't going to fork out for the last course. 

When I came to Norway therefore, I had to take the last course, but nooooo, over here they say you have to take the courses within a certain amount of time. Besides I hadn't gotten hold of the official certificates I needed, so I needed to do the whole 35 hours again. This week I finally got to do them. 

Parking. Just not for tanks!
We started on Tuesday, getting through dry laws and how a motor works (I never understood in Dutch, let alone in Norwegian). On Wednesday it was Thursday and we did more laws and more dry stuff. On Thursday it was Wednesday and we got a crash course in CPR and fire fighting, were explained about food and movement, responsibility and tunnels and a few more laws.

Today will be another theory day and then tomorrow will be driving day. And after that I will get my code 95. However, where it is just called code 95 in the Netherlands, here in Norway it is called YSK (Yrkes Sjafør Kompetanse), which translates to Professional Driver Competancy. Doesn't that just sound a whole lot more grown-up and proud? 

I am proud of my work and proud of all I have achieved over the last 14 years. And I am proud to soon be able to have that pride show on my license. 

Thursday 5 September 2013


Nursing an aunt with a concussion! Age 15 or 16
Did I ever tell you about my career wishes? About how I wanted to be a nurse since the age of 4? I didn't? Well, that certainly is an oversight on my part. Because I did. Want to be a nurse that is, from the age of 4. Influenced by some sisters of some order or other who were nurses in Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) in Africa. When I was four we had an action week at school and it stuck. I wanted to be a nurse. 

By the age of 15 I didn't anymore. Well, I did and didn't at the same time. I wanted to be a pediatric nurse, but since there are no separate pediatric nurse trainings and I wasn't feeling much for the general side, I lost my interest pretty much. However, all the classes I took were geared towards nursing: mathematics, biology, chemistry. Oh, plus Dutch, English and German. By the time I was 16/17 and trying to get into a course (preferably practical), all the hospitals told me no. They weren't interested, because I wasn't interested. 

One of many excursions during my year at the tourism school
So, it was a career swith. Since we were due to move (which never happened), I looked for and found a school that dealt with tourism. Incoming tourism to be more exact. And from then on my life changed. I failed that course, but by the time I found that out, I was already working in Yugoslavia! My first job since you ask, since I never had any summer or after school jobs. I was too busy doing nothing. 

Fast forward a few years and a few countries (Belgium, Italy, France, England) and I finally moved back home. But after a few years temping and working in such exciting places like a milk powder factory, mail rooms and a biscuit factory, I moved up: a job on the trains, selling snacks and drinks. I had already thought of a different career though: the army! Yes, I wanted to be a driver in the army, despite what my Dad thought about the subject (he was army and thought it was no place for women and if there was: it would be office only. Me and office don't go together). Well, you may realise I never got in. I was mentally okay, but physically? That's a story for another day!

During my first year as a busdriver
My Dad then gave me the only good career advice ever (he had tried once with air hostess, not his best, even he will probably admit): why not try and get your buslicense? And here I am, fourteen and a bit years later, driving a bus for a living. And loving it! Because I love driving and I love interacting with people. I have been all over the place, from as far south as Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast in Italy to north to the Highlands of Scotland. I have been looking at the Atlantic Ocean from Waterville which is situated in the West of Ireland and I have almost been at touching distance to the Polish border in the far East of Germany. 

I have had my palm read by a gypsy in Southern France, walked in mud in Denmark, visited a Champagne house in France, been in a gondola in Venice, saw owls in the Lake District, England and lots and lots more. And for the past 9 months I have been living it up here in Norway. 

In Ireland!
More to come tomorrow!

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Glorious food

You may remember I posted a photo a couple of months ago of my face in apple blossoms. But not only do I have an apple tree, I also have two cherry trees and two plum trees. I never saw any of the cherries. Well, on the ground I did, but never hanging ripe in the tree. It was a free buffet for bugs and birds alike I think and maybe even a cow or two (I did after all find some organic fertiliser one day). Mind you, I didn't mind much, since I don't like cherries, so they were quite welcome to them.

The apples and plums however are a different story. And today I was finally able to harvest my first batch of plums. I have two different varieties: a blue version and I think a yellow/red version. The latter isn't yet ripe, the blue ones though are. And they are being eaten as well. By bugs and birds I guess. There are lots on the ground already and I added a few as well: too damaged and eaten already. I did however get a lovely batch of plums to eat myself though. 

The yellow plums are still quite hard and the apples are not quite there yet either. I will need a stepladder to get everything out though: the trees are quite high! There is one question though: what on earth am I going to do with so many plums?? (the apples are not a problem: apple sauce is always good)

Monday 2 September 2013


Since you might have read my cabotage post before and don't go back every ten minutes to check it out for updates or changes, I thought I would post this video I shot again. It's of the convoy as it was leaving Kopervik on Karmøy. I started shooting this when the first three or four vehicles had already left and I stopped when there was only me and one lorry left (we were the rear).

Sunday 1 September 2013

Photo on Sunday 2013-22

While we drove to our destination last Saturday, we passed the Hardangervidda. A huge area that is quite high up and is absolutely breathtaking. Mind you, I do have a thing for long views that aren't hampered by too many mountains! And if there are no trees, it gets even better (I am funny like that). So, that area was just perfect. 

It had some feeling of The Burren (Ireland), but it was so much bigger and even more impressive! I will definitely go back there some day. The sticks that you see at the side of the road are the road markers, since the weather can be quite treacherous during wintertime.