Saturday 30 November 2013


The forecast for this weekend was rain. Which was logical since I had a visitor arriving! Yes, another visit from my sister. She will be here for the weekend only and return home again on Monday. Yesterday started off great: it was pouring down! And it just kept pouring all day. Until about 1pm. When the pour became a drizzle and then stopped. For a while. Because then it was time for another pour. By the time I picked her up from the airport however, it was dry again. 

Our first stop was the supermarket to get some supplies for the weekend. We do need to eat you know! We figured pizza would be good for our first night. So, we bought everything we needed to make nice pizzas. I had (sort of) forgotten however, that I hadn't yet done the dishes and in order for us to have home-made pizza...

Anyway, dinner for us was potato chips and nuts and a simple sandwich. The pizza would wait until today. After I had done the dishes obviously! Which I did almost first thing in the morning. I so hate it. So so hate it! Fortunately my sister did the drying bit and tidying up bit (if she could find where to tidy it) and we got that done in good time. 

Then it was time for the Christmas market in the center of Haugesund. It's not big and there are quite a lot of food stalls. Too many actually in my opinion. But there were some other really nice stands as well, one which provided the both of us with lovely angel earrings. We then took the bus back to where I had parked the car and did a little bout of shopping there. The thing is though: neither my sister nor I are real shoppers. In the sense of browsing everywhere and not getting a thing. We know what we want and when we do, we just go out and buy it. We did however both get a lovely Advent candle holder. So we can burn those candles over the Advent!

When we got home we opened the package I had received from the Netherlands. Lots of peppernuts, tough-tough and white M's. Oh, and an almond letter. I think my sister and I will have a really nice night tonight!!!

Thursday 28 November 2013

Takk skal du ha

As you read in yesterday's post, I have been in Norway a full year now. In that year a lot of things changed. Getting used to a new language, new people, new ways of work, new habits. It was really tiring at times, but it has been a real experience. The thing is though: I couldn't have done it without all the people over here who helped me or the support from family and friends (even if they never wanted me to leave in the first place).

So, takk skal dere ha: Papa and Mama for standing by me, even though you hated the thought of yet another daughter taking up residence in another country. Takk skal du ha Gera for believing in me and loving the fact that her big sister was taking up residence in another country. Takk skal du ha Brother and family for the support you offered. I hope to see all of you soon again!

Takk skal dere ha Pepperfly, Pepperfly-man and Peppermaggot for not only taking in, but loving my monsters and looking after them in a perfect way: giving them hugs and kisses, treats and the occasional trick. Takk skal du ha C and family for silently being there, supporting me during the move and of course afterwards as well. Takk skal dere ha to former colleagues. You showed me I was not indispensable after all, although I know your lives are a bit emptier now (she says with great faith in herself).

Takk skal du ha John Terje, for helping me in my first few days in my new country. It would have been ten times more difficult for me otherwise and you made it all so easy! Takk skal du ha Arie for helping me those first few weeks, with the language, with my belongings. It was nice to have a Dutch 'husband' to talk to. Takk skal dere ha to all my new colleagues who helped me with everything connected with my new job: routes, buses and all things related. Takk skal du ha CS who invited me to celebrate the most important Norwegian holiday with her. Takk skal dere ha to my other new-found friends who invited me to their coffee mornings, parties, hikes, outings and even a holiday to Sweden. 

Takk skal dere ha to all my blog friends near and far. You stood by me, gave me encouragement, laughed at my adventures, cried with me over bad things. I have only met one of you so far, but I feel I know you all personally! Takk skal dere ha to all my anonymous readers, who I don't know, but who are still interested in me! 

Takk skal dere ha!

Second Blooming
This was a prompted post by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie and Gretchen at Second Blooming.

If you still want to have a chance of winning a lovely desk-top calendar with photos from my first year in Norway, click on this link and leave a comment before Midnight November 30th!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

It was on a Tuesday

And it was early in the morning: 3.30am early! On that Tuesday. I woke up, packed the last few things and went down. Couldn't get any food down and shortly after 4am I was taken to the airport. Where I did eat a little. I checked in, then checked my luggage in. Went through security and then I was on my way. On my way to a new life in Norway. 

Those first few nights were bad. The bed was bad, the duvet was too thin and too short, I was nervous, I was jittery, I was a lot of things, just not relaxed. Once I moved into my own little place and got my own bed, it was better. Yet it still took a few weeks before I really was sleeping soundly again. When I moved out to the sticks it was even better. Hardly any traffic, my own bed, all of my own things. I sleep wonderfully now!

I refused to speak English, it was Norwegian from the start. But because my Norwegian was already quite good, everybody talked to me at jetspeed. And the only thing that was quite good was my Norwegian talking, my Norwegian understanding was lagging behind by a day! Fortunately, my decision to only speak Norwegian, meant that I soon picked it up. In leaps and bounds I understood more and more. Was able to say more and more and especially able to convey my feelings. Today I understand a lot. Language jokes elude me so far. But I understand most now and I have even lost my fear of the phone!

Work was slow at the beginning. Because of red tape I wasn't able to start driving immediately, which meant that I had to sit on the bus and learn routes. Again and again the same routes. But, on the plus side it meant that I actually got to learn most routes! Particularly the school runs can be quite tricky, but I managed to learn quite a few during my training. Once I finally started driving in January I can now proudly say I only took a wrong turn twice and both times I realised immediately. There is of course a difference between the job I had and the job I have and I must admit I still miss my old job at times. But overall I love driving here. The surroundings are beautiful and the passengers in general are nice and friendly. As are my colleagues by the way! Nice and friendly.

Finances have been going up and down all year. When I first arrived I had lots, but that soon dwindled when a new car had to be bought, double rent had to be paid, furniture had to be gotten. A holiday here and a few days away there didn't help either. However, I am a big believer in budgets and that certainly helped. I am nowhere near the amount I had when I arrived, but I can say that at the end of each month I still have a substantial amount of money in my account that goes straight into savings. And usually it's about the same amount I saved up while living in the Netherlands. And that for a year without holiday pay!

Then there were the visitors: my sister was the first to show up (last Christmas, she will be back this Friday), my friend Pepperfly and her son (see photo), my parents and last but not least my friend C. I went out with new found friends, went on holiday with new found friends, there were parties, meetings, hikes. It has been anything but boring. The first year in Norway has flown by. Hopefully next year will be equally exciting!

If you want to read last year's post again: click here! And if you still want to have a shot at winning my desk-top calendar, filled with photos from my first year in Norway, leave a comment before Midnight November 30th on this post!

Monday 25 November 2013


On Saturday evening we had our Christmas party. I got picked up by a colleague who lives quite close by and we made our way to the venue. In previous years they had organised the do at a local hotel, where there would be several Christmas parties going on at once. Which was never that nice, since there were a lot of strangers, drinks were expensive and people would therefore make their way to hotel rooms to drink their own stuff. So, this year they decided the do would be held in another type of venue where we would organise the whole thing ourselves. 

Those ribs were yum!!
Well, it was more like the staff parties I used to organise. But with more resources of course. And it was great fun. Everybody came dressed up in their finest: men in suits with ties, women with nice dresses and of course I was no exception. I had a lovely black dress that shimmered (yes, a new one) and my fantastic red shoes. Plus I had found my Christmas hat, added some bells and was raring to go.

The food was proper Norwegian Christmas food: ribs with crackling on, which made me go back for seconds and stick meat, which is lamb/mutton on sticks that has been dried, then rehydrated and cooked and served. Not my favourite. Dessert was Queen Maud pudding, which is named after the first Queen Norway had after its independence from Sweden. 

The drinks were cheap: Turkey prices as they said. And I tried several: white wine (2), dishwater (1) and a whiskey, courtesy of a colleague. The dishwater was something I started with and contained vodka, sprite and two other ingredients. It contained such a kick however that I was already half drunk by the time I had finished that!! So, I quit that and stuck to what I knew. 

Tide's bravest driver (on the right)
Halfway through the evening there were prices handed out. Or more accurately: certificates. They looked at the past year and tried to see who fit what description best. When the host came to the bravest driver, he started talking about seeing nature for a long time and not expecting to see the actual driver make it to the end. He was however very impressed when said driver did make it. Nearly on hands and feet, but the finish line was met. Somewhere in that story he mentioned Aurlandsdalen and I realised he was talking about me! Another unexpected price!

After all that, the music started and I danced a bit, switched to soda, danced a bit more, took photos and at the end of the night, me and a colleague were taken to a hotel where we would stay the night. It was a good night. 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Photo on Sunday 2013-29

A few Sundays ago I was looking for a photo to use for Photo on Sunday, when I saw this view. It's the view from where I sit at the computer and I knew it was going to end up on Photo on Sunday that day. 

Well, it didn't, nor did the photo I took only half an hour later! Because I was too busy doing other things, I forgot about both photos. Until I was looking for this week's Photo on Sunday and came across them again. 

If you look closely at especially the second photo, you can see the rough sea behind the houses and beyond that an island. It was a blustery day that day!!

Saturday 23 November 2013


You may know I love Christmas. Which for some reason is not usually spent in the bosom of my family, but on my own in front of the telly. I like it that way, so don't feel sorry for me! My love for Christmas extends to anything decorative that looks pretty. When I moved from the Netherlands I had four boxes filled with Christmas related things. Baubles and Christmas lights, snowmen, Santas, reindeer. Since the move I have managed to acquire a bit more. It still fills only four boxes, but that has mainly to do with the fact I am now displaying my Christmas films on a permanent basis.

Of those, I own about 225. I think. It could be more! I've got the weird and the wonderful, the old and the new, life action and cartoon. An example (well 2) of the weird must be Santa Claus and Santa Claus conquers the Martians. The first being a Mexican film that has static white reindeer, a devil and a weird heaven-like residence for Santa. The second being a early 70's film heavily influenced by the cold war, but with fantastic (sarcasm here people) make-up and costume!

The examples of the wonderful are The Christmas Card and a Muppet Family Christmas. I only have the first in a region 1 version, which means I cannot watch it very often (I have to take my second dvd-player out and hook it up), but it is a lovely story. A soldier coming back from Afghanistan or Iraq and looking for the woman who wrote him a Christmas card. A Muppet Family Christmas may be a television special, but it is such a lovely story: the whole gang coming together and celebrating Christmas. The songs, the jokes, the Muppets!

I have several old films in my collection too: Christmas in Connecticut, which is so much better than it's nineties remake. White Christmas which is a must! We're no Angels and Miracle on 34th Street. And then there are the cartoon films: Arthur Christmas and Charlie Brown amongst them. 

And then there is the long list of films still on my wish list. Some I have seen on television, but are not (yet) available in Europe, others are completely new to me and a surprise. And at some point I hope they will be in my collection. To be watched all year round, otherwise I go mad at Christmas.

I think Oscar Wilde said it best: I can resist anything but temptation!

Second Blooming
This was a prompted post by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie and Gretchen at Second Blooming.

If you still want a shot at the desk-top calendar, make sure to visit my post Calendar and leave a comment! Before November 30th!


Every country has its own habits concerning the Christmas season. In the Netherlands people would either get a Christmas bonus/thirteenth month or a Christmas box filled with goodies. Here in Norway it is done a bit differently. 

As part of the economic input of people, taxation on wages in November is lower than in any other month. Half as a matter of fact, leaving people with a lot of dosh to spend on Christmas. Like on Christmas curtains, crockery, food, gifts, whatever. And it is a booming business as well! Which is nice, since I like Christmas.

Then there is another habit: the Christmas dinner (julebord, literally Christmas table) organised by companies all over the country. The company I work for is no different, although it is organised by some colleagues instead of management. And as all other social things: people dress up! 

So, black dress it is, red shoes and where on earth is my Christmas hat???

Remember the calendar! If you want to have a shot at winning one, click on Calendar and comment! Give-away ends November 30th!

Friday 22 November 2013


Well, it's time again: the year is running on its last legs and soon it will be 2014. And a new year means a new calendar! Which as always I will be making!!

This year it will be a joined English/Norwegian affair, so you will see exactly when Mother's Day is in Norway, albeit not in any other country. And as a first, I've decided to put in one very special day. Well, it's special to me anyway. 

So, do you want to get hold of this lovely desk-top calendar? Simple: the only thing you have to do is leave a comment and telling me all about your favourite colour. I will then randomly pick out two comments (I will toss all names in a hat and pick two) and those two lucky people will receive a calendar each. 

Now, the deadline for this give-away is November 30th, midnight (Norwegian time). Good luck everyone!!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Can I?

As you know I have this wood burning stove. It keeps my living room warm and the top of it has been used several times to dry towels and clothes. But could I use it to cook something? After all, it has this grill type thing I can lift and underneath is like a hotplate. Only one way to find out: try it! 

So, today I decided I wanted rice pudding. I had plenty of milk, plenty of rice and plenty of time. And by golly, did it need time! First I boiled the water on the proper stove, then I added the rice and took the pan off the stove and put it on my burner. Ten minutes later the water had been absorbed and I added the milk. A couple of hours later (!) I had my rice pudding. 

It tasted good, especially with the sugar and cinnamon and raisins I added. But if I want something in a hurry, I had better stick to the proper stove!

Sunday 17 November 2013

Photo on Sunday 2013-28

When I wanted to warm my home back when I lived in the Netherlands, it was easy: flick a switch and the central heating came on. And after a while the whole house was warm and toasty. The bathroom, the living room, the kitchen. 

I now live in Norway in a small cottage in the countryside. I don't have any central heating. Instead I have three different types of heating. First there is the warm air thingy in the hallway. Not the most logical of places, since it basically only heats upstairs. Where I don't need the warmth as I like to sleep in a cold room. Then there is the heating element in the bathroom. Switch it on and the electricity meter goes haywire, since it just gobbles up my kroners! I don't really use it that often. 

The third way of heating my home is the woodburner in my living room. Which, after I finally figured it out, works a treat. It warms up the living room, the kitchen and even the bathroom. The only thing is: it needs wood to burn! 

Yesterday the first of two loads arrived. At ten in the morning. Two pallets with 1000 liters of firewood each. Dumped on the grass. I store my firewood in the basement. It's dry there and I don't have to go outside in the rain/wind/snow to get to it. Grass does not equal basement. 

So, from 10.30am to 2.30pm I moved all the wood from the grass to a huge pile in the basement, since it looked like rain. Then I clambered my way over to the back of the basement and started stacking. I was absolutely pooped when I was finally finished and the shower was heavenly! But I do now have two piles of firewood, and it will probably last me until sometime in January. In a few weeks two more pallets will be arriving. Another day of stacking!

Friday 15 November 2013


Remember when I lived back in the Netherlands? Where work was diverse. School trips and drunken people, day trips and weeks to Italy and Ireland (not the same trips), public transport and army transport. I usually found out about what I had to do about four days prior. Which was fine. It kept life interesting. 

I moved to Norway. Got a job as a public transport busdriver. And got a work sheet. Six weeks on a loop. So, I knew what I had to do months in advance. Could make plans. Brilliant. Only 35,5 hours a week because I worked evenings and weekends as well. But things were about to change.

Today I got my new work sheet. Only temporary, but it looks like I might like it. I only work during the day, the latest I finish is once at 7.30pm! I only work two Saturdays and one Sunday. Granted, I have to work 37,5 hours, but who cares? 

There is one other worksheet that looks great: five weeks of work and one week off. But for that to happen, you have to work more Saturdays and Sundays and nights! Until like 4am and stuff! Honestly? No!

So, starting December 2nd (which I now have to take off, in the new system, I work earlies and not lates), a new worksheet!

Wednesday 13 November 2013


As I finished work today, a colleague stopped me. He had something for me. He had just returned from a short trip home and had found it. A Polish flag! It put a smile on my face!

As I was in the supermarket today, I found the Norwegian equivalent of the Dutch kruidnoten (gingernuts). They looked and felt to be a bit bigger than the Dutch ones, but beggars and choosers and stuff. And besides: it put a smile on my face!

As I got home today and checked my mailbox, I found a package from the UK. A former colleague had found and sent me a British flag! It put a smile on my face!

PS: I asked a Bulgarian colleague about the Bulgarian flag and if he doesn't forget, he would be happy to get one for me! Smile!
PS2: the gingernuts taste a lot more gingery than the Dutch ones (which aren't really gingernuts), but they are nice. Smile!!

Friday 8 November 2013

Worries from far away

Staring at his treats (the orange container)
About two weeks ago I got an email from Pepperfly. Wuppie was not behaving normally. Now of course the question as to what is 'normal' in Wuppie's case, is a difficult one, but that's another matter. He was not behaving in his usual 'normal' way. He was running here and there and everywhere, finding paperwork, recycling paper, boxes and occasionally his litterbox. And everywhere he went, he would try to pee.

The meds
Pepperfly phoned the vet. Then took him to the vet. And the diagnosis for this 15 1/2 year old cat was: bladder infection! Which in boy cats and especially former boy cats is not good news. Fortunately however, Pepperfly was quick and observant and they caught it in time. He is now on medication and the treat after the medication makes Wuppie okay with it. 

He's got a good few years left I hope, but not if he starts doing weird things like that! Silly cat...

Thursday 7 November 2013


Unshredded curly kale. Who'd a thunk it?
Before even attempting to make the 'boerenkool met worst', I had to do the dishes. Which I did. Gladly this time!! Then I got the potatoes out, peeled them (with some difficulty, not nice taters at all) and put them in the pan. I got the curly kale out and quickly realised it wasn't like the Netherlands. There were stalks and all! But, I got to work, removed the stalks and shredded the kale. Put it in a different pan. Then the sausages. Not like in the Netherlands, but I had found some German ones that looked quite nice. 

Nam nam
Well, it almost went wrong in the end! Almost, because when the alarm sounded, the potatoes were already dry. Who ever thought 25 minutes to boil potatoes was good. Weird Norwegians!! Anyway, I mashed the potatoes with some butter and milk (forgot the pepper, I was in a hurry you know), took the sausages off the kale and then strained the kale. And then the best part: mixing the mash and the kale. 

I took a plate out, heaped it with kale 'n' mash, made a hole in the middle for the gravy, added a little mustard and of course some sausages (they were small after all). 

It didn't last long. Perhaps all of two minutes?
I wanted to savour it, enjoy it, make it last a long time. I didn't. Make it last that is, because I did so enjoy it! I gobbled it up like somebody without manners and before I knew it my plate was empty. I resisted the urge to lick the plate though. My parents did teach me some manners after all!

Tomorrow however, I will savour and enjoy and eat slowly. Because, the portions might have been small, but there were two! I can't wait!!

I kissed it!

When I moved to Norway last year, I thought that one of the things I would surely be able to get over here was 'curly kale' (or boerenkool in Dutch). It's a hardy cabbage vegetable that loves and even needs frost! Norway has that and Norwegians have plenty of cabbages in the supermarkets. 

Just not curly kale. Incomprehensible. I knew I couldn't go two winters without, so I bought some seeds. At least then I could grow my own! Well, that's not going to happen, because I forgot about them and they needed to be planted outside sometime in September! 

After I finished work yesterday, I went to a supermarket on my way home. I needed some food for tomorrow. And for some reason I checked the vegetable area. Found the tiny cauliflowers, the broccoli, the savoy cabbage. And then... curly kale! CURLY KALE!!! I danced, I jumped up and down. I kissed it!

Today: boerenkool met worst. Curly kale 'n' mashed potatoes with sausage. Nam nam (as they say in Norwegian).

Wednesday 6 November 2013

And I was doing so well...

The police vehicle I hit a few years back in London
I am quite good at filling out the European Insurance Reports. I should be, I have had days where I had to fill out three! In two different countries as well!! But I had thought I had left all those forms behind me. No more 'who is to blame', 'how wide is the road', 'what was the weather'? No more drawings that look nothing like the real thing. 

Until last Friday that is. When the driver of a car parked her car smack bang in a mountain. At right angles to the road. I asked her whether it was a new way of parking, she just answered 'a crash'. As if I didn't see that. I didn't see the accident happen. I only saw the car at right angles to the road. And the turn I had just come out of with my bus. I thought I had cleared everything. Turns out: not so much. A large 8 meter (out of the 12) long stripe all along the side of the bus. 

When I came back to the office and filled out an insurance form, another driver was doing the same. Same spot, nearly identical damage. He thought my drawing was fantastic. He thought I was fast filling out the form. And me?

I just thought: darn it (see how clean my mind is, ahem). Again no damage-free year! 

Tuesday 5 November 2013


I think the only thing I can say is "I am a terrible blogger!" Several things have happened during the last week and I have not typed a single word to throw into the www. Awful. Terrible. 

Mind you, nothing much special has happened to me during the last week, but in general. Life wise. And such. You know... 

To start off. The local football team managed to secure third place in the national league, which in turn apparently means they are up for European football next year. Something great to strive for or so I have heard. Since I am not really into football at all (as you know), I am not too bothered by it, but if they do go Europe and there happens to be a Dutch opponent at some time: I have a big garden with plenty of room for tents and a spare single bedroom. Just so you know! Bring a bottle of Beerenburg and you are very welcome!

Then. The Norwegians have this weird relationship with television. They love their repeats and if they don't repeat, it's most likely a rerun. And if they do come up with something original, it annoys the &%$#& out of the whole world (What does the fox say? Anyone??). Anyway. On occasion they do have an original idea. Like the first time I was in Norway: following a canal in the Telemark region from beginning to end. Like the summer just past: 24 hour coverage from a ferry to the North of Norway. Sea, sea, sea, some land, some people and more sea. It took them over a week to get to the North, so you get the idea. 

But, that wasn't enough. And all the repeats and reruns and boat and ferry programs weren't enough. Somebody had to come up with another thing to air. The wintersport season is still a few weeks off and there was airtime to fill. And then somebody came up with a brilliant idea. What if we make a program about knitting. My girlfriend loves knitting. We could do a half hour show? Not enough? What about an hour? Two hours? Four hours? No, an all night knitting show! Showing from sheep to sweater! That's what I pay my tv-license money for...

On the subject of knitting: I am still at it as well. As a matter of fact, my hands feel empty when not knitting, which might explain the lack of posts lately. I am knitting like mad and have finished the first order already. I got several hugs for it as well! Plus the yarn money. But the hugs were best...

I will try to better my life and blog a bit more often. After all, there is plenty happening. Sort of.