Tuesday 30 June 2015

Miss Oswin and Brom congratulate

She only had Christmas paper! So, that's what we used.
And two strings. Very important to have two strings!!
Miaow and coocoo

For weeks we were wondering what to get her. She has everything you know. Well, she would like some more Christmas films, but it's summer now, so we were not getting her that! Somebody suggested milkbones, or balls, or stuffies or a steak. Not really Mara's style you know, although the steak she said, would be nice. Somebody else suggested a gift card! How boring is that??? Or lingerie! Well, can you see us going into a lingerie shop to get some!? 

Well, after much deliberating (drumroll please): we got her a new flashy thing!! And a 500 kroner gift card (yes, yes, we know) for a one day photo course in September! 

Happy Birthday Mara and many many happy returns!!

A purr from Miss Oswin and a cuddle from Brom

Monday 29 June 2015


So, that walk yesterday. The one with the massive anthill. That wasn't the only thing we saw. Right at the end of the walk we made our way over to the former smelting house. The whole area exists due to the copper and the mining and smelting of said copper. The mines have long since closed down and all that remains is a small museum. But you can still see traces of the copper industry everywhere.

As we got to the still standing smelting house, well, without a roof or rooms (see top photo), my friend also made her way over to the small beach close by and she showed me all those beautiful looking rocks that were there. They shimmered with all sorts of colours and looked like they had been dipped in oil. 

There were large blocks that were probably used for building the hut/house that once stood there, we even saw part of a wall that was still standing, albeit only one block up. 

But most of the rocks weren't actually rocks, it was slag. The remainder of the copper smelting that went on years and years ago. It was hard taking decent photos, but I think I got a few. It was a fascinating area and definitely one to go back to again. 

Sunday 28 June 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-23

I went on a walk (not a hike, just a walk) today with a colleague. I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air blowing away all miceniches that were in my head. She invited me to go on a walk and so, we did! As you do. 

On our walk she pointed out this ant hill. I didn't at first understand what she was talking about, but after a while I did. Well, of course I needed a photo of that! Far away and close up. 

It was quite massive and their were thousands of little ants working away to make their home as safe as they could. Aren't ants amazing? Well, unless they come in the house that is. Then I am not so enamoured!!

Saturday 27 June 2015

Miss Oswin gets "caught"

That flashy thing! That awful flashy thing!! And now she wants me to talk about what happened yesterday! I told her nothing, but she said that that was not what the photos were saying!! *Sigh*

But, I promise you: nothing happened! I was minding my own business in my own garden, not a care in the world, when the woman comes in with her flashy thing and starts taking photos by the dozen! I knew she was a bit mad, but this was just a bit much!! 

Yes, the photos show me a bit 'caught in the act', but what do you expect a decent cat to do? Throw up on the couch?? That woman would have a fit if I were to do that! So, I got rid of the grass and thought nothing more of it. 

Blast that flashy thing!!!

Friday 26 June 2015

Back to normal

Well, a degree of normalcy would be nice!
That was the plan in any case. It didn't quite work out that way though. Unfortunately!

During a small chat with our personel lady, I started crying. Then after I got down to start work, I talked to my Dutch colleague and started crying again. I was taken off work, a meeting was set up with the company health service person for Monday and today I got in touch with my own gp and I have an appointment for next Tuesday. Hopefully he will be able to move me on to a psychologist as soon as possible.

I have been in touch with several people, both colleagues, friends and of course my father. Everybody is offering their support and I am very thankful for that. 

In better news however: the bills for my holiday to Scotland just went out to my parents and sister. I pay for the whole thing, so they have to pay me. Also the programs (both the generic and the specific with dates, times and directions and such) are done. The kilt is moving along as well: the basis is done, now it's just a case of making it look pretty. Or prettier than it is now. And without pins preferably! 

Thursday 25 June 2015


I knew early on that stroking a cat is good for you
Now, that was unexpected wasn't it? You all know me as quite the easy-going person, sweetness personified (overdoing it here?). And then out of the blue this incredible, quite combobulated rant. I wrote it about an hour after I had watched that news program, even if it only appeared the morning after. 

In the day since I have had the chance to reflect a bit. It's still a sore point, but I am trying to work through it. I hope to be able to talk to a confidence person at work or a psychologist (like Miss Vavoom three years ago). Because there are are a fair few things going on in my head now and I am not altogether happy with that. 

I won't bore you with those thoughts, although knowing myself, I will probably do so to some degree in due time. In the mean time I will be going on as usual. Like going birthday present shopping on Friday. It's someone very special who is celebrating next week and she deserves something really nice! Any ideas anybody?

Wednesday 24 June 2015


I came home from work last night and wanted to watch some television. As I was zapping, I landed on a British channel that had the news on. I hardly ever watch the news. It's so depressing. This time however, it didn't depress me. It made me angry. 

As some of you know, nearly three years ago I had an accident in France. A quick scene-setting: middle of the night, quiet motorway, large coach filled with people. Suddenly I see a silhouette and the next second an almighty bang. It was an illegal immigrant that had tried to cross the motorway to get to his 'camp'. He never got there. 

I was in shock. Spent the day as a guest of the French police (who were very nice to me by the way, definitely helped by my command of the French language) and was eventually let go as it was a regrettable accident, but not my fault. 

I was helped by family, (blog)friends, colleagues and company psychologist to get over it and nearly three years later I was. And then I saw that news report. 

Port workers in Calais, France were on strike and lorries were backing up nearly 30 miles! And in between those lorries were hundreds of young men from so many different countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Kurds from Turkey and many many others. They were trying to get in, on and under the trucks. Threw stones at windshields, tried to force themselves on the drivers. It looked scary! One female Czech driver was scared! 

And I got angry. So angry! I had felt a lot of things right after the accident and later on, but never anger. Yet now I do. Angry at the young man that got killed. Angry at all those young men endangering the lives of hard-working folk doing their job. Angry at those French officials who don't do anything. Just F%$#&*@ ANGRY!!

Tuesday 23 June 2015


Last year's June was fantastic. Lots of sunshine, lots of warm weather. July was even better and people who had booked a trip to the South (Spain, Turkey) were quite miffed: they were paying for something that came for free here in Norway!!

This June? Not quite the same. As in not at all the same. It has been cold, it has been dreary. Rain, wind. Yesterday however, the first day of the summer holidays, was fantastic. Sunshine, only a little breeze and nice temperatures. Today? We're back to normal. Cloudy but dry, windy and fairly cold. 

Which is probably why I now have a cold. Sniffling just now, but I know that that can soon turn into sneezing, red nose, watery eyes, headache. It's a good thing I stocked up on tissues!!

Photos taken at 1.30am June 23rd, 2015

Monday 22 June 2015


Remember the exam I took a few weeks ago? Well, on Friday night I got a text message telling me that most grades were now in and I was to check the website to see whether mine was. Since I had already shut the computer down for the night, I didn't do so until Saturday morning however and once I did, I quickly found out that...

I didn't have a clue about whether I had passed or failed! My grade was a three, which if it would have been in the Netherlands, would have been very bad and a very big fail, since grades range from 1 (worst) to 10 (best) and you need at least 6 to pass. However...

Here in Norway they don't use that system. Over here they use 1 (worst) to 6 (best). But when do you pass? Turns out the only fail is 1, everything from 2 and above (apparently) is a pass. I had a 3, which means I am 'quite knowledgable'. It mightn't be the best, but then I hadn't expected that either. 

I knew I had made several mistakes, I had not mentioned any specific laws and such. I had miscalculated the distance and then the amount of time it took to drive said distance to a city in Norway. And even the way I wrote might have been a bit confusing, although they largely see through that apparently. 

The good news is however: I passed the theoretical part of my exam. Now there is only the practical side of it, which involves driving for real. Not really sure about how and when as yet, but I will let you know in due course!

PS: the photo at the top is not me at school, it is my Mum! Isn't she adorable??

Sunday 21 June 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-22

After that long search for my sewing stuff, I decided I needed a nice box in which to keep all my stuff. So, another search started. I looked at several different types, wooden, tin, leather, but felt they were either too small, too big or would just make a bigger jumble of the things I had. The lady in the shop however told me (under her breath) that I might want to look at toolboxes. They had compartments and all! Which I did. And got. Mind you, there is still not enough room for all my thread bobbins, but I might get another (smaller) one for that. 

Progress report on the kilt: It was extremely fiddly, but I finally got the thing completely pinned. Then I ironed it (on the backside) and last night I decided to make a start on sewing. I managed one and a half pleat before giving up: I didn't have enough light to see what I was doing!! But, it's looking fine so far!!

Saturday 20 June 2015

Miss Oswin "caught" a bird

I was allowed out again yesterday. It was finally dry again outside: no more rain! I don't like rain that much you know. Anyway. 

As I stood on my 'perch' to look out over my domain, my eye spotted something. I stood on tippy toes to see it properly and I thought I saw a bird. Well....

I just had to catch it didn't I? No way was that bird allowed to be flying away. So, I wiggled my bum a bit to get in the best position and I jumped. Of course Mara's flashy thing was there as well, but she caught me a bit too late: I had already landed!

I did catch the bird, just like I told you I would!! What do you say now?!

Note from the editor: when I found what she had caught, it turned out to be a dead magpie. Probably a young one. It was already decomposing and had bugs and slugs on it already. Mother or father Magpie were close by. I don't know how the young magpie died. Either it wasn't strong enough to fly yet or it was caught by Miss Oswin (or another cat) earlier in the week and left. 

Friday 19 June 2015


I wonder where he lives during the winter
This morning as I left work to go home, there were several people who needed some information about routes. They had all just come off the Kystbuss (long distance busroutes) and knew nothing about Haugesund. One of them was a young man with a large suitcase who needed to find his lodgings for the summer months. Student lodgings. Well, I recognised one of the streetnames and knew which bus it was. But it had just left. Besides: you can only pay in cash. I showed him the way to town so he could get some money to pay for the bus.

As I got in the car though, I saw this young man dragging this suitcase behind him and I called him to me: put the case in the car, I might as well drop you off there! He was very happy, because it meant getting much closer to where he needed to be, without too much effort. As we drove along, he told me he lived in Northern Norway, but was originally from Egypt and was going to study in Haugesund for the summer. He never told me what, because I told him I was from the Netherlands and he immediately told me he had family there!

I asked him where and as he explained where, I told him I knew exactly where that was, since my family doesn't live that far off and in fact, I had lived on the other side of the town he meant! As I dropped him off close to where he should be, he gave me a hand, thanked me profusely and was on his merry way. 

The world is getting smaller by the day isn't it?

Tuesday 16 June 2015

On the hunt

I promised Brom a kilt. A kilt! Which I am going to sew myself!! What have I done? And before you say that I only made a promise to a stuffed animal that won't know either way and isn't even alive: have you no heart??? And if you didn't think that: well done you! It still leaves me with the problem of making a kilt though.

I have the fabric, thanks to my sister who bought it for me when we were in the Netherlands. And I have needles, pins and threads. At least, that's what I thought, because they were nowhere to be found. Which was extra annoying, since I had lost buttons of my trousers as well. Fortunately only one of two, so I could still use the trousers. But it was annoying. So, I bought new needles, knowing I would find everything then!

I was wrong. I didn't. Oh yes, I did find one spool of thread and a needle, but no buttons, no little wooden case of needles, no pins. I wondered whether my mother had tidied them away, but I couldn't remember her doing so and she wouldn't have done without asking me first. Besides, why put something like that in a place where I wouldn't be finding it? 

After looking through all the drawers, bookcases and crates I admitted defeat. I would have to buy/collect the whole lot anew. Grrr. Until I realised I hadn't looked through my 'side tables'. Which are basically zinc lidded boxes stacked on top of each other. They contain all the letters I ever got, photos, recipes, assorted ??? and there it was: in the fourth and last one I checked: the little 'pepperkake' (ginger snaps) tin. Needles, thread, pins and buttons. All present and accounted for. 

Now for that kilt....

Monday 15 June 2015


Before I moved to Norway, I spoke really good German. I was fluent. And then I moved to Norway and all of a sudden, not a word. I still understood it, still read it, but when it came to speaking it: nope! For every two German words that would come out, four Norwegian ones would come out as well, making it nearly impossible for a German person to understand me. It was very frustrating. Not that I used German much, but still...

Recently I got two new bookcases and I finally got out all the books that still resided in boxes. One of them is 'Bas Boris Bode', a German children's book. My dad bought it for me when I was in my teens, after I had seen the television series. I don't know whether I ever read it then, but I hadn't gotten rid of it, so in the bookcase it went. Until I needed some reading material for work and I thought: well, I might as well read that!

So, over the past week I have been reading this book at work. When I have to wait for more than three minutes at a stop, I will take it out of my bag and start reading. There was only one problem: every time a passenger came in with a question, I would answer in a mixture of a lot of German and a little bit of Norwegian!

It's a good thing I have nearly finished the book. And my next book will be in English again. Or Norwegian, or perhaps even Dutch. Just no German books for a while (I have three more German books, I wonder what happened to the fourth).

Sunday 14 June 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-21

My garden has an unending supply of great flowers and plants. So, I didn't need to look far to find a great photo for this Sunday! Meet: the purple flower!!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Miss Oswin takes it easy

Mara's lap

I love to go outside. Every day. Unless it rains of course. I don't like that very much. Well, not at all really. But this week Mara only had one Mara-at-home-day and that meant I had to spend most of my time inside. So, I slept a lot. On top of the cupboard. On paper on the couch. On the floor. On the cat cushion in the hall. And on top of the scratch pole upstairs.

I did go out once or twice. On Mara-at-home-day I tried to catch a birdie. Mara didn't have the flashy thing, but I can tell you: I was within milimeters of the bird! [ahem, milimeters? It looked more like a meter to me!] I let the bird get away though. Plenty more chances later in the summer. 

was it a mouse? or a bug? or a tiny tiny tiny alien?
Yesterday I was allowed out for a few hours. This time Mara did have the flashy thing ready, but she never saw what I saw! But it was really interesting! Really it was!! Anyway, after that it was time to go inside again. I needed a sleep.

Just to say: a huge miaow and coocoo and big kiss to Mara's Papa. He is 70 today! Hurray...

Friday 12 June 2015

The team meet

No, I didn't need crowd control! 
There I was: facing a sea of faces, all looking at me with hostility and agression in their eyes. Well, that is putting it VERY over the top. There were only 10 faces and they were all kind colleagues who had come to listen to me, since I am their team leader. There could have been several more, but work and other things had come in the way. But these ten had shown up and were willing to listen. 

So, I talked about the new routes. I talked about damages, how to control them, how to report them. I talked a bit about our goals within the team and the company. We ate pizza. I got everything across I wanted to get across. There were questions when something wasn't quite understood. 

An hour and a half after starting, the meet was over. I think I did okay.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

And another one

Week that is. Another week. The exam of last week being done, it is now a case of waiting for the result, which should come in about 4-6 weeks. I made some mistakes, but I hope that I have shown that I do know what I am talking about and that I do get a good grade anyway. Apparently they run from 1-6 here, but I don't quite know which is higher, the 1 or the 6. 

This week is not going to be much easier though: 6 days of work and then on the only free day I have, I am having a team meet. Because I am a teamleader, I have to hold team meets at least twice a year. I should have done so in March, but what with recovering from the operation and such, I never got around to do it. There are a few issues that need to be addressed, so that will take some 'gathering-my-thoughts' time as well. 

On the weekend I was really sore in my shoulders and neck. I kept rubbing it and rubbing it. I did wonder a bit about it, but sitting behind the computer for a couple of hours and typing away, could do that to a person. Then again, I often sit for hours behind the computer and hardly ever have sore shoulders and/or neck. Turned out that on the one day so far this year that the weather was nice, I had gotten sunburnt! Go figure...

Only two more weeks until the summer holidays start here in Norway. Unfortunately it will be two months until I have my holiday! But I have started to countdown already!

Sunday 7 June 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-20

You might not know this, but I love my vases. Not the big ones, but the small ones. About 10-12cm (4-5 inches) high. When I was last in the Netherlands I scored a little vase. It looked a bit like Delft Blue, the most famous type of Dutch pottery, but it wasn't. 

Yesterday I decided I would go trawling through some second hand shops. Trying to find some more vases or perhaps a figurine or a nice small (glass) plate. 

I came away in the end with a little vase. Made in Delft as well. Only 20 kroners (about 2 British pounds, 2,5 euros, 3 dollars?). Once at home I tried to find out a bit more. Was it really Delft Blue? It was. And when was it made? Well, after a bit more detecting and deducing, I believe the cx at the right of the main stamp suggests 1978. It may not be antique, but I am pleased nonetheless. 

Friday 5 June 2015

The exam

The last time I sat an exam must have been in 1989. Last century! It was in high school and it probably was maths, but it could be any of the other five subjects I had exams for as well (Dutch, English, German, Chemistry and Biology). I was one of those people who studied the day before and then sort of sailed through the exams. Apart from biology which for some reason never really stuck. No matter how early I started learning. I had my lowest grade (still a pass though) for that subject when I graduated. 

But that was a long time ago: 1989. Twenty-six years have passed and in the mean time I have passed several more exams, but never in the same way. Never sitting at a desk together with tens of others also sitting at desks doing their exams. I wasn't allowed to use any textbooks and using laptops/computers for an exam was still very much in the future. 

This morning I had to be present at 8.30am and there were tens of others there as well. Not all taking the same exam though. I was taking the qualifications for professional driver (lorry and bus), others were there for logistics and warehousing; kindergarten; carpentry and several other things most likely. 

The outside temperature went up to 20 degrees today
The exam started at 9am on the dot and I opened my envelope containing the task at hand. I would have to write a paper about a tour that included 7,5 hours driving time one way one day and back the next day. It had to contain references to the digital tachograph; European driving and resting legislation; health, environment and safety and lastly: work environment legislations and regulations. 


I knew about the first three, first hand, through books or both. But that last one: legislations. It got me quite hot under the collar. But no need for panic just yet. I had gotten great marks on my maths exam by just filling out everything I knew and not bothering about the rest. That was without books and now I had the books at hand. First though: everything I did know and have. 

I started typing, copying and pasting and before I knew it, it was midday. I checked whether there was more I could write about the things I knew/had and finally I got to the dreaded legislations part. I opened the book and there it was: stuff I knew. So, I just continued typing the whole thing up and before I knew it, I had something that looked actually quite neat! I read it through one more time and then signalled one of the ladies: I was done! It was 12.45pm. Over an hour left. 

I won't know for at least another four weeks what my grade is, but I feel quietly positive. As long as they won't hold it against me that I don't know my Norwegian distances!! 

Thursday 4 June 2015

Miss Oswin and Brom on the boogie train

Miaow and Coocoo (and Hari Om)

Yes, yes, we know it is not Saturday (which should be renamed Caturday if you ask me [nobody is asking Miss Oswin, nobody]), nor is it a holiday, so why are we here? Well, to celebrate the big 'Recruit a Pal' dance held in Blogville. And we were both invited, since we were both new to Blogville! All thanks to Yamini, who lives in Scotland (I'll be going there in August you know [we know Brom, we know]) and who invited us. So exciting.

We got to pick an outfit. A bow with mice on for me, the most beautiful cat in the whole wide universe and a blue bow with white polka dots for the best travelled orange teddy in Torvastad [where we live]. I got a great date: Mr Oh, who lives all the way in South Catolina, which is in the United States of America! Mara says he is one of the most handsome cats, which goes very well with me of course. Not that I am bragging. Brom decided to go it alone: he didn't need a date. He loves to mingle and meet all kinds of strangers. I just bet he couldn't find one [now now Miss Oswin, be nice]!

At the party there were lots of two-leggers, but even more four-leggers! So many dogs and they all behaved very very well. There wasn't one that chased me. Which is a good thing for them, since I had sharpened my claws before the party. Hey, a girl must be prepared!

They played songs for us too. Brom got a special song called Teddy Bear by Elvis 'drool' Presley! He must be the coolest two-legger I know, apart from Mara of course. I had Kitty by Joan Baez sung to me. Mr Oh and I shared a little snog then, but don't tell anybody! 

At the end of the day we were all very tired. Brom was so tired, he slept all the way home! I tried to stay up, but I couldn't either. It was great fun and we want to send a huge thanks to Sarge (one of the four-leggers) and of course Yamini (our new best two-legger friend) for inviting us. There are a few more to thank, but Yawn....

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Just a quickie!

I won't be doing much blogging the rest of the week. I have an exam to prepare for (it's on Friday) and I have always been of the sort: do it at the last possible moment and you will be fine. It's worked before, so why change a winning formula?

It's an exam I have to take if I want to be a qualified professional in my field of work. And since I haven't been to class since February... But I am sure I will be fine. 

Really, I will be fine. 

I think...


Tuesday 2 June 2015

Doing the domestic

Those of you who know me personally will know that me and domestic are two things that don't really go well together. I may be pretty obsessed about my books being in alphabetical order and my wardrobes are tidy as well, but when it comes to tidying and such...

However, a few weeks ago I needed to get out the ironing board so I could iron my lace-trimmed bonnet, apron and shawl. With starch as well! It took a few hours and when I was finished I couldn't be bothered to put away the ironing board. So, today I thought, well, it's out anyway, I might as well do some ironing. 

My work shirts and some handkerchiefs, pillow cases and a large sheet. Because there is nothing nicer than sliding into a fresh bed with ironed sheets. Apart from the ironing, I have also been doing the dishes regularly lately. 

I wonder how long this domesticity will last?