Sunday 26 July 2015

Miss Oswin's Photo on Sunday 2015-26


Pfrt! She hogged the computer all week: typing away and writing away and doing who knows what! She wouldn't even let me write my own post on Saturday. So, I tried a little sabotage! She took a photo of it!! The nerve!!!!

Thursday 23 July 2015

An old hobby

A few years ago I started putting together a family tree. A lot of work, a lot of paper and at times a fair bit of guessing was involved. Times have moved on in those few years since I last was really involved. There are now websites where you can make your tree and then get connections with lots of other trees from people doing the same thing! 

Occasionally that results in a big question mark for me! Why, in a family that hails from one province in the Netherlands, does one person die in Emden in Germany? And then my eye fell to one single word: balling, which means excile! He was exciled from the Netherlands? Why?? It took a fair bit of digging and going through records, but I think I found some sort of answer. In short: he didn't agree with the Spanish who ruled the country and felt he only had one way out: Germany.

When researching him, I found out he had been to University in Belgium and cross checking some other names in my tree, I found several others who had also been to university. One in Germany and one in France (where he was arrested for murder, still to look into it). 

I found somebody who died at the siege of Franeker in 1500, a letter from a mother to her son who serves in the army in 1853, both are ancestors of mine! That same mother had another son who moved to America in 1893 with four of his sons (I call them the Faber Five). 

Now, all those people hail from my paternal side. On my maternal side I have the fantastic letter from my grandmother that she wrote to me in 1983 (a school project about the war). An ancestor with red hair who served in the army for five years around 1840. You're wondering how I know he had red hair: well, his draft notice told me so. Red hair and freckles! I know some of my ancestors were turn skippers (they were allowed to move freight in turn on the River Lek), there was an artist somewhere and several mayors, council members and the like. And I think I saw a few murders come past as well!

I actually went back all the way to Roman times a few years ago. Not terribly reliable, but good fun nonetheless. Charles the Great (the great unifier of Europe) was found as well, which I felt was terribly exciting, until I realised he is in most people's ancestry! Ah well, can't win 'em all! 

I am going to turn all those stories into two books: one from my mother backwards and one from my father backwards. A great deal of work, paper and frustration. However, in recent years it has become easier to find records. Census records for the USA have placed several of my distant family firmly within my grasp, Ellis Island records do the same (although I still have to find the main man, Job is proving to be an elusive person). And the further you go back, the more difficult it will be of course. Unless you strike it lucky and hit another gold vein that is! 

So, if I am not that present in times to come: my new/old hobby is keeping me busy!!

Monday 20 July 2015

Beginner's luck

I had been asked several times by a friend of mine, whether I would like to come out on the boat he had recently bought. Not too convinced I said I would come (I am not much for boats, green faces and such). Unfortunately the first two times had to be cancelled due to engine problems, but yesterday the engine was working fine and the weather looked good, so we decided to go out on the boat. 

I had expected a biggish boat, but when I saw it, it wasn't! It was about the same size as the rowboats we use during our rowing race in May, but made out of fiber glass instead of wood. At least I think it was fiber glass, it could have been plastic. Either way, it was a nice little boat. 

After the boat was let in the water, we got in the boat and started our trip. I didn't have a clue where we were going and I certainly didn't recognise much either. But the trip was good. All those little islands, gulls, coots, cormorants. It was lovely. 

An hour into our trip we stopped the boat and my fishing rod was readied. Because yes, we were going fishing! Well, as soon as my line hit the water, I had caught a fish! It was a nice cod (kabeljauw). And then nothing! So, we moved and soon enough: another fish, this time a mackerel. Another mackerel followed and then a pollock (koolvis). 

I think this was the fourth fish I caught!
The last one I caught was another cod. I was happy to catch the fish, but I would not behead them and certainly not take out the guts. I left that to my friend. He had not caught a single fish until then, but soon after, he managed to get a mackerel.

The total haul
The weather deteriorated quite a bit then. It started raining and the wind was picking up, so we decided to head back home. I was quite wet and cold when we got back, but also very proud of my 'catch'. We both took three fish home, so I ended up with a cod, a mackerel and a pollock. The cod and the pollock I can use for fish and chips or for fish soup and such, the mackerel will be best fried. Mmmm

Sunday 19 July 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-25

My two nieces gazing into the depths of the small Lake Eivind in Haugesund. One of only two photos I took yesterday!!

Saturday 18 July 2015

Miss Oswin and the visitors


Oh my, oh my! Let me tell you one thing: I do like visitors. Mara has them come sometime and they are all very nice. They think I am beautiful (which I am) and some of them will pet me. But the day before yesterday Mara had some visitors that might have been okay, but they scared me!!

They were noisy and there were a lot of them as well! Mara says there were only five, but I don't believe it. I think there must have been at least twenty! They all talked a lot and they went through the house to look at everything. It was awful!

Fortunately they left after a short while, but then yesterday Mara brought the three small two-leggers back here! Ooh, the noise and the jumping up and down. Mara says that is what children do, but I do not like it at all. But then I got to go outside, where it's peaceful and quiet. I came back soon, even though I thought I could hear the two-leggers. I even tried to make friends with them, but then they would move and scare me again, so in the end I gave up. I stayed close though, to watch out for Mara!

In the evening everything was back to normal again and I got some alone-time again with Mara. Ooh, nice...

Friday 17 July 2015

Going up in the world

My youngest niece on the training course
She was brilliant all day, as was the rest
My brother and his family are in town for a few days and we needed to find something for the whole family to do. Something that was suitable for three children and three adults. I had heard of this climbing park about an hour from here that sounded perfect. 

Yeah, it's me! Just before it went wrong!!
So, this morning we made our way to the park. First we got harnasses and helmets fittet and then we got a short training. Low to the ground it was quite easy to do. And quite brilliant as well. Walking over a thin metal wire was great to do. The zip line was a bit of a vote of confidence: just jumping off the platform into nothing and with nothing else to hold you in the air but two metal wires attached to another metal wire. But I did it anyway. 

My eldest niece up in the trees
Fortunately it was only a meter and a half above ground, because the zipping was great, the getting back onto a platform... was not! No strength in my upper arms and no strength in my legs equal no chance of getting on the platform without help. I managed it in the end (with help), but it gave a lot of people some good giggles. 

My nephew trying to keep his balance
That was only the training part! A meter and a half above the ground. I figured that doing the whole course several meters above ground would be a horror. So, I decided I would not do the course until I had seen how the zip line arrival platforms looked. Because without serious help, I would not have been good at all. And since my brother and sister-in-law had to look after the children as well, they couldn't help me. I stayed on the ground and took photos instead. 

My sister-in-law on the net walk
I did have a good time though and I certainly got the excercise in! Walking up and down those hills to keep track of my family and taking lots of photos kept me busy. During the afternoon we (read they) did a more difficult course and this time I was wearing two cameras! I felt like a Japanese tourist!! 

My brother zipping away
I am supposed to go back there in two weeks with Pepperfly. I hope she has done plenty of weightlifting lately... Because I want to go up and try it myself!

Sunday 12 July 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-24

One of the many snails and slugs living in my garden. When it's wet outside, I really have to pay attention to where I walk, so I won't be squishing them all the way! I even had to comb the baby ones out of Miss Oswin's fur! 

Friday 10 July 2015

I can do it myself!

Italy 1991
That's the problem with being an independent girl. You think you can do everything yourself. Until you find you can't. Be it dealing with the hanging of lamps, getting rid of pain or dealing with major upheavals, sometimes you just need help!

With Camille (lap) and Jean
When I was growing up and told my parents what I wanted to be or more precisely where I wanted to be it (au-pair in England), it wasn't looked upon as a good thing for me as I was a bit too young and still too dependent. So, I didn't become an au-pair in England (got to be one in Brussels, Belgium a few years later though). 

It might not have won any beauty contests,
but my sister and I made this ourselves!
My second home lacked some lighting and shelving I liked, so I asked my dad to come and help me out. Very happy with the lighting and the shelves were only a tiny bit off. But not enough to let the books slip off, so it was okay.

Moving to another country means that as independent as you are, you will need some help at some point. From packing to getting rid of stuff, from help finding a new place to dealing with all the red tape.

I definitely needed help coming down this
rock slide!
Dealing with a major upheaval (like the move, the accident, the operation) can mean a major upheaval in your head as well and instead of doing it alone, being independent, I decided I needed some professional help to deal with it all. 

I can do it myself. But having help from friends and family and on occasion strangers is the best thing to independence. As long as you can choose when to get help and don't have it thrusted on you and it smothering you. 

This post is prompted by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Brom writes poetry


No, I am not taking over for Oswin, only this once since I love travelling and we went and saw a horse. And because it was the Blogville Rodeo, Mara thought it should be nice if I were to write a poem about it! Here it is:

Oh, to be a cowboy
Riding a horse with the wind in my fur
My saddlebags full of goodies to eat
What a thing for a bear!

And then I tried it
Sat on a hor(se)
Oh my grizzly, it was high
Such a long way to the floor

So I have decided
A cowboy I won't be
I'll just be a bear
And that will be plenty for me!!

Thank you to Torvastad Ridesenter for the 'loan' of Lukas. A very nice and docile Fjord horse. Note also that Brom is all by himself on Lukas. Nobody was holding him!

Wednesday 8 July 2015

My home

The most uncomfortable sofa bed ever!
When I first moved to Norway two and a half years ago, I lived in a small apartment. A basement apartment facing North. My bedroom could be used as fridge number 2, the place was a bit too small and there would be no room for my cats (Wuppie and Linette, who were both due to come in the spring). So, I had to find another place to live.

My demands? At least two bedrooms so I could have guests over, a garden where the monsters could roam, not too close to a road and it had to have the sun at some time during the day, even in midwinter.

*I got the two bedrooms. One large one for me and one tiny one for a visitor. If my parents come I am willing to give up my bed(room), all others: tough!

*I got the garden. A huge garden that has so many more different flowers this year than it had last year. Mainly to do with the fact that I do nothing at all with the garden. Well, apart from the grassy area which will take me at least 2 hours to mow (half hour of mowing, hour of loading the battery again, half hour of mowing). If the grass is very high, it can even take up to three hours!

*The space between my home and the road is about one small car's width. Which is very close. Then again, there is no traffic to speak of. The occasional tractor, two buses a day, some cars. I don't really need to be worried of being run over!

*I have the sun all day long. Because my home is detached and the nearest houses are at least 60 meters away, I am not bothered with being in the shadow at all. During the height of summer, the sun starts in the kitchen, moves to the hallway, then to the living room and lastly to the other windows in the living room.

*Plus: I have a view. I overlook several islands (small ones), the airport and the North Sea. On occasion I can see cruise ships or Viking ships in the distance.

*Plus: there is the nature. I am surrounded on all sides by nature. The area I live in has been designated farm/leisure/nature land and can not be built on, unless really really really really necessary!

*Plus: since I have no direct/close neighbours, I can turn up the volume! Which I only do if I am in the shower, or when it's Eurovision!

*Plus: when I haven't got any music on, the only thing I can hear is the wind, the birds (curlews, plovers, sea gulls, sparrows and more) and the occasional lowing of a cow or bleating of a sheep.

So, do I love where I live? Well, let me put it like this: I couldn't imagine living in a more built up area ever again!!

Monday 6 July 2015


Right, third time is a charm as they say. This is however the fourth try to write this post. I am never completely satisfied with it. 

There is plenty I want to say, but I can't seem to find the right words to do so. 

So, photos it is! Sorry!

Saturday 4 July 2015

Miss Oswin was right

I was a bit upset to hear that many of you didn't believe my hunting skills! Well, I don't normally like the flashy thing (and the new one isn't that much better), but this time, I thought it was very much needed! 

Last week I caught a big one. A really big one!! I was going to show Mara so she could take some photos of it with her new flashy thing. And she did. 

See, I can catch things. For real!!

Friday 3 July 2015

Counting my blessings

Reflecting on life at Ryvarden Lighthouse
Photo taken by my friend UL
Having all of a sudden been bombarded with bad thoughts (and with bad thoughts, I mean really really bad thoughts) last week, this week has fortunately been much better. 

On Monday I got to see a lovely lady who was able to put a few things in perspective for me. Very helpful. We talked for about an hour and even though I had a little cry, I came out of that meeting feeling much better than I had. When at work afterwards, I told them I would give up the team leader job and it was like a stone lifted as well. They told me that they were sorry, since they felt I did a good job. Which lifted me even more, but not enough to want the job back.

Never too old for the swing!
On Tuesday I had to see my gp. Well, the replacement to the replacement really. But, he listened to me, give me a sick note for two weeks and a referral to a psychologist. That will take a while, but I am feeling much better now, so perhaps some time to put things in perspective might help me a bit. 

Not only did I see the gp, it was of course my birthday and I got a great gift: the camera. At the moment it is called This One, as opposed to the other one that is called The Other One. Very imaginative I know! Suggestions are welcome! And then in the evening I had some colleagues come over for apple pie and got more gifts.

Yes, I walked through a marshy area and got out again the other side!
Any problem with that?
On Wednesday I took it easy. Went for a little walk, took some photos and wrote in my diary that I started last week. I decided that I would write the whole story down once and for all and I must admit, even though there were some not so good memories, most of the memories were fairly painless. And some were even fairly funny, despite the circumstances. In the evening another colleague/friend came by with Thai food. 

Yesterday I got picked up in the morning by my friend/colleague and was taken to her childhood haunt. A beautiful spot and we spent a couple of hours there. On my return home I found I had a birthday card (thank you Pepperfly). And even though the day finished with a thunderstorm, it wasn't a heavy one and it didn't take long.

So, my blessings this week have been plentiful. And the week isn't even over yet! 

This post is prompted by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie.

Thursday 2 July 2015


My colleague and friend had told me she would come and pick me up at 10am so we could go on another walk today. Not to where she lives now, but to where she used to live when growing up. We were going to see the lighthouse at Ryvarden!

It was sunny and there was a fair bit of wind, but armed with sunglasses, cameras and back packs with packed lunches and water we made our way to the light house. It was only a 2 km (1,3 miles) walk one way, but it did go up and down and there was plenty to see along the way. 

We saw a toad and a (dead) snake, we saw how nature had started to recover from a severe fire only three years ago, we saw rocks, rocks and more rocks and finally we made it to the light house. I had expected a lighthouse that would be high and tall and this was a building only two stories high perhaps. 

Of course the lighthouses in the Netherlands stand at sea level so need to be much higher than a tower that stands on a rock that is at least 50 meters over sea level!!

Until 1984 the lighthouse had a lighthouse keeper who lived in one of the two houses that stood a little way back. But then it was automated and there was no more need for the lighthouse keeper. However, the path he had used to get to his boat was still more or less there and we followed it down (it was low tide) to get a good view.

After that we made our way back up to have our lunch, but we were nearly blown away, so when the food was gone, we made our way back. Slowly of course, because there were still plenty of things to see! Like the pile of rocks that was used in former times as well, probably pre-lighthouse. Those piles of rocks would be found all over the coast line and fires would be lit on top as far as I could make out. 

A monument to the 16 people who died in a
ferry accident just off the coast.
Walking back was a bit more challenging: the wind was blowing really fierce now and even though the sun was hiding mostly, it was still hard going for me. And then we dropped down between the trees and the wind was gone and we both stopped in our tracks: it was so hot all of a sudden!

Close to the dead snake we saw a live one, but it got spooked and by the time my lenscap was of the camera, the snake had made its way into the undergrowth! 

I need a wider camera strap to avoid sun burn!
On our way back we stopped for ice cream. A good finish to a good day!