Wednesday 30 November 2016


It's the last day of November today and I must admit, the month has ended on a bit of a low note. Because I had to go home early today. I tried to work, but in the end I admitted defeat. 

For me the only thing that seems to help when having the dreaded H is eating. Apples, bananas, sweets, sandwiches. I will eat. Continually. Which in turn fills up my stomach with too much food. And I start feeling sick. You know what I'm getting at.

Anyway, I went home after having done most of my shift and got a few hours sleep. Miss Oswin joined in, but alas, no respite as yet. 

Tomorrow is a new month and let's just hope it will be headache free one at that. 

Tuesday 29 November 2016

The tree

I don't like to put up my Christmas decorations early. I start on or after December 5th and that is the end of it. In fact, even though my Christmas cards are written and stamped, I will not post them until that day!

So, what do you ask is that Christmas tree doing in this post? Well, I decorated it. Yep, you read right. I decorated it. Although I hasten to add: it's not my own. It's the one at work.

Last year someone had hung some baubles in the tree willy-nilly. Not nearly enough and either with huge gaps in between or so close together, you couldn't get a piece of paper in between. So, I redid the whole thing. 

And then this year, I was told to do it again. Not redo, just do. Which I did. For some reason Norwegians have this vertical decoration. Ie, vertical hanging tinsel. I don't like it and since I decorated: horizontal. Much better. But, if you look closely, there is one strand of beads hanging down. I do, after all, live in Norway!

Monday 28 November 2016

The Move

There goes my stuff
Four years ago to the day I started my first day in Norway after having arrived on the 27th. I was nervous, I was tired, the adrenaline was throwing its weight around (it stopped after about three weeks if I remember correctly), I didn't understand a soul and I only knew one person and not even in real life!

I am not nervous about living here anymore. I know what to do and where to go. I sleep well at night. The adrenaline has calmed down. I understand most people and I made friends. And I got a cat, which is probably the most important. She came into my life as the last of my Dutch cats made her way to beyond, so perfect timing!

Four years ago I was on the threshold of a new life. Yes, I (still) have my doubts of whether or not I made the right decision and probably will have for many more years to come, like all other emigrants. But, in general? 

Yes. I made the right decision!! Here's to the next year.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Brom's Photo on Sunday 2016-42


I will be showing you the last photos of my stay in Northern Ireland. Today is the very last day of the festival and it has been a great working holiday for me!

The lions were a bit scary and I really had to think they were just pussycats like Miss Oswin!

'Rock the Flock' is the church's praise band. And my three sheep were allowed to see it too! They loved it.

I think this was the story of Jonas. It was a very big fish! 

So, that was it for my participation in the Teddy Bear Bible Festival here in Northern Ireland. Thank you Gera and all the church people for letting me join! I loved it. 

Saturday 26 November 2016


Right. Another day, another post. But today I don't really know what to write about. Instead I will continue knitting gifts and sewing them under the tree(!). I had thought of making a pumpkin pie, but I think that will have to wait for the more inspiration-filled tomorrow. 

So, that's it for me for today. Sorry...

Friday 25 November 2016


For some reason, the world seems to think that everything that comes from across the pond is great. Well, actually great!! With the exclamation marks. 

Even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Norway, in fact I don't know of any country in Europe that does, either in October or November, they have decided to join in the 'Black Friday' craze. 

As I was driving my bus this morning, I noticed that the parking lot at one local mall was choc-a-bloc. At 8am! The shops don't open until 10am, so I wondered what was going on. And then it dawned on me: Black Friday. Or more to the point, the beginning of Black Friday, because some shops make it last for about a week!

I hit the shops after my shift today as well. Got some canned pumpkin, some rye flour (they are not going into the same dish), some marshmellows. I prefer baking to going shopping in the madness and I certainly don't want to be fooled into believing I get something at an amazing price, since a fair few shops actually up the prices in the weeks leading up to this Friday. 

Crazy I tell you!

Thursday 24 November 2016


I drive a bus for a living as you know. I pick up passengers en route and drop them off en route. Children, teenagers, young adults, adults, old adults. All wanting to go somewhere. 

I try to say good morning or hello to each passenger. Most will answer, some will grunt. A few won't even acknowledge me. They sit down or if the bus is full, stay standing. They get jostled through the streets of Haugesund and beyond. 

They press the stop button when they need to get off. Most of the time they will just get off. But sometimes? A wave, a nod. A 'takk for turen' (thank you for the trip). I may not always smile at it, but to know I am appreciated feels good, especially if it's unexpected. 

I can't say 'takk for turen' to you. But I will say takk to you anyway. Because I am thankful for all my faithful readers who come back again and again to read about what I, Miss Oswin and Brom get up to. 


Wednesday 23 November 2016

You've got mail

From the first place. 
When I first moved to Norway I got into a bit of a himhum with the mailman. My name wasn't on the mailbox, so why should he deliver my mail there. If I could be so kind and put my name on the mailbox as well. Basically, do it or else! So, I found my old name plate, the one I had gotten at my very first home, and hung it with a piece of string over the mailbox. Problem sorted!

Then I moved to the little red cottage in the Norwegian countryside. I planned to use my name plate again, but somehow I never got round to it. Using a piece of duct tape with my name written on it instead. 

Now I live in town again. And again I have a mailbox, this time sharing with my landlord and his brother. The mailman here must be a lenient one, because my name isn't on the mailbox, yet I still receive my mail and no himhumming from him/her saying I should have my name on it or else...

Today as I got home, there was a new mailbox in the hallway, ready to be installed. And guess what? My name is on it! Proper and all!! 

I need mail now...

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Brom at the Teddy Bear Festival


As you know I am in Northern Ireland and today, the Teddy Bear Festival has started. We have been rushed off our paws this last week to get everything ready. In the end I am part of the craft class's display and I am writing letters! Most of the displays have a text from the bible to accompany them and I will put them here as well, so you can look it up and see how clever they are here in Portadown! There were several for 'my' display, but the one I liked best was from Exodus 35:30-35

Apart from 'my' display, there are lots more! And Gera showed me some of them and even took photos of me in them! This photo was very special. The text from the bible is from Mark 10:13-16 and the people who made this display are from a charity called Sands: Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity. 

The next one was a very big bear, although they might have cheated a bit. The text comes from Matthew 13:1-21, the Parable of the Sower. 

There was also a shepherd and he was herding some big sheep! But the story wasn't about the shepherd, it was about the bear sleeping. Can you guess who it is? I will give you a clue: Genesis 28:10-22.

I don't know from which text this comes, but I think 'open your door to strangers and you will find a lifelong friend' must be in the bible somewhere. And if it isn't, it should be!

Gera will have to tell you who this little girl is, but she was nice and she has a beautiful smile. And I loooove her hat!

So, if you're in the Portadown, Northern Ireland area, make sure to come over to St Mark's Church and say hello to all of us! We would love to see you...

Monday 21 November 2016

Dear body,

You have been pestering me with problems for several years now. In fact, I cannot remember a time when I didn't have headaches. Or needed a bowl underneath my bed in case of vomiting in the night. Recently they have been getting worse as well. All thanks to a shoulder/neck problem I thought I had gotten rid of years ago!

You gave me problems in my legs and abdomen, but I beat you there: I got myself looked at properly and before I knew it, I was operated on and gone were the problems (plus a few items that apparently turn me into a woman). But it did take time and a lot of frustration. 

I know I am not always the best in keeping you fit and healthy. I freely admit to that. What can I say, I like chocolate. And chips, cake and a lot of other stuff. But be honest here body, I do also love fruit and vegetables and will often go back for second helpings of those! 

I know I should start to work out again soon and I promise you body, I will. I will!! But when I cycle and you in turn think it funny to give me yet another headache, what is the plus side for me again? 

But what you did to me yesterday is nothing short of rotten! I can't put it any other way. And after I was so good as well! On Saturday I only had two small pieces of rib, a bit of sausage, a 'Medisterkake', 2 boiled potatoes and lots of red cabbage. And dessert of course. To drink I had one bottle of lemonade. And what did you do in return?

You gave me a hangover, that's what! Dry mouth, not enough sleep, feeling lousy, headache! Really? Is that it now? I do my best and you just do whatever you want? I cannot say I am very impressed with you right now and I do hope you will mend your ways and soon at that!

Yours truly,

me 💋

Sunday 20 November 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-41

I found this photo of some pancakes I baked in January. Hm, might be another bake-day for me today!

Saturday 19 November 2016

Could we have your details please

Over London during last year's trip to my sister
I usually book my flights through the main website of the company I fly with, but for my trip to London, those flights would be a bit too expensive and cumbersome. So, I went instead with a local company who offers direct flights to London in November and December. Great, so far so good.

Usually after booking, I pay. Immediately. Using a credit card. This time around I got an email confirming my reservation and 'that I would get a bill soon'. Okay. Fine. Until last night.

Last night I got a phone call from the company who organises these flights. If I could just give them my card details and then it would be all paid. And I was like: what? According to the girl on the other side, they always did that. Well, not with me they don't!

All the horror stories you keep hearing about strange emails and phone calls and do not reply and do not comply and such and they phone me for my details? I think they were the real deal, but I was having none of it. I will pay online thank you very much and I will not do anything like that over the phone without any verification of their being who they claim to be.

Friday 18 November 2016

A treat

You might think that having a week off for Christmas and New Year's is a treat and you would not be wrong. However, I wanted another little treat. And after careful consideration and calculation I asked for a few more days off. Well, I asked for one day off and one day swap, but that meant that I would have Friday and Monday off, plus the Saturday and Sunday in between.

The next thing to do was find out what I was going to do with those four days. Was I going on a quick tour to Vienna to see 'the Kiss'? Or perhaps Berlin for a Christmas market? But, after checking and calculating I realised that both those destinations might be a bit above my financial willingness. Another choice had to be made. 

Well, it was made. I booked a flight. I booked my hotel. And in only two weeks I will be enjoying the lights and sounds of London!

A real treat!

Thursday 17 November 2016


Somewhere in Germany
As you may have noticed, it is nearing the end of the year. And that means that at work they don't want any loose threads to start the new year. They want everything tidied. And that includes holiday days. 

If we had any days left from this year there was a choice to be made: either have them this year or transfer to next year's. Out of the 25 I got at the beginning of the year, I had four left and I was set up to 'enjoy' them at the end of November. Which was so not going to work. But, if I was early, I might be able to get them at another time. 

A little calculating on my side and I realised that I wanted them later on this year. Preferably between Christmas and New Year. A bit more calculating and a plea to the planner and I had four days off: Wednesday December 28th through to Saturday December 31st. Brilliant. That still left Christmas though.

I knew I wasn't going to work on Christmas Day, since it's on a Sunday and I don't work Sundays, but there was still a chance I would have to work on Boxing Day. I didn't want to take that chance so a bit more calculating and I figured that with a bit of overtime here and there, I might save up enough hours for another day off. The planner was okay with it and Boxing Day became the next day I had off. 

Because I should have worked Saturday December 31st, I would have Tuesday December 27th off. Which still stands. So, in the end: I have a week off, starting on Christmas Eve and finishing on New Year's Day. 

No to sunbathing I think, but yes to relaxing!
I can't wait!!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Brom is helping out


So far this has been a great adventure! On Sunday Gera and I went to church. It was the remembrance service and after the service I met the teddy bear lady. She had so much to do and I did give her a paw, but unfortunately we were both so busy, we forgot to take photos!

The inside of St Mark's Church in Portadown
Yesterday I went back to Gera's and helped out at her craft class. They put up some of the displays to see whether everything was okay for the festival. Everyone was so busy. 

I saw a bear knitting and one was sewing with a proper sewing machine! Plus they were doing a lot of other things. I think they are all very clever and Gera says that is part of God's creation: clever teddies!

The official poster for the festival
Anyway, I have to run now because until the Festival starts, we are all very busy...

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Coffee, the Irish way

My first trip in 2005
Looking at some of the photos of my past travels and trips, I came across some photos made while on one of my many tours to Ireland. A colleague of mine had done the trip before me and had given me all his notes and stuff and told me about this, that and the other. And then it was my turn.

We spent one day 'doing' the Ring of Kerry. Exactly what it says on the tin: you drive a loop around the county of Kerry! And a very beautiful loop at that. Only to be done one way though, since some stretches were really narrow. When I say some, read quite a few! It was a beautiful part of Ireland and it was a joy to be driving there. 

One of our stops was at a small pub/restaurant right by the side of the road. Most of the coaches stopped there in fact, so it might have been small, but it was also always busy! There were two reasons for stopping there: the ordinary reason of food/drink/toilet and the other reason of the tiny little museum right beside. 

The little museum showed life in a small Irish community, with cottages, tools and peat. A lot of peat. We could go inside the small cottages and look and wonder about how they were able to live in such basic conditions, but that's humans for you: surviving on the minimum. 

The museum wasn't the main attraction of my passengers though. The coffee was. The Irish coffee. As soon as people got through the door, the serving staff started. The glasses were waiting already, containing whiskey and brown sugar and then hot coffee was poured in. After which they would hold a spoon upside down and pour cream on top. Five euros later and people were enjoying their coffee. Irish style. 

I never got to taste it though. Something with alcohol and driving and such. Until one day the European laws changed and I had to have a day off during a trip. Which meant that I wasn't driving, but still very much working as a tour guide of course. It also meant that I wasn't driving and could partake in a coffee myself. Made with decaffeinated coffee of course. 

Let me tell you: if you are ever being driven around the Ring of Kerry and see a sign for the Red Fox, make the driver stop and buy yourself a coffee! It's worth it! 

Monday 14 November 2016

The job

For nearly 14 years I used to be a coach driver. Driving here, there and everywhere with different groups. Sometimes with a guide, most of the time I did the guiding. And then I decided I wanted change. A new challenge. A new place. And I moved to Norway and now I work as a bus driver.

Find the birdy...
The job I have is okay. Full time, good pay, nice hours. The scenery here is fantastic. The people are nice. And then I look at some old photos and it all comes flooding back. The bird watching tour through the Netherlands with a load of Scots. The tour to the Provence with a school. The trips to London, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Scotland. 

The low clouds lifting from the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
The things I saw, the people I met, the experiences. So many memories of good times. But also of some not so good times. Getting lost, accidents, sick people, being on your own in a hotel. 

An open air museum in Denmark. It was brilliant!!
I wonder sometimes whether I should try and become a coach driver here in Norway. But, my touring colleagues don't do much touring, let alone abroad, the pay is slightly worse and the touring they do do, is quite often at night or on the weekends.

So, the photos and the memories will have to do. 

Sunday 13 November 2016

Photo on Sunday 2016-40

I don't think I have ever posted something like this before, but when Debby sent this to me on Facebook, I absolutely loved it and wanted to share it with you.

Now, where can I find the pattern for that little gnome...

Saturday 12 November 2016

Brom flies solo


You will never guess where I am! I am in Northern Ireland with Gera! It is so exciting. I will tell you all about it.

When we were all on our holiday in September, Gera told Mara again of the teddy bear festival her church was organising. She had talked about it before, but the dates got changed a few times I think. But now they were really going to have the festival. 

Then, a few weeks after we got back to Norway, Gera posted a little poster of it on Facebook. Mara asked for fun whether they needed another bear and Gera said they could always use more! Well, that got Mara thinking. She knew I had to look my best, so I had my snout operation and then...

Do you see the purple owl?
Mara made that last year during our holiday together in Northern Ireland
She found my nicest clothes and a few sheep and she helped me write a little letter for the teddy bear church people. And then, she PACKED ME IN A BOX!!! Because Mara didn't have the time to take me there, I was going all by myself. I think I was in a car and on a plane, but I am not sure. But yesterday, a week after Mara sent me away, I had arrived in Northern Ireland. 

I thought I was going to be okay in the box, but I must admit it was a bit tight for a whole seven days. And I don't know what Gera does, but she looks at a computer screen all day and types and types and types! There's not even a cat there!!!

Anyway, after she finished working, we went to Starbucks and (don't tell Mara) I had a little sip of Gera's coffee. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will meet the teddy bear church people and I hope they let me be in the festival. 

Friday 11 November 2016

It was close!

Spending most of my working life on the road, you see some odd things now and then. Like the donkey chasing its own tail a few months ago. It had me smiling for hours. Like the numerous amount of car drivers who think that using their indicator is an option, tail lights are for sissies and phones are to be used at all times. 

Today as I was driving, I had just crossed a crossing when out of the corner of my left eye I saw a movement. I hit the brakes with everything I had and I think there were a few people on the bus who sat a bit further forward than a couple of seconds earlier. Nobody on the bus was hurt though. 

Nor was the little red/brown dog that had gotten spooked by my bus and did a u-turn right before it hit me (or I him). The driver waiting at the other side of the crossing put up his thumbs and I knew the little dog was okay. Not enough sense to not cross the road, but enough sense to stop and turn in time. My heart was in my throat for a while though...