Tuesday 31 January 2017

Meet Maya

When I filled up the coffee machine at work this morning, I happened to turn around and there was this tiny black puppy dog chewing a shoe. Turns out, it was the dog of one of our office staff who has started taking Maya into work because she is so young still. When she's a bit older, she will be left home alone.

Personally I think she should be allowed to come to work every day. After all, every office needs an office dog! And who could not love this adorable face!

Sunday 29 January 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-4

She wasn't really cooperative, but she actually quite likes hanging over my shoulder and being petted. It reminds me of Wuppie, who was also a great fan of that very same position.

Saturday 28 January 2017

It's Saturday

During the drizzle-hike
We're only one month in and we're slacking in our blogging! Granted, not much is happening, apart from work, watching television and finding out about ancestors and in Miss Oswin's case: going outside quite often, being let in by either me or one of the people from the flat upstairs and eating and sleeping. 

As for the finding out about ancestors, I have come closer to the riddle of the cousin who went to Asia and died there. I have looked into which camps he was in, I contacted a family member of his (who knew less than I did, but was willing to send me a photograph, to be received soon) and now the only thing left to do is find his original records. Which are in The Hague, the Netherlands! Where I am not. 

THIS is the right aunt whose husband died in a lightning strike.
The photo I showed you a couple of days ago was her sister-in-law.
On my mother's side, I have found several ancestors and people related to those ancestors that make good stories. I doubt they ever thought about it like that, but there you go. Since my grandmother hails from royal stock (over a millennium ago), hers is thus far the most interesting, because of earlier descendants of said royal stock, but that does not mean my grandfather has boring relatives at all. I just have to find them, that's all!

In other news: I have a date tonight. With a married man (shock, horror, gasp). Mind you, his wife trusts me according to him (and rightly so). Actually I have been on a date with him two years ago to the same event and we were supposed to go last year as well, but I was sick and had to cancel last minute. So, no worries anyone that I am going to steal somebody else's husband, I am not! Oh, and the new black shoes will NOT be worn tonight, even though they're open-toed.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

New shoes

I don't often buy new shoes. I am not that destructive when it comes to them and I find it quite a challenge finding a pair I like. But last Monday I found a pair. 

I had been told I needed a pair of these, but the regular shop didn't have them. In the end I ended up in a specialist shop. I tried on a pair in my size, but I couldn't even get in them. So a larger pair was found and off I trotted with my new pair of black shoes.  

They should be a great help during my swimming lessons.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

So, why did I? Part 2

I did tell you yesterday that despite having the perfect job, I moved. Yet, I didn't tell you why, now did I? 

Why would a 40-something woman with a good and steady job, friends and family, a home and of course a bunch of felines decide to move away? And over the years I have given so many different answers to that question. All of them sort of hinting at the why, but never really landing on it. Basically because I had never landed on it. Yet. 

Something different. Challenging. I never saw myself living my whole life in the Netherlands. I didn't want to be sorry I never tried. Those were some of the answers I gave. They never told the whole story and quite often it was more a case of defending myself and my decision than anything else. 

Well, to all of those who have asked over the years: here is the answer I have come to in the end (it's only taken more than 10 years from first plan to having lived in Norway for over four years).

I wanted an adventure!

Monday 23 January 2017

So, why did I? Part 1

When moving to a different country, you will invariably get the question: why. Why did you move to wherever you moved to? And the answer to that is different for everyone. Looking through my own ancestry and finding people who moved away, even there the answers are many. 

I found a (most likely) religion based move. One that was forced, banished, definitely because of religion. However, most of the others were economy based. Bad economic situations in the Netherlands, and (perhaps) better situations elsewhere made people move. The late 19th and early to mid 20th century saw millions of people leave their home and family in search of a better and/or safer life for them and their children. And on the whole they did okay. 

On a wibbly-wobbly bridge in Canada's Badlands
My sister and I are the only two in our family who made the move abroad. My sister (as Brom can tell you) made a lovely life for herself in Northern Ireland. And I am not doing too bad in Norway. Our reasons however, differ. She was unable to find the job she wanted back home and found it elsewhere. I had the perfect job back home and yet... I moved anyway.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-3

On the quay-side in Haugesund. A statue of Marilyn Monroe. Not really dressed for Norwegian weather though...

Friday 20 January 2017

Miss Oswin has a tale to tell


Inspired by Ernie from Frankie 'n' Ernie? Hello, I can make up my own stories thank you very much. And it isn't my fault that two-legger of mine got down on the floor (oh yes she did) and started taking photos of my tail. 

I tried to get away from her, but she tricked me: she put down some sweets and she knows I love sweets. And then when the sweets were finished she tried some more, but I was on to her. I just stayed very close and that way she couldn't take any decent photo. 

I think...

Thursday 19 January 2017

Poppy, cornflower, buttercup and daisy

I wouldn't call myself particularly busy. I mean, of course I work, but once I'm done with that, I'm done. I don't take my work home, although I do sometimes go home on work (ie I take the bus home) and there are not many other things I do. Besides knitting, a bit of crocheting, playing candy crush, blogging and doing genealogy. 

So you would think that after a 'busy' day of all that (minus the work, the H), I would be able to go to bed and sleep. You would think that. I would think that. Alas...

I went to bed at 9.15pm. Early by my standards, but then I had to get up at 3.30am. My landlord was willing to drive me to work, so I had to be on time.* I saw the clock go to 9.45pm. I saw 10pm. I saw 11pm. I saw 11.30pm. And all the while my mind was racing. 

"What was she doing in London at that time and how did she die?" "I need to write this and that to her, and such and such. Hopefully I will get a response." "I wonder how I go about finding out about how somebody died on top of just when and where." And more questions and letters of the same ilk. I even had this blog post written in my head because I couldn't sleep!

I realised I needed my sleep and I have a trick for that: think about flowers. Red, blue, yellow and white. Yes, the ones in the title. I would repeat them in my head in Dutch or in English for a few minutes, before my mind wandered off again. It was a long evening!

I fell asleep eventually, but woke up at the first (of three) alarm. Wide awake. And immediately trying to find answers and such for my ancestry...

*My landlord actually works at the same place I do and starts early early every day. Occasionally I start at the same time and I can catch a ride, provided I get up in time.

Wednesday 18 January 2017


When we go on those hiking/walking trips, we both take photos. Even if we have been there before, we will take new photos of the same thing again. It means as well, that our trips usually take a bit longer because of all that photo taking. 

One plus of the both of us taking photos is that I get some photos of myself. I haven't got a nice and fancy phone with which I can take photos (shock, horror, but yes, it's true), so if I want to take a selfie it has to be done with a big cumbersome camera.

The first two photos were taken during the drizzle-trip. We came to a bridge and the water was just running down. I had a good rain suit on and stood underneath while my friend took several photos. The second one was taken a little later during that trip. For some reason I have my eyes closed. 

The third photo shows me at the beginning of the no-drizzle-trip. Well wrapped up, but the hat came off within ten minutes, as did the gloves. The coat was opened and the scarf was loosened as well. And the last photo shows me walking from the photographer (Unni). It looks emptier than it was, because there were a lot of people about.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

The other side

The great grandmother who I think is dead.
But then again, she might still be alive and a miracle to scientists!
The main reason I work on my father's side of my genealogy so much is the ease. The ease of finding stuff. Everything is gathered in one archive. Plus quite a few of my (far-away) relatives have been really good in putting notices in the main paper for that area regarding birth, marriage and death. Which makes it quite a doddle to find stuff. Don't get me wrong, there is still frustration over people not found, information not available, but still...

My mother's side of the family is altogether more complex. She comes from a small village close to a river. That river is also the boundary between two different provinces. Each with their own archives. Not only that, where the archive for my paternal family has digitalised most information, the maternal side tells you to go to the archives themselves. Which is rather annoying when living in another country. 

And don't get me started on newspapers. I did find a report about one relative in a paper a few years ago, but when I tried to look it up the other day: couldn't find it! Fortunately I found I had it saved to my computer, so all is not lost. But most of my maternal relatives either weren't that willing to put notices in papers or I just can't find them. For some reason. 

Another thing that I can't find is the date of death of my great grandmother. She was born in 1885, so I do have this presumption that there is a possibility that she might have perhaps passed away, but I just can't find it! Anywhere! I will get there in the end, don't worry, but it is frustrating. 

A great-aunt. I believe her husband died in a lightning strike which actually made the paper.
One thing I did find out though was about her siblings. Her parents were busy making a family, but circumstances did not help. Out of a total of 12 children, only four lived past the age of 2 and made it into adulthood. Also, names were being reused. A child died, the name was used for the next one. And as 'luck' would have it, each time a girl died, another girl was born. The same went for the boys. Until the mother passed away at the age of 37. 

Mind you, it's not all bad news on the maternal side. A few years ago I already discovered that we have royal ancestry. But younger sons didn't always marry as favourably as the elder ones and in the end we were labourers. Making an honest living though, which is the most important. Plus, I think I have already gone back to about the fifteenth century for most of the rest of the family. Now it's just a case of finding the specific people and their stories. 

As always, I will keep you posted!

Monday 16 January 2017

No drizzle

After last week's drizzled hike of nearly 14 kilometers, we decided to take it just a bit easier this week. It was a place I had been before with that very same friend and I remembered it well: it was long and it was very steep and tiring. 

Snow covered mountain tops in the distance
In fact, it was a whole 2 (TWO) kilometers, which is basically nothing and it wasn't that steep either! Mind you, when we were there, I was off sick with some demons running around in my head, I was severely out of shape and going up the stairs was steep for me. 

This time we weren't on our own like last time. There were lots of people and children and dogs taking the path up to the lighthouse. Plus, another friend had joined us with two of her children, so we were a little group as well. 

Fortunately this week there was no drizzle in sight. In fact, it was a gorgeous day. Blue skies, albeit with some non-bothersome greyish clouds and hardly any wind. There was a light dusting of snow, there were pigs and before we knew it, we were at the lighthouse! 

Nature playing with water and ice
We had a bit of a snack and then we made the two kilometer trek back to the cars. A beautiful day. 

Sunday 15 January 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-2

It snowed late Friday night/early Saturday morning, leaving a light white dusting. 

Miss Oswin didn't mind too much I think, checking out one of the bushes along the drive.

Saturday 14 January 2017

And another goodbye!

Out with the old...
Yes, not only did I buy a new cardigan yesterday (70% off), I also bought a new coat. For the first time in forever I bought a new winter coat! Up to now I always wore the jackets/coats I was given as part of my uniform. And during the past four years I wore the very first one I got as a bus driver in Midnet Tours. That was in 1999! 

... and in with the new!
The coat is still looking good, but it's not up to par for Norwegian conditions. Plus I wanted a new coat. One that looks just a bit funkier than the one I use now. Finding one in the sales was brilliant. Shame it didn't come in a brighter colour like pink or orange or yellow, but it came with a great discount (40%). And I can always brighten it up with my pink scarf and my orange hat.

Friday 13 January 2017


I found you about twelve years ago. Lying on the shelf in my coach. Left behind by a gentleman. He didn't seem to want you back and I took you home. I cleaned you up and then I started wearing you. 

You didn't mind when I spilled food. Or toothpaste. You didn't mind when I used the sleeve to wipe my face when working in the garden. You didn't mind the holes that eventually started appearing after all the washing. But we both knew you were nearing your end. You were fading. And you were getting thinner by the wash. 

I have to let you go now. Sorry. To make room for the new sweater/cardigan. Nice and fluffy. Warm. Comfortable. 


Thursday 12 January 2017

Up and down

The quay side from where we row.
The (closed) car park on the left.
Those of you who have ever visited my adopted hometown of Haugesund, may remember to have seen the quay-side. Pepperfly especially should, since she went on a rowing trip with me and several others, my very first year here. 

Regarding that rowing, those row boats are awfully difficult to get in and out of. In was a case of hoping I would get to the right spot and out of was a case of several of my strong male colleagues hauling me out! 

Some of the sandbags were still there.
Today that would not have been necessary. Today I could have just walked right in from the quay to the boat. Perhaps a ten centimeter drop? Perhaps a bit more? But nowhere near the meter it usually is at high tide. 

Today was extra high tide or spring tide. Which meant the water was extra high. One hotel (the one my brother and his family stayed at when they were over here) had sandbags in front of the place. Just in case! And the car park where he parked and where we would get in our row boats: closed! Just in case. 

Apparently it didn't quite come up. The water that is. But it was quite impressive to see nonetheless.

Wednesday 11 January 2017


Sometimes that's all you need to make your day a brighter day: a photo of a cat. In this case of course it's Miss Oswin. 

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Step first cousin once removed

Doing genealogy can be so frustrating at times. Trying to find someone a near impossibility. And at other times people just seem to drop out of nowhere. With histories that I have never heard about. Of course the question at those times is as well: do I have the right person. Perhaps there was another person with the same name, same date of birth? Perhaps...

So, as an amateur sleuth, I do what I have done several times in the past: asked for help from others who dig into their families as well and might know where I can find certain stuff. And today they came up trumps!

The person I am talking about now is the person I had found only recently, in fact, during the Christmas holiday. A sister of my paternal grandfather married a man who had two children from an earlier marriage. The eldest of those two children was a boy and he served in the Dutch army in what was then the Dutch colony of Indonesia.

When Japan invaded, he, likely along with the rest of his outfit, was captured. Over the course of the next year, he was transferred to different camps. He became ill in October of 1943 and died on December 31st of that year of beri-beri. 

It's fantastic and sad at the same time to find a story like this. On the one hand it makes a great story for the book I am planning. But on the other hand: my father didn't know anything about this person, even thinking his step-uncle had two girls. It seems as if Jan has been lost in time. Forgotten. 

The only thing left to find now (apart from a few more details of course) is a photo. To make sure he will not be forgotten again!

Monday 9 January 2017


I had made the decision to go on an easy walk to start off gently in my new season of training for the triathlon. And the hike we were going to do was a hike around a local lake. Well, not quite local, but local enough. I wasn't quite sure about its length, but the path was mostly gravel, there were to be no rocks to climb up and over, so all was fine.

Until I looked out the window early yesterday and found that it was raining. Well, drizzling really, but in the end you are just as wet, so I might as well call it rain. Was that a reason to cancel the trip though? If I had been going on my own: definitely. But, since I was going with a friend, nope! 

So, on with the walking gear, I found the rain gear and in the car the whole lot (including me) went to pick up my friend. I wasn't quite sure where to park and start the route and neither was my friend, but a lady at the petrol station was able to point us in the right way. On with the rain gear and off we trotted. And we trotted and trotted and trotted. 

We trotted through the drizzle, took a few photos, trotted some more, took some more photos and after about four hours we were finally back at the car. Nearly 14 kilometers (about 9 miles) we had trotted and I can tell you one thing: at the end I was thoroughly fed up! The drizzle/rain was never ending, the path was never ending, I had blisters and I was tired. It was so good to see my car. It was even better to eat the hamburger we got on the way home and the best was the shower once I was home again. 

My first training might not have been as easy as I had planned, but we did it anyway. On with the rest...

Sunday 8 January 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-1

It did snow this week. On Tuesday I believe it was. Followed by higher temperatures and rain, so not much was remaining by the time I took this photo and the following morning there was nothing left at all.

Thursday 5 January 2017

The madness continues!

As you may recall, I sort of lost my marbles last year. For some reason I thought that being able to swim, cycle and walk would be enough to participate in a triathlon. I came last, of which I am incredibly proud. I really am! And my time was a lot better than my goal of three hours. 

Already last year I had said that I would do it again, so at the end of last year (last week in fact), I signed up for this year's triathlon. Which does not take place in August, but in June. Instead of 8 months of training, I have only 5. 

The thing is though, since last year's triathlon, I haven't done a thing. Well, we walked a bit on holiday and I climbed one mountain, but other than that: nothing. At all! I will have to start from scratch again. 

Fortunately, as I am now a member of the local triathlon club, I am able to get crawling lessons. Not on all fours (I can do that, especially after a few too many. *Hic*), but in the water. They will start in just under three weeks time. 

This weekend will be my first outing outside again. We will go on a light hike to get the bug again. Then, after a few weeks, we will start trying to run. Because not only do I want to run during the triathlon, I also want to run during another 5k race, which takes place in May. 

As for the cycling? I will have to adjust my steering and see some professional or other about my shoulder/neck/head, but I should be okay in general. My PiC from last year is looking to buy a house quite close to where I live and he offered me the opportunity to go there (if he gets the place, so cross fingers and paws everyone) and train on either his treadmill or his stationary bike. 

Five months to go....

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Some days

A completely random photo from my collection.
Nobody in their right mind will be in this state of undress at this time of year in Norway.
Some days at work are great. Some days are not. Yesterday was going great. Until it wasn't!

I start work every day around 5.45/6am. In normal English: too #^%#& early! But, after a while you get used to it and you just get on with them. As I did yesterday morning. I knew what I was going to do and I set off and did it. Nooooo problem!

Until a colleague came up to me: whether I was sure I was driving the right line. Well, yes, of course I was. I looked in my paperwork. Of course I was not. I started at the wrong end of town on the wrong route and the at the wrong time! 

I felt really bad and tried to make it to the other side of town, but of course I was never able to. I started the (by then officially cancelled) route halfway down and drove the few people I had picked up to their stops. 

I joked about it when I got back that afternoon. It was the fault of the real driver of that route. Had he been on time, he might have caught me out sooner. Or another driver's fault, the one who usually checks my shift to see what he did last week. But of course it wasn't their fault at all. It was mine. 

So, this morning I checked my paperwork. Twice. And showed it to others. Just to make sure I started on the right route, at the right side of town and at the right time (which by the way, was the route I wasn't supposed to do yesterday).