Monday 31 July 2017


Both this and the school class photo feature.
With thanks to Anvilcloud for cleaning them up. 
Well, my 'probably' yesterday turned out to be correct. There were i's to be dotted, t's to be crossed and s's to be squiggled. But not only that: I had missed a story! I had been wondering where it had gone and it turned out, it had never arrived at its rightful chapter. And then last night when I was in bed, I realised I had another story with first hand information and a lot of photos. So, guess what I did first thing this morning?

But, as of this afternoon: 99 pages and it is done. Dusted. Ready. Finished. As long as I don't look at it too much, because I am sure to find something else to add. However, there is the small matter of another book to finish, this time the one of my mother's side. For some reason though, her family is higgledy piggledy all the way, starting with names and continuing in everything else. However, even this book already has already 52 pages and there are some things I still want to add. The reason it is smaller is that on my father's side I have used the contemporary stories of living family members, whereas on my mother's side, I will not be doing that. 

Anyhoo, Madi's Mum Cecilia once asked me which side was my favourite, story wise. Well...

There is of course the Royal Connection on my Mum's side. Being descended from the first King of Belgium is nothing to turn away from you know! But then there is the soldier who died in a Japanese PoW-camp while working on the infamous Birma railway on my Dad's side. 

There is the story of my grandmother finding food during the World War II on my Mum's side. And there is the letter from an ancestor to another ancestor on my Dad's side. 

My maternal grandmother (my Oma) doing something with fruit
There is the man who got killed by a priest on my Mum's side. And there is the man who (allegedly) killed someone in Orléans (France) on my Dad's side. Unfortunately I have not been able to find anything more on that, so he does not feature in the book. Perhaps for part 2?

On both sides there are too many stories (really too many) about women giving birth to children and then those children not making it past their fifth birthday, in many cases not even past their first. I've found one unwed mother on either side. Poverty and riches on both sides as well. 

So, overall I can say that both sides are equally interesting. Just for completely different reasons! 

Sunday 30 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-24

My desk at the moment. Overlooked by Brom to see if I actually do some work instead of just playing Mahjong!

This is the (probably) finished book on my father's side. Next will be my mother's side's book. And then it will be off to the printer... Exciting!!

Friday 28 July 2017

Will he get her?

I love to read. And I love reading romance. It's not a guilty pleasure for me, it's just a pleasure. You know the end will be okay and the romantic leads will end up together to live out their days in happiness. But it is still fun to read. 

On occasion though, I feel I need a bit more than just a simple romance novel. And I buy other books. Literary works. Hailed by the critics. Must-reads. And I get a copy of said must-read and try and work my way through it. I bought The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (before the current series and hype). I tried to work my way through it, but as of today, I have been at it for over three years. And as with the film (after which I bought the book), I find it extremely hard going. 

I started David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. As of today I have yet to finish it. I started it in 1993! I bought On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I don't get it. I Just Don't Get It! But, I would not be deterred. I decided to go for the big guns and got hold of a copy of The Gulag Archipelago (the abridged version) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. No read for the beach, but on the other hand: I couldn't put it down either. And yes, I finished it. 

The latest in my tries to bring a bit more culture to add to my collection was 1984 by George Orwell. I didn't know what to expect and I was a bit apprehensive, but even though it was quite tough reading at times, it was also a book I could not put down. And this morning (while at work) I finished it. It had me wrong-footed from quite early on (I tipped Julia), but I guess that was what it had intended to do from the get-go. 

So, what's to be next? Any suggestions? (And yes, I might give David Copperfield another go. At some point)

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Going walkies

My friend asked me whether I would like to take a walk with her on Sunday. Provided the weather was nice. And even though the deadline for the books is coming closer and closer, I realised I needed a bit of air and sunshine. Especially after the week of long shifts I've had last week.

So, on Sunday I made my way to Ryvarden, a place where we had been before and which isn't too taxing on life and limbs. But when I met my friend there, she had brought with her another friend: Fiona. A Jack Russell/Bichon Frisé mix who was just the sweetest little dog. 

We began our tour and boy oh boy, did Fiona have a lot of work to do: pee-mail everywhere! And of course they all had to be answered as well, but she was a diligent dog and did not skip a single one. Since we were very early, we only saw two other people and we had the whole path to ourselves. 

Once we got to the light house, we went down to the former jetty area and had a little sniff and a snoop around there. When we went back up, the little snack area had opened and we got some waffles and I even got a salted herring (not to be repeated there though). After that we went back to the cars.

This time there were a lot more people on the path though. And not only people, but dogs as well. Fiona said hello to one dog (Theo), but she isn't too used to and/or fond of dogs, so we had to keep the leash short, because she would bark up a storm. Until the other dog had passed and all was forgotten. 

It was a beautiful day though with good company and good waffles. Now, if I only had had a beer waiting in the fridge....

Monday 24 July 2017

Miss Oswin goes missing


Well, that title is wrong! I knew exactly where I was. All The Time! But let's start at the beginning...

As you know my two-legger Mara will let me out of the house to roam the neighbourhood. And I love that. Sometimes I am gone all day long, sniffing at the grass, chasing birds, chasing mice, chasing other cats. But when Mara calls at night, I come back, because I get a treat and cuddles and such.

But on Saturday it was a bit different. I had been out all day and when Mara called, I did want to go in. I even answered to her, but she is a two-legger of limited hearing I think, because she didn't hear me. A few minutes later I hear her again, this time starting that car of hers. After about half an hour, she comes back and when she gets out of the car, she calls me again. And I answered again. She heard me!!

But then, guess what, she goes inside! Without me!! It took another 87 minutes for her to come out and let me in!!! Tsk tsk tsk...

note from the editor: how she did it, is a bit unsure, but I guess that when the landlord opened the garage to get something or other, she sneaked in and hid (because unless she's at home, she doesn't like other people much). When the landlord then closed the door: she was trapped. When I was at the door calling out, I didn't hear her because the garage is a good distance from the house. But after I came back and parked the car (next to the garage) and called out again, I heard her. Now there was a little problem though: the landlord was not home. Only one thing for it: I had to call him up. Fortunately he told me where (abouts) I could (possibly) find a spare key. But that took a little time and then I had to try every key before finding the right one. Ossie was out like a shot when I finally got that door open. She had probably been locked in all day.

Sunday 23 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-23

The goodies I got from the annual International market (about 10 stalls): 6 French yumminesses (gone the same day, they were just too good) and 4 packs of 'stroopwafels' or Dutch syrup waffles. I didn't think they would last, but so far I have not even finished the first pack. Mmmmmmmm.

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Sometimes a girl just needs her daddy!

Yep, that's me and my daddy playing on the beach
Especially if her daddy can empathise a bit better than her mummy. Not that my mother cannot, but in character my Dad and I are really alike, so it's easier to talk to him. 

This time however it was something else that was bothering me. The book, or better yet, one chapter. About military service and one of the people I am highlighting was bothering me. Not himself of course, he is long gone (more's the pity), but his army career. 

My Dad
I could have forked out big money for a professional opinion on the matter. Or I could ring my Dad. Who knows a thing or two about army things. Seeing as he was regular army at some point. 

At first it was still a mystery, but after a minute (or five most likely), I finally started to grasp what he was saying. And realised that what I had written down wasn't wrong, it just was right twice. In other words, I used different wording to say the same thing twice. I changed it and now the story makes a lot more sense. I hope. And if the people who read it don't understand: they can talk to my Dad...

Sunday 16 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-22

When I first got Miss Oswin she had recently been operated on, to make her a non-reproductive kitty-cat (they found her with a litter already). And the area where her hair had been shaved stayed bald for a long time. Much longer than it should have taken.

Eventually though it did start to grow back, but it's not quite normal, since she now has curly hair on her belly!! Cats are strange creatures!

Thursday 13 July 2017

The wall

The big ferris wheel in Vienna, Austria
As soon as I got my present this year (ie the photos on canvas) I knew I had to scour my vast collection of photos for some more beauties. In the end, there were 22! *Gulp* 

Kylemore Abbey, Co Galway, Ireland
But, some major weeding turned those 22 into 7. This time I didn't forget to put in the 25% discount code (I forgot the first time grrrr) and then the wait started.

The Cliffs of Dover, England
I got the notice for each and every one that it had been made and sent. Then I got a notice for each and every one that it was on the way. And today I got 7 text messages saying they had arrived. Oh joy!

Bryggen in Bergen, Norway
I picked them up, got them home, unwrapped them all and then the big ponder started: where to put them? In the end, after a bit of precarious balancing on the back of the sofa, I got them all up. 

Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
I had to change some of the others with the new ones and yes, there is still room on the wall for more! 

Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
I think it looks smashing. If you want to have a better look at the photos, please biggify, although it is a photo of a photo, so some detail might be lost.

Poulnabrone Dolmen, Co Clare, Ireland
Now, before I get a call from a certain parental unit: yes, this photo was taken by you! Mine were rubbish and yours was brilliant. 

The wall

Wednesday 12 July 2017


And here I was thinking I had already done so much! How wrong can a person be? Fortunately most of the information for one book can be used one on one in the other, but still. Finding the information, cutting it down into readable stuff, getting photos to accompany the stories (preferably family photos). 

However, I am moving along. Slowly but surely, chapters are there (1-4 so far, with 5 quite far along) and it starts looking good. In one book at least. The other is not quite as far, but as I said, most basic information is the same and the only thing left is finding people and stories from the past. 

Even though I have had some extra days off since the weekend, the headache actually prevented me from doing much. Which is a shame, but that's the way it is. I will have to work extra hard from now on. 

I am very pleased with how it's starting to look though! Yeah!!

Tuesday 11 July 2017


Yes, even at this age I would suffer from migraine attacks
As you know I have been suffering from headaches lately. But to be honest, it hasn't been a recent problem. I remember my childhood with several severe attacks. Once there was a school skating race on a local pond and I felt terrible. After the races we were supposed to visit my paternal grandparents and the only thing I remember is feeling awful. I even visited a doctor at the time. X-rays were taken of my head (?) and my father was told that if the problems continued, my tonsils might need to be removed. I think the problems ceased for a while, because I never got them removed.

As a teenager I don't recall many episodes, although there have been one or two. I can't remember any attacks in my time in Yugoslavia, Italy or France, but once I moved to England, they came back, probably exacerbated by the amount of coffee I was drinking. Ever since I have had troubles. 

Yes, I have seen doctors about it. I even got prescribed medication. I was 23 and using beta-blockers. Which did help, but I stopped using them after a while, because I felt that I was too young to be on life-long medication for something that wasn't life-threatening. I was young and foolish. 

And then last week I got the sore throat, then the sniffles, then the blocked sinuses and then of course the headache and I had to call off work. Again. And enough was enough. Talking about seeing my gp would not be enough, an actual visit was in order.

This morning I saw my gp and told her everything. She listened, listened some more and in the end I left with a prescription for 3 (THREE) different drugs to be used for different types of headache. I also have to keep a headache diary, filling in all sorts of things from when it started, when it stopped, what medication, did it help etc. And then in two to three months we will evaluate and see whether it would be advisable to send me on to a neurologist (although I also think a throat, nose and ear doctor would be useful because of the sinuses). 

So, a step forward. Even if it will mean popping pills every evening to try and prevent headaches and then there will be other pills to be taken in case of a headache daring to raise its ugly head anyway...

Sunday 9 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-21

Do you remember the sea gull chick from last week? Well, when I looked a few days later, I saw not one, but three chicks. Being fed by one of their parents. I wanted to take a photo, but unfortunately I am not one to take a camera to the loo with me. Already the parent was done with the feeding and two of the chicks scarpered back from where they came. By the time I got back to the living room and grabbed a camera, the roof looked empty again.

I tried for several days after that, but I never saw either the one on its own, or the three of them. I don't think they have fledged already, because even from my distance I can see they still have quite a bit of down on them. 

So, instead of photos of the three chicks, I give you... Miss Oswin!

Saturday 8 July 2017

Water this time

No, not to drink, to be used in a steaming sessions to clear the sinuses.
I am done with the sand. Although yesterday was particularly bad with the coughing, the throat is starting to behave itself a bit better and certainly doesn't hurt as much anymore. Of course now it's the muscles in my stomach and my sides that are hurting, but that's just the way life is. 

Unfortunately the sore throat and the coughing were a lead-up to something else. Which led me to leak. From my eyes, from my nose and even on occasion my mouth for some weird reason. Oh yes, I have a full blown cold! Apparently it's doing the rounds and thought that I might be a good host. I wish I wasn't! 

The cold played havoc on my sleep (the right Sandman came, but he was no match for my guest) and I woke up not entirely refreshed. Add to that a Miss Oswin who wants her breakfast and then go out... 

Right now there are tissue boxes dotted across my apartment, bins that are not so slowly filling up and me feeling a bit sorry for myself. I think I might have to partake in a few strawberries with vanilla sauce. Or a few more than a few.

Friday 7 July 2017

More sand

Sleeping in a car. A looooong time ago.
I think I know what happened on Monday night. They hired somebody new! That must be it you know, there is no other explanation. 

As you may recall I had great trouble sleeping on Monday and actually read in bed (which I never ever do). In the end I did fall asleep only to wake up again far too early and I was quite tired the rest of the day. 

Now, I had thought the sandman hadn't come. Wrong! He had come, the new one I mean. But instead of sprinkling the sand in my eyes as he was supposed to do, he sprinkled it in my throat. And ever since Monday night I've had rasping sounds when trying to sleep. On Tuesday I started with a bit of coughing as well. On Wednesday I had a real nice whiskey voice and on Thursday morning it felt like I had sandpaper in my throat. Pure agony!

Since I am writing this a day in advance (ie on Thursday) I am not quite sure how my throat will be and my voice will sound today (ie Friday), but I doubt it will be fine already.

I think the new sandman needs a few more lessons!!!

Thursday 6 July 2017

More presents

They were expected to get here today, but they made it yesterday already: my gifts to myself. Over the years I have taken a lot of photos and some of them are really nice. I tend to use them in a calendar, but once I had ordered that first photo (taken on the Hardanger Plains), I wanted more. I looked through my collection and found five more photos to get. 

Starting with the top right (and then going clock wise): The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 2011 (work trip with the Dutch scouts). A Hoodoo in the Albertan Badlands in Canada, September 2011 (with Kay). Kilmacduagh in Ireland, October 2005 (with my sister). Heddal Stave Church in Norway, April 2012 (on my own). And the Kelpies in Scotland, June 2014 (with Yamini). 

I have written locations and dates on the back as well. Just so I won't forget...

Wednesday 5 July 2017


I bought a present for my birthday. But of course it wouldn't be here in time. I am expecting it this week. As well as another present by friends of mine. So imagine my surprise when I got a present yesterday. Out of the blue. 

It contained a card. A balloon (to be blown up by yours truly). A drawing of a birdie. And a book! A book about the Dutch royal family. But different. Because in it IS information about the royal family, however it is mainly a do it yourself book. A knitting book! How to knit your own royals. Isn't that the most wonderful thing?

I thank my brother and his family for this very fitting gift. It is a treasure.

Tuesday 4 July 2017


Yep, that's me digging a hole in the sand.
I am sure I slept like a baby that night!
I don't usually mentioned my nights. Basically because that's the time I sleep and not much else happens then. Well, apart from dreaming and they can get pretty weird and colourful. Last night however, sleep would not come. 

I went to bed at a decent time (around midnight, since I don't have to work today) and then I lay in the bed. Facing the window. Then the ceiling. Then the door. Back to the window. And the ceiling. And... You get it. 

About an hour into this I decided it wasn't going to happen any time soon, so I might as well get my book out. I read for about half an hour (the heroine was getting locked up by then) and tried again. Again though: no luck. Back to the book it was. 

By the time the sun was close to getting up (at around 4am), I must have finally fallen asleep. Only to be woken up at 9am for some reason. It will have to be an early night tonight, I just hope the Sandman will come sooner...

Monday 3 July 2017

Going back

One of the record books I had to work my way through in the beginning
Baptism (not birth), marriage and death records
You will know that I do a bit of research here and there into my family tree(s) and I have found some real great stories along the way. Not only from far away and long ago, also some really interesting stories from more recent times. 

I will be making two books of those stories. One for my mother's side and yes, one for my father's side. I wondered which side would be the more interesting, but I found that both sides are equally interesting, just for different reasons/stories. 

My maternal maternal great grandmother in the middle
The royal connection on my mother's side is of course fantastic. Never mind that half of Europe descends from Charlemagne, we do and that is important. The story of my grandmother and how she went on a hungertrip during the war actually was my first taste of family history. I am just very sorry I never talked to my grandmother about it while she was still alive. 

The great-aunt that was born in Germany during the First World War has thrown up some questions, although most of those questions can be answered just by looking at history itself. Unfortunately the family member I tried to contact never replied to my letter, which means that any further questions remain unanswered. 

No, they are not hearts on the Frysian flag,
they are the leaves of the yellow water lily
Then there is my father's side. From the fighting nobility to the man who was charged with murder in Orléans (France). The fact that that side truly is from one very proud part of the Netherlands. From  a strange date appearing again and again (May 12th) to the young man who died in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp in Birma. 

There are religious upheavals, political upheavals, family upheavals. Women giving birth on a yearly basis, but out of the 13 children, only 4 survive into adulthood. I have found a man who, along with all the other men of the village, was charged with tax evasion. 

Unfortunately during the last few months I have not done very much with all those stories. Yes, most of them are already done and dusted, but there is tweaking to be done. Stories to complete. Photos to be found. 

The 'ordinary life' of a grandmother making coffee
There will be a distinct difference between the books. The book on my father's side will contain the 'old' stories as well as 'new' stories from living family members who have done/lived through/written/etc something similar. The book on my mother's side will not contain those stories, since there was only one aunt who responded to my request. 

I have a month left for the books. What with the mice (still making new ones as well) and work (long days, but extra days off as well), it will be a stretch, but then again, that's me: do it at the last minute. I wonder which family member I can blame that one on...

Sunday 2 July 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-20

There are a couple of very noisy sea gulls living close by and they holler at anybody walking past: go away! Well, in sea gull talk of course. They are not just ordinary grumpy sea gulls, they are parents and the people walking past are getting too close to their chick. Or so they think! 

Because most people will never see the chick. Because it lives on the roof of the boat dealership and I have yet to see anyone climb a ladder to said roof.

Saturday 1 July 2017

New Year

Do you usually have difficulties writing down the date? No? Neither do I. But, what if it's your birthday? Then what? Well....

Yesterday I kept wanting to write down 30.06.1971 instead of 30.06.2017. Just because the first one is what I always have to write when it comes to my birthday, so putting another year was just weird. I did manage though. With some crossing out. 

I spend my birthday at work. Driving a bus. Making money for the big birthday present that is now on its way to me. Well, the five birthday presents really, since I ordered five canvas prints of photos I have taken over the years. I can't wait for them to arrive, which will be sometime next week. 

I also got a lovely birthday card from Debby a few days before, which was very much appreciated, although at first glance I wondered why I got the card (I am getting old. Ahem), until I realised I was actually having a birthday a few days later. 

And then I got cards and phone calls and lots and lots of well wishes on Facebook and hugs at work. So, a good day all in all. Even though I did only eat junk instead of the planned cauliflower (my favourite birthday dish: cooked cauliflower with cornflour sauce, baked potatoes with a bit of cheese on top and sausage). There's always tonight!

Now for something completely different though: very early this morning Mice for Mama went up in the air. So, if you want a mouse: head on over and find out how to get one. Just click on the photo with the micies at the top of the side panel and hey presto!