Sunday 23 December 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-31

Mara, Brom (and Mouse) and Miss Oswin

Saturday 22 December 2018

Nearly there!

It hasn't officially started yet, but the job I was due to do today was cancelled, so you could say it did anyway: my Christmas holiday. A bit of a scare two days ago when I saw they had me working four days next week (!) when I had asked for time off. Money wise it would have been a better move, but for half a day more pay... It got sorted though and I am now off until past the New Year.

We are not expecting snow and if we do get it, Miss O will not be going out!
My sister also got time off for the week and we are spending it together. Tonight or tomorrow morning (depends on whether I get everything done by tonight), me, Miss O, Brom (and Mouse) are heading over to her to celebrate Christmas with Gera. Yes, Miss O is coming as well. She will hate the journey over of course, but she won't mind spending time in Gera's house: windows to look out of!

My sister is a church goer, so I will accompany her. You never know, it might do me some good 😀.  We will watch some Christmas television, there will be plenty on. But of course we will also have some food. We were getting goose which according to my sister is very good and she had had a few years ago when my parents came over. They ate the whole goose in under two days she said. Well, the packaging around the goose said 8-10 people and I doubt we will be able to eat that within two days, so we opted for duck instead. 

Dronning Maud Pudding
We will also be making some other things: filled speculaas (mmmmmm) and the Queen Maud Pudding I learned about in Norway. I am salivating as is! We will probably make more than that, but those are the things that are certain. 

Then, sometime between Christmas and New Year, we will all move to mine to celebrate New Year's Eve over here. More goodies are expected, like the Dutch oily balls which will be made in the garage to try and prevent the cooking smell to permeate the whole place. 

Part of Dunluce Castle
If the weather is nice during the holidays, we will finish our big tour we started last February: the Mourne Coastal Route. We have done two thirds now, but still have the last bit left. And if that goes faster than we think, then we might continue on the Causeway Coastal Route, which takes in the north coast. We have done some bits of that route already and visited some places (like Dunluce Castle and the Giant's Causeway), but there is plenty more to see. 

Friday 21 December 2018


My ballroom test for Gold star. 
Over the past six years I have moved several times and each time I have thrown lots of stuff out. And when I say lots, I mean lots. One thing however that I never really touched were papers. Not newspapers, but my own paperwork. 

I felt it was time though to sort through that. And I found some treasures along the way. Class photos where I recognise one person (ie me), report cards saying I have to do better in the neatness of my writing (got there eventually), high school diploma. I have my baptism program, my vaccination booklet, my swimming diploma. 

Apart from myself, I might be able to name one other person: the teacher!
I scanned a lot and threw some of it out after scanning. Other stuff I kept though. It may not be the way things are done now (with the paperwork I mean), but it gives me an idea how it was done back then. Everything left now is contained in a small green container instead of a jumble in a large tin box!

Along the way I also found coloured pens I never use, empty note books which will come in handy as I now always grab a sheet of paper from the printer and cd roms. Who uses those anymore? Not me that's for sure! 

My name badge when working for Club Med
I also found a French social security number for me. I didn't even know I had one, which is rather silly as I worked on a French contract for 6 months in France. Mind you, I worked in Italy on an English contract and in Yugoslavia on a Swiss contract. Anyway, I think I will keep that note with the number, you never know if I have some pension due in due time. 

Wednesday 19 December 2018

To Glasgow or not to Glasgow

On Monday night I took the ferry home from Cairnryan to Belfast. It was the last one that day as the next two sailings were both canceled due to the coming storm. And yes, it was a choppy crossing I can tell you!

During the night the wind was howling and the storm was very real. As I woke up several times I was worried about my journey to Glasgow on Tuesday. But when I woke up at 8 am, the wind had died down and the weather was really good. No worries then!

And there weren't. Until I arrived in the port of Belfast and there was no ferry! I was told the ferry would be two hours late, so the first thing to do was ring the office, before I was going to check in. Well, all ferries that day would be two hours late and I could get on. They would get a relief driver for when I got back to Belfast at whatever time I would get back. 

Nearly an hour after we were supposed to leave, the ferry arrived. The departure time had already been pushed back to 2.30pm (three hours late) and we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally we were allowed to board. I had blagged my way to a 'front row seat', because I needed to get off that ferry asap, then on to Glasgow and then back to catch the ferry again. 

Because we arrived so late, by the time we got to Glasgow, the traffic was not rushing anymore. However, by that time I had already been told that I had been booked onto the 11.30 sailing as the two hour delay was no more and the ferry that I had hoped to catch was leaving early. *Sigh*

I dropped off one lot of passengers, picked up the return lot and drove back to port. Brilliant. Fantastic. Great. The ferry arrived on time and they started disembarkation. After that there was the shunting of unaccompanied freight. However...

In the early morning a ferry from Larne in Northern Ireland to Cairnryan in Scotland, had had a massive incident as several lorries had toppled over. It must have been in sight of the harbour, as apparently several people were injured and the ferry would be out of commission for a while. Which meant that a lot of traffic that would have used that service, had to use the service I was on. 

You know where this is going don't you? It took ages to get everybody on, because it has to be just so to make it fit. And instead of 11.30 pm, we left an hour later. Of course. Someone in the office had had the bright idea to send me to Glasgow again today (after all, I would be relieved in Belfast), but that was a big no-no from me! So, they took me off, which was good, because I didn't see my bed until gone 4 am. Absolutely knackered. 

I believe I mentioned I don't like ferries?

Friday 14 December 2018

Money money money

I got a message last week from my Norwegian bank. I had to pay my credit card. And I was wondering why? Since I had paid off the credit card a long time ago and had blocked it being used everywhere. Turns out a membership to something that I was sure I had transferred to my British account, was paid using my Norwegian card. I was in the minus again.

Being in the minus meant I had to transfer money again. Which is an expensive business. It's cheaper to just put money in an envelope and send it off! Anyway, I found the money, sent it off (paid 15 pounds to get it sent) and it arrived in Norway. Where I had to pay another 10 pounds to get it received. Meaning: I still lacked funds to pay off my credit card! How annoying.

Fortunately I know one or two people in Norway. And after posting on Facebook that I needed some money (about 3 pounds), one of my friends said she would be quite willing to help me out. The money arrived today and I paid off the credit card immediately. 

I decided after that that I would close all accounts I still have in Norway. They are empty and when I get my tax money next year, I will just have to get it transferred to a foreign account for them. Receiving money only costs me 5 pounds anyway...

Sunday 9 December 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-30

We went to the cinema yesterday. A film with Christmas and bears and chickens and things. It was of course 'A Muppet Christmas Carol', the definitive version we all believe (especially Brom, but he might be biased) of Charles Dickens' Christmas story. We sang along and enjoyed ourselves immensely. 

Photo by my sister Gera who was of course there with us!

Saturday 8 December 2018


Warning: this is a very long post. Serious as well.

At the end of the summer I saw a program on television about why and how men commit suicide. Their reasons and methods being different from those of women. It was an extremely interesting program and there was one person in particular who talked quite frankly about his attempts and why or why not he would continue with them. And one of the things he said was that 'depression makes a liar out of you'. 

People who kill themselves don't want to kill themselves. But they are told by themselves that they are worthless, pointless, awful people. And the voice saying they do have worth and a point and they are not awful is drowned out by the first one. 

Let's get one thing straight: I have never wanted to kill myself! Ever!! Honestly!!!! I have however felt homicidal which was as scary an experience, as it was so real to me at the time. And even when somebody told me I would never do that, I just thought: just hand me that AK47 and I will show you! Perhaps some backtracking is in order...

Back in 2012, while on a job driving to England, I had an accident in France. I hit a person who had been crossing the motorway in the middle of the night and he was killed on impact. 100 km/hour (62 miles/hour) meeting a person is never a good thing. I phoned the police who arrived a short time later, together with ambulances (I had a busload of people with me). They took everything off me: passport, driver's licence, bus papers and eventually they took me away in a police car to the motorway police office. 

Fortunately I speak French and was able to understand what was going on and the police had told me from arrival onwards that I was not to blame. I still had to go through the whole rigmarole of bus testing, tachograph testing etc. By 4 in the afternoon the verdict was official: not to blame, it was a sad accident and I was free to go.

With the help of a company psychologist, colleagues, friends and family I made it through and within a couple of weeks I was back driving the bus, including a trip to France (with two colleagues who kept their beady eyes on me all the way).

A couple of months later I moved from the Netherlands to Norway. A new country, a new language, new people, a new life. It was good. I settled in, I liked it there. I got invited to parties, to walks (which turned out to be mountain hikes, but that's a different story) and I had a lovely social life. The accident was a footnote in history at that point. 

Two years into my stay in Norway I had to have an operation. I had never been to hospital before and that includes my birth. The operation was to be a big one that would last several hours and in the end it turned out to last even longer than that. It was serious as well, as I realised later: if I hadn't had that operation then, I would probably have been dead within a year due to a burst urinary tract or bowel as my body was strangling both of them. 

I stayed home for six weeks after the operation to get back on my feet. My mother came to look after me, which was absolutely lovely. Unfortunately my father hadn't been able to come: finances on both sides prevented that happening, as it was, my mother's trip had already been paid for by both of us. I got back to work after my sick leave and starting working full time almost from the get-go. My body was holding out fine and I was doing fine.

Then one night I was watching the news and what I saw made my blood boil. And I got so angry and was so upset it was scaring me. In the middle of the night I emailed my HR person and said I needed help. Her email back the following day didn't help me much, so on the second day I went to see her. I broke down, I cried and when I finally went back down to start work, I found I couldn't log in: she had take me off work. She arranged for someone to talk to, who listened to my story and when I told her about the homicidal feelings she said she didn't think I could go through with it. Which I completely disbelieved of course...

Last year my Mum got ill. I went home a lot more than normal and realised I really missed family and friends who know my Mum (and Dad for that matter). I missed being able to talk to someone in person who has had the same experiences as me. And even though my friends back in Norway were helpful and were giving me hugs and support, it wasn't the same. At the end of last year I made the decision to move towards my sister. 

I got the job, I moved within a very short time and have lived here ever since. But where in Norway I was immediately taken to parties and on walks (b****y mountain hikes), over here: nothing. I barely saw any of my colleagues and the hours I made were not conducive to meeting new people. By the time I finished those long hours, all I wanted to do was sleep and when I was not sleeping, I needed to do laundry and dishes and whathaveyou. 

I am someone who needs people. I need physical contact. I need hugs. And virtual ones, however fantastic and soul lifting they are, are not enough. I started feeling depressed and lonely. Very very lonely. A feeling I had never known before. Even in Norway, while barely understanding people, I had never felt lonely. 

The other day my sister and I went to a celebration of her company. It existed 50 years and they were celebrating it with the company choir and a school choir. The proceeds of that day were to go to three different charities, one of them being PIPS. A charity to prevent suicide and further mental health. I had been emotional earlier that evening because of a beautiful rendition of 'Oh Holy Night' and was still a bit tearful. When I wanted to thank the lady of PIPS for all the good work, even though I have never been suicidal, I broke down and had to get behind the curtains. 

When my sister came to pick me up a while later (she was in the choir), she found me with tears streaming down my face, being hugged by the PIPS lady. My sister has never seen me cry, basically because she is the one person who makes me feel good here and I don't have the need to cry when I am with her. Last night I spoke to my 'ex-husband', who nearly made me cry again (he could hear the tears in my voice he said).

With all this being said, changes need to be made. I don't want my mind to make a liar out of me and one day telling me that I am worthless or pointless or an awful person. I KNOW I AM NOT!

Sunday 2 December 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-29

It's time to get the Christmas decorations out again. After all, it's First Advent today! And what is more fitting than my Nativity scene. I made it years ago, when I lived at home in the '90's. Good to see it still holds up well.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Of things and such

Well, it has been a while since I last threw something out into the etherweb and even longer since I came by and read what you have threwn! I am so sorry. I have been busy (ish) and not really wanting to go online. 

I am still doing the long Glasgow runs, albeit only three days a week now. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will see me trying to catch the ferry in time. Then there are two more (hopefully) days in the week that I will be working and that can range from school runs which take about 4 hours to the Ulster Orchestra which definitely take longer!

Then when I am at home I will watch some television, try to get music sorted on my iPod and sew and knit and crochet. I have nearly finished a runner for my own bed, which took a long time to make as I had a lot more different fabrics to pick between and not wanting 'doubles'. It looks great now and the only thing left to do is to put the backing and the wadding on to give it some stability. 

I finished this little box, adding little bells to hold the flaps down
As for the knitting: I am still making the mice. Mostly on board the ferry and then I will have a day where I just put them all together. I am working on a Christmas one right now, which has already been reserved/sold unseen! I might make another one if I have time. 

Talking about Christmas, did you know there are only a few more weeks to go? According to the counter on my phone: 32 days. That is less than five weeks! I asked for the time off to spend with my sister (she has done the same), although we are still not sure where we will celebrate. We will figure it out eventually.

In other news: nope, can't think of it!

Sunday 18 November 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-29

I think this is a perfect fit for me!

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Monkey watching

While we were quite happy spending two days at the craft fair, we felt that three would be pushing it a bit, so we decided to spend our last day in Dublin visiting the zoo. We were staying in a hotel within ten minutes' drive of the zoo (well, it would have been, had the signage been up to scratch), but we eventually made it after 14 minutes and paid for our tickets.

The weather had been foul during Friday and Saturday, but on the Sunday it was glorious: bright blue sky and hardly any wind. Fantastic. We walked around a bit, not only admiring the animals, but the displays of Chinese lanterns. They were used for an evening event, when they would be all lit up, but even during day light, they were very impressive. 

They depicted not only animals but characters from Chinese history as well. So fantastically done with wires and some sort of plastic over the top, but they really gave the things they depicted some definition. 

After having spent quite a bit of time watching a giraffe eat some leaves off a tree and some gorillas clamber down a tree, we needed some sustenance. It took ages to get our coffees though and by the time we had finished our lunch, the weather wasn't as nice anymore: dark clouds had moved in. 

By the time we had about seen our last animal, the first drops started to fall and by the time we got back to our car, the drops had turned into a down pour! By the time we got back to the North however, the rain had ceased again and we got home in the dry. 

All in all though: it had been a good weekend.

Sunday 11 November 2018


Not one of ours
Yes, I have been absent for the past week. The first three days were me driving to Glasgow every day, not leaving much time for anything else. Then there was the slightly easier day on Thursday, but apart from the driving I still had to do, I spent it doing laundry mainly. 

During the evening my sister came over, because we were going to Dublin on Friday. We had booked tickets to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin. Two days! Friday doing the fair itself and Saturday doing several workshops. 

My 'regular' ones aren't as clever as this sampler one!!
Once we got to the hall where the event took place, we took our big bag with us (yes, we were prepared) and headed inside. A lot of stalls selling fabric. In fact, it was called the Knitting and Stitching Show, but it should have been the other way around as the yarn was very much outnumbered by the fabric. And the yarn that was there, didn't tempt us. Nor did any of the knitting needles (they are too short here anyway) or crochet needles (wrong handles). 

The fabric however... There was one stall with so many lovely Christmas fabrics, I now must have enough for several blankets I think! And don't worry: I saved up for this event. We both came away with a fair amount of fabric and then there was the fabric cutting mat and ruler and knife (for me) as well. Plus a really handy storage box. 

I touched one and got told off as well
On day two we took the bus to the event instead of driving and on arrival my sister found the fabric she missed on day one (but which I had gotten), before we headed off to our first workshop to make a little felt pot. Well, it was a soaking experience, our pots looked just about passable, but it was fun to do and find out it wasn't for us. Oh, and we tossed the pots on our return to the hotel that evening.

Our second workshop was a lot better: we were making a fabric box. Really easy and straightforward and definitely we could do at home quite easily. With regular or Christmas fabric. We both have enough of the stuff anyway!! 

This was my little box. It does need some finished touches, but it was easy enough to do
The third workshop was completely different again. How to make your own fabric. Not sure about that one, although you can do some pretty neat stuff! It just all felt very "kindergarten" what with the cutting of paper and sticking it on another piece of paper. Or just colouring in! Not sure I would want to do it. Although the one I have made, might get made, just because I would get some free fabric out of it! 

All in all, the fair was a success for both of us, although not so much for our piggy banks. Good thing I had saved up for it!

This is the artist's mother. It is long wool threads sewn onto gauze. So beautiful!

Sunday 4 November 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-28

As I said the other day I was going to make a blanket of my Christmas fabric. But the first thing I was going to make was a runner for my sister's bed. Which I couldn't mention as it was a gift. However, I finished it in a day and gave it to her last Friday, so she can use it in the run-up to Christmas. She was pleased with it. On to the other runner and the blankets next...

Saturday 3 November 2018


Setting the table 
I have made a little start on scanning photos. Only the ones that were actually in one box and it took me nearly all day! After scanning them, I only kept some family photos, the rest was binned.

I did find some nice ones though. The one where my sister and I are screaming in a wet roller coaster. I had won some tickets and asked if she wanted to come along. And then she didn't want to go in any of the rides! I was not having that, so in the end she went in all but one of the roller coasters. On occasion screaming her pretty little head off!!

I also found a photo where we were going to the zoo. Can't remember being there (another zoo yes, not this one) with her, but hey, there's a photo, so it must be true. The shorts I do remember: they kept riding up and were quite annoying. 

We were at a wedding. Aren't we the cheery bunch?
Mind you, I didn't even empty the one box. There are still school reports, vaccination reports, baptism program and all sorts of other things to go through. If 1% gets thrown out from all that, it will be a lot!

Friday 2 November 2018


I have made a start on a blanket and I must say it looks pretty good. Of course I am quickly running out of thread, so I will have to go down to a thread store soon to get some more. As I am using Christmas fabric, I thought using red and green thread would be good. However, the red that came with the machine (thank you Gera) is doing fine, it's the green that is moving at lightning speed. 

This morning I made a little start on the photos. First of all the photos already stored on my computer, all the way back from April and May. I take the photos off of my iPhone as well on occasion and found some nice ones I might be able to use. 

Now it's the crates that are waiting, although I am not sure which photos they are. I also have several albums filled with photos of my younger years, especially the foreign seasons I did (Italy, France, Yugoslavia) and my childhood. I want to get those done as well, but as people who scan will know: it takes aaaaaaaaagggggggggggeeeeeeeeeesssssssss!

I wanted to get some breakfast this morning and I knew for a fact that I had taken a carton of milk out of the garage yesterday. But, when I wanted to pour said milk over my rice crispies, it was nowhere to be found! In the end I had to get another carton from the garage. When I then looked in the fridge (again), I found the first one. Of course! 

Thursday 1 November 2018

Easy does it

After three days on the Glasgow Express (yes, that's what it's called), I am now off until next Monday. It's quiet at work due to it being Halloween week. Which gives me some time to do things I have been putting off for a while. 

I really need to put my mice together. I knit them on board the ferry, but will only put them together at home, as I have all the materials I need, like stuffing. I could take it with me of course, but the thing I carry on board is full enough as it is (it also contains some books to read while knitting). 

Then there is the Christmas fabric that I unearthed. I want to make a sort of quilt out of it. Not a fancy one, just squares sewn together without pattern. I have borrowed my sister's sewing machine for it, as my own has some problems that I still haven't solved. 

I have lots of photos and such to sort out. Probably not to be thrown out, but scanned, so I can actually use them on my blog on occasion. I have so many lovely photos I would love to share, but they are all still in albums and even though I have scanned some photos over the years, there are still a huge amount left!

When I have done all that, there will probably be another box waiting to get sorted. Not sure what will be in it yet, but I will get to it when I get to it. So, enough to do (and then some)... 

Photos taken on Saturday during our Mourne Coastal Route drive

Monday 29 October 2018

Another day, another drive

A few weeks ago my sister and I had plans to do the part of a route we had started in February. However, the day had been quite advanced already and in the end we opted for Armagh instead. This past Saturday however, we were both off and we decided that now was the time!

The rain disappearing over the Mourne mountains
As neither of us actually lives along the route, we had to do a bit of driving to get to the point where we finished the last time around and when we got there, the first order of business was lunch. Then we had to get some yarn (come on, you know me) and then we finally got in the car to start our drive. 

Trying to skim a stone
We drove all of 5 minutes before pulling over and stopping. We were going to the beach just outside Newcastle (Northern Ireland). After all, the weather was fantastic: sunshine and cold. Wrapped up warmly, we made our way to the beach. Where we realised there were some heavy clouds gathering in the distance and they seemed to be heading our way. 

Sure enough, the rain/hail started pretty soon after that, but it didn't last that long, so we were okay. Not too soaked anyway. In the end we spent about an hour outside walking through the dunes and on the beach. Then however, it was back to the car. We were there for a drive after all!

We drove a bit further, saw something we liked, had a quick stop to take some photos and drove on. I saw a lighthouse and thought it was striped white and red, just like they should be! My sister however, thought it was striped white and green. Well, when we finally got close, it turned out, neither of us had been right! It was more waspish looking. 

St John's Point lighthouse
We couldn't get into it, as it was private property, but we were able to take some photos from the outside. We drove on, saw some more things we liked, took more photos and then we got to the ferry. Where we had to pay cash. Which we had. Just not.... enough! Oops. Fortunately the attendant was okay with it and he gave us a ticket to pay later (ie Monday to Friday), which my sister will do tomorrow. 

We were a pound short!
We continued on, but we realised that the route was taking us a very long way round and we had to get back to Belfast, so in the end, we cut our route short and got to Belfast at around 6pm. First off: dinner! Which proved to be a bit difficult, as there was waiting everywhere. Anything from 20 to 45 minutes. We picked the twenty minutes wait, had a lovely dinner and left on time to get to the theater. 

A Victorian bath house
Because the end of our evening was more culture! We were going to see the Ulster Orchestra playing movie themes. Psycho, Harry Potter, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and several more. A good day followed by a good night.