Monday 26 February 2018

Brom goes to Mourne


The first thing we did on Saturday was some errands, but after that we took the car to go for a lovely drive around the Mourne Mountains. We saw Ireland, the sea, sheep and mountains. Plus a lot more. So, I will show you some photos of where we were.

Mara tried to take a photo of one of the mountains in the Mourne Mountains while we were driving, but there was always something in front of it, like a hedge or a house or a gorse bush...

Fortunately one of her next shots was perfect. This was taken on one of the loops off the main route.

Once we had gotten back on to the main route (the Mourne Coastal Route), we had a little stop for some necessary stuff and then for a little walk and some photos. Right by the sea. The photo at the top and this one were both taken there. 

Imagine having to scramble up there with your smuggle-wares...
It was called the Bloody Bridge stop and there were several things happening there. It was a smugglers' area, there was someone escaping with a basket of eggs and there was (a bit higher up in the mountains) the Bloody Bridge. We only saw it in the far distance, but Mara's camera isn't that good and the weather was okay, but not very clear either. 

After that stop we decided to head for home. But only a short way in, we saw a sign which we decided to follow. We got to a Dolmen, which is like a megalithic grave, constructed of three or four upright stones and a large capstone on top. Then stones and earth would be piled all around to make it secure. 

The Dolmen we saw was a lovely example. It wasn't big and we didn't find out how many people had been buried there, but it was a lovely, albeit cold and windy place to be buried.
That's Gera at the entrance, crouched down for the photo.
Then we really were going to go home, but we saw yet another sign. So, off route we went again! This time it was something old again: the Finnis Souterrain. Basically it was like a man-made cave, but not to live in. It was probably used to store special things in, or in times of war to hide in. 

That's us in the entrance, see how low Mara sits? Her head was touching the ceiling!
It was really really low! Mara had to crouch to get in and could not get upright once in. She had to bend at the waist or crouch and crawl. It was kind of spooky, but we did get some way in, before we returned.

How come you get to drive and we have to walk???
But then it really was time to head home again, where we got in time to make dinner. Another good day!

Sunday 25 February 2018

Brom's Photo on Sunday 2018-06

A day out on Saturday. We will tell all about it tomorrow!

Saturday 24 February 2018

Brom is busy

Can you find us???

Well, it may have been a busy day for them on Wednesday, but Mouse and me were all rested up and we told them to get moving! We didn't go anywhere, apart from upstairs. 

Now, remember back to last summer when Gera was staying with us in Norway? They took a whole day clearing and tidying books and dvd's and other stuff. Gera decided that while Mara and me were here in Northern Ireland, we could do the same thing. 

We could hardly get to the books!
As you can see in the photos it was really full in her spare room. There were lots of books everywhere, lots of lego and lots of other stuff. So, first we started by clearing the room a bit to give us some space to work in. And then we got started on the books. Gera had decided that some of her books were never going to be read again or were not very good to begin with and she could easily part with them. 

At the end of that we had one completely cleared book case! Next was a large box with clothes. Some she wanted to keep, some went to Mara, but most was put aside like the books. By then we were a bit on the tired side and we decided to call it a day. 

This was all sorted out and looks really tidy now.
On Friday however, after a short trip to the shops, we continued. This time we worked on the other side of the room. This was thrown, that was put aside. This was put away and that was gathered together with the rest of the same. The little cabinet was filled and all of a sudden had a working door that could close again.

The one empty book case was put to good use. Gera loves making lego things and needed some more room to show them off. Perfect! Even her little Tardis (Doctor Who) got a good place. Today one more thing needs to be done: get rid of the things she doesn't want anymore. 

The end result. We are much easier to spot as well.
I think we did a really good job!

Friday 23 February 2018

Brom and the sinking ship


Remember the party I went to on Tuesday evening? Well, it lasted through the night and into the morning and me and Mouse really weren't in a fit state to go anywhere. So, Mara and Gera left us behind while they went on their big day out and she will have to tell you all about it.

The only way to eat that scrumptious pavlova
Thank you Brom, hope you feel better now 😃. Indeed, me and my sister went on our big day out. Usually when I visit my sister or my sister visits me, we don't do outings every day, but one or two during the visit. 

The tender called Nomadic
Since my sister, despite having lived in Northern Ireland for 12 years (exactly, today!!) had never visited the Titanic Experience, we decided to do that. By the time we got there though, we were quite peckish and decided to have lunch first. Quiche and pavlova. Double yum! 

One of the first class areas on the tender
After that we visited the only tender left that was built by Harland & Wolff shipyards. All the others had perished over the years. It was used in Cherbourg (France) to ferry people from the quay-side to the big ocean liners waiting for them, because the water was too shallow for the big ships to come all the way in. And one of the ships it served was in fact the Titanic!

My sister trying her hand at the telegraph spelling CQD (the fore-runner of SOS)
Next we went back into the main Experience building to see the Titanic exhibition. It was fairly dear, but my goodness, it was worth every single penny! The few attendants we talked to knew what they were talking about and gave good and clear information. There was a small ride that again was very informative in how the ship was built. 

You can see a faint outline of the ship on the left. 
We saw the actual site the Titanic and one of its two sister ships (Olympic) was built, we saw some examples how some of the cabins looked like, first, second and third class. I feel even the third class cabins and accommodation in general would still stand up today as decent. 

An example of a double third class cabin, with sink
Last but not least there was of course the section about how and where the ship went down. Stories about survivors and about some of those who didn't make it. But also a section about the eventual discovery of the wreck and how it looked and what they found. All in all a very informative visit.

After a short visit and dinner to/at Ikea we made our way into Belfast itself. Our first stop there was a pub that was run by the National Trust. It was beautiful and I would have loved to take some more photos than I actually did, but just enjoying the atmosphere and our drink was good as well. It was however just a little stop-off before the main event: the theatre!

Recent research has shown that the fire in one of the coal storages (known about at the time) probably contributed heavily to the eventual sinking.
You may remember that I got a ticket to see 'The Importance of Being Earnest' for Christmas and last night was the night it was going to happen! At first it was a bit strange not to see Colin Firth and Rupert Everett on stage (I love that version), but the actors on stage did such a good job that they were soon forgotten. I loved the performance and it was a fantastic ending to a great day.

Thursday 22 February 2018

Brom is traveling again


And here I am again! Finally really, because we left Norway on Monday and now it's already Thursday!! But Mara says she and Gera have been really busy doing not much and that is tiring work.

Mara, I think we're in the wrong country!!!
But let me get back to Monday first. It was early. Really early. Like 4 am early that we had to wake up. First there was a car to pick us up and take us to the airport. There we took a plane to Oslo, which was late. Then we took another plane to London, which was late leaving but on time arriving. 

It was the right country... pfew!
And then we took yet another plane to Belfast. From there we took a bus, then a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaally slow train and another taxi and we were finally home away from home. 

Crocuses in Belfast, on our way to the train station
On Tuesday we took it easy. Mara was still a bit tired from the day before, even though she had slept for ages (like 87 hours or something like that) and since it is a holiday... 

Where are we going again?
In the afternoon however we went for a little walk. The walk was around a local lake and was really quite pretty, also because the weather was quite nice. By the way: the weather is supposed to be good all week!

Blooming gorse
In the evening Gera had to go out and left Mara and me on our own. Well, I say our own, Mouse was of course there as well. Plus some friends of Gera's. Party-time!

The lake we walked around

Wednesday 14 February 2018

L'amour, de Paris


Surprise! Ç'est moi!! Ç'était trop longtemps, mais je suis retourné! Et Mara m'as dit, que je peux écrire quelque chose, parce aujourd'hui ç'est le Jour de Valentin! Et ç'est un jour spécial, parce que ç'est le jour de l'amour! 💓💓💓 Ah, l'amour...💓💓💓

Mais, pourquoi j'ecris en français? Parce que Ville de Blog a décidée d'aller à Paris pour célebrer ce grand jour d'amour. 💓💓💓 

Je pourrais vous montrer le Tour Eiffel ou le Louvre. Le Sacré Coeur, la Notre Dame? Ç'est un peu embettant, n'est-ce pas? Alors, je vais vous montrer quelque chose d'autre: le Palais de Versailles et l'Hameau de Marie-Antoinette. 

Il y avait beaucoup d'amour 💓💓💓 au Palais. Des rois et des reines, des princes et des princesses et tous les maîtres et maîtresses. Madame de Pompadour était une maîtresse. Le roi l'aimait 💓💓💓 mieux que son épousse! Ooh la la, l'amour! 💓💓💓 

Dans le palais il y a beaucoup des salles et des chambres. La salle aux mirroires est fantastique avec les grandes mirroires et les chandeliers. La chambre d'une reine était ouverte. Tous le monde pouvait voir la reine, pendant elle était au lit! Mais le palais manquait des salles de bains! Quand le roi devait fair pipi ou caca, il le faisait dans un coin! Eurgh!!

Au dehors, il y a l'Hameau de Marie-Antoinette. Un petit hameau qui était fait pour elle, parce-que elle voulait fair le boulot d'une laitière par example! Elle le ne faisait pas bien sûr, mais ç'est un jardin magnifique quand même.

Il n'y avait pas seulement une laiterie, il y avait aussi un moulin d'eau et des autres bâtiments. Et en plus des animaux comme des vaches, des cochons, des oies et beaucoup plus. Mara m'a dit, qu'elle aimait 💓💓💓 ce jardin, ç'était encore mieux que le palais!

J'éspère que vous tous ont pris plaisir de ces photos et que Google traduction vous a aidé, si vous avez besoin bien sûr! Moi, j'ai aimé 💓💓💓 écrire en français. 

PS: vous aimez 💓💓💓 ma tenue? Ç'est la Maman de Madi qui me l'a fait! Merci beaucoup, je l'aime 💓💓💓.

Sunday 11 February 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-05

For days now the prediction for today was snow and heavy snow at that. This was at 11am. Yes, it looks very snowy indeed...

Friday 9 February 2018

Oh my!

It's been over a week since I last wrote. Another bout of not much going on, not willing to go online (honestly, the computer remained off for several days in a row) and having found a nice book to read. 

Of course some things did happen. I got news from the Northern Irish bus company. They sent me two trial tests that I would need to do. Now it's just a case of finding a date to do them. Apparently it is not possible to put me in a small corner of an empty office while I am staying with my sister soon, so I would have to book a flight (cost between 300 and 600 pounds) take the train and/or bus and/or taxi (all at extra costs) to do a test that will not last more than two hours. Frustration is putting it mildly.

Today was another big day. First of all: work. Nothing really special there. Then, once I was finished at 8.45 am it was time to make for the dentist. Fortunately I now know that when they say Maria they probably mean me, since they can't pronounce my proper first name. They took their x-rays, put some paste on my teeth, cleared a bit of plaque and told me I was done for another year. Brill...

Next it was the physio. A bit of creaking and pushing and pulling and a bit of current and then I was done. Cookie Car was thirsty so got a drink, I needed some more pills (as in 'the pill' against my endometriosis) and then it was off home. Because...

It was Olympic time!!!

Don't you just love it? I certainly do. I am not the most faithful of sports watchers. I don't do football or handball (a massive sport in Norway), but I do do the Olympics. And today was the opening. First country out: Greece. Nothing special. But then: Ghana! Huh?? Followed by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and all of a sudden the Netherlands walked in! 

Of course the countries walk in in alphabetical order of the host nation language. Which meant some complete surprises. When the United States came out, I thought the next might be Ukraine or the United Kingdom. It turned out to be Bermuda. In bermuda shorts no less! Although nothing on the gentleman from Tonga who came in bare chested. I was freezing for him, but he didn't seem to mind much. The entrance from both Koreas at once brought a tear to my eye. 

Ah well, the Olympics have started, a provisional list has been made of the sports I definitely want to see (biathlon, of course, and the longest speed skating events). Otherwise, I will see what I can catch. And I hope I will be back a bit more. No point in having a blog if I don't blog...

Thursday 1 February 2018

Money money money

Whenever I tell people what I earn here in Norway, they are always quite surprised: that much?? What they don't see at first glance is that when I buy things, it also costs that much! For example: a simple pint of lager in a bar downtown could easily set me back 100 kroner (more in some cases), whereas I would pay half that in the UK. It's relative.

I get by quite easily. At the end of the month I have been able to save up over 10% of my wages and usually still have some money left over. I don't complain. But it is quite a shock when you get to see the 'average wages list' of jobs here in Norway. And you just know you're in the wrong line of work.

You may have guessed that my job as a bus driver is not a high ranking one. Putting up our wages means having to put up ticket prices which in turn means fewer people take the bus which means that there is no need for so many lines and in turn that means no lines no buses and no bus drivers. A vicious (literally) circle. 

Every year a list is compiled with the average wage of every profession. A total of 335 professions made it onto the list of 2017. I definitely do not want to be working as a helper in a farming situation: the lowest of the bunch. Bingo hosts (yes bingo hosts) and bookies are not that much higher on the list: 322. Tour guides only make 314 (although to be fair, that is their wage, they might get some in tips which of course is not listed). The 'everythingpossibleman' (probably a handy man) made it onto place number 304. 

The top end of the list is filled with doctors, managers (the one in oil/gas is in first place), judges, engineers etc. 

So, where am I? What place on this grand list do we bus drivers fill? Drumroll.... place 252! Perhaps I should become a writer (88), 'another engineer' (77), train driver (63) or a politician (24). Or I could remain a bus driver and enjoy my job.