Thursday 30 August 2018

Miss Oswin is a bit scared...


Do you remember a few weeks ago when I went outside? I had a really good time, until I hadn't and I got quite scared. Eventually Mara opened the door again for me and I was able to be safe in my own home again. 

Yesterday Mara thought it was okay for me to go outside again, but I wasn't so sure. Of course there are birdies and mouses to catch, but there is also a big nasty dog and several nasty neighbour cats! 

But, I came down the stairs and went outside and then after I had had a good sniff around the front door, Mara opened the garage door with so much noise, I had to scoot upstairs to be safe!

Today she tried again. I was not convinced. The nasty dog and the nasty cats and the nasty garage door were all still there you know! But she told me I was going to be okay. And I thought, okay, I would give it another go. 

I did go down very carefully. And I went outside very carefully as well. You never know after all. Mara might say it's okay, but you can't be too careful with nasty dogs and cats and garage doors! 

I was outside only a minute or so. Then Mara wanted to say something to me and I decided to better be safe than sorry and went back upstairs. Whatever she wanted to say, could be said indoors just as well!!!

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Rainbow felines

Wuppie was my first feline love! The first time I saw him, he was just a little ball of fluff and so adorable! He grew up to be a large, rather dumb tom, but still adorable. I could never be angry with him for long. Even when he grabbed the steak off the table or the sausage from the fridge! When I had to leave him behind in the Netherlands, I cried for so long, my parents had to come down to console me!

Mathilda came along with Wuppie, because I didn't want him to be on his own. She had her own quirks: out of all the cats, she never miaowed, unless in trouble (like being locked in the airing cupboard). She was outgoing, friendly and always wanted to be petted. She would never sit still long enough to take a photo, because as soon as you moved, she thought she might get attention and was on the move as well. 

Sophie was a little farm cat that had definitely not been socialised enough. She was a bit of a scaredy cat and especially in later life, was very prone to being bullied by the others. Which in turn meant that she was allowed to spend her nights with me in the bedroom. The one time she tried to climb a tree was not a good experience though: I had to get her out and after that, she didn't go outside, unless I was out as well!

Julius came to live with us and was such a loving cat. He loved playing catch (actually bringing the little cloth ball back to me, sort of) and could play that for hours. Unfortunately he contracted some bladder problems, after which he stopped using the litterbox. In the end I had to take him to the shelter, because I just didn't have the time for him anymore. Never again though!

Linette was an outside cat that was hungry. And every day she got closer, until she was inside and I closed the door on her. Nobody seemed to own her and nobody wanted her, so in the end we kept her. She always was a very thin cat, especially in the summer, when she would stay outside for days on end without eating. She had a special relationship with Wuppie, needing a lick on her head every so often and being happy after that. 

These were the five cats I owned before Miss Oswin came into my life. They are still very much missed!

This post is for the Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, which actually took place yesterday. Blame it on the time zones!

Tuesday 28 August 2018

A bit of everything

Breakfast on board
Well, whatever the summer was like wherever you live, over here in Northern Ireland I think it's over. Temperatures are dropping and I am about to put the heating on. If I were ever home long enough that is! And since my hours have not diminished (am on 58+ hours a week now) and I have so far not found another job with fewer hours, a cardigan will do as well to keep me warm. 

You may have heard/seen that the Pope was in Ireland this past weekend, which meant it was really busy at work. Mind you, I only did the Glasgow runs, so I was fine traffic wise. Talking of the Glasgow run: yesterday I did the late one and as I looked around while driving, I noticed a yellow sheep. And then I saw that the whole herd was yellow! It was quite funny to see. Especially since in the next field they were all their regular colour! We figured the sheep had just been dipped*, hence the colour. Nothing to do with a farmer with too much time on his hands. 

Lunch or dinner on board
Where I did work a lot last week (72 hours), this week will see me relaxing a bit more. Later today I have a relatively short trip. I don't know yet what tomorrow will bring, but Thursday, Saturday and Sunday I am off. Thursday night my sister and I will attend a 'Little Women' musical and during the weekend she and I will go to the Spinning Yarn festival. 

That's it for me. Still tired, still lonely, still thinking of greener pastures, but otherwise okay. 

*Farmers will dip their sheep in a liquid mixture of insecticide and fungicide to protect their sheep from infestation against external parasites such as itch mite, blow-fly, ticks and lice.

Saturday 25 August 2018

More frustrations

As I mentioned once before: Northern Ireland does NOT work. Everything you want needs papers filling out. Preferably in threefold and if possible several forms for one thing. It drives me mad after five years in Norway, where I had to fill out all my details once and after that it was sorted.

On Thursday I thought it might be a good idea to get my driver's licence exchanged. It needs to be done within a year, but preferable as soon as possible. Since I also need a new driver's card (digital tachograph), I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. 

Of course, my thinking was not the Northern Irish way of thinking. The form I originally had was for cars and mopeds. I needed one for lorries and buses. Then I needed another form (containing the exact same questions) to apply for the tiny bit on my current driver's licence that will go on another card here in Northern Ireland. And when I finally filled out the form for the driver's card: guess what: THE SAME (&%^%$&##) QUESTIONS AGAIN!!!

When I tried to hand the lot in, I was told that 'oh, you also need a medical and a police check'. Come on! My licence is 9 months old! In the end I went home empty-handed and quite peeved off at how this country just DOES NOT WORK!!! Take some lessons folk, from a country like Norway. Which works...

Anyway, the digital tacho card will be ordered soon and for the driver's licence I will just wait a bit longer and get it sorted in my own time. *Grumble grumble*

Thursday 23 August 2018


It wasn't one of these
The other night as I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, I heard this strange noise. Like an animal in distress. And a large animal at that. It wasn't a sound I had ever heard before and it was quite a strange noise as well. Should I get out of bed and check it out?

In the end I didn't. A tame kitty-cat is one thing, a large unknown wild animal is a completely different one. Then I heard the rustling of a bush, as if the large animal had gone straight through. I heard the clippety-clop of hooves on the road and thought the animal had managed to get him/herself out of trouble. Until the noise started up again. 

Eventually, the second animal ceased its noisiness as well and clippety-clopped away. Well, I say away, I heard it clippety-clopping in the area for quite some time. But fortunately the other noise had stopped and I eventually fell asleep.

But probably more like one of these
Photo taken in Scotland in 2008
When I told my sister about it on Wednesday, she came up with a very plausible explanation. It hadn't been an animal in distress (or several), it is the rutting season for deer! Basically, two deer had either had a tiff, or there had been a bit of loving going on. 

I wish I had opened the window now to have a look...

Sunday 19 August 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-21

A gift I received from one of my young neighbours. A little boat she toiled over for some time. Thank you so much K!

Tuesday 14 August 2018


The stable block, now in use as museum/shop/restaurant
I visited Antrim Castle Gardens last week. I didn't get to see everything, but that was okay. Another time will do nicely. And now we have picked another time as well, although not to see the gardens really. More to visit a festival that will take place there.

When I walked around there I saw this banner for the upcoming 'Spinning Yarns Festival'. After I told my sister and showed her the leaflet I had taken home, she was quite interested as well. Today I booked the tickets. 

And not only the tickets for the festival. Also tickets to make a rag rug wreathe (say it quickly please, several times, doesn't it sound just fantastic?) during the afternoon. It will be a three-hour workshop and I am really looking forward to it. I will have to wait just over two weeks, but still.

In other news, a local theatre group is putting up a musical of 'Little Women', and my sister and I will be seeing that as well. And to top it all off: my parents will be coming in a month's time and staying with my sister or me or both. Not sure yet. 

Sunday 12 August 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-20

Go somewhere nice and you have a week's worth of posts! In this case a Photo on Sunday! And it features...

A ladder! A great stonking big ladder. Which was used until recently to trim the yew tree hedges in the castle gardens. You couldn't go wrong either: the top of the ladder plus a person equals the top of the hedge! And you can see it's high: nearly to the top of the ceiling of the second floor! 

Friday 10 August 2018

Flower Friday

As I made my way through the Antrim Castle Gardens, there were plenty of flowers to enjoy. Some already past their best, others just starting to bloom. And I thought: why not join Flower Friday as hosted by Arty, Jakey and Rosy with all those blooms! 

Most of the gardens were pretty green with trees and grass, but there were several borders with some flowers in them. Of course I don't know the name of most flowers (can name a tulip and a daisy, neither were there), meaning if you want to know more about them: don't ask me!

I do know this one though: lavender! I even ran my hand up one of them to smell. Don't worry: it was one without bee!

Walking around and trying to take nice photos usually involves getting on my knees as well (no photos of that). Fortunately, despite the heavy rain an hour earlier, the ground was pretty dry and I didn't get too dirty!

I loved these. They had a bit of the thistle about them (which reminded me of Yamini), but their bloom had gone. The colour of the stalks was lovely though: grey/blue/purple. 

Another flower that I should really know the name of, but nope. It never came to me. But they are as pretty without the name I can tell you!

These look like my favourite flowers (Sweet William) and might even be, but they weren't exactly the ones I prefer. Very pretty though!

Isn't nature incredible in making perfect round shapes without any bother? I try to do that freehand and I end up with an egg! Which apparently is not a flower!!

My very favourite photo of the day however was this one. The allium family I believe, so not all is lost. I don't usually crop photos, preferring to show as taken, but this one needed a bit, since there was a slight hedge border on the bottom. This one might actually end up being made into one of my 'arty' photos to hang on the wall! 

Wednesday 8 August 2018

The castle

The only part still standing
About two weeks ago on a Sunday, my sister and I wanted to visit Antrim Castle. So, we drove up to Antrim, only found Antrim Castle gardens (with a full car park) and eventually made our way to the blue and yellow Swedish shop. As you do...

Six Mile River
However, I still wanted to visit the castle and while working last night (waiting really), I looked up the castle and its gardens. Today I made my way over there. I did find the castle eventually. Well, what was left of it anyway, after a fire destroyed most of it during the 1920's and the remainder was mostly torn down in the 1970's.

Not quite a duckling, not quite a duck
The gardens however were still there and they were quite lovely to spend an afternoon in. I saw part of the ruins as I said, but I also saw old trees, teenage ducks, Six Mile River (so named because it is six miles long. Whodathunkit?) and flowers. I did not make my way over to the largest lake of the British Isles: Lough Neagh. Mind you, I live quite close to it anyway. 

The wolfhound that saved one of the owners from a wolf back in the day
It was definitely worth a visit and next time I will drag my sister along as well. Just to show her the 'castle'!

Tuesday 7 August 2018

I want to you know!

My sister and I on our way to the choir competition
I really do. I want to write something today, but somehow inspiration has fled. Meaning I don't really have anything to write about. Really. 

But, let's start with the essential things: I am fine. After finally airing my feelings and even talking to my boss about them, I have become a bit easier within myself. Not great, but fine. The teary outburst I had at work probably helped as well: they had been sitting very high for about two weeks already!

Castle Ward in May
I have not heard from the other company as yet, well apart from an email by the person I was in touch with back in January/February saying he had moved on to another function within the company, but that he was going to pass my details on to the relevant person. 

As for the current job, the tears helped and the fact that they seem to be giving me fewer hours of late. Today for example I start in about an hour (5 pm) and finish around 10 I would say. Mind you, in the four days I did work last week, I still managed to accrue over 55 hours! There might be more hours coming my way this week as well, since this and next week are apparently quite busy. 

After our visit to the Marble Arch Caves in June
I scared myself and Miss Oswin today, by getting the vacuum cleaner out. Third time in a month of living here! Plus, I did the dishes and everything looks tidy. Not sure what has come over me, but I will 'enjoy' it will it lasts! It took Miss Oswin an hour of hiding under my bed before she deemed it safe to come out again though. 

Oh, something else: I have lost weight. I don't see it so much, but I definitely notice it: I keep having to pull up my work trousers. The stress of late plus a bad eating habit means that I have probably lost several kilos. Nothing like a bit of stress and loneliness eh?

Belfast Zoo in June
That's it! I have nothing more to say for the moment. I will leave you with some photos from my time here in Northern Ireland...

Sunday 5 August 2018

Photo on Sunday 2018-19

I put this photo on Facebook of an itty bitty spider I found in the sink in the garage. It didn't bother me, it didn't jump out at me, it just sat there. So, I took the photo and left it in peace! 

Friday 3 August 2018

All things medical

To prevent this, I need medication
Today was a medical day. I had tried to register at my local GP on Wednesday and had been given a mountain of paperwork to fill out. I handed it in again today and this afternoon one of the GP's called me about some medication (ie the birth control pill) I use to combat endometriosis. I had run out in early July, thinking I had another batch at home and realising I hadn't. 

Anyway, he didn't recognise the type of pill I used in Norway and had to consult with both the pharmacist and another pill-type person to find out if they had something similar here in NI. Which they did. My sister is picking it up as we speak, since I had taken another pill today (yep, the H) which prevents me from driving today.

Back in 2015 at the little cottage in the Norwegian countryside
However, before that, I had been driving. To the vet. With a howling Miss O beside me, who hid the minute I came up with the crate in my hand. She knows it's bad news! Not sure about this vet though. I guess she was nice enough, but she never even looked at Miss O, just gave her the shot. Oh, and at my request checked the chip number. That's it. She didn't ask about Miss O, she didn't look at her, she didn't check her over or anything. I know it was busy, but still... 

Wednesday 1 August 2018

The three month mark

Full of hope
I had a little look back at what I did within my first three months in Norway. A country where I hardly spoke the language, barely understood anybody and where everything was completely new to me.

Here goes: a union meeting, dentist, accident & emergency (not necessary wanted, but hey), union party, an interview for the paper, another union meeting, a staff meeting. I went on walks and met a lot of colleagues at work.

What did you do?
So, what have I been doing in my first three months in Northern Ireland? Where I speak the language and understood most people most of the time.

I have worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Been to some caves. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Moved. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Butterfly garden. Worked. Worked. Worked. Got the car MOT'ed. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Worked. Oh, and I worked.

My head is nowhere near the sand!
Needless to say, something has to give. And as I don't want it to be me, I have decided it has to be the job. I am on an average of over 55 hours a week and I am tired and lonely, even with my sister so close. I have had no chance to meet anybody at all or join a club or something like that.

I will keep you posted, but let's just say, I hope the next three months will be better than the first three.