Thursday, 28 February 2019

Miss Oswin goes exploring


Well, what can I say. Perhaps this move wasn't so bad after all! First I have a great big house to live in, with windows everywhere so I can see out. Second I have an Oma with a lot of cat toys in her room that I will one day play with. And third that very same Oma wanted to have some fresh air in the house today.

Which meant opening the garden door! Mara had called me down first of all, so I could see what was happening. And then she let me go out! It was lovely. The sun was shining, there were birds singing and the smells... So many smells...

This gate is not going to stop me!
I explored a bit in the garden and then I crawled underneath the garden gate and found a whole wide world. There was a car that smelt funny. Then another one. There were plants everywhere. I found the opening to the yard at the front door, but didn't stay there long.

I think it drove to the supermarket today
I went back to the garden and found the door again. Mara was very pleased with me because she says it's very important for me to know where I live. After all I am a Norwegian cat who does not speak the same language as the other cats in the neighbourhood. And if I get lost*, I might not understand them. 

After a while Mara stopped following me around with her big camera and went inside. I remembered the last time I was outside and decided to check whether it was the right house and went in as well. It was (pfew) and I went out again. 

I think it smells like the black and white cat that I always see
I went in and out a couple of times, just to make sure and in the end I stayed in It's hard work this exploring you know! Oma then closed the door, because it is still winter you know. When Opa came down, he wanted to see for himself how I reacted and he opened the door again. He was also very pleased with me.

Real grass!
I hope they will open the door again soon, but Mara says the temperatures will go down and they are expecting rain as well. I can tell you know: I do not like getting wet!

*Miss Oswin is chipped and has now been registered in the Dutch database, so even if she were to get lost, they would be able to track me down as the owner and re-unite us.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Like riding a bike... again

A regular road, but very little traffic
Yesterday's title may have been a bit confusing, but originally the post was meant to be about the cycle tour I did yesterday. The weather was so beautiful and I really wanted to get out of the house for a few hours. 

A former hay barn, the poles with the hinge things on top, would have lifted the roof as there would have been more hay.
This is a new fixed roof and I doubt whether there was any hay in there!
I had taken my camera with me, but obviously the wrong one: only the point and shoot and there were several shots I really would have liked to make with my other camera. So, hopefully the weather will hold out for a few more days and I can make my way with my big camera and its two lenses.

The new railway bridge spanning the River IJssel
I live in Zwolle now, which is located quite near the River IJssel and that was basically my port of call so to say. In fact, I did make it to a place where a ferry would land, but only from Miss O's birthday onwards (which also happens to be the birthday of the King of the Netherlands: Willem Alexander), so no boats at the moment. 

Shot isn't the best, but I loved this house!
I saw beautiful houses and farms, plenty of geese, sheep, ponies, horses and a plastic cow. And some other animals, but I won't show them today, you will have to wait until Friday. 

This is where the (pedestrian and bike) ferry would arrive
If you look at the right of the photo, you can see two more poles on the other side: the other side of the river
I bought my bike in Northern Ireland as a birthday present and I love it. It has a basket at the front in which I can keep my bag and my camera and so on. Because I am now in the Netherlands, I have left the helmet behind, nobody wears those here, apart from some children. Mind you, most cycle routes are cycles only or on occasion a 'car is a guest' road. 

A pollard willow. 
One of the photos above is of a pollard willow. Basically it's a regular willow, but every few years the branches will be cut off to be used in furniture and basket making. For some reason the trees tend to sort of fall apart after a while (several decades) and this was a good example. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Like riding a bike

I won't be moving anytime soon by the look of things
Living with my parents is all fine and dandy, but I do need a job to fill both my days and my bank account. On day 2 of my return here my sister and I made our way to the temping agency that would actually deal with my application to become a bus driver here again. I had to call a certain person who dealt with it. 

I called on day 3 and was told to send my cv. On day 4 I heard back: somebody would contact me during the following week or the week after that. Right. I never heard a thing, which was a bit annoying, so in the end I sent them a message saying I would need to work as I have no income at the moment. The next day somebody rang and we arranged for a meeting. 

That meeting was yesterday: three weeks after my return. I would need two things before I can work: a medical and a proof of good behaviour, although the latter has to be applied for and that will be enough. I was sent the link to set up a medical, which couldn't take place until well into March! Without it there is no way I can drive. *Sigh*

The proof is another matter. That is now in the works, but will take any time between 2 and 4 weeks to come back. Not that much of a problem, but without the medical... Looking at all this, it means I probably won't be back driving a bus until the end of March, beginning of April. Not the best of news obviously. 

River barge on the River IJssel
And with that news, I decided that in the mean time I need to have some sort of other job. Factory work or something like that. Problem is that most jobs will need a period of training, lasting anything from 1 to 4 weeks! By which time I will start driving and I won't be available anymore. 

Obviously I had hoped to be working a lot faster than this. For my sanity as much as anything else. But it seems it is not to be. Until then I will be enjoying the weather (beautiful at this moment, really springy), knit and watch television. Good thing I have a roof over my head and some savings...

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Photo on Sunday 2019-07

Pepperfly sent me this proof of Linette thinking a plant pot was the perfect place to sleep in. Whether it fit or not!

Friday, 22 February 2019

Nature Friday

Linette when she already lived at Pepperfly's. She loved plants!
I don't often join in, but today I will. As you know I have recently moved back in with my parents in the Netherlands. When I was growing up, the window sill would be filled with plants. Geraniums and other iums and ias and whathaveyous. My grandmothers, my aunts and basically everybody I knew had plants on the window sill. 

Over the years less and less people have their whole sill full. Most have a few plants and then some ornaments. I never had a lot of plants, but I did have a few. Which were sometimes appropriated by a cat...

As Miss O lives here now as well, my mother decided to make some room for her. Very much appreciated by Miss O, but there was one sill that my mother decided not to empty. There is a bit of room, but there are also four pots of orchids there. And my mother is very proud of them. 

She bought the orchids several years ago when they were in full bloom. But once they had stopped blooming, she didn't throw them out, she kept them and tried to get them to bloom again. Which she managed beautifully. 

A bit scary this one, but still my favourite of them all!
So, today I am not going to bring you nature as it is outside, but as it is inside. Well, sort of anyway, as I took each separate orchid and took photos of them that way...

Fortunately Miss O has decided that they are not for her and so far she hasn't really tried to climb into any of them. Although my mother saw her dip her paw in one of the other plants this morning: she had just watered them all and there was some water in the dish!

This post was written as part of Nature Friday, organised by the lovable canines at LLB in Our Backyard.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Miss Oswin is getting used to it all. Again


It's okay for some you know, like Brom (and Mouse) and Mara, but for me, this whole moving business is not so nice. I mean, no one else got stuck in a crate without a toilet to go to! I think it's cruelty, but it was only for a short while Mara said. Like 87 hours? That's not short, that's like forever!!

Perfect to watch the world go by
But we made it eventually and I was allowed out of that awful crate and that awful car. And then I got stuck in a kitchen! What?? I was there for ages before I was allowed out to go and explore. Mara says it was five minutes at the most, but don't you believe anything she says. She said the crate was fine too!

Don't worry, he is not real
I have been living here now for two and a half weeks and I am enjoying myself a lot. It would be even better if I were able to go outside as well, but Mara says that is not going to happen just yet. If at all! What?? I promised her to be good if I were allowed out after and now this? Oh, Mara says I shouldn't fib. 

The side window
Oma grew those orchids herself!
Anyway, let me show you my new house! It is great, because there are windows again. And things happening outside so I can watch it all. Oma* says I run around from one window to another to follow the cats, but I have to don't I? I can't follow them outside, so I have to run around.

Overlooking the garden
I can go upstairs as well, but I am not allowed in all the rooms. There is a bedroom that I am not allowed in, but Opa* doesn't always look carefully and I have snuck in. I know how to get a treat you know, because Mara then has to rattle the treat tin to get me to come out! And of course she gives me a treat.

The lace making bobbins are perfect!
Oma has her own room as well, she doesn't sleep there, but she does something with a lot of things perfect to play with. Mara says she makes lace, I say she plays with cat toys and I am not allowed in! I am allowed in Opa's room though, which he now shares with Mara. They have their computers there and Opa sits by the window. I have to keep him on his toes of course, so sometimes I just jump in front of him and then I can look out of the window!

That's where Opa sits and to get to the window...
There is another upstairs as well, that is where Mara has her room. I am allowed there, but only at night, because it is cold there. Fortunately there is a big landing as well with some lovely garden seat cushions: perfect for resting after chasing cats and birds and garbage trucks.

I hope we can stay here a long time, because I like it. And one day I get to play with all the cat toys in Oma's room as well...

*Oma and Opa are Mara's Mama and Papa. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Moving along

2012, Drenthe, Netherlands
Even though it is lovely to be home doing nothing, nothing also means nothing. No money coming in, no people to meet. Nothing. 

I sent another email to the temping agency people about work. Great to see they will contact me, but it is quite vague and as the bus company doesn't deal with me directly (everything through the temping agency), I need answers. I will need a criminal record check which has to be negative (ie no criminal record) and I need a medical before I can start driving. The medical is easily done, the check might take a bit longer. 

I also decided to check my health insurance status. I have one! Last week I got a letter stating they couldn't insure me because I wasn't registered. I thought I would get a letter saying I was registered, but so far I am still waiting. However, if I do have the insurance I think I can assume I am now registered. Still with me here?

Health insurance also means something else: doctor! So, this afternoon I will be registering myself at the local surgery. I also asked for a double appointment with my doctor to be, so we can go through the medication I use and the physical and mental problems I have had over the past six years. 

Not quite there yet...
Anyway, other than that, not much going on. Yesterday I tried to find some things I would like to use at home, but alas: unless I want to move a washing machine and a drier stacked on top, no go! Although I did see some mittens that were easily accessible. When I am wearing my summer coat and still huffing away because of the temperature!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Photo on Sunday 2019-06

Starting on the nativities that I want to make for Mice for Mama.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

The days

View from Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
June 2018
My days at the moment are quiet and easy. Not being registered as yet means that some things are not possible: health insurance or finding a home for myself. Although the latter is not possible anyway as I have not got any income either. I would be able to pay first and last month and then have to live in the dark and cold and without food and drink. I have thought about it and decided it was a bad option.

I sorted through some paperwork I had left at my parents' house when I left for Norway: all before 2012 so was alright to get rid of the lot. One or two things that I kept, but everything else will be destroyed. 

Wheeeeeh, not happy here
The last couple of days I really suffered again. Well, it started last week really when I did something with my knee and it started hurting really bad. Walking the stairs was agony, sitting down was only possible with my leg in a weird angle. Driving was excruciating. Then on Monday night, I sort of fell through my knee (I didn't fall over, I just felt my knee go. Like), made a strange move, felt something click and from then on the pain started abating. Pfew.

But then the headache started again. It makes me tired and as no meds so far have been able to help, I just gave in to the sleepiness. I think it helped and today I am h-free again. As soon as that insurance is sorted: doctor! Enough is enough now. I have been suffering from migraines and headaches all my life and it is starting to impact on my life. My body doesn't recover as quickly as it did before and I am fed up.

The newest member of the Mouse family
As there is not yet much to do, I decided to make use of the one thing that I did take home to my parents: my knitting. I made a mouse and I made a Joseph. I will need to make several more Josephs, as I have already made several Marys, but it is good fun to do. Last year's charity have received the money now and this year's charity has been picked: a mental health one. 

I spoke to my sister yesterday. Usually, if we were both free, we would have a coffee on Friday afternoon. Occasionally on other days, but mostly on the Friday. It was nice to chat to her again. Even though we wouldn't chat that often when I was living close to her, being so far away again, makes it more more, if you know what I mean. It is still really strange knowing that I can't just hop in the car and thirty minutes later we meet. 

Today I made the first step to a change in career as well. For years now I have been thinking that planning is something I could do. Especially after having worked through some of what other people have thrown at me. I have twenty years experience at driving a coach and a bus and I am not stupid, so I should be able to get my head around the whole thing. What with me getting older and needing some more regularity in my life, I have decided to go back to school. Starting in March, I will be doing a transport and logistics course. It is mainly based on heavy goods transport (lorries) instead of people transport (buses), but the basics are the same: we both use the same driving laws and hours. 

No dishwasher, unless you count me!
But, it's not all serious. Yesterday I was left on my own with Miss O, Brom (and Mouse). Oh, and a pile of dishes. We stayed in, had a nice and easy afternoon and evening. I did the dishes at some point. Was mistaken for my mother on the phone (always happens, we sound the same) and watched some television. And then today I will go to a craft fair and possibly to the ice sculptures as well. Even though there is no income yet and pretty soon the bills will arrive, I have decided that doing nothing at all is not good. I need to get out and do things. Become a yes-person again!

Thursday, 14 February 2019


My first car
Remember yesterday's post about me being illegal/legal? I put a little * by the word driver's license and told you I would address that today. So here goes...

As I was talking to the lady about this that and the other, my driver's license came up. I thought it would be valid until the end of 'it'. Basically until December 2022. Until she dropped a bombshell: 185 days and it has to be exchanged. Or, in case there is no agreement between the Netherlands and Norway: I have to retake all my tests! 

Now, I owned a British license a long time ago. In fact, it was my very first one and when I moved back from England to the Netherlands back in 1994, I had it exchanged fairly quickly. Then when I moved to Norway I used my Dutch license until it 'ran out'. Basically I needed compulsory lessons and they had to be put on the license. So, a Norwegian license it was.

I moved to Northern Ireland and hey presto: one year after moving there, I would have to exchange it. *Sigh*. In the end of course that didn't happen, because I moved back to the Netherlands before the year was up. So, what's the deal now?

Well, after looking into it, it turns out that...

If it is a license issued by a member of the European Union, I can drive with it until it expires in December 2022. If it is a license issued by a member of the European Free Trade Association, the same rules apply. If it is a license issued by a country with which the Netherlands has made agreements, then the 185 day-rule comes in. And if it's a country with which the Netherlands does not have any agreement: retake all tests. 

If I had for example moved to Alberta or Quebec in Canada and then back: car license fine, bus license retake. But British Columbia or Ontario: retake the lot. My license was issued in Norway, which is not a member of the EU. It is however a member of the EFTA, which means...

December 2022! With all the trimmings. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2019


Looking out over the Atlantic Ocean over Northern Ireland
That's what people (read Mum and Dad) call me right now: illegal. I am in this country illegally. Of course that is rubbish. I have a Dutch passport and I have every right to be here. However, there are certain things I am not allowed/can't do. 

As I said, I need a compulsory health insurance. In Norway I was state-insured and only had to pay a little for doctor's visits and medication. In Northern Ireland I was state-insured and didn't have to pay anything. In the Netherlands I need the health insurance and then doctor visits are free and some medication is free. 

But the insurance companies do not want to insure people who are not officially entitled to it of course. So, if you think Dutch healthcare is better than elsewhere and you want to enjoy it, you have to be officially registered in the Netherlands. To avoid fraud obviously. 

Yesterday I went back to City Hall (well, City Office as it's called) where all things relating to officialdom is handled: births, deaths, marriages, driver's licenses*, passports, id-cards, registration to name but a few. I had the paperwork required (a letter from my Dad stating he allowed me to live with them, signed as well, isn't he the nicest Dad?) and my passport. I had to give them my last address abroad, give information about my possibly changed status (single, married, widowed, divorced, children) and that was it. 

They checked my passport against the new photo they took with their fancy gizmo on the desk (they matched apparently) and I signed a piece of paper. But, I wasn't registered yet! From the lady's office, it would go upstairs to be checked and then, if all goes well, I would be official and LEGAL! However, the lady was very kind and wrote on top that they had to deal with it asap, as I need medication. 

The medication I can get even without health insurance: full price thank you very much, both for doctor and meds. I still have enough to last me two months (endometriosis) or several attacks (migraine), but I will need a renewal after that. But once I am registered, it should be smooth running. 

*See tomorrow's post.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Week 2

On Saturday my sister left to go back home. It was tough. We have been spending so much time together in the past year that we have become even closer than we already were. Not being able to see her that often is going to be hard and I am really going to miss her. But I knew that ahead of time of course. My life for the time being will be here in the Netherlands and that means I have to get everything on the rails over here again as they say. 

Tomorrow I will be able to register myself and that has immediate consequences for other things as well: my health insurance will then become valid. Which means I can get my medication sorted (pill and migraine) and have a little looksie-over by a doctor. Right now I do not have that insurance that is compulsory here. But I should get it this week. 

At the end of this week I will be contacted by the temping company regarding my job wishes. I am a bus driver and want to go back doing that, but my paperwork is not exactly what I would need over here. Yes, I have a driver's license (Norwegian, not a problem), a digital driver's card (Northern Irish, should also not be a problem). I even have a police check from Norway. But, I don't know whether they would accept that here and of course there are nine months missing when I lived in Northern Ireland. I will also need a medical before being allowed to drive. 

I have however also decided that I might retrain to go more into the planning area of the driving. Office basically. I have found over the last year that my body is suffering more and more from the irregularity of the job and that it needs more time to recover. So, I am thinking of doing a course in transport and logistics. It's mainly aimed at the goods side of transport and not the person side, but in effect the two are quite similar. I will keep you posted on that.

Which means this week is not going to be too busy, but I do have some things to do. I will keep you posted.