Monday 25 May 2020

Project 30

Back in 1991 in Italy
Now the rooms are done (one more to do, but that will start next week), I need something else to do. And it presented itself with a dress. A tight fitting dress at that. Which... ehm... wasn't supposed to fit tightly.

Yes, my next project is to loose some weight. Ever since this whole Corona crisis thing I have put on a few pounds here and there. Add those to the ones I already had collected over the years and it is a sizable me standing on the scales.

I remember working in Italy a lifetime ago. I was thin, I was tanned, I looked great. I moved to France. I was thin, I was in reasonable shape, I looked great. I moved to England and within a year my gp told me to watch my weight. I didn't listen.

The triathlon in 2016, not thin and most certainly not fit!
Over the years I tried to loose. When I wanted in the army for example. I did loose some, I became a bit fitter, but never made it through the tests. I became a busdriver then. The perfect job to not gain weight. Ha!

And over the years that followed the weight was put on. And on. And on. Until I now have a dress that shouldn't fit tightly, but does anyway. I got to thinking: I have just ordered my uniform (not a clue when I start yet), what if the size I ordered is not the right size anymore. Better loose some weight in that case.

So, the new project is called Project 30 and is supposed to help me loose 30 kilograms (66 pounds). And yes, I know, I won't loose it in one year. It might take several years. Or it might never happen as I do love my food and I don't particularly like moving about in an energetic manner. But I will give it my best go.

'Safe weight loss by Adiposetten weight loss tablets'
Don't worry though: I am not going to starve myself. There will be no pills, nor potions. I will most likely not even become a member of a gym as I know myself: go twice, become a sponsor for the next five years! But cutting down on the intake, getting back to walking and becoming a bit more active will have to be enough. 

I will keep you posted on how I go. My first goal is 105, which means about a kilo (2 pounds) to loose now. 

Sunday 24 May 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-11

Miss Oswin can catch baby birds, but this dragon fly was too fast for her. 

I caught it on the fence. Not the most glorious of colours though...

Friday 22 May 2020

Miss Oswin is on the hunt


Wow, it has been a long time since I was allowed here. I know Mara sometimes tells you a bit about me, but I think it's very important to make sure I do tell you about the MBF in the WWU myself. Just so you won't forget...

The tree in which they reside we think
look closely and you can see an adult great tit
And today I will tell you all about my hunting skills. Because this week I didn't catch one, but two birds! The first one was a baby great tit (oh, Mara told you about it), but Mara took it from me and after that I wasn't allowed out anymore that day. 

Chittering on the fence
Yesterday I was sitting next to Mara in the garden and there was another great tit just chattering away to us. It was hopping from one end of the fence to the other and back and just chittering and chattering. I didn't move a muscle, although I would have liked to have caught it, I can tell you.

You just fly, I will catch you someday!
Today I was allowed out again because the weather is quite nice right now. And all of a sudden I saw another little birdie. With an almighty jump I caught it and brought it in. Where Mara got hold of me and locked me in the kitchen! And when I came back out the birdie was gone. I will have to catch another one now to play with...

The first great tit
Note from the editor: the first baby great tit was very alert and very determined to get as far away from my hands as possible. As it was fledging anyway, I put it in the garden and crossed my fingers for a safe return to its parents.

It looked really sad in my dad's hand
Alas the second baby great tit was perhaps fledging (as it was on the fence where Miss Oswin caught it), but after being caught it was definitely not alert. It barely moved apart from breathing. My dad put it at the other side of the house near a garden wall, where we hope it will be okay, although Miss Oswin isn't the only feline roaming the streets here and it was in a fairly bad state. 

Wednesday 20 May 2020

A blergh day

A couple of nights ago I went to bed early, feeling a bit blergh. Just a bit not okay really. There was nothing wrong with me, I didn't have the sniffles, nor a headache (two weeks and counting, yay), I was just a bit ... oh you know... blergh.

I might have gone to bed early, but I didn't sleep well. I woke up every so often, having to visit the bathroom. Or I was hot. Or not comfortable. And when I finally got up, I didn't really feel like doing anything at all. It was my turn to cook, but it wasn't going to happen, so my mum made dinner instead. 

I posted about it online. And somebody asked me why I had a blergh day and this is what I wrote (translated into English): It's just... I want to go to work, I want to see people and I am totally fed up with the 1,5 meter rule. So...

I think a lot of people will feel like this. Just fed up with it all. And platitudes like 'people who have Corona are literally fed up' don't work. I know that. I know people who live alone (like my sister in NI) have it even harder. They speak only to people through a line, not even face to face. I can talk and touch. 

But that doesn't mean I don't feel blergh. Or that me feeling blergh is to be pushed aside with platitudes or well meaning nothingnesses. I just had a bad day, feeling the situation was getting a bit much.

I wasn't the only one feeling a bit blergh yesterday, although it didn't start out that way. Miss Oswin was out and about and enjoying her freedom. And then she came in to show us what she had caught. A little great tit. Alive as well. Only young, too young really. A bit like last year (read more here). But we rescued it, it fluttered a bit (no flying just yet) and in the end it disappeared under the hedge, from where it disappeared altogether. Hopefully not in some other cat's stomach!

Tuesday 19 May 2020

More home made

You saw the curtains my mum made yesterday. But I have also been working on my stuff. Like the cardigan. I have already shown you one of them: the blue one with a red block. I made a red one as well though, with a lilac block and sleeve. I am very chuffed with them. They are two different sizes as well, which is even more fun.

When the second one was finished I started on a green one. But where the first two were a cotton (with some acrylic overlay), the green one is a wool one. And it just doesn't look as nice as the other ones. This is mainly to do with the fact that I used a smaller needle for the cotton ones and the set needles for the green one. And it makes it look sloppy.

So, when I made a mistake, I thought: forget this. I will unravel and start afresh with smaller needles, that way it will look nicer. I hope so anyway, as I haven't started yet.

Apart from doing up the room (finished) and knitting (never finished), I also have to cook on occasion. My parents and I share the responsibility, so we all have to take our turn to cook. But I don't always want to cook the regular things. Even if the dinner I had to heat up last Wednesday counted as cooking, it was just heating it up. The work of a minute really. 

What I am trying to say is this: occasionally I want to try my hand at something else. At the end of last year I saw a fish pie being made by the Hairy Bikers (love them) and I have made that one twice already: it is yum. Then a couple of months ago I made spare ribs from scratch. Another repeat offender there. 

This time around I thought I would try my hand at gnocchi. It sounded easy enough and indeed it turned out to be. I made a mushroom, spinach and blue cheese version for my parents (bland, not enough mushroom, too much spinach, blue cheese not strong enough were some of the comments) and a tomato, basil and mozzarella version for me (yum, too many tomatoes, didn't like the mozzarella were some of the comments). 

The main thing was though: the gnocchi themselves were okay. It was just the sauce or rest of the dish that needed some tweaking. I knew their version (the mushroomy one) was bland, as there was no mention of salt, pepper or any other type of herb or spice mentioned. Plus I don't taste ever, and definitely not mushrooms. My dad did like the spinach as it was put on, my mum didn't. And the blue cheese was definitely not very blue and it was on the lower end of the taste strength scale. 

Next time I will probably try a mushroom cream sauce with some garlic, then add some cheese at the end and put it in the oven for the last few minutes. The tomato/basil and mozzarella version was perfect as was, even though my mum thought the tomatoes were overpowering. She can eat the mushroom one!

PS: no photos were made of the gnocchi. Perhaps next time...

Sunday 17 May 2020

Home made

I have the title, now how to write this post? Well, let's start with the first home made things: the curtains in my room. And yes, they are home made. By my mum, who knows things about sewing. About a week ago my mum and I made our way to the fabric and furnishing shop in town to have a look at what I wanted. After a good rummage, we found a lovely fabric. The only problem was that it could only be sewn in one way in order to have it the right side up. It was nixed.

The next fabric (that the sales assistant sort of led us to) was much better. First of all it was much wider and second of all: it could go every which way without losing the image. Oh, and it was cheaper as well, which is always good. It was a bit of dilemma how much to take though: the sales assistant and I were on the same page, my mum was on another altogether. We went with the sales assistant.

After a few days my mum got to work. First it was the small curtain that doesn't do anything apart from looking pretty. Literally. It doesn't cover the whole of the window, but it looks nice. And it hides the blinds behind it. But then she got to work with the real deal. Did I want it this way or that and how was it going to be fastened (rings). 

But the rings wouldn't work, so bands it was. But some would need velcro so it could be opened when needed. While I was watching Doctor Who, my mum was sewing. And oohing and aahing. Mumbling and grumbling. Until the first curtain was finished. It looked great. We hung it. It looked awful. Adjustments needed to be made. It looked great again. 

The second curtain was easy after that. Much less grumbling for a start. But the result was perfect. Exactly what I had in mind. It may not hold up in the court of professional sewers. I don't care. I love them. And I know who made them. 

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Well, it is a holiday!

Goodness me, one week without blogging and guess what: they have thrown everything in the blender to make something new! Ah well, I will learn I guess. The past week was a busy week. What with Corona we thought we might as well do some upgrades to the house. Well, to two bedrooms anyway. My parents' room was getting new carpet and my room was getting completely redone. 

You have seen the end of the wallpaper (everything is creamy white now). You have seen the end of the dividing wall. You have seen the end of the carpet. But last week the new carpet arrived. And I put up a new storage unit. It was a struggle with the wardrobes, but they are in now and with enough room for my clothes. At the moment. 

Going through the photos then. The top photo you have seen before. It was the old situation, brown and small and old. Not nice at all. The second photo shows the carpet going in. It might look as if it is a bit of a mess, but I can tell you: that carpet man was fast and very good. 

The third photo shows how it was after the carpet man left. Bed upended, left over carpet in the corner. We were allowed in, but had to wait three hours before we could vacuum. And we could only start rearranging stuff after vacuuming had been done.

The first thing to find its new place in the room is the guest bed. It is a single bed, very heavy due to the motor and has to be in the room as there is no room elsewhere in the house. Even after all of the clearing we have done in recent times. 

Then it was time for the wardrobes. One on either side of the room. Next was my bed. It was put the right way up again and somehow we found all the mattresses and covers and stuff for it. It was spread out all over the attic.

Following that was the turn of the new furniture that I had to put together. Two small storage units that were to be used as bedside tables and a bigger one to hold stuff. (I bought a third small one later on as well)
The area 'behind the curtain' was next to be filled. Stuff belonging to my parents and stuff belonging to me all found there place. The curtain rails are up, but my mum hasn't started on the curtains yet, although I have bought the fabric. It will look all nice and tidy once it is up. 

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Our second trip

The Jacques Brel Youth Hostel in Brussels
In 1996 my sister and I went on our second trip. I had recently moved out of our parental home, yet still seemed to find the money to go on this holiday. We went to Belgium and Luxembourg and saw a few things. Not sure how long it was we were away, but I think about 10 days. 

Me on the left, Gera on the right
We stayed in the youth hostel in Brussels for a few days and saw some of the city. I can't remember that much of it, and we certainly weren't that touristy yet. I think we both preferred shops at that point, but without any money...

Fixing the light
After that we made our way to Luxembourg. We stayed in several youth hostels there, in Luxembourg City, Echternach and another one (Ettelbrück?). In Luxembourg City we visited the casemattes, which was a climb. I remember being stuck in traffic in that city as well, and the ambulance that just kept on howling and never got any closer. 

Lunch on our walk
Our second stop was in Echternach, which had always been on the list even when we still went on holiday with our parents. From there we walked to the next youth hostel and the day after that we walked back. That hike taught me one thing: when using the great outdoors for a bathroom, always check what you hover over. In my case it must have been something that bit as there were some strangely located sting marks...

Rummicub: a must on holiday!
There was another stop we were due to make in Luxembourg, but it had completely changed from when we had been there before. With our parents it had been a lovely out of the way youth hostel. But only a few years later there was a complete (holiday) village around it. The atmosphere had completely changed and we decided to go elsewhere.

It was that time in life where you had to use payphones to phone home
Our last stop was in Belgium again. We had booked the youth hostel in Tongeren, but when we arrived they said they didn't have the room. Well, they did, but that would mean two people in a 20-bed dorm. We got in in the end and had a lovely night in a really quiet room.

Overlooking Echternach from the youth hostel window

Monday 4 May 2020

A new week

My sister scrambling down somewhere
As a new week begins and we will start to empty my parents' bedroom ahead of the new carpet come Friday, I thought I wouldn't bore you too much with that, instead showing photos of holidays and trips I have had over the years. 

My sister reading in the car
My main traveling partner over the past few years has been my sister Gera. When I returned home in 1994 after a 5 year stint abroad, she was no longer the annoying little sister, but a reasonably okay late teen, turning into a great adult. We have had several trips together and over the past few years we try to do one trip at least.

My sister on the beach
Our first trip however was a trip to Wales, partly to be present at my goddaughter's baptism in England as well. We took my little red car and drove and saw and enjoyed. Of course we had little altercations (why she couldn't find the place we were heading for on the map of Wales in under three seconds is still beyond me), but on the whole we had a great time.

Me and my goddaughter, she is 25 now!
So, because we can't be on our holiday this year, some memories of bygone years. Starting with that trip to Wales...

Sunday 3 May 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-10

My parents as they were back in 1970 (the photo on the window) and as they were yesterday, fifty years later. 

Friday 1 May 2020

50 years

Well, the first day of my holiday has started. Which happens to be on my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. A party had been planned for tomorrow, but this Corona mess you know...

So, my holiday didn't start out the way I wanted to. Instead I have had a lie-in until 6.30 am when my alarm went off. Decorating time! Just because Corona is messing up everybody's life, doesn't mean I can't decorate. There were balloons to blow up (the pump took ages), there was a flag to be flown, there were things to be taped to the windows and door frames. 

Filled to overflowing with food and drink
During that time my parents were not allowed out of their room. They had to stay up there, until I called them. Which I could only do after breakfast arrived (courtesy of my brother and his family). I say breakfast: it was a champagne breakfast! 

Yep, my mum and dad on their wedding day
I then called my parents down and they were able to tuck in. By then they had received several telephone calls from people they knew. Although the question was how those people knew about their anniversary. Simple: they read the newspaper and we children had put a notice in. 

The haul so far
Flowers started arriving, as did cards. And unfortunately the rain as well, but we weren't going anywhere anyway... There was cake, phone calls, e-mails, more flowers. My parents sure know a lot of people. 

Flowers from my sister
Fifty years together. It's a shame we can't celebrate like the plan was, but at least they are not forgotten. Everybody made sure of that!