Friday 31 July 2020


This year's Sand Sculptures had 75 years of Liberation as its theme. Like last year it was all brilliantly done. Unlike last year, the artists who actually made the sculptures were named on a large wall. They came from the Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria, UK, Ireland, USA, Germany, Belgium and Italy. 

As I said, the theme was 75 years of the Netherlands being liberated from the German oppressor. And just to make sure our allies knew we weren't the German enemy, these signs appeared. This one most likely done by the Canadian army. It was them and the British army that liberated most of the Netherlands. The Americans had turned right to catch Hitler(!).

The Germans had wanted several things, one of them church bells to turn into weaponry. Some of the bells were hidden and/or buried, others were taken away by the oppressor. And on some of those was written in chalk: Those who fight with God's Bells, will not win the war! Some churches did get their bells back after the war, unused, others had to get new ones.

The little village of Putten was hit extremely hard during the war. After a sabotage action by the resistance which resulted in the death of one resistance fighter and one German officer, several others being severely wounded, the Germans retaliated by setting fire to over 100 houses and capturing over 600 men and boys. In the end only 48 returned from Germany. Read more here.

Probably the most famous of all Jewish children that were killed during the war was Anne Frank. She lived the normal life of a teenage girl at the time. But she wasn't the only one: thousands of other babies, toddlers, children and teenagers lost their lives.

This was one of two large scenes, depicting Operation Market Garden. Had it worked it would have cut the war short for the Netherlands. Unfortunately it didn't and although some areas were free, other areas suffered another winter under German occupation. Hardly any food and hardly any fuel resulted in famine and hunger marches.

On the other side was another big scene that would eventually bring the Americans into play: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. That attack meant the Americans were now also at war with Germany as they declared war on the USA as well (Japan being their ally). The war in the East also meant that once Germany was defeated, the Netherlands was still in a war situation as the Dutch Indies (Indonesia now) was still occupied by the Japanese. That didn't end until August 1945.

One piece of equipment used by the Germans in the war had a very Dutch connection. Its origins were Dutch, but then there were squabbles over the copyright and such and it ended up in German hands. They continued on the theme and it wasn't until Alan Turing and his colleagues understood it that the Enigma machine was crackable.

The most important painting in the Netherlands is probably the Night Watch by Rembrandt. So, it had to be used. Just a bit differently this time though. I especially love the dog in this version.

Over the next few days I will show you plenty more sand. Just so you know!

Thursday 30 July 2020


Guess where we're going tomorrow. And no, it's not the zoo!

Tuesday 28 July 2020


No no no! Don't worry! I haven't lost my job already! In fact, the job is going great and I will start on my own from this Saturday. Just such a shame that my schedule says I have this weekend off (ahem).

However, before I did start this job, I was unemployed. And got unemployment pay. For a few months anyway. I needed to provide them with details about any jobs I might have had in other countries that would be counted towards my unemployment pay. That took some time I can tell you! 

But this past week I all of a sudden was back in. With pay as well. I am now eligible for unemployment pay (complete or partial) until early February 2021 (as they still haven't counted all the years). But, as I earn more than I would get, I will cancel the UP as soon as I have received the complete pay for June and the partial pay for July. After that I should be able to get by on just wages.

It was a nice surprise this morning though when I saw my bank account. It definitely gave me a bit of an UP!   

Monday 27 July 2020

Glorious food

One portion this!

As you know I do some cooking on occasion. Partly due to Corona where my mum wanted to keep both me and my dad busy by taking over some of the cooking duties. Partly because I work nights sometimes and make my own hot dinner then. Partly because I actually quite like cooking. Especially for more than just me.

Last week I did some cooking and I knew exactly what I wanted to make: pizza. I thought about making the base from scratch, but in the end I didn't. I just bought a rectangular base, cut it in four and put toppings on. 

And again, one portion
One was for my parents who do like cheese and mushrooms. So, they got a four cheese pizza with mushrooms and ham. From top left going round: Mozzarella, grated Gouda, some blue cheese and Cheddar. 

The other was for me and a neighbour and was a 'white' pizza, ie without tomato sauce. But it did have brie, very thin bacon (or speck) and walnuts. Plus a drizzle of honey once out of the oven. Both were yum!

Sunday 26 July 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-17

This is not the sunflower I showed you last week. That one has stubbornly refused to bloom and just keeps growing. But there was another one right next to it doing a timely job. Now for the big one to flower!

Friday 24 July 2020

On the plus side

Yes, this work thing is quite tiring. Last week I was in bed by a ridiculous early time to recover from my first week. That is not going to happen this week: I am on lates, so not normally home until well after midnight. Mind you, that also means I can have a lie-in in the morning. Provided a certain Miss O isn't hungry (which she always is).

I am slowly getting used to the daily routine of going to work again. I am still in the learning stages though. Some of the routes are easier to learn than others. Some routes are already in my head but then I get distracted and nearly go wrong anyway. Only thanks to my mentor saying: 'we should turn right here', did I avoid going wrong last night. 

But I am getting there. Apart from one route in town that I have only done once so far, I know all the main routes now. There are still some out of town routes that need some attention, one I haven't done at all and another which is just plain difficult in my opinion. It is getting better though. 

Today however, there was another reason to be joyful: wages time! And when I checked my bank account earlier today, I was happily surprised. Very happily surprised indeed. I am not yet back to full wages obviously as I only worked two weeks, but from next month I should be earning regular and I will be back to how I was before the bankruptcy trouble and Corona trouble. Finally...

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Back to books

Years ago, when I was small, I had a little problem and my mother took me to see the doctor. He prescribed some anthelmintic drugs and in no time I was fit and dandy again. Never a bother again. Ever. Well, as far as I know anyway. 

Then, over the past few days I read this book. Which was about disease. Not a novel. Not a pleasant beach read. Basically a what is what in the major human contagious diseases. Plague, smallpox, measles, some I can't pronounce, tuberculosis, polio and right at the end even some life style ones like heart disease. 

There were several diseases in the book that dealt with critter based diseases. Malaria and Dengue Fever for example are spread by mosquitoes. But there were also ones that involved worms, either outside or inside (see the anthelmintic stuff at the top: I was dewormed!). 

It was a gripping read. So many scary afflictions to die of and only one has been eradicated so far (Smallpox). In fact, I was one of the last generations of people still getting vaccinated against smallpox in the Netherlands. Ah, that might have been a better opening...

Anyway, the book was really interesting as it not only offered up the bland symptoms of syphillis and puerperal fever (also known as childbed fever), but also direct accounts of people who suffered and/or died from those diseases or saw first hand what they did. There were doctors and researchers aplenty, as were the quacks (this cures all: from cancer to in-grown toe nails), who were always ready to make a buck or two. 

The most 'current' chapters were on Influenza and Sars (the book was written in 2014, so before the current Covid-19 pandemic). The actions taken at the time of the Spanish flu are almost the same as the actions taken now. The origins are mostly likely similar too as recent research has been showing.  

So, if you want a gripping read about all that can go wrong within the human body when it gets attacked by critters, viruses, bacteria or just plain greediness: this is the one!

Sunday 19 July 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-16

You see this little plant? It was only coming out of its seed when this photo was taken back in May. You can even still see the seed on the left part of the plant. Since May however...

It has grown. And grown. And grown some more. It is now bigger than I am and soon it will bloom! The first sunflower ever in our garden, together with its mates next to it.

Saturday 18 July 2020


Goodness me. This work malarkey is definitely tough. Especially after 4,5 months of nothing. 

As you know I started on Monday and it was a fairly easy day. Then on Tuesday I was coupled with a temporary mentor who would teach me the ropes and the routes. Some routes were fairly easy, others were really difficult. Besides that I really felt my back at the end of the day, exclaiming to my parents that if that kept up, my career would be fairly short-lived.

On Wednesday though, it was much better. I did some other routes, totally flunked that one really difficult bit, but in general was okay. Thursday was another early start and yet more new routes. Not sure whether I have retained them all, but for a first time it was fine. 

Friday was the same routes as Tuesday. It went fine. Until I got to the difficult bit. I had checked online. I had read my notes. I wanted to turn left where I had to turn right and turn right where I had to turn left. Some more training needed there! 

By the time I had had my dinner on Friday however, I was feeling it. My head was starting to hurt from tiredness, my eyes started drooping and in the end I was in bed just after 7 pm. I felt like a little kid, but I really needed it. Fortunately I am off until Tuesday afternoon now (start sometime after 4 pm) and can recover from this first week. 

I will get used to it all, I know that. The early morning starts will become quite normal. Even with the extra time I need to cycle to work. Because yes, I cycled to and from work each day, which I felt really happy about. Next week I will drive though, as I finish after midnight and just want to go to bed then, not cycle for half an hour in the dark. Not even for exercise or fresh air.

On to week 2!

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Hi ho, hi ho...'s off to work I go!

After four and a half months at home I have started work again. Finally. Immediately in at the deep end too, with early starts. Yesterday was okay, I was due to meet up at eight in the morning. I met the other three starting as well. One of them I knew already from the previous job, so that was great. 

This morning it was an early start however: start at 5.44 am. Which meant that I had to get out of bed at 4 and be on my bike at 5. Because guess what: I am cycling to work. Not sure how long I will keep it up, but I am doing it right now. 

Some of the routes are fairly long and will take some time to learn, others are fairly easy to do, also because I am fairly familiar with the lay-out of my home town. Of course there will always be surprises and new routes, but I will get there at some point. The main thing is the routes out of town. 

This morning it was partly 'oh, I am here' and partly 'where on earth are they sending me now?'. But, I will get familiarised with them all pretty soon I guess and then I will be out on my own. I would say about two weeks. At least I speak the language and know some of the area, which wasn't the case back in Norway and I managed it there as well!

Back to work. It's a change!

Sunday 12 July 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-15

This is the after photo, after my visit to the hairdresser's yesterday. I had lowlights put in, which didn't really work immediately. The first try was barely visible, so they tried with a darker brown and more of it. I think it looks okay.

PS: the before photo looks pretty similar though, and in a photo there is barely a difference. I am happy though.

Friday 10 July 2020

Seeing the doctor

It was doctor day today. First of all it was me. I was going in for a check-up on my knee. The doctor had a look and a feel and a listen (the latter to me, not my knee) and thought it wasn't too serious. Basically, the three and a half months of doing nothing had put a tendon in a place of such rest that it was now protesting to any movement. 

The doctor's advice: stop walking so much (2 km?) and train up the upper legs. That should take the tension of the tendon and let me walk again. Fortunately cycling was deemed okay and in fact beneficial. The fact that I was trying to loose weight was also a plus. All in all a good thing, because I was dreading more serious news!

This afternoon it was Miss Oswin's turn to see the doctor. In her case it was the annual check-up. She had lost some weight as well, which wasn't bad as she was getting to be a bit on the chubby side. Of course she doesn't agree. Her teeth were fine, her skin was great and even the bald patch on her tummy didn't look too bad. 

All in all a good day at the doctor's office!

Wednesday 8 July 2020

The (nearly) last bastion of old carpet

I had plans to make my room a better and nicer place. It took some severe work, but in the end the result was beautiful and serene. My parents did their room up, even with the smurf wall and it was good. Then my mum's room really did need an upgrade, so we painted and had new carpet put in. 

And then one day I took something out of our 'deep closet'. Basically a closet under the stairs that is named deep because of a similar deep closet under the stairs in the place we lived before. The name just stuck. But going back: I took something out of the deep closet and realised the carpet in there had seen better days.

My dad: I am not having anything to do with it, I am busy (honestly, he was). 

Not only was the carpet a bit worse for wear, there was so much stuff crammed in there that we barely knew what was what and everything was just shoved in there to anybody's fancy. It needed sorting. 

My mum: I have done the top shelf, I am only throwing this out. 
My mum: I have done the bottom two shelves, not much to be thrown out, but everything now has a proper place.

On Monday, after meeting my new manager, I got home and my mum was ready to tackle the remaining bit: the floor. What with wine racks and loose stuff, it was a bit of guess what was there. So, first we cleared everything out. Most of it was okay, some not so much. 

The carpet that was in, came up nicely. Now the big question, what carpet to put back? In the end we went with the remaining bit of my mum's room. With a bit of work and a bit of cutting (oops, too much), the result was really nice. We were definitely pleased with the end product.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

In the pipeline

Perhaps a sea shell?
After weeks (months really) my diary is finally showing signs of picking up. This week, there is not 1 entry, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 entries! Five!! 

On Monday was the first one: a meeting with my new boss. I handed him the signed contract, he had a look at my face, we chatted for a few minutes and out I was again. 

Today (Tuesday), my car will get a look over. I last put fuel in back in early March. I also had an MOT then, but I hardly used it since. Just to make sure nothing is clogged up and stuff, I made an appointment. Oh, and I put some more fuel in.

On Friday it's a double whammy. Doctor time. For me in the morning and for Miss O in the afternoon. Just don't tell her that or she'll be hiding behind the curtain!

Play sweet music for the fairies
And then on Saturday it's hairdressing time. The appointment was originally made for my sister, but her flights were cancelled and she is not able to come. So, I nicked her slot and will have a cut and colour. Not sure what colour yet, but... I am starting the new job next Monday, I thought a bit of a fresh head might be nice. Yes, you read right: I am starting the new job on Monday. The contract starts on Sunday (extra day's pay, thank you) and I have to report for duty on Monday morning. It's daunting and exciting at the same time.

Monday 6 July 2020

Walk on the island in the land

These poles are everywhere in the polder.
When there's a ship on top it means there was a shipwreck here
And the plane means a plane wreck
Part of trying to lose some weight and getting fitter, is going for walks. I have set a goal of 4 exercise moments during the week and they can be the simple walk to the shop and back variety, cycling around the neighbourhood or actually going a bit further afield.

The old harbour. Now there is only land, before 1942 it was all water
This past week I didn't make the four. In fact, I think I only got as far as two. I started well on Sunday with a lovely walk through the neighbourhood, but then my knee hurt quite badly and it kept me grounded for a couple of days.

The old lighthouse and lighttower
But, once the knee was feeling better, I tried my hand (or should I say foot) on a bigger walk. Mind you, it hadn't meant to be that long, but detours and such kept me walking for longer than planned. 

Isn't he cute?
First of all, I had to drive for about half an hour to get to where I wanted to walk and then I was going to walk from the car park at the museum to the old harbour and back. Which I did. It's just that instead of taking the same route back (no fun in that), I took the longer circular route back. Basically continuing on the path. 

I saw butterflies, baby toads, wasps (see yesterday) and rocks. The latter two because I made another little detour. As you would when you're in the area anyway. My knee held up beautifully, so no problems there. My feet were another matter, as I could feel the blisters forming, but the knee was great.

The lo-o-ong and winding road
I bet that's where some creepy bug got me!
Until I had come back to the car and took off the small brace I wore. I sat in the car and basically it wasn't nice. That evening I could barely get up the stairs, because of the pain. It took several days to be subside again and even then it wasn't great walking the several hundred meters to the shops.

I will make an appointment to see my gp this week, as I don't feel this is right. Walking and cycling have so many benefits. I know I don't lose weight with the few kilometers I do, but it takes me outside in the fresh air, it helps with digestion, it gives me a tan (as well as nasty bug bites). Let's hope it's nothing too serious.

Sunday 5 July 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-14

On a recent walk I came across a bug hotel. Not much activity going on as I saw, until...

I focused on this room. I thought I saw a wasp fly in. And another one. 

And lo and behold: there were wasps. In fact, the whole wet paper look was very likely made by the wasps. And yes, I kept quiet and didn't wave my arms about, so as not to disturb them any more than I aleady was.

Friday 3 July 2020

Meet Janny

My paternal grandfather in the caravan
Once upon a time my maternal grandparents and my paternal grandparents went away together for a few days. They stayed in a caravan owned by an aunt and uncle of mine and within a very short time they were all thoroughly fed up with it. Caravaning was not for them!

However, as a thank you, my maternal grandmother had given my aunt and uncle a mouse she had knitted. It lived in the caravan from then on. And when the caravan was sold and made way for a new one, the mouse just moved house.

Then came the time when my aunt and uncle did no longer like trekking halfway across a campsite to find the nearest toilet, especially in the middle of the night. Their age is starting to limit things. The decision was made to sell the caravan and not get a new one. 

My aunt looked at the mouse and thought: what to do with it though? She had a light bulb moment and decided to give it to me as she knows I knit them now. A couple of weeks ago she arrived with the uncle and mouse in tow and gave me the latter. 

The mouse never had a name and I felt it had to be rectified immediately. So, I named her after my grandmother: Janny. 

From now on, Janny will come with me on walks and cycle rides. Keeping me motivated and chatting my ear of about all she has seen while living in the caravan.