Monday 31 August 2020

It's a new week with plenty of new chances

Age baby, a long time before any pension!
There is the pension thing I spent a few hours on today. Trying to collect all my pensions into one, so I know sort of what I get once I turn 68 (nearly 19 years to go, yikes). 

There is the accident thing I spent some time on today. I received a message from the garage that it is definitely a total loss for the car. I received a message from my insurance company saying they have sent my details on to the other party's company and that I have to deal with them directly. Plus even later I received a message from the other party himself saying he can't find my insurer. 

There is also the thing of my neck and back and head still not being quite okay. Yes, on Friday it felt much better, but I did take a fair bit of medication then. I think I slackened too soon with the meds however and now it feels not sore, just blergh. Annoying. 

Then there is the weight thing. I didn't spend too much time on that this morning, but I was not surprised when I saw that I had gained a few grams again, what with said birthday and said accident. I am however, nearing the double figures (before the comma) and still pleased. 

Plus there's the thing about work. I was due to work today, but they gave me a day off due to the fact they are giving me longer shifts this week. I should only do about 6,5 hours a day, but if I get an 8,5 hour shift, I have 2 hours over which then should be compensated for, ie in extra days off. I am not complaining!!

That's the thing. 

Sunday 30 August 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-20

As spotted near our garden a week or so ago.

Thursday 27 August 2020


Yesterday morning the weather was just absolutely foul and there was no way I was going to cycle to work. I took the car instead and how lovely it was, being nice and dry. I was nearing work and waiting for some lights to turn green, when all of a sudden: Bam! I had been hit by the car behind me. I slammed forward and just about managed to hit the brakes before hitting the car in front of me. 

Immediately my neck hurt and a headache came up and it took me a minute to get my full bearings again. The person from the car behind came forward with his European Damage Form, but I told him, we were in the middle of a very busy road and traffic was going fast: we needed to move. We then moved to a quieter road where we filled out the form (we don't just exchange names and numbers, we go official and it takes a lot of the sting out of it).

After we had filled out the entire thing (well, the front anyway), we realised we had filled out the wrong page so after I located another one, we started afresh. Finally, about three quarters of an hour later, we could both continue on our journey. 

I had already phoned work to say I was going to be late due to an accident, so when I arrived 45 minutes late, it was not a problem. Somebody else had taken over my shift and I just needed to release him. After a few hours driving however, I thought it might be prudent to phone my gp and make an appointment to check I was okay. 

Which meant that once I had finished work for the day, I headed to my gp to get checked. Well, no whiplash (they don't use that term anymore apparently), but listen to my body and rest for a week, after which I could start again. And for insurance reasons: get an x-ray.

This morning I phoned the hospital to get the x-ray sorted and I could come almost immediately. With a hurting back, neck and head I was driven by my Dad to get x-rayed. However, once there, I was told a scan would be a better option. Off we went to the first aid department. 

Once there I was prodded by the doctor and in the end they told me that due to the symptoms I presented they weren't sure that a CT scan would be adding any new information, so they adviced me to take pain medication. I also should do things so my muscles wouldn't start to stiffen up and cause more trouble. So far the pain killers are doing their job, although hoovering, cleaning toilets or work are not going to happen just now.

There was however one other party involved in this accident: my lovely red car. After visiting the gp yesterday afternoon, I drove to the garage to have it checked out. It looked okay-ish, but I know from experience that looks can be great deceivers. I made it just before closing time for the mechanics, but they did have a look.

Basically, the rear bumper may look okay, but it has been pushed forward causing trouble for the boot, the bumper itself, the light and who knows what else. Apparently the cost of repairing all of that goes way over the value of the car which means it will declared a total loss. Which in turn will most likely mean I will have to go on the look out for a new vehicle. I will find out soon, as it is now an insurance case.

But, everything else is fine. Just so you know.

Friday 21 August 2020


The Dutch mind seems to be a sort of diseased mind. It is the one language in the world where most of the curse words have a diseased background. Literally! Anything from the Smallpox and the Plague to Cancer and Tuberculosis can be used to curse, usually in combination with (genital) body parts. 

Especially the Cancer one is seen as very oppressive and awful, and I do yet I don't quite get that. Why that more than the others? Because the others are not as prevalent (and in the case of Smallpox: eradicated)? I try to stay away from any of them, yet even I have at times used 'Tering' (Consumption or TB) as an exclamation of surprise/shock/anger. And the verb 'kankeren' (to cancer) is definitely used a lot. It means to complain, to moan, to grumble, to gripe.

Over the past few decades, new major diseases have come in. Aids being one of them and the most recent of course Corona. For some reason Aids never made it into our cursing vocabulary. I wonder what Corona will do. Perhaps in a hundred years, the exclamation will have gone from TB to Corona. 

Just wondering...

Thursday 20 August 2020

Just stuff

Sometimes my life isn't that interesting at all. Just the mundane stuff of day to day living. Like doing the laundry. Ironing sheets and tea towels and gazillions of handkerchiefs and the occasional shirt as well. Folding up clothes and towels. 

I do a fair bit of cooking. Last Sunday I made a complete dinner: starter, main and dessert. The starter was so easy and really good: tomato and basil soup. Done within half an hour with barely any fuss. Plus, as soups go, really tasty as well, even my Dad said so (he is not fond of tomato soup). 

The main was crispy duck with Chinese pancakes, which were all done from scratch. A bit more work, but my golly, it was really good. Definitely a keeper for the books! And for dessert we had a dessert I had already made once, but was so good, I did it again. 

After four days off, it was also back to work. Not that I am really overtaxing myself here: my shifts this week are between 5 and 8 hours. Yesterday I had a shift just short of 5 hours with a one hour paid break! Of course there will be weeks where I will work more (not next week though), but as I am only on 32 hours a week, it's fine. 

I have gone back to reading as well. Which is obvious, as I have gone back to working. And for me those two go together. During my four and a half months at home, I barely touched a book and if I did, it didn't hold my attention for long. But, now I am back and I have to really work to get caught up, according to Goodreads, I am 28 books behind schedule!

I did start reading Harry Potter again (start number 5 soon), but I am also going back to the book club I joined a while ago: the next book to read is The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. I read this when I was in my late teens, so it will be interesting to know what I remember (nothing most likely) and how I feel about it now, as I loved it then.

The head is keeping up as well. I keep a record now of when I do get a headache. The longest without was about a month, which was really good going. Recently it was about 10 days, which is still okay. My back was also starting to give me trouble, but I had to adjust my seat differently and problem gone! My knee is still a bit of a grrr, in that walking for longer distances will give me bother. Cycling is okay, but I only cycle to work on early/day shifts and only if the weather is good. During last week's heatwave, there was no way I was going to cycle to work. 

Other than that, everything is going fine. The finances are looking up. We are still Corona free. Miss O is still scared stiff of Hitler, the black and white cat prowling around the neighbourhood (we don't know its real name, but she scares Miss O, hence Hitler). 

And life continues...

Sunday 16 August 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-19

I was late to the party, only starting to read the books in 2018. But I have now embraced the wonderful world of muggles and squibs and magic folk. And now I also have the films.

Saturday 15 August 2020

VJ Day

To remember my leaving to the Dutch Indies
As you know I have done research in my ancestry and I have found out so much over the years. Mostly ordinary stuff: birth-marriage-death, but on occasion I have found some more remarkable things. I won't brag too much about being from royal descent, after all, half of Europe can probably trace their lineage back to the great Charlie!

There was however one story which seemed to be different and at first I didn't in fact believe it. Especially as none in the family knew anything about it! After all, emigrating to Canada or the USA is one thing, dying in Indonesia is something completely different. Research was needed.

And what I found was extraordinary. A young man (1916) had to do his national service in the thirties. He did his basic training and was then allowed to go on grand leave (ie not having to return unless circumstances changed). But perhaps jobs were not to be had or he had enjoyed his time in the army, he decided to enlist properly. Enlist for the KNIL (Royal Dutch Indies Army). He was then sent out to what is now Indonesia to be a soldier there.

He had arrived before there was even a war in Europe, so probably felt quite safe in the far Dutch Indies. But in 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and soon after they invaded several countries in the Pacific area, one being the Dutch Indies. By early 1942 it was all over: the Dutch had surrendered and all military personnel had been captured and put in camps.

First Jan (that was his name) was put with his mates in a camp in the Dutch Indies, but was soon moved to Thailand by ship, which was a danger in itself. He survived the crossing however and was then put in a camp on the infamous railroad to Burma. Every so often the whole camp moved to keep up with the railroad.

Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery
Lack of food, lack of medical attention, humidity, heat, hard labour and most likely abuse by the Japanese caused Jan to contract Beriberi. A disease which even at that time was preventable as they knew the cause and the cure. But no cure was coming for Jan and on December 31, 1943 Jan passed away on the Thai/Burmese border. 

Friday 14 August 2020

Not sure

I wasn't too sure what to write about for this post. Was I going to write about the maggots in our kitchen which I had to get rid of while my parentals were slumming it in an airconditioned hotel? Or should I not? What to write about then?

In the end I decided to not write about all those maggots crawling out of the food bin, the regular bin and the plastic bin. After all, I emptied all bins, I squashed all maggots and eggs and told my parentals on their return not to throw any meat related stuff away in the kitchen as long as the heatwave lasts. 

Instead I thought to tell you about my work. Which is going fine. I should work about 6,5 hours a day to get up to 32 hours a week and due to the hours I made during training I am up. Meaning my shifts aren't long or I get an extra day off. Great! And now I am enjoying a four-day weekend. 

And enjoy I will as the weather has turned somewhat. Yes, temperatures are still high, but compared to what it was, it is lovely now. During the night we had a fierce thunderstorm with lots of rain, which meant I had to close the window in my room and sleep was even worse then. But, temperatures are on their way down and guess what: it's only 132 days until Christmas!

Wednesday 12 August 2020

87 degrees

I am melting away. I must be, as I am constantly having to use a towel to dry my face, neck and the rest. The reason for that is the heatwave currently battering the country. And several others, but as I am not living in several others...

The summer so far had been good. Nice temperatures in which it was easy to work and play. But then the heat arrived. One day it was about 22 (72 F) degrees, the next day it had shot up to 32 (93 F)! 

That in itself isn't so bad of course. As long as the airconditioning on the bus works and you can cool down once you're home, you are laughing. However, the first is meh at the moment due to having to open the doors all the time and it just being a bit much for the whole thing. The second is even worse: our inside temperature at the moment is over 30 degrees (87 F). 

During the fire and water show back in 1991.
And yes, that's me!
I sleep in the attic. Fortunately with a fan, as without I would probably melt away in my mattress. I don't even want to know how hot it is up there. But even doing the simplest things downstairs in the house results in perspiration just streaming down. 

From the weekend onwards rain and cooler weather is due to arrive. Yes please!!

Monday 10 August 2020

The results

So, how did you get on with my little game last week? Did you get one or did you perhaps even get them all. Well done in any case for giving it a go. But in case you didn't get them all or indeed any of them, here are the answers:

The first one was obviously the birthplace of Vincent van Gogh: Zundert. Spot the sunflowers under his crib!

The second one was clearly Amsterdam. The red light district might have been a give-away, or perhaps the Achterhuis of Anne Frank (which to be honest I never spotted, it was Yamini who did).

Number three was the easiest of all of them: Leeuwarden. Wasn't it? Well, you had to see of course that it was a lion (leeuw in Dutch) and then you had to spot the Frisian flag. There is only one place it could be in that case. Duh!

Number four was a bit of a word play. First you had to figure out that it depicted Willem Alexander. Our 'King'. Translate king into Dutch and you get koning. Stick a g in front of it, replace the k with an r and put en on the end and you get Groningen. A student city.

I think the fifth one might have been the hardest. I mean I wouldn't want any Delft pottery thrown at my head, but of course it was Delft.

The final one was probably a bit difficult. You really had to spot the three different flags and the letters on the small pole. Then you probably had to look up where the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium all met in one go, which is Vaals. Not sure where the sheep comes in though. Unless it's a dog...

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Weighty matters

4 kilometers of cycling and this is the view
It really has started. The losing weight that is. It's not going fast, it doesn't fly off, but it is coming off. As of last Monday it was nearly 4 kg. I am pleased with that. I still eat chocolate (only a small bit though), I still eat what I like to eat, but smaller portions or a bit more controlled. With the occasional extravagance of course...

Like late last week when we went to see the sand sculptures. Afterwards we had lunch in a lovely pancake restaurant and I chose the ham, pineapple and brie pancake. It was so yummy! I don't think it's a bad thing either, eating something like that. 

Spinach pancake with lime butter and a small green salad
I may have told you this before, but I have a basic three goals. Goal 1 is to get in double figures kg wise. That goal is fast approaching. Goal 2 is to get to 90 kgs, which by the way things are going now could be achievable by Christmas. And Goal 3 is to get down to 75 kgs, which would be a much healthier weight than what I am now. 

Me back in 1992, around my ideal weight
The ideal weight for my length would be around 65 kgs, but I am not sure whether I will make that Goal 4 or not. Anything between 55 and 70 kgs would be a healthy BMI, but 55 is too low for me, so that is definitely out of the question. As I said though: let's get down to the 90 first and then continue.

Monday 3 August 2020

A little game

Are you in the mood for a little game? It will take some work though, especially if you are not Dutch. Which most of you aren't. But you could still have a go. Here's what I want you to do: find out which town or village is meant in the photos. Like the top one. It's obviously a sculpture of André Rieu and he comes from Maastricht. So, up to you now! Can you find out which others are depicted? (ps, dusting off google translate to help with the Dutch words might be helpful). Eternal glory to the one who gets them all!

This is the first one. And no, I am not going to give you clues. There are plenty here. Just let those little grey cells work a bit...

If you can, zoom in for more clues! Which are there you know. Really, they are!

This was definitely my favourite. And I will even give you a clue: my sister was born here!

Okay, a letter one here, but doable. Very doable. Even for all those students... (wink wink). Unless you don't know who it is of course. In which case I will give you a clue: orange.

You do know this one. You do you know. Of course you do! 

And we are at the end now. Literally. Or the beginning, depends where you're standing really.

Sunday 2 August 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-18

It finally blooms! I took a photo and then proceeded to order it as a photo on linen. The smallest square version (20 x 20 cm), as the other two nature inspired works have been as well.