Wednesday 30 September 2020

Brom finds himself


Remember where we were yesterday? We were having a cup of tea on a terrace, so Mara could catch her breath again and rest a bit. But once the tea was drunk and her breath was back, we went back to the car to go to a Panorama bridge, from where we would have a good view over Winterberg.

The start of the bobsleigh track

We certainly had a good view. Over Winterberg and its surroundings. But there was more to see as next to the bridge was the official Bobsleighing track. It was massive. 

Then there was a ski-lift that just kept bringing people and their bikes up after which they just swooshed down the hill again. I thought it was a bit scary. 

Look closely and you can see them hurtling down

At the end of the bridge there were two ways of getting down. The stairs or a slide. We took the stairs, which was a bit disappointing. I would have loved going down the slide. But once we were down, there was more to see. A nature trail where they explained about what animals and trees lived in the area. 

There was a board that made you match the animal to the tracks (Mara was rubbish at that, only getting one out of four). 

Brombeere is the plural

There was also a board that explained about the fruits of the different bushes and that is where I met myself. Remember, my official name is Brom Beer (beer being the Dutch word for bear). And on one of the boards explaining about fruit, there was a photo of a Brombeer. Which is the German word for Blackberry. If we had known that earlier, we could have had a proper photo of me and my namesakes!

There was plenty more to see on the trail, but I think Mara was happy when the final uphill struggle was over and she could go back (downhill) to the beginning. Where we had dinner. And once dinner was done, we went back to the car and back to the hotel. Our day was over.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Brom goes on a hike

View from the hotel

On our second day in Germany, Mara wanted to go for a hike. She had found the directions to a hike that promised to be of medium difficulty, would need sturdy footwear, some level of fitness, poles and all sorts of other stuff. 

It was the canyons and bridges path

She had the sturdy footwear, no level of fitness, two poles and all sorts of other stuff not necessarily to be used on a hike. But first we went to the local supermarket to get some supplies. Then we started our hike. 

The first bit wasn't too hard: down some steps. Then came a bit that was a bit steeper, but as we were going downhill, that was fine as well. We crossed a bridge and a canyon (a tiny one, do not think it was like the Grand Canyon) continued on our hike. We had to turn left and right all the time, but the path was well sign posted.

The Bodensee,
well it was more of a pond than a lake...

Now, if you know your German geography, you might know where Winterberg is (Hochsauerland). And you may also have heard of the Bodensee (where the Rhine begins). The two are in no way near. But, we circumnavigated the Bodensee in Winterberg!

We had lunch on a fallen tree trunk. We walked some more. We stopped occasionally so Mara could get her breath back, because yes, we had gone down a lot, but as it was a loop, we would also have to go up a lot again. 

We were lucky it had been dry recently, otherwise the paths would have been very slippery and as Mara had forgotten the poles in the car... We did go round though and managed to get back to the beginning in one piece. After which she had some tea in a nearby restaurant. 

Monday 28 September 2020

Brom was away and now is back

Last Wednesday we made our way by lovely car (a white Karl, instead of the black one Mara is getting this week) to Germany. Where we arrived in the middle of the afternoon. She dragged her suitcase up the parking lot to reception and then we had to wait. And wait. And wait. 

The booking was found no problem, but the voucher proved to be a bit of a. Under normal circumstances Mara would have had to send the voucher to their head office which would then deal with it. As she booked so late in the day, she had been told to hand it over on site and then it would be sorted. However, that took some time. Eventually though, the receptionist handed us a temporary key to my room and we were able to go to the room.

Which as hotel rooms go, was nothing out of the ordinary. Yes, the bed was big, but as per German custom, covered in two single duvets. Well, I say covered: they were neatly folded at the end of the bed and you have to make your own bed. The pillows were a bit of a departure from the normal German standard though: they were okay Mara said. 

The bathroom was nice, a big walk-in shower, a toilet, a sink. Just what we need (and before you ask: baths are not that common and I hate them anyway: I am not a fish). The sliding door to the balcony was the only downside really, as it was the only way to get some fresh air in and it could only be done by sliding it open. Which meant I had to be a guard bear to make sure nobody snuck in during the night.

That evening we started really celebrating our break by going out to dinner. Burger and potato wedges. Really tasty. Followed by chocolate tart and a small scoop of ice cream. After that we made our way back to the room (after picking up the regular key as the payment had been sorted) and watched television, read a book and crocheted. 

Wednesday 16 September 2020


The last time I had any time off (not Corona-related) was back in December when I visited my sister. Because due to Corona, our holiday in May never happened. And I was really getting to feel that I needed some time away.

Then I saw in my roster that I had a day off, then two days work and then four days off. What if I could get those two days off as well, making a whole week. So I tried. Was told that the second day was most likely fine, but the first might prove problematic. 

Yesterday the first was shown as off. Today the second one as well. YES! A whole week off! What to do though?

Well, remember the voucher I won last year for a two-night stay for two in one of the hotels belonging to Center Parcs? It was still valid and I still had a Corona-voucher as well with some money left on it. 

It took a bit of puzzling on the side of the Belgian lady who answered the phone, but in the end we managed it. The park I wanted to go to for four nights. Two paid for by the won voucher and two by the Corona voucher. Breakfast included. 

I am so looking forward to it!

She's not coming. Brom will be though and I bet he will have plenty to see.
PS: I am going to the Hochsauerland resort close to Winterberg. 

Monday 14 September 2020

National day of migraine

On Saturday it was the national day of migraine here in the Netherlands. Which was very fitting, as I came down with one on Friday. I did work and boy, it was tough. When I got home, I went straight to bed and stayed there for about three hours. 

Once I got down again, I did try some food, but gave it up as a bad job. My stomach seemed to agree, as only half an hour later, it was all in the bowl I had managed to get in time. I did feel a bit better after that though.

Saturday was a bit of up and down really, not the heavy pain of the day before, but still quite wary of food and still over sensitive to sound and light. Earplugs and night glasses (yellow glass that takes away the glare) helped with that. Another visit to my bed in the afternoon was good as well, and after that the pain was reduced to the occasional twinge or flash. 

Another early night however for me, and a nice long sleep. I only woke when Miss O started to dance along to the girls who had mysteriously appeared in my room and danced. 

One thing that did come out of this whole episode though is the fact that I finally broke the magical barrier of 100 kg. Yes, I know most of it is fluid and it will be easily replaced, but I am pleased regardless. Now to keep that up and going...

Sunday 13 September 2020

Photo on Sunday 2020-21

Through the magic 100!

Wednesday 9 September 2020


I had planned to keep my little red car for a few more years. After all, it worked fine, despite not having a radio that did what I wanted or any of the other mod cons that are associated with cars nowadays. And then some idiot ploughed straight into me with a fair amount of speed. Not only did it hurt my neck, it also seriously hurt my little red car.

The conclusion by the garage was that it would be a total loss: ie the cost of repairing was greater than the worth of the car. The conclusion by the insurance company was that the other party was wholly responsible, it then sent the paperwork off to the other insurance company and I am now waiting for a result of that. Which will most likely come in monetary form.

For me it all means that I am not feeling too safe in my little red car anymore. Yes, it is still perfectly drivable, but it has sustained some injuries that may not be visible, but may well be very detrimental. A new car then. 

This morning me and my parents headed out to our local car dealership (where I bought the red one as well) and had a look around. There was a white one I really liked, but that was way too dear. There was a blue one I liked, but if I were going for a newer one, I might as well go as new as possible and 10 years wasn't that new. 

In the end I settled on Karl. Provided the insurance company comes through shortly and I get the financial arrangement I want, I will soon be the proud new owner of a three year old car!

Monday 7 September 2020

Flummoxing pension things

One thing that I was going on about last week was my pension and how I was trying to get them all in one place. The first response came back on Saturday: the Dutch company I wanted the funds transferred from has not enough money at the moment to do so! I will have to wait until they have some again...

The other company I wanted money transferred from is in the UK and was asking for a lot of information that I need to give them. All was well, apart from one number. So, I called my current Dutch pension fund for a QROPS number and they didn't know. They would ask and I would be called back. Which never happened. Nor did I get an email. 

Today I called back again. I got a nice gentleman on the phone and he helped me out tremendously. Well, up to the point where I asked for the QROPS number. Which completely flummoxed him. He would ask again and in the mean time I would phone the UK to see what they could provide me with. 

So, I phoned the UK. After a long story about how pensions worked and how I could take money bla bla bla bla... I finally got through to a person. Who then didn't have a clue what I was going on about. She asked somebody else and gave me an answer that was not right. At least I thought it wasn't right. Could she patch me through?

I got patched through, I spoke to a Katie (I think) and she said something completely different again. Because she got the story from me and realised I was somewhere else altogether. In the end she found the list with the QROPS numbers on, but could not find the fund. Ah well, not to worry, leave the number out, explain why and send the whole lot to them. Which I will do today. 

Now I just need to phone the Dutch fund again...