Friday 30 April 2021


May 2014
When I first got Miss Oswin back in May 2014, they told me she was about 1 year old, but couldn't be entirely sure about when she was born exactly. Well, for the most beautiful feline in the whole wide universe, that was just not good enough, so a celebration day was picked. And what better day than a royal birthday? Like King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands?

On Tuesday it was King's Day in the Netherlands. The day when we celebrate the King's birthday. Normally there are massive parties everywhere, but because of something small and invisible that is keeping the whole world in its tight grip, the festivities were cancelled. 

April 2021
However, there were still plenty of Dutch flags and orange pennants everywhere. The village through which I walked had decorated a bit as well. It's a good thing having your celebration day on the King's birthday! And yes, she did get some new toys as well.

Thursday 29 April 2021


Somebody I can rely upon to know a lot about well, a lot really is Yamini. She is a great fount of knowledge and if she doesn't know, she is quick to find the answer elsewhere. So, it was no wonder that she gave me the breed of the sheep shown in Monday's post. 

The Jacob breed
However, for once her answer was not right. Which wasn't her fault really as I had shown only the lambs of the breed and not the adults. And the adults that were in the photo were disguised by trees and grass and it was impossible to see them properly. 

The Racka breed
At the top you can see the photo I posted on Monday. The second photo (from Wikipedia) is the breed she told me they were. However, in the third photo (mine) you can see the adults look quite different. For a start the wool is much longer in the Racka and where the Jacob have up to four horns that are ribbed and curved, the Racka have only two that are twisted and straight. 

To read more: Racka breed and Jacob breed

Wednesday 28 April 2021

If you plant a seed... might get a plant. And in this case I have. Well, the beginnings of plants anyway. As you can see everything has come up. Some after only a few days, others took a bit longer, most notably the dill. But, up it came eventually and now it is just waiting for it all to grow high enough to be repotted. So far only the buckwheat has reached that stage.

What I needed to get everything seeded
As most of these plants can be planted outside in only a short while, I thought I would fast track a bit and instead of 4 buddy sets, I now planted 8 new buddy sets (and one repeat). And they are quite varied again as well. There is  rocket (or arugula) and sage; cucumber and sunflower; courgette (or zucchini) and phacelia (or blue tansy); carrot and chives; snow peas and cornflower; green beans and wild marjoram; loose leaf lettuce and poppy and the last: cherry tomato and agastache.

That little disk grows in front of your eyes when you add water
Some of those had me thinking: oh yes! Love those. Others had me thinking: what on earth? Phacelia was a flower I had never heard of, but my Dad looked it up and it is not native to the Netherlands. In fact, it is native to the Southwest of the USA and Northwest of Mexico! In Dutch the name is also bee bread as it seems to be highly attractive to bees.

The new eight
Out of the total of 24 different plants I have sown, four will not be edible at all: poppy, cornflower, blue tansy and clover. Everything else is edible, be it flowers, leaves, roots, fruit or seeds. Yet they will all play their part in attracting more insects to our garden (my Dad is overjoyed, ahem) and getting some food on the table. 

I have more buddy sets, but they are all repeats of what I have already sown. As there will only be a limited amount of space I can use, I think I will leave it at these (although I might get a few strawberry plants, I love a nice juicy red strawberry) and see how we go. 

Tuesday 27 April 2021

Tuesday's Travels 3

You knew where this was didn't you? Or you gave it a good guess anyway? Gera and Fun60 guessed right. Gera gets a point, Fun60 half a point (for also thinking it might be Brighton). The answer is of course: Brussels in Belgium. Don't ask me exactly where, but when you walk through that city there are plenty of signs of comic books everywhere. This photo was taken during a trip my sister and I took back in 1997 (or thereabouts). We traveled through Belgium and Luxemburg, but not being the proper adults then that we are now (choke, cough), we were more interested in shops and cinema than in the sights and the culture. Although comic books were fine.

On now to this week's challenge. Where is it? And what is your story? I will give the correct answer in two weeks' time.

Monday 26 April 2021

More cuteness

I thought I would show you some more cuteness. Otherwise known as baby animals. These were a type of sheep that I had never seen before. They had twisting horns and long wool (the lambs had curls) and you could see them start already on the lambs' heads as well. But those sheep were very very skittish. Definitely not people sheep.

The next photo was taken on the same day. I had my big lens on, but still couldn't really get close enough for a really great shot. But you know what these are: goslings and a lot of them. There were actually two families there: one with five and the other with about 12/13 goslings. When they heard me walking past (never mind the cars and bikes), they moved away, even though I was still quite far away.

Another day and more aaah moments to be had. This was a coot family and where the geese are both responsible for their offspring, coots not so much (like ducks). I did spot the mother feeding one of the three cooties, but of course failed to get photographic evidence of it. What I did like though, was the fact that the white part in the adult coot, is actually red in the baby coot.  

I think however my favourite aaah moment came from a bit earlier that day. As I was walking through a park in town, there was a small fenced in clearing with grazing animals. Some sheep, but mainly goats. And apart from adult goats there were plenty of kids as well. This one was the smallest and very much intent on grazing, barely looking up from the grass. 

I hope you enjoyed the cuteness...

Sunday 25 April 2021

Photo on Sunday 2021-11

Not sure what this is...

Friday 23 April 2021

The clearing in my head

Lately I have been telling you about my walks. I see animals, views, castles, grass, trees. I walk in the sunshine, the wind, the rain, the hail, the snow. And one reason I do walk, beside the medals and the getting fit, is the fact that it clears my head. 

I find that when I'm walking, I can't keep a thought in my head for very long. It's not meditation as such, but it does come quite close. Lately however...

... I find that things are getting to me again. Like they did back when I lived in Northern Ireland. Not as bad mind and not for the same reasons, but the grrr feelings are returning. 

I talked it over with someone, explaining how I felt, saying how this Corona virus has me stopped in my tracks regarding making friends or even acquaintances. The answer I got: 'well, that is the same for everybody'. This person knows my history. Knows what I went through. Yet, I felt I had been dismissed with that answer.  

Don't get me wrong: I know a lot of people have the same or similar problems. But that doesn't make it a lesser issue. Not for them, not for me.

I walk. It clears my head.

Thursday 22 April 2021

Love and hate

The other day I had found a quite nice walk only about a fifteen minutes' drive from where I live. The weather was gorgeous with sunshine and temperatures that were just perfect: around 15/16 degrees C. I put on my new hiking boots and off I went with my camera. 

Halfway through the walk, I saw a small herd of cattle, but not cattle you would normally see here in the Netherlands. Because they had horns and big ones at that. They looked quite pointy and sharp and dangerous. 

But apart from the pointy, sharp and dangerous, I also saw this small calf. It was in the distance, so I wasn't able to get the best photos, but I thought it was so cute. 

He ventured away from mum when all of a sudden it took a big run and then said hello to a play mate. It was just the cutest (remember the small pony baby from last week, on a par with that). 

I continued on my walk.

Something I do like to photograph are birds of prey. Especially in flight. So, when I saw this one, I started snapping. And I realised, it wasn't just in flight, it was also in fight!

Because I don't think it had been very nice. Trying to harass a smaller bird perhaps, or a nesting bird. Whatever it had done, it now had a several angry birds on its tail. Snapping at him, trying to get it as far away from them. The bird of prey was definitely the loser!

Wednesday 21 April 2021

A quick update

Remember those virtual challenges I do? The first one being Mount Everest. Now the second medal has come in: the Pyramids of Giza. And another beauty it is. 

The front can open up to reveal a tiny scarab that comes out and the back is beautifully decorated as well. I don't often indorse something, but this is definitely worth the money I paid for it. 

If you are into walking, running or cycling, it might be something for you as well. There are both shorter and longer challenges, but for every 20% of any challenge completed, a tree will be planted. And at the end you will get a beautiful medal. Click here for more information.

I am currently walking the Ring of Kerry in Ireland and I can't wait to finish it and get my medal for it. I am just over half way now, so I still have about 100 km to go, but I have started walking a bit longer just to get that medal. Win win for me!

In other news: I spotted the first green. The clover has started to come up. I can't wait for the rest...

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Tuesday's Travels 2

Did you guess where last week's photo was taken? Or were you way off? The right answer of course is Inveraray Castle in Scotland and Yamini knew the answer. A point to her. The photo was taken back in 2014 when I stayed at Yamini's and together we traveled a tiny bit. We didn't visit the castle itself though, although during a previous visit to the area way back in the olden days (ie pre digital camera), me and my sister did visit Inveraray Jail.

Now for this week's photo. Again, where was this taken? Did you ever visit? Share your story! Answer next week.

Monday 19 April 2021

My allotment

We frequent a supermarket here that now has an allotment action. Basically for every 15 euro spend, you get a small double tub with seeds and some compost. Once you get it home, undo the cardboard and find out which of the 15 different combinations there are and start your own allotment.

You put the compost on a saucer, add some water and watch it grow. You then fill the tubs with the earth, put the seeds in and cover with the remaining earth. Put in the sun and wait for it to grow. According to the notes that come with, that first bit should take about 2 weeks. Then when the plants are about 4 cm (1.5 inch) high, you have to move them to a bigger pot where they can grow some more.

Now, the tubs are all double as the plants to be grown are 'buddies'. One plant will have a certain type of insect (like a louse) gunning for the nice bits, the other plant will attract another insect (like a ichneumon wasp) gunning for the first insect! Win win for both plants and for me hopefully.

So far I have planted Oxheart Cabbage and Dill, Radishes and Buckwheat, Swiss Chard and Chamomile and Lacinato Kale and Crimson Clover. As long as they will produce something edible (most, not all), I will be quite happy. I will keep you posted on how they are all doing. 

Sunday 18 April 2021

Friday 16 April 2021

My recent reading list

Here are some of the books I have read or have tried to read in the past six months or so. Starting with 'Interview with the Vampire' by Anne Rice. I must admit upfront, that I would never have read this book had it not been for the book club I am in. It was at times a bit of a slog and it definitely wasn't my type of book, but I did finish it. Basically it's about a vampire and the life he has lead. There is biting involved.

I also read 'The Good Soldier Schweik' by Jaroslav Hasek. This is a Czech writer who wrote this book/story almost contemporary to the period in the book, ie World War I. It follows the life and adventures of Schweik, who ends up as a soldier in the Austrian/Hungarian army somewhere. It was originally written as short stories and combined eventually to a book. Which probably makes for the similar stories all the time. It was a good read though, as it gave a bit of insight as to how the author at least saw the war going. The book is also on the world literature list I believe.

I tried to read 'Hotel New Hampshire' by John Irving. I remember reading it while in high school and loving it. But this time around I hated it. I could not like the characters in it and after only a chapter or so, I gave it up. I think that all the things that were good back in high school (sex, anarchy etc) were now things that weren't nice to read about at all. 

This year I started with 'A Robot in the Garden' by Deborah Install. A lovely book set in the near future where androids are normal in every day life. And then one day Ben finds a robot (a big step down from an android) in his garden and wants to get it fixed. The book follows his journey with the robot (called Tang) as they go on a trip around the world. After a slow start, I really got into this book. At times it was funny, at times it was disturbing, at times it was thought provoking. Well worth the read.

Then I continued with an author I had managed to avoid all throughout my time in Norway. But book club you know and I started reading 'Knife (Harry Hole #12)' by Jo Nesbø. I soon realised I had been right to avoid. Perhaps it was because it was already part 12 of the series about this murder detective Harry Hole, perhaps it was just the gruesomeness of some of it. Whatever it was though: a few chapters in, I quit. Not for me thank you. 

'Dinner at Rose's' by Danielle Hawkins was my next read. It was sort of a romcom. Well, no, it was a romcom. Set in New Zealand, Jo moves back home from Australia after she catches her boyfriend with her best friend. Finding a job in the place she grew up, she meets up with her old friend Matthew, her honorary aunt Rose and several others. Then Rose becomes ill. I found this book an easy read. Nothing too strenuous for the mind, nothing too gory or gruesome and a happy ending?

Right now I am reading 'Anxious People' by Fredrik Backman. I have loved previous books by him, most notably A Man Called Ove which has me in tears each time I read it, this one however is a bit more of a struggle. I will finish it though.

Library at Wimpole Hall
After this there are several others waiting on my Kindle: The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson; The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin; The Phone Box at the End of the Earth by Laura Imai Messina; How To Be A Victorian by Ruth Goodman; House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland; Dancing By The Light Of The Moon by Gyles Brandreth (collection of poems); The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. 

Thursday 15 April 2021

Staying close

A whole row of bug hotels
I don't have to go far to find some nice walks, but the walks in my neighbourhood are always similar or the same to each other, so I decided that today I would get the car out and drive. Although still not too far, it was only a fifteen minute drive and I had arrived. I had put it in my head that the walk would be about 8,5 km, which of course was wrong. When I checked right before I took my first step, it was supposed to be 6,7 km.

Either way, the walk was lovely. It led me through a small village and its pretty nice outskirts. Some wooded areas and back into the village. On the way I had a spot of lunch, forgot my camera on a fence post and had to trace back my steps, saw some goslings (farm, not wild) and the cutest little pony baby. I mean, it was like there was a massive arrow over its head saying: CUTE!

A friend of mine is always going out walking and finding ice creams all over the country side. Not sure how she does it. Although today I did see a farm shop selling ice cream (among others), I had only just finished my lunch and wasn't feeling like it. Yet. Because once I got back to the village there was ice cream to be had. White chocolate and raspberry. A good end to a lovely walk.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

This year's challenge

Remember this year's challenge? The one I set at the end of last year? Walk 790.8 km over the course of the year? So far... I am doing okay. I am. Really. Having started the River Vecht walk and the virtual walks help as well and that is why I am pleased to say that I have as I am typing this (April 13th) walked just over 39%. 

That 39% means that in under one third of the period (which would be 4 months), I have done over one third of the distance. I am going great! In fact, each month my distance went up, last month I nearly did 100 km. 

There is a slight note to this. The total distance last year was calculated using all kilometers I did, whether it was proper walk or not. The total distance this year is calculated using only proper walks. Which means that any steps taken during work are not counted. Any steps taken while going to the shops (unless part of a walk) are not counted. And I still have more km than I did last year. 

The 2021 Challenge is going fine!