Wednesday 30 June 2021


Today I have become a Sarah. Yep, I turned 50 years old and in the Netherlands you are then a Sarah. Unless you are male as in that case you become an Abraham. As I am female, Sarah it is. Fun fact: did you know Miss O was originally called Sara? Yeah, changed that the minute she got through my door.

Anyway. Big birthday. Or so they say. I don't really see so much difference with 49 or 51 or 62 and 127 days to be honest, but apparently 50 is the big one. The half century. Starting the end. Then again, as I am planning to reach 120, I am not quite starting the end yet. I hope.

A home made rice pudding cake
Right. Birthday. With cake. Which I would normally have made myself, but a certain new place is also vying for attention, so shop bought it is. I received my first birthday card already back in May with an overexcited Debby sending it out early. I have only opened it today!

As for presents: well, I have some fantastic ones this year. First of all there was the new iPod I bought for myself. Expensive maybe, but I had been going on about it for nearly three years and besides: I had plenty of money as a new place was far on the horizon.

The new digs
Then there was the new place which was actually much closer than I had ever thought. I won't quite be in it by the end of this day, but in a month's time I can watch the Doctor whenever I want. Or any of the other series, shows or films that I like. And if I'm not home: I can record it.

The third great present came two days ago. My Mum and I were going to get a new potato bin for my Mum, when I spotted a lovely dress in a shop window. One that actually stopped me in my tracks as I loved it. So, after the potato bin had been bought, I went into that store to see whether it would fit. Remember I am a big girl and regular sizes are too small. This was a regular clothes shop.

I knew I was size 48 last year. I had lost weight, so 46 should be good now. I tried it on: it looked awful! Like I was wearing a potato sack. I needed a smaller size, but they didn't have the next size down. They did however have 42, which I tried on. I took it off almost immediately, put my own stuff back on, went to the counter and paid for the dress. 

All in all, this birthday has all the markings of being a good birthday. 

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Tuesday's Travels 11

So, did I fool anybody? Did you think it was the Fat Tower in Zierikzee? The one I saw only a few weeks ago? Sorry to say: it wasn't. It was the Oldehove, the leaning tower of Leeuwarden in the north of the Netherlands. Who gets a point? Well, this time the point goes to my sister Gera. And like she says: they stopped building this tower when it started to lean due to the unstable ground. 
My own story? Well, even though I lived in Leeuwarden during my childhood, I never actually climbed this tower. In fact, I don't think I ever really saw this then and this photo was actually taken in 2016. Probably the first time I looked at it properly, although I still didn't climb it, much to Brom's disgust.

On to this week's photo. What and where is this (multiple options)? Have you ever been? Tell me your story! Answer next week!

Monday 28 June 2021

The beginning

This one is done and dusted and in use.
There was an end last week, but there was of course also a beginning. As in a new place for me, Brom (and Mouse) and Miss Oswin. Very exciting indeed.

That hideous wall in front is now painted a lovely magnolia colour,
which really lights up the rest of the room.
Not that I am ready to move in just yet. I had hoped to be in by my birthday this week, but that is very much wishful thinking. I might move in alright, but there would not be anything in the house apart from painting materials. 

The living room area with a funny little window.
The plan is to paint everything first, then have the flooring done (professionally) and then move everything in. Due to Corona and holiday, the first option of having the flooring done is July 19th. Well, it was August 2nd, but by splitting the house in two (up and down) and doing it on two days, they were able to fit me in. 

This will be my bedroom. 
Which means I have some time to paint. So far I have done and finished the downstairs loo and am working on both kitchen and living room (one big room). A friend of mine came to help with the painting the other day and did some ceilings.

Not sure about the shower curtain
I also have to order things: television, fridge, cooker, internet/television, electricity/gas and insurance. I must admit it is a fair bit, but I am enjoying it. Then there are the things I have to have help with: painting of the upstairs landing and the actual moving in. So, if you are in the neighbourhood...

The garden will need some serious trimming back as well. 

Sunday 27 June 2021

Photo on Sunday 2021-20

Taken on a recent walk.

Friday 25 June 2021

The end

When I got my hysterectomy back in the winter of 2015, I was told that to keep me from having more trouble coming my way, it would be best if I were to take medication. At least until I had gone through menopause.

Not just any medication either: the pill. The one that keeps millions of women regular and helps them not become pregnant at the drop of a hat. And in my case: helps my remaining ovary from not producing eggs that my body might than encapsulate, which would then result in more trouble.

When to stop taking it though. Yes, I realise the menopause bit, but when am I through it? With the pill I use, I don't notice any trouble. Without any lady bits (apart from a shrivelled ovary), it would be different anyway. 

I saw a male lady doctor who looked inside, told me I was fine and that it would be okay to stop once I hit fifty. Especially seeing the shrivelled ovary, the fact I was early to get my first period and my mum getting through it early as well. 

I have written this post on Thursday and that means that by the time this post arrives on your screens, there will only be 2 more pills left to take (the white ones are dummies, I don't take those). 

Not sure what will happen once I stop, but I will keep you posted on possible mood swings, hot and cold flashes, chocolate cravings (hold on, I always have those) and other symptoms. Of course it could also be a complete dud and nothing at all happens! 

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Tuesday's Travels 10

This might have been a 'I have seen that before, but where' scenario for some of you. But it was the Pont Langlois near Arles in France. Which in itself is quite 'huh?', but combined with a certain famous and tormented Dutch painter (Vinnie!), it got worldwide fame. Who got the points this week? Well, I said so last week: but Yamini is a girl very much in the know and she got it right: 1 point to her. And Millie and Walter got it right too: 1 point to them.
My own story? On a trip to the Provence with a bunch of high school children, this was one of our stops. The bridge itself is not in use anymore, as it is a bit fragile and would be even more so when hordes of tourists want to take selfies on the bridge. Hence the raised position and the fact that it was fenced off. Mind you, the only tourists there that day were us!

On now to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? What is your story? Answer as usual next week!

Monday 21 June 2021


Wow, rain and sunshine. All a garden really needs to grow and grow. And grow it does! It's hard to keep up with. 

The rocket can be picked on a near daily basis, although some of the plants are now overshooting and starting to produce flowers. I had some of the Swiss Chard as well, although not enough for a meal. Instead I used it in my cheese sandwich. 

I made a rookie mistake of planting too close, but even so, the Snow Peas are starting to flower and hopefully will soon be forming pods. Not sure how much it will produce, but anything is better than nothing.

The strawberries are finally doing something and I had my first two red, juicy ones the other day. They were yummy and full of flavour. Better than the ones you get in the supermarket anyway! The tomatoes still have a way to go. They are still only small plants. The cabbages however are growing well.

The winner of them all however must be the courgette. The leaves are huge and the flower next to it is almost covered/smothered by it. Tip for next year: separate pots!

So far this garden has been a lot of fun for me. And tasty as well...

Sunday 20 June 2021

Friday 18 June 2021

Where I live

I live with my parents at the moment and have done ever since I came back from Northern Ireland. I was mentally bruised, I was sad to leave my sister behind (especially in view of things that were then still way in the future) and I barely had a penny to my name.

The garden from above
I had registered with the social housing agency as soon as I could, but knew I would be in it for the long haul. The very long haul as waiting for a new home doesn't just take months, it takes years. Fortunately I don't live in Amsterdam, where a wait of a decade or more is the norm. In the area where I live, it would be more like 5-7 years. Still plenty!

The living room with view over the garden
So, when I got the chance for the house that was being lotteried off, I was in it. Then when I was first candidate, I was so happy. But did I get it in the end? Well... on Wednesday I got a phone call. From the housing agency. I got it! I actually got it! Paperwork was fine and as of yesterday I was the new renter of the house by the school. 

One of the bedrooms, there are 2 more!
Now for the moving in part. It won't be for a few weeks yet, as the walls need painting, the floors need covering, the windows need covering. Then the storage needs to be emptied and everything put in the house. In a way that I like of course. 

But officially? As of June 17th, I have a place of my own...

Thursday 17 June 2021

Was I lucky?

It was about a 0,36% chance to actually get to first place and be offered that home. So, where did I end up? Did I tell you I felt lucky? That I felt really good about it? That I just knew this was going to be my new home? 

I ended up in first place. FIRST! Oh yes. I was lucky. I had felt good about it and it came through. However, that didn't mean I would get the home. Because there were a couple of hoops to jump through first. 

Firstly I had to see the place and decide whether it was a place I wanted to live in (now, or wait another 3+ years, what do you think?). Then I had to prove I was earning enough: tax report over 2020 was needed. I needed to prove that I lived where I said I lived. I needed to have a letter by my current rental people to say I was a good renter, but as I lived with my parents, I didn't need to. If any of these proved to be unsatisfactory, it would be offered to the next in line.

The viewing took place last Monday. It's less than 500 meters from where I live now and right next to a primary school. The garden is overgrown and has several large trees in it. The kitchen is fairly small (no room for a dishwasher, gulp), I need to find a spot for the dryer as there is no room in the bathroom for it, but there are three bedrooms, so I think that is sorted. On to the paperwork...

The paperwork was sorted (mostly) last Sunday. The tax report was easily done. It shows the income you had over a certain year (2020 in my case) and unless I think I will earn a lot more this year, it will be accepted. And even though I did enter my birthday lottery (it just happens to fall the day after my birthday), I don't think I will be winning big this time either.

The proof of address may be a bit harder. Yes, I have submitted the paper for it, but the date I registered with the social housing company and the date I actually was registered in this town differ. So, fingers crossed it is not too much of an issue. I can explain some of the gap, but not all. 

I have everything crossed and then some that this may work out for me. I was number 1 candidate, hopefully I will be number 1 renter soon. It would be a great 50th birthday present!

Wednesday 16 June 2021

Are you feeling lucky?

Do you ever play in the lottery? Do you ever buy a ticket and know, just know, that you will win that jackpot? And then the day comes and you might win 10 euro (or equivalent in your currency). But the next time you will buy that ticket again, because this time...

Well, I do. Not necessarily hoping for the jackpot, but a nice amount to cover the repayments on my car and get me a nice holiday. June 10th was another lottery day. I bought ten 20% tickets, which mean that if I win anything, I only get 20% of it. I paid 30 euros. I won a total of 15 euros. Yeah. Next month's tickets are bought already...

I did also play in another lottery. A housing lottery. Basically trying to find a new rental home in the town where I live, I need to have been registered for more years than I have been now. At least 5 to my current 2,5. But on occasion the social housing agency also lists houses where it is not important how long you have been registered, as the house up for rent will be 'lotteried' off. 

I don't often go for those type of places. Mainly because they are apartments in a neighbourhood I'd rather not live or because they are fairly small. This time however, it was for a family home with three bedrooms. Well, I have as much chance as the other 280? applicants, so why not enter this lottery. 

I felt good about it. Really good about it. I mean, I had less than a 0,36% chance, but it felt good! And then the day came the application closed. So, what place did I get? Come back tomorrow!

PS: I don't play the lottery every month, only about two or three times a year. I realise I will have more luck keeping my money in my purse and saving up that way. Or do I???

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Tuesday's Travels 9

Last week's challenge was of course Stortinget in Oslo, Norway. Or the parliament building. Who got it right and gets a point? Well, it was Yamini. She knows things that girl!
My own story? On my very first visit to Norway I didn't understand much, but I refused to speak anything other than Norwegian. I decided to take a guided tour of the parliament building, which was quite interesting (and I understood a lot). Fun fact by the way: Norway does not have an upper chamber anymore, only a lower chamber.

On to this week's challenge: where is this? Have you ever been? What is your story? Answer next week!

Monday 14 June 2021


You've all been there: you live next door to a chemical plant and one day there is a leak. Or what about the day the dykes break and your town gets flooded. The fire in the tyre factory. In the Netherlands we have a general warning system that will sound if any of these or other serious things happen.

Several years ago I had my house renovated: the windows were out, in fact the whole front of the house was open, when the alarm went. And kept on going. The main advice when the alarm goes off? Stay inside, close windows and doors and turn on the local television or radio. Yes, right!

Anyway, those alarms are not just there to be sounded once in a blue moon. They are actually sounded every single month (unless there is a (religious) holiday on the same day). Everybody knows: 12 noon on Monday it's alarm time. You hear it, you may even register it, but it doesn't do anything else. Until the alarm is sounded on any other day or time. That's when you take notice.

Last week I was on a lovely walk. It was quiet. It was peaceful. Until the alarm went off. The first Monday of the month, noon. So, if you ever come to the Netherlands and the alarm goes off: check! What's the time, what's the day? 

Sunday 13 June 2021

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Is it art?

As you know I recently walked through Rotterdam. It was a nice walk, albeit a bit too busy for my liking. I prefer land and sea to cities. But it was nice to have done it. I showed you a statue of Erasmus (the green one) last week. Made in a new fashion: no more chipping off the old block, oh no. Enter the details in a computer and print in 3D. 

It wasn't however the only piece of sculpture I saw on my walk. The top one shows a very colourful sculpture I found not too far from the Erasmus bridge. It took me a while to realise it had nothing to do with Eurovision being in town, but more to do with the Rotterdam Marathon. It was created by Henk Visch out of iron and the colours represent the nationalities of the runners. On the bottom a lot of plaques with the names of the winners, although several had been removed by souvenir hunters (read vandals).

A bit further on and there were a few heads and names. Nothing to tell me anything else about them. Which meant digging once home. The one I show you is Anthony van Hoboken, who was one of the biggest ship owners of his time. In fact, after the VOC (United Eastindian Company) went bust, he took over most of the sailing. He was very important to Rotterdam as he had ships built and lived in the city as well.

You may 'recognise' the next person. It is Tsar Peter the Great. You may wonder what he had to do with the Netherlands, him being Russian and all, but he was very interested in (again) the building of ships and actually lived among Dutch sailors and lowly shipbuilders for a while. It was made by the Russian sculptor Leonid Baranov and placed in Rotterdam in 1997.

The next sculpture was something I saw on a quayside, but there was no sign to explain what it was. Brom didn't mind though... It might be Poseidon (Greek) or Neptune (Roman), gods of the sea carrying a trident. 

On we walked and I came across this lovely gnome. Unfortunately, funny statues attract people and in this case children. The little girl you see actually stood and stayed still for as long as it took me to take the photo! The minute I put my camera down, she continued playing on it. It is called Santa Claus, although the more common name circulating is Butt Plug Gnome. Yeah, sorry about that! It is by Paul McCarthy.

Then we came to an area with more modern art. Most of it just went straight over my head, but this one did catch my attention and I took several photos of it. I had to look it up, but this is Mother and Child by Carel Visser. The mother figure is holding a baby doll. It is made of objects he found and then bronzed. 

The last statue I am going to show you is not actually in Rotterdam, but in Zierikzee, that lovely small town we visited on another day. It is of Pieter Mogge, who was a rich inhabitant of the town. On his death he left a considerable amount of money to the town to be used for a new university. That never happened though and the money has been used for the upkeep of monuments of the town. Which means that you can still learn things.