Tuesday 31 August 2021

Tuesday's Travels 20

Did you deduct where this was? Because those pump jacks can be found right here in the Netherlands as well. However, my home country does not have stonking big snow capped mountains in the distance. This was of course a pump jack in Alberta, Canada with the Rocky Mountains in the background. As I am not quite sure where exactly this was taken (somewhere along the motorway/highway), I will give the point to Anvilcloud. Half a point goes to Yamini who also said Alberta. For those of you who said Canada: nice try, but no cigar!
My story? Back in 2011, when I was still all set to move to Canada, I actually visited the country. A Canadian friend met up with me and we saw some sights over the course of a couple of days. This photo was taken while driving (she drove) and it was the epitome of Alberta for me. Oil and mountains.

On to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? Why not share your story. Answer next week!

Monday 30 August 2021


Today is the last day of my four-day weekend. I had to clean the house, do the dishes, get groceries, do laundry, visit my Mum (it was her birthday on Saturday), get visited by friends and aunties wanting to see the new place. All at my own speed. Plenty of time to do nothing. 

I did get a phone call last Thursday, whether I wanted to do an extra early shift on Friday. I had to think about it. Normally it would be yes or no within seconds. This time I had to actually think hard. Financially it would have been a good move. Mentally and to some degree physically not so much. I picked mentally. I am just so tired and I need to think about myself. 

So, I did clean. I did do the dishes. I did go grocery shopping. I did do my laundry. I did visit my Mum (which is NOT a chore by the way) and I did get visited by friends and aunties. But I did not work. Instead I sat behind the computer for a full morning on Friday. I listened to the rain on the roof (you can sing the song now). I watched television. I read. I crocheted. I relaxed. 

Tomorrow morning the alarm will sound. At 3.15 am. Wish me luck!

Sunday 29 August 2021

Friday 27 August 2021

Miss Oswin has moved


I knew there was something going on. I knew it! Every time Mara came in, she smelled funny. Opa also smelled funny sometimes and Oma was sitting behind the whirring machine with a lot of fabric that smelled funny. They were nearly too busy to give me a pet or let me out. 

And then the day came I was put in the basket. No no no!!! I don't want to go anywhere else. Mara took me to the vet and then I smelled funny too. But the vet said I was okay, just a little overweight. Hey, I am the most beautiful cat in the whole wide universe don't you know!

Then, the next day, the basket came out again. And I had to go in again. And this time when I was let out, there was a whole new house, where everything smelled funny and there were strange noises and my food was in a strange place and and and miaow?

Mara said I could go anywhere in the house. But I wasn't allowed outside. Well, I wasn't going outside anyway thank you very much. Since I am the most beautiful cat in the whole wide universe, I am not supposed to be scared, but I can tell you: I was a bit. So, I hid under the bed, or the couch, or the chest of drawers. 

But, I did also check everything out. There are so many places I can sleep on like a chair or a weapon's blanket chest. There are window sills to climb on and see what is happening outside. I can even smell outside as Mara has most of the windows open a tad. 

I got used to the new house and wasn't hiding anymore. I sleep on the bed mostly, but in the evening I come down to let Mara stroke my fur. Well, I am trying to get some food, but so far it hasn't worked. She says I need to lose weight. Harumph.

One day Mara went outside and I wasn't allowed, so I told her in no uncertain terms that that was just not on. She said I had to wait a few more days and then I would be allowed. 

Guess what? I am now allowed to go outside. And the garden is a great place to hide. So many plants and trees and even really high grass. 

Do you know what? I think I might like it here...

Wednesday 25 August 2021

The garden, part 1

Kitchen yard with tree still in place
One thing that came with this house was a garden. Which had always been tended lovingly by the lady who lived here, but in the end dementia got her down and the garden with it. So, even though you can still see the remnants of a good garden, it is severely overgrown and not what I would like to do with it. 

The tree removed, but still very much overgrown
It needed cutting back. Yes, that would mean taking away the lovely places to live for frogs, snails, slugs and all sorts of other creepy crawlies, but I am planning to give back, so don't worry. The first bit I tackled was the kitchen yard (the bit outside the kitchen, alas no direct access). When I first got the keys, there was a large fir tree there as well, but that had already been removed by the housing association's landscapers. 

You can see the creeper behind the blue (paper) bin
The hedge however is still there. Part laurel and part something other, it is way too wide: about two meters I think. It needs a really good close trim. Close as in close to the ground. I will be cutting it down to about 50 cm from the ground. It will then take about 2 years for it to come back, but then I can keep on top of it much easier. And not let it grow out of proportion. 

The hedge
The first bit was done yesterday. By the time I had removed about one twentieth, the wheelie bin was full. Unless somebody comes with a trailer and a big saw, it will take some time. Never mind. I also removed some dead wood (containing a live froglet) and some creeping plant that even popped up in the shed and will most likely need to be removed for the next ten years.

Any difference?
My plans for the front yard are varied. On the one hand the plan is to keep the hedge and make sure the three wheelie bins I have have enough room, on the other hand the plan is to remove the hedge altogether and make a different entry into that yard. Also put up some large poles, fix wire mash, plant some nice climbers/vines and have enough room for the wheelie bins. That second option is my favourite, it is also more expensive.

The creeper has mostly been removed, but the roots...
And that is just the kitchen yard. The front yard is about five times bigger and although it does not have a hedge, it has the remains of the laurel tree that is already starting to sprout again after being cut down, conifers that are partly dead, a large blackberry bush (the freezer is filling up nicely, prior to making jam), a elderberry tree (will be picked as well and made into jam), a Chinese Rose, a Common Lilac, grass that is way too high and a massive attraction to cats to poop in. A bit of work needed I can tell you!

On the left you can see a tiny bit of hedge cut off.
And I removed the holly.
The plan there would be to remove the conifers and continue the poles/wire mesh/vines and climbers. The Chinese Rose needs trimming, the Common Lilac needs trimming, the grass needs cutting and of course edibles need to be planted. Berry bushes, perhaps an apple or a plum tree. Some of it will and can be done this year, other things will most likely be a long term project. Which is fine. I am not moving any time soon! 

Tuesday 24 August 2021

Tuesday's Travels 19

Well, I think it's fair to say: you lot nailed this! Whether from personal experience or from film or television: you knew it was the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Points go to: Harm, Yamini, Millie and Walter, Fun60, Gera, Debby, My Mind's Eye and Hilary. A round of applause!
My own story? Well, I have seen this fountain twice, the most recent one being with my sister in 2019. Taking a half decent photo was difficult enough though: so many people. It really took away from the fountain I felt. I did not throw a coin to come back to Rome, even though it's a beautiful city, there are so many other beautiful cities out there, it's hard to get to them all. As for actually putting my feet in the fountain: being hauled off by police was not on my to do list when visiting Rome...

On to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer next week.

Friday 20 August 2021

The cost of moving continued

Only a few coins in there
I spoke about the financial consequences of my move (basically flat broke right now), and only a few short sentences about the physical and mental state. However, they are not to be overlooked. Or overfelt in this case and yes I know there is no such word, but you know what I mean.

The first thing I noticed was a couple of weeks ago. While sitting on the couch on a morning, my fingers would go completely numb. Then a couple of days later, I felt a tingling sensation in the knuckles of my fingers while driving. Paracetamol helped, but it kept returning. 

I had to go see my gp yesterday anyway (cervical smear which turned out to be pointless as I no longer have a cervix apparently), so decided to add on a visit about this problem with my hands. Result? Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! Great!

He told me there were a couple of ways to go: try splints at night or see a neurologist who would most likely tell me to try using splints at night. Guess which way I went? Yep, option number one. I then had to get the splints from somewhere and there they told me some more as they have experience with that type of thing.

First thing is: use the splints and hope the pain/discomfort will diminish. If not, the next option is the neurologist. Who by then does not need to prescribe splints, but can go straight to cortisone injections. If that too won't help, it will be a case of operating. The lovely guy helping me said I was lucky though: I got myself medical attention quite early on. Some people wait for over a year! 

One for each hand
Anyway, I sleep with splinted braces now. Which keep my wrists from bending while sleeping, giving rest to the carpal tunnels and hopefully make them return to normal. The first night was not the best, but I will get used to them.

On the mental side of things: I phoned my sister yesterday. After a few trials and a lot of errors, we decided that seeing each other might help and the phone call became a video call. An hour later we had several things sorted.

Firstly: our walking trip to England will be moved from May to September, to give me more time to get my finances sorted to actually pay for the trip. Secondly, a short city trip might be possible in May, most likely to London, but other options are available. Thirdly, despite my empty piggies, I will go over to see her (Corona permitting) in October. 

Along the Mourne Coastal route back in 2018
As I said: I am tired in my head and really need some rest. Staying in a cottage close to the sea would be just what the doctor ordered. If I had asked him that is...

Wednesday 18 August 2021

The cost of moving

From the Netherlands to Norway
Having moved 6 times over the last ten years, I can easily say: it is not cheap. Especially when moving internationally when it is very much not cheap. So, when I lived at my parents and did not really have that many things to spend my money on, I saved up. For a move. That would take at least five years to happen. Until it happened a bit sooner. 

Fortunately I had most of my furniture as I had taken it along with me from Northern Ireland to the Netherlands. It was just in storage. I had plenty of towels and bedding: goodness knows where it all came from. I even had a bed and a spare bed! Although the spare bed was taken to my parents' house to be used over there.

 A new home in Norway
I had saved up plenty for paint and floors and such. Until I realised that the flooring alone would empty out the particular piggy bank and then some. Other piggies were emptied as well. I had all the curtains I needed as well, until they didn't quite fit. Adjustments were made and in the end it left my living room curtainless. Another hit for another piggy. 

In the end, most of the piggies I had were emptied out into the big account. I had kept a tally of all the spending on the new house and it just mounted and mounted. Mind you, as I had most of the stuff in the first place, I am still quite happy with how it has gone, as it could have been a lot worse. 

My massive bedroom in Northern Ireland
But the finances aren't the only thing. My body is tired and responding in kind. A heavy feeling in fingers and hands, knees that feel a bit sore and muscle aches appearing two weeks after any serious carrying and lifting. It will pass. And fortunately the one headache attack I had in the new place was only minor and only a 2 on the badness scale. 

My mind is also tired and responding in kind. Doing mundane tasks like the laundry is actually quite soothing, but the last load is in and from now on it will be the regular laundry instead of also doing the 'sat in a box for 2 1/2 years' laundry. I am slowly getting back to normal though. 

The new place
Whatever normal is...

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Tuesday's Travels 18

Last week's challenge was indeed a choice between two. But which one is it? Is it Meissen? Or is it Belleek? I have visited both factories and love them both. However, this one is Meissen. Gera gets the point, Yamini half a point for concurring. 
My story? During our trip through central Europe my sister and I just had to visit the Meissen factory in former East Germany. We both love porcelain, especially vases. We got a (tourist) tour through the factory and right at the end was a museum with absolutely beautiful pieces. This one was one of them. I could have bought it as well I think: several thousand euros would have needed to change hands. In the end I settled on a small vase, which was dear enough.

On to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer next week!

Friday 13 August 2021

Before and after 3

So, I didn't want any wardrobes in my bedroom. Or I should say: I did not feel there was enough room for wardrobes. The depth of a wardrobe is usually about the double of what a book case would be. Hence my choice. 

See the clearance to the ceiling?
However, I did already have other ideas anyway. Having two large and one small bedroom, I had decided to 'give up' the small bedroom to wardrobes. A trip to online Ikea had me ordering both the book cases and the wardrobes. It was delivered, but only to downstairs. We had to get the lot upstairs. It was very heavy and in the end we unpacked downstairs and took it up one shelf at a time.

This one came with me from Northern Ireland
Whereas the book cases had been fairly straightforward (make lying down, put upright, put in place, add top), the wardrobes were a very different kettle of fish. For starters: my ceilings are not high enough. High enough for the finished product, not enough to put something upright. So, my Dad and I put the things together in standing position. 

Some crates in the back, shoe rack in front
My Dad for some reason is great at reading maps, but give him an Ikea manual and it takes a great deal of time. Fortunately it was not my first rodeo, having made several pieces of furniture in the past (book cases were done a few days later) and we soon got it up. I say soon, it took us the best part of the evening, but up it was.

Door on left, lamp on right. Very little between them.
The second larger wardrobe needed three pairs of hands to put up, but in the end that was done as well. Only problem? The door couldn't close as there was a lamp in the way. *Sigh* The only option was to move the lamp, but that would be for another day.

It's already in double and still not fully filled.
However, I kept thinking about it and later that evening I thought: why not move the wardrobes? Just a few inches might do it. If the doors still don't open/close: fair enough and move the lamp. But, a few inches was just right. There is not a lot of room between the door and the lamp, but they don't touch. 

Uniform hanging on the right, the rest on the left/shelves.
Of course then the filling started. And more filling. And more. And more. And as of today it is still not finished. I don't know where I got all the bathroom and bedroom linen from, but it seemed to duplicate as I was filling. Nearly there though...

Thursday 12 August 2021

Before and after 2

Pre -curtains, -floor and -paint
The first room that was completely ready was the small downstairs loo. After that it took a bit longer. Flooring had to be put in and then I had to move everything else in. After which the proper move began I felt: what to put where?

I painted the lot! Twice!!
Pretty early on I had decided that I would not have wardrobes in my bedroom. The main reason for that was that it is not the biggest of rooms and I do like some moving room besides the bed. But in the end I did put some storage in there anyway: book cases. As I had plenty of books, I needed to put them somewhere and even though this is a three bed place, I was fast running out of room.

Summer duvet is up, but out of the way: too hot.
The bed I slept in at my parents' stayed there, as I have my own bed (the other one was my guest bed). It was my first big buy as an adult (ahem) living on my own and came with wardrobes (perished), chest of drawers (perished), vanity table (still here) and mirror (still here, but not for much longer). 

The colour of the book cases doesn't quite match the bed, but it is close enough for me. I put them together myself in one evening and I think they look pretty good. They looked pretty sad when there wasn't a book in them, but now they quietly sing in the background. I just have to start reading again. 

The vanity table also found a place in my room as it is the only other dark piece of furniture. You can just see it peeping out from behind the bed. Then there is a clothes rail that has to get out, but no room as yet in the guest room/office. A plastic crate and a suitcase will also move in due time. The artwork on the wall is of course my own. Shrewd viewers may recognise two of them as they have been shown on Tuesday's Travels.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Tuesday's Travels 17

Well, I thought I could fool you all, but two people still knew what it was, even if I didn't show this exact photo last week. Yamini and Gera both get a point for knowing it was Sverd i Fjell near Stavanger, Norway. It translates as Swords in the Rock and they are quite big.
My story? Well, a friend of mine showed me these while we were on our way to a yarn shop. We clambered all over to try and get the best photos. I even had one of those photos turned into a piece of art to hang on my wall and it is the first piece you see when entering this house.

On to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story! Answer next week.

Wednesday 4 August 2021

I'm in!

Well, I was in by last Saturday and most of my belongings were here as well. Apart from my desk chair and computer among several other things. But I am now in and enjoying the new quiet place. 

Miss Oswin is still not sure about this whole move, also because things keep moving about here as well. She is still hiding under the sofa or a chest of drawers. But she has also found the window sills are perfect for watching the world go by. When it is quiet anyway.

There is still a fair bit to do. I keep finding more crates with bedroom and bathroom linen. Everything needs a wash before putting away, but I am slowly running out of room to put things away. For my own bedroom I bought two large book cases and there is not that much room left over in them. Unless I were to double up (two rows on one shelf), which I don't like very much. 

All my clothes and linen has been moved to the box room. A large wardrobe and a large chest of drawers take up most of the space there and it is still not enough. Perhaps I have too many towels? The guestroom is taken up by the huge amount of wool and other craft stuff I have. I don't need to buy any new yarn for a while yet. 

Downstairs it is slowly taking more shape. The kitchen was mostly done anyway before the big move, as was Harry's room (also known as the cupboard under the stairs), which houses all the tins, bottles, herbs, spices and sugar I have. Also tissues, paper hankies, bin bags, candles and such. 

The living room area is looking quite nice. Beforehand I knew exactly where to put everything and where I wanted my tv. In the end it doesn't look anything like it. Of course. This was mainly due to a large cupboard needing to be put in as well and there only being one spot for it. There will be a few more additions to come, but those will come in the time to come.

As for the garden? Neighbourhood cats pooping in the grass, a dead bird and blackberries slowly turning black. It will need some severe work doing to it. Not sure when, as my hands, elbows and knees are very sore right now. And I am tired. Very tired. 

But, I am in and enjoying it very much. Miss O will come around in due time as well, even though she will have to miss out on all the cuddles my parents gave her. Who, by the way, are enjoying a daughter and catless house very much!

Tuesday 3 August 2021

Tuesday's Travels 16

To be honest, I had to look up exactly what this photo was again, so no worries if you didn't recognise it! But, it was the statue of Pope John Paul II in Rome, which is located near the station (Termini). If you got Rome right: half a point. If you got Pope right: half a point. So, who got points in the end? Debby gets a whole point for Pope and Rome. Hilary and Gera both get half a point for Rome. Millie and Walter get half a point for the Pope. 
My story? In 2019 my sister had some vacation days left over and wondered what to do with them. Well, why not take a trip to Rome with your big sister? So, that's what we did. We took one of those big bus tours to see the main sites and this statue was along the route.

On to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer as always next week.