Tuesday 28 September 2021

Tuesday's Travels 24

We stayed in Italy for this challenge. Did you recognise it? I wanted a two part answer this time, which meant I wanted the village and the mountain named. The village is called Pompeii and the mountain is called Vesuvius. So, who got them both and gets a point? Quite a few of you actually, although not all of you get the whole point. Fun60, Millie and Walter, and Harm get a full point each. Anvilcloud, Janice and My Mind's Eye get half a point each. Hilary gets a sixth of a point for naming several sites including Pompeii, but no mention of the mountain.
My story? I have been to Pompeii twice. Once with a school group and once with my own tour group. Pompeii is actually quite big. There is the archeological town and then there is the current town. Yes, people are still living in the town, albeit not the old bit. Both times I was restrained for time and on my second visit it was so incredibly hot, I never even entered the archeology. That afternoon I drove up Mount Vesuvius and parked close to the top, but again I didn't see the crater itself. Definitely somewhere to visit again.

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

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Tuesday's Travels 23

Last week's challenge saw us in a rainy Milan in Italy and it was the Duomo (Cathedral) there. Who knew? Well, the points go to Yamini and Hilary and Millie and Walter get a quarter point for naming the country.
My story? On my trip through the North of Italy (the same one where I first liked pizza) with a friend, we were staying in the youth hostel in Milan and visited the city. We were young, it was raining and we mainly checked out the shops. Which were filled with beautiful clothes we couldn't afford. But I also took this photo of the Duomo. We didn't see inside as we were also not interested in culture at that point. 

On to this week's challenge, which requires a two part answer for the full points. Where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer next week.

Monday 20 September 2021

Things to do

The pulpit walk
When I first moved to Norway, I had decided that for the first year at least, I would say yes. Party invite? Yes. Union meeting invite? Yes. Going for a walk up a mountain? Yes. I did them all and yes, there were some experiences I would not like to repeat any time soon. Mainly the 'walk' 'down' a mountain, which turned into a proper 20 km hike up and down and took all my reserves and then some.

However, most of the experiences were good ones and showed me what life in Norway was all about. It also showed Norwegians that I was willing to learn and led to more invites and friends along the way. 

Moving back to the Netherlands, the first thing I had to establish was a life. Well, sanity was the first one, job second and then life. Which was then promptly put on hold by this little bug. However, things are now starting to look up, what with my own place and a job and that. 

Aurlandsdalen walk
Which has led me to say yes. The other day I got an invite by the union for an event in Rotterdam. 'The Unmissables'. Basically all those jobs that are lowest profile, yet without them any country would stop in its tracks. From cleaners to plumbers to bricklayers to bus drivers. As I have the day off I said okay. Why not?

Then I got an invite by a charity I support: their annual meeting was taking place soon, would I like to attend? Well, yes, but no. I do have that day off, however, I will be in Northern Ireland then, visiting my sister, which I am really excited about.

Another union invitation arrived. Their annual meeting, would I...? Yes. As I have don't have to work then, I might as well. Then I saw a general invitation (local bill boards) about an opera choir having an open rehearsal. My singing skills are more Madonna than Whitney, but I would love to go. Until I realised it was on the same day I was heading to Rotterdam. Ah well, another time.

My first Christmas party in Norway
I will be saying yes a bit more from now on. Try to get out there a bit more. Meet some people, get some more friends, because even though I have lots of friends, about 99% are living abroad, making it hard to meet up for cake.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Life on my own

An outing with my Mum back in 2019
When I first moved back to my parents over two and a half years ago, I knew it would only be short term. As in a couple of months. A month into living there, that had been modified to about 5 years as it was not looking good. Fortunately with a stroke of good luck, I managed to get a place of my own and I have been living here now for about a month and a half. 

The curtains are up
Apart from the mess that is still my guest room, most of the house is in order and getting more so by the day. I know where to find things, although I will still open the wrong cabinet in the kitchen to find a cup. I know where to put things, although it is speedily filling up, especially Harry's Room. 

One thing that will definitely take longer than anything else is the garden. Several reasons for that. One is that I may have overdone it a bit prior to the actual move. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome on both hands (right side the worst) and a likely case of RSI on my right lower arm (not diagnosed as yet). 

The weather has been okay-ish, but the other day I was digging in the pouring rain. Not a good mood enhancer I can tell you! Having good weather and time off at the same time is important. And lastly it's finances. Of course I don't need money to remove all the weeds (and there are plenty of those), but I would like to put something in its place from simple flower bulbs to more substantial plants. However, even though flower bulbs are now slowly being put in, the rest will have to wait. 

Other than that I am loving it here and I think I can safely say that Miss O does too. The house is big enough for us and the garden is a favourite with her as there are so many plants to sniff and little toads to follow (fortunately she does not catch them). The other day she also made clear to another neighbourhood cat that it was in fact her garden and to please get lost in all haste!

Sorting the Christmas decorations: from 11 to 6 crates
Not having to watch football, cycling, darts, snooker, tennis and any other sport my mother watches, is also good news. I still watch several other programs we used to watch together and I can record programs when I have to work or go to bed early. As I recently bought myself an iPod, I also have a year free on Apple TV, with delights such as 'Schmigadoon' and 'Come from Away'. Several others have been highlighted by me to watch.

American pancakes
Of course groceries still need to be gotten, dinner needs to be cooked, dishes need to be washed as do clothes. But I love living on my own again. 

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Tuesday's Travels 22

Yes, I had removed the words to make it a bit harder
*evil grin*
Did I finally get my point in showing you something that was not recognised by anybody? Well... no! Hilary deserves this point completely as she not only said it was (of course) Prince Albert, husband to Queen Victoria, but also that this statue is not situated in the UK, but in fact in Coburg in Eastern Germany. 
My story? On a trip to the Frankenwald in Germany, we visited several cities in that area, one of them Coburg. The period between war and unification had meant that not much had been done about buildings and such in East Germany and they looked grey and drab. From 1989 onwards however, things changed and buildings were renovated, repaired, rehabilitated and whatever other re... you want. Colour was reintroduced and towns and cities alike started getting their glory and pride back. 

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

Monday 13 September 2021

The reads

I moved into my own place back in the summer and one of the things I had really been looking forward to, was finding my old favourites. As in books. First of all, bookcases had to be put up to actually house the books, but once they were up and the books were in, it was beautiful. There was a contented hum in the background of my bedroom.

So, what did I read over the past few months? The first book I read was actually not an old favourite, but a new book on my Kindle: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina. Yui loses her mother and daughter in the 2011 tsunami in Japan and we see her struggle from newly bereaved to finding peace. Several other characters with their own stories come in, which really add to her story. I give it 4,5 stars and would highly recommend it.

A book that I had read prior to that was by Fredrik Backman and it was called Anxious People. When I last wrote about the books I had read (click here), I had only just started it and I found it a struggle. I am pleased to say I did finish it and I did like it a lot. How things can change in a few chapters! A bridge, a bank robbery, an apartment viewing and two police officers. Linked together by the people who were there. As I did find it hard to get into at first, I give it 4 stars for that reason, but still recommend it highly.

A few years ago I found a kindle book in the basement bargains, written and self-published by Jodi Taylor, a British writer. Despite the poor editing (especially at the end of the book), I loved her way of writing and have bought and read everything she has done since. One of the series she writes is supernatural/thrillery and I had my hesitations at first. I recently bought the third in the series: Long Shadows
For me the continuing story about Elizabeth Cage is not so much thriller, more extremely unsettling, the first two books even more than the third. Elizabeth is going on a short holiday and does not want to 'see' things, but not even a day into her break, life has other ideas. More is revealed about her and where she comes from in the course of the book. I give it 4,5 stars and would recommend, but only as a third in the series (the others being White Silence and Dark Light).

The last book I will be discussing today is by Ruth Goodman, a lady who has gone 'back in time' by living like a Victorian for a year! She has written several books, including one about that experience, but the one I read was How To Be A Victorian (also tying in nicely with the books about St Mary's by Jodi Taylor). From sleeping to eating, from work to play, everything is explained at several levels. Very interesting, very entertaining (from the comfort of a heated home and with a full belly) and very enlightening. Also the book reads like the author talks, which is great as you can hear her in your head reading the passages out loud. If you are interested in history, this is a real good book to start with. Five stars from me.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Photo on Sunday 2021-24

On my kitchen wall

That's the letter G done

Tuesday 7 September 2021

Tuesday's Travels 21

It was an easy one again wasn't it? Such an iconic look: tulip fields in the Netherlands. In this case they were in the Noordoostpolder, but that is not something that you would know from the photo, so Netherlands was accepted. Whole points going to Gera, Hilary, Debby and Millie and Walter. 3/4 points going to Harm, Janice and Yamini for not quite mentioning either tulips or country. Sorry, I had to be tough!
My story? Well, as I already mentioned, I lived in that part of the world for 14 years and every spring, the tulips would be pulled up (the ground would be covered in plastic sheeting to allow all the plants to come up at roughly the same time that is wanted by the farmer) and views like this would be there for all to enjoy! I actually did a couple of tulip tours as well, driving tourists around and giving them more information about the area as well. 

On to this week's challenge and I think I may have picked a toughie. Who and where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer next week.

Wednesday 1 September 2021

The garden, part 2

No hiding in the grass anymore
There were several days last week where I got outside to do something in the garden. One day my Dad came over so we could tackle the lawn. Well, the grassy bit in the front garden. Which was very high. But, my Dad had managed to get the loan of a lawn mower, so we managed to get it done in the end. Hard work as we kept having to tilt the machine to remove the long and wet blades of grass that were clumping up the mowing blades. I won't even mention the number of slugs we managed to kill either...

It still needs some tidying as well
Then last night my Dad came over with the lawn mower's owner who would help trim one hedge and remove another one altogether. I must admit, the result of the trimming looks awful, but it will grow back and then at least it will be more manageable for me. The area where a hedge was removed just looks a bit bare, as several smaller trees have been removed as well, mainly the Devil's Walking Stick, which is a nasty piece of work with thorny stem and branches. 

Not quite sure what is left
On the other hand, I now have a perfect spot for a plant I received the other day: a lovely Hydrangea. Still small right now, but it will grow and can deal with areas that don't get sunshine all day long. In other news, I also managed to kill off my first two house plants by over watering them. *Sigh*