Tuesday 30 November 2021

Tuesday's Travels 33

Plenty of you knew this was Venice and the Bridge of Sighs. Points this week go to Gera, Yamini, Hilary, Millie & Walter, Harm and Gerrit.
My story? The first time I ever visited Venice was back in 1989, when I was living in Medulin in what was then Yugoslavia and is now Croatia. Me and a colleague took a boat from Pula to Venice and spent the day there. I have been back several times since, but for some reason I have always thought of it as a dirty and busy place. Yes, I know getting off the beaten track is the way to go, but the sheer volume of people visiting would suggest plenty of money coming in and I think it is used for a lot of things but cleaning the city. Rant over!

On to this week's challenge and I told you it would be a special one where there is a prize to win. And it is like all the other challenges: give me the right answer and you're in with a chance. So, what is the prize? A desktop calendar made with photos taken on my hikes in the Netherlands this year. 

So, on to the actual photo. Where was this photo taken? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer and winner next week!

Monday 29 November 2021

Pity party

Miss O in dreamland
So, over the last few days I have been having a bit of a pity party here at number 7. Feeling a bit sorry for myself and such. It all started really with the combination of dishes and bra. I couldn't do one nor could I undo the other. It needed a solution which would be my Mum. 

Alas, my Mum was having a bit of a problem herself and so did my Dad: Covid-19 had come to number 49. Yes, they both tested positive and were not feeling very good with it. The sniffles, the coughing, the slight loss of voice, taste and smell. Not good. 

St Nicholas and Peter
Another solution presented itself, although less favoured: my friend. The reason I didn't favour that as much was the fact that she herself was recovering from a broken foot and even though she was getting to be more mobile, she was not up to scratch yet.

But, a date was set that she and her husband would come over to help. Until fate threw not one but several large spanners in the works. Because I had been in touch with both my parents prior to them testing positive, it was deemed a good idea I would get tested too. I could have the Corona virus myself. 

Asleep again
As I was calling my friend to cancel her coming over, she told me that they were all feeling below par and had decided to get tested themselves as her daughter had been in touch with someone who had been in touch...

On Saturday morning I made my way to the nearest test site, which fortunately wasn't too far as the only means of getting there was on foot. It was drizzling, it was cold and it was just not nice. Test taken I returned home to wallow in self pity. enjoy a quiet afternoon.

My friends all tested negative and by the early hours of Sunday I also had a negative result. It took some time to actually get logged in to see the result and the atmosphere was pretty grim here for a while, but I got there eventually. 

Meanwhile I had been trying to do the dishes myself and managed a couple of plates and a bit of cutlery before giving up due to pain. I have done a little bit each day and as of today I am nearly through the lot. I also somehow managed to undo the bra I wore and even managed to get a new one on. Very painful, but it is something.

It's 3 cm, the tape measure kept moving.
Last night I unwrapped my hand. The (male) surgeon had told me that he would make a 1,5 cm incision. Not sure what kind of tape measure he used, but look at the photo! That is no 1,5 cm!! It must have been quite black and blue under the bandages, as there are still some yellow remnants on my wrist and some blackish/blueish remnants in the palm of my hand.

Mu virtual outlook in Iceland right now
It is also still quite swollen and I don't have complete use of the hand yet. Some (sudden) movements are very painful and they prevent me from using it very much. It did feel nice to be able to wash my hands properly again though. Next week the five stitches will come out. 

Other than that I am doing fine. Still not reading much, but I am watching a lot of television and the stationary bike also gets a lot of action. I was up to 18 km yesterday. On my regular bike I only ever got to 9, so I am doing okay with that. I will have to if I want to finish my virtual tour of Iceland's Ring Road. A medal awaits at the end and I still have 75% to do. 

On the plus side of life: my parents are on the mend, my Dad sounding almost like his old self yesterday (he was very nearly voiceless), I was negative, the weather is nice, my sister is coming in less than two weeks and Christmas is just around the corner as well. 

Sunday 28 November 2021

Photo on Sunday 31

These were taken in order and show me having some trouble getting over the stile, while Brom was cheering me on and holding on for dear life.

Thursday 25 November 2021


Doesn't it sound as if I were seriousl ill? Instead of just recovering from am minor operation. And it was minor: in by 5 to 11, out by 10 past! The actual operation I did not feel, the anastasiea (I never know how to spell that and with two fingers this becomes even worse) worked a treatz. it was painful for my arm however as tyhey had to stem the bloodflow to my hand. They did not want a bloodbath for some reason...

But it didn't last that long and then the nurse covered my hand in a thick bandage and I was good to go. 

I am not allowed to get the bandage wet now and as I am an unwilling and clumsy leftie by now, I am having some troubles, but all in all I am doing okay. 

Apart from one thing, well a few really. I really do need to do the dishes, but as I still have some pain in my wrist itself and the hand is so thickly bandaged, that is nearly impossible. I will give it a go, but I don't know how far I will get. I did think about asking my mother, but she and my dad have tested opositive on their home test and are now waiting to hear if it is certain they do have Corona. The are both feeling quite under the weather anyway.y

On their way to get tested yesterday, they did drop off the hometrainer for me though. no walking (gammy knnee) and no proprer cycling left this option, but with my parents' home out of bounds... so, I will get back to indoor cycling today, after all, how else am I going to complete the Iceland Ring Road>.<?

Getting dressed is fine, apart from the bra. I am wearing a sports one now, but tthere is now way my dexterity is good eough yet to take it off, so I would need help there as well. And I can write, but only at a certain angle,so I do mst by writing with ny left hand. Dod I say I was a nwilling leftie?u

Right now you have read my post and I do want to apologise for all mistakes. It/s hard enough typing once, going back for corrections is not happening!

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Did you notice?

DNA specimen bottles filled with what the inhabitants
of Leeuwarden thought their city consisted off.
Perhaps you only read my blog and never comment and in that case you will not have noticed anything different. However, if you do leave a comment now and then (or always), you may have realised something is not as it was. 

Because for the time being all comments need to meet with my approval before they are being published. Nothing to do with spammers (although they are a real pest), but everything to do with the upcoming Tuesday's Travels, where a prize can be won. 

Tower Bridge in London, not to be used now...
On normal TT's I publish the photo and you can give your answer for everyone to see, perhaps giving them clues. However, for the prize TT I want to give everybody an equal shot (and don't worry, it is not something that nobody will know, I may be mean, but not that mean). Which means not giving anybody ideas or clues or whatevers. 

Once the next TT has appeared and the prize has been awarded, things will go back to normal. Promise!

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Tuesday's Travels 32

The photo may be old, but there were still two people who recognised it: Avebury in England. Points to Gera and Yamini. 
My story? I lived not too far from here back in the early 1990's and I visited this site several times. I liked the fact you could walk around and actually touch the stones. It is in the same vicinity as Stonehenge, yet I never visited that site for some reason, only driving past once.

On to this week's challenge. Where is this? Have you ever been? Tell us your story. Answer next week. And not only the answer, but an extra special challenge including price giving! Whoohoo!

Monday 22 November 2021


When I made the appointment for the operation, the assistant told me that it would be handy if I did the main chores before, as I would have limited use of the hand for a while. Which meant that the main bulk of the laundry had to be done, the bed had to be changed, the litter box had to be clean and several other things had to be done. 

For that I was quite lucky to have the appointment postponed for a couple of days (originally Friday, then Monday), which gave me the weekend to do it all. Because it was no fun doing it all. It's not a fun job anyway, but when you have a wrist that complains when you don't do anything, you can imagine what it was like when you're actually using it. 

The main job was the bed. I had my autumn cover on, but as I will most likely not have complete use for at least a few weeks, I decided it was best to put the winter stuff on. Which meant severe struggles with the duvet cover and sheets and such, while the wrist protested every step of the way. In the end I did get it done however. I then decided to write a few more posts to appear during my recovery (this being one of them).

Sunday 21 November 2021

Photo on Sunday 30

On the site in front of the Oldehove in Leeuwarden there used to be a graveyard. These do not represent those graves.

You could take a plane from Amsterdam to Leeuwarden
Instead old advertisements and the like have been etched/stamped into some of them (although most are empty).

Or perhaps you preferred the steamer.

Friday 19 November 2021

Tunnel vision

Well, I say vision. More like syndrome as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Which has really made itself known, especially in my right (the dominant) hand. I had already been referred to the plastic surgeon for surgery, but didn't hear anything, so in the end I phoned them myself and an appointment was made for an intake (via phone) and then another appointment for surgery on my right hand. Which was going to take place on Friday, November 19th. 

But alas, not happening. Instead the surgery will take place on Monday, November 22nd, so not too bad a delay. I am looking at between 2-4 weeks recovery according to the assistant (I err on the safe side of 4 weeks really, I want to be certain all is fine). I hope to get another appointment four weeks later to get the other hand done, as I can feel it getting worse as I am using the left more now to take the strain off the right.

All this surgery however means one thing: I will not be able to put my bra on, socks will be difficult, jeans a no-go as especially in the early days after surgery I will be hard put to hold anything. Apparently. Eating will have to be done with my left hand (hello tea towel around neck), washing my hair will have to wait and knitting and crocheting will not be possible.

Instead there will be plenty of time for reading and watching television. I will also have to venture out occasionally to get on my parents' home trainer to get some exercise done. Fortunately I have ready made food in the freezer, plenty of chocolate supplies and enough toilet paper to last until Easter! 

Just to let you know!

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Tuesday's Travels 31

When I saw the answers coming in on last week's challenge, I did think I would have to give a point to all of you saying it was Rome. As it could so easily have been Rome. But then Fun60 swooped in and gave us Naples. And not only that, she gave the reason as well: Maffia! So, a well deserved point to her.
My story? On my way to Herculaneum, we passed not only this site, but several others that were choc-a-bloc with rubbish. It was not being collected as often as it should because of the Maffia. The end result being huge dumps of household waste which would result in rats and other vermin...

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

Sunday 14 November 2021

Photo on Sunday 29

When Queen Wilhelmina ascended the throne (1890 or 1898), this tree was planted and the fence was erected around it. 

When Queen Juliana ascended the throne (1948), this tree was planted and the fence erected around it. Well... fence?

Both in Leeuwarden.

Friday 12 November 2021

The walk through town

This photo shows the Oldehove, the leaning tower of Leeuwarden. It was supposed to be a lot higher, but the builder didn't realise he was building on unstable ground. When it started sagging, he adjusted his plans and apart from leaning it is also wonky. It kept sagging though and he had to give up. The rough bits on either side (half way up) were where the cathedral bit was supposed to be joined on. That never happened either. 

Now, Maria Louise lived just around the corner from this large tableau made from the Makkumer Potteries. She was a royal and is the ancestor of I think all of the current and several now defunct European royal houses. She was highly regarded by the town's people as she was very good to them. After the death of her husband, she did not return to a palace, but instead chose to continue living in Leeuwarden. 

This was the actual place Marijke Meu (as Maria Louise was affectionately known, meaning aunt Marijke) lived in. In the basement of the building there is an exhibition of MC Escher, who was actually born in the house right next door (where the scaffolding is), which belonged to this place when Maria Lousie lived there.

On we went, but not that far as there was another house of another noted person: Margaretha Zelle. You have never heard of her? What about Mata Hari? Yes, the very same! And she was born right in this unassuming house on one of the three hills of Leeuwarden. Or as she called it: the castle on the mountain. She claimed to be much more than she probably was and in the end it cost her her life. Did she spy for the Germans? Did she spy for the allies? Or did she spy for both? Nobody was certain, but they thought they did. She got shot in 1917 by the French.

We passed lovely gardens and lovely houses, which had been built and rented out by the charitable organisation of St Anthony's. They provided homes for the widows back in the day, but also had a hospital. All the buildings that are in their possession (still) are easily recognised by the bell, which was St Anthony's trademark. The houses in the photo are the homes of the gardeners. According to the guide, they still live there!

On we went and we got to the Great or St James' Church (Jacobijner kerk). It used to be a catholic church, but after the reformation in the 16th century it became a protestant one, which it is to this day. The north of the province of Fryslân is still largely catholic and there is a pilgrim's route that you can walk from there all the way to Santiago de Compostela, passing this church and plenty more. The route is called the Jabikspaad (Jacob's or James' Way).

Just across from the church is the Jewish monument and the Jewish quarter. Out of the 700 or so Jews living in Leeuwarden before the war, about 545 did not return. The photo I show is of the shop owned by one Jewish family who were told to report to the train station where they had to buy their own ticket to Westerbork (the transit camp). From there they were put on transport to the East and died within weeks of arrival. The current inhabitants of the shop/home have decided to keep the signs out of respect to the former inhabitants. (It says umbrellas and walking sticks)

Now, I hadn't even noticed when I took the photo what it was of, but once home and once I had read the information on the information board next to the church, I realised I had actually taken a photo of a facing brick representing young St James. He was the most chaste of all Jesus' disciples and he is shown here holding a club. St James had his 'day' on May 1st, in the 'old religion' the day of the eruption of new life force. The club is symbol of him taming that force.

Orange beerhouse

Where you come home at the end
of a messy day,
where your world intensifies
to singing, talking, laughing,
table cloths are ready,
it is cosy to the hilt,
you are transported 150 years
back on your timeline,
where you come home at the end
of your weekly pressures,
you have the chance of disappearing 
in a fog of old happiness.

Judith Nieken, 2016

Thursday 11 November 2021

Genealogy Day

On Monday I posted about my ancestor Pieter who lived with his wife on a small boat where they also raised several children. Several of you commented on the fact that I knew so much about how they lived, but despite finding where his children were born, I did not find all the other information in files. 

Because last Saturday I made my way (bike and train) to Leeuwarden. The provincial archives and the historical centre had organised a Day for Genealogists. I may be an amateur, but I felt it would be nice to go, especially when I found out what their main subject would be: shipping.

There were all sorts of stands there. About how to start your research and how to log it on your computer, about clubs and foundations that searched far and wide, about shipping in general and skûtsjes (a flat bottomed boat) in particular and several families. 

I talked to one person for about half an hour which was very interesting and he has since sent me more information about a brother of an ancestor. Most of the dry details I had, some of the personal details I did not, as it came from letters between family members that I did not have in my tree.

There were also several presentations that day. I visited one as that one would be the most relevant to me. Yes, the information he gave fitted boats and ships from the late 19th century and my research showed early 19th century, but in general the information he gave would and could be transferred to my ancestor, with a few adjustments.

After all that I went on a guided tour through the town. I lived in that town from the age of 3 until I was 12 and basically did not know anything, so it was nice to get some more information now. And despite the painful knee, it was worth it. I will show you photos from that tomorrow.

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Tuesday's Travels 30

Of course I got a right answer again. This time from Gera who knew it was Kinderdijk in the Netherlands (although in this case even Holland (cringe horror) was correct). So, point to her.
My story? Well, even though it is quite close to where my grandparents lived, I only saw it for the first time in my late teens (the photo is from that trip). The mills were built centuries ago and are all used to make sure the land wasn't flooded. To this day the mills can and do perform that function, albeit in this day and age only to help out in case of emergency. 

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

Monday 8 November 2021


One of my several hobbies is finding out about my family. And I have found some really interesting stuff in the past already. One thing I found recently was the fact that one of my ancestors worked on a boat and called himself a skipper or turf skipper on several occasions (the births of his children). Five I noted immediately: they were born in the canal(!) or on the ship moored at a particular spot.

Pieter and his wife actually had 11 children in total, 9 of which made it to adulthood and of those, 8 made it to their seventies and eighties. Not bad going considering they were born between 1815 and 1837. Back to the skippering bit though.

For some reason Pieter became a skipper. It was probably a fairly lucrative market if you could get enough loads and the weather was good (remember: no engines back then apart from wind and muscles). It was also a tough world where you had to keep your wits about you to make sure you got some well paying loads and you had your family helping out.

And from the records I have found so far, Pieter must have lived on board with his wife and his children once they came along. Although some of the children born prior to 1830 were born on land (the farmhouses of relatives probably), five were born on board. Not in the canal as such obviously, but it that's how it was put down: in the town canal.

Irish turf, in the Netherlands we had our own stash
Conditions on board were not the best. It was cramped and by the first on board delivery, there would have been other children already. It was dirty, as the ship's loads would often be turf (peat), manure (animal and human), dirt, mud, potatoes etc. Not the cleanest of environments to give birth. 

Once the children were there and alive, the worries weren't over. Drownings were common amongst the skipper people and many (small) children would be tied to the mast with a rope that would give them less then two meters either way in order not to fall off the boat. 

As I said earlier: the family would need to help out. If there was no wind and you had to get your load to its destination (you would only get paid on delivery), there were only two things left to do: use the beam and push yourself forward or use the rope and pull. Often it was the job of the woman to do the pulling (horses cost money they might not be able to afford, hence human power was often used). The man in the mean time would use the beam to keep the boat from hitting the side. 

Safety first for this sea dog.
Older children would also be used, but they could only do so from the age of 12 onwards, the family could be fined severely if found breaching that law. The whole family would also be expected to load and unload, mend sails, do other small jobs and for the wife and any daughters: cooking and cleaning.

Perhaps Pieter got fed up with it all. Perhaps his wife told him that she had had enough, but in 1830 he gave up the skippering job and went to farming.