Whenever I walk home I pass these three houses. Red, white and then yellow. So cheerful! And also note the blue sky! That has been a feature here in Haugesund for nearly a month now. Apart from the one day of snow we had two weeks ago. Nothing but sunshine and blue skies.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
Saturday, 30 March 2013
I don't often buy music. In fact, compared to the amount of dvd's I buy, it's absolutely laughable! I didn't even have enough cd's to give them their own box when I moved! And of the cd's that I own, most of them are Christmas cd's as well! However, if there is someone I like I will buy their music.
The first time I heard John Grant was about three years ago. I was listening to Dutch Radio 2 and Hans Schiffers (fantastic dj with a wonderful voice) played a song by John Grant. It was called Marz and I was hooked. I couldn't find the cd in the Netherlands so I asked my sister to get it for me. Which she did and gifted to me! Fantastic. I must have listened to that cd so often.
Only a few weeks ago his second solo album came out. A different sound on most numbers, but still that great voice and good songs. It may not be to everybody's taste, but I love it. My favourite? Glacier (the link will take you to a live recording of that song). Because it is so true.
I hope I get the chance to see him live some day. He is brilliant!
Friday, 29 March 2013
The normal order of events just before Easter used to be as follows: the Sunday before Easter I made my way to a school somewhere and I picked up a coach load of teenagers and five teachers. Then I made my way to London where I would spend the next few days. And on Thursday (ie yesterday) I would have made my way back home.
Despite the teachers wanting me back for the trip I didn't. It would have cost me more than I would have earned. I did miss it though. Thinking about where they were, how they were getting on and so forth. I just had an email of one of the teachers. She knows about the Cathedral of St Zvlkx, which makes her a good 'un in my book! The trip had gone fine and they had realised how much I knew about the trip, parking and so forth. Feather in my cap and all.
Perhaps at some point in the future I will do schooltrips to London again. I would like it very much. Although they could never be as good as those trips with that school were. Because they were great!!
We will rock you!!
All three photos from the trip of two years ago.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Years ago I was doing a tour in Germany. We stayed in a hotel on the former border between East and West Germany and visited several towns and smaller cities in both East and West Germany. We also visited a church. A large Roman Catholic church: the Vierzehnheiligen Basilikum (the basilica of the fourteen holy helpers).
The first thing you noticed when coming in was the opulence, the wealth and the shimmer of the place. There is a saying in Dutch: everything is not gold that shimmers. In that church? It was! At least it seemed to be. And it made me uncomfortable. Because even though the area surrounding that church weren't rocky and barren fields, I can't imagine the majority of the people living in the vicinity of that church were well to do in any way. Which meant the church was disproportionately rich.
It was a beautiful church though and the immediate surroundings were really pretty too. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the outside of the church, but the inside is the more stunning of the two I feel.
This is my 47th entry to Photo Team for Thursday. Why not join?
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Back in the Netherlands I had a dentist. He was nice enough, but I always thought he was a bit limp. And I don't mean his handshake or his walk, it was just him. Limp. He checked my teeth for cavities, he drilled and filled. His assistance did the cleaning. Of plaque and stuff.
Here in Norway it seems to be a bit different. Apparently I never saw a dentist in January, only a dental technician. Who cleared me and told me to come back in a year's time. Well, one year became just over two months thanks to a little mishap with chewing gum and a filling. When I phoned yesterday, they told me to 'just come in'. Which I did. Shortly after 8am. By the time I left it was close to 10am. I had read a Donald Duck (yes, they have them here in Norway as well), a photo had been taken of part of my mouth and I had met the dentist. A real one.
Well, this real one certainly wasn't limp in any way. He was actually really nice and young and cute and good at his job. He told me he was glad I had come in so soon (apparently some people wait for months before they go to get the hole filled again). I told them (there was a dental assistant as well) I had a very low pain threshold and he was so careful with the shot I hardly felt anything. He did have to give me a second shot though, since the first one hadn't quite numbed everything.
He then set to work drilling and filling and shaving off again and making sure it looked and felt right. So, now I have a good set of teeth again and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg either! I think it would have cost me about the same in the Netherlands!
Back to saving money again...
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
I have been told in the past that I can (and will) write about almost anything. Like the inner workings of a worm on speed. Nuff said! However, even I have my limits and I was afraid the stories about my new life in Norway were slowly drying up. After all, there's only so much gloating you can do about the fantastic weather we're having over here! Blue skies and sunny nearly every single day!
And then something happens. Someone invites me, I get a house or a car or even a kitchen table (as of today I don't have to go out looking for one).
If you know me in person you know I talk. A lot. About anything at all. Including those worms on speed. And many many many other things (I feel like I should have a fishbowl and a goldfish now). This talking is done for a specific reason. Because I once read/heard that talking produces saliva and saliva helps your teeth stay cleaner. And if you don't believe me: I had my first two cavities only 3 years ago. My sister, who could never get a word in edgewise, had her first cavity when she was still a child! See?
Another thing that helps keep your teeth clean is kissing. But it seems a bit odd to be kissing somebody on the bus every time I've eaten a sweet. So, the next best thing is chewing gum. Great to get all the sweet debris out of your teeth.
Also great to get the filling out! Which means I now have a big gaping hole in my teeth! Saving to get furniture? Hah! Paying the dentist more like!!
Monday, 25 March 2013
As you may remember I sleep in a fridge. Most people call it a bedroom, but since mine is so cold I can easily cool beer, I call it the fridge. I actually help it along a bit as well by sleeping with my windows open. As if it wasn't cold enough already!
It's not so bad sleeping in a fridge. You just need plenty of blankets. But occasionally even I get cold. Like last night when I woke up at 3am and felt a bit cold. The only part of me that wasn't that cold was my right hand and that was only because it was gloved up (dry environment and sensitive skin on my hand equals nothing good. I use a lot of handcream and need a glove to keep it on).
I got myself another blanket and went back to sleep. And this time I was warm all over!
Sunday, 24 March 2013
Saturday, 23 March 2013
|The White Cliffs of Dover|
One of the comments on my 'green' post a few days ago was from Anvilcloud. He is a regular commenter (thank you by the way) and this time part of his comment went as follows: Do you like the more regular routine of this job? Do you think you will miss some of the trips you used to take?
|The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen|
When I was working in the Netherlands I was a tourbus or a coach driver. Meaning that I had some tours abroad as well as the more regular school runs. I loved my job, but the touring part of it was mostly gone and the regular school runs became quite a prominent feature in my work. Besides, I wanted to move away. So, when the choice was finally made to move to Norway (in Canada I wouldn't have been able to get a job as a busdriver, for some silly governmental reason), I quickly decided to go to the public transport side of things.
|Public transport bus in Florence. And yes, it was this small!|
The main reason behind this was two-fold. 1. I knew my language skills wouldn't be up to scratch and a tourbus driver does need a good knowledge of the host country's language. 2. Moving to a new country and then never being home is just stupid. Besides, some regularity in my life would be quite welcome, knowing a year in advance when you have to work and when you're off is quite a nice thing. I could get myself more of a social life!
Back to Anvilcloud's two questions: Do I like the more regular routine of this job? Well, yes I do. As stated in the last paragraph, a regular routine helps a social life. And I have more of a social life than I ever had before. Of course that has a lot to do with myself as well, since I actually are more active in finding myself a social life being new to this country and all.
|Paris in June|
Do I think I will miss some of the trips I used to take? Yes, I do. I would have had a trip to Normandy under my belt already had I stayed and a trip to London coming up this Sunday. I would love to still do those and I do miss them. As I miss spending time with my colleagues in some hotel in Germany, which we used to do a lot. Some chat, some beer, some good food.
|Adventures in Germany|
So, I have mixed feelings right now. Which I knew before leaving I would have. Because driving a bus for a public transport company may be great, driving a tourbus is even better. And when the note from the office came asking about relief drivers for the touring department I was sorely tempted. Local, national and international driving if and when the regular drivers were all busy or ill or on holiday. But I know my limitations: the language! I hope it will come up again though and if it does: I will certainly apply!
Friday, 22 March 2013
|My new car in front of my new house|
As I was lying in bed Wednesday morning I was wondering what time I would need to catch the bus to get my car. And then I remembered I had to work. And the car was to be picked up on Thursday!
Thursday morning I decided the bus to take was the 11.10am one. It would take me about 90 minutes to get to the dealer where I got my car from and then I could take a leisurely ride home. Which I did. I arrived, payed for the car, took the car and drove back. Stopped off at Åkra to check on my furniture (it was still there and looked good) and then got the toll thing sorted at a petrol station. Whenever I will drive to work I will pass two toll stations and instead of getting bills in the post, I want to pay as I go. I think. Not quite sure what we agreed on now, but I will find out in due time.
After the toll thing was dealt with I decided to have a little looksie at my new place. The weather was gorgeous, the traffic light and the house looked as good as before. I wasn't able to get in of course, since I won't get the key for another month, but I was able to check out the garden and take some photographs.
|The chicken coop|
The garden is, as I said before, slightly bigger than the one I had back in the Netherlands, but it isn't a straight garden. It seems to be square, just that it has some curves as well! There was one other structure in the garden and I wondered what it was. Turned out to be a chicken coop! Filled with chicken wire, so if I want (and get a fine looking chicken poop scooper), I could get me some chickens!
There is also a little hill in the garden. Which I couldn't not climb of course. So I did. And had a nice view over the surrounding country and seaside! I think I really struck gold on this property and I can't wait to move in.
|View of the garden from the hill|
With regards to the white goods I will need (stove, washing machine and fridge being the most important), I have had a bit of luck as well. A colleague has a stove and a fridge I can have, for free! They are used, he doesn't know whether the oven on the stove still works, but it will help me save up some more money to get exactly what I want.
The furniture is another matter. I could get used stuff and I still might, but I have seen some nice furniture today that I would really like. The most important, to me anyway, is a couch. Ever since I first saw one at my brother's I have wanted a nice corner couch and they are quite popular over here as well. So, with a bit of saving I hope I will be able to buy something new that I like. Fingers crossed.
|Looking through the kitchen window|
Now, all this buying of cars and furniture and stuff will cost a lot of money of course. And as luck will have it, next week is Easter. And I didn't have to work. And now I am! Meaning overtime, meaning extra money, meaning more savings!
Life is good!
Thursday, 21 March 2013
The prompt for this week was green and I knew exactly what I wanted to show: the green buses we drive over here in Haugesund. As you can see in the photo the buses are run by Kolumbus. However, I work for Tide (pronounced Tead(uh) by the way). So, what's going on?
Well, it's quite easy really. Haugesund is in the province of Rogaland. Rogaland's public transport is organised by Kolumbus. And they ask bus companies to put in a quote and see which ones are the cheapest. The cheapest and/or best wins and gets to drive the buses. Now, Rogaland is split up in four districts and each district has its own bus company driving for Kolumbus. The district I live in was given or awarded to Tide. Easy!
The bus you see in the photo is actually the bus I drove last night. Route 5 and there was a little time before I had to drive again. I took advantage of that and took this photo.
This is my 46th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Despite being from the Netherlands, a country known for its liberal attitude towards drugs, I have never touched the stuff. Actually the only time I came close to smoking a joint (or a spliff?) was when I worked at Club Med and one was passed to every single person. Except the ones that didn't smoke. This was way back when I lived in Italy!
It's needless to say that I don't know much about the hallucinogenic properties of any type of drug. Which of course in turn lead me to shake my head at Anvilcloud's question about those worms on speed. I had dug myself a hole there, because I don't know anything about the inner workings of worms on speed. For that matter, I don't know anything about the inner workings of a worm full stop!
I did a little digging (no pun intended) and searching though and came upon a little known site about the inner workings of the earth worm. A Canadian site no less! Alas, it needed some plug-in I don't have and can't be bothered to get, so no inner workings. Click on this link to go there by the way. The search continued...
There seems to be a book about the inner workings of the Caligualar Space Worm, Part IV. But I couldn't find anything else about it and since it wasn't about a worm on speed, although Caligualar Space Worm sounds very enticing, I skipped it.
The next thing I found was an extremely boring youtube clip, which I won't even bother giving you the link to, since you will never want to read anything from me ever again if I do, about who knows what. I fell asleep!
So, the inner workings of a worm on speed. I am still none the wiser and I doubt if any of you are. And you might find this whole post to be a rambling post full of nothingness. Then again, you wouldn't be wrong. In fact, you would be quite right. Because reading back even I don't quite know what I am writing about. Perhaps it's better if I just stop right now...
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
This morning as I was in the office paying in my ticket earnings, I was filling out the form and talking to myself. There was another colleague in the same room as me and he was glad he wasn't the only one talking to himself.
Well of course not! I mean, what if I have something important to say (I do you know) and nobody is there! I need to tell someone and since I am someone, I might as well tell myself. At least that way I also know that someone is listening. Attentively! Because that is important too! No glazed eyes looking at you as if you've just explained the inner workings of a worm on speed.
Anyway, I talk to myself. I used to talk to myself a lot back in the Netherlands. No radio in the bus will do that to a person. Whole conversations I had. What I would say to those &*%$&# kids that made a mess, what I would say to that cute guy I had seen etc etc etc. But, now I have a radio on board. No need to talk so much anymore. I still do though on occasion. Like when filling in paperwork. Because hey... I need to be reminded of something and nobody else is there to tell me!
Do you talk to yourself?
Sunday, 17 March 2013
I am not often sick. Yes, of course I complain about these infernal headaches and sinusitis bouts that keep coming back, but they are hardly worth skipping work for. The last time I actually missed a week's work was durning my first bout of sinusitis, when I wasn't really sure what was going on. The time before that was when I was 11 and I had the flu. So, I have been doing pretty well in the sick-department.
On Friday night I had a night with the girls. One of my female colleagues had just moved in to her new home and had invited several of us over for a night in. Food, cake, drinks (the non-alcoholic ones) and of course chat. About colleagues, men and whatever else took our fancy (something with a sheep and a dildo, but we blamed that on my lack of Norwegian). There was nothing wrong with me then. I ate normally, I drank normally (fizzy drink with the flavour of bubble gum) and was completely fine.
Yesterday I woke up early and had a headache. Nothing new there. I took some paracetamols and went back to bed. When I got up for real I got behind the computer to play some Facebook Bingo. I couldn't finish it, spending some time in my bathroom. I was hot, then cold, wanted to sit, then stand, needed to throw up and then didn't. After the nap I took during the afternoon I felt a whole lot better. I was able to eat again, so I had some toast and jam and some yoghurt. I went to bed last night headache free and feeling great.
This morning I woke up and had to run. Diarrhea! Went back to bed, woke up again, had to run again and this time took a bucket with me as well: throwing up everything in my stomach. Which wasn't much!
So far the only thing I've had today is orange juice. I managed to keep some down, but part of it went straight through. Not my finest day in Norway I can tell you! Sitting up (like now) is not the best to do, so I had to fold out the sofabed (see photo at the top). I will take it easy today and then get back to work tomorrow. I know these things usually only last a day or so.
I will get myself some weak tea next and perhaps a little glass of water with salt and sugar, I remember my father taking that years ago. Anyway, just take a bit of pity on me. Please?
Saturday, 16 March 2013
|The road down|
Remember when I told you about that school run I had to do on those very narrow roads. In the dark and with snow? Well, six weeks later the dark is no more at that time in the morning and the snow has more or less disappeared as well, making it a lot easier to drive that stretch of road.
Before I get to that stretch of road however I have to go to the starting point. Which is located on a hill. So, when I had to do that route again last Thursday and Friday I took my camera along. Since I had about two minutes before the shift actually started I decided I would take some photos.
|The view to the right of the first photo|
It may be winter still and quite brown and drab at the edges, but oh my, the view is fantastic. I can't wait to see it in its full summer glory!
Friday, 15 March 2013
I have an oncle. Well... several oncles really, but this is about the one who smoked. Which they all did come to think of it, so it doesn't really clear it up very much. I had better start over...
I have an oncle who smoked cigars. On a daily basis. Everywhere. At home and in his car. He used to drive a Toyota. And then another one and another one. So I have always associated Toyotas with cigar smoke: yuck! (For the record: he stopped smoking several years ago and now his car (Toyota) smells normal/nice).
Because I have this association with cigars and Toyotas I was never that keen on getting a Toyota myself. Thinking (wrongly of course) that they would all smell like cigars.
I need a car. When I move I will be living about 12 kilometers/8 miles from work. Which in the Netherlands, where it is flat, would be something to overcome. In Norway where flat is a myth, it's not. I need a car. Just not a Toyota.
A colleague of mine (Dutch, male, with connections) found me a car and yesterday I had a test drive. It's old (1996), blue (not pink), but it moves. The dealer is prepared to get me newer winter tires and new summer tires, plus some sort of belt and a nice complete overhaul. It's not going to be too expensive to buy either. I can actually pay for it in cash, without lending any money, which is always good.
I can pick it up next week.
My new Toyota!
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Imagine what it would be like to be a mother of twelve. And not getting them one after the other, but all at once! Keep up, follow me, don't get lost! We need to get to the water, so you lot can learn to swim!
They needed a bit of help though. Mummy Duck kept running into the fence because there were too many people about. In the end she managed it though, mainly because my colleague helped her out with a firm hand. Clearing the way for her and her brood!
This is my 45th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
|Linette also liked to watch tv!|
I might have told you once that I am quite partial to a bit of tv. In fact I am very partial to a bit of tv. I watch it a lot. And living in the Netherlands was brilliant: I had the choice between Dutch, Belgian, German and British channels, plus some others. And then I moved. To Norway.
In Norway (so far anyway) I have the choice between Norwegian, Swedish and British. However, where in the Netherlands I had the choice between BBC1-4 + BBC Entertainment, over here, there's only BBC Entertainment Nordic edition(!), BBC Lifestyle and a few other choice BBC channels I hardly watch.
Which meant no Strictly Come Dancing for me at the end of last year, no Doctor Who Christmas Special (although I did receive that one in the mail by a very nice well-wisher I have yet to meet) and no Russell Howard, DIY SOS, Mrs Brown's Boys and a lot of other programs. I do get to see QI though. To infinity and beyond actually, since they broadcast it on the Nordic edition every single day. Over and over and over and over!
When I move, I have to get a television and internet deal. And if money allows, I will go for a satellite dish. Just to be able to see the programs I want on the BBC.
Mind you, Norwegian television isn't bad. It shows a lot of the shows I like: NCIS, NCIS LA, Person of Interest (with a lovely Jim Caviezel), Bones, Rizzoli and Isles and several other shows. Plus of course some Norwegian programs, the 'race around the earth' one, the 'we go up to the Arctic circle' one and some game show about two former sport stars. And of course biathlon!!
Right now I am watching (well listening to) QI though. On the letter C!! And I think I have seen this episode already...
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
As you know I have been going to Norwegian classes for a few weeks now. We do some 'together' work and afterwards we do our own stuff, since we are all at different levels. The together work this morning was about verbs and modal verbs and presens and infinitive and stuff. Somehow or other we got onto 'dårlig samvittighet'. I didn't have a clue what that meant and neither did the Poles, so a Norwegian-English dictionary was produced and I looked it up. Guilty conscience.
The Poles however were still in the dark and there was no Norwegian-Polish dictionary. One of them got the class laptop out to look it up, while in the mean time I tried to explain what it was. Involving wives and cakes (hey, I had to stay in Norwegian mode and they love their cakes) and all that. By the time the Pole had found the Polish word, they sort of understood. And the Polish word affirmed it as well!
Next week I will go to a more advanced class!
In other news: as you also know I have move coming up. And not only a move, but quite a few expenditures, involving cars and furniture and stuff. Since my knowledge of cars is quite limited (wheels, steering wheel, doors, engine, boot) and my basic way of choosing one is colour, I basically know nothing. A colleague of mine (the Dutch guy I am not married to) knows a lot more about cars. He fixes his own! Plus he knows a car dealer. He speaks better Norwegian. Oh, and he is a guy!
He phoned me today. He may have found a car. We are going to look at it on Thursday and if I like it and it's a good car, I will buy it. Even though apparently it's not pink! Which is a downside, but I could always get a pot of paint...
Monday, 11 March 2013
|A whole lot of snowdrops|
Time moves fast here in Norway. Mind you, it probably doesn't move any faster than say Kathmandu, but it feels fast. It's already the second week of March, the snowdrops have come up, I've seen some crocusses and am quite curious about any other flowers that may or may not be showing their heads in the near future and turn the rather brown, grey and drab surroundings to a prettier sight.
|This is my view most of the time. Albeit with less clouds!|
So far the weather has been quite obliging as well. Last week we had several days with well above plus degrees, meaning the scarf was stuffed in my bag before I huffed and puffed my way up home. Actually, the weather has been mostly fine since I moved here. The only really bad time was when my sister was here. I hope it's not going to be a trend though: Mara + visitors = bad weather. Oh no, I don't want to think about that.
Then there is the fact that I moved to Norway partly because of the weather: cold and snow. Turns out the Netherlands have had more snow and more often as well! Funny that.
|Schiphol Airport arrivals hall|
I was talking about time moving fast though. And it does. It seems only a week or so ago that I said goodbye to my Mum and Dad in Schiphol. When in actual fact it's been over three and a half months already. I work, I sew (a blanket, teddy is all better now), I watch tv, I go to meetings of whatever. I save money when I can, because pretty soon I will need a car to get to work, not to mention a fridge, a cooker and a washing machine, plus loads more.
|Spring madness at Pepperfly's|
I am in week three of round two of my turnus (a six-week time plan that gets repeated again and again). And in only a week and a half spring will be here. Before I know it my friends Pepperfly and Peppermaggot will visit me (early May), during which time I will move (hint hint). I will visit the Netherlands later in that month and come back with the big red monster. He might need some Norwegian lessons, but I think he will fit right in. At the end of June I am off for three weeks. My parents will be shown around then, since they plan on coming. Hopefully another friend will come some time in September and before I know it, I will have been in Norway a year!
Friday, 8 March 2013
I have been writing a lot about my recent move to Norway. And perhaps you get a bit of an overload of Norway versus the Netherlands, so I have decided to not do a post about Norway this time. Although it might creep in at some point, I am not sure yet.
So, the post of today will probably not mention Norway (only mentioned Norway four times so far, five if you count the one in brackets), but it will mention the things I don't like. And there are plenty of things I don't like. And here, in no particular order, are some of the things I don't like.
Alarm clocks. Basically, they are a necessary evil and whenever I don't need to set one, I am happy. At the moment my two alarm clocks (yes, I have two and use them both!) are set at 4.30 and 5.00am respectively. The earlier one is the radio one, which wakes me up quite slowly, the later one is the beep beep beep beep one, which just makes me want to take a brick and hit it.
Wind chimes. Really, what is the point? If anybody ever thinks it would be a good idea to give me one as a birthday gift or a Christmas gift: don't bother. It will only end up in the bin!
Tapwater in Haugesund (see how I avoided the N-word?). It is just gross. I actually boil it before I will drink it and it still tastes awful. My sister actually quite liked it when she was here, so I just wonder what horrid water they have in Northern Ireland if it's worse than the water that comes out of the tap here!
Doing the washing up. Which you know all about, since I talked about it only a few days ago! If you have forgotten already, you can read it here. I am glad to say I did follow up on some of your advise. I will soak my plates if I won't wash up immediately. And I do them a bit more often now. Like once a week!
So, a few things I don't like. Soon I will do a post about what I do like...
Thursday, 7 March 2013
The first sign is a sign I saw several years ago while travelling to Ireland. We had stopped at a small village in Wales somewhere and this sign was in a bookstore. Brilliant! I made sure my hands were clean!
The second sign is a sign I saw for a long long time. As we were heading to England one wintery day, we got stuck in traffic in France because everybody was heading for England and the trains had stopped running due to a train that was stuck in the middle of the Channel Tunnel. In the end I managed to get off the motorway and return to the Netherlands, but I think this sign was in sight for more than two hours! So close and yet so far...
The third sign I saw in Denmark two years ago. I thought it was hilarious at the time and fortunately got my chance to take a photo of it. It means periodical SPEED checks!
Of course I couldn't do a post about signs without my favourite topic, so as the fourth sign I show you a toilet door sign. One of the many I have gathered over the years. This one was taken in Canada, when I was there two years ago.
This is my 44th entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?