Monday, 25 September 2017

A Sunday drive

Let's go!
Seeing how Brom is still living it up in Scotland with Yamini and her friends and family, Mouse was feeling a bit lonely. So, we decided to go out for a drive through the country. I had wanted to take photos of certain things for quite a while now, but I had never got round to it. Sunday was the day!

The oil platform.
Would love to see inside it!
First we drove to a small island off the coast of Haugesund (via a bridge) to take photos of a huge oil platform. It needs some overhauling and work and such and they do that there. We have had several of them before, but I think this one is the biggest. I can even see it from my tv-room! 

Please please, can you tell Brom to come home soon?
The next stop was the listening tree. We all know that some people talk to trees and hug them and sit in them and all sorts, but I bet you have never heard of a listening tree! Well, we have one. Because, it has an ear to the ground. Well, it has an ear close to the ground anyway. Mouse went right up to it and whispered into its ear. Perhaps with a good wind it will go all the way to Scotland. 

I love his toes!
In the park across the listening tree
After that we drove for a while longer. I wanted to drive a road I had only partially driven once before, but never the whole stretch. It was lovely and calm and every time we stopped, you could hear the birds and rustle of the trees and for some reason a cockerel (we were close to habitation). 

It might look quite dreary, but the temperatures was quite nice.
Because most trees in the area were either evergreen (pine and such) or birch trees, the autumn colours didn't show too much. Either because leaves were already down or because they were still green. The heather had finished mostly I think, because the one plant we did catch had only three tiny lilac flowers left. 

Why?
We saw a sign saying 'no tipping' and in the same area we saw an old hammock, empty bottles, kitchen cabinet and further junk. It's free to bring it to the recycling center, but for some people that is not enough apparently. Mouse was not amused I can tell you!

Honest, there are three (or four) tiny lilac flowers in there!
After all that, we made our way to the garden center. Miss O tends to need food on occasion and the container was emptying fast. So, new food it was. And then I saw a nice little plant. Tiny, but that's fine. If all goes well, it will grow! I needed some earth as well though and some terracotta pots, because there was a plant I had already that needed a bigger home. 

Left back I got last year for my birthday and is still alive
Right back I got two weeks ago (same as left back, but with flowers)
Front is the one I got on Sunday
I had bought some terracotta saucers as well and needed to smash one of them. Of course just dropping them on the kitchen floor didn't do the trick, so in the end I threw them at the brick house wall outside! Now I had smaller pieces with which I could cover the holes in the pots. Then there was the fiddly bit with the earth, but in the end I had a nice grouping. 

There were some yummy raspberries at the side of the road
It was a good Sunday afternoon. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-31

I got a balloon for my birthday, but since Miss Oswin was quite scared of it, I put it on top of my standing lamp, out of the way. And then I forgot about it.

Today I wondered what type of light fitting was in the lamp, but all I could feel was the remainder of the balloon and the paper confetti...

Saturday, 23 September 2017

When the cat's away...

Brom is living it up in Scotland
...the mice will play!

Well, that's how the saying goes anyway. Fortunately the cat is not away (well, she is, she is outside right now), but the teddy is! Brom is living it up in Scotland and Mouse felt a bit lonely. So, I signed him up for something special...

Blanket volleyball.

Apparently you hold a blanket (preferably with others) and then try to get your ball to the other side. Mouse was in a team with Princess Leah from England (also known as the Buttie Pillar Princess) and Ruby the Airedale Terrier from the United States (also known as the Margarita Queen). 

All I can say is that the Ruler (ie YAM-Auntie) was being a tad mean. They said ball, Mouse had a ball: a cheese one! Princess Leah had a ball with wings, but it said nowhere that she couldn't have one. And Ruby didn't do anything wrong either. I saw no rule about Margaritas anywhere! But the Ruler thought they were cheating and gave them a time-out! Pfew! 

Anyway, Mouse had a great time and we want to thank Madi and her Mom for organising the event as part of the Blogville Picnic. The above photo was made by Madi's Mom and I have shamelessly stolen it! 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Summer

Summer on Sicily, 1991
A proper summer with temperatures soaring up to the low 40's. 
I was listening to the radio as I was driving home today and I got a bit depressed. They listed the amount of summer days this summer (ie days with temperatures of 20 degrees and over). 

In June: there was 1 (ONE!) summer day. The same went for July: just the one. In August, a bit of a change: 0. As in NONE! Not a single one! Fortunately I had a holiday in the Netherlands where the temperature was very summery!

Summer in Norway, 2014
A proper summer with temperatures well over 20 degrees
It is about to change though they said: from Saturday onwards, they are expecting lovely weather with summer temperatures. But, as I checked the weather forecast, the only thing different is that the rain is due to stop for a few days and the temperatures will go up to (wait for it) the high teens! Nothing summer about that...

*Sigh*

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Busy busy busy

Aged 2/3
Well, I would have been. Had I not called in sick. Again. I would have been driving hither and thither, but instead I am at home. Doing a bit of knitting and trying to stay out of trouble. 

As for the reasons behind the latest attack? Well, I do think that I finally do know where they come from. After thinking back when the headaches really started to bother me (around 1993 first of all and then 1999 the second wave), I think I may have pinpointed the problem.

Hot chocolate, not coffee
I don't remember that many headaches growing up. Yes, there were a few bad ones that I do remember, but if I had to call in sick to school twice, it was a lot. At least I can't remember any different. I worked in Yugoslavia and again: no problems. Brussels, followed by Sicily and then the French Alps? Nothing! Then I moved to England. The first few months were okay, but then I started getting trouble. A lot of trouble. 

Around 1993
Which I contributed (and probably quite rightly) to the coffee. I moved back home in 1994, cut out the coffee and the headaches disappeared more or less. Leaving only the occasional migraine attack. I worked in a biscuit factory packing biscuits: nothing. I worked on the train, selling coffee, tea and snacks: nothing. I got my driver's licence for bus, I moved, I started work and then a few months later the headaches started. Never to go away again.

See a pattern? Because I certainly do and over the last few months I have felt it as well. After a week's work I can feel my shoulders, back and neck. Which then creeps up to my head. I try to combat with heat pads on my shoulders and back, cold cloths on my head, but to no avail. The headache will come. The pills don't work and even though I will take some, I don't take the amount I used to in the past. 

A bit of rest
The solution? Well, massages, physiotherapy and such would help, but they would only combat a problem. It might be better to actually get rid of the problem. Ie: not get the shoulders, back and neck to tense up in the first place. Which can be achieved I think. Easily as well. It would just involve me finding another job!

Monday, 18 September 2017

The literary quest

An order for a colleague's twin grandchildren
As you know I knit. A lot. But I only do so at home. When I am at work, I read. Well, I try to anyway, it's quite difficult at times. I love to read romance novels, but lately I have also started to read the 'classics'. Books that are perhaps a bit more challenging than just boy meets girl, they get in a fight, they make up and live happily ever after. 

My first try a few weeks ago was '1984' by George Orwell. A book that definitely stuck with me. I then asked for some suggestions, which I got, and ordered some more books. One of which you didn't recommend, but I had heard the title and thought why not?

So, about 10 days ago I started in 'Brave New World' by Aldous Huxley. Another book about a society long into the future, after it was found that our current (ie 1931) society was not working as it should. 

First off: I finished it. I found it slow-going at times, feeling that certain things could have been expanded upon. There was one area that had me reading it several times because it was so confusing (no dedication as to who said what, just a lot of said text). The name Lenina was quite weird as well, since I kept seeing Sandra Bullock in my mind (she played Lenina Huxley in 'Demolition Man'), but I got over it eventually. 

Talking of Lenina, I found her grating to the extreme, which had nothing to do with her or the author, but more to do with me and my way of thinking. I just found her a spoilt brat, which of course is exactly what she is, but then again, she is meant to be that way. She is after all an Alpha! 

The book didn't have the immediate impact '1984' had. Instead (and together with the later addition of a foreword by Aldous Huxley in 1946, good reading in itself), it is on a slow burner really. It contains some thought-provoking ideas and yes, some of those have already come to reality. Although some of them fortunately haven't. 

My next book: Doctor Zhivago (and not Doctor Gigolo as one of my Polish colleagues inadvertently said), recommended I believe by Cecilia, aka Madi's Mom.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-30

I have had this container for a long time. It came with me from the Netherlands to Norway and then through the three moves I had here. I knew it contained yarn, but I figured it was just the odds and ends. 

Imagine my happy surprise...

Friday, 15 September 2017

I am scaring myself

Amongst my family and friends I am not known to be the tidiest of people. Nor am I what you would call a clean queen. But since I came back from the Netherlands, I have been very tidy. Well, at least in the kitchen! I make sure I put everything in the dishwasher/fridge/other before going to bed. I run the dishwasher at night and then in the morning I clear it out (ok, sometimes it will have to wait a few hours, but it does get done).

And now that has spilled over a bit to the living room. The new cupboard has meant I can get more things out of sight and stored away. No, I don't just chuck it in, I put it in nicely! I am like that: books alphabetically (just ask my sister), clothes by sort/length. If it's in a cupboard/wardrobe, it's tidy. But now it also starts to extend to the things that are not in a cupboard/wardrobe/container. That gets sorted as well. 

What's next? 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Brom has landed!

COOCOO

Guess what! I am in SCOTLAND!!! I am staying with Auntie Yam, also known as Yamini and I will be staying there for a while. But don't worry, Mara and Auntie have said that I will be home for Christmas! In the mean time though, I will be meeting people and seeing things and going places. 

My very own gold pillow! Not too shabby...
And if you want to read more about my trip, just take a hop and a skip over to Yamini's place to read how I got there. I will be posting more and when I do, I will let you know again. The two photos here are 'borrowed' from Yamini's post.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Mouse is searching

Peep

I keep going to the windows to try and see if Brom is coming home already, but I haven't seen him yet. Only a few days after he left, Mara sent another package, it was flat and I think his passport was in it! 

Do you think he went to Africa? Or perhaps he went to see Gera again. I am so curious!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Too small

Off to Norway!
I used to live in a three-bed house. Then I moved to Norway and moved into a one-bed apartment. There wasn't much room for my stuff, so most of it was stored in a draughty wet garage. Until I moved to the little cottage in the country, where there were nooks and crannies all over the upstairs to store things.

I didn't take everything from the Netherlands to Norway. In fact, I got rid of more than half of my books and dvd's. But some things I want to keep. And they get lugged from one place to another, no matter how big or small the place. 

The single and double cupboard in the living room
Which leads me to the place I live now. First of all: I am very lucky to have a landlord who lets me use both the attic and the basement for storage. All the empty boxes, the Christmas stuff and some other things are upstairs, the bike and the (unused) garden furniture downstairs. 

But... I still lack space. Mainly in the bedroom. Which is a large bedroom that holds my king size bed no problem. However, there are two windows in the room and the one that would be best to block with a wardrobe is actually the only one that will open. Ie, my only means of escape in case of trouble. 

The 'food' bookcase in the hallway
Also used for fabric, wool and other assorted
One bookcase used for my bed and bath linens, a cupboard used for my night clothes, socks and unmentionables (don't you just love that word?) and a wardrobe that is way high and cannot be opened properly due to the cupboard in front of it. Which leaves the clothes rail standing in the middle of the room.

Last Saturday though, some changes were afoot. First I emptied the cupboard. Everything on the bed! Then, with some difficulty, I sort of slid the cupboard from the bedroom to the living room. After first having moved the dining table, so there would be room. Then I went to a friend's house. He had a small dresser he wanted to get rid of and I knew it would fit perfectly in my bedroom. 

The new cream/white dresser in the bedroom
Sore arms and a sensitive back later, both in the absolutely pouring rain, and the dresser was in my hall way. Dry it off first, then get rid of the thingies under the feet and put some other thingies under. Last but not least: move it into the bedroom. It fit perfectly. It was a bit of a struggle to find room for everything, but I got there. 

Mind you, with all this moving, my shorts and dresses are now in the dresser instead of on top of the bookcase. Part of the stuff from the double cupboard in the living room is now in the single cupboard, which in turn means that I have an empty shelf, which can be filled with the glass from the box that is cluttering up the other bookcase (used for food, I know). 

A place in Northern Ireland. Sold and done up now, but would fit my needs perfectly!
Photo: PropertyPal.com
I need a bigger place...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Photo on Sunday 2017-29

You have heard me talk about my family ancestry a great deal in the last few years. Plus the books I was going to write about them. Well, here are the books! The front doesn't look exactly as I wanted it, but I must say my first attempt at writing something like this looks pretty neat. 

Here's a photo of the inside of the books. The top book is of my maternal grandparents and that makes the bottom photo of the book of my paternal grandparents. The top shows a story of how one couple get several children and three of those proceed to have offspring that eventually leads to my grandfather. And to make the story complete, another story about another couple who do exactly the same thing for my grandmother.

The bottom book shows a page about one of my ancestors and his job as village judge. Plus a far away, gazillion times removed cousin who was quite prominent in Dutch politics.

PS: On the front of the books I have not actually written 'written by yours truly' but collected by. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Sleep

I am tired. After one week back at work, I am tired. I used to have to get up around 6am. Which meant I actually dragged my body out of bed around 6.30/6.45am. But in my current job, I often have to be at work before six. Meaning I have to get out of bed a lot earlier!

During my two weeks holiday I was able to sleep until I woke up. Which, depending on what time I went to bed, usually was round 8am. Sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later. But then reality hit again and instead of waking up just like that, I have to use an alarm clock. In my case three! And I still have difficulties getting up. 

People keep telling me to get up the minute I hear the alarm. Well, I set my first one at 4.15am and never hear it. I just turn it off in my sleep. Then five minutes later, the other alarm goes off. I might hear it somewhere in the distance, but more often than not, I will turn it off in my sleep. At 4.30am the third alarm goes off. And it will keep going off with ten minute intervals. Sometimes I hear them, sometimes I don't. I am still amazed at how I have not been late for work more often!

You could of course say that I need to hit the pillow earlier. And you would be right. But how much earlier? During the past week there were two days where I went to bed at 8.30pm. Which would give me a full 8 hours sleep. And still: trouble in the morning. Whenever I don't have to live by the alarm, I will sleep 7 to 7,5 hours and wake up fully refreshed. Yet, when I am working I seem to need more than 8! 

*Yawn*

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Brom goes away

Coocoo

Well, what do you know? Yesterday Mara opened my suitcase and got out some of my clothes. She put the jeans on me and the other things (I don't know what they were, I didn't see them) in a piece of tissue paper. And then... 

Then she put me and the filled tissue paper in a box. Filled with mice! Then she closed the box, put a lot of sticky tape all around and stuck some other things on. An address? But where are we going?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Christmas dinner

Left: two plates bought in England around 1993.
Middle: two plates (of six, the others are gone) with Jip and Janneke
Right: one plate that has been with me since childhood
Is it too early? If not, please read on and if it is: please read on or go away and do your laundry or some such.

Last year I invited my parents over for Christmas. And then my sister as well. And then another couple were thinking of traveling with my parents and I have known her all my life and he belongs to her and they are fine, so before I knew it, I was not going to be alone, there were going to be six (as in 6) people around the dinner table. 

I had a little problem though: I only have five dinner plates. Mismatched. One with a few chips. Two with cartoons on them. As for soup plates/bowls: one plate and three bowls. Again, mismatched. So, when I was in the Netherlands last week, I went on the look-out for some plates. I even found one I liked (and liked the price of). They only had five, they couldn't order any more and none of the other stores in town had any left. Back to square one.

Today I had half a day of work and I thought: why not have a look. Looking doesn't cost anything. Off I went to the shopping center. Looking. The first shop had some plates, but none to my liking. The second shop had some really pretty soup plates, but not pretty enough. I glanced over to a display. 50% off. Hm.

I came away with 6 dinner plates, 6 soup plates, 6 cups and saucers (yes, the proper ones). While I was at it, I also bought some desert bowls (glass, I don't like those in porcelain) and some other items belonging to the plate pattern. 

I was only looking!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Miss Oswin catches a bird

Miaow

Well! Or should I say: WELL! They just left me alone for a whole week!! All of them, gone. And yes, I know they took that noisy car of hers, but still, they could have come back the next day. Fortunately our landlord is really nice and friendly and he came over every day to give me my food and water and to cuddle me. Because, you know, I missed them! Even Brom and that is saying something.

Anyway, once they finally came back after like a year, I was allowed out again as well. Mara doesn't think I would come home if somebody else called me in. Well, I tell you this much: when I was allowed out and the landlord was out: I went over to him and let him stroke me! So there!!

On my outings this time there was lots to see again. After all, I hadn't been outside in an eternity and things had changed. And then my eye spotted something. Several somethings really. Black and white birds [magpies]. I think there were three or four, but forgive me if I don't quite recall. I shot out of the bushes and I caught one! He was young and he fought and in the end I had to let him go. 

I wonder what that is?
Oh, a big soap bubble...
When I came in later that evening, I told Mara of course, but she just ummed a bit. She didn't believe me!! The nerve. Fortunately I had a witness and the next day, when Mara was at work, her landlord told her that I had grabbed a bird. She was finally impressed...

Monday, 4 September 2017

Fishy

A shoal of herring
I like fish. And so does my Dad. So, as a belated birthday present (his was in June), I had asked a colleague of mine who was going to Sweden, to bring back some fish for me. Herring in fact. Which I like. And so does my Dad. This fish however... was special!

Apparently this herring is a Swedish speciality. A delicatessen. It just has a bit of a rumour about it. Now, back in the old days, fish and meat was preserved by using salt. Use enough salt and you could keep fish for ages. One day though, there wasn't enough salt. But the Swedes weren't that bothered (apparently) and put it in the barrels anyway. Where the fatty tissue of the herring started to ferment. And ferment. A terrible smell started. But, still the Swedes weren't that bothered and ate the herring. It tasted good and a new dish was formed. 

Fast forward a few years and instead of barrels, they now use cans. The herring is still salted and when it starts fermenting, they wait for juuuuust the right smell and then can it. As in: put it into cans. Where the fermenting continues and the can grows in size! Which you can buy in stores. And give to your Dad as a belated birthday present.

Our can (not this brand) didn't look quite this bad,
but you could feel how it had expanded.
We had heard the stories, we had seen the videos and we were prepared: NO WAY were we going to open that can indoors. In the back of the garden, in the open air. Perfect. I set up the camera, pressed record and off we went. My Dad wielded the can-opener and the minute one hole was in, the pressure was released. Some of the liquid contents (herringy water) and some of the smell. He continued opening the can. 

But the smell was fine. My Dad brought the can right up to his nose: fine. I did the same: fine. My Mum came over: fine! That was a bit of disappointment. Ah well, the taste test then. I took a large bite of the (complete, including innards) fish and started chewing. It was awful and I started spitting it out amongst the flowers. My Dad is not one to shy away and he tried a bite as well. Smaller than mine and he never got to chewing. The minute the fish hit his tongue, he started fertilizing the flowers as well. And no: we did NOT throw up! We just spat out. 

My Dad got rid of the liquid in the can and then he (without thinking) carried the can inside to throw away. Right, did we say anything about the smell? Outside it was fine, inside however: blergh! Absolutely terrible. So, a bag was found and then my Mum walked to the outside bins (on the other side of the street) to throw it away. 

We kept smelling it though. My Mum said it might be a good idea to do the dishes, since we had both gotten it on our hands. Well, it was worth a try, but it didn't work for me. Every time I moved, it smelled. In the end it turned out one or two drops had gotten onto my shirt, causing the awfulness. It was washed that afternoon!

Of course you now want to see the video. I know you do. You lot being a curious lot. But alas, even though I pressed the right button, I hadn't set the camera to video, so nothing had happened! And me and my Dad didn't think it worth it to get another can...

PS: there are lots of videos out there, if you want to see a really funny (and yes, really gross) one, try and find 'surströmming caravan'. It had me in stitches!