Sunday, 29 May 2016

I've Joined A Fan Club

I've always liked coots. They're excellent mothers , impeccably smart in their black and white ensembles and they do build very designer-y nests .

And , as if that weren't enough , they can run on water . Magnificent !

This year ,there's a family ensconced  next to the supermarket , in one of  the strange emergency housing/floating window box affairs the council puts up along the canal where the water's too enclosed by high walls for nest-building .  

Everyone going past is stopping to see how they're doing . On Friday we could all see eight eggs !

By yesterday evening , as passersby were hanging over the railing trying to see if any had hatched , we were rewarded by a glimpse of a rather squashed redheaded chick .  And after I'd bought some tomatoes and a yoghurt , there were two ... and even more onlookers .

We're all going to have to nip along to buy something else today . Maybe we should have a club scarf ... black and white with a narrow red stripe ?

Oh , and talking about fan clubs ... It's no wonder the lady from my last post looks rather pleased with herself ; here she is in the Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam , still drawing admiring glances !

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Thankyou ! The Transformation ...

Thankyou for the advice ...  you're right , of course .

This season's wardobe must have a touch of pink ; and deep olive green does go so well with certain shades of  pink  .  Definitely a paisley shawl and a somewhat  larger bonnet with slightly larger  ribbons for high days and holidays  . And , given the chilly wind , the football socks sound cosy .
Just not the gardening clogs or Twinkletoe's gold trainers  ... I'm not convinced they're me , somehow .

J.A. Kruseman's anonymous lady* , painted in 1829 , looks so delighted with her outfit and I'm sure I will be , too .
* Doesn't she look like Mrs. Bumble !

Monday, 9 May 2016

Sartorial Advice Sought ...

I've spent so long this winter bundled up like Smaller Grandson that I've only just realised I've got absolutely nothing to wear . Or any idea what I'd like to wear .

All my neighbours , obviously much more organised than me , are sporting new 'tops' in  peach or white that look alarmingly like the tops very old ladies with tight perms  wore in the '60s . The girls going up to the college all seem to have denim shorts which they wear with black tights and football socks . Everyone female  between twentyfive and fiftyfive is wearing coral-pink teeshirts , gold trainers and jeans that their knees poke out of .  Every little girl has a Frozen pink tu-tu on and the drunk outside the supermarket has Frozen pink rubber gardening clogs . I  only seem to have fourteen chunky jumpers and sensible shoes .
Probably time I went shopping ... but what for ?

P.S. Smaller Grandson doesn't really walk round like this usually , but he couldn't resist it at the Space Museum

Sunday, 1 May 2016

There Has Been The Odd Sortie ...

It's been like living in a snow globe recently .  There was  a sudden wonderful burst of sunshine the other day , and I grabbed my coffee and sat on the balcony ;  whereupon the heavens opened and the hailstones bounced off my toes ... my bare toes . At this rate I'm going to have to buy fur-lined slippers . 

Well wrapped up , I have ventured out , though  . Went to a Collectors' Fair in Utrecht with Friend ,  both of us showing admirable restraint ... slightly easier for me , I feel , since I can't shoehorn one more thing into my flat , much as I'd like to . Accessories seem to be the next big thing ..



And there's been an impressive exhibition of Mayan treasures in Assen Museum  , which I have no photos of , since the off button on the new camera's flash is unfindable.

 Never mind , I found the poster for you , where it incongruously peeked out of a shop window . Assen , the museum apart , is dying on its feet ... the building of an out-of-town Shopping Center and
the closure of the department store has taken the heart out of the town . Even the tattooist ,  
Suits 4 Life    ,  has closed its doors .  It's not been helped by the town council's determination to upgrade the drains in the town center ... all at once . Next time I'm wearing waders .

Back home , a trip to the shops revealed the surprise addition of a three-story high pirate's sword in the town square .  Makes a change ...

But it's now disappeared again , perhaps swept away by marauding students over the weekend  ...  so much more impressive than a traffic cone , after all .

Fatigued  by all this excitement , yesterday  I got on a country bus and enjoyed the scenery as we wandered from village to village through endless green fields and herds of dozy cows . From Wommels to Winsum , skirting  Tzum and Lollum ;  past windmills  , barns and little churches , two or three  to every hamlet all the way to Bolsward and a book sale in its Martinikerk .


As I went in , the church's huge , empty , whitewashed arched interior with a wonderful carved pulpit

and magnificent organ ( in need of repair , hence the book sale ) , was suddenly filled with song ... incredibly Ray Charles and Willie Nelson were singing  'Seven Spanish Angels ' .  And just as suddenly it stopped ... the volunteers had found a Bach cd . More in keeping , perhaps  , with this Reformed , very plain building .
I did find a small restored wall painting hiding up in a corner  

and pottered happily along the pews , lined with the usual ancient bird books travel guides , including a pristine Illustrated Aerial Guide of the Twenty Best Roundabouts of Europe  ( I decided against it , but the sale's on till June in case you need it ) , bought four paperbacks , and promising to come again , wandered up through quiet little streets to have a sandwich and resist kidnapping the cafe's little white-stockinged tabby cat who was snoozing on my feet .


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Not All Birds Tweet ...

I know , I'm a fraud  ... Bloggers are supposed to  blog , aren't they ;  post about things like their garden or knitting , personal journeys , achievements ...  Well , I could tell you about today's soup ; a new recipe from last week's paper :
      (  Frozen spinach , coconut milk and stock , a chili flake or two  . Simmer briefly and blitz . Add  some prawns . )
      but I won't ... I'll just say that replacing the prawns with frozen salmon wasn't a huge success and I won't be making it again . Oh yes , and that a final , rather desperate shake of Fish Sauce won't help . At all .

I could tell you about the library books I'm reading but I won't ... I'll just say that of all the books I've read lately , this is the one I really , really wish I'd written

 I could tell you  about my knitting but we'll draw a veil over that and the less said about any sewing the better ... I'm sort of hoping that the jeans I bought in November still fit me when I finally get round to hemming the second leg ...

 So I'll just show you my African violet which has just woken up again

and a rather fine cocoa goddess from Guatemala who I met in Assen , the other day .

It's just that there's a new bird perching outside my bedroom window this month  and no , he doesn't tweet  ... he wakes up at six every morning and starts bawling  what sounds like 
 " Raviol-i "!!!  , like some demented replacement Muppet chef . So now I'm going to eat a baked apple and lie down with my eyes closed and nod off ...

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

A Bunny-Free Easter

Tempting though the supermarket's buttery-bunnies were , we resisted .

Come Sunday morning , YD and I were far too busy eating our own weight in peanut butter . And not just any old peanut butter ... We'd got up early on Saturday , washed out two empty jam jars ,  taken a train , found   Opgeweckt Noord  and made our own !

 Well , we did do other things as well . Chips with mayonnaise were eaten in the main square . Olives , mezze and treats were  stocked up on in the Souk

A new cafe visited , where a grey-haired chap with a topknot and bright blue beard pondered silently which of his 14 special coffees to make for us ... 40 minutes later a perfectly pleasant cup of something Colombian or maybe Ethiopian brought us out of our trance and we escaped , never to return . ( Welcome though it is , Groningen's Foodie revolution is perhaps running away with itself ... )

Shoes were admired , second hand bookshops visited and who-dunnits purchased .
Four (!)  new specialist bread-shops were admired .
Wooden toys , children's books and tasteful kitchenware approved of ... 

And the next day the decidedly unfortunate-looking , additive free peanut butter was polished off . It's DELICIOUS !  I'll definitely go back for more ...  (Since , however much I liked it  , I'm not tempted to buy a machine for myself  . Cleaning it would be a nightmare . I'll leave that to them )

* When her older sister told YD later that she too had tried Avocado oil  a while ago , YD asked what she'd thought of it  . The reply was ,
 "Oily " .
Opgeweckt Noord

Friday, 18 March 2016

Time To Venture Forth ...

We haven't had any wet snow all week . No hail , either .

The shops are full of rabbit shaped buns , lamb shaped chunks of butter , chicken shaped slices of ham and chocolate-flavoured Advocaat to wash it all down with . Yes , it must be nearly Spring . Time for us all to rediscover the world .

 Sadly , most of us seemed to have missed last week's Street Fishing Leeuwarden bonanza , but never mind ... there's loads more to tempt us out this weekend .

Tomorow , a local care home has a workshop on worm hotels . There's a Freubel craft fair at the shopping center with a Shanty choir and workshops on making jewellery out of Nespresso cups  . Every village within a twenty mile radius has a jumble sale , birdwatching or birdbox making event .

There's an Archeology Day in the Historical Center with local metal detecting finds , talks galore , demonstrations on how to make mediĆ«val pottery and restore old metalwork  . Province-wide , there are klezmer concerts , brass band concerts , rockabilly bands and a nearby church has " Timeless , a tribute evening with ballads in the style of Adele "...

Despite looking like something out of  Monty Python ,

local band The Stammen will be singing covers of the Rolling Stones in a cafe ten miles up the road ... while ten miles in the other direction there's a jazzcrossover concert ( no , I don't know either ) and , on Sunday , Evensong in Easterein's Martinikerk will be sung by The Common Ladies while Bach's Mathaus Passion will be sung everywhere else .

I think I'll be going to the Archeology Day ... though the chance to see the lumberjacks singing  ' Let's Spend The Night together ' is tempting ...