Monday, 26 August 2019

Just A Little Longer....

Received this overnight...
           "Bank Holiday Sunday at Safari Park, West Midlands. We all agreed that safari parks are over rated. Stuck in a long line of traffic with two fidgety boys in the back. Squinting to see the lions hiding in the bushes and trying not to run over the friendlier sheep and the African cows with giant car-scratching horns, or the rhino who wants to lean on our car."

 Rather Middle Daughter and family than me... it's really rather warm today, too … fine for hiding inside with the curtains drawn but not for running about being enthusiastic. Here, someone's having a birthday and we can hear a street organ playing round the corner with the Dutch version of Happy Birthday, followed by all the Abba hits. In the old days the organ would come round the houses and you'd hear it often … now it's not so common to get him specially, though he's often in town. Really, I suppose it's just that town's much more crowded. Must be a special birthday.

The summer's nearly over. The students are back and crowds of new teenagers are milling about in red, purple or green tee shirts.  Mind you, perhaps not the group who have taken over the top flat over the road….  they had a party last night. They were dancing on the roof around midnight …. and no it's not that sort of roof, it's rather pointy.

The ice cream shop's doing a roaring trade and the chip shop is opening again today. I've taken all the extra summer books back to the library and reached episode 49 of of the current telenovela but,  looking outside, its still a little to soon to start Autumn.  Next week, perhaps.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

It's Always Good To Embrace...

I must be the only person in the world without a message on my teeshirt. Not that I can't think of a few … something uncivil to Johnson, perhaps. Or something liberating for one minority or another if it could be done without sounding vaguely patronising.

This strikes me as a good idea, too, even though it sounds slightly odd … and I'm not sure about the hair-do...

 But I do like a good message

And I never get tired of a good old joke. 

Friday, 9 August 2019

Despite The Finger...

Well yes, I'd broken the little finger on my left hand. A bit painful but only a minor annoyance, especially since, these days, plaster of paris stays on for only a few days. It's just that my timing was all wrong... within a few days a few of us were supposed to be sitting in a converted barn in Brabant, the other end of the country. The two youngest members of the family were really looking forward to this … not so much the tastefully converted barn as the fun park nearby, as was their youngest aunt who'd been promising them this for ages.

 The only snag was that it seemed that first my finger needed to be rearranged parallel to the others rather than at right angles, by a plastic surgeon. And, since a Brachial plexus anaesthetic was to be used, I needed someone to be with me. ( The limb in question goes so numb that there's a danger of dislocation. ) It all required some rushing about by YD, who managed to go from two days above Germany with her boyfriend in a helicopter to chaperoning me and my numb left side and filling my freezer with chili and curries in Friesland to installing everyone in the barn and whizzing round fairground rides, avoiding only the ones where one hangs upside down squeaking.

  The barn was lovely; there was even a piano, sadly out of tune to Smaller Grandson's disappointment.

 Endless cats, endless tractors, a lovely garden and a giant sofa. An extraordinary number of freshly laid eggs. A raucous magpie. Nonstop talking. Lots of apples. And an open shower in the middle of the giant communal bedroom upstairs.

There was also  a day in Den Bosch, where Elder Grandson fell in love with a dial Phone telephone box in the Design Museum … "Did you ever use one like this?  Gosh, really?!

 and everyone ate too much. Lots of lovely statues were seen, including a rather Harry Potterish giant golden dragon . Giant chocolate choux pastries filled with cream were carried back in pink striped boxes and various tiny dogs were admired, especially the ones in coats.

 The next day we all packed up rather sadly and they went off to a couple of days in Amsterdam, while I came back north to start on the prescribed finger exercises ( to be done seven times a day!) and to begin on the lentil and spinach curry.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

i must stop doing this

no, no capitals and only a photo if the wind blows in the right direction…

  i've done it again, fallen off my bike and broken something.  i mean, i don't do it every three months or so but this is the second time since i've been writing this blog
.attention seeking, perhaps.

 this time it really wasn't my fault or that of the other woman who fell off with me  , either.
we were waiting to cross a small side road when a car cut straight across in front of us, got out and checked his paintwork, bellowed  'sorry dames', got back in and drove off at speed , leaving the two of us and two bystanders stunned. i thought i was alright and actually rode off, but within half an hour i realised that , thanks to the new blood thinners,  my  left pinkie wasn't just a bit sore, it stuck out at a right angle and was dark, dark blue and sausage shaped. and a neighbour decided to drive me to the emergency dept. luckily reminding me , before we left, to take my ring off.

since there was a  procession of genuine emergencies all evening,  i finally insisted that she went home and i ended up hanging around till midnight, being bumped by sick children and 90 year-old grandmothers of fifteen. but eventually the fact that my pinkie looked as though it would explode led to about ten x-rays and a ginormous heaving and hauling by two nurses which has made it all look a bit better and feel more finger-like in an odd shaped plaster of paris. it does definitely feel a little better this evening but i'm to be checked out tomorrow by the pre-op people and will be put in a more permanent one on Friday.

 all because speedy gonzales took a corner far too fine. i hope he goes bald and bandy legged by the weekend.  and no, i didn't know the other woman…but i do hope she did better than me.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

The Capsule Wardrobe

Do you remember when a key article every summer in every women's magazine was  " What To Pack For Your Holidays "? Then it just depended on whether you were headed to a week in Frinton, a fortnight in Torquay or a month in the Highlands. Whatever the destination, sunburn would probably occur and a rain hat might be carried by at least one of the party.

 Not everybody went to the sea-side of course. Maybe your granny lived in the country, maybe you had an aunty in Ireland but nearly everybody went somewhere. And , wherever you went, you took a heavy suitcase with you and there would be at least a couple of new things in it.

I was thinking of this on Friday as Younger Daughter and I wandered through the Amsterdam Uniclo on the way to my train. It's recently opened and I do like their clothes but I couldn't help feeling that, now I don't work, I really don't need to buy anything anymore. I've got a couple of warm coats and plenty of jumpers. I've still got dozens of T-shirts, since working with small children we'd be covered in sticky finger prints regularly. I've got plenty of jeans. I don't get dressed up any more.

 I'm obviously getting old.

 But really, more than anything else, we'd just spent an hour in the Historic Museum admiring a tiny collection of their Georgian and Victorian clothes. Only 75 items in all, each exquisite. And I found the Perfect Dress. If I could I would just wear this for ever more....... Isn't it heavenly?

Thursday, 4 July 2019


Have you noticed? When someone asks you these days what you do with all the spare time you've got now you're retired, it's no use just saying that you read or knit. Unless you're walking to Compostela with Miriam Margolies or doing a Ph.D, no one will be remotely interested. You can try to mention a talk you went to ( was it really in February?  ) or a magnificent exhibition but nothing short of reporting that you've been volunteering at the South Pole will do. And it'll be useless without photos.

In my defence, I must say I have done the odd interesting thing when young… but since I don't have selfies of them I suppose they don't count. Even when Smaller Grandson went to a nearby Elizabethan Manor with his class a couple of weeks ago, they all stood there visibly dressed up as pirates … Middle Daughter even made a red coat and an eye patch for him they were definitely there. Lots of snaps of tricorns  and stripey teeshirts.  I can remember the odd memorable Christmas … being in a banana plantation one Christmas for instance or people skating over lakes on another but I can't whip out my 'Phone and show them … ? So was it even real?

Many years ago, I was very fond of an old lady who'd been everywhere, long before the days before gap years. I remember watching television with her and every so often there would be an "I've been there" from her chair, usually over Pondicherri , Mombasa or Cape Town. Generations of the family could do it .Come to that, my grandfather could say it about Archangel or the Dardanelles .

Never mind, life now offers other excitement… I've had housepainters on the balcony all morning.  Full volume weather reports, local traffic reports and local ads. adding a bit of background to  all the goss. from the local football club, where they're going on holiday and what they did last weekend, with photos …  and tacky railings./ So remember, the next time you're queueing up for the peak of Mount Everest or windsurfing off Patagonia, take a PHOTO.
( A statue of Thomas Cook at Leicester Station)

Saturday, 29 June 2019

I'm Real ! Blogger Agrees At Last

A bird's nest, washed out of Smitonius's hedge during a huge rainstorm this week, eggs and all. She was amused to see , woven into the nest, a pink ribbon pinched from a little bag she'd been going to put a jewellery order in.

 I've spent idiotic amounts of time trying to sign into my Blogger account for the last couple of weeks and had virtually given up, almost convinced that I didn't actually exist . An impression re-enforced at the hospital this week, when the young nurse tried to take a blood sample from my arm and failed three times. She rushed off to enlist the help of a colleague and I was left, wondering whether I was empty... Luckily her more experienced colleague managed to get enough to prove that I wasn't.

 Anyway… now I've been graciously reinstated , I can't immediately think of anything at all.   Perhaps binge-watching Nailed It ! on Netflix hasn't helped. Perhaps it was the heatwave that has been driving all western Europe to gay abandon  and to cavort in fountains … except that we here on Holland's north coast haven't been any hotter than normal, the heatwave missing us altogether.

 Never mind, it's pleasantly warm today and I've finally made myself a watermelon smoothie and a tortilla de patatas to celebrate. So now all that remains to do is to watch the boats on the river, read yet another whodunnit and admire my growing collection of lavender and its clouds of bumble bees.  I'll see if tomorrow my brain can dredge up anything slightly more interesting to post...