Sunday, 29 November 2015

Breezing Along

As well as hailstorms  ( lovely photo in the local paper of hockey match brought to a standstill last weekend  ) , there's been a decidely BRISK wind all week ... at one point today , the easterly wind was blowing so hard along the canal bank I had my bike brakes on in panic . It didn't make any difference ... I was jet-propelled . Had it not been for the supermarket entrance , I'd be crossing the German border about now !

 Apart from occasionally breaking the sound barrier , I've been methodically buying presents .
Boxes of sweets and bathproducts ... or , as they're referred to in December , confectionery and toiletries . Stray bits of Lego . Pretty books  and tins of tea . Treats . Basically the things that the people you're giving them to will be buying for you . Even encountered a friend on the hunt for a milk-chocolate iPhone ....

In amongst all this though , I did find the time , at last , to go to the Princessehof and admire the C20th ceramics exhibition . Nothing terribly exciting but if anyone wants to give me this 

or this

or this child's teaset

or these

for Christmas , I'd accept graciously . As always , the 20's and 30's stuff is much more striking than modern china .

But the most cheering part of the week had nothing to do with treats or trips ... it was a ten minute bus ride that ended up taking twenty five . The bus had just pulled away from the stop outside the theater when there was an unholy howl from the back and everyone started shouting . Someone seemed to be having an epileptic attack . The driver stopped and ran back to check ... and one of a noisy , skirmishing group of young lads in hoodies and gravity defying jeans stopped horsing about , calmly pulled out his 'phone , called for an ambulance , gave concise directions and a coherent description of the symptoms and put his 'phone back in his pocket . Even his mates looked impressed . I'd like to see him in ten years time . Once the ambulance had come the patient had recovered , so the crew , finding out that she lived alone , took her back to her flat to make her a cup of tea and settle her in  .

Monday, 23 November 2015

Online Paralysis

 Up till now , renewing my passport has always been fairly routine  .
 But I've just read the new instructions for those , like me , who live abroad ... and apparently it's no use going off to the Consulate any more . Whether it's a cost-cutting exercise or not I don't know , but these days the staff appear to have more important things to do than deal with incompetent old bats trailing in from the provinces to clog up Reception . Even telephone enquiries would appear to be discouraged .
None of this is helped by the fact that this latest passport-photo-to-be makes me look like someone a vampire might reject  . I'll have to elbow my way into my G.P.'s surgery this week and hope he remembers roughly who I am and has a signature to spare ... Perhaps I should ask about my unnatural pallor while I'm there .
I suppose the proponents of online everything 24-7 will say that with a computer/IPhone I wouldn't need to leave my house  . But it's like internet banking or increasingly elaborate remote controls for the television or ...horror ! the new c.d. player ... it's just a complication . I prefer talking to PEOPLE . 
Still , it would appear that when I've finally completed the online application successfully and been granted a new passport , it will be delivered by courier ... and they're still human , aren't they ?  

Monday, 9 November 2015

With Cauliflower and Motets

I had a free day on Saturday and  plans !
Nothing huge , just a Book Sale and then a quick visit to the local Porcelain museum and their exhibition of Popular 20th Century ceramics  ( I thought it would be fun to see how much of it rang a bell ! ) .
 The sale was in the big church nearby that has an entrance exclusively for royalty ... and a  'trade'  entrance round the back for the rest of us , which had been been gussied up for the occasion .

Friend and I had been to a Brocante fair there a couple of weeks ago and , with difficulty , resisted carrying everything home so I was rather hoping to be tempted by loads of nice vintage books and mags .
 All money raised was destined for a South American charity , the volunteers were all charming , the church looking nicer each year as the restoration of the pre-Reformation wall paintings reveals more surprises from under the whitewash , and the coffee was good but ....
The stalls only had the usual endless copies of well-worn bird books , gardening books , 1970's cooking with margarine books , Jackie Collins and Jeffrey Archer in Frisian  , Teletubbies board books , twenty year-old dictionaries  and the odd antimacassar pattern  . Still , I did find something I liked on the CD stall so at least didn't leave empty handed  , though not having made a noticable difference in South America , sadly . It had started pouring and the winds were picking up so I just went home and left the ceramics for another day .

A big bowl of Madhur Jaffrey's Gingery Cauliflower soup , some raisin bread , my new CD

the last few chapters of Maggie O'Farrell's The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox ( highly recommended ) , some desultory knitting

the storm raging outside and the prospect of Doctor Who later ... made for a  very nice Saturday afternoon indeed .

P.S. Can't resist including this advertisement just I've seen  for a dog coat from Pets Place ... an Oasis-style parka to keep your dog extra cosy on walks this winter ... but surely most dogs already have fur collars of their own ?