Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A little compassion goes a long way...Why people need to recover tenderness.

A little song, sang by Simon Oak

Good morning to you, on this first day of February.
I am in a sad mood, and I'll tell you why.
I opened my FB, to browse the comments of my FB friends along with my first cup of coffee of the day, and what do I see?

- A photo of a badly beaten young man in Stuttgart - his face thrashed, no other word for it, and the appeal by his dad to find who has done this (and ran away).
- A photo of the leg of a horse, completely ripped to shreds, and the appeal of its owner to find the car driver who did this (and didn't stop).
- A photo of two dogs being boiled alive in a tub of boiling water, and the appeal for people to stop these practices (which are allowed in some parts of the world)
- A song (the link is above this post) about a young girl who was abused and died, along with her baby.
- A beautiful little story about a young man who was stopped from killing himself on Waterloo Bridge (London) by a complete stranger (and who, 6 years later, appealed to the public to find his rescuer, and did)

I stopped browsing there and then, and - with my second cup of coffee - thought about a little song I used to play over and over again when I was 17 and living by myself in Amsterdam, totally and utterly alone. It was the kindness of strangers which helped me cope, then. And it is the kindness of strangers which is, in my opinion, the only rescue remedy for this world we live in.

The song goes like this (lyrics by Herman van Veen and translated from Dutch, so cut me some slack):

Ik heb dat tedere gevoel 
voor elke vrouw, voor elke man 
die in volkomen weerloosheid

 een ander mens beminnen kan.

I have that feeling of tenderness
for every woman, for every man
who is with utter defenselessness
able to love another human being

Dat tedere gevoel - Herman van Veen (guitar Harry Sacksioni)

The last example above, a story I got from the BBC, is an example of hope. Sure, there are people in this world who, with no thought for themselves, stop to help another person.

And sure, set off against all the violence in Central Africa, in Syria, in the Ukraine, what is one guy in Stuttgart, or one horse, or a dog?

But I am deeply convinced that ordinary people, you and me, can make a difference in this world we occupy. By showing that tenderness towards all people, and animals, that need our compassion.

So. I'll forgive that blockhead in school who called me a cunt the day before yesterday, and when I see him on Monday, I'll give him another chance. If I can find it in my heart, so can you, I'm certain.

And now you may call me an old silly Hippy, I don't care. The ideals from the sixties and seventies weren't that bad!

Friday, 31 January 2014

Maison & Objet - part 3: the floral displays.

Do you like flowers? I do. But ever since we got our mischievous cat Viggo, it's touch and go for living greenery in our home. He either ignores it (if we're lucky), or he tries to climb it, eat it, dig it over, play with it and generally demolishes it within an hour.
Having no plants or flowers in my house is inconceivable to me, so we've resorted to displaying fakes. The cheaper ones (not in my home) look just like that: cheap fakes. But the more expensive kind are so well made that people visiting us often mistake them for the real thing. Next to my real, cherished, purple Anthurium (which Viggo leaves alone) are fake orchids, and the compliments I receive for them always make me smile.

I fell for this exhibit; very Oriental (which fascinates me), but not a riot of colour - very simple, very peaceful, most Zen. Everything you can see is fake, mostly silk. And gorgeously indistinguishable from the real thing.

This Mimosa is so French to me (although an Australian FB friend informed me it is known as wattle over there and is common as dirt); I adore it as it smells divine and will not grow in my Wetlands. This display was for the benefit of the cups, and the flowers are real. Pretty enough to put as a banner over this blog!

This display is all silk, and totally over the top as far as I'm concerned. It was approx. 1 m. high. But it would look good in the right environment. comment. (We have a 'thing' for Christmas decorations in our house. It's absolutely harmless and not contagious, don't worry)


I'll leave you with two of my own little flower displays. We grow the flowers in our own garden, and obviously I can only pick them in Summer. Can you identify them?

See you again soon!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Update on the Public Transport blog - Had quite a scare this afternoon!

Hi folks,

I usually shrug and call it Murphy's Law when my bus leaves just when I come barreling through the Tube gates, but today...

Just missed the bus...But the next one along is a speed liner, so I simply shrugged and took the one 7 minutes later. I was reading my Rudyard Kipling (Kim), when my bus skidded just before turning onto the special bus lane along the Kanaal (channel) door Voorne. So I looked up, and saw that the bus I should have been on was standing just beyond the traffic lights, and people were leaving it, as there was smoke coming out of the back and there appeared to be flames as well.

So what do you do, as a blogger in 2014...With shame I'll admit I started taking photographs.

My bus turned onto the ordinary highway, on the other side of the Kanaal, and as we on board looked out of the windows to the burning bus, at the exact moment we were passing it, it blew. BOOM!!!
My heart was in my mouth, I can tell you.

The third photo was passed on to me by a friend in the next bus behind me.
I am very glad to be able to tell you that, as far as we now know, although the bus burnt out completely, nobody was injured. Hellevoetsluis has 40.000 inhabitants, but it's a village, really. We all know someone who knows someone...if you get my drift.
I feel my guardian Frith has served me well, this afternoon!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Vive la France! - Welcome to my visitors from the home of Marianne!

Maison & Objet - Part 2

A wall full of the most amazing, funny, creative clocks imaginable. We would have liked to take home at least a dozen. But how many clocks does a person need?
At Maison & Objet we saw things we never realised anyone could ever need...

Take these two peacocks, for example. Would you put them on your mantlepiece? They are so over the top kitsch that it becomes stylish.

And this I really liked! It appears to be glass, but actually was rubber, or something like that, it was flexible. Lovely colours, lovely shapes, great invention! It's Italian, by the way. Trust them to make their own Venetian glassware look boring by comparison.

Ah! Someone used my favourite colours! I would love the prints on the wall as well. Perhaps I'll pinch the idea (shhhh! don't tell anyone)

Okay, I'll give you another update soon. It's upstairs to bed for me now, I get up awfully early in the morning.
Bonne nuit!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Maison & Objet - it's the lights that made Paris famous!

Good evening!
I promised you some blogs about the Maison&Objet trade fair, and this is the first installment. And it is about: LIGHTS.
Paris is famous for it, and there were numerous design firms selling light fixtures at M&O. I've taken photos of the ones I liked best. See if you can spot your favourite designers!

Adore this one. What a simple idea, but how effective! Using only 3 basic colours, the designer combines them to make lots of colours. The only drawback, as I see it, is that glass is only lovely when it is spotless. As soon as it gets dusty, it loses its dazzle. this and dust until you drop!

This appears to be paper, but is actually fiber glass. Lovely!

Cute, eh? My daughter loved this.
I liked these tremendously. They are made from wood, and very light.

For music lovers. Cool!

And this was simply gorgeous. But not so practical for your home, perhaps... So, if you are aiming to light the atrium of your multi-storied millions-earning business, this is the light for you.

Personally, I would have liked to take these lights home with me...

See you again soon!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Gosh I adore Paris! - Care to join me in a little tour of (some of the) sights?

My family and I have just returned from a flying visit to the City of Lights and Love (2 days), and we've had a whale of a time!


Isn't it perfect to board a train in Rotterdam, and then step onto a Paris platform only 2 1/2 hours later?!
The Thalys was full, to the brim, which probably had something to do with the same reason for our trip to Paris, namely the enormous home furnishings trade fair Maison & Objet. 
To get in, I had to fib a little; it is a buyers trade fair, so we used the name of my daughter's non-existent-but-in-the-future-to-be-business M.K. Styling. And O Em Gee...did we see some gorgeous design!
We also saw a lot of other stuff. In fact, there were 9 humungous halls full of stuff. I never realised there is so much for sale...and so many people wanting to buy it only to sell it to other people.

I'll be writing a string of blogs over the next couple of days, themed, for your perusal. So for now, I'll leave you with a more personal one. Because visiting M&O was only a very good excuse to take my family to Paris...

We didn't have a lot of time, so were picky in what we saw. We stayed near the Place de la République, extremely handy for travelling by Métro, but a very nice square in its own right, with lovely restaurants and a lively skater and roller blader community. And those Parisians think nothing of a bunch of Dutchies rolling into their restaurant on a Thursday at 22.40 in the evening (Ha! Try that in boring old Hellevoetsluis!) "You want to eat? Welcome!"
And they speak English! I mean: no better way to make me feel at home!

HURRAY! 1,506 readers for Rays of Light - And that's YOU!

I am SO pleased!
When I started this little blog on Nov. 24th, I had no idea that I would get so much satisfaction out of uploading my day-to-day posts about my life.
What makes a writer? The readers! The fact that people make the effort to read about my birds, my rabbit, my cat, my dog, my music, my opinions, my pet peeves, my recipes, and my family gives me the drive to keep it up.

Publishing books the ordinary way was satisfying, and getting good reviews even more, but the Dutch language-area is tiny. Thus seeing in my stats 1,506 'hits' in 8 weeks may not be much when your name is Beyoncé, but when your name is Renée 'Nobody' it's a grand total!

Thank you. Wherever you are (and you are all over the world...I can seeeeeeee you :-) 
To thank you properly, I've uploaded a little song for you (hopefully the copyright people will let it go as well). Hope you enjoy it. See you again soon.
Let it go