Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 - 1 (Harwich to Richmond)

When the possibility arose that I would be able to go on holiday  after all this year (due to my caregiver responsibilities that was very un...

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Face your Fears!

Good morning to you all!
Today, I saw a Kingfisher. And I immediately took it as an omen of good luck.


I always walk Gina, my dog, early on Saturday morning, and today was no exception. We took the walk along the cycle path, which leads adjacent to the copse, separated from it by a "sloot" (a man-made waterway approx. 2 m. wide). I suppose you could call it a water-filled ditch in English. There is some patchy sunshine even though it's blowing a gale yet again, after weeks of rain and storm, so I felt happy, but at the same time anxious (I'll explain the reason in a moment).
I know this Kingfisher lives in the bank of this sloot, but I've only seen it three times in all the 20 years I've lived next to the copse. Imagine seeing it this morning! The sun caught the brilliant blue of its back as it sped away from us.

Right. Why am I feeling anxious? I'll tell you.
Tomorrow, I have to drive home from Rotterdam airport in our Volkswagen Transporter. By myself. 
And. I. am. terrified.

I have been driving a Leyland transporter through London in the eighties, no problem at all! It didn't have mirrors, bless the rusty barrel, and I filled it to the ceiling with flowers, and I was able to park it blind backwards, or hanging out of the door myself whilst steering.
So why am I terrified of driving my gleaming Volkswagen, I ask you?
I don't know. It's this irrational fear.

So we've had it for over a year, and I haven't driven it more than thrice. 
This is going to change tomorrow, for I have decided, I am determined, to face my fears.

And I'll drive that bloody car!

Wish me well?!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Want to see some beautiful gorgeous art? Check out Marina Terauds!

If you've been following this blog (and quite of few of you have), you know by now that my art appreciation tends to favour realistic but romantic stuff. 
I may come from the country of Van Gogh and Mondriaan, but I'm not into gaudy colours and thickly applied paints, nor into straight lines and primary colours.

Link to Marina Terauds' website.


Marina Terauds

Marina is a Latvian/Russian, but Michigan-based, artist who works primarily as a printer, using various techniques. And before you wonder: yes, I have contacted her and asked her if I could feature some of her prints on my blog, and happily she said yes. 

Her main subject is nature, in all its forms and beauty. There are lots of birds, flowers, and insects. But trees and (fantasy) females as well.
What do I like about her treatment and materials? The fine eye for detail, and the colours! Just look at that mermaid, she's gorgeous but dangerous at the same time.

And you know I like birds, don't you? Well, Marina's birds are exquisite. 



Being an owl lover, and today being Feb. 14th, I wanted you to see her heart made up entirely of owls.


And what about this tree?

Imagine this triptych on your wall. Isn't it stunning?

Marina is a fellow blogger, and you can check her blog out at the link to her blog:
Okay, I'll leave you with two more of her lovely prints.







Didn't you get a single Valentine's Card today? Yes you did - here is your card!!


Hey there!
How are you today?
Did you sleep well? I hope so!

Today is that day of the year when people get divided. The ones with the cards, chocolates, gifts. And the ones without.
I have been in both groups. So I know how you feel if you are in the 'without' group.

Since I am in a stable marriage (lasting 27 years this year) with a man who doesn't believe in such nonsense as Valentine cards, the last year I received a Valentine's was....1986. Golly!

The fact that I do believe in soppy romantic gestures, still hasn't swayed him. I have given up giving hints.
He has planted the garden with lovely sweet pansies yesterday. That equals a card, right? You might even call it a romantic gesture (and I do, I'm quite stubborn that way).

So...you there, out there somewhere in this cold lonely world. I am thinking about you. Keep your head up. Keep your heart strong. This day is just another day, and it will pass. But if you want it to, it can be a gorgeous day, full of little sweet moments, for you.

Have a good day! <3 <3 Renée.



Thursday, 13 February 2014

Do you like statues? Rotterdam Statues - Part 2 - a very personal selection

Good evening all!
I've told you before that I like statues. And I am fortunate in working in a city which has many. I've shown you a few of my favourites already (in my blog about Zadkine), and now I'm going to show you some more.

"Monsieur Jacques" by Ludwig Oswald Wenckebach (1959)

My Granny used to tell me this was Grandpa. And being 2 at the time, and never having met him as he died long before I was born, I believed her. Or...perhaps she didn't so much tell me this, as allowed me to fantasize about this statue being of her late husband. It's either one or the other, the exact memory is vague. But what I absolutely do remember, is always climbing up the 3 steps to touch the hat, and saying hello to him. It's on the Coolsingel, next to a McDonald's,if you want to say 'hi' to my not-really-Grandfather.
This cheeky clown by ? is on the Coolsingel as well.

I'm sorry. I should've made a note about the sculptor, and forgot... This clown (he has a little clown's hat on his head) is rather nude. And well-endowed. When I took this photograph this afternoon, two Japanese tourists took a photo of me taking a photo of him. 
I do not believe this one was on the Coolsingel during my outings with Gran, but she would've seen the humor in it when I had pronounced this one Grandpa.




These two definitely were around when my Gran took me walking around the Coolsingel in the years between 1958 and 1963.
The naked lady is by Pieter Starreveld, dating from 1953, and it's on the wall of what used to be a bank. It has a grand name: "De Welvaart" (meaning: prosperity), but the Rotterdam people dubbed it "Nakie van Blakie" (nude of the Blaak). As a child I liked it because of the little horse.

The bottom one is next to the Bijenkorf, a nice department store, and I used to loathe it. It has a name as well, "De Gestileerde Bloem" (the stylistic flower) and is by Naum Gabo, dating from 1957. It must have been as modern as you get, in 1957, very fitting for the modern heart of the bombed out city.
I cannot see a flower in it for the life of me, and it gives me a tiny frisson of satisfaction to hear that my daughter loathes it as well. Un-appreciation of modern art runs in my bloodline. We like our art to look realistic. Sorry, Naum! (My mother makes up for this trait with a vengeance, though, and sculpts away most unrealistically)

Haha, those of you in the know, now wait for the Buttplug Gnome, admit it. I'll save him for another time. You'll have to visit this blog again, haven't you?


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Are you ready for Spring? You bet I am!


The rain was beating against the windows again this afternoon when I left school, and when I came outside on the harbour cay my umbrella nearly spiraled into the water. So I put it away again and put up my hood, knowing it makes my hair (never much of it at the best of times) as flat as a bathing cap.

I cannot wait for Spring to arrive! We've had no Winter to speak of; hardly any frost, no snow at all and plenty of storm and rain to make up for it. So it feels like one long perpetual Autumn...

Still, the first courageous snowdrops have appeared in our garden, and the aconites are showing their cheerful little yellow heads as well. 

Meanwhile the news sites I watch show large parts of the UK under water. I really feel for those people over there, as I know what it's like to have to deal with flooding.

So this is for them. Let's hope they will dry out soon!

Redmond O'Hanlon - the Bilbo Baggins of our era.



This is a series made for Dutch television by public channel VPRO. 
We've watched it, and, like its predecessor, it was hilarious and informative at the same time.

The Brit O'Hanlon already had a good reputation as a travel writer in the Netherlands, but when they asked him to come along on the replica journey of The Beagle, it was a stroke of genius. Thousands and thousands of people stayed in on a Sunday evening, simply to watch and hear this man talk about his passion for Darwin. All the other guests were good, certainly, but O'Hanlon carried the series almost single-handedly.

The VPRO wanted more, and good for them.
So they asked O'Hanlon to talk about his heroes. Something which he does in a manner that keeps you on the edge of your chair whilst laughing your head of about his antics.
I hope we'll be seeing a lot more of Mr. O'Hanlon, in whatever capacity!

I've shown this little video at school, and my pupils being what they are (no comment), a tiny majority watched and was positive about Mr. O'Hanlon. I wish they could meet him, he'd charm them in a flash.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sarah McQuaid - Update on her new release - YAY!

Information about Sarah's new album release

HURRAY, HOERA!

I have told you before about my admiration for Penzance-based singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid, haven't I?
Well, I have wonderful news!
Her new album, just recorded in snow-blessed Upper State New York, is to be released around 2nd Feb 2015.

I couldn't be more pleased. First of all, I love her music. Second, I admire her pluck and perseverance in going her own way, following her own path in a fiercely competitive world. (And looking gorgeous and happy doing it) 
I am absolutely convinced that she has her disquieting moments in the wee hours, when she worries about cash-flow and insurance and what have you.
But she doesn't let all that stop her from following her dream.

I'll keep following her progress, and will let you know as soon as I have more information about the album.
Do click on the link provided above this blog, won't you? It will lead you straight to her website.