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...

Friday, 28 March 2014

For all of you who were betrayed.

Sometimes it happens out of the blue.
You feel you know someone (someone you've known and loved since 1987!) and WHAM!
In one instant you realise you don't know her at all. Not really.

I'm not going to tell you what happened to me today, exactly. That serves no purpose, as you don't know the person involved.
But let it suffice that I (my trust) was betrayed today. And it hurts.

Another friend (FB, but hey, a friend is a friend is a friend) told me not to fret. Karma would bite her on the bum.
I should do what is good for me. And forgiveness will be best for me. So...I'll try to forgive.

But first I will let Chi Coltrane tell it like it is!

Plants boring? No way! They soothe the soul.

Good morning to you, how lovely to see you on this wonderful Spring day!
The sun is out, my back door is opened as wide as can be (thus I am sitting typing this with a t-shirt, 2 vests and my thickest jersey on, but's Spring!) and I've just returned from a morning sniff with Gina.

And I thought it might be fun to 'take you along' on my walk, so to speak.
We start out in my back garden. Just so:

Then we turn left, and attempt to enter the community park. I say attempt, for Gina likes a nice loooooooooooong sniff here...
We walk straight ahead, and in fact leave the park again, and cross over to the cycle path which leads to our neighbouring village of Oudenhoorn.

The nettles (non-stinging) are very early this year. When Gina feels the need to squat here, I have time to take a photo. A win-win.
We walk along the path, and turn right at the nudist camp (honestly! They must be so cold), and turn right again onto the Noordse Molenweg.

As far as I know this is the only piece of unpaved public road left in Hellevoetsluis, and it is the border between Hellevoetsluis and Oudenhoorn. At the end, we turn right again (yep, you've guessed it, we are walking in a circle :)

A selfie to prove I was there.
Gina is still sniffing as if her life depends on it, and I am getting cold (it is 8 degrees C), so I drag her along and we turn right into the park and cross a 'meadow'. Vigilance here, for both other dogs and their offerings.
And hey presto, we are back at the back garden gate.

My first action is to put the greenhouse door ajar.

My tulips are coming along nicely, don't you think?
And have a look at the other beauties in our garden!

And this is only the beginning! 
This period, the end of March, always lifts my spirit. It's a better boost than wine (and lasts longer and doesn't give you a headache). And usually March is wintry still, with icy winds. But this year we've had no Winter to speak of, and nature is 4 weeks early with everything. That is a nice (climate?) change.

How is your garden coming along? Post me a picture of it, it is allowed you know!
I wish you a great weekend. Have fun, sniff the fresh air (if you have some) and enjoy yourself!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Update on the update - hundreds of people filing an official complaint against Wilders

In the city of Nijmegen (in the East of The Netherlands) mayor Hubert Bruls wrote on the council website that he was going to file a discrimination complaint against Geert Wilders. "There are times that you cannot look away", he said. And suggested perhaps other people would follow suit.
Watch what happened:

The large man with the red tie is the mayor, followed by his councilmen and hundreds of citizens who came from all corners of the city. Lots or Moroccans, but also lots of others.

The Moroccan colleagues at my school were touched and proud. One of them, Nordin,  comes from the city of Nijmegen, where he arrived as a 10 year old boy. His Dad was in that line of people, waiting for hours, for filing a complaint takes time.

The immediate effect of all the hullabaloo so far, is that many people in my country feel the need to speak out. Either in support of Wilders and his views, or against his views, or against his manner of expressing his views and the discrimination of an ethnic group of people(like I do).

Some of his arguments do ring true. 
Yes, a large percentage of crimes are committed by Moroccan youths. Yes, the word 'whore' is the first thing that seems to come to mind of many young boys when you speak to them to point out some wrongdoing. But I live in a predominantly 'white' socially deprived neighbourhood, and I hear that word out of the mouths of the white street kids as well.

My point of view is that everyone should have the same civil rights and the same civil (in both meanings of the word) duties. Call me naïve, but is this so much to ask?

Monday, 24 March 2014

Could you do without your TV? About the Art of Storytelling.

There was a time when people spent their nights talking to each other. Or reading, knitting, whittling, painting, making music, whatever.
Call me old-fashioned, but thinking about those times makes me nostalgic and not a little envious.

What's a typical evening at your house?

I'll tell you about mine: my husband is teaching the skill of tennis, my daughter is glued to the tiny screen of her smart phone, my son is glued to the large flatscreen of the TV or to his computer screen and I either read or blog. If I'm not gardening, attempting to play the guitar, singing or interviewing couples about to be married by yours truly. 
Watch TV? Hardly ever.

I love films, but with a husband into sports in a major way, I don't see many. And the thing is: I don't miss watching TV, at all. In fact, it has started to irritate me when people do the good old couch potato imitation. 

I try to instill some sense of sociability into my kids, but as they are fast approaching the age where they see me as a silly old bag ("Mum! Insisting that we speak to each other during meals is soooooooo 1970! We communicate all day, honestly!") it is like dragging that proverbial horse to the know.

And yes, sure, I'm glued to my little screen as we speak, so to speak... But that's different. 
a. my TV is off and
b. I'm communicating, in a way, with you and
c. if someone would ask my attention for a proper conversation I would stop writing in an instant

There are times when I need a little help from my 'friends'. 
I collect quotes. There is a quote for every ache, for every pain, for every moment of joy, for every hurdle and for every time I feel like I'm crying out in the desert.
The quote above is one I read when I need a little boost about this blog. I am one of those storytellers. 

Here's another quote. Anon, this one.

Storytellers used to have an important role in communities and families. Everyone loves a good story. But here's where the TV has stepped in. It tells the stories for us, and it sucks up all our attention. At the urging of my son, who is as interested in Celtic history as I am, I watched a documentary about The (genetic) Faces of Britain (3 parts, 45 minutes each) a little while ago and noticed the editor used the same image of blood being syphoned into test tubes no less than 10 times in each part. That's every 4,5 minutes; the same images. Mind-numbing!!! And this is 'quality' TV!

So, I'd like to put it to you again. Could you do without your TV? Would you want to?
Or would you rather I tell you a story?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

This is for the garden lovers amongst you!

After 2 extremely cold, blustery and wet days, the sun came out around noon. So, wellies and thick jacket on, hatted up, and on with the gardening gloves!

This is the side garden towards the back, facing the park pond. You can just spot it in between the pergola frame.
The border is coming on nicely, with lots of mini narcissii, pansies and tulips. At the back, on the left, is a yellow monarda, which will still have to be dug up, as it is getting too large. It seems okay now, but in summer it towers over everything else and spoils the view. So we aim to put it in the side border, next to the new wood shed.

Our garden is predominantly North-East facing, with the front bit due West (we are on a corner) and the 'backest' back bit East. We lack a sunny South side...meaning our climbing rose White Sneeuwwitje was always facing the garden of our neighbour. When she complained of having all the rose leaves on her desert of a paved in 'garden', we dug up the rose and replanted it next to our fence. So now at least the blooms face our way. It does rather well, by the way, hurray!

This week hubbie has cleared the bit next to our pond. There was a box border there, with mahonia and some shrubs, but it was getting too large. He took it out, and replanted one of our decorative grasses, which was getting too large as well. It doesn't look much now, but in summer it gets huge, over 2 m high and at least 1 m wide.
Now it looks like a mini beach, doesn't it? It is large enough to put a small dining table up, which is lovely, as this bit gets the last sun of the evening.
We've spotted the first frogs in the pond, and the pond forget-me-not is spreading already, as are the waterlilies.

This is the old situation of last year.
I'm looking forward to milder weather, and my froggy chorus in the evenings. We've planted massive lilies, called tree lilies today, which will grow as high as 1.80 if the packaging is to be believed. And a lot of dahlias, in all kinds of shapes and colours. I've strictly forbidden Viggo and Gina to dig them up again.

Right. I'll leave you with one of my favourite images. Bluebells. And an owl. I'll be extremely busy the next couple of days and evenings, so you'll have to wait a while for the next post. But don't fret - I'll be back!

Update on my previous post about Racism and Wilders: what would you do?

Good morning. It's Sunday over here, and I'm still reeling from 2 days of overtime at school. But also with the broo-ha-ha surrounding the speech PVV leader Geert Wilders gave in a The Hague café on election night last Wednesday.
And I have news. 
Selfie by respected (ethnic Moroccan) Dutch actor Nasrdin Dchar

- So far more than 1,000 people saw it as their duty to fill in a declaration of discrimination against Wilders with the police and it is suspected many more will follow suit; police facilitate this by using a special form which will save time
- So far 5 of Wilders' party associates (including his EU representative) have put down their duties and have left his party, out of anger or because they didn't want to be associated with his hatred campaign against Moroccans
- FB and Twitter have shown an explosion of selfies by ethnic Moroccan people with their Dutch passport
- Dutch premier Mark Rutte has publicly declared he distances himself and his party VVD from Wilders and stops all negotiations and co-operation with the PVV
- Dutch minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten has publicly called Wilders' hate campaign 'disgusting' and 'abject'
- all Dutch government parties have called his words 'unacceptable' and PVDA have declared to stop voting for all PVV motions, whatever they may be about
- PVV parliamantary leader Bontes has asked Wilders to step down

I have de-friended FB friends who re-posted hateful pro-Wilders messages. Some of these are people I see a lot of in real life... What to do? Taking a stand, means taking a stand...Which is a shock to the system, as my last time on the barricades is 30 years ago.
You may shrug this off, but to me it is quite a step to take. I like to surround myself with positivity and light, so to speak, and kindness is on my banner.
But I've decided the only way forward is to keep all dialogue open, but I don't want to see their foul-mouthed trash appear on my timeline.

What would you do?