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, 26 April 2014

Happy Birthday to You

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of the two most important people in my life.
My kids.
21 Years ago and 17 years ago they were born, both in April and both after months of fear and uncertainty. (Not to mention pain)
But there they were, and here they are :-)

Love you both to the Moon and Back!!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Calm and Peace - still looking...

Hi there!
How are you today?
I have been looking for serenity today, as I promised you yesterday.
My days at school can hardly be called calm and I have been searching elsewhere. And I have found you this:

The next best thing I found today in the serenity department!

Isn't it lovely?!
Someone from India, who is a regular reader of this blog, wrote me that it brought tears of joy to her eyes. You're welcome, Smitha dear :-)

Apart from that, I tried to find some serenity on the Tube, but no...could not find it there.
I searched for it in school...But no.
The closest I came to serenity was this morning, at 7.30, when I saw the sun trying to come up through the fog over Coolhaven (Rotterdam), and the gulls were quiet for a change, and there were hardly any people around, and the world seemed fresh and innocent.

Have a lovely and serene evening!

Monday, 21 April 2014


Good evening, my good people.
In my country there is a magazine called Happinez. It is a very popular magazine, about mindfulness and everything new age and a bit of zen and yoga. I read it with pleasure, for it has such a lovely layout and beautiful photography besides interesting articles.
The latest issue has an article about Sri Swami Sivananda and his "18 ity's" song. And Happinez has set us an assignment. Or rather a challenge. Work through those 18 ities, one a week,  and describe what they do to/with you.

I like a good challenge; so here it is.

The 18 ities are: serenity, regularity, absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity, equanimity, fixity, non-irritability, adaptability, humility, tenacity, integrity, nobility, magnanimity, charity, generosity and purity.

What is serenity? 
The word serene means calm and peaceful.
The first image that comes to mind is of a calm landscape, without wind or people.

Still waters, empty views, the only sound that of birds or of a lazy bee, and it depends very much on which birds. The urgent cawing of crows kills serenity as fast as a ghetto blaster sounding as a blast from the past, or the happy cries of children for that matter.
Children and serenity don't go together, except when they slumber.

Serenity is a trait often associated with religious people. Nuns, monks. Most of us cannot be called serene. Although very old people sometimes come close to it. Probably because they have accepted that the only thing left to them is letting go of all urgency.

Am I serene? No way! I often try to remain calm, but it feels like a calm in the eye of a storm. My life isn't peaceful, and never has been.

Would I like to 'have' some serenity? Certainly. It sounds like a good thing to experience. Perhaps, some day.
Meanwhile, I will try to find some serenity in the days to come. Since it's hard to find it within myself, I'll try to find it in life around me.
One of the places where I will look, is next to my pond. I'll have to filter out the sounds of street life outside my garden; revving engines, screaming kids, laughing neighbours, barking dogs, airplanes starting their descend to Rotterdam Airport. My frogs are allowed to sing though.

What I can attain, right now, is a serene picture.

Here you are.  Serenity.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sunday...and Yet Another Glorious Day for the Garden.

Good afternoon, where ever you are :-)
I am in my garden - where else? It is my sanctuary, after all.

I watch it grow and change daily - what's that...hourly now.
See those bluebells? They remind me of England. I lived in Hampshire for 6 months, and the wood behind the farm where I worked as an underpaid and overworked (and poorly fed!) nanny was filled with them. When we got our own garden we planted a few of them and they have spread all over.

Do you like my allium? This one is in the greenhouse, the ones outside aren't as advanced yet.

I have been doing my mindfulness chore today...clearing out the grass and other seedlings from in between my cobbles. I do not mind this, although it did make me tear a nail today. I sit on my bum or alternately on my knees and listen to the bumblebees and the birds. Very restful!

More bluebells, but also my ferns. We dug out a young one 21 years ago in a wood (sssshhht, don't tell) and they have spread as well, with a little help from us.

Wallflowers, always sweet! We started out with one garden centre bought pink one, and now have them multi-coloured from pale yellow to deep purple and everything in between. They seed themselves, and take care of their colouring themselves as well, so it's always a surprise what we'll get each year.

Sweet eh? The pansies are at their peak at the moment, while the cornflowers are still tightly in bud.

Remember my tulips from last week?? Couldn't resist showing them off again. They are getting blowsy now...Last week for them. And the digitalis is shooting up, it already reaches up to my thigh. shed needs repainting...Another mindfulness chore. I'll do that when I fancy doing it, probably in the summer holidays. The larger birds (jays, woodpecker, jackdaw) still visit the bird table, even though I have some decorations hanging there. They are not impressed.

I'll leave you with a professional photo, photographer unknown I'm afraid. Have a wonderful Sunday in the garden!!