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, 17 May 2014

4,500 readers - golly!

Like a snowball rolling downhill, the number of people reading my blog has grown.

And it's such fun to hear from you! A young woman from Dubai (Muslim, dressed in black flowing robes) tells me she feels we have so much in common. An old man from Japan lets me know he agrees with me, and just as often he disagrees with me :-) A woman in India shares her dreams and music. 

Since this blog started out as an experiment, and for my own entertainment only, I am pleased and content with you all who take the time to scroll down my words and pictures.
Whether you read each and every post, or you pick and choose, is up to you and out of my hands. As soon as I upload a post, it is out there. Like a tiny thought balloon in space.

Peace unto you, my friends, where ever you are! Keep dreaming big. Let music fill your heart and nature bless your days.
Oh...and eat your greens ;-)

To thank you, I have looked up one of the nicest videos of one of the sweetest singers around. Enjoy!

The sun was shining and it was a lovely day! My cat helped me gardening.

Today I spent the day gardening. Helped by Viggo, my cat.

Nothing to do with this photo, but I thought it so cute...
I have been cutting back the heather, kept company by my black cat Viggo. I had to take care, and stay alert, for the danger of cutting off the tip of his tail by mistake was a real one. He kept jumping in and out of the heather.

He enjoys 'helping' me, in fact he's been known to dig up the plants as fast as I can put them into the earth.

He is very good at planting bulbs as well (not) and takes chasing the frogs into the pond very seriously.

I have had cats living with me for my entire life. My mum likes telling the story of giving birth to me with their big orange tomcat Peter sitting at the foot of the bed and keeping an eye on the proceedings. And of me sleeping in the rattan crib with Peter next to me. So I suppose cats and me are a given.
I have visions of myself as an old lady, living happily with a house full of cats. Not going to happen though! I have been in houses filled with cats, and I know what they smell like. So I'll stick to two, max.
But for now I love my black rotund friend.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Generation Conflicts - are they simply natural?

Good evening!
This evening I had an interesting conversation with my son (21) about generation conflicts.

In the Belgian Ardennes, 2011.

When I was as old as he is now, there was a huge gap between the generations. The generation of my grandma didn't understand the generation of my mum, who let their kids run loose and wild (sex, drugs & rock & roll), and the generation of my mum didn't understand why my generation needed to lose themselves in sex, drugs & rock & roll. They didn't want to set us free; we simply took our chance and demanded our freedom.
It gave rise to many a conflict, I can tell you!
I have girlfriends of my own age (on the other side of 55) with children, and we all agree that we experience and enjoy warmer and more open relationships with our kids.

So what causes generation conflicts?
We came to the following conclusions:
- parents want their kids to avoid the mistakes they have made themselves
- parents want their kids to have a better life and take all opportunity for improvement
- kids want to do their own thing
- kids want to be able to make their own mistakes
- kids don't want their parents to meddle
- parents want kids to listen/behave/obey

Perhaps there are more causes, if you know any feel free to tell me.
But after tossing all these reasons into the mix, we came to the following idea:

* isn't all this conflict simply nature's way of making certain our kids want to pack their bags and start out on their own?

I like to watch the swans near my house.

They are caring parents! They look after their kids for more than a year, until the feathers have turned from brown to snowy white. They defend them hissing and spitting and threatening with their wings from dogs and humans. And then, from one day to the next, they are RUTHLESS.
I have witnessed young swans being chased straight into the path of racing cars by their parents. Away! Out of my sight! Move it! You are no longer wanted!
And absolutely no mercy.

Dogs are different, by the way. They live happily in the same house with their offspring, no problem. And cats, too, accept their own kids in the same house, but then cats are more individual anyway.

Still, we thought that it isn't natural for a young person to not want to move out at some stage.  If you stay (willingly!!!) beyond 25, you are either bone-lazy, or have no job thus no money, or there is a medical problem. And yes, there is a tiny number who stay out of altruism, because they feel their mum/dad/both parents cannot cope without them.

So. The next time my kid is stroppy, and I want to paste him/her behind the wallpaper (Dutch expression), I'll try to remember this conversation.

Monday, 12 May 2014


It's Monday, so it's time for another one of the 18 "Ities". This week it's the 5th one: simplicity.
Simple? Hm.

Simplicity : the quality of being easy to understand or use. But also the quality of being natural and plain.
Not to be mistaken for or confused with simplistic: making a problem, situation etc. seem less difficult or complicated than it really is.

Simplicity is a ity which attracts me. Plainness is a quality which is very near to my character. I like to speak plainly, feel comfortable in plain, simple surroundings (see the example above), and I like to explain things and have them explained to me in simple terms. No need to use big words or flowery or pompous language. Very Dutch, in fact!
"Doe maar  gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg" (act plainly , that is crazy enough). Calvinistic. Austere.
Why complicate things if you can keep it simple?

That's probably why Japanese interiors attract me, and why I like the old Roman houses and interior decorating which is unfussy, almost minimalistic. One of the styles I admire is that of the Shakers.
Once every so often I empty out my rooms, and throw away (or give away) most of the 'stuff' we have accumulated over time. And then, every so slowly, the knick-knacks creep back in. 
At the moment I am nearing the point where I will throw it out again; probably during the summer holidays, when I plan to do a major repainting of the walls.

One of the songs that comes to mind is by Supertramp, "A Simple Man". If it could only be so simple...Clean out your cupboards and attic and eh presto!
But life isn't simple, it is bloody complicated most of the time, isn't it?

Still, if you aim for simplicity, you can save yourself a hell of a lot of money. Do you really need that state of the art coffee maker with 20 functions? Or will you grind your own beans and pour on some boiling water?
Can't you live without that expensive 6 piece garden lounge set (or face your neighbours), or can you sit happily on an old wooden bench which you make a little more comfortable with a couple of pillows?
Do you pay your nail stylist for 10 elaborate artificial nails (which will chip and break) or do you make do with your own (which will chip and break as well, but are natural)?

So, tonight I'll keep it simple. Let's all UN-CLUTTER. And see what happens.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

To All Mothers, everywhere. Especially the ones who don't see enough of their kids.

Hi there, Mother.
Happy Mother's Day, to you!
I wish you a marvelous day, where you will be either spoilt by your own kids, by the kids who adore you even though they are not your biological ones, or by me.

Yes, you've read this correctly. By me.
Although shops would like to make us believe otherwise, not all mothers have doting children. If you fall into this category, for whatever reason, then this post is for you, especially!

Have a good day, Mother. You've nurtured a child in your body (often at discomfort to yourself!) and you've given life. For this alone, you need a medal.
I cannot bring you one, so I'll bring you a virtual bouquet and a treat most women will like :-)

You may be secure in the knowledge that you have contributed to the Great Scheme of Things, the circle of life. Good for you. 
Motherhood can be wonderful, all fulfilling. But it can be plain hard work, and a disappointment or disillusion as well, for some of us.
Take heart. I am thinking of you.
And I've looked up a link to one of my favourite singers, Kate Bush.

Have a good day!