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, 28 March 2015

The Wetlands Are Mighty Mighty Wet...

Sitting on my sofa with on the one side a view of my dripping garden and on the other side the lilies I bought today, I can't help thinking once more that I was born in the wrong climate...

Although my temperament is decidedly Northern European (thoughtful, phlegmatic, slow to anger, prone to melancholia, capable of sudden bursts of wild exhilaration and a constant need for music) my actual physical body craves warmth and sunshine. And I have this Italian-Mama thing: nothing better than eating in the garden in the company of my loved ones.

So, it shall not surprise you that the prospect of another week of rain-every-day does nothing for my present mood.
As usual, I turn to music for help. And listening back to my dilettante efforts at creating my own music through GarageBand has inspired me to write a Wetlands Haiku:

beefy slinky strings
creating melancholy sounds
wetlands delta blues

Oh Frith, oh my, oh woe is me, oh where is that sun I need so desperately?

So far I haven't got down to the lyrics, but I bet you they will be something like the line above...
Anyone of you out there using GarageBand to make music? I call it 'composing for dummies'. But I love it.

Once, some 40-odd years ago, my Mum suggested I apply for music college (Conservatorium in Dutch). I was playing the guitar and making my own songs even then, but was such an introspective, shy, unconfident thing that the thought alone made me certain that they would never ever accept me.
Silly me!
I should have taken the plunge. Eyes closed, fingers crossed and try out.
But I did not. I went to work at an advertising agency instead, 16 years old, fresh out of school. As I said: silly me.

My son-in-law said to me the other day that 57 was not too old to become a rock star, bless his sweet heart.

Oh well. I feel another line coming on...

Moorcocks screaming pain into the night
or is it love? oh, what's the difference

high winds moaning wet, wet, wetlands blues.

I wish you all a lovely, warm, sunny weekend!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Bring It On! Can't wait for better temperatures.

Spring has definitely arrived in the Wetlands. 
The birds are flocking and dragging bits of twig and tufts of dogs hair around, the fish in my pond have woken up, and the flowers in my garden and in the municipal forest behind our house are lifting their heads above ground.

 Aren't they gorgeous? I adore those March violets.
When my kids were small the patch of them at the entrance of the forest was small also, the size of a tea saucer. Now that my kids are young adults the patch has reached the size of a wagon wheel.

I have photographed the bit that was free of a load of dog turds dumped unceremoniously smack bang in the middle...Those feeling for beauty, have they?

They are edible, I'm told, but the thought of all those dogs
sniffing them and running through them know, has always deterred me.

The mini narcissus are in my garden. I tend to buy them or get them as a gift in those pretty floral baskets which are sold from Christmas onwards (up to Easter), and when they have stopped flowering I plant them out in the garden. Two (or rather dozens) for the price of one...I do love a bargain.

So, I'm all ready for being out in my garden. Except...the weather is atrocious. It is cold, near freezing in the night, and raining off and on, and that wind...Brrrrr. Wind chill factor 3 degrees. 
People in warmer climates cannot imagine this, or they have trouble imagining it, but us Wetlanders are desperate for warmth and sunshine by now.

So, bring it on!!!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Visiting Cat - Upheaval!

Good evening, all you cat lovers!
This week is: "we have got a visitor of the feline persuasion" week. This is a re-occuring event in our house, and has been for the last 8 years at least. Do we like this? on....

(This is not my photo, it floated around in cyberspace)

We have a catty family member: Noes. She is a stray, just like our own macho tom, from the same shelter in fact. But that is exactly where all comparison ends!
Where our Viggo can be sweet and cuddly, Noes is not.
Where he is always (well, almost always) cheerful and peppy, Noes is not.
Where he utters the occasional miauw, Noes just growls.
Where he drapes himself happily on your lap, Noes keeps her distance and hides herself in the cupboard.
Where he goes outside to pee and poop (as proper cats do) and amuses himself with the newspaper and assorted envelopes, she comes with a carload of stuff, which is all ab-so-lu-te-ly essential. A litter tray complete with roof, bowls, a scratching post, poop-scoop, etcetera.

Viggo has developed the following strategy when Noes arrives. He deploys this within 10 minutes of her arrival.

1. Watch her with mild curiosity.
2. Check out the scratching post by vigorously scratching it.
3. Check out the dinner bowls.
4. Pee in the litter box (a statement if ever I saw one).
5. Ignore her.
6. When bored - swat her behind, preferably whilst she is attempting to climb the stairs.

Our dog Gina however, has developed a different strategy. Ignore that cat, whatever happens, ignore her. Except when she comes too close to Gina's basket. Then a soft warning growl suffices. Noes freezes, Gina looks the other way (did I growl? are you sure?), Viggo looks on with glee, and there you have it. Stalemate.

Cat lover that I am, I keep trying to make Noes feel welcome. But this cat is hard work. Very, very occasionally I can persuade her to climb my lap, but she is always on edge. The only intimate happy moments we share, is when I fill her bowl. Then she purrs. 
We have her for a week, this time.