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, 4 July 2015

Viggo's Philosophy - 2.0

Hi fans, Viggo here with a quick update on my Catyoga blogpost.

My woman is overheated. No other word for it. She is working much too hard to get the new school planning finished.
I urged her to take some rest, but she finds it hard to unwind. She told me she even dreams of student's grades and last minute changes in the curriculum.

So, last night I took matters into my own paws and sat on her. She couldn't move, and had to sit there and have a drink. Here's the proof:

See that pained expression? (Hers, not mine!)
She needs an ultra-long dose of URP!

Hope you have been keeping up your exercises? Remember: the facial expression is important!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Tour the France - Yes Folks, It Will Hit Hellevoetsluis on Sunday!

If you know me at all, you'll remember I am a cycling enthusiast...
But with that term I mean tour, recreative tour, cycling on a normal bike with no more than 8 gears. In my case including a battery to ease my arthritic knees, but that's beside the point.

But, oh my dear Frith, we are in the claws of the racing cyclists at the moment...The Tour the France starts in Utrecht this Sunday, and boy do we know it! The newspapers are overflowing with yellow polkadot sweaters, routes are being published, roads are being closed, people are being urged to come and watch (and spend money, please) and...and now we are at the crux of this post...wanna-be tour racers are everywhere.

This afternoon, after a long and strenuous day of planning for the new school year, I cycled home along my usual cycle path. It takes me from the historical town of Den Briel to my own home town of Hellevoetsluis, along this idyllically situated cycle path, right across the meadows and fields with wheat and fodder corn.

This is not the exact location, but you get the picture, sort of. I was contemplating my first beer of the day, when I heard a shout behind me, sounding like "Watch it!"

I thought "Watch what? Watch the birds, watch the trees, watch the fodder corn, what?" but before I had the chance to watch anything at all, four guys in racing gear, on racing bikes, with frantic determined expressions overtook me. I swear they thought they were Contador in quadruple. They nearly ran me off the path, and (much worse!) they almost ran an older couple (I estimate in their seventies) off the path four meters along.
They went so fast, that they were gone before I had the chance to shout "Selfish Morons!" back at them...

And now my town of Hellevoetsluis will host the Tour the France on Sunday. That is to say, the "karavaan" will whisk through it on its way to the next island of Goeree-Overflakkee and then on to the finish at the Neeltje Jans (Deltaworks)
It means us islanders cannot visit each other for half a day, much to the chagrin of my daughter, whose boyfriend lives on Overflakkee. And that most major roads are closed off.
It also means us islanders will take the opportunity to party. I mean...Tour the etcetera.
It also means we will have to put up with wanna-be tour racers for another two days.
Well. I would like to say something to them:

Hi, welcome to our beautiful islands. We hope you will take the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings. Do race, by all means, as this probably is your reason for living. But try to realize that you are just another cyclist, who has to abide by our cycling rules. Which means, that just taking right of way is not the done thing. And just because you travel in groups, doesn't mean that you have more rights than couples or singles. So, be a gentleman cyclist! 
Happy Tour the France to you!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Oi! We Actually Have A Tropics Schedule Imposed on The Wetlands!

Temperatures have soared to 34 degrees C during the last two days. I! In The Wetlands! People don't know what has hit them! Our schools have imposed a tropics schedule.
I wrote a micro poem about it. Hang on, while I attempt to dive into my heat-fuddled brain.

Right, found it - right next to the grades for 1F (disappointing) and 2A (wonderful).

Unaccustomed heat Produces uneasy dreams Of freedom Untying ties Forging new ones Cherishing unsought declarations Of tenderness

Come to think of it (ever the teacher, sorry, professional deformation) you cannot forge ties, can you. You forge chains. Well, you'll probably get my drift anyway.Our newspapers are full of good advice about how to battle this unaccustomed heat (uneasy dreams or not). I'll para-phrase.
  1. drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. (Plenty of water around here, though it is not so advisable to drink it! You'll probably die from Weill's disease, a terrible death)
  2. have at least one ice-cream a day (No problem, bring'em on!)
  3. Do not lock babies, dogs, cats, Granny or your ailing boss in your car whilst getting the shopping in (And our cows are very susceptible to heatstroke too!)
  4. Do not attempt too strenuous work (Ha! tell that to us teachers! We are in the last frantic struggle to finish the school year without sudden death)
  5. Try to do your work before 12 pm and after 4 pm. (What???)
  6. Put Granny, your babies, your boss or your pooches in a paddling pool (Ever tried putting my dog in a paddling pool? Not advisable; her legs may be failing, but her teeth function very well)
  7. Suck on ice-cubes (Ehm...This actually was ad verbatim in the newspaper list. I'd like to amend it: put down some ice-cubes in your boxers. There - much more effective!)

Weather prediction for tomorrow: 36 degrees. Aw...I need to finish my lesson schedule for next year...
Good ideas to keep cool, anyone?

Monday, 29 June 2015

Happy Birthday to Me! (Viggo's Blog)

Hi there, fans. 
Yesterday I celebrated my fifth birthday. Happy Birthday to ME!

Now, you may believe I'm dead in this photo, but you are wrong. This is me, doing my "Utter-Relaxation-Position". Or URP, for short.
Please take notice of the left front paw, which is positioned just so, not touching the right one. Both hind paws should be next to each other, lightly touching, but not stiffly. 
A soft purring sound is advisable, this helps to get the relaxation gradation just right.

I've tried teaching this position to my old dog Gina, but she isn't up to it, especially that left paw is a bridge too far for her. Somehow she keeps sticking it out like a ram-rod.

A close-up to teach you the facial expression. See how content I look? That's because URP makes you feel good!

This is just after I moved from URP into the final position, called "Show-off-your-belly", or SOB* for short. The purpose of SOB is to roll over, if needed, and get to your feet to ask for more food, although you can ask for more food whilst in the SOB position. I did.

* Some of you mistakenly think this means son of a bitch. You are wrong again. Us cats do no use the word bitch at all.

And there endeth the lesson for today. Keep up your practicing, and until next time.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Life - Live It While You Can!

Good morning (evening/afternoon) to you! I hope this cloudy day finds you in good health and great spirits.
That's me, by the way. Cool, eh? And wishful thinking - no plans to return to London...

The last couple of days have been a rollercoaster of emotions. 
Whilst I was enjoying the sun next to my pond Friday evening, glass of sparkling rosé near by, happy that the long working day was over at last, I received a phone call from an old colleague that one of the young men I shared an office with last year had been found dead. 
That office wasn't the only thing we shared though...He was quite frank about his misgivings about the tough job we did at that innercity school, and about his lack of a love life, and about his wishes and aspirations.
And all of a sudden - gone. Twenty-seven. 

Desperate for something to take my mind off this tragic event, I turned on the news. Only to be confronted with more sudden, useless and tragic death. This time in a mosque in Kuweit, on a beach in Tunesia and at some chemical plant in France.
What the fuck?
Sorry for swearing at you, but this puts me at a loss for words (and that is saying something!)

Another colleague of mine at that school, a devout muslim, explained to me last year that his holy book has a lot to say about forgiveness, care for unfortunate people, and more such noble things.
How on earth do "they" (generalizing here, I know, and I should not) equate this barbaric behavior on Friday with their teachings? It beats me.
And it saddens me.
And it makes me feel insignificant, for my thoughts on the matter do not matter one iota.

So. Anyway. Last night we had a huge party, as our school is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Yay.
I thought about not going. Then I decided I would go anyway. And there I met my colleagues, who had all thought about not going. And who went anyway.
And we talked about our departed friend, and about life, and decided that life should be lived. 
And the band was amazing, so we danced the night and all sadness away.