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...

Monday, 11 January 2016

A Tribute to David Bowie

How do you pay hommage to and write a tribute to an icon? 
Without it being trite, undeserving, not good enough, not nearly being able to cover or even touch the massive and unending and everlasting impact this artist had on your life and on the lives of hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of people?

Millions? I can hear your skeptical grunt.
But yes, think about it. He sold millions of albums. That means millions of us, of you and me, listened to his songs and have an opinion about them.
Many of us (and I am certain I can use this pronoun) can vouch that his music can be called life-changing. And sometimes even life-saving.
Not really. Besides, at the start of his career he was no stranger to ridicule himself. He continued on his creative path regardless.

A classmate introduced me to Bowie when we were 13. He had just bought the newly released Aladinsane (at great cost; vinyl albums cost us teenagers 4 to 6 weeks pocketmoney at least!) and raved about it. I had not heard of this British guy, but was fascinated by the album cover even before I heard the music. Who was this? It's hard to imagine these days, but I had to wait for weeks before I finally spotted a tiny item on Dutch TV about this singer. But after that, seeing him move, hearing him sing and speak, I caught up with a vengeance.
I got an after school job with the aim to buy all the albums released so far, and I managed so in quick succession.

It didn't stop there. Oh...sure, I developed a massive schoolgirl crush and dreamed of Bowie coming to the windy Wetlands and rescuing me from my humdrum unhappy life.
But as I grew older and slightly wiser, I began to realize the worth of his lyrics.
His promise that I could hold on to his hand has helped me through many a dark night. And I can (but will not, for fear of boring you to death) quote many, many, many of his song lines that have defined me and my life and have indeed helped me through bad times.

He has been an example. Not just to me, I'm sure, but to many around the globe. Ground-breaking, taboo-shattering, refreshing yet humble and always honest.

He will be missed so effing much. I will miss him so effing much...

Eddy Izzard has just Tweeted that all radio stations should play just Bowie songs today, to pay him a compliment. What a great idea.
But I would like to take it a step further. 
Why not live the rest of our lives with the colourful Bowie in mind? We can be heroes, right, (even if) just for one day?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The (Animal) Positive Thinking List

Hi there, nice to see you!
High time for a positive injection to counteract the wintry weather and assorted blues.

Making lists always gives me a boost. And it will be useful to count my blessings at this point in time. So here we go:

1. The old graveyard near to my home is a haven for small birds.
When I walk old Gina it lifts my spirits to watch the birds which flutter around the edge of the graveyard. Especially now, in Winter, there are numerous birds using the well established greenery in the graveyard for cover. But it's not just the very small birds; woodpeckers, pheasants and jays and all kinds of crow family birds live there as well.

2. My new neighbourhood turns out to be such a pleasant quiet civilised place to walk the dog.
My old dog needs a lot of walking, as she tends to be a borderline incontinent biddy. She stumbles out of her basket around 10.30 pm, but then can sniff for ages without doing her business, and then moan and groan me awake an hour later. The same goes for the mornings; I walk her around 6.30 am and she wants to go again an hour later. Which is a bother, since I need to leave for work around that time.
But, the good news is that I can have a quiet walk without any fuss around here.

3. My new neighbour told me we have hedgehogs here.
The hedgehogs are having a difficult time in my town, since most people have caught the paving fever and thus the hogs haven't enough greenery to live in. But I was told that he has regular prickly visitors for his mulberry tree, as they love the berries. They are having their winter snooze right now (at least I hope they are!), but they'll come snack in Spring.

4. Viggo has settled down and feels at home.
He blogs himself, naturally, but it pleases me to tell you that he feels completely at home here. He has tried staying out all night a couple of times, and apart from the one night we had to rescue him from that feisty red and white tom from 4 houses down (the racket!!) it went really well. But now that the temperatures are finally going down to something resembling real Winter, he opts for going out for a bit around 10 pm and then comes in and spends the night alternating between my bedroom windowsill and my bed. I occasionally wake up to see him keeping vigil on the sill, and feel like having a body guard.

5. One of the neighboring houses has peacocks in their garden.
There is an orchard at the end of my street, and in that orchard is by far the largest and ostentatious house of this area. I can just about get a glimpse of that house when I walk Gina past the (always closed) huge gates, and it looks forbidding. But the good thing about that house is that is has beautiful peacocks patrolling the front drive. I can sometimes hear them screech (ever heard a peacock's call? It is like a mix between a power saw and an old woman being murdered with that same saw) and it reminds me of my youth, when I also had a house nearby where they kept peacocks.