Thursday, 31 May 2012

Photo albums

I DID IT!! Completed another, " yes, I will do that for you, no problem"  promises I made a while back. Oh, what a good feeling that is!

My neighbours " across the waters" Dicky and Kees have frequently holidayed on the island Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. They had a large number of (digital) photos stored on the computer. Seeing Dicky knew I made albums she asked me one day if I would help her make a Tenerife book. Together we sorted the photos and made a selection. Tonight I finished the 30cmx30cm book ( 28 pages). It looked awesome on screen so here is hoping that the finished product is just as impressive.

After my mammoth task on the grassed paddock yesterday my wrists and hands were still somewhat tender. Still, keeping them flexible by having to move the mouse helped so that they ( the fingers) didn't cease up all together. Tomorrow is a rest day. Hands can be resting up and recover in peace.

My husband is a city councillor. Annually they visit a neighbouring city for a working-sharing-learning exercise. Partners are also welcome. Tomorrow I am off with the other partners of the city of Zeist. We are being treated to a guided tour of a centuries old manor/ castle. Looking forward to that. It isn't something we would normally do 'at home' although we both visit these sorts of sights say, in France or Germany.

At day's end the councillors, our partners, will be joining us and we will all dine ( in style) before returning to Papendrecht. Should be fun. Usually is - this being an annual event I have had the privilege of attending quite a number of times now. All due to Leen's commitment to being a city councillor for the past 10 years or so. One of the perks.

So it is an early night for me... and tomorrow morning I will wash my hair about four times while trying to get the rest of the grass stains of my fingers and finger nails..... Got to play ladies in style!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Lawns and long grass

Before we went on our wee holiday, I tried to get to the section where pa used to go every week. It is in a holiday park where families have permanent holiday homes. Modern beautifully designed home away from home buildings.

Pa has a long, caravan type home - a style that isn't with us anymore I may add - which is on a rather large piece of real estate which he no longer wants to use. The land belongs to Leen and me. We are in the process of selling it. Not a really good market at present with the recession, but non-the-less we are to sell. No use keeping something you don't want or need.

As I said, before we went away, I tried to get there to mow the lawns - but it rained, rained and rained some more. The dry spells weren't long enough to do all there was to do. Seeing we have had so many dry days in a row I braved the sun and trotted off after I had tidied the house, mowed our own lawn and weeded for about an hour or so.

Well, the next 4 hours were a sheer battle of the wills - Will I or Won't I tackle this wilderness. I was up to my waist in grass. Seriously.  I was so shocked at what I saw I tossed up to turn and run, sit down and cry or not look too deeply and just " get on with it".

I first used the edge trimmer to cut the grass down to size, then proceded with a flymo mower. It was the only way I could get through. The section is 520 sq meters, and the wee home only tiny so my golly goodness - this was a chore worthy of a farmer wanting to make hay!

One of the neighbours across a brook was outside with her 2 children and made chit chat while I puffed and wiped my forehead... I told her I was embarrassed. And I was. Every time I looked around at what I still had to do I felt weak in the knees. So then I would look at what I had already done and I felt proud and soldiered on.

I knew I didn't have to cook so I needn't hurry home, that helped. I can see now I have a lot of work to do here before I can market the place. It is no where near attractive in it's present state. And to think it can look like this.

Never fear - it will again only not tomorrow!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Home James

It is 21:15 and the caravan has been returned to the shed... all but a stack of my clothes has been sorted, tidied and put back where it belongs. Started this morning sorting in the caravan, stripping the bed, storing the " titbits", dismantling the awning and getting ready for the ride back. Had our last coffee in the sun on the grass in front of the caravan. Then hitched up and cried " home James and don't spare the horses".

One of the last memories at the camping ground was of last night- I was just going to work on my BLOG when Skype called. Toni and Archie were cheerfully enjoying a morning coffee at Vitro. Unfortunately the sound wasn't up to the challenge but oh what fun we had....even Kermit enjoyed himself. It is amazing to think that I was at the camping ground in Zeeland, the Netherlands and I was connected to and could see others including Archie and Toni in Hamilton New Zealand as clear as day!

To top it off a quick phone call to Steve who had just come down off the roof he was working on. I had read a message on FB that Kylie placed...causing a slight flutter. Steve clarified it for me... and my heart rate returned to normal. Kylie wasn't in labour, just counting down! Her due date has been reached so the birth will be any day now......

Don't we live in a wonderful age of communication possibilities and isn't it weird that there are so many broken relationships due to poor communication....makes one think! Many years ago one could use the excuse that distance was a contributing factor in the poor relations situation. That is no longer a valid argument. There is also a trend to " be honest and open". Meaning " you can say anything". Although I am a supporter of being truthful I also think one has to use discretion and tact not to mention FEELING when talking to anyone at all. Place yourself in the position of the other party and be totally HONEST with yourself, how would this strike you? if this was hurled at you.

Like cooking a meal, if done with love it tastes MUCH BETTER!! and leaves a pleasant after taste.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Time to pack

It is time to get my head around packing up. It has been awesome. I feel totally privileged to have been here for almost 2 weeks enjoying all life has to offer. I have had the freedom to just "be" without ties, responsibilities or a commited diary.

I have met and spoken to strangers, I have had days I spoke to no-one. I have skyped, emailed, FB-ed en worked on my Websites and Blog. I have written cards, notes and in my book. I have read chapters and noted comments. I have cooked one portion meals, enjoyed freshly baked buns and cold cups of tea.

Tomorrow we will head home where I will be ever so pleased to pick up the threads of my life there. I will check out the chook run and stroke the rabbit. I will spend hours in the garden getting it tidied. Washing will soon be flapping in the breeze and the caravan will be emptied, tidied and stored back in the shed in no time.

I have had the opportunity to catch up with myself. To reset the button and feel really relaxed and raring to go. It was great to finally have more than one day of sunshine.

Summer is slowly settling in and it makes me feel good.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday morning

It is 6:10 on Sunday morning 27th may 2012. A slight breeze, a clear blue sky and sunshine....plenty of sunshine. do I get up? No try to get some more sleep. It is 6:45 and I head for the shower. Why wait? It is a beautiful day and if I want to start it early I will.

Next to me on a small stoel is a gas cooker. A one element job, big enough to put a kettle on and boil up for a cuppa. On the table in front of me are two books and my iPad. It is so lovely and clear, there are a few people about taking their dog for a morning stroll. A few early birds have already taken to the water, easing their boats out on the water in a light breeze. Wise people. It is going to be a very sunny, warm day and there will be many who flok to the water... Best to get in first.

It is 9:30 am. The breakfast table is set. We are soon satisfied, tidy things away and put our sneakers on. Time for a walk. At 11:00 we join our friends for coffee and plan the day. Harry and son Joey are going sailing, Hinriette is having a " day off" and we are off to a vintage car rally, just looking.

Around 14:00 we arrive in Veerle. The vintage car rally was quite fun. Now we are playing tourist in own country. I really like Veerle. Is is picturesque, very touristy and historical and great to walk around. An icecream and some small purchases later we walk back to the car, using a scenic route through the harbour. The place is a hustle and bustle with people who can't believe their luck that summer has arrived.

Coffee/ tea shops and ice cream parlours are doing a roaring trade. Something they counted on would have started about a month ago. Souvenirs stores are busily re-organising their wares, trinkets selling like fresh hot buns. The bay is dotted with too many white dots to count. This is boat country. Zodiacs buzz to and fro manned by the youth of today.... It appears everyone is happy.

A short " potty stop" and we continue to the car. Everywhere we pass smiling faces.. On the way back to the caravan we see people activley seeking some form of recreation near or on the water. Flags flutter in the breeze. Thankfull there is one. It would have been a scorcher otherwise.

We are back, back at the caravan, back on the camping, back with our friends. It is time to prepare the BBQ. What a cr

I did get all out of the day that was on offer........!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Another day dawns

It is just before midnight. Again the end of a full and enjoyable day. Great to spend time with friends and enjoy all the activities that add to the pleasure of the day.

It started with my early as usual start to the day. Promplty at 6:20 I awoke to a sunny morning. No fog to be seen. Thought, "what the heck, I am going to try and get some more shuteye". I did for, about 20 minutes, then got up, showered went for a wee walk, came back to the caravan had a wee read, check FB and skype for the kids. Decided to go for a bit of a decent walk to the village and back. It was just past 8am by this stage and there were more people about.

Posted a few post cards. Looked in the Real Estate office window and was surprised at the reasonable prices for houses here in this gorgeous spot and returned to the caravan.

Leen had decided to slowly surface from his sleep - I went to get some fresh bread buns from the camping store and we had a lovely leisurely breakfast. Devouring some of our own chool eggs - fresher than fresh.

A short while later we joined Harry, Hinriette and Joey  for coffee and a slice of the cheesecake which I had made the day before. YUM!!

Joey and Harry were going to go sailing. Leen, Hinriette and I went to late spring / early summer fair. Purchased some baby clothes and odds and sods. Was fun. The sun shone perfectly...not too bright, not too hot. And the breeze was "just right". A perfect day. After a tourist like ride and a visit to the supermarket, we arrived back at the caravan only to decide it was time for a snack and drink - well, these old foggies, excluding me ( who happens to be the eldest of the 4) decided they needed a five o'clock nap. Yes, they did! Leaving me wondering why I was sitting off I wondered and wnet for another walk.

When they resurfaced they denied being asleep, just dozing lightly.Ha, I caught them out with a photo I had taken. There was no faking it there.

A lovely BBQ tea, I had salmon and a white fish fillet, we eased into coffee ( tea) after having spent almost 30 minutes washing up - all four of us that is. It is now almost midnight - time to close the day and get some engery up for tomorrow. Night night all!

End to a great week

Oh deary me. It is past midnight so this Blog is a couple of hours late.

Needless to say I was busy with other things. Leen arrived back ( with Kermit in the bag) at the camping with Harry and Hinriette. We had been invited to have pre dinner drinks with the happy campers Wim and Doris who are also season campers here each year. Those pre- dinner drinks ended up being during dinner drinks ( with pizza) and after dinners till now.

The day dissolved like sugar in a cuppa leaving a sweet taste. Despite the wind it was sunny and warm.

Due to the balmy evening we were able to sit outside till now.... And could still be out there only I am so sleepy I almost fell off my perch. A great night closing off a most enjoyable week.

Time to rejoin the world and all it entails.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

A foggy start

I don't know how it is with you, but occasionally when I am confronted with something, a song comes to mind. Like this morning. I opened the curtain of the caravan - it was 6:40am and the first thought I had was Mull of Kintyre. Immediately followed by the title of the movie, Play Misty for me.

Now it doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to work out what the weather pattern was for this morning. Awesome. It took about two hours before the faintest rays of sun started peaking through.

This was probably a bit like my day. I am slowly re-organising my mind and getting used to the idea I have to re-group. The fog is slowly lifting and I feel brighter by the minute. There is something out there for me to do and make myself useful while I learn a thing or two doing it.

Not any less impressive is the fact that while here in the caravan on the camping, I am able to communicate freely ( with a few shortcomings we won't mention) with the children and grandchildren. I am so thrilled to have contact with Max every day. He is a delight to "speak" to. Funny, serious, interested. And Archie the monkey. The first thing he said when he saw me was "happy birthday oma." How lovely was that?!

With the added communication of Facebook I have seen Toni put the finishing touches on the family room. Being able to place photos, many have been able to follow my daily doings. Being here, on my own, has also given me the freedom to work on my Website and Blogs. Trying to give them shape and contents that is worthwhile.

A walk to the village for postcards and the tipple to the ablutions block for the occasional mee mee keep me agile!!

The days are full and filled with good things. Another night here alone and Leen will join me again. How the passage of time keeps amazing me.

I have to conclude once again - life is good to me.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Friendship and happy faces

It is Wednesday. Fish lunch day with father in law. I thought I was going to miss it today as I am having a week off staying in the caravan at Camping ground de Paardekreek, in Kortgene, Zeeland.

Today friends of ours left for a 3 month holiday with their boat. I was a bit peeved to think I wouldn't be there to wave them off. Anita ( yes her name is Anita too) and her husband Daan are good friends. People you feel " at ease" with. No aires and graces...WYSIWYG people. I am going to miss them, especially Anita.

Then it was morning! The wind, which had been plagueing the warm sunshine, had finally eased. I received an early txt message from Ingrid, a mutual friend. Was I planning to come wave Daan and Anita off? Why not, I was a free agent and had total control on how to fill my day.

Today was the day of friendship, of being with and for the people who care about me and I care about. Unannounced I arrived home... Knocked on the neighbour's door, where Leen was for coffee! Surprise dear. Then off to the jetty. Surprise friends. Awesome. Then home again for the lunch. A surprised father- in- law.

All I saw today were happy faces.

Today was the day of friendship. What an awesome day. Content and happy I returned to the quiet surroundings of the camping ground.

My day was one in a million.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Good Morning world

It is peaceful on camping ground Paardekreek in Kortgene.

The day started exceptionally well. Always does when I get to Skype with the kids. Today a quick glimpse of Summah as the internet connection wasn't too hot. Made the mistake of leaving Kermit at home. She was pretty disappointed. Sorry Summah. Opa Leen will bring him to the caravan on Friday.

After my Skype session with Summah it was Max's turn. I had a walk around the camping ground with Max ( in Australia). That was cool walking hand in hand with my iPad. Using the iPad is better than the laptop for some reason for Skyping with. I showed Max the layout so he had an idea where oma was staying. Made the distance ebb away somehow.

Last year I didn't have a connection and reception problem, so I went to the office and mentioned the slowness and unresponsiveness of the Internet. The staff were pleased I did. Now they'll look into it before the summer season gets underway in full swing. Didn't help me though, still slow Internet is better than no Internet.

What have I learnt so far today? That I am pretty good at enjoying my own company.

The camping is for 80% deserted. Although it is a holiday week for primary schools there are few families present. The ablutions block which I use, is pretty flash. There are 4 all told - and there is no need to rush in early for warm water or indeed a shower that is available. I was able to do a hand wash, wash dishes and shower at leisure. Clean " smalls" are flapping in the breeze.

Am off to buy my birthday gift from ma today- using the generous amount she gave me. An addition to the gift the girls and Leen bought me. Will post a pic when I have all the items together. Cool. Does mean though I need to re-organise my cupboards at home. Hohum!

Intend to work on my sites again today and edit the writings I have written recently. Am truly into catching up on and developing further, my writing skills. A long held wish to have more time to devote to this wonderful means of communicating. No more writing in exercise books and note books. Those days are behind me. Out in the open... although exciting it is also a bit scary knowing anyone can read what I have written.

Signing off to get cracking......

Monday, 21 May 2012

The POT project has come to a grinding HALT!! I mentioned a while ago that communication wasn't a strong point from the product owner...well he was communicating - but not with me. So at present as far as I know, I don't have a product to sell- so I don't have a business to set up or run ( yet).

Need to re-group. What I need now is time to reflect on what my next step will be and where will it lead. Needless to say I am dissappointed. So is Leen. Never the less, I have learnt a lot, and take that experience with me. You never know when it will come in handy.
 Don't really have more to say on the matter ( for now) except - pity!

21 May 2012

This is the first day of my 60th year. I turned 59 today. I aim to make the most of the days I have been given as I don't know how many more I am to have. What stikes me as odd is, how I always assume that there will be a tomorrow. Some nights I do admit to giving it a thought that I may not wake, but generally speaking: tomorrow is almost a given. But it ISN'T!
So as off to day I am going to try to remember that even more consciously and treat each day as a gift - like it is!

I learnt something this morning- something I have been avoiding. At present our caravan is parked on a camping ground called De Paardekreek in Kortgene, Zeeland. We are booked to be here from Wednesday last week ( 16th May till Tuesday the 29th May) Leen and I have shared duties. I take care of the inside, the clothing, food, cupboards, cleaning, cooking and help with putting up the awning. Leen is responsible for the awning as a whole, the gas bottle, the water reservoir and the chemi-toilet. That is fair isn't it? I pack and unpack the thing ( caravan- he takes care of the above). This morning I decided to pluck up the courage and attend a course "emptying the pan". What scares me most is that now I know how - I may have to do it more often. Knowledge can be a dangerous thing!!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Birthday month

I want to start by saying, " what a great day we had last Wednesday". Pa, or opaopa to the grandchildren, turned 84. Here he is next to his sister-in-law Jaantje who is 85. We had tea out. It was a joy to see him smile all day and chat with visitors.

May, a birthday explosion month. I remember it being really busy with cards, gifts and presents. I'll see if I can remember all of those May dates and in the right order. Those who have left this world, I still remember the dates and say a wee prayer. Those still here, I also say a pray. Mum, Rolly, Ellie, Els, Leen snr, Michael, oom Wim, Irene, oma Zwaga, mine, Katrina, Hayden and Elizabeth.

What's in a birthday? A new life, a new day.  The due date can be almost accurately predicted, the date we are to leave this world is a mystery. What is the purpose of our being? Well, that is for each of us to fill in for ourselves. For me, I try to be who I was designed to be. I don't see the point in having been everywhere, done everything and accumulated all and that's it! I love going places, seeing things and experiencing life, don't get me wrong. But for me, I think that there is more.  For me it is about - have I developed to my potential, have I given my all to grow, share, be and care about those people who come my way and those issues I need to be a part of. A tall order but fun trying.

My biggest birthday gift I ever received - was LIFE!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Koninginnendag 30th April 2012 - Queen's Birthday Celebrations in Papendrecht and Alblasserdam. A picture speaks 1000 words. Here 10 pictures..............   

View off balcony at tante Jaantje's place in Alblasserdam

Our queen Beatrix with her sister next to her. It was an awesome day!
Can't deny my friessian roots -
Nice door decoration -

50 feet up above Papendrecht
What a great event

Back home with feet on the ground! and a specially brewed "orange" Advocaat.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Just tried to get the clock set for European time. Silly that this isn't an option in the settings. At least not that I have fond anyway! enough time " wasted".

What a hectic week last week with one thing and another. Good though! Time just flew buy and before I knew it I had spent nearly 35 hours on the A-plus Products project.

The last few weeks have seen me, between working on my project,  trying to paint the woodwork around the windows and sliding door in the lounge, diningroom and kitchen areas. What a mammoth task. What a rewarding feeling when I have managed to finish part of the challenge. The room(s) are looking so much friendlier and lighter. The reaction of visitors when they come in is heart warming and gives me energy to continue.