Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The World's Gone Temporarily Orange


 
Well , it has here , at least . The country's gone football mad and , during the World Cup it might be seen as impolite not to sport the national colour . Everywhere you go is covered in flags , lions and giant blow-up footballs  ( the care home up the street , full of very frail old ladies  , even has one above their porch )  .
And nearly everyone has something orange on , though luckily most haven't gone this far ... 




I think the prize should go to this little girl


Anyway , this was Groningen today :




 
But my favourite was a scruffy cafè down an alleyway . They'd spent nothing on decorations . They just had Pumpkin And Carrot soup on the menu . The way to a man's heart is his stomach ....

Friday, 27 June 2014

Plans For The Weekend

Just as I was coming home last Friday evening , I remembered that I hadn't bought any loo paper , so I  swung by the nearest supermarket , grabbed an enormous Economy pack and quickly joined the queue at the till . After I'd paid , the assistant looked slightly concerned but still said the usual cheery ,
 " Have a nice weekend ! " .
I hoisted the 18-roll packet under my arm , thanked her and ran ... thereby confirming everyone's conviction that her sympathy might not be misplaced  , whereas  I'd only been worried that I'd miss the beginning of Celebrity Masterchef  .

But , this weekend ,  I have a definite agenda ; I'm going to Utrecht to get a wooden jigsaw puzzle   
" not too complicated but not too easy " , a three inch high  Batman ,  some vintage Pyrex if I'm lucky , some fabric just the right shade of orange .... or turquoise , and a big bowl of homemade soup from the cafe on the way to the quilting shop , lots of photos of pretty corners ( these are of Den Haag , last week )









 several coffees and some secondhand books .

 I've got Barbara Vine's latest book to read on the train and , as we roll back north over Friesland , I'll be able admire the sunset and to watch the odd hot air balloon floating towards Joure ... I'm looking forward to it .


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Running Wild-ish ....


 
I'm as lazy as sin and always have been , so retirement sounded ideal . Tailormade , in fact . Days spent lying on the sofa reading , occasionally interupted by meals , with a Day Out now and then for fun . Perfect . 
Of course , it hasn't quite gone according to plan . Husband's Alzheimer's has made us more housebound and Days Out have shrunk to a trip to the shops or a bike ride up the river bank to the nearest field  .

But , thanks to cousins who have whisked him off to his sister's home in France for a month , he's happily sitting in the sun in Provence and I'm able to get away for a while . In a couple of weeks , I'll be going to England to see the older daughters and , until then , I'm rediscovering the world ... I was going to write proper blog entries about everywhere I'm going and everything I've seen . But , as I've said , I'm as lazy as sin . So here are a few of the photos so far ...







An exhibition of weird and wonderful frocks in Groningen .... and something rather more refined in Den Haag
 
 




and a couple of pretty corners , here and there...



Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tea With The Godwits



Sunday afternoon at the local Natuurmuseum and the last chance to see an exhibition about Gruttos ...  known as Godwits in English  .


 In one corner was a glass case with a slap-up spread fit for a king ... of the waterfowl  sort .


 The best china had been produced and the plates were piled high  .
A little girl going round the exhibition at the same time as me , stared goggle-eyed at the food .  "Mmmm... that looks good ", I said .
Just then her mother came round the corner and called over her shoulder to her husband ,
"Do you want to have tea here , or do you want to go into town ? " .
He didn't get the chance to answer . Their daughter leapt across the room ,
 "Not here . Please not here ! "
 Poor Mrs. Godwit ... she might not be used to picky eaters .

Friday, 23 May 2014

It's Raining And Smooth Sophistication Has Been Restored


I was delighted to see grey skies and drizzle this morning , though less delighted when it started pouring while I cycled home from the market , it's true . But this song has been haunting me all week and , quite frankly I was getting a little tired of skipping about ,  chirping "Hip , hip , hip  hooray ! " . Our neighbours  are quite relieved , too , I expect .
Luckily before I turned into a midsummer version of Scrooge , I managed to drag Husband off to Harlingen and we had coffee and apple pie in a little cafè opposite this pretty flower shop in the middle of town


 We found an elephant for Small Grandson , too ,  though he'll have to make do with the photo. , poor boy


And these irises are for you ...

 
Edited .
I've just listened to the song for the first time all the way through and I must apologise for some of the lyrics  .  They're "very of their time ",  I'm afraid .

Saturday, 17 May 2014

I'm Not Lost After All !

Sonata:
I don't know what happened . There I was wandering along blogging now and then , when the fancy took me ... and , all of a sudden I wasn't . I mean , as Smitonius reported , I was still wandering along ...  I just couldn't access the blog's dashboard and write about any of it  .


 I was still  Keeping Fit . I staggered into the supermarket on the way home from the class last week and the young shelf-filler , rather concerned  , asked if I was alright .
' It's fine , ' I gasped , ' I've just been to the gym ' .
And I'm quite enjoying it , actually . The physiotherapist is a great believer in Mind Over Matter and she's almost convinced me . I only faltered when she told us to find our inner belly dancer ....

Going to the summer fabric fair , admiring the new season's designs and and wondering where I'd wear this Nightwatch dress to


 ... not the Rijks Museum , anyway .  Sewing little squares and planning  to sew these new fat quarters into Log Cabins .


Cycling past the City Farm , checking the progress of turkeys , hens, swans , goslings and ducklings and the new baby black and white goat whose bleats always seem to end in a question mark  .

Watching Masterchef ( and now delighted that Ping won ) and buying old cookery books whenever I see them ... my current favourite is "At Blanchard's Table", written by Melinda Blanchard and her husband Robert who have a restaurant in Anguilla . I seem to have become addicted to their Grilled Portobello Mushrooms , stacked with spinach and shaved Parmesan . ( They taste better upright , I think you'll find )


And searching for the key to open our blog ... which lay under my nose , all the time . that little blue thing like a Gruffalo's teeth in between the padlock and the refresh buttons at the top of the browser .

Sunday, 30 March 2014

My dear mother has lost her way

Smitonius says:

It has been a rather long time since I logged in and posted anything, as my life has been altering course over the last few years. Hitting 40 has been an extraordinary experience of change, accepting it and learning to let go and flow: health issues that seem to involve hospitals and not just a quick chat with a friendly pharmacist (solution: tablet form); work that becomes, all of a sudden, not 9 to 5 but 50 hour week and not what I signed up for; thinking things like who am I, what is this thing called life, what next? (I have loads of ideas... So no worries there).


I post existential questions, with no appropriate photograph, because my mother phoned to ask - where is the dash board on blogger? I popped in, things look different but not defunct. So, next task, advise Sonata on how she can post things in the near future. By the way, she is still well, looking after her other half, sewing tiny squares, attending gym once a week and emailing me mustard recipes.

From the  Belgian magazine , “Actief Wonen” :
Mustard with beer
ingredients :
4 dessertspoons  yellow mustard seed
1         “                 dark mustard seed
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
125 ml Belgian beer ( they use La Chouffe )
75 ml cider vinegar
1 dessertspoon honey
1        “              brown sugar
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
Method :
Grind 2 dessertspoons yellow mustard seeds fine and mix with the rest of mustard seeds in small bowl .
Finely chop onion and garlic . Put in a pan with beer , vinegar , honey , sugar , turmeric and salt and bring to the boil . Simmer for 15 minutes till reduced by half and add to the mustard seed . Stir and cover . Leave it to stand at room temperature for 2 days and put into sterlised pots .
Makes 2 125g pots .
Thought you'd like to try this sometime . Recipe from the Debremaeker sisters book of preserves , “Ingemaakt”, apparently .love , mummy

Anyway, sounds rather tasty!