Left-Over Posts? Snippets Not Quite Meaty Enough On Their Own To Make A Satisfying Post?
This Is The Place To Come To Use Them Up.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Next Year's Diary

Next Year’s Diary

is virginal, bristling
with possibilities,
will be filled full -
appointments made (and kept),
birthdays remembered ,
deadlines met.

And somewhere
amongst the pages,
the date - the very hour
my life turns around
so I will say:
this was the year
that was the day.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Our Year is Dying

 Fumie Sasabuchi , porcelain skull with vine

by Samuel Beckett
a far cry
for one
so little
fair daffodils
march then

then there
then there

then thence
march then
a far cry
for one
so little

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Rush Hour

Since it's Boxing Day , Sunday and nary a shop open , you wouldn't expect the town to be busy .
But Leeuwarden was out en masse this weekend ....
I just took a little stroll . It's forty years since I've skated anywhere so I have a feeling I'd have to start again from scratch .

Saturday, 25 December 2010


The 25TH

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

24 Ways to Christmas – A Quiz Just For You



Oh, it’s been a while.  According to (some) blogger etiquette, I’m not supposed to remind you of that,  but I wanted to say that I’ve missed being here.  Having been well-occupied with children and domestic Canadian life, writing has dropped to the bottom of the priority list.  This is unfortunate but due to be addressed as soon as December 25th is just a memory.  In the meanwhile, here’s a little something to stir up your brain cells.  

If I were diabolical,  I would post this on Christmas Night, when everybody’s brain is in a fog from too much food and drink.    However, since I will be in the same state and wouldn’t remember to do that, they’re going up now. 

Each phrase is a clue to a well-known Christmas carol.  Good luck!  (Answers will be posted….later.  When depends on how desperate you get!) 


1. Move hitherward the entire assembly of all who are loyal in their belief.

2. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds.

3. Nocturnal time-span of unbroken quietness

4. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good, given to the celestial sphere

5. The Christmas preceding all others

6. Small municipality in Judea, south of Jerusalem.

7. Diminutive masculine master of skin covered percussionistic cylinders.

8. Omnipotent, Supreme Being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males.

9. The first person normative plural of a triumvirate of Far Easter n heads of state.

10. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of crystallized vapour.

11. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy

12. 12 Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups

13. In a distant location, the existence of an improvised unit of a newborn’s slumber furniture.

14. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological formation

15. Quadruped with a crimson probiscus

16. Adorn the vestibule

17. Cherubim audited from aloft

18. Hallowed Post-Meridian

19. Fantasia of a colourless December 25

20. A dozen 24 hour Yule periods

21. Befell during a transparent witching hour

22. Desire a pair of incisors on the day of Natal celebration

23. I spied my maternal parent osculating Father Christmas

24. Joyful Yuletide desired for the second person singular, by us!


To all my blogger friends, I wish a joyful Christmas and all best wishes for the New Year.

24 Ways to Christmas – A Quiz Just For You



If I were diabolical,  I would post these on Christmas Night, when everybody’s brain is in a fog from too much food and drink.    However, since I will be in the same state and wouldn’t remember to do that, they’re going up now.  Each phrase is a clue to a well-known Christmas carol.  Good luck!  (Answers will be posted….later.  Depends how desperate you get.)

1. Move hitherward the entire assembly of all who are loyal in their belief.

2. Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds.

3. Nocturnal time-span of unbroken quietness

4. An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good, given to the celestial sphere

5. The Christmas preceding all others

6. Small municipality in Judea, south of Jerusalem.

7. Diminutive masculine master of skin covered percussionistic cylinders.

8. Omnipotent, Supreme Being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males.

9. The first person normative plural of a triumvirate of Far Easter n heads of state.

10. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of crystallized vapour.

11. Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy

12. 12 Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups

13. In a distant location, the existence of an improvised unit of a newborn’s slumber furniture.

14. Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological formation

15. Quadruped with a crimson probiscus

16. Adorn the vestibule

17. Cherubim audited from aloft

18. Hallowed Post-Meridan

19. Fantasia of a colourless December 25

20. A dozen 24 hour Yule periods

21. Befell during a transparent witching hour

22. Desire a pair of incisors on the day of Natal celebration

23. I spied my maternal parent osculating Father Christmas

24. Joyful Yuletide desired for the second person singular, by us!


Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Be Good To Your Pets.

Pets are an important part of the lives of many of us, and we will all be tempted to spoil them just a little bit
by giving them  a "treat". It might be a good idea to remember that there are forbidden foods which we should never give our pets at any time:

Macadamia nuts can cause poisoning and are often found in biscuits.

Raisins, sultanas and grapes can be poisonous to pets as they potentially contain a fungal toxin. NO christmas pudding or mince pies for your dog please, not even a little leftover bit.

Onions and garlic contain a chemical which can damage the red blood cells and create skin issues in dogs.

Chocolate and caffeine are highly dangerous as they contain high levels of stimulants such as theobromine and caffeine. Watch those low flying chocolate ornaments and a box of chocolates left where the dog can reach them. You know he will scoff the lot.

Stuffing and cream have also been known for making cats and dogs ill because of their high fat content.

This is advice I was given by a Vet.
Happy Christmas!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

What's In My Head Just Now .

Sometimes , fairly often to be honest , I wish that my job involved something more interesting than preventing wholesale destruction before elevenses or coaxing the mute to talk . Then I get a present from a child who's off to the primary school and it all seems worthwhile ........ not least because my job does not involve carving almond soap into roses .

It's snowed again , the way it does , and the train service is gearing up to leave thousands of passengers stranded , far from their holiday destinations . But I'm encouraged to see that the wait won't be quite so arduous this year . Our local station has installed a small ice-rink with free skate hire and pea soup .

I tend not to go to parties any more , unless press ganged , but if I did , I realise I'd be horribly overdressed

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Stolen treasure, or The Sin of Gluttony

There is a Family Story about Little June and Cookies
One Saturday morning I woke up earlier than everyone else in the house. I had been thinking, all night long, about the package of fudge-striped cookies that Mom and Dad had bought during the Friday night shopping excursion. I wanted to engulf those cookies. I wanted to binge on those cookies.
I stole downstairs, retrieved the unopened package from the breadbox and carefully, carefully opened the brittle and crackly wrapping at the end. I slid the plastic tray out of the clear plastic. 
I pulled out one cookie and took a bite. It was good. 

I heard my sister's feet hit the floor upstairs. 
I looked around, frantic to find a hiding place. The best I could do was behind-the-big-red-chair in the livingroom, and I tiptoed there rapidly . . . my sister was coming down the stairs at a good pace . . . and folded myself up into the smallest object I could be, the entire package of cookies clutched to my chest. I believe I started on a second cookie. I knew she would hear me . . . I tried to be still but couldn't, so I tried to take small inaudible bites. 
The cookies were rather crunchy, though.

I saw her feet at the livingroom door, her bony intrusive ankles bare below the hem of her nightgown. She stood still. I could tell she was scenting the air, trying to locate me. I peeked up from below the ridge of my brow and saw her scanning the room.
I shouldn't have looked; somehow my gaze attracted her attention and she zeroed in on me. She saw me there, with MY cookies, and laughed. I had to get up and pretend that I hadn't planned to eat the whole package. I put them back in the breadbox. I had only had, maybe, three. Hardly the satisfying glut I had hoped for. 
My sister told that story every blasted time she got the chance, and I never got over the feelings of 
(a) disappointment that I had been deprived of my secret pleasure and
(b) embarrassment at my compulsion-to-engulf and my failure to find a better hiding place!

Afternoon boss is on vacation, and he crept in last night while no one was there and left a ziploc bag of homemade Italian anise cookies on my desk.
Most of my coworkers all work in different offices on a different floor. One same-office coworker was there for a brief time and he took the bag upstairs to one of the offices and shared with the woman there. And then he brought the bag back, where they belonged . . . to me!
I snacked on those cookies all afternoon, all the time thinking I should take them upstairs to pass around, knowing that the people to whom I would offer them would decline: They are all self-disciplined, and thin.
Four o'clock arrived and the cookies had all . . . gone away.
The woman who'd had one, tattletale! . . . and a woman who would have declined came to say goodbye for the day.
The decliner said, "What's this about cookies?" (I truly think her question was preceded by "Fee, fie, fo, fum!" but perhaps not.)
I looked at her miserably. Caught again. 
"Where are they?" she asked.
I looked down at my midsection and ran my palms over its soft little bulge.
"I can't be left alone with these things!" I keened.

I'd like to say that next time I'll hurry to offer them around before I feel that creeping sense of ownership.

Next time . . . next time . . .
I'll hide them before anybody sees the things.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

True Story

An acquaintance was driving along a windy little country lane and going into a long S-bend with hardly any visibility when a car driven by a women came towards him, totally on the wrong side of the road.

They just managed to miss each other, not least due to his excellent reactions.

As they passed each other she shouted :"PIG".

Furious, he shouted back: "BITCH".

Coming out of the bend seconds later he almost hit a large pig in the middle of the road.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

On the topic of weird label instructions on consumer goods:

On Sears hair dryer:
Do not use while sleeping.
On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
On a bar of Dial soap:
Directions: Use like regular soap.
On some Swanson frozen dinners:
Serving suggestions: Defrost.
Printed on the bottom of Tesco Tiramisu dessert:
Do not turn upside down.
On Marks and Spencer Bread Pudding:
Product will be hot after heating.
On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
Do not iron clothes on body.
On Boot's Children's Cough Medicine:
Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.
On Nytol Sleep Aid:
Warning: May cause drowsiness.
On most brands of Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only.
On a Japanese food processor:
Not to be used for the other use.
On Sainsbury's peanuts:
Warning: Contains nuts.
On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.
On a child's Superman costume:
Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.
On a Swedish chain saw:
Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals.
On a toboggan:
Beware: Sledge may develop high speed under certain snow conditions.
On a knife sharpener:
Caution: knives are sharp.
On shin pads for cyclists:
Shin guards cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover.
On a take away coffee cup:
Caution: Hot beverages are hot.
Emergency safety procedures at a US summer camp:
In case of flood, proceed uphill. In case of flash flood proceed uphill quickly.
In a microwave oven manual:
Do not use for drying pets.
On the back of a pilot's seat in a Nato aircraft:
Seat must be facing forward for take-off and landing.
On the bottom of a cola bottle:
Do not open here.
On a Harry Potter wizards broom:
This broom does not actually fly.
On a box of aspirin:
Do not take if allergic to aspirin.
On a bottle of laundry detergent:
Remove clothing before distributing in washing machine.
On a muffin packet:
Remove wrapper, open mouth, insert muffin, eat.
In a kettle instruction manual:
The appliance is switched on by setting the 'ON/OFF' button to the 'ON' position.
On a ketchup bottle:
Instructions: Put on food.
On a bottle of rum:
Open bottle before drinking.
A car park sign:
Entrance only. Do not enter.
A sign in a street in Hong Kong:
Beware of people.
Rules on a tram in Prague:
Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be persecuted.
Sign on newly-renovated ramp entrance, USA:
Take care: new non-slip surface.
On a can of air freshener:
For use by trained personnel only.
On a bottle of baby lotion:
Keep away from children.
On a pair of socks bought in egypt:
Do not wash.
On a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle:
Some assembly required.
On a can of pepper spray used for self defense:
May irritate eyes.
On a Frisbee:
Warning: may contain small parts.
In a car handbook:
In order to get out of car, open door, get out lock doors, and then close doors.
On a packet of cashew nut pieces:
Warning: This product may contain residue of nuts.
Directions for mosquito repellant:
Replacing battery: replace old battery with a new one.
On a birthday card for a one year old:
Not suitable for children aged under 36 months or less.
In a hotel bedroom:
Please do not turn on TV except when in use.
In a lift in a Japanese hotel:
Push this button in case anything happens.
On a toilet cleaning brush:
Do not use orally.
On a can of Spray paint:
Do not spray in your face.
On a TV remote:
Not Dishwasher safe.
On a blowtorch:
Not used for drying hair.
On a washing machine inn a launderette:
No small children.
On a bottle of hair dye:
Do not use as Ice Cream topping.
On a push along lawn mower:
Not to be used as a hedge trimmer.
On a box of fireworks:
Do not put in mouth.
On the packaging for a wrist watch:
Warning this is not underwear! Do not attempt to put in pants.
In a dishwasher manual:
Do not allow children to play in dishwasher.
On a toaster:
Do not use underwater.
On a mattress:
Do not attempt to swallow.

And yet people end up in A&E with vacuum cleaner parts stuck up their bottoms (I have a friend who works in A&E). Have they not read the manual? There must be something about that in there. Don't you think?

Monday, 6 December 2010

From Now On , It's Online Or Nothing

Christmas shopping is easier to do , I find , if you go to a city of your choice , armed with a list , enough funds and stamina . If you do it in your own town , the temptation to slope off home (or to the library) is too great to resist and the whole thing becomes a saga without end .

So , well-armed , I got on a train going south on Saturday and sat sipping coffee , eating my ham roll , and admiring the landscape , lightly dusted with snow , out of the window .

Once in Utrecht , I set to work . An industrial quantity of mini-Lego was neatly gift-wrapped by a cheerful young man in a paper hat .The snow fell . Little independent shops yielded a large number of interesting little surprises, also beautifully gift-wrapped .The snow fell . I ate a delicious lunch . The snow fell . I decided to treat myself to a present or two , so walked along the canal to the quilt shop . The snow fall turned into a mini blizzard . On the way back , I passed a World Music shop and found a c.d. by a brilliant Spanish singer . The blizzard carried on blizzarding .

So , back to the station .

With everyone else who had spent the day in the city .

No trains . And I do mean NO trains .The concourse was packed with people , all staring at a totally blank Departure board .

After a while we all began to heave to and fro in search of information , coffee , a loo . Still nothing .

An hour later a train was announced , going north .

A huge number of us rushed to platform 12 and squeezed onto a train . And stood . And stood .

After 20 minutes we were all told to get off . As we struggled up the platform , we were flattened by a crowd rushing into our train , which seemed to have decided to go west instead .

15 minutes later they were told to get off again and they rejoined us on the concourse .

After an hour , a train was announced going to Amsterdam . WE CHEERED AS ONE !!!

I finally got home , hours later , and could sleep in my own bed , not the camp beds which seem to lie ready in huge piles , ready for just such eventualities in Utrecht .

But next year , if I can't buy it online , you're not getting it .

Saturday, 4 December 2010


Look what I found on Old Lady Lincoln's blog a moment ago! Nice example of the Nanny State Mentality, with which much of our world seems to be afflicted at present! Do go and visit Lady L to read the rest of her amusing list of similar anomalies...

Warning Label!

On alphabet blocks: Not for children. Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be deemed offensive.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I can't think of anything either,

so I'm hoping you saw it here first.


One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a
Christmas gift...

The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.

When she asked me why, I replied,

"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"

And that's how the fight started....


My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
while we were in bed.

I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?'
'No,' she answered. I then said,

'Is that your final answer?'

She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes..'

So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend."

And that's when the fight started...


I took my wife to a restaurant.

The waiter, for some reason, took my order first.
"I'll have the rump steak, rare, please."

He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?"

"Nah, she can order for herself."

And that's when the fight started.....


My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she
kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a
nearby table.

I asked her, "Do you know him?"

"Yes", she sighed, "He's my old boyfriend... I understand he took to drinking right after
we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since."

"My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that

And then the fight started...


When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me
that I should get it fixed. But, somehow I always had something else to
take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer.. Always something
more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point.

When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass,
busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently
for a short time and then went into the house… was gone only a minute,
and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you
finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway."

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.


My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.

She asked, "What's on TV?"

I said, "Dust."

And then the fight started...


Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and
Slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van, and
proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50
mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered
that the weather would be bad all day.
I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed..

I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered,

"The weather out there is terrible."

My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid
husband is out fishing in that?"

And that's how the fight started...


My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary.
She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds."

I bought her a bathroom scale.

And then the fight started.....


After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security .

The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my

I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home.
I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and
come back later.

The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'

So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair.

She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and
she processed my Social Security application ..

When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the
Social Security office...

She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten
disability, too.'

And then the fight started...


My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me,

"I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a compliment.'

I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."

And then the fight started........

Friday, 26 November 2010

S'funny about names.

Fridge Soup has a follower named Bob Scotney. I wonder if he's associated with Scotney Castle?
The Old Castle, glimpsed beyond a carpet of colourful flowers, from the Bastion in Kent.

I would have thought, as apparently would others as well, that a Scotney would be a Scot. If that were the case, I was all set to ask, rhetorically, what a Cockney would be.  But Scotney's French in origin.
It is in fact of French origin and derives from a place called 'Etocquigny', a village in the department of Seine-Inferieure, Northern France. It is probable that the original nameholders came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Scotney#ixzz16Qs2G7w0
Think of that.
Did you know that, Mr. Scotney?

Back in our family names we have Wakefield. Several years ago I mentioned that to a descendant of the noble Percy family who'd immigrated to these particular colonies. 
"I'm guessing that we must have come from Wakefield," I chirped happily.  
The center of her face seemed to freeze. The look of distaste grew outward.  The Percy breeding saved her from a full gasp of horror. A friend from England was visiting her and they exchanged a quick look. When she was able once again to move her jaw, she advised me in a confidential tone, "Don't tell people that." She wrinkled her nose and lifted her upper lip just slightly. "It isn't a nice place."
Apparently having one's roots in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is a tad shameful.  Who knew?
Later I read something about Wakefield and a Viking, "Hereward the Wake," and I chose thereafter to think of my family as latter-day carriers of Viking genes.  Hereward, incidentally, didn't like the Normans very much.

S'funny about names.
When I watch the rolling of the credits for BBC productions, the preponderance of purely British names strikes me. I suppose that's changing, or has changed now, but it seems to me that (although it's hugely politically incorrect to admit these days) it would be sort of a comfort to be surrounded by people whose genetic history is more or less the same as one's own.  
I know, I know: People are people, no matter the label they carry, and I don't mean I don't like people whose native cultures are other. Merely an observation.

I don't know what the current view of Americans is. I guess everybody used to hate us for being arrogant. That perception would, of course, be based on the behavior of tourists who had the money to travel all over Europe complaining about everything from toilet paper to God knows what. We poor slobs who've never been able to afford world travel are happy and as eagerly friendly as seven-week-old puppies. Even when some noblewoman tells us we're mutts.

Never Seen Him Before In My Life !

Husband is not a town person . The further he can get from pavements , lights and bustle the better . But , failing deepest pastoral seclusion , he tends to stay at home with his double bass .

But , now and then , he'll agree to take the train and go shopping for something interesting , as long as there is no shilly-shallying and there's food involved at some point .

Today was such a day . We ended up in Groningen and he was coaxed as far as a big shop . It wasn't until we were in the middle of the men's department that I caught sight of his feet .

Dear reader , you do not go shopping in the Bijenkorf in your painting shoes that are splitting at the seams .


"Well , they're comfortable , and I know how far you like to walk when we're here ".

Never mind , he enjoyed dinner ..... and , once his shoes were hidden under the table , so did I .

Friday, 19 November 2010

For the lexophiles

It's been a long time since I've contributed anything, and I have been feeling the guilt.
I apologize, in advance of your reading, for this.

* A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
* A will is a dead giveaway.
* Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
* A backward poet writes inverse.
* A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
* When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
* The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
* You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
* He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
* A calendar's days are numbered.
* A boiled egg is hard to beat.
* He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
* The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
* Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
* When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
* If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
* When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
* Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
* Acupuncture: a jab well done.
* Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
* The roundest knight at king Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
* I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
* She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
* A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
* No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
* A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
* Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
* A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
* Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
* I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
* A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
* A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'
* The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
* Don't join dangerous cults: practice safe sects.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

You Couldn't Make It Up

In Cologne today, a 60 year old man drove his car, at speed, off a ramp and into the Rhine. His on board satnav (navigation device for you colonials) told him to. Nobody had told the makers that the road ended in the river. The man managed to save himself but the car sank to the bottom.

It gets better.

The authorities got the divers out to recover the car. An underwater locating device told them exactly where it was.

They brought the car up only to find that it was  the wrong one. The one they salvaged had a body in it. Car and body had disappeared four years ago.

Divers went back down and this time came up with the right car.

If you need to get rid of somebody or something bulky the river authorities in Cologne can show you a handy spot.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

To Pee, or not to Pee?

This has to be in Britain. Even our dogs queue !

Bad Things Come In Threes ?

So last week I was bitten by one of the pre-schoolers .

Yesterday we had a fire at work . The fire alarm suddenly whooped overhead and we all stopped in our tracks .

Fifteen pairs of eyes swivelled like sattelite dishes to work out what's happening . The two adults in charge and the unflappable , capable stagaire looked quickly at each other over the children's heads and The Plan goes into action .

Quick check in the otherwise empty building reveals smoke curling out under the door , behind which the central heating boiler sits . So the register is grabbed and checked . Children all counted and out we file , children carefully holding their section of the special rope , all as quiet as mice startled into silence by the noise and our sudden seriousness .

This time it turned out to be a short circuit in the furnace and easily dealt with . No one was hurt and the older children were thrilled by the praise heaped on them by the firemen for their excellent behaviour .

But now I'm hoping that " Bad things come in threes " isn't really true .

P.S. Sorry but I , for obvious reasons , was too busy to take a photo at the time so I've pinched one printed on a local news site . It's very tiny and not very dramatic ...... a bit like our fire , actually . For which I'm heartily grateful ..

Get well soon

Get well card received by my companion after I brought him home from hospital with pacemaker:
I heard your
got all
It's a good thing
they have those
to fix your

Monday, 15 November 2010


I will not tweet
Or ever e-read
An I-Who?-Me-YouPhone is not what I need
I just want a decent broadband speed

Sunday, 14 November 2010


If circumstances justify depression, is it depression or just a normal reaction to what life has thrown at you? Is treatment of some kind advisable or helpful or will it inhibit the reactions necessary to face the depressing elements head on?

Work Hazard

I think Friend watches too much television .
We'd met for a coffee in a bar in town yesterday afternoon and were catching up on this and that .
"I was bitten this week ", I said .

"NO !!! Who by !!?"
Duh ! An overexcited two year old , of course . But maybe a head of garlic behind the crayons wouldn't go amiss .

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Language Watch

The American Hyphen Society is a community-based, not-for-profit, grass-roots consciousness-raising/education-research alliance that seeks to help effectuate the across-the-board self-empowerment of wide-ranging culture-, nationality-, ethnicity-, creed-, gender-, and sexual-orientation defined identity groups by excising all multiculturally-less-than-sensitive terminology from the English language, and replacing it with counter-hegemonic, cruelty-, gender-, bias-, and, if necessary, content-free speech.

The society's motto is "It became necessary to destroy the language in order to save it."
Its headquarters are in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 

(from A.Word.A.Day )
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Proof that context is all

On my Google Chrome home page, it asks me if I'd like to 'restore all removed thumbnails'.

It's one of those phrases that you get used to seeing, and then when you look at it closely, you realise how weird it sounds.

I suppose it could be written elsewhere, say, in a beauty salon on a list of instructions entitled 'Steps to Take when Faced with Disgruntled Hand Care Customers'.

There's only one other context I can imagine this being said in and it's one I don't like to dwell on.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Questions And Answers

Conversation overheard on a Street Corner on a Rainy Day.

First woman, holding leaflets:                                hello
Second woman, waiting to cross the road:            hello

First woman:             Is there anything you would like to pray for today?
Second woman:        Better weather

First woman:             I wonder what it would be like in heaven today.
Second woman:        Boring

First woman:            Boring?!?!?
Second woman:       Well, sitting on all those white clouds, playing lutes
                                and harps.

First woman:            What? That's not what it says in the Bible.
Second woman:       Well, what do you expect? All those old men
                                 writing it up over several centuries.
                                 What do they know.

Second woman crosses the road.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Thursday, 4 November 2010

And Were You All Scared By A Witch On The Hunt For Sweeties ?

If not , this
might do the trick on St. Martin's , but only if you live in Holland .
( It's a spider lantern , of course)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Lights out !

I know it's all suppose to be a bit of fun.....trick or treat.....masks.....pumkins.....and loads of scary stuff.....but this grumpy old woman will be putting the lights out and pretending I'm not home .....lights out !
See you in November !

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Greatest Ape

My brother's been on holiday to Rwanda. Also, he used to be obsessed with WWII, so I wrote this for him...

The Greatest Ape

The greatest ape you’ve ever seen
appeared in a movie with Steve McQueen.
Chilled bananas were his favourite thing
- that’s why they called him the Cooler King 
And poor blind Donald, the hairless mole
helped the greatest ape get out of a hole.
You wouldn’t think he’d have a chance
waging gorilla war in occupied France.
but he's a crowd-pleaser, who'd fail to like
the greatest ape on a motorbike?
And unlike his mates, who struggled learning,
the greatest ape remembered ... to speak in German!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Tom And Jerry . . Eat Your Hearts Out!

 . . . and I thought nothing could get tastier than FRIDGE SOUP!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Just Wondering

Definitely a Fridge Soup  not-enough-for-a-full-blog post here.

I've just hung up the phone after speaking with my 83 and 84 year old parents.  Dad recently bought a new hearing aid because he and Mum are taking (are you ready?..........)

Gaelic lessons.

Will they be speaking Gaelic with one another?  Looking for other Gaelic speakers in their neighbourhood? Lobbying to extend official Bilingualism to official Trilingualism?

I guess it's never too late to take on a new challenge.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

You know those "the world is divided into two sorts of people" statements?

Here is another one: those who love the adverts for "compare the meerkat.com" and those who don't?  If this is true, you should find yourself in one camp or the other.  Is it?

Saturday, 16 October 2010

A Positive Attitude Is Vital At All Times

Saintliness helps , too .
This old Dutch photo postcard is for anyone who has ever tried to teach anyone anything , but particularly for Deborah .

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

One in a Million

If someone told you that you were 'one in a million '  it is fairly safe to assume it is a compliment. This is not necessarily so for everyone.
If you live in China then one in a million equates to 1,300 people like you!

Imagine the blogs!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Owl or lark

Why do I find it so difficult to go to bed? and to get up?  Which way round is your day?

Vignettes of French Life (No. 9 in a series)

Sunday October 10, 2010
11:15 AM
Not far from Cannes

Tell me something, please. Is the burning of garden refuse allowed where you live? Maybe I'm a bit picky, but I'm inclined to think that there's no good reason for this sort of behaviour. At least twenty years ago, Calgary (and most other Canadian cities) banned open fires, except when food is involved. Air quality was the issue, I do believe.
Therefore, while I can still blacken my steak, I can't pour gasoline on green branches or a pile of wet leaves and put a match to it all.

La France entière, on the other hand, can't wait until the summer fire ban is lifted on October 1 to indulge the national passion for garden fires, the smokier the better. What's unusual about this particular one is that there's actually somebody keeping an eye on it.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 8 October 2010

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I'm not sure

At the checkout counter of the supermarket the guy standing in line behind me says to me: "I can see you don't live alone". He obviously refers to the truckload of items in my trolley.

"No I don't", I smile back.

"Pity", he says. "We could have had a great time together."

I look at him.

He's about 30 years older than I am.

I'm 45.

I'm not sure whether to take it as a compliment.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Vignettes of French Life – No 8 in a series

Seillans wine cooler


Seillans, Canton de Fayence, Var

11:30 AM Sunday

Monday, 4 October 2010

Animal Day

It's the 4th of October and , here in Holland , whether you have a poodle or a python , you're supposed to be extra nice to your pet today .

The preschoolers bring a stuffed animal with them to show , we read books about tigers and guinea pigs , moles and mice and we encourage them to be extra loving to any real animals at home . To give a little extra foodie treat and a cuddle to the family cat or hamster .

And they make a little decoration to take home .This year it was this

Perhaps it might have been a good idea to leave out the extra cuddle bit . I'm now haunted by the vision of manhandled goldfish gasping for air .....

Friday, 1 October 2010


. . . on the Ken Bruce spot, BBC (U.K) Radio 2.
"Did you hear that Whoopee Goldberg married Peter Cushing?  Now she's a Whoopee Cushin - "
(I'll get me coat.)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Is it just me?

I'll tell you what's embarrassing.  (I know you didn't ask, but I'm telling you anyway.)  It's when the noises your tummy is making (gurgle, gurgle, big-mega gurgle) are louder than the verbal contributions you are making to a meeting at work - and perhaps more interesting.

I'll tell you what else is embarrassing.  (Ditto. Ssh.)  It's when you can't leave the office because, as you tried to leave, the doorhandle went up the sleeve of your jacket so that you are trapped for a second or two and then ping back into the room.

I'll tell you what else is embarrassing.  (Ditto.  Will ya leave off?) It's when the phone rings in the office and you are eating a toffee, but you're the only one there to answer, and then it turns out to be someone who wants to talk about important things and not things-to-discuss-while-going-nom-nom-nom.

I'll tell you what else ...

No, okay.  I give in.  Go back to your newspaper.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

It’s a slow day in the so. of Fr.


A farmer wants to ferry a (giant) cabbage, a goat, and a wolf across a river in a boat. The problem is that the boat is small: besides the farmer it can carry at most one of the cabbage, the goat, and the wolf. To make things worse, without the farmer's supervision the goat would chew on the cabbage, and the wolf would chew on the goat. What is the minimum number of river crossings the farmer must make to accomplish his goal without the possibility of damage to the cabbage or the goat? (This is not a trick question, so creative shortcuts, such as taping the animal's mouth, roping the cabbage to the goat's back, etc., are not to be considered.)
a) 5
b) 7
c) 9
d) 11
e) he cannot do it in any number of crossings




Note to FTSE:  I know you’ll get it before the end of sentence #2, but let’s make the other soupers stew for a while!   

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Continuing The Theme

What's in a name?

Do you have a problem
with a face you cannot name?
As you see someone approaching,
do you hang your head in shame,
then mutter 'Hello Mr Er..?'
while thinking 'What's-'is- name?
I get covered in confusion
but no matter how I try,
the name is not forthcoming,
it's enough to make one cry!

The faces I remember -
I could draw them if I must -
and it's nowt to do with ageing,
or pipes turning to rust.
It just that I was born this way,
without a naming filter -
or if I had one, it soon got
completely out of kilter!
So forgive me, should I see you,
that I merely smile and say
'Hello, my dear old buddy,
nice to meet you here today!'

Sunday, 19 September 2010

You're Not Called That ?

I've got a fatal flaw ( well , I may have several but today we're talking about this one in particular ) .
I tend to hear names differently and and , once settled as such in my head , so they stay .
My ex-mother in law had a friend called Molly Wood who eventually became Folly Wood to everyone , not just me .The wholefood chain "Fresh and Wild " became "Wet and Wild " , though the Stoke Newington branch , at least , is perfectly tame and a rather pleasant place to buy herb teas .
But this week our employer has decreed that it's that time again . Team-building , Exchanging Information , Sharing ... call it what you like . All the playgroup workers in town will have dinner in a local restaurant , enjoy each other's company and bond .
When I first heard where we were going , I heard Woks' R Us . Well , I'd never been to a wok palace .
The whole family had fun thinking of other suitable names for a wok joint . "You'll Never Wok Alone" , "Wok On The Wild Side" , "Wok On By" .
Actually it turns out to be called Mei Wha , wok palace just being a generic name for a eat-as-much-stirfry-as-you-can place .
"My Way"anyone ?

By the way , the Beatles are back .
There are posters in the local supermarket with their photo on and everything . Beatles Revival in huge red letters too .But I can't help wondering if the impresario hasn't got it a bit wrong . Is the church hall going to be big enough ?

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Poetic Reference

“Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”


Robert Browning (not pictured)

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Kids, eh?

Please send YOUR answers anywhere except to Dr.FTSE

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Would you steal an abandoned boiled sweet?

I saw it there, sitting on a table in the staff room at school, at 4pm.  A boiled sweet (a Murray mint, for the initiated), alone and unclaimed.  I looked at it.  For a long time.  Then turned my back and went back down to the office.

At 5pm, I had to come back up to do some photocopying.  The boiled sweet was still there, in exactly the same place.  (Surely if someone really wanted it and had mislaid it, they would have come looking .....)  I did my photocopying.  Then I looked at the sweet again.  For a long, long time.  Then turned my back and went back down to the office.

At 6pm, I had to come back up to check a duty rota before I went home.  It had been three hours since I'd had anything to eat or drink.  I was tired.  I was weary.  My mouth was dry.  And, as I stood and looked at the sweet, everything I'd ever believed about morality was crumbling.

At 6.03, after much consideration ....

I'll leave you to guess.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

As Opposed To ?

Sonata ,
I saw this above a shop front in Lille this weekend :

Mind you , I'd better not become a regular at June's diner , otherwise any kind of mobility at all might be difficult .....

Monday, 6 September 2010

Strappin' on the ol' feedbag

On Saturday my friend BonBon and I stopped for lunch at a local dining establishment, called The Alley Cat.  The place caters to farmers, hunters, drunks and others early to bed and early to rise; it opens at five in the morning and closes at six in the evening, and reading a single page of the menu could cause arterial blockage.
As I said, we were there for lunch, but they serve breakfast all day, and at noon the chalkboard still offered the breakfast special: French toast sandwiched with ice cream, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with caramel. Get up, go have that for breakfast, go home and go to bed to sleep off the sugar, and you're still up in time to get to the hardware store at nine o'clock.

Abstemious I ordered a salad. It was a submarine sandwich without the bread: Iceberg lettuce, topped with a pound of roast beef, cheese, ham and turkey, and was served with a gravy boat of blue cheese dressing.
There are healthy items on the menu. They offer bowls of oatmeal, for example. With the option of ice cream melting on top.

All in all, my kind of place. Here in this climate the humans, like Arctic whales, need to maintain a healthy layer of blubber to withstand the oncoming winter. Besides, that kind of food makes us Northeasterners happy and mellow.
It feeds our souls and and prepares us for meeting our Maker.
At early ages.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

It's the way you tell them.....

In theory, dealing with the death of a pet is supposed to be a valuable if painful lesson for children in understanding the fragility of life, allowing them to grieve, to say goodbye, sometimes in a ritualised way such as a burial, and to move on.

In theory.

My friend L has been looking after the guinea pigs and hamster that belong to her brother's terribly over-indulged children, while they all went off for a week's holiday. She visited the little creatures twice daily, possibly offering a more dedicated service in terms of care, attention, food and cage-cleaning than the children ever gave their pets.

Yesterday, she discovered that one of the guinea pigs had died.

Very upset, she spent time wrapping the guinea pig and placing it in a box ready for burial when the family returned some time today.

Then she rang her brother in his  seaside cottage.

"Michael, are you on your own?" she began, voice quavering.

"Of course I'm not alone!" he responded, somewhat testily. "We're all here!"

"Well, listen before you say anything aloud", said L. "I have some sad news for you to break to the children. I found Libby in the hutch this evening. She died today."

"OH MY GOD!" roared Michael to his family. "LIBBY'S DEAD!"

And by close of play today, that guinea pig had been replaced by another, and the dead one remains in its box, unburied, already forgotten. L is most likely to take it away and bury it herself.

There's a lesson there somewhere, that's for sure.

Do you see what I see?

A special present for the
one-legged shoe fetishist?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

I hate shopping for clothes

And I ám a real woman. Honest.
Most women I know buy clothes on a weekly basis. Friends tell me they’ve found such a great skirt and terrific boots in that shop and last week they bought a great whatever where ever. Of course they always look terrific and very fashionable, while I’m usually in jeans and a T-shirt or in my riding gear. Next to them I feel even more frumpy than I already am. But since I’m up to my knees in horse poo most of the day (I just love to exaggerate now and again; actually it's up to my ankles) there is no point in me being fashionable. That’s my excuse anyway. Because I really don’t like shopping for clothes.
It’s not something I’ve inherited, because every time I have a conversation with my mother (or to be accurate; every time my mother talks to me), she tells me she has bought this and that, preferably on sale. “20% off, couldn’t leave it hanging there. Have to buy something to go with it now.” Which will be her goal in life for the week after.
I have no goals in life. And if I did, they would certainly not include shopping for a skirt that will go with a shirt. No way José!
So, I have brought the frequency of shopping for clothes back to twice a year and only when in dire need.

Yesterday was one of those occasions. I didn’t feel fat (see? I am a real woman.). Always a plus point when one needs clothes. So I felt up to the task before me. I wanted to buy two pairs of good jeans, a couple of shirts perhaps and a long woollen cardigan. Definitely a long woollen cardigan.

The first clothes shop I encountered after parking the car looked promising so I went in. In no time I had scored a pair of dark jeans that fitted well (the question is, will they turn out to be good jeans, because sometimes jeans for some reason have a Jekyll and Hyde personality. One moment they fit perfectly well and the next moment they will either be too small or too large. I have the feeling these new jeans will be too large, but we’ll see. Or is it just me who sometimes ends up with Jekyll and Hyde jeans?)
Anyway, then I saw an interesting pair of grey trousers. A nice design with fun back pockets and some lovely details. Not exactly what I was looking for, but they looked like jeans, only grey and very in vogue. So they fitted the bill more or less. But would they fit me?
They did. And I thought they looked good on me.
Then I obviously needed something to go with the grey trousers. I found a long sleeved sort of T-shirt with a subtle print that went wonderfully with the grey trousers. And also with the jeans. But then again almost anything goes with jeans.
This was a promising start to the shopping trip. Would they perhaps have that long cardigan for me too? I browsed through what was on offer. Rails full of all sorts of garments. I picked out a very finely knitted long woollen cardigan with two obscure flaps hanging from the back. Hmm. Puzzling. Nice sleeves though (narrow up to the elbows and above that wider and sort of gathered together on the side). But the flaps were just weird. I tried it on and examined the result in the mirror. Hmm. Not sure. Strange flaps.
A woman emerged from the fitting cubicle next to mine. She looked at ‘my’ cardigan and asked the sales woman if she had another one of those (pointing at the one I was wearing) for her to try on. I considered it a good sign and decided to buy the cardigan too.
What else could they have for me?
Again I browsed through the merchandise. Interesting looking shirt. I plucked the hanger from the rail. Hmm. No. Wasn’t quite ít. I put the hanger back on the rail. The garment dropped to the floor. I picked it up and tried to put it back on the hanger, but I couldn’t figure out which hole was the right one to drape over the hanger. It was exactly as wide on one side as on the other and the sleeves were coming somewhere from the middle. The only clue I could find was a label at which I decided would be the top of the shirt. Strange shirt.
I couldn’t find anything else that appealed to me enough to try it on, so I decided to pay for the two trousers, the T-shirt and the cardigan.
Since I was on a roll, I went further on my quest to find some decent Autumn/Winter clothes.
I went into a couple of other shops that had nothing that appealed to me, until I came to a shop I had been in before. Last year, when I was on the hunt for Summer clothes in fact. Nice clothes, but horrible staff. The pushy sort, who like everything you try on. “Looks gorgeous on you. Could have been made for you. It’s my favourite too.” That sort of sales talk. Since trying on clothes is not my favourite pastime (did I mention that already?), I’m usually in the right state of mind to answer back with: “you would say that wouldn’t you. You want to sell it to me. Do you work on commission? Have you bought one of these yourself? Does it look as good on you as it does on me?” Usually I’m quite a friendly person. It’s just that the longer my shopping trip lasts, the longer my toes will grow.
But still, I was on a mission and I liked their collection, so I just had to take the sales women into the bargain.
I found a nice long woollen cardigan, also grey, but made of thicker wool. Almost exactly what I had in mind when I started looking for it. And a fun striped long sleeved T-shirt that would go great with the other stuff I had already bought and with the newly found cardigan too. So I disappeared into a cubicle and tried both on. When I stepped out to criticize the outfit, I was immediately stalked by one of the sales bitches. “Gorgeous cardigan that is, isn’t it? It looks so good on you. I love that cardigan. And the shirt is so nice isn’t it? (not waiting for an answer) They just ‘fly’ from the store. It looks lovely with that cardigan blablabla”.
I raised my eyebrows as high as they would go and just looked at her.
It worked. She closed her mouth and took a couple of steps back. (Do you think I frightened her?)
Anyway, I decided to go for both garments and found another shirt, this time with a little bling on it, in the last shop I went into and then I went home.

“I’m pooped”, I sighed to hubs. He shrugged his shoulders and said something like: “pfff, you only went shopping for clothes. How tiring can it be?”

So I started thinking what the difference between ‘female and male’ clothes shopping is.
You see, women have to decide: “Do I want trousers, a skirt or a dress? Do I want casual or not. What colour looks good on me? What colour do I want? Do I need something to go with it? Do I have the right shoes for this outfit? Does it make my butt look fat? Does this flatter me in the right places?” And more of those dilemmas.

Now, I can only go with hubs’s shopping habits, but I think male shopping goes something like this:
Man enters shop he always goes to, sales person knows him and says: ah, Mr. Soandso. Is it that time of the year again? Haha.”
Man says: “Yes it is”.
Sales person says: ”Well, what can I do for you this time.”
Man says: “I’d like two of these (points at trousers he’s wearing), this size, different colours. Three shirts to go with them and a jumper or maybe two.” Or he says: “I need a suit.”
Sales person rummages through the collection, picks out a few things, man tries them on. It fits, he pays. Simple.

No difficult garments with long purposeless flaps, no shirts that have confusing top/bottom issues, no shoes problem, no fat butt, or if fat butt… who cares.

And still, hubs does not like shopping for clothes either. I don’t understand.

Carolina ;-)

Friday, 27 August 2010

We Can't Ignore It .

It's the centenary of Mother Theresa's birth this week .
I feel she would be making everyone sit up and take notice of the Pakistan flood victims and that we wouldn't all be allowed to carry on hoping that someone else would lend them a bucket .
She knew , better than anyone , how to make us HELP .

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The kitchen's got a new cook!

say hello to Carolina, who will be giving us language lessons and her special brand of deep-fried mars bar.

Welcome to the soup, Carolina.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Wake Up People!

In the far off town of Plinkton, deep in the noyder Kaderoons, a flenny masnerat sat in the bushes, feeling slightly loopig. In the nedglim light of his lantern, he watched plosklash creatures of the night zoom around above his head. He was wishing he was still at home with a flagon of yetamalt in front of him, and his piouz woman snuggled up at his side.

Go HERE to see where the ten strange words originated this time, and maybe then write your own story?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

No Smoking

Surreal or what?

Next door to Valley's End is another small town where a lot of strange people live. The Welsh Marches are like that, characterful, colourful and some areas you could call downright weird. We have beautiful scenery, housing used to be quite cheap; it isn't  any more, if any of you are tempted by what I am about to describe, but tolerance and a live-and-let-live attitude are still valued highly.

One day I will write a post on the many colourful characters calling this area home. Let's call the town BC, and, for now, let me tell you this little tale.:

There is a pub which has, for years, turned a blind eye to the consumption of certain substances other than alcohol on the premises. it still does, allegedly. In fact, I was told, that on a summer's evening, when doors and windows were open,  if one inhaled deeply, one could feel a pleasant sensation just by walking past. I also understand that hardier types used hardier substances, all freely available. Allegedly.

Those of you unfortunate enough not to be living in the scepter'd isle (Great Britain) might not know that smoking was banned in public places some years ago, I forget exactly when.

One day a customer in this particular pub lit up a cigarette. The landlord immediately shouted at him to extinguish it, pointing to the 'No Smoking' sign above the bar, saying, "Do you want to get me into trouble with the law? There's a smoking ban and I'll thank you not to smoke cigarettes in here".

I understand, other substances do not fall under this jurisdiction. Allegedly.

This tale is hearsay, pure and simple. You never know who might be reading Fridge Soup.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Carolina Is On A Roll

See what immersion in The Soup has done for her! Go HERE for a second helping of her recipe!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Why It's Deceptively Hard To Speak Good Dutch

Carolina has just proved , with her very clever poem on the two languages , that the Dutch are all fluent English speakers .

Which makes those of us who move to Holland lazy . Even after three years of Dutch lessons I , and my fellow students , were floundering . Our group included Polish art historians , Moroccan security guards , a Hungarian lecturer in Logistics , Somali nurses , a Brazilian Feng Shui expert and an assortment of women , myself included , who'd impulsively married a Dutchman and were now realising that learning to make Stampot and Pea Soup wasn't enough . We'd have to chat in Dutch too .

We from northern Europe realised that we shared shared a lot of words , our languages being related and influenced by one another . I , having grown up in Glasgow , found the word for light , "licht", perfectly easy . Kist and kerk made perfect sense . In fact Fresian's even easier to understand , though I'll never be able to speak it . The rest usually spoke reasonably good English . So we'd improvise .

When in doubt , say it loudly in English with a Dutch accent .

If you see what I mean . " Alle hens aan dek" , All hands on deck , of course .
Blindingly obvious .

Scribbly Gum

Jinksy's post on Napple Notes today 'Nature as an Artist'- celebrating the (far-from-plain) Plane tree - reminded me of a variety of Eucalyptus I came across in Australia: the Scribbly Gum.

I was told that a little bug gets under the bark and wriggles around. When the tree sheds it's bark (do all Eucalyptus shed their bark? I can't recall) it reveals the path the bug took - as though someone has scribbled on it! What a great name for a tree - maybe we should adopt it as the Patron Tree of Writers ... or think of more imaginative names for the trees we have?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Time To Say Hello To Carolina

Because she is a very clever and witty Dutch lady who writes a blog in English, as well as her native tongue! She has allowed me to persuade her into being a guest in the kitchen, and has thrown this very clever mix into the pot, on the clear understanding that I am copying and pasting her offering from HERE at Brinkbeest in English. I once had the honour to become her very first follower, and have delighted in her humorous writing and delightful photographs ever since. It is easy to see why...

Go nuts, learn Dutch

Our word for bicycle is ‘fiets’
Nothing in Dutch is ‘niets’
Something in Dutch is ‘iets’
And ‘straten’ in English are streets

A kiss is a ‘kus’ or a ‘zoen’
Money is ‘geld’ or even ‘poen’
Brave can be ‘dapper’ or ‘koen’
The man on the ‘maan’ is the man on the moon

Some of our words though are somewhat alike
For instance a dike or a dyke is a ‘dijk’
Although a dyke could also be ‘pot’
But if she likes men, she is not

And my ‘knie’ is your knee
(A difficult walk that will certainly be)
But you have to say ‘Knie’ and not knee without K
I know, it is hard. ‘Het valt nog niet mee.’

You’ve noticed a rhyme scheme is not part of this post
Somewhere along the way it got totally lost
And if you read that out loud, it won’t even rhyme
Some people consider that almost a crime
But I’m not a poet or ‘dichter’ you see
You can’t expect more of someone simple like me.

P.S.  It may say below that this was posted by jinksy, which I guess is true, but I assure you the brains behind the whole thing belong to Carolina.

Friday, 13 August 2010

You Can't Miss It . . . .

it's just  a dozen steps down  from / it's the house with the red front door / small front garden / cat in the window /  metal gate.

Or whatever.

Every time I hear the phrase 'can't miss it'  when given directions to a house on a suburban street my heart sinks.

Whose dozen steps? a giant's , a midget's ? Half the front doors in the street are red, most of them have a small front garden. I count at least four metal gates and the only cats I can see are the ones stalking the road for sparrows.

Please, could I have a flag flying or a loudhailer calling me? It would save me first driving up and down your street,  then doing the same on foot, having had to park the car miles away.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Youthful Merriment

From the local Leeuwarden paper :
" A young man was arrested on Monday evening for throwing eggs out of a third floor window in the middle of town .
He later apologised , saying he'd intended to hit a friend but had hit people sitting on a cafe terrace instead . "
You can see how it might happen ......

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Day out

Today I am being treated to a day out in Kidderminster as a cover for picking up yet another ebay purchase by OH for the car.   I do see life!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Blame It On A Wordle

If you wonder what a Wordle is, go  HERE !

Dire Warning- Part The First
If your girdle starts to wobble
while he spouts a lot of twaddle,
then greet the morn with joy
and do not spurn
a boy whose shy advances
soon burn with ardent glances
designed to make a maiden
blush to peach
though her heart remains
securely out of reach.

Dire Warning- Part The Second                                   

Let silk and tulle enticed him,
promise of a frisson splice him
as surely as a hatchet splices logs;
think of it as kissing lots of frogs
before you find a Prince you can engage
and trap just like a sparrow in a cage.

With a feather touch that lingers
from the tip of gentle fingers,
make him glow with white hot passion
in the best time honoured fashion
till he falls, a willing victim, in your trap,
as you snuggle ever closer on his lap.

Then a ruby trickle leaves the pouting lip,
while greedily from out his veins you sip
as daintily as if from out a cup,
though this tea is not one normal people sup...
till finally you toss him in the hall
to lie, a compact heap, where he may fall.

For him, his sweet rose bud will never flower;
he has reached his unexpected final hour.
There will be no rude awakening
for the fatal kiss has taken him
to heights no human ever likes to scale-
and that my friends, concludes my grisley tale!