Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Off on holiday!

We are going on holiday now, will be back in late August. Luckily we won't be travelling in this car! Talk about contradictory registration plate!

Amanda’s Great German Adventure

My granddaughter arrived pulling her own cabin luggage, the equivalent of an adult suitcase. She likes to do things herself, will not accept any help unless she gets really stuck. Her German holiday was about to begin.

She had a wonderful 8-day week with four adults looking after her, as much as she would let us, that is. She is a very independent and strong-willed little individual, 2 years and 3 months old. Her table manners and fine motor ability are way above that of her peer group. This is quite useful when you eat out, something we did on several occasions.

I will let the video and pictures speak for themselves; I can only say that she had a lot of fun in both sunshine and rain. She went to many of the same places as did my 84-year-old mother a couple of weeks ago, with the added attraction of a visit to a zoo. Her greatest fascination must have been when the elephant "had its hair washed".

I felt a bit sad when she queued up for the security check with her enormous cabin luggage, but I knew she also carried many sweet memories and the cuddly German bear from the Welcome Committee.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Garage Sale – looking for bargains

On Sunday morning a friend of ours rang and said in a slightly excited voice that their neighbour had a power cleaner for sale. Hurry before he sells it to someone else! Of course, it was the day of the garage sale in our area and we were late.

After a quick breakfast we got there in time to view the machine and loads of other stuff. This was only the beginning of a very successful day of a string of bargains filling the car completely. In particular the last place was like a goldmine; they were moving and tried to get rid of as much as possible. The lady of the house was on her own and knew little about the machinery, tools and other gadgets. Any low offer we made, she accepted straight away.

We ended up with a garden vac, power cleaner (from the first place), strimmer, a tool with a rotating brush to weed between flagstones etc. etc. There was enough to set up a hire shop or start a gardening business. Most of them had only been used a few times and one was even still in its packaging! We felt like we were robbing her, but she was only too pleased to get rid of all the stuff, otherwise they would have to pay for moving it all to the UK. So, we were really doing them a favour, were we not? The irony of it all was obviously that I had just finished doing this type of garden work a couple of days ago, but I can now look forward to future gardening with less strain on my poor body.

Best of all was that this lady had a good quality car seat for my granddaughter, who will be visiting shortly. From other ‘garages’ we also got toys, a trike and some lovely little dresses. Little Amanda and her parents are travelling with a low-budget airline and have strict luggage limitations, so we figured we had to stock up a bit on life’s essentials.

This is Saturday’s Welcome Committee.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gruelling gardening

I have not had much time for blogging for a few days now because I had some unfinished business in the garden and around the house. When I got into the garden the first day equipped with my trusted garden gloves and this ‘three-pronged claw tool’ (don’t know the official name for it, anybody?), I discovered that one of the cats, that come into our garden on a regular basis, had been bird hunting again. In an earlier post I accused squirrels of messing about with our garden lantern, knocking it off the iron pole and smashing it against the patio step. After that incident I have seen on a couple of occasions how a cat comes out of its hiding place under a shrub like a rocket, trying to catch birds sitting on the lantern. All of a sudden I realised how it had happened that first time, because now it had happened again with the replacement lantern ending up on the ground.

The rest of the day (4 hrs actually) I spent on my knees worshipping the Great Garden Gnome, i.e. I clawed weeds out from between the flagstones. There was just too much stuff growing there for the power cleaner that I had hired for the following day. I didn’t exactly look forward to the second day of monotonous work, and when I got up that morning I was stiff and sore but also determined to get the job done.

This time I had all the right equipment in working order, not like the faulty connection last time that got me all wet before starting even. It took me five hours to power-clean the rest of the flagstones; we have quite a few of them; but they are now all squeaky clean all the way to the street as well. Our big front step is now so bright that I recommend the wearing of sunglasses. That evening I was only happy to sit on a chair for hours at Mrs S’s departmental do in a restaurant. Getting up from the chair was another matter altogether!

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Yes, I was on a roller a lot of the time we were out on our bikes today. The weather was gorgeous today so we just had to get them out. (BTW ‘Volvo’ means ‘I roll’ in Latin. Otherwise our Sunday-best car is a SAAB 9-3. I have to fly the Swedish flag, you know!) Mrs S has a modern bike with thick tyres,

I have a 25-year-old (at least) racer with thin tyres,

so I have to hold back a lot and brake downhill not to run into her. I still have not bought another one despite the fact that it is slightly too small for me. Why did I buy it in the first place? My previous one, a black Bianco (get the joke?), was stolen by one of those organised gangs with a lorry, big metal cutters and a lot of audacity. They just pull up and cut the bikes free, load them onto their vehicle and disappear in the night.

We had a beautiful ride today in the rather flat surroundings, along cycle paths, forest paths and agricultural roads. The ride took us past farms with horses and cows, through open landscape and shady forests with little rivers. You have to take the opportunity; I bet it will flipping rain tomorrow!

As if I didn't know!

I spotted this quiz on CanadianSwiss’ and Mausi’s blogs and just had to do it myself. This is the result:

You scored as Education/Counseling, You should strongly consider majoring in Education, such as early childhood education, middle childhood education, secondary education, or related majors (e.g., Vocational Education, Special Education, P.E./Physical Education).

It is possible that the best major for you is your 2nd, 3rd, or even 5th listed category, so be sure to consider ALL majors in your OTHER high scoring categories (below). You may score high in a category you didnt think you would--it is possible that a great major for you is something you once dismissed as not for you. The right major for you will be something 1) you love and enjoy and 2) are really great at it.

Consider adding a minor or double majoring to make yourself standout and to combine your interests. Psychology is a great minor for education majors. Please post your results in your myspace/blog/journal.





























created with QuizFarm.com

It was interesting to see the result; the first six for instance cover most of my working life. I am an ex deputy head and teacher specialising in languages and humanities. Need I say more? Although the quiz was somewhat simplistic, it was accurate and also good fun. :-)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Looking after Mother

‘Looking after’ is perhaps not the appropriate expression, it was more like keeping her company and making sure she was alright. She spent a week here in Germany and had a really good time, at the pace of an 84-year-old lady. It meant late mornings, short walks and a nap in the afternoon.

She arrived smiling.

We had a walk in the forest and enjoyed the view over the lake.

Then it was downtown for some shopping of hats.

In Düsseldorf she took in the sights of Die Königsallee (the posh shopping street), Die Altstadt und Der Rhein.

There we went to a popular restaurant…

…where she tried a Weizen.

She also enjoyed a Belgian beer in Holland

…and some brass music.

There was also music of sorts from the Town Hall in Roermond, although we did not get the full Glockenspiel.

An absolute must was to experience the great German tradition of the Italian Eiscafé. Aber natürlich!

After a week that seemed very short, it was time to migrate north again. She seemed very pleased with her stay with us; full board, guided tours and taxi service, not bad!