Sunday, 24 May 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-18

I bought this lovely bunting a few weeks ago. It contains most European countries, which is very important for a Eurovision Song Contest lover. 

More on that to follow tomorrow, but can you spot the very obvious omission in the mean time???

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Miss Oswin went hunting


Last Tuesday (Mara said it was Tuesday, for me it was Mara-at-home-day), I was allowed outside. The weather wasn't very nice, there was wind and it was not very warm either. So, when Mara called me to come inside again, I was very tempted. But I was hunting and you can't just leave that and go inside to a few treats, now can you?

So, I didn't go in. When Mara called me again five minutes later, I was still busy hunting and still didn't go in. Then I heard Mara come closer. She had come out to look for me because she heard me miaowing she told me later. Ha! I wasn't miaowing! It was the cat I was hunting that was miaowing. 

Now I say I was hunting, but it was more guarding really. Because the other cat was sitting on top of the electricity pole and was too scared to come down! Mara wasn't happy with me at all and tried to catch me, but I wasn't having any of that. But after a while I gave in and let Mara take me inside. The other cat was still on top of the pole though!

After about 15 minutes Mara looked again and the cat wasn't on the pole anymore. This time it was in the garden being scared by yet another intruding cat! Mara said she felt very sorry for the poor cat and chased the other hunter off. 

Well, I think it was a silly cat. And it shouldn't have been in my garden! Next time I see it, I will try and chase it up the pole again. But Mara says I have to be nice and that the garden is big enough. The cat was only young and very friendly she said. 

Well, we'll just have to see about that!!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

No inspiration at all!

Lapwing (kievit for you Dutch)
It's one of those days again, where I don't really have anything to say. Work is fine, the weather is not. I am fairly tired, even after going to bed ridiculously early last night. Tonight however, there is no going to bed early: it's semi final number 2 tonight and I can vote! I know exactly who for as well, unless he really messes up.

Just to tell you about the photos: the photo at the top was taken last Sunday on my walk towards the local parade for May 17th (Norwegian 'independence day') and the second one is the main church window and the altar in 'Our Saviour's Church' in Haugesund, where I went to a service on the same day. 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Getting sorted

The wide downstairs book case.
Over the years I have amassed a few books. Even now in this digital age, I keep buying books. Which means I have a fair amount that need to be put somewhere. Now, the house I live in is not one of the biggest. In fact, it is on the small side with low ceilings everywhere. 

The narrow downstairs bookcase
About a year or so ago I bought a set of nice book cases. I wanted to put them up upstairs, but alas, they were too high. So, they were put in the living room, where I would have preferred not to have any bookcases. Don't ask why, it's just something I don't particularly like. Two of the four book cases I have downstairs are however filled with dvd's (plus a whole shelf in a cupboard), which leaves only two cases for books. They are full. Both of them.

Work in progress upstairs
Not only are those two full, I still had a few boxes upstairs that I hadn't yet unpacked. Filled with books, photo albums and maps. And then last week at work, I saw two bookcases sitting in a hallway doing nothing. I asked about them and yesterday morning I was told I could have them. I needed some help getting them here (colleague with a car with trailer attachment, trailer and another colleague to help lift/carry/do the heavy work), but this morning they arrived. 

The finished result
I started putting the first books in and then found the remaining boxes to empty those as well. A few hours later and I am quite puffed out, but the book cases are full and the boxes (bar one with leaflet maps and such) are empty. 

The almost empty shelf will be used for English children's books
Freeing up some space downstairs.
The bulk of the books were travel books. Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, France and even Japan. Maps from Denmark to Canada and from Italy to Norway. Plus I found a few books and maps of Scotland. Which were put apart to be used later this summer. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

It beggars belief!

The garden gnome at the back? That's me!!
As I wrote yesterday, it was the Norwegian national holiday yesterday and one part of the celebrations is the so called Kapproing (rowing race). The first year we came in second, something we thought was very good since it was our first time! Then last year we did even better and came in first. We were so proud of ourselves because we had done good.

I am never the most elegant getting out of a boat
So, our hopes were high for this year. Yes, we had one new guy on the team, but he was a good solid guy that could keep rowing for six minutes without any problem. All the others had been on the team at least once before so everybody knew the drill. A good start, hard rowing until a good turn and then hard rowing on the home strait. We even had the same boat!

The average age was 69 and you had to have had at least 2 heart surgeries to be on this team
Unfortunately the same boat was a little bit off this year. We had already changed one oar with the pink boat (it got broken last year by an overzealous rower) and we had found some oar holders that actually were good. Also from the pink boat. And then on Friday during our last training, we found that our oar holders had been stolen! Three of them were ruined. The oars could fly out at any point.

These (hunky) firemen didn't have any oar or timing trouble.
They beat everybody!
Today during the race, two of our rowers had severe trouble with the oars. They 'lost' their oars twice each and each time it happened the rower behind them and to a lesser degree the rower in front of them was hindered. Which caused timing problems: the left was out with the right for part of the race and in the end we made it in 06.44. A time that was 40 seconds slower than last year!

The mixed team winners
And the beggars of the title? Well, there are several beggars in town and they had been roped in by a church charity. They weren't that good, but they didn't have to fight the oars and finished before us! They won! In other words, they were better than we were!!

Next year we will have to make certain the oarholders are perfect. And the timing. And the oars. Because the rowers were perfect!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Photo on Sunday 2015-17

This photo was taken on last Thursday before we were going on our annual training. Training I hear the newer followers ask? Training for what?

Well, training for the annual rowing race to mark the celebrations of May 17th, the most important national holiday (not counting the religious ones) in Norway. Two years ago we came in second. Last year we came in first. I wonder how we will do today! Oh, and I don't row. I steer. And yell!!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Miss Oswin loves to hide


On Friday Mara was home very early. Which I liked very much, and I got out the door the minute she got in. Normally I don't do that, but the weather was so nice I couldn't wait for her to say yes. After a while Mara got the noisy thing out to make the grass short. I like it short, because then I don't have to lift my paws so high and it doesn't tickle my tummy either! Plus it makes it easier to see and catch a mouse.

After Mara was finished with the noisy thing she got the flashy thing out and started taking pictures of me. I don't mind her taking pictures, but she always wants me to look into the flashy thing. What's that about? And when I walked away, she followed me! 

She took some more pictures and then I thought I would hide myself. I found a really good place, but I guess Mara had seen me go there and she took a picture of me there. Of course I had to find another place then and this time I know it was a lot harder to see me. But even there she did. 

Fortunately she then went inside to do something on the tappety thing (she always does something on the tappety thing, even when I want to sit on her lap). And I was allowed to stay outside to hide some more!

Friday, 15 May 2015


Being the au-pair to Camille (baby girl in my arms) and Jean (the little boy)
I had a hysterectomy earlier this year as those of you who are old hats at reading my ramblings will know. And not only a hysterectomy, it also included the removal of one ovary and both fallopian tubes. Which severely cuts my chances of becoming a mother. 

Now, I must say that I never really felt that I wanted, needed, must have children in order to feel complete. I did at one time want children and even had a biological clock ticking once. For a whole of two weeks it ticked and ticked while I was jealous of my cousin who was pregnant with her second daughter. And then the ticking stopped, never to return. 

This is not to say that if I would have gotten pregnant I wouldn't have welcomed the baby with open arms. I would. I would have loved it. It just never happened. Never found the person I wanted to have one with either (I haven't found Ed yet and the real Ed is already taken by a fantastic woman I know cyberpersonally). 

I know other women who have had hysterectomies, both younger and older, both with and without children. And some felt great about it (hey, no more periods, what's not to love?), while others felt it was a loss of part of their womanhood. I am in the first category. Happy to be without pain and everything that goes with that part of being a woman.

I am Mara, I am a woman and no, I am not, nor ever will be a mother. And that is fine. Honestly it is. It is me as well you know. As much as wearing glasses, being a bit overweight and loving Eurovision are. Oh, and proud of the huge big zip as well!! 

The only mother in the house is Miss Oswin, who gave birth to four kittens (one survivor) about two months before she came to live with me.

This post is prompted by Spin Cycle. Thank you Ginny Marie at Lemon Drop Pie

Thursday, 14 May 2015


My only 'souvenir' this time was the little white vase with the tulips.
I live by a budget. Ever since I was in serious trouble several years ago where I didn't open any mail, nor paid any bills and ended up being uninsured for about three months. The real wake-up call came however when I found out that when moving to another country they want you to take money with you. Which I didn't have. 

So, I set about getting rid of my financial troubles. Got rid of the car, no more holidays (not as bad as you might think, due to my fantastic job which still allowed me plenty of (free) travel), no more dvd's and no more other frivolities. It took a few years, but I managed in the end. 

I had had a sort of budget when living in the Netherlands, but I didn't really bother with it after a while, but after moving to Norway I started using one again. Just to find out where my money went. Especially after moving to my lovely little red wooden cottage in the Norwegian countryside. And then this year I found an even better version than the home-made version I had used for a while. One with so much more options and possibilities. I was hooked and from then on, I have been quite religious in making sure it's up to date.

Well, up to date it wasn't today. I hadn't updated it since I went away on holiday two weeks ago and I was afraid I would be up Caca River without an oar or even a rowboat, even though I had saved all the receipts. Or had I? Only one way to find out. Write everything down and then try and match it to my bank account. Guess what!

It tallied!! It matched. There is one receipt missing, but I knew what it was anyway, so I was fine. Job well done I would say! I am pleased with myself!

PS: the second photo shows my collection of 'foreign' money. There are Euros (notes and coins), US Dollars (notes), Swedish Krones (notes and coins), Danish Krones (coins) and British Pounds (coins). I tend to forget to take them away on holiday. So the stash grows!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


A post of their own? Is she mad?? Letting Miss Oswin and Brom take over once a week? But then I got to thinking: my Mum always loves seeing photos of my felines and even though my Dad sighs and rolls his eyes at the thought of Brom coming on holiday with us to Scotland (including kilt if you please, I just have to sew one, any bear kilt patterns are greatly appreciated), he accepts and thinks his daughter is lovable anyway. Either that or stark raving mad and I prefer to think he would think the first!

However, letting Miss Oswin and Brom take over is not an option really. For starters, Miss Oswin was highly jealous of Brom. Not necessarily of the travelling: she couldn't care less, but about being allowed to write! Having them do anything together would not be the best idea at all. But, having her write on her own, unless we (Brom and I) are away on holiday would be okay. So, that's what will happen from now on. One day a week Miss Oswin will get the chance to have her say. I dread to think what she will come up with...