Thursday, 8 December 2016

Day 8: Christmas shopping, day 3 and 4

After a night spent on the board and bricks, it was time for another day in London. First the bus from the hotel to Brixton (about 45 minutes), then hop on the Underground and on to Victoria. I had thought of seeing another musical, Christmas-related or not, but it being a Sunday, most had a day off. There were two I wanted to see: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (day off) and Matilda. But 80 pounds was a bit steep even for me. 

I then made my way to Westminster and on to the Southbank. Half an hour later, I found the perfect in between meal: Dutch pancakes or poffertjes. The girl flipping said poffertjes was no natural, but they tasted good. Next time I will have to ask for a bit more icing sugar though!

Moving on along towards the Tower, I saw two sandcastle builders. One made a face and the other one made a beautiful castle complex, complete with smurfs(?), princess and a prince. The most artistic sand castle I ever made was a turtle! Anyway. I moved on, crossed the river towards St Paul's and sat there for a while nursing my poor feet. Even though I had used blister plasters (which I had NOT forgotten), my feet were still sore. 

But I knew the perfect solution: late lunch/early dinner at a nice restaurant and I knew just where to find it: a shopping center near Bayswater. However, when I entered it, it was spookily empty. There were a few shops and stands, but no Christmas decoration at all and it was just a depressing place. And my nice restaurant was not there anymore either! Fortunately I had seen one of the same name out on the main road, so that's where I led my poor feet. 

Lunch/dinner was great, the service was great (and cute) and I felt refreshed and ready for some more 'shopping'. I knew of another shopping center and after the waiter (yep, the cute one) told me which station to use, I made my way over. 

I was a bit dubious on entering though. All expensive shops! Was I going to find anything that was even remotely in my price range? But I needn't have worried, there were plenty of shops in every price range!

Trafalgar Square. Only on the green lights though
The next morning I realised I had only bought one Christmas sweater and there was a bit of empty space in my suitcase. After having taken the wrong bus (do I ever listen), I finally made it on to the right bus and found the supermarket I wanted. I found two more sweaters and a pair of pj's. Got some brandy (for my Christmas puddings) and made my way back to the hotel. Where I tried to stuff everything in my suitcase.

This reminded me so much of Ginnie Marie, I had to take a photo!
It wasn't happening. So, in the end, I had to take off the thin sweater I was wearing and put on the thickest one of all! It was really nice, but also really warm! But, finally everything was packed, I was able to check out and take myself to the station and from there to the airport. My trip to London was over. 

I can't wait for next year's trip. Gera???

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Day 7: Christmas shopping day 1 and 2

After more than four years, it was such a delight to be back in London. Even though I did miss Brom and my sister. Next year we will have to plan it a bit further in advance so we can all go together!

My room was a beautiful room with soft beds (board) and soft pillows (bricks) and a great view (see top photo). The dinner I had was pure gourmet. Of the cheapest microwave version! I buy better at home. Mind you, the price was accordingly low and it was warm.

On Saturday I made my way into London. Where it was busy! My first stop was Covent Garden, where I scored a belt (forgot to take one) and some gloves (forgot to take mine). And then it was off to the annual Christmas Pudding Race. Where I saw Oompa-Loompas, convicts, elves and even Her Royal Higness, the Queen herself!! And she graciously let me take a photo of her.

After having walked around for a while and taken a few photos of the beautiful decorations (mistletoe), I made my way to Oxford Street. There were some things I really wanted. Like a Christmas sweater. And paracetamol (forgot to bring those as well). And other knicky-knackies that I don't need, but do quite want. 

I had walked about half of Oxford Street when I decided to get on the Underground again and see what was happening in Hyde Park. Well, it was the Winter Wonderland! Complete with ice skating show, ferris wheel (no fun on my own) and German Christmas market. It was absolutely heaving though! The weather was quite cold, but bright and sunny and everyone and their aunt had made it into town.

The lights in Regent Street
I got back to Oxford Street and finally found a HMV (record/cd/dvd-store). Where I found some of the films and series I really love so guess what... By then however it was time to find myself some dinner, because that night I was going to see a show. And not just any show either: the Snowman. You may have seen the film, you may know the song (Walking on the air). I saw the musical. 

It was a really lovely musical. Only two songs with words, everything else was music only. The boy in front of me (Italian/French) was loving it! No need to understand another language when the music will do the trick every time. 

That night I made my way back to the hotel. Tired, weary, three large blisters on my feet and one on my credit card. But a beautiful day.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Day 6: Celebrations!

First of all I have to say: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROM! Unfortunately I can't tell him in person, because he still hasn't arrived home! But don't worry, we will celebrate later. With a nice cake for example. Yum!

Since Brom isn't home yet to help us decide who wins a calendar, I asked Miss Oswin and she was happy to step in. You may remember there were two of each up for grabs and the winners are....

Yamini and Ginnie Marie each win one of Brom's calendars. Princess Leah and Murphy & Stanley win one of mine. Congratulations. As soon as they get here (Brom collected them in Northern Ireland), they will be sent on their ways. 

Also Janice, could you send me your snail mail address, so I can send you one as well. My email is: busdriver1971ATgmailDOTcom

Monday, 5 December 2016

Day 5: Your last chance!

Did you know it's Brom's birthday tomorrow? Together with St Nicholas, so he is in good company. Well, to celebrate his birthday he will be giving away two calendars and so will I. 

We posted about it just over a month ago and quite a few of you left a comment. But you are still in with a chance. Because today is the last day you can leave a comment and be in with a chance. Not on this post of course, you have to click this link and you will be sent to the original post. Tell us whether you would like to win one of Brom's or one of mine, or if you don't mind either way. Your comment won't appear immediately, but don't worry about that, Brom's on the case and will make sure none of the comments will be left out!

And then tomorrow we will announce the four winners! So, head on over and leave a comment if you haven't already!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Day 4: A Christmas wreath on Sunday 43

Yesterday I showed you the first three photos of the progress towards a wreath. Today the remaining two. I can tell you it was very very fiddly! But great fun to do.

As you can see in the final photo I have added a special someone. He is still missed a great deal (tomorrow it is three years since his death). 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Day 3: A wreath is done!

I started making a wreath about a month ago. It was meant to go on the door to the hallway, but I have since changed my mind. It's too beautiful (I have been told I am quite modest) to hang in a place where I will only see it on my way into my home.

This is however only the first of two wreaths. The other one is still in its infancy and I don't even know whether I will be able to finish it anytime soon. Mind you, I am not too worried. There's always next year!

Anyway, I only show you the first few photos, you will have to come back tomorrow to see the finished result!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Day 2: Come Fly With Me

We're part of a community called Blogville, which is inhabited by cats, dogs, crabs and yes, a teddy-bear or two! It's a great community and there is a lot of love going around. And when one of us is a bit poorly, a lot of love comes from all those cats, dogs, crabs, teddies and their two-leggers. Sammy is a feline in America and he loves to travel. 

Unfortunately he is not as young as he once was and it can get difficult to get about. So, Madi (a fabulous feline who I like to call my friend) and Easy (a handsome Weimaraner from France, who sadly passed away suddenly on November 30th) came up with the best idea for Sammy. 

We loved this idea, also because Brom has just travelled/is still travelling and Mara will be flying today! So, this idea? Tell Sammy about a great place anywhere in the world, he or his two-leggers might want to visit. Well, that's going to be easy!! Right?

What about London? Mara is travelling there today and staying for a couple of days to enjoy the Christmas markets. Covent Garden, Hyde Park, Oxford Street, South Bank. So much to see in such a short time. 

Or Brom says, what about a trip to Vienna to see the famous Lipizaner horses in a show? We saw them in training only a few months ago and that was exciting. 

Miss Oswin however is not too fond of travelling, unless it means going out in a proper garden with grass and a lot of mice. 

In the end though? We all voted for the Austrian/German Alps. Beautiful views, no cars, a lot of nature. Plus a couple of mice probably. 

Sammy, we hope you will love our destination and that you will soon be able to go travelling the world again!

Update: Sammy will be visiting all those lovely places I mentioned and all the places everybody else chose as an angel. He passed away earlier this morning and has joined Easy. We are so sorry for their two-leggers. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Day 1: So, what about those decorations?

I have said several times that I will not start decorating until after December 5th. All you Dutch out there will understand that, but there are of course non-Dutch reading this blog as well, so for you I will explain. 

Growing up in the Netherlands, we never got Christmas presents. Well, not counting the book, mandarin and couple of nuts we got from Sunday school. Other than that: nix, nada, nothing. In fact, when I was in primary school, out of a class of 37, there was only one girl who celebrated Christmas with gifts. All the other 36 celebrated St Nicholas. 

St Nicholas is a saint (hence the St) who comes to the Netherlands, Flanders (in Belgium) and some regions of Germany in early December. He used to have one helper (Black Peter), but after WWII, the Canadians that helped the country to get back to normal felt that was a bit meager and they added scores and scores. 

St Nicholas lives in Madrid, Spain during the year and in November he makes his way by steam boat to the Netherlands. Together with his Black Peters* and his horse Amerigo. On the eve of his birthday which is on December 6th, he, his horse and his helpers take to the roof and leave presents for all the children. 

And this means I can't possibly put up decorations to mark Christmas, when St Nicholas hasn't been yet! It would be sacrilege!!!

*In recent years there has been a massive back lash against Black Peters. They are seen as racist because their faces are painted black. Are they slaves? Are they chimney sweeps? Mind you, in Suriname, a former Dutch colony where most inhabitants are in fact black, they paint St Nicholas white!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Defeat

It's the last day of November today and I must admit, the month has ended on a bit of a low note. Because I had to go home early today. I tried to work, but in the end I admitted defeat. 

For me the only thing that seems to help when having the dreaded H is eating. Apples, bananas, sweets, sandwiches. I will eat. Continually. Which in turn fills up my stomach with too much food. And I start feeling sick. You know what I'm getting at.

Anyway, I went home after having done most of my shift and got a few hours sleep. Miss Oswin joined in, but alas, no respite as yet. 

Tomorrow is a new month and let's just hope it will be headache free one at that. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The tree

I don't like to put up my Christmas decorations early. I start on or after December 5th and that is the end of it. In fact, even though my Christmas cards are written and stamped, I will not post them until that day!

So, what do you ask is that Christmas tree doing in this post? Well, I decorated it. Yep, you read right. I decorated it. Although I hasten to add: it's not my own. It's the one at work.

Last year someone had hung some baubles in the tree willy-nilly. Not nearly enough and either with huge gaps in between or so close together, you couldn't get a piece of paper in between. So, I redid the whole thing. 

And then this year, I was told to do it again. Not redo, just do. Which I did. For some reason Norwegians have this vertical decoration. Ie, vertical hanging tinsel. I don't like it and since I decorated: horizontal. Much better. But, if you look closely, there is one strand of beads hanging down. I do, after all, live in Norway!