I started a new blog. The reason is, that the capacity for the storage of pictures is used up for this blog. The URL for my new blog is: hedenbezig.home.blog and the name of the blog is: heden&bezig.
I started a new blog. The reason is, that the capacity for the storage of pictures is used up for this blog. The URL for my new blog is: hedenbezig.home.blog and the name of the blog is: heden&bezig.
Kittens from Fenty
Sunday, 12th May 2019. Amersfoort. Today the service in church is a special one. The reason is, that the sexton of the church is on retirement after 40 years of service in this church. These 40 years of service coincide with a 40 year marriage as well. For the occasion there is reception on his behalf. I see only a few people, don’t stay long and have a simple lunch at home. Then I depart to Eemnes. Together with my daughter in law, I watch the formula 1 race in Barcelona. Like the recent other races, the two Mercedes machines win 1st and 2nd place. The favorite of most Dutch is Max Verstappen driving for Red Bull, a Honda engine and Aston Martin chassis. He manages to stay in front of the two Ferrari cars and that is all he can do, no more. The only interesting situation is, when two cars far behind on the track, are causing an accident. It requires the entrance of the safety car and that means that all cars in the race are now closing in again. I should have moved to Amsterdam a lot earlier than I did: just too busy with the race. Marley In Amsterdam I met my family there, for dinner. We had enough to talk about, had a good diner and discussed the holidays to come. My family is going to Spain, for three weeks and as expected, I am invited to care for their dog during their holidays. I like doing it, but there are many things going on. I have to plan this time, which I will do. I cannot promise them now and here, but will do that later, after due consideration.
Monday. At 7 in the morning the KLM wakes me up, telling me that I can check in for my flight tomorrow, to Oslo. I see the message, turn around and carry on sleeping. Today is for organisation and planning. My bank is changing procedures for banking by internet. I am advised to download an App on my phone, but I will never do any banking via my phone. I have to ask my bank to send me a device that can generate the necessary codes to carry on banking the way I did it, by computer at home. A week ago, I took one pair of shoes to the Friday. I did not get a message, so I went there today, because I need these shoes tomorrow. At the shoe maker, they appologise (I don’t like that). They let me wait, to finish the work on my shoes, just because I came over to pick them up. Lazy people, unorganized. I have been busy, the whole day, emptying my fridge from food that can go bad during my absence. There is still enough to prevent me from becoming hungry. What is further left, I offered it to other tenants. I packed my back pack for the trip to Norway and went to bed.
Tuesday, 14th May 2019. Amersfoort-Sætre. The journey to Schiphol is easy and without delays. After having done some shopping, I go to my gate. There I buy coffee and a hotdog. When that is gone down, I take a seat in front of the desk where we have to pass to the plane. A young woman next to me starts communication. She came from Los Angeles today, a 10 hour flight. She is from Syrian descent, but American now. Her family lives in Stavanger. They are Norwegians. We chat and chat and carry on doing so while I see people passing the counter to the plane. Then I have a look at the screen showing me an unknown destination. Looking back at another screen, I see that there had been a gate change and the gate where I have to be now, is closing! My chatting Syrian company is following me to the new gate, fortunately very close by. I make myself known to the ground stewardesses and they are glad to see me. I complain to them, because I has asked KLM to inform me on my phone about anything concerning my flight: they did not notify me about this gate change. Another disturbing thing is, that the Syrian woman is gone, disappeared. I have no time to look further, but inform the ground stewardesses. The tell me, they are actually waiting for two travelers from the KLM flight out of Los Angeles. A very strange situation this is. I take my seat in the plane. We are now told that we are waiting for luggage to be taken out of the hold of the plane, due to travelers that did not show up. I know it. When at last we depart, I have the attention of the stewardess. She listens and later she wrote a report. She made me read it, before sending it to the KLM. Of course we arrived in Oslo late. Between Oslo and Åsker. I had no difficulties buying a train ticket to Åsker, but had to wait nearly half an hour for the train. I informed my family and was told that my brother was already in Åsker to pick me up. I met my brother and his granddaughter there: they had spent the waiting time eating ice cream. My sister in law was waiting with dinner: very tasty spaghetti. We did talk a lot in the evening, drinking some of the spirits I bought them.
Tulips in the garden.
Wednesday, 15th May 2019. Sætre. After a very good night sleep, I was ready for a new day. My brother was busy in the garden. After breakfast I joined and helped him. He told me that his car needed a new battery. We drove my sister in law to her gym and from there we want to see the rowing boat still on the shore. From there we went to the new town center, where I had a look around. A lot has changed there, since my previous visit. Three modern blocks of flats with shops at ground floor are now the center of it all. Roads are new and there is new horeca as well. My brother had left his car at the sea-side, with the engine switched off but some lights still on. When he wanted to start the engine for us to leave and pick up his wife at the gym, the battery appeared to be flat! We had to call for help. Neighbors came with jump-leads. That did help and my brother was able to start his car again. Once back at home, he immediately undertook to get the new battery in, which appeared to be a rather difficult job.
Working the garden.
Thursday. In the morning I join my brother doing some shopping in town. I buy a nice plant for my sister in law, but I have to ask my brother to pay for it. The terminal in the flower shop does not accept master card! That is pretty rare. One of the neighbors has a son, with a disease. The son changed living and now he lives in a village a bit further into the country. The neighbor had not visited his son there yet. He got his navigation system updated and the new address of his son added to his list of favorites. When he tried the navigation, it did not function because it did not stop searching for a GPS signal.
Easy parking in Norway
Eventually he asked me to join him, reading the map as explained by my brother. I did like the trip and was indeed able to help this fine neighbor to find the way to his son. Now he knows how to get there, even without navigation. When back in Sætre, he goes with my brother and me to the beach where the rowing boat of my brother is still laying upside down. With the three of us it is not too difficult to turn the boat on its keel and put it in the water. We leave the boat fixed to its anchor, away from the shore. Back at home, dinner is ready. Later that day, there are three helicopters busy in the neighborhood. We never found out what they were doing here: one salvage heli and two army helicopters.
The beach with and without a rowing boat.
Friday, 17th May. National day of Norway. After an uneasy night I hear the noise of explosions: they are to start the national day of Norway, to commemorate the acceptance of the constitution in the year 1814. It is going to be a busy day. First we have the daughter of my brother, with her husband and three children, for breakfast. After breakfast we are preparing for the festivities. These start with a procession of mostly school children and their parents all or mostly traditionally dressed up. The procession goes from one end of the village to the other end where the school is. At the school there will be games, singing, chatting, eating and drinking. One of the grand children is occupied with all the activities, while her father is serving foods and drinks in a tent.
This is going on for hours, until three o’clock. We finish the day with a barbecue at the home of my niece. It was a day of fun and very good weather. The oldest daughter of my brother had to be taken home to a village further down the coast, where she lives. Also in that direction is the village where my youngest niece and her family are moving to, somewhere this year. My brother and I drove down there, to take the oldest daughter home and to have a look at the new house of his youngest daughter and her family. It is enormous, that new house, with a view across the entrance of the Oslo fjord from the terrace on the second floor.
Saturday, 18th May 2019. Sætre. In the middle of the night, a hard beeping sound woke up everybody: one of the smoke detectors required a new battery. It did not take long before I slept again. Late in the morning, I walked down to the town on my own. I watched the new developments there and saw a change in the type of people. More well off people is my observation. I like watching people shopping and otherwise being busy. I was lucky, because during the night it had been raining a lot, but now it was dry and a bit cool. I had planned to walk back, uphill, but my brother appeared to do some shopping. Now I could join him and get back by car. After dinner, my brother and I went to the shore with his rowing boat. My brother erected a pole in the water, for the boat to be tied up to, during this year. This is a procedure that takes place every year again. The boat is now ready for use, for the rest of this summer.
View over Hilversum.
Sunday, 5th May 2019. Amersfoort.
After the removal of my friend Hanke to Buitenpost, I have to develop a new routine. For now, I go home after church and use lunch. After that I take my laundry, because the washing machines here are out of order. I do my laundry in Eemnes. My daughter in law, Gerry, is pleased with the bunch of roses I have with me, to commemorate the birthday of my son and her husband. I bought ten white roses and two red ones. The red ones are to memorize the fact that we have this day without Hessel for the second year now. Conner is busy with the mobile phone of Gerry, downloading the content of her Sim card to her laptop. Lately everybody did have problems reaching her. The laundry is done and I take it to my car. We then drive to Hilversum where we are having a family dinner. It is a nice restaurant where we are meeting, with friends of the boys in the kitchen. It is a nice evening, with a very quiet Gerry. The four boys are busy as usual. Conner is the first one to leave: appointment with the train to Leeuwarden. Kenneth takes his bicycle back to his own apartment. Marnix is taken home by Quinten. I drive home with Gerry. There, in Eemnes, I stay for a while to cool down. After that I take my own car back home to Amersfoort, where I hang out the laundry to dry.
A mess in the kitchen.
Monday. It is the ‘morning after’. Many people all over the country went to one or another festival to celebrate the end of WWII. In the hallway and corridors there are signs of it: cannisters for laughing gas, the new trend in festivals. Also balloons used to inhale the gas are laying around. In my kitchen it is a mess, such that I write a complaint to the care taker. I also see that two sections of the fire alarm system are in ‘malfunction’, meaning that somebody manipulated the detectors. In the evening I watch a film on television: lots of violence, lots of casualties and lots of blood. It was a quiet evening at home.
New washing facilities.
Tuesday. In the living room downstairs, I meet the care taker, the former care taker and one of my fellow tenants. Here I am told that new washing machines are placed and available for use. I complain about a lack of information. Everybody who wants to use the facilities now, must subscribe to the provider and pay for their services on line. This is the answer to the problems with vandalism. I like it. With Wifi one can claim a period for the use of the machines. We continue sharing information about theft and other vandalism. Both the care takers are not really interested: police and the organisation hiring rooms are the ones to take action. The caretakers and my fellow tenant become more active when talking about the risks for their motorbikes stored here. After lunch and a short nap, I leave my room for a walk: in the gangway I am met with the police woman on the beat together with four large strong guys in plane cloth but clearly policemen from a special unit. They close in on the room opposite mine. Later I hear that the tenant there has a friend living with him. This friend was spotted with a mock pistol in the nearby restaurant. He is now in prison. I also hear that they also arrested a guy living on the ground floor. During my walk I am asked to help a woman client of the psychiatric hospital. Her wheel chair, an electrical one, is out of order and she asks me to push her wheel chair to the small supermarket into the direction I was going. On the way we pass an older man pushing his walking aid very slowly. The woman in the chair I am pushing does not like this man: ‘he is always calling me names’, she complains. After my evening meal, I go see another tenant. We drink a beer and watch the first half of the soccer game between Liverpool and Barcelona. On half time, my host is going to bed and I go to my own room where I see Liverpool win the game with 4-0. This means that Liverpool will play the final of the champions league. Their opponent will be known after the game between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspurs, tomorrow.
Beach in Muiderberg.
Wednesday. It becomes a terrible day for many soccer lovers: Ajax lost their game from Tottenham Hotspurs. Tottenham will continue and meet Liverpool in the finals. Press and people are mourning for the loss of Ajax.
Thursday. At 10 o’clock I get a call from a former neighbour: Ambra. She is on her way into this direction, to visit her brother in Soest. She would like to see me and walk around the area. She has her dog Kingo, a 5 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback and her 2y old daughter Anna with her in the car. I agree, although I have an appointment with one of my primary school mates.
When Ambra arrives, I meet her at the parking lot. From there we go for a walk, slowly because Anna is interested in everything but progressing in a forward direction. I was fun to see them and we are back in the parking lot in time. I take my car straight away and drive to Muiden for the lunch meeting with my friend Joke. I know that she went to gym and that she would be ready to go at 12:30. Exactly at 12:30 she is ready and we drive to a restaurant in Muiderberg. We take a road which is actually only for inhabitants living along it, but a policeman had told my friend that it was okay, because the official road might be difficult due to a bridge standing open for maintenance and repairs. It works out well, without fines. From the parking we walk along the coastline of the lake, through clouds of mosquitos (non stinging). We enjoy a nice lunch and talk about all sorts of subjects. After two hours we return, again through clouds of mosquitos. When back at her place, I don’t stay much longer and drive home, cook and have some planning calls for the weekend and the period after return from Norway.
Friday. Again there is a meeting in the living room, with the same guys as Tuesday. This morning I spotted a bus driving across the garden. The care takers are reacting instantly and arrange for measures to prevent cars from driving through the garden again. My fellow tenant Wim does have a girlfriend. I do have the keys for her storage box and I still don’t know why I was asked to keep them. Any way, she comes to pick them up because within some days she will move all her belongings to her new home in Zeeland. Again we talk about a variety of issues, aiming at making the situation safer for the original tenants like me. At lunch time a bake an egg for lunch and after that I do a nap. The rest of the day is quiet at home, with cooking, writing and watching television.
Halfway the afternoon, the RSCPA calls. They have a turtle which needs to be transported to Alphen a/d Rijn, tomorrow. That fits in very well with my trip to Oegstgeest. I do have an appointment there, for lunch with my family.
Saturday, 11th May 2019. Amersfoort.
It is 7 in the morning when the alarm goes off. I started the day without hesitation. At half past nine I was at the RSCPA and picked up the turtle with its cracked deck. The trip to Alphen a/d Rijn was quiet. I delivered the turtle to the specialized sanctuary, bought a present for my cousin in Oegstgeest and carried on. I arrived early and parked my car. My cousins wife was away for sports training. We drank coffee. At 11 we were complete and drove to Katwijk, where my cousin had reserved a table at a beach restaurant. The sun was shining and a strong wind was blowing across the beach. My cousin had not informed me about other guests, so it was a surprise to meet also my sister with her husband and my niece with her two daughters. It was a pleasant occasion and the food was good. We exchanged news. My sister and her husband came back from a short trip to Bologna, with their friends from a cooking club. The three little girls were absolutely funny. After the lunch my brother in law drove me to another beach paviljon, where I reserved a place on the beach for the 17th of August, when my brother from Norway comes as usual to Katwijk for week, with his wife of course.
Back in Oegstgeest I pick up my own car and drive home to Amersfoort. It happened to be a trip with a lot of delay. One of the highways appeared to be completely closed for maintenance. It caused an enormous traffic jam. I think it took me half an hour more then usual to get home.
Sunday, 28th April 2019. Amersfoort.
We have to wait for the pastor who is supposed to be here. Apparently there was a delay on the train, because the police had to get someone out of it. After the service I go to my friend in Hollandsche Rading. I drink coffee and we make plans for tomorrow, when I will help her to move the remaining belongings from here to her new home in Buitenpost. After that I go to Eemnes to see my family there. The only one home is my daughter in law. Ragdoll cat with four kittens.
Together we watch the rather dull formula 1 race in Baku (Azerbaijan). Just before 6 o’clock I return to Amersfoort where I have a quiet evening.
Monday. One of my fellow tenants here, has agreed to help me in Hollandsche Rading, loading all the remaining furniture and other items into the trailer or my the back of my car. There are three items that really needed his help: a large bed, the mattress on it and the washing machine. The entrance and kitchen of the ‘old’ home. Together we manage it very well. One of Hanke’s friends came too. With the four of us, the loading is done in two hours. After coffee in the nearby restaurant, we part. My fellow tenant goes home to Amersfoort, the other friend of Hanke stays behind to clean the now empty premises and arrange the handover to the owner after cleaning. My friend and I take off to Buitenpost. My friend is a bit worried because in Buitenpost there is nobody to help unloading, especially the three large and heavy items. In Emmeloord we decide to stop for lunch. We first look for a place where we only find a closed restaurant. A bit further we come to a ‘Van der Valk’ hotel/restaurant where we enjoy a good lunch. Emmeloord
van der Valk. After that we continue to Buitenpost, where we arrive around three o’clock. I manage to drive my car with trailer backwards to very close to the door of her new home. After unloading the boxes and other easy materials, the three difficult heavy items are left over. After a bit of technical thinking, I manage to get the items out of the trailer and into position in the house, without help of a third party. I connect the washing machine to the water main, to the electricity and to the discharge: it works and my friend is now very happy. We drink coffee, after which I return to Amersfoort. On the way I go to the owner of the trailer in Utrecht and hand her the trailer and the keys to go with it. It was a fruitful day.
Tuesday. It was a lazy day, only in the evening a bit of excitement:
Ajax played Tottenham Hotspurs in London. End of the game: 0-1 for Ajax, which is a very good result for the return game in Amsterdam. Walking in the neighbourhood.
Wednesday. Today is special for the guy who lives here too and helped me moving my friend Hanke. He used to work at a fitness centre, but from today he is a guardian in prison. Quite a different job but he is happy with it. After his first day there, we drink a beer in his room. After that I go back to my own apartment and watch another soccer game: Barcelona-Liverpool. It is, in the end, a bit of a disaster for Liverpool, the game ends with a 3-0 win for Barcelona.
Thursday. Pharmacy. I was busy going to Soest, picking up medication and to the shoe maker in Amersfoort to have one pair of shoes repaired. Shoemaker Amersfoort. I ate a pizza. The evening was very interesting. With three members of the congregation where I go to church, we agreed to share our history. Today we are listening to one of the women of our group of four. She is born in 1941 and remembers a lot of her first years during and after the 2nd world war. Her history as a child and an adolescent was told in detail. We only just managed to get to know a bit more about her years as a married woman: time was up. Before leaving her place, I bought a booklet with poems from the other male member of our group.
Friday. Nothing special nor even anything else to tell. A day at home in
Real dirty showers from time to time, with snow and hail.
On the way I bought roses for my daughter in law: 10 white ones to commemorate the
birthday of my son and 2 red ones to commemorate the two years we are
now thinking of his birthday without him. The rest of the day is in fact in
solitude thinking about all the casualties from wars since the 2nd world war,
finalised with two minutes of total silence in the country.
Sunday, 21st April 2019, 1st Easterday. Humenné.
Traditionally religious people go this morning very early to church. They carry a basket with them, filled with food for the Easter breakfast. In the baskets are large ham, eggs, sausages, bread and some foodstuffs unfamiliar to me. I go there too, with the mother of my friend. The people are outside church awaiting the priests who are going to bless their food. The waiting is long and the ceremony short. When blessed, everybody goes home to prepare for a family gathering, eating the blessed food. At 7 o’clock I am back in my apartment and one hour later I go to meet the family for breakfast. My friend Lenka goes to her clinic to treat some animals staying there. At midday we are all back together for lunch. When, after that, back in my apartment and resting, I hear about the athrocities in Sri Lanka. Later that day I go to Tesco, where, sitting in my car, I can use their wifi to read messages on my laptop and my mobile phone. The evening is quiet, with, of course, more news from Sri Lanka.
Monday, 2nd Easter day. Humenné. Storks are everywhere, always.
An early morning. I am still busy dressing, when the mother of my friend rings. She brings me two plates with food, the typical Easter stuff. When I arrive at the clinic, my friend and her assistant are already closing the place. My friend goes to the petrol station, while I go into the direction of Medzilaborce, where I am spending this 2nd Easter day. I drive slowly, not in a hurry. Then I get a call from my friend: she was asked to treat an animal, emergency. I now have more time. I pass a site at Krasny Brod where ruins have attracted my attention since I come here. Now I take the time to take a closer look. The site appears to have a history of 25 centuries. In the 5th century before Christ the locals had their gatherings there already. The picture with information is interesting. After a good walk around, I carry on, to aunt Maria and daughter Hana. After a while my friend also arrives and we have lunch, specialy made for me. Later we have another meal, but we don’t stay long. My friend is called again and although I tell her not to react, she drives back to Humenné, to help a vomitting kitten. Ancient site at Krasny Brod.
Tuesday, Humenné. It is also for me a busy day. First I go to the Mitsubishi dealer on request of my friend. She does no longer trust her own car and asked me to view another new type of car for her. I don’t like what I see. After that I go to a large place where they sell, amongst other things, garden furniture. I was asked to look for cushions, but saw that I really had to have the dimensions needed.
Back in the clinic it is lunchtime. My friend takes me to restaurant, supposedly a bit exclusive. The building is huge, looks terrible and is partly empty. The restaurant on the ground floor looks good. My friend tells me that, until some weeks after the start, the venue was always packed. Now there are a view customers. The restaurant is too far out of town and the town lacks the required type of customers. After lunch we drive to the Mitsubishi dealer for a couple of items from my friend’s car standing there. The car is under investigation, because it sometimes does not start in the morning. When back at the clinic, I go home and to Tesco to do my Internet activities.
Together with having breakfast, I started the production of crêpes as they call pancakes here. Just after 10 o’clock, the production is ready and I take them to the clinic. It is quiet there. A man is wheeling and dealing about the sterilisation of his dog. He considers €50 too much. I don’t understand much of the way my friend is doing her business, but may be it is because it is not possible to compare business here with business in Holland. I leave the pancakes in the clinic and begin a walk through the town centre. While drinking coffee in a Jazz-Café, I look at the locals walking in the square. I conclude that there are many able men on the dole. Men on the dole are really looking very sad. From women on the dole one can not say that. They appear to be busy anyway or they don’t show suffering from not having a paid job. At midday I am back in the clinic and together with my friend, we go to collect her daughter from school. They are now eating the pancakes. During the evening I get a call from my friend. She is home in Medzilaborce and not to happy because her washing machine appears to be broken down. Financial disasters are popping up one after the other.
Thursday, Humenné. No money, no wealth.
Today is my last full day here. So I am busy clearing the fridge, drinking coffee, visiting the parents of my friend and in general thinking about the return trip. Ivan, the father of my friend, came back from Medzilaborce with the dirty laundry, because he did not manage to get the washing machine there going. I am late with cooking and just when I want to start, my friend calls from her car: she is on her way back to the clinic, for an emergency operation. I decide to go there too and give her support. That appears not to be very necessary, because her assistant is also present. I watch her operating a cat. The cat is old but has been pregnant. Apparently there is one embryo not completed, remaining in the birth canal. I watch my friend opening the cat’s belly and roaming around all the internals: amazing how she does it. I am impressed.
After cleaning the clinic, we leave. I am home around 22:15 and do my cooking. After diner, I go to bed.
Friday, Humenné. I busied myself cleaning the whole appartment, doing the laundry, washing bedding and my own dirty cloth. Hanging everything in the bedroom. It is a very hot day, with a wind like coming from a hot desert. When I am outside, getting rid of an empty whisky bottle, my sister rings. It is funny to hear her expression of surprise: she was unaware of me being far away. When ready with cleaning and caring, I go to the clinic and from there I go straight to Medzilaborce. Still underway, my friend rings from her car: she is called back to her clinic by a client, so she will arrive in Medzilaborce later. On the way there, I know a very cheap petrol station, where I fill up my fueltank to the neck. At arrival in Medzilaborce, I am given food and coffee by aunt Maria. I do a number of short naps in the sun at the terrace. Around 6 my friend appears and we talk for an hour. After that I enter my car and leave for the 1500 kilometers long trip back home.
On the way, still in Slovakia, I make some pictures from large herds of cows with many calf. I entered a different route in my TomTom. I am not happy with my own action and next time I will do the ordinary, by now well known route, especially in Poland. I am entering the A4 highway around 23:00 o’clock.
Slovakian cows with young.
Saturday, 27 april 2019. Parking in Poland.
Still in Poland, I became tired. At a petrol station I parked my car, arranged my bed in the back and went to sleep. Four hours later I was awake, with daylight. It is cold and wet, so after a cup of coffee, something to eat and a short walk, I start the car for the last part of the trip.
Resting in Poland.
Large parts of the highway in Germany do have an adjusted maximum speed, due to so called “Strassen Schäden”. I see them, I feel them but I don’t find them so bad, so I keep the speed up. It does cost me a photo shoot and probably, later this year, a fine from Germany. Last year I got one too, but it never materialised. Around 12:30 I was back at home, in my own apartment. Five minutes there and the fire alarm went off. That is the problem living with youngsters who don’t know how to behave without their mother being around. I had the intention to go to town, in order to get some idea about the festivities around our Kings’ birthday. I however saw on TV how busy it was everywhere, and decided to stay at home and see the registration of the festivities from my own chair with my own whisky. Of course I saw some of the people living in the building as well. They all wanted to know where I had been all that time. I did go to bed not too late.
Sunday, 14 april 2019. Travelling to Humenné.
It is said that this weekend is the coldest in April. It may be true. Yesterday I experienced some hail and wet snow. And now, during the night in Poland, I get rain which sometimes appears to become snow or hail. When I carry on like this, I will arrive in Humenné much to early. Along the A4 to Krakau there are sufficient petrol stations with good facilities, so I decide to take my time and sleep. Roma family estate in Poland. The Skoda is doing fine and I have to take care not to drive too fast. Sometimes I notice that I am doing 160km/hr, where 140 is the maximum allowed. In all I slept 5 hours and deep sleep as well. So also that is now a known practice in this car. It is a beautiful Sunday morning and I make again good progress. My TomTom tells me that I will now arrive in Humennë at 13:15 o’clock. Characteristic view in Slovakia. Lenka will no longer be there then, so I change my destination to Medzilaborce. When entering there, I see her standing in a parking lot, chatting to another women. Lenka often meets clients with their animals on the way, saving her from driving deep into the country. She is of course totally off her feet to see me, because she had been unable to get in contact for a couple of days. At home we get soup and rice with chicken, from aunt Maria. After some hours there, I leave for Humenné. There I am met by Lenka’s mother with the keys for the apartment. After installation, I drive to Tesco where I have the MioCafé with wifi. I read my messages and reply to some of them. My friend Hanke messaged bad news: she is in hospital in Groningen because of problems with her gullet. I bought a pizza at Tesco for dinner tonight. Back in the apartment I settled, ate and went off to bed for a long and healthy sleep.
Monday. Lenka told me of the plans in progress. The government is supporting the idea of the ‘animal help organisation’ to start an asylum. They are now searching for a terrain to build the facilities. They already have a car: a Peugeot Partner, white, 350.000 km done. They are unable to drive it, because they are all on a driving licence for automatic cars only. I offered them to give them driving lessons, but they are afraid to accept that. Today is Maria’s birthday. Maria is the sister of Lenka’s father, she is 70 today. With Lenka I go to the nearby garden centre to buy a present for Maria. I buy her a nice plant that will survive their winters as well. Later, at a shop for electronics, I buy a lead to transfer pictures to my laptop. The salesman was not quite sure about it, so we tested it in the shop: it functioned, for only €7. When watching Euronews, just before going asleep, I learned about the Notre Dame being on fire. I don’t like this TV station, they are much to much promoting only the positive issues about the European Union from a specific point of view and on top of that, the only sponsor I hear of, is Turkish Airlines: that especially makes me suspicious about this station.
Vet’s office with my pancakes.
Tuesday. As promised, I was going to bake pancakes for Lenka and Stanka. That’s why I was up at 6. I used approximately one third of the flour, with one egg. I am missing a mixer, so I have to produce the dough with a fork. It worked very well. First the milk, then the egg and only then during stirring, the flour. I became a good dough. I baked the pancakes in olive oil. I was just about starting to bake, when Ivan, Lenka’s father, appeared on the door. He started to explain me something, but I managed to stop him and get him out of the door after making an appointment for later today. I arrived in good time at the clinic, where they appeared busy operating a German sheeps dog. When they were ready we ate the pancaked: Stanka did have a wrong idea about my pancakes. She expected to see American Pancakes, the small and thick ones. The ones I made are called crepes! I walked one of the dogs in house, called Amalia. This Amalia was hit by a car and since then unable to lift her tail when shitting. So her tail was amputated. She is a very nice and loving dog. Later around midday, I have a good walk with Lenka’s father through areas where I have not been. It was good to make this walk and talk and the same time even though Ivan, as he is called, does only speak extremely little German and nothing else.
Many houses for sale, like this one.
Wednesday. It is still very early and I am yet in bed when the doorbell rings. I expect it to be Lenka, but it is her father. He needs my help. Of course I will help him, but not now. I get rid of him after telling him I will meet him at 10. When we meet, he asks my advice on a variety of financial issues. It cost of course a lot of time, listening and trying to understand what he really is talking about. We go to Tesco, where I can go on the internet and drink good coffee. I am busy until midday, when I go home for my own lunch. I work a bit more on the laptop and only at 3 o’clock I go to the clinic. Lenka is not happy at all, because everything goes wrong today. Early this morning she had tried to contact me, because her car would not start. She was unable to contact me, so she had to get a whole lot of others running to get her from Medzi to Humenné. Consequently Hanna could not be brought to school and Ivan could not come to do what he was expected to do in Medzilaborce. I did find out why she was unable to contact me: my mobile switches without me noticing it, off line from the provider. In that state I am only capable of sending and receiving distress calls. That is how I can quickly see what is the problem. I have to switch the phone off and on again, in order to get it into the ride mode again. The car of Lenka is now in the mechanic shop and she asks me to allow her to borrow my car. That is no problem for me, so after her stressfull day, she drives off in my Skoda. When in Medzilaborce, she rings to tell me that she arrived, that she is very tired and is going to bed soon. Her own car is probably ready for use again tomorrow.
View at ‘old’Humenné.
Thursday. At 10 I walk to the clinic. It is beautiful weather. My car is in the parking lot there, as is Lenka’s Mitsubishi. At lunchtime I join Lenka when she is doing some businesses in town. She meets her administrator, goes to the bank and to a governmental office of 14 stories high. At the 10th floor she has to do some business involving forms to be stamped. It gives me time to make some pictures from Humenné from high up. Back at the clinic Lenka starts work straight away, after giving me a shopping list. It is silly to see how empty the supermarkets are. I was unable to find cucumbers and neither green paprika’s. When back at the clinic, the girls there tell me that they had the same problem already early this morning.
Friday. Good Friday. It is quiet everywhere, also at the parking near the clinic. Stanka and Lenka are busy giving infusions to two dogs with kidney problems. At midday they are ready and closing the clinic. I go to the parking from Tesco, where I can make use of the wifi from MioCafé sitting in my car. I read my mail and my whatsapp messages and reply to them. Then I go home for lunch. In the afternoon I walk around town, listening at the church outside where many people are always present because the church is overcrowded. After my dinner, salmon this time, I do some work on my laptop and watch the news on that terrible EuroNews station.
Humenné castle and museum, a EU renovation project.
Saturday, 20th April 2019. Humenné. For my friends at the clinic, I did some shopping. They treat the dogs that are on a therapy and are ready for the weekend at 11:30. Lenka is going to the petrol station, while I drive very slowly to Medzilaborce. There I find Ivan, Lenka’s father. He is damaged due to a fall. Ivan suffers from a family problem: genetic diabetics. That probably caused his loss of equilibrium. All of us, Ivan, Maria his 70year old sister, Lenka and I, are busy with getting rid of the winter position of all outdoor things. We get the jacuzzi ready and all the furniture from Western Red Cedar. Splendid Swedish designed and produced outdoor furniture. When that is done, we have lunch and a bit later dinner with spaghetti. Lenka is proud of her food production. Around 19:00 I drive back, with Ivan in the passenger seat, to Humenné. I go to bed early, because tomorrow morning I will join Helena, Lenka’s mother, to a traditional ceremony at the church due to start at 06:10 in the morning. People come with baskets full of the food to be eaten later. They offer that to the priests who come by to bless that food.
Aunt Maria’s front garden.
Sunday, 7 april 2019. Amersfoort.
My friend Hanke went to her new home in the North. One of the women of the story telling group took a seat in church, where I am often sitting. She tells me she went here to be able to leave the church without delay after the service, because she planned to go to Amsterdam by public transport, to visit the Rembrandt exhibition on its final day. After the service I go home and have lunch, before going to my family in Eemnes. Smelly spring. My grandson appears to be tired, from his teaching practice on Friday. My daughter in law is clearing house and has lots of obsolete games, books, clothing and some furniture ready to take to the second hand goods shop. We carry all of it into my car, because I can take it to the sale in church, taking place next Saturday. At the local supermarket I get two good boxes, required by Hanke for her books to be moved. Back at home in Amersfoort, I eat a salad and go to bed early.
Monday. Because of my early retirement yesterday evening, I woke up early. Just before lunchtime, the animal sanctuary rang and asked me to move a hen to the birds sanctuary in Naarden. After that trip I gathered some of the items I wanted to get rid of. Now is the time to do that, because I can take these items to the sale in church as well. I write cards, play on my laptop, eat and walk. An easy day. Strange birds in Naarden. Tuesday. The planning for today is, to go to Hollandsche Rading with a fellow tenant here. Coen is his name, working as a personal trainer so lots of muscles. Besides that, he is a nice guy and an expert on cars: he loves cars. So when we go, I let him drive my Skoda and he likes it. On arrival in Hollandsche Rading we have to ask the owner of a large BMW car to move that car from the drive. When done, we turn the trailer in a good position and start carrying furniture into it. It only takes us two hours to complete our loading activity, after which we return to Amersfoort. The trailer will be driven to Buitenpost by another friend. Back home in Amersfoort, I go buy some ‘La Chouffe’ for Coen. Later in the evening, when we are watching Ajax playing Juventus for the Champions League, I take the Belgian Beer to Coen, as the only payment he wanted for his help.
Wednesday. Around midday I drove to the church and unloaded my car. There were many more people unloading cars and bringing their ‘write offs’ inside to be sold. The revenue of this sale will be used for the renovation of the church organ. After unloading my car, I stayed to help the organisation with sorting the goods. In previous years I made myself useful in testing the electrical stuff. Most of the items cannot be tested at all. I can test lamps, hotwater cookers and coffee machines, but that is it unless they run on batteries.
Thursday. Today again I have been occupied in church, sorting, testing and validating goods for sale. Tomorrow I will depart to a party in Meppen (Drente) and later I will travel from there to Slovakia. I started to prepare my car for these trips, making a bed and loading for a lengthy trip.
Friday. After lunch I completed the packing of my car. Departure was at 15:00 o’clock. On arrival in Meppen, I surprise the hosts there. I am however very welcome. The couple I am visiting here are two former nurses whom I got to know since 1991. They both worked as nurses for 12 years. After that they decided to change their lives. They bought a camping in Meppen and started their business. They did a lot of good work there shown to me immediately after my arrival. Jill, the female part of the couple showed me around. Soon after me a couple arrived by small camper. I did like this couple and we had a nice discussion. Around 6 we parted, because we had to take care of our own dinner tonight. I went to restaurant in Aalden, 2 kilometers away. Characteristic Drent sheep. The couple went to an Italian restaurant in Meppen. Around 8 in the evening we were all back in the camping called ‘Erfgoed De Boemerang’. We finished a bottle of Champagne, brought in by me. This bottle had been taken space in my fridge for nearly a year, so it was about time to use it. After the Champagne we finished a bottle of white wine. By then it was bed time. For me they had prepared a matrass in their upstairs office room. The couple disappeared to their camper. My hosts went to their own bedroom for now. Tomorrow they will give away their bedroom to guests and sleep in a tent. We all agree that they chose the wrong weekend for their party, because it is extremely cold and sometimes we get showers of hail and wet snow. Life stock, pig and chicken.
Saturday, 13 april 2019. Meppen (Drente).
I did sleep reasonably well on the floor; a bit cold I think. I was up at 7, took a shower and met my host already downstairs. He showed me where to find breakfast: milk, cruesli, hot water and coffee. While searching for my daily treat of pills (vitamin D and acetylsalic to thinner my blood) I realised that I forgot to pack the cable I need for the transfer of data from my camera to my laptop. My host happened to have an unused cable which I took with me, but without really trying it out. There is Wifi here, so I could check my directions for later today: 1400 kilometers to Humenné. I watched my hosts doing the preparations for the receipt of the other guests, 35 in all. The home.From time to time an issue pops up, where I can help them with suggestions to solve the issue. The other guests are supposedly arriving from 15:00 o’clock. My hosts are going to take a short nap. I go out for a walk and find me a nice bench in the sun, where I fall asleep as well. Around 3 o’clock I join my hosts, making everything ready, like coffee and tea. Soon the guests start arriving, a mixture of types amongst the three sisters of my male host. There is only one guest I know from ‘the past era in Amersfoort.’ The interior. At 5 the caterer arrives for which I am asked to move my car. That is typically a good moment to say goodbye to my hosts and hit the road. This is also approximately what I had in mind.
Map of Meppen.
The Skoda is behaving very well. I sit at ease. Traffic is low, so I make good progress. One thing is interesting: the price of fuel is a lot lower than in Holland. When I fuel up, I take it easy, a walk, something to eat, coffee. It is still before midnight when I cross the border to Poland. When I carry on like this, I will arrive in Humenné much to early to my liking, so from here I look for a place to stay and sleep for a couple of hours.