SOCIAL SHAMING

Have you noticed, like me, that it seems to be a ‘free for all’ when it comes to writing a comment on posts on all social media. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and others.

What is the reason for this?

Well, first of all it is becoming almost ridiculous what people are actually posting. They seem to believe we want to be such a part of their lives that we see them almost daily with their messages of ‘Good Morning Besties’, photos of them just out of the shower, showing far too much body. Down at the gym, sweating and puffing and panting in reels (which seems to be the latest tool on social media). What they have eaten, when and where, what they are doing, almost 24/7 and I ask myself time and time again, as recipients, do we actually care?

As I have mentioned so many times there are so many fakes and scammers lurking in the shadows of social media, praying on their next victim and believe me they will go to any length imaginable to attract your attention, flatter you, send lovey-dovey messages, all in the hope that you will start to trust them before they drop the bombshell of needing financial support. You know, I have said it all before, and if in this day and age you fall for this rubbish, I can only say, I am sorry. But come on wake up, enough people are warning about this.

But I think we also should turn our attention to these ‘IRRITATING’ Instagram Influencers, who spend their lives not actually working but going from one exotic place to another, pictures of yet another swimming pool, a beach, another floating breakfast in the pool and generally being pampered all for free because and only because they have a significant number of followers.  Personally, I think it is very stupid indeed when they involve their children in these posts too. We have all heard of the ‘dark web’ and how many creepy people are lurking there, waiting to use photos of children for very evil purposes.

But my blog was about Social Shaming and that it seems to be a ticket to say what you like to who you like. Whether you know them or not, is totally relevant and it becomes a free for all to have a damned good bitch about this and that. Irrespective of how they feel when they read it.

A great example might be of all the interest surrounding Novak Djokovic. Who after all is a very nice genuine guy but literally anything he posts (or his management) say about winning his recent 22nd Grand Slam Title in the Australian Open, then becomes a channel for all and sundry to rant on relentless. What is the reason. Jealousy? The fact that in these times people in general cannot deal with others who are perhaps a bit better off in life than them?

It is a question to which I think no one has the answers, but time and time again I ask why.

You will remember the famous quote from the Disney film – Bambi (I have said it many times).

‘If you can’t say nothing nice about anyone, don’t say nothing at all’.

This is what Thumper the rabbit says to Bambi. And how much truth is there in this. Answer a lot.

Just suppose you read something on the socials and then make a rude bitchy comment, do you ever think that the person who reads it is ever going to reply? Would you? No of course not, you would probably delete and report if necessary if it was that awful. So why the need to do it in the first place? That is what baffles me!

What is the drive inside that makes you even want to comment or even more so, why are you wasting your time following these people. Some of them we actually turn ourselves into icons and we crave to literally follow every single move and then I come back once more to my thought, why do we care? Is it that we would like to model our own lives of their success. 

You know that all the big brand names are going to shower these people with expensive things, like handbags, shoes, clothes, jewelry in the hope that they will promote to all their followers. So, you as a follower are making sure that they receive even more freebies, trips to luxury resorts, stay in hotels, dinners at the best restaurants. Some of which may be on our own bucket lists as a dream that we would like to fulfil, for example a holiday in the Maldives and these blasted influencers go almost every year, because they want to shoot more ‘content’ for us. Isn’t it ridiculous when you think about it? Every time they offer you a special discount in their name, it ensures that they get even more and believe me the prices will be such that in fact you don’t get any discount at all. Virtually every single internet site offers you discount on all products, anyway, so why feather the nest of the influencer even more.

Of course, many of you may be thinking, well hell, get off social media then! A good thought but there are things you like to follow, for instance your own family, genuine friends who you know. Not some vague name, who is probably using stolen photos anyway.

Why are we so stupid? How many more times do we have to talk about this? And couldn’t we all be doing something much more worthwhile than spending our time social shaming. Just ask yourself, would you say that to someone face to face? Probably not.

You may not like them, and I can think of a lot who I personally find totally pathetic, but when push comes to shove, you are following them, and it almost becomes an addiction to know what they are up to each and every day. As I said, I don’t care. Vague influencers trigger absolutely nothing in me. It is boring, tedious, and sometimes pathetic.

My plea would be to you dear reader, stop following, stop making comments, it is just fueling the fire and they benefit not you. Does it make you feel better for writing some nasty comment calling them names and accusing them of things. Do you think that they are worth it?

We all need to think that if we want to make this world a better place, that we should have more respect and share and give people more love instead of shafting them up with social media shaming. And of course, you are not expected to like literally everyone. Feel who resonates with your own energy and who not and just let those who do not go. With love.

Most important of all is listen to what your heart tells you and act accordingly. Whatever you think of these ‘socialites’ remember that they are a person too. You neither have to like them nor hate them. It is not an excuse ever, to social shame. Just imagine how you would feel if people wrote that to you too?

Get choosey, delete people who you don’t know personally, believe me it is the best way and remember my all-time favorite phrase:

Be aware of what you share!

It is absolutely not trendy to have loads of followers, or to be a follower of the influencers who have millions. You can like and respect someone for sure. But it is never a free pass to social shame.

Enough said, I think.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023 !

It’s a brand-new day, dear friends, followers, subscribers, and like-minded people. A brand-new moment, a brand-new month, a brand-new year.

I thought I would write my first blog in 2023 and tell you about something I did yesterday, something I have never done before. I went to a Cacao Ceremony. It was actually my Christmas present from my daughter, and it seemed like the perfect day 31st December 2022 to do something like that. So, a very early start as it’s recommended that you participate with an empty stomach. I walked my dog before leaving and it was really dark outside and pouring with rain.  In some or other way, even though we are all fed up with the wet weather, its cleansing. That is what I tell myself anyway, each and every time I have to go out in the rain!

Arriving at a little shop in Sommelsdijk, called ‘Moment for Yourself’, it is a little bit like stepping into a magic box. The place is filled with beautiful crystals and all sorts of things that you can imagine you could spend several hours here, before you had actually seen everything on offer.

As soon as everyone had arrived, 6 people, we went through the shop across a small courtyard into a house. This is such a beautiful old property which stretches from The Ring to the street behind and oh so quaint. The table was decorated beautifully, with candles burning and cups containing 100% ceremonial cacao for the actual ceremony itself. After normal introductions, a cleansing with a smudge stick of sage, we then experienced something I have never done before, smudging with wood which is carefully harvested called palisander. You set fire to the sticks, then blow them out and the glowing embers elude a beautiful smoke which smells like … hmmm how can I describe, like perfumed wood. Just magical.

Our hosts Bastiaan and Karin explained what the ceremony would entail and that the cacao in our cups is harvested in Guatemala, by women, by hand. This is not your normal cacao bean, used in many popular brands of chocolate bars, but 100 percent pure. Handpicked, dried, and crushed. The scent from the cup itself smells creamy and chocolately, which seems a silly thing to say, but considering the purity, one would imagine that the bitterness would be present, but not in the smell.

After listening to a beautiful prayer and some music, we added water to our cups, cold at first to create a paste and then hot water. There was biological honey to add if you found the taste too bitter. Those of you who have used high percentage chocolate in cooking or eating for that matter will know that it is more bitter the higher the percentage. Incomparable to chocolate bars like Cadbury’s or Milka, which probably contains only 6% cacao in fact!

Then more music with very poignant words, there was something special added and that was tincture of Blue Lotus. If you like me thought that the normal lotus flowers are pink, there are blue ones too. There was also dried delicate flowers on the table and then theme was ‘Releasing’. Releasing everything you wanted to say farewell to at the end of 2022 and get ready to step into the New Year with renewed vigor and energy.

The first taste of the cacao was quite bitter but the spices which had been added too, gave an almost peppery taste, the after taste as they say when tasting wine, and people then go on to describe fruits and flowers.

The second sip, which you help in your mouth for a moment, was not bitter at all, how strange is that and how quickly does your palate adapt when trying something special like this cacao?

Taking part in a ceremony like this can bring a lot of emotions to the surface and this is important too. Never ever feel ashamed if tears well up in your eyes, it is a release and this was the theme of the day and just remember this, if you laugh so much you cry with laughing, everyone thinks it’s amusing, but when tears of sadness come up, everyone doesn’t really know where to look as it is very easy if you are a highly sensitive person to be pulled in energetically as well. Important to remain centered our host says, wrapping a warm cozy blanket around our shoulders and offering comfort to those who need it. It was very touching indeed believe me.

As you come to the end of your cup and have added warm water a couple of times to drink everything up, you are asked to write down the things you want to release on paper. When you have finished, add dried sage, and then scrunch up into a ball. As luck would have it, the rain had stopped for a fire to be lit and ceremonially we threw our paper into the fire and watched it burn. The scent of sage filled the air and plumes of white smoke emerged from the crackling fire. I found this very moving to be honest, realizing that all the things I had written down had literally been enveloped in the flames and burn away. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust and like magic – gone!

Back inside there was now time for more general talking and we looked at several of the crystals on the table. There was a beautiful quartz Merkabah (Metatron’s Cube) crystal which my own daughter turned between her fingers. She has always been able to do that just like her daughter seems to have such energy in her hands too, crystals literally break into pieces! Quite unusual and everyone had a go. The secret is not to focus on making the crystal turn between your fingers, just to hold it loosely and focus on the energy within. Trying to make it turn with your mind doesn’t work, and if you hold it too tightly it will not move at all.

Then it was time to write a letter to ourselves, seal and address an envelope and give it to Karin. It will come by post at some stage, but it was a letter that you begin with Dear …. And the letterhead had the words ‘Believe in Yourself’.

I think it is important to mention here that it was a very special group and as the ceremony comes to an end with a closing piece of music and words, I got the impression that no one wanted to leave. I felt that too and we chatted on until nearly midday (the ceremony takes 2 hours).

One thing is for sure that this group will definitely come together again in the New Year. We have so much to share with one another from our life experiences and work. I am looking forward to that a lot.

Leaving in the pouring rain and going back to my daughters for something to eat, I pondered on how I felt afterwards. The first word I came up with was ‘expanded’. I felt as if I could breathe much deeper and having had such a bad cough cold for nearly 4 weeks this was incredible believe me! But not only is my body ‘expanded’ my mind is too and I could let go of a lot of things, negative people and negative influences which have been holding me back this past year.

New Year’s Eve is not one of my most favorite evenings to be honest, so I went home, tidied up a bit and put more Christmas decorations into boxes and hoovered around. It seemed important to also create space and room in my own home, much as I love the decorations, the whole place looks so much tidier when it’s gone. Do you feel that too?

Yesterday evening I was going to watch a film and just sat with candles on and reflected on the day in general. I bought a piece of Lemurian quartz in the shop and to my amazement it had too small smooth surfaces which fitted exactly between my thumb and forefinger.

I walked my dog before the whole village goes mad with fireworks and then went to bed before midnight. I am not someone who wants to be out of the streets being deafened by loud bangs and overdrinking cheap champagne. I just wanted after this ceremony to be still within myself and realize that the words ‘Believe in Yourself’ are perhaps the most important you can say to yourself. I always remember the saying: ‘Seeing is Believing and Believing’ and that is very true too.

So, I can highly recommend if you actually want a ‘moment for yourself’ and you have the opportunity to participate in a Cacao Ceremony that I would just say – Do it! It is the best present you can give yourself and puts a lot of things into perspective.

I realize that many of my readers are not here in The Netherlands, but for those of you who are, this is the address:

Moment for Yourself

Westelijike Achterweg 44

3245 BJ Sommelsdijk

00 31 6 83 94 95 17

Bastiaan and Karin are perfect hosts and ensure that you have a wonderful experience. And it is also fun to meet their very friendly dog, Happy.

I am stepping into a new year today (1st January 2023) with such renewed vigor and energy. I shared a quote this morning on the socials which I will repeat here because it really says it all …

Page One of 365

365 New Days

365 New Chances

What is your story going to be?

ARE WE ALL ‘ROCKING AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE’ ?

It’s a bit strange isn’t it really that 2 days in a year, everything goes completely insane? As the final month of the year appears, we are absolutely inundated with Christmas. The menu’s, the perfectly decorated house, Christmas Tree, Dinner Table where we will all stuff ourselves like all the turkeys that end up in the oven, and then collapse down on the sofa to watch ‘The Sound of Music’ for the millionth time. That is Christmas everyone. And no matter what has been going on for the rest of the year, this is the 2-day time slot to make everything perfect. And on all scores.

When I first came to live in The Netherlands a few decades ago, there was hardly anything to do with Christmas in the shops. People celebrated the children’s feast of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas, a Turkish born saint who lived in Spain) who travelled with his Moorish helpers (known as Black Peter’s) and brought oranges and presents for children. Nowadays it is considered highly racist to call his helpers – Black Peters – and many ‘movements’ are calling to abolish this now. Oh, come on, this is a celebration for children and not meant to be racist in any way whatsoever. People known as Moor’s (probably coming from Morocco) just had a slightly darker skin color and it is not racist or even suggestive of slavery at all.

I remember wandering around one the major shops in the Hague for Christmas decorations, my first Christmas (or I should say pre-Christmas) here. On the top floor one tiny department which had decorations and I remember buying a small tree somewhere as there weren’t Christmas Tree farms or lots in those days. Strange then how something which to me was so traditional (having been born in the UK) was so lacking over here.

And how things have changed over the years. The 5th of December Sinterklaas feast is not really celebrated a lot anymore. It is now full on into Christmas starting at the end of November. Nonstop Christmas music on Sky Radio, that I have gone almost dizzy ‘driving home around in circles for Christmas’ and ‘rocking myself around the Christmas Tree’. I must admit as a child I loved Christmas and all the build up to it. However, when you find out, (the biggest downer ever), that Santa Claus is a magical imaginary figure, in some or other way, the magic goes… or not? I believe in magic.

Magic is the catalyst to making miracles happen, that is what one of my friends says and I agree. It is good to have a little magic in our lives, living in the hurly fast pace burly lifestyle that we do. Shopping is now mostly all online. People don’t actually go to the shops to do their Christmas shopping, or do they? I know all of mine is done online these days, mainly because I don’t want to be in the crowds of grumpy bad-tempered shoppers. All food shopping ordered on time, online, you have to make sure early that you get your chosen delivery spot.

This year in the little village where I live there was a Christmas Market. A few stalls with Christmassy bits and pieces, and as Michael McIntyre says: ‘boiled red wine’ (Gluhwein) and nice things to eat. There were bouncy castles for the kids, a snowman, pony rides and the best of all, a ride with a horse pulling a sleigh. (on wheels of course as there was not any snow), but it had jingle bells ringing and it made me think of my carefree childhood once again. The tree lighting ceremony was late afternoon and village children had made baubles. It is almost as if you stepped into one of the Hallmark Christmas feel good movies, which we all have watched. Because, hey it’s December and the normal TV is such rubbish, we all want that feel good romcom moment, don’t we?

However, wouldn’t it be something to think about if Christmas and the feelings that go with it, were everyday each year. I don’t particularly mean the decorations but more the feeling of goodwill towards one another. Love towards one another and being kind and considerate to one another. I wonder how many of you will be sitting around your Christmas dinner table with relatives who you don’t either see for the rest of the year, or relatives you prefer never to see again? Weird, isn’t it?

All in all, I feel that there is so much negative energy in the global field. So much! Virtually nothing happens without a barrage of negative comments from literally everyone, because yes, we may have our own opinion, but do we have to write it down in public. By this I mean the slagging off that goes on on social media. How many times have you, like me, asked yourself, do you really want to be on the social media train. A constant flow of boring old adverts from drop shippers selling highly priced rubbish, which often never even turns up, or the endless Tik Tok reels of utterly boring Insta Influencers! Do we care? It seems that the majority do and follow avidly and I truly wonder why? Why don’t we put ourselves first. Learn to love ourselves again and then send out the vibe to others? Isn’t that the way forward out of this chaos? I think so.

This year I made several of my Christmas wreaths, which I love to do, I find a different theme every year, then out into the garden with my secateurs, collecting greenery and berries, then wind it all around a straw wreath and decorate with baubles, tinsel, lights, and ribbons. A few of my friends and family love them and are grateful but this year I have been surprised that some have not even said ‘thank you’. Is that now the norm? Well not the way I was brought up for sure. 

This year has also been a year of getting used to the fact that we lost a family member last year just at the end of November. This is a traumatic thing, and the circumstances are not relevant for this story, apart from one thing: it’s your biggest wakeup call ever! Why?

Well in my experience and for my family too, a death is a bit like taxes (remember the famous line from ‘Meet Joe Black’ about death and taxes?). It is something that we prefer to sweep under the carpet and not talk about anymore. Not us as a family or even me, but people in our lives who we considered friends or good neighbors and now you never hear from them again. There will be some people reading this blog and suddenly think does she mean me? Yes, I do! My conclusion is then, do they care, answer no, they are so caught up in their own little lives, and even worse (and some dear friend mentioned this to me recently), you suddenly become a ‘threat’ … you are thinking a threat? Yes, for sure, because when jealousy suddenly rears its head, then people act even more strange. Of course, there are people in my life who have been extremely loyal and taken care of me and my family, but to be honest I think I could count them on one single hand. And I would say here openly: thank you for your love and friendship because you cared! You know who you are.

It is a sad example isn’t it of how these times are. We are all in some sort of crisis and some much worse than others, but shouldn’t this be the time when we are waking up and thinking about one another, instead of ourselves. I wonder how many people know the Christmas story of the meaning of it. Religion is not the issue here, as I realize some faiths don’t celebrate, but the whole point is the word HOPE. The Christmas Story is all about hope. I recently told my granddaughter about the story and bought her a small wooden Christmas Manger from Little Dutch, a toy company over here and yes, we have watched the Christmas movies together when she is here, that the magic of it all can sparkle in her eyes too. I have taught her simple songs, like Jingle Bells because in some or other way, the bells ringing in December just mean Christmas, don’t they?

All the major supermarkets have tear-jerking advertisements of how we should behave at Christmas, but it all begins with you. Just one simple little action helping another and maybe giving someone a hug, or a listening ear is all it needs. All it needs to make someone not only feel wanted but appreciated too. But why only on these two days, why not every single day of the year. To my mind this is the only way forward.

I am fed up with the back-stabbing and horrid comments I keep reading on the socials, so much so that I don’t want to read anymore and seriously think that my New Year’s Resolution should be, delete the lot. Wouldn’t it mean so much more to be giving rather than taking. Rather than keep carping on about ‘the perfect lifestyle you lead’ and take the time to make someone else’s life just a little bit easier. 

Think about this!

Shouldn’t we all make one single resolution for 2023 and that is; to pay more attention to one another, to help those in greater need. It doesn’t have to be anything big or small just a simple gesture of love and understanding and help if they need it.

Today I was waiting to see my GP and the lady opposite me was in tears. I offered her a tissue and then a peppermint to help her stop crying and she told me she had been crying non-stop for 2 days. 2 days I said!! I then went on to say, that crying is such a great release if you are penting up any feelings you would prefer to get rid of. It is strange isn’t it that crying with laughter is something everyone thinks is funny, but tears of sadness are something to be ashamed of??? As I left, she touched my arm and said, ‘thank you for caring’. It sort of made my day in a way. And this is exactly what I am talking about. Big or small is irrelevant, it is just caring.

Let’s stop all this negativity, let’s stop going on and on about things that probably truthfully don’t interest us at all. Let it go, as I said yes, have an opinion, but don’t feel obliged to share the hateful words on the socials, just for the sake of having to say something. Do something more useful. You will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back if you do.

Love begins with me, you, all of us, and then we can fuse the energy field around the world with positivity. Wouldn’t that make the world a much better place to live in? Of course, it would. Materialistic things are meaningless, it is the memories that count and make sure you can look back and think to yourself, I did my best!

So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the very best for the New Year and hope you make it one to remember! ‘All you need is Love’ John Lennon sang!

A FUR-EVER HOME

It was an exceptionally warm sunny day in SaInt John in New Brunswick in Canada In the little gallery up one of the hilly streets, Fred and Malcolm were sitting in their usual place on one of the shelves by the window.

‘Malcolm, get ready’ Fred said. ‘I’ve heard that there are three cruise ships in town today and that means lots of people about and you never know they might come in here and see us. And even better, buy us and take us home’.

Malcolm fluffed up his chest and sat up straight.

‘Really, how do you know?’ he asked.

‘Overheard them talking by the cash desk’ Fred replied.

During the morning several people walked past and looked into the windows and one or two came into the gallery, but it was shortly after lunch that two women walked in.

‘Oh, just look at those two sitting there all warm and cozy together’ one of them said.

‘So cute’ the other replied and began to read the labels attached to them both. It made her smile and she read out the words to her friend:

Hello, my name is Fred, and I am a wet felted fox looking for my forever home. I like peaches, stew, and baseball. I have been handcrafted using wool, soap, and water. If I absolutely need a bath, hand wash me then in cool water and let me air dry, but only if necessary!’

The woman smiled even more and went on to read Malcolm’s label:

Hello, my name is Malcolm, I am a wet felted fox looking for my forever home. I like cuddling, a book, and a cup of milk tea. I have been handcrafted using wool, soap, and water. If I absolutely need a bath, hand wash me then in cool water and let me air dry, but only if necessary!’

Both women stood there smiling and remarking on how lovely their stories were, and after a while, one of them put them back on the shelves. Fred and Malcolm felt their hearts sink, they were sure that she was going to buy them.

They left the shop and walked on up the street to the market. Now quite by chance the lady who had made Fred and Malcolm was working there on another wet felted cat and a conversation began. The lady told her that she had seen the two foxes in the gallery, and they were just such fun. The lady said she could not make any animals fast enough and a pile of four were waiting for her to finish and were already sold! Handing her business card, she wished them both a pleasant day and got on with her work.

The two women glanced at one another, and one said: ‘We have to go back to the gallery’.

When the gallery door opened again, Fred and Malcolm noticed they were back. ‘Perhaps it a good sign’ Fred whispered.

And yes, they were both taken off the shelf and saying their goodbyes to the raccoon, Thor, who then was placed where they had been, Malcolm and Fred both knew at long last they had been bought and were on their way to their new home! How exciting and where would it be?

They spent a couple of days somewhere, wrapped up carefully in tissue paper and then they were packed into a dark suitcase. Fred and Malcolm were both afraid, as neither of them could see what was going on. The suitcase was placed into a car and taken off to an airport, they both knew that because they heard the planes.

Through the scanners and then into the cold chilly wind on a truck and taken off to a plane. 

‘Where on earth are we?’ Fred asked.

‘No idea’ Malcolm replied ‘but we are off on a journey somewhere for sure’.

The case was thrown into a plane and a long cold journey above the clouds and Fred and Malcolm felt very apprehensive all the time. It was they both thought, maybe more fun sitting there in the gallery instead of this dark, chilly place and being thrown this way and that. They both decided the best thing to do was to try and sleep and not worry too much. The woman seemed genuinely very nice and friendly, and she had bought both of them and that was of course, wonderful as they would never have wanted to have been split up and sold separately.

A while later the suitcase was opened, and Fred and Malcolm were taken out of their tissue paper wrappings and suddenly found themselves in a new place. A cozy cute cottage with beams on the ceiling and were placed side by side on a mantelpiece above what looked like a log fire.

‘Welcome home’ the woman said, ‘I hope you both will be happy here’.

Two haughty cats looked down from the mirror above and turned up their noses.

Day by day, Fred and Malcolm both decided that they really liked their new abode. There was a friendly big dog, called Mats who looked and said hello every day. There was a real cat too, called Nola who glanced up at the two wooden cats and told them to be nicer and behave, which they both did in the end.

The best bit was in the evenings when the fire was lit, and they would all sit there warming their toes!

A few days later a little girl came. Her name was Reign, and she was three.

‘Would you like to meet Fred and Malcolm? Nana asked her.

‘Yes, please’ she said, and Nana took them off the mantelpiece and handed both of them to her.  She gave them both the biggest hug ever and Fred and Malcolm felt their hearts fill with joy.

They heard later that they had travelled over 6000 miles to another continent and soon became a real talking point, as everyone who came to the cottage looked, and admired them both. The woman (called Jill by the way) was proud of her two Canadian felted foxes and best of all, the little girl came very often and hugged them both every time.

‘I love them both’ she said smiling and Nana told her that one day she could take them to live with her too.

Fred and Malcolm were the happiest felted foxes ever, as they had found their fur-ever home!

A TRIBUTE TO HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II

Even though I know there will be absolutely nothing more on the news for the next few days, I just wanted to write this short piece as a tribute to the Queen who has been in reign all the years that I have been alive. That’s a strange thought isn’t it, we have not known anyone else, and the Queen has always been there, carrying out her duties and tasks with dignity, calmness, sovereignty, humility and certainly took her lifelong job seriously.

My own personal story is about the time that my mother met the Queen. My father was working at the time at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, a sort of retirement home for ex-military veterans, where they can spend the rest of their days with dignity in a serene place. Those of you who know the area, will of course know that the hospital neighbors the place where the Royal Chelsea Flower Show takes place annually.

Every year there was a celebratory day held there, to mark the passing of the monarch Charles II who was the patron of the hospital. People would be given ‘oak leaves’ to wear symbolizing the moment that the King fled and hid from Cromwell and his men.

My father and mother were invited to meet the Queen. Being a typical English summer day when no one knows what the weather will do, my mother chose a dress and an apple green summer coat. Of course, she had the matching hat, that was the way things were done in those circles. 

The Queen arrived just before the ceremony took place and it was only when my mother stood waiting to shake her hand, she realized to her horror that she was wearing the same colors as the Queen herself! 

As she approached, the Queen raised her eyebrows at my mother, and then when they finally were introduced and shook hands, she said to my mother: ‘we both certainly have good taste in fashion’. It literally made my mother’s day as you can imagine, and she told this story many times until she passed away in 1997. The same year Diana died, which is now 25 years further on. 

When the news broke yesterday the initial reaction, I think many people thought that after Prince Philip had passed it would not be long before she did. I think one of the saddest things I have ever seen was the Queen at St. George’s Chapel at his funeral sitting on her own, looking lost and forlorn and that was because of Corona rules at the time. Surely someone could have shown a little compassion and sat with her in her grief.

And now we have a King. King Charles III in fact and Camilla will officially be known as the Queen Consort, which is basically a fancy title for the wife or spouse of the King. I think a lot of discussion with come to the surface again that many people will perhaps never accept her in this role because of how history went between her and Diana. Diana, Princess of Wales was of course, one of the most beloved royals in our history and was the peoples’ princess.

Last evening after switching off the television as I could not listen to another word of what was being said, I realized that since I have lived here in The Netherlands, I am into my third monarch. First of all, Juliana was Queen, then she passed the role onto Beatrix and now Willem Alexander is our present King. Maybe there is a lot to be said for taking a sort of retirement from the role. Maybe not.

It seems strange to me that someone at the age of 73 will be ‘getting a job’ for the first time ever and become our King. Well, the King of the United Kingdom. I am somewhere in the middle of both countries, being a Dutch national too (yes, I have been here that long!)

It was a shock, for sure, that QE II had passed, but at 96 who could expect her to go on for evermore.

She will be remembered by millions as a very special lady who dedicated her life to the service of the country and its people. 15 Prime Ministers, including the great Winston Churchill, right up to Tuesday this week, when she gave Liz Truss the go ahead to form a new Government.

Rest in Peace Lillibet!

WAKE UP CALL! WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR WORLD. IT IS TIME TO START PAYING ATTENTION!

Over the weekend someone passed on some information that I thought was so shocking I have to share: This concerns a situation in England (my birth country) and although I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these figures, there must be some truth in it, otherwise the names mentioned would be suing for liable.

I will just repeat before I carry on: –

Latest figures published by the Bank of England, there is something very very wrong with the system.

British Gas made a profit of 1.3 billion GBP between January and June this year.

British Petroleum announced profits of 6.95 billion GBP between April and June alone

Shell has profited by 9.4 billion in a year

And not to mention those people at the top:

John Pettigrew, boss of the National Grid received a 6.5 m GBP bonus on top of his salary

Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of British Gas was paid almost 2 million GBP last year in salary and benefits.

Centrica’s non-executive directors were paid almost 1 million GBP 

Scottish Power’s CEO Keith Anderson is on an annual salary of 1.15 million GBP

E-on Boss, Michael Lewis is on 1 million GBP

And the top executives enjoyed a share of 4.65 million GBP

Peter Simpson of Anglia Water earned a 1.3 million GBP pay package

Welsh Water bosses awarded themselves bonuses of over 930.000 GBP

Severn Trent bosses awarded themselves bonuses of 5.56 million GBP

Thames Water’s Sarah Bentley received a 727.000 GBP bonus on top of her annual 2 million salary

SHOCKING ISN’T IT AND MEANWHILE

There are people who have not had breakfast and lunch today because they cannot afford it

People are using Foodbanks because food is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity.

Children are celebrating birthdays without presents.

Parents are worrying about purchasing new school uniforms and some school enforcing rules which are not cost effective.

People cannot get to work because they cannot afford to put petrol into their cars, or pay for public transport

People are having to work so much they are making themselves ill, and they still cannot afford to pay their bills

People are getting fined by these water/energy companies because they have not been able to afford or pay their bills in the first place – thus increasing the debt.

Customers are being told to do ‘star jumps’ to keep warm (for crying out aloud)!

Hose pipe bans when gallons of water leak away every day.

Elderly people not drinking because they are worried about running out of water.

And above this energy prices are expected to rise by 75% in October.

THIS IS COMPLETE AND UTTER MADNESS AND SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE.

Question is: why is customer’s money being used to make life more comfortable for those who are making life more intolerable for the rest of us?

Maybe you have had to read this twice to take in the enormity of not only the salaries and bonuses of some totally greedy people but also the complete and utter madness as the article said itself. Again, these are not my words, merely copied to make a point and the point is, how much longer are people going to put up with this? Big question? Do I have an answer, unfortunately not.

Even though this applies to ex-EEC country The United Kingdom, it is the same here in Europe too.

Here energy prices and petrol prices are rising to levels which have never been heard of. Peoples’ monthly energy bills have doubled. I will use mine as an example. I used to pay about Euro 240 a month for my bill. This is gas and electricity and all the sneaky extra costs. The monthly cost is estimated by the usage in the previous year. Despite the fact that our government (and probably the first best thing they have done in yonks) lowered the VAT on bills. But my new estimation is nearly Euro 400 a month now. Despite the fact that I have solar panels which are generating more electricity back into the net than I am using personally, being on my own.

Health care costs have risen to exorbitant highs. And it’s obligatory. Even though we all agree health care has improved incredibly over the past decade and that our doctors and nurses work flat out to provide said care, the monthly costs are high. A basis package, then extra care for dental work, our own budget meaning we pay the first Euro 385 of any costs, and a very sneaky extra amount of Euro 250 for medication and other costs, even if you have them for a chronic disorder. Not many people know about this, until you check back on your annual summary and find out that the majority of medication you have collected from your pharmacist is not covered and you have to pay the Euro 250 first. What the hell is going on?

Despite extra coverage for dental care which is on average between Euro 30-50 per month per person, any dental charges are sky high. A visit to the dentist involves you since the Corona pandemic in extra cleaning costs, and inevitably they will suggest that you need to go the dental hygienist who charges by the minute! Yes seriously. Dental care is becoming so expensive that people are not going to the dentist.   I have had a broken back molar for some time which is not giving me any trouble but to be honest I have put off having it extracted because of course they also think another tooth should come out too and this will mean having implants.’ Have you any idea what this may cost”?  I asked last time around. “Oh at least Euro 2000’ of which I will only be covered by my insurance for about Euro 450.

And so, the story continues. The price of fuel has risen to figures we have never seen before. The majority of the cost is taxes on fuel. There is actually enough fuel stored here underground in an industrial area to keep us going for ages. The biggest industrial plant ever has been built to process the manure produced by farm animals into biogas. So, what is going wrong? Why are we continually being subjected to this nonsense and why aren’t politicians speeding up the processes to get things moving and that we as a country (and I am talking about the Netherlands here) become more self-sufficient. We have enough gas in the ground here to supply our entire country but what do we do with it? According to EEC legislation and rules we sell it to Germany and Belgium (our neighboring countries). 

On a daily basis hundreds of people seeking asylum in this country are arriving and in a country which is overfull to start with. Are these genuine people seeking refuge from war zones. I have my doubts as they are usually men, all have the latest iPhone and trendy clothes and sneakers, and everything is free here. They have left their women and children behind. They get priority on the housing lists for rented accommodation and a monthly allowance. Health care is free and if they get a house, it is fully furnished and equipped for them. Often, they refuse as they find it ‘not good enough’. If your blood is not already reaching boiling point by this stage of reading … And to cope with these numbers, they are now being placed in hotels??? Or on small cruise ships??? I mean come on !!!

Dutch people are still on housing waiting lists and have been now for years. The entire housing market has blown up to such highs it is ridiculous. A property coming on the market immediately has umpteen viewers a day and the highest offer wins, meaning that people are being guzumpted all the time and first-time buyers are standing at the waiting gate again and again. People take on mortgages for said properties which is way above their heads, meaning that if the housing market (which is inevitable I think) slumps and hits an all-time low, that they are literally ‘under water’ as we say, or in other words, their mortgage is more than that value of their house.

Another sad story to hit the headlines this weekend concerned health care research. A group of doctors are under investigation by a special governmental department (FIOD A very strict tax department by the way!) for accepting bribes for money for health research. What? And one happened to be the major shareholder in the company concerned. Now handouts, or acceptance of bribes is nothing new, it goes on all the time, the finest example of course known to many is the acceptance of money by a Dutch Prince Bernhard in the Lockheed affair, back in the 60-70’s. A national scandal and still it continues. Mafia like practices are the norm apparently. The unfair thing about this story is that other research centers are being targeted for being suspected of the same thing. Even though there are some honest and honorable people who are actually doing it properly. But information like that is not interesting enough for the ‘news’.

After the Corona pandemic, when doctors and nurses had to work flat out to cope, there is so much control by the Managers in their ivory towers, behind desks, demanded targets and goals, that 8% of our nursing staff is on sick leave. Doctors who are learning their profession are having burns outs and dropping out. We have gone beyond the times when a hospital had a doctor in charge. A person who knew and understood the medical profession. They have been replaced by mediocre managers who are greedy and only want to reach their targets and have little or no concern for the patients at all. Have virtually no idea whatsoever what actually goes on ‘downstairs’ on the work floor. What health care is being given and how hard work it is.

And I wonder what bonuses these managers get for reaching said targets over and above their already enormous salaries.

Yes, of course there will always be people who earn more than others, it’s always been that way, but I ask myself what on earth do you need a salary for in the millions anyway? To lead the high life, to have more and more, inevitably leading to the fact that it is never enough. Bonusses which are higher than the most peoples’ annual wage. And probably they are avoiding all possible ways to reduce their tax liability too.

So, when you think what is going on in our world and how do we ever come back to a point when things are fair, and that we all have the attitude that we also take care of one another. Does a boss of some energy company wonder at any time, maybe I should donate my bonus for the greater good of others. Or even better ensure that the costs are kept at a level that people are able to pay their bills. The thing is they are not interested in the slightest. It is a case of ‘I’m alright Jack and bugger the rest’.

How do these people sleep at night? Has their concept become so ridiculous that maybe they think this is the norm. That they are literally in the rat race worrying about having more and more materialistic things. Private schooling for the kids, a private nanny (because let’s face it in their position they don’t have the time to do mundane things like that).

I ask myself often, where is all of this going and where does it end? And even more important how do we, the people put a stop to it? Can we? How much longer are we going to accept that our lives are controlled by people who are in power (and usually the worst) who have not got the slightest care whatsoever for their fellow man. How appliable is the saying then: ‘what goes around comes around’? Are the people in the highest positions those who will have the biggest fall in the end?

Where has the compassion gone? Why aren’t the elderly being helped more, they did the work in the past to make the country great and are now treated as second rate citizens. That they are now afraid that things like one of life’s basic necessities will run out – water.  It is really quite disgusting that this is actually happening and how do we make our world a better place for everyone? 

When are we ever going to wake up?

INTOLERANCE …

This morning I read that we can expect the biggest astrological transmit of 2022 when a rare triple conjunction occurs between Mars (strength), Uranus (magic) and the North Node in Taurus (grounding).

It goes on to say that something we have been putting up with for a long time, something we have been tolerating for a long time, something we have been ignoring, neglecting and avoiding for a long time can explode now and said explosion will remove impurities, additions, attachments and everything that pulls us down. (Wow what a prospect and one that has been a long time coming). Everything that keeps us stuck and limited, everything that has kept our wings closed….

This blog has been going around in my mind for a while now and it concerns something almost related in some way to the predictions above. Before I write another word, I would first of all, like to say, that some of the people I am about to talk about are very nice, friendly and make a genuine effort and it is sad to see that the majority don’t and thereby create a situation that everyone tends to talk about them in one group. ‘Tarnished with the same brush’ as we say.

I have a small country cottage on one of the islands off the southwest coast of the country. An island which is proud of its nature, the peace and quiet and the scenery. It is also the hub for many farmers, growing sugar beets, onions, corn and potatoes and also a lot of grazing cattle, including some rare ponies and sea-lions and the occasional porpoises in the sea lakes. Paradise you would think, and it is really, and I consider myself to be very privileged to be here in such a lovely place. But and there is one big but …

THE BLASTED GERMANS!

Again, I re-iterate this does not apply to them all, on the contrary but it is the majority that literally spoil everything for everyone and give people a bad name when actually they don’t deserve it. These are the minority who come here with the idea that yes, they will attempt to fit in, attempt to speak the language and respect the people and animals who live here.

But the rest, particularly the youth of Germany are a serious problem. Not only are they suffering with complete deafness, but the tone of their voices is at such a high decibel pitch. They cannot talk normally. Talking on the phone, which they don’t really need, as they can be heard perfectly in Germany minus a phone, but the belligerent attitude they bring with them.  Unfortunately, a lot of small holiday homes have been bought up by the Germans, as they one thing they crave for is a sea coastline. They have one too, at the north of the country, but it is nothing compared to the North Sea coastline here and the islands as well. The end result is that small hamlets and villages are turning into ghost towns as the actual owners are probably here maximum per year 6-8 weeks a year. Thank goodness I might add! Close to my own cottage, the majority of the neighbors are elderly Germans, but one man has bought three houses here and his only interest is making money and renting his houses out to all and sundry. He is rarely here apart from having to come and clean at the ‘turn around’ moments, but never is present to hear the awful racket they make. The German youth around the ages of 20-30-ish have one goal here and that is to get as drunk as possible, take the necessary pills and stuff to ensure they have a good time, which basically means they are out of their skull 24/7 and play music louder than festival level. Is it because they go to so many festivals at home that they think it is the norm to play music so loud that you are left with no alternative than to close the shutters and windows and stay indoors on a lovely summer evening, if you don’t want to hear them? This week there have been a group of them in the house behind mine and I think it was a ‘black day’ in history when the previous owners sold up to him. This is the worst epitemy of a German you can image. Arrogant, pigheaded, disrespectful, makes no effort whatsoever to mingle in, never replies to e-mails when complaints are made about the noise his holiday guests make and generally the worst of all types and the ones we would like to forget and wish they would never come back. Including him.

It is sad, so many years later that this same ‘Caesar’ type mentality still exists. You know, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ The liberation of this country from the Germans was more than 77 years ago and yes of course, we respectfully remember the brave who fought in this awful war, but is the same arrogance literally embedded in their ancestral DNA? That same idea that when arriving here, it all belongs to them. I despair when I see local shopkeepers speaking German to them. Why they hell should they? They definitely would not do that if you were in Germany, speak to you in your own language. So why are we doing that here? And not to mention that any form of misbehavior would not be tolerated in their country so why here?

Of course, it is good for the local economy but how far do you go? I would add that I learnt to speak and write Dutch fluently when I came here.

I have a very good example of something someone told me recently and that is: There is a lovely beach here and in the summer months quite crowded with the tourists. They all go there in the morning and stay until late afternoon. Despite the fact, that during the summer season, dogs are forbidden on the beach and they often arrive with ones the size of ponies, there is a certain lackadaisical tolerance on this subject. A person from the village took her Jack Russell to cool his paws on an extremely hot day in the water and was told in no uncertain terms: ‘We don’t want dogs on our beach!’ Our beach? Her reply was: we don’t want Germans on our beach!’ which I thought was pretty fair comment. She told me that she is glad when the season ends, and they all go home and that the people have their village back and their nature too. I agree even though Spring and Summer are my favorite times of the year. But why do we have to put up with these people coming here and literally overruling the place? Good question and believe me, everyone is totally fed up with it. Where are all the norms and values? Where is the basic upbringing which we think they must have had, (or not) that they react this way? I don’t have the answers. I am sorry.

In one of the popular coastal villages Renesse, we even have to have the German Police here to patrol and keep the rowdy, despicable youth under control. I despair.

This week I have been subject to deafening awful music every evening, them attempting to sing along (which sounds worse than cats wailing) and which is not easy when you are totally plastered and stoned, loud talking in the garden, going on into the middle of the night and total disrespect for anyone else here and all because some dreadful man is earning money renting out these houses for an astronomical amount per night.  I look forward to the day when he sells up and buggers-off back to Germany again. I think some of the worst people who come here are his own children, who throw all caution to the wind and give their birthday bashes here, meaning that other residents are subject to a whole weekend of this shit. And it doesn’t matter whatever you say, how many times you call the police to come and control the noise, they still carry on. I would be so totally ashamed if my own children behaved this way. Our so-called Resident’s Association does f*** all to stop it and is it that we just have to accept and put up with it. I don’t think so! Enough is enough, isn’t it?

The Dutch law actually says that you cannot make a noise and disturb others after 10 pm which makes their presence a complete and utter joke and why do they keep getting away with it? One of my neighbors has now written two strong e-mails in his own language and has not even had the courtesy of a reply and I told her she won’t get one because this man and his guests are the worst ever. He is basically brain dead and arrogant too. Maybe he can’t even read? Sometimes families rent the houses and these weeks are fine but when the German youth arrive, forget it.

What is the matter with these people. Are they deranged? Are their brains so damaged by noise, drugs, drink and rock and roll, that they cannot think anymore?

Again, I don’t have the answers only this, we don’t miss then one iota when they leave and look forward to their time here being over and hope that they go somewhere else next year.

I will just add that my own nationality is British, and we all know the stories about the Brits abroad and what chaos they can cause, but some people have actually been brought up to respect others and to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.

Shall we just allow the astrology to take its course? Probably the best way!

THE INCREDIBLE FRAGRANCES OF SALIMBENI, ITALY … CONTINUED

You may remember that a few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the products by Salimbeni in Italy. Fragrances for you and for your home. I talked extensively about them and what a great discovery it had been that they are available in my country. Since then, I am huge fan and have tried other products which I would like to tell you about:

Respiro di Mare (car perfume).

As you know the words ‘respiro di mare’ mean a ‘breath of the sea’ and it describes this perfectly. I have had the reed diffuser in my bathroom for quite some time now and the bottle is only just half empty. To me this is a sure sign, that these products are extremely good, and the oils used are of the highest quality. Furthermore, the perfume blender is just a genius!

Every time I get into my car, the nostalgia washes over me from days spent in the past at the beach. The freshness of the wind coming off the mighty sea. The sweet and saltness of the air. Quite simply, it reminds me of summer days at the beach, which after all is the best place for everyone and also for our soul. A day spent at the beach replenishes you.

Ancient Woods (soy wax candle)

If you are lucky like me to have a log fire, you will totally understand what I am about to say about this candle and the perfume it eludes when lit. It is the first scent of ignited logs, especially from fruit trees that almost reminds you of incense. The candle fills the room with warm autumn perfume, which is not overpowering, quite the opposite in fact. It reminded me of the wood fires we had a home, when my grandfather cut wood from the orchards and that first smell as summer turns into autumn. The scent of turning leaves, dewy mornings and that nature is preparing herself for the autumnal days and nights. Shedding her foliage, ready for the winter when nature will rejuvenate. Highly recommended and of course I am saving mine for a later date when the evenings draw in, I begin to light fires and then can enjoy the fragrance of this candle.

Elisir di Bergamotto (Eau de Parfum).

This has to be one of the best perfumes ever and literally everywhere I go, when wearing it, people ask me what fragrance it is. When you first spray, the freshness is your initial impression but then it tones to a sweet summery perfume, which I love and use every single day. When parcels arrive and there is a sample, I have passed this on to family and all of them are now using it as their signature perfume. Me included.

Reed Diffuser – Fico dell Elba

To truly appreciate this, you have to have been to the island of Elba, just off the Italian coastline between Pisa and Grossetto. There is just something very special about this place, the history of course, hangs in the air. But the smell of picking ripe figs, firstly the slight bitterness of their skins, which when cut reveal the sweet fruits. You can only reach the island by boat from Piombino to the harbor village Portoferraio. The steep streets with stairs takes you higher and higher with break taking views of the bay, the harbor and the greenness of the island, which sort of reminds me of the skin of the fig fruit.

Elba of course, famous for the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte and a lot of his artefacts can still be found here. One of the places which is a must, is Capoliveri, where you can buy traditional products in picturesque shops, and this brings me back to my first impression of this diffuser. That warm, sweet, deep aroma of fruits which have ripened under the Italian sun. Highly recommended.

Salimbeni are definitely making an impression on the market and a lot of people have told me how much they, like me, just love these products. At the moment there are incredible summer offers and it is a great chance to acquaint yourself with their product range.

If you haven’t tried them yet, then do. You will be so pleasantly surprised and grow to love their products like many people have in the meantime. This is the link to the website.

www.salimbenprofumi.eu

VERVOLGVERHAAL ALBERT HEIJN EN DE KOOPZEGELS AFFAIRE!! …..

Eerst, wil ik iedereen bedanken die op mijn verhaal heeft gereageerd, op mijn website, Facebook en Instagram. Ik denk in totaal over een paar dagen ruim 25.000 reacties (vooral op mijn website, met allemaal hetzelfde verbazing over dit verhaal).

Nou het vervolg.

De volgende ochtend heb ik een brief geschreven naar Marit van Egmond, zij is Algemene Directeur van Ahold Delhaize in Zaandam en met email verstuurd naar haar assistente.

Onmiddellijk reactie van haar assistente dat ze zeer zeker de brief zal meegeven.

Dan ineens weer bericht van klantenservice, dat het allemaal wat langer zou duren want ik ben ‘een case; geworden en trouwens, het email begon met 

Beste Jill,

Bedankt voor je reactie over de koopzegels. Excuses voor het wachten maar er gaat gewoon veel tijd in zitten. De case staat in behandeling, er wordt dus aangewerkt.

Veel sterkte met het verlies van uw partner

Klantenservice 14 juli 2022

Ok ik ben nu een case! Heeft mevr. Van Egmond actie genomen. Geen idee.

Tot mijn verbazing! En dan dit …

Beste Jill

Onlangs heb je contact met ons opgenomen over het overschrijven van de koopzegels van jouw overleden partner. Onze excuses dat het wat langer heeft geduurd.

De koopzegels zijn nu bij jou bijgeschreven. Als het goed is, zijn ze nu in je app zichtbaar.

Klantenservice 16 juli 2022

En jahoor, ongelofelijk maar waar! Inderdaad ze zijn bij mij in de app bijgeschreven.

Ik vond de reacties van mijn beide kinderen zo leuk en het zegt alles: –

Min dochter: Nee joh, echt? WTF

Mijn zoon: Perfect, aanhouder wint.

En zo is het ook.

Al dat gedoe en heel veel irritaties en zo, maar het was zo simpel als dat!

Een vriendin zei tegen mij, ik ben benieuwd hoeveel verloren zegels in aanloop zijn in Nederland?  Vergeten boekjes, vergeten bonuskaarten, en misschien hetzelfde situatie waar ik zat en wie is dan de winnaar? Albert Heijn natuurlijk. En over hoeveel geld zou het gaan?

Moreel van dit verhaal is: check of je ergens boekjes hebt? Zorg dat je de passwoorden toch weten van elkaar of schrijf het ergens op.

Nou bedankt Klantenservice Albert Heijn, zo moeilijk was het ook nog niet en het is belangrijk om bij je standpunt te blijven en te weigeren documenten op te sturen (privé bedoel ik hiermee).

KLANTENSERVICE VAN ALBERT HEIJN … WELKE ?

Normaal schrijf ik mijn blogs nooit in het Nederlands, maar omdat dit gaat over iets in Nederland, dan een poging om jullie iets te vertellen.

Nou, als klanten van Albert Heijn, ja de supermarkt keten, hebben wij allemaal denk ik, een Bonus Kaart en wij sparen zegels. Of voor diverse acties, of de wel bekende ‘koopzegels’.

Toen mijn man nog leefde, ging hij regelmatig boodschappen doen bij AH en hij spaarde koopzegels. Eerlijk gezegd na zijn overlijden in november 2021 heb ik geen seconde aan deze zegels gedacht, tot dat ik zijn pasje vond. Ik moest toevallig naar de winkel in Sommelsdijk en daar stond ik dan aan de service balie. In eerste instantie zei de medewerkster dan ze niet kon kijken in zijn AH app. Ik ook niet, want zijn telefoon is inmiddels afgesloten en hij had codes op zijn IPad veranderd wat ik of de rest van de familie niet wisten. Zijn Gmail heb ik na maanden discussie met Google eindelijk ook kunnen afsluiten, maar helaas nooit aan de AH-app gedacht. Zijn kaart werd door een andere medewerker aan de balie uit haar handen gehaald en ze zei: ‘dat kunnen wij wel!’.

Maar hij had volle boeken op zijn bonuskaart en wat zegels. ‘Kan je ze uitbetalen?’ vroeg ik. ‘Nee’, helaas moet je met klantenservice bellen want die kunnen in het systeem meer dan wij’.

Nou bellen met de klantenservice is een heel belevenis, en vraagt heel veel geduld, soms meer dan 20 minuten met e.e.a. irritant ventje die zegt dat ‘je veel zaken online kan regelen, als het wachten je te lang duurde’ elke paar seconden. 

Eindelijk iemand aan de lijn, ik vertel mijn verhaal en ze kon zien dat je inderdaad er waren volle boeken en zegels. ‘Is het een idee misschien om de zegels over te zetten naar mijn app en bonus kaart?’ Simpel vraag zou je denken en slechts een klik in de computer maar nee!

Ik moest een jpg (lees foto) van de Akte van Overlijden om te bewijzen dat hij was overleden. Nou gelukkig krijg je echter zo’n document van de Gemeente maar is het niet een beetje veel gevraagd dat je dit soort documenten ook naar de klantenservice van AH moest sturen over een paar onnozele zegels? Ja dat moet.

Er gingen wat dagen, weken voorbij en ik kreeg een email dat het helaas iets langer zou duren voordat ik een antwoord zou krijgen en excuses daarvoor.

Vanmorgen kreeg ik een email van e.e.a. Sandra van de Klantenservice dat helaas de door mijn opgestuurde document onvoldoende was en dat ik een officieel document moest sturen waarin ik word genoemd als erfgenaam (lees weduwe). What the fuck?

Op de Akte van Overlijden staat mijn naam ook op, het adres, de datum en het is overduidelijk dat ik de partner/echtgenote was en zoals de wet zich voorschrijft ben ik de langslevende van ons en daarbij erfgename.  Klinkt allemaal logisch denk je niet, maar niet voor de klantenservice van AH en ja, trouwens wilde ik een enquête invullen over mijn tevredenheid hoe mijn vraag was beantwoord. Jahoor dat wil ik doen, hun letterlijk vertellen met een heleboel meldingen van ‘ontevreden’ en ‘waardeloze service’, en is uw vraag met tevredenheid beantwoord? Nee! Teruggestuurd.

Ik was geïrriteerd hierover en belde weer met Klantenservice. Weer 20 minuten wachten, hetzelfde vervelend ventje tussendoor en heb uitgelegd precies zoals ik had gedaan in mijn antwoord op de email, dat een document ‘Recht van Erfgenaam’ is een document die je kan maken bij een notaris (kosten rond Euro 1000). Ik heb deze document nooit laten opmaken want ik had het niet nodig bij alle officiële instanties: bv, De Belastingdienst, SVB, Pensioen e.d. maar voor de stomme zegels wel. Nooit never niet! Ik was op het punt om te zeggen tegen die Sandra waar ze de zegels konden plaatsen maar ….

Trouwens de andere medewerkster van de Klantenservice vond het net zo belachelijk als ik en ze zou met haar collega praten. Ik citeer haar antwoord, wel die van die Sandra, dan als gevolg:

‘Beste J,

Ik snap echt uw frustratie, en dat die documenten heel veel geld kosten. Misschien had uw man een testament laten opmaken? Helaas hoe graag ik ook zou willen kunnen wij hier niks mee doen. Wij kunnen en mogen niet gegevens/zegels overzetten zonder de gevraagde documenten. Dit is zo geregeld als beveiliging in het systeem waar wij verder niets aan kunnen veranderen of versoepelen.

Om mijn service te verbeteren hoor ik graag hoe je het contact met mij hebt ervaren. Het beantwoorden van de vraag duurt ongeveer 1 minuut. Alvast bedankt!

MVG Sandra

Ok Sandra je denkt dat ik serieus overweegt om zijn testament naar jullie te sturen. Dat is privé en zou een schending op zijn en mijn privé situatie punt 1.

 Jouw service? In een woord K** en tijd voor je enquête, ik dacht het niet.

Welke service? Een stel belachelijk regels die nergens op slaan. 

Zoals ik in de winkel heb gedaan, kan ik zijn bonuskaart laten zien, ik kan mijzelf legitimeren en je weet dat hij heeft wel voor deze zegels betaald. Niet een mega bedrag maar toch. Zijn geld voor jullie domme zegels, met andere woorden, weggegooid omdat AH zulke stomme bureaucratie hanteert.

Dit is zo ongelofelijk en ik hoop dat de mensen die mijn blogs lezen (alle 2 miljoen) dit lezen en denken, net zoals ik, welke service van Albert Heijn. Antwoord: geen.

En ik zal jullie taggen op de socials ook. Stelletje onbenullen!