This is a famous quote which I am sure many of you know meaning, ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’ spoken by Julius Caesar in 47 BC. He spoke and wrote these words after his victory at Pontus, the battle of Zeta.

Victor Hugo, a famous French poet, wrote the words in French (of course!) for his daughter:

‘je suis venu, j’ai vu, j’ai vécu’.

Now for those of you who remember like me at Grammar School spending many totally boring hours learning Latin, the reason why at the time escaped many of us, I now realize in my adult life and especially as a writer, how important Latin was and also how many words are derived in current day languages from Latin.

The Roman Empire is something we have all learnt about too at school, or maybe later at university, about how the Romans overtook a large portion of the world, using mainly violence, murder and even genocide, something sadly still going on anno. 2024. This theory followed the Viking pillage and plundering many centuries before.

So how is this famous quote related to my blog today. Well, I found myself saying it several times this weekend and the reason why is a follows:

I have been lucky to have been the owner (since 2001) of a lovely small stone cottage about 100 meters from a small beach on the Grevelingen Lake on the SW coastal islands of The Netherlands. I have told you in my previous blogs that I was born and bred in England and moved here some forty odd years ago. Right from the start it was very clear to me that if I was going to make a success of a new lifestyle here (when I originally came to work because of my native English) there would only be one way forward. Learn the language. It just makes it so much easier long term to speak the lingo, in your contacts, the way you express yourself etc., and even though you will always retain your accent, it is in my opinion, the only thing to do when relocating to another country.  I am lucky despite the boring hours reciting Latin verbs at school that I can pick up languages easily and I am not afraid to try, even if I make mistakes. I now have knowledge of French, Italian and Spanish and even though I cannot have an easy conversation mainly because of the speed the people speak, I can at least make an effort, greet people in the morning and evening and say please and thank you. Which are good manners don’t you agree?

So, where I live is a small group of houses (42 to be exact) in a parkland area. Many owners are Germans who bought these houses ‘yonks ago’ when they were built but have made no effort whatsoever to learn Dutch. It is obligatory in this park to be a member of a Resident’s Association because there are certain facilities which we pay for in a group situation, like street lighting etc. 

Every year around Easter time my heart begins to sink because on Easter Saturday is the annual meeting of the RA and I am subjected to hours of incessant boring German language. Even though it is a Dutch RA, on Dutch ground and in The Netherlands. I can tell you without any shadow of doubt if this was a park situated in Germany no effort would be made to speak either English or Dutch. Over the years living here, it amazes me that the majority of Germans don’t even speak English at all. It may not be the number one world language anymore, with Spanish and Chinese being spoken by the majority of people, but all the same. And of course, we Brits, and I know this is a bad attitude, expect that everyone just speaks English.

So, at the meetings which I find a complete waste of time, mean that every single idea or suggestion is always decided by the Germans being in the majority and the Dutch people (all 8 of us) are simply wasting our time being there. And to make matters even more frustrating, the Germans only come for a maximum of 2-3 months a year anyway. Meaning in the winter this is like a small ghost village and do we mind? No, we love the peace and quiet to be honest. Germans are in the main very loud and very present and very annoying.

And I have a good example. This weekend two people rang my doorbell. They introduced themselves as my new neighbors, they have bought the house behind mine and even though I have to credit them with the effort they made to speak Dutch, I found myself being confronted with the title of my blog. He told me that he was going to take down all the fencing and shrubs (including conifers which have been there since the houses were built in 1985) and replace it with what I can only describe as the ugliest fencing ever and often seen in prisons and detention centers, made up from black plastic! He went on to tell me that he had a small dog, who did not get on with cats and I thought, well ‘good luck chuck, I have a cat and my other neighbors have 3’. He was going to plant Portuguese Laurier. I found myself at a loss for words and told him when I had regained myself that I did not agree to him just taking down the established fence and shrubs and replacing it with the ugly black plastic fencing. But as my title said, this is so typical of the German attitude. They arrive, they see, they say, and they conquer! And, excuse the language: ‘to hell with what anyone else thinks’. (This was the polite version by the way).

On Saturday I went to his house and told him again that I did not agree to him taking down the existing situation and also spoke to the man (from the local firm) who would be carrying out the work who I have known for 23 years. 

I then wrote a letter in Dutch to the new neighbor saying in words that I did not agree, and he could do what he likes on his side of the fence, but he cannot remove my fence. Now it just so happens that because this has been here in place for more than 20 years that the law protects you. Thank goodness I may add. The rules as such have expired and therefore things can be left just as they were. 

I, like many here, am fed up to the back teeth of this attitude as per my title. The days have long gone when the Germans overruled Europe and carried out atrocities and murdered millions of people to create a world of the ‘perfect Arian race’. The majority of people like me were maybe not even born in the world war years, but it is as if it is imprinted on their DNA how their attitude is. And that everyone should bend and buckle down, to their words, wants and needs.

Well, I don’t think so! I have now had to contact my lawyer and make a case that if he as much chops off a twig on my side of the fence, then I will have to take legal action and having had this house for the 23 years I have already said, would it be fair to say, this is too much.

Who do these people actually think they are? Is the question which comes to my mind. Is it so that you buy a house and make the rules? Wouldn’t it be more correct to, of course be free to buy the house, but not to come blabbering at the front door of your neighbor demanding that your wishes be carried out. It really takes the biscuit.

And as for the RA. Well useless, I wrote, and emailed and they wanted to sit down and have a talk. No point, I have made my case, no is my answer, and I am not buckling down to anyone who thinks they can Veni, Vidi Vici. No way!! All very stressful.


Release date: 11th April 2024

Maybe you think this is a strange title, because when you think about a human heart why would you make the connection to it being heavenly? Good question: We as humans are connected at birth into so much more than just an earthly existence. We are connected with one another in the form of energy. We all live on this tiny little planet in our solar system (The Milky Way) but the vastness of the universe, despite the ever-increasing technology, is still a mystery to us all. We may have telescopes and satellites relaying images from outer space, but for those of you who still believe it’s only us, only planet earth, I would advise you to think again.

As humans we are connected to not only the physical world, that means our day-to-day life grounded here on earth, but our other bodies, casual, etherical and spiritual bodies are connected to energy, (or in other words our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies). Just have a think about this: The physical body is surrounded by an auric field. We can’t see it with our naked eye, but even so, it is there. You may notice for example if you walk past someone who is smoking, even momentarily, that you will be aware of the smell of smoke as you walk further. Some of you may have felt bad vibes when in the wrong energy. Opposite in good energy. And if you thought this auric field was quite sizeable, then the auric energy field of the heart is even bigger. No worries if you find this hard to grasp or to understand because this blog is going to be devoted to more about our physical heart.

Because of the huge amount of interest and questions I received when I told you all on social media that I was facing another heart operation (number 3) I found that many of you found it a very scary idea. On the one hand, yes agree that you think this, but on the other hand, my heart has been an issue since I was 19 and had open heart surgery performed by the pioneers of heart surgery, Dr. Christian Barnard, and Dr John Parker. I had a leaking mitral valve (called MV regurgitation). It made me very ill, very breathless, and blue in color and when the valve was repaired (thank goodness) and not replaced with an artificial valve, I have survived on for 50 years so far. The reason I know it is 50 years ago, is that recently someone said it was 50 years ago since ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with their hit ‘Waterloo’, and I knew exactly where I was at that moment. In the National Heart Hospital in Westmoreland Street, just off Oxford Street waiting for this surgery. It is quite a miracle that this valve is ‘as good as new’ as my present and third cardiologist says (Prof. Dr. Lukas Dekker at Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, Netherlands). And even he thinks this is quite a mentionable fact all these years later.

So here we are in 2024 and today I will have my third heart operation. Recently after a cardioversion in November 2023, I developed a new arrythmia in the upper chambers of my heart. From all the questions I received from you all, about what does this mean, I am going to tell you a little bit first about the anatomy of the human heart.

A human heart is a muscle about the size of a clenched fist, in the middle left of the chest. It is the most vital organ in our body and pumps blood, oxygenated and deoxygenated from the heart to the lungs and then from the heart back around the body. Known as the heart/vascular circulatory system.

The heart is made up of four chambers, the right and left atria (upper) and right and left ventricles (lower). Major blood vessels enter and leave the heart.

A normal heartbeat is around 60-80 beats per minute. Often top sporters have a lower heart rate. The heart rate increases with the physical effort you make.

So, oxygenated blood which I will call ‘red blood’ from the lungs enters the heart through the pulmonary veins (4 in total). It is then pumped through the mitral valve into the left ventricle and then off again into the body via the aorta valve (AoV). The left ventricle is in fact the largest and strongest chamber of the heart. Deoxygenated blood (blue blood) returning from the body is pumped into the right upper atrium, (from the superior and inferior vena cava) then through the tricuspid valve into the right lower ventricle and off to the lungs to be oxygenated. The process is continuous from birth to death, and the heart receives electrical impulses to enable the heart to not only beat but these impulses or signs are telling the heart whether it should expand or contract the chambers.

In my case the electrical system is defaulting and must be corrected with an ablation, and I will talk about this further on in the blog. It is important to know that the electrical impulses are signs to the heart to coordinate the expansions (or contractions) to the heart. A normal cardiac cycle is initiated by the sinus-node, cranially located in the right atrium; its electrical pulse activates both atria and will then enter the AV-conduction system, completing the cardiac cycle by electrically activating the lower ventricles. The AV-conduction system includes the AV-node, Bundle of His and the bundle branches. Again, electrical activation is required for cardiac contractions and abnormal electrical activation, or an arrhythmia, leads to abnormal contraction patterns, such as tachycardia (too fast heart rhythm).

And now we come to the interpretation of the ‘PQRST’ (or electrocardiogram) which measures the heart’s contractions and expansions, the beat itself and the timing; this is the first clue to the cardiologist when things are not exactly as they are supposed to be normally.

We all can either hear (the ‘lub-dub’ sound) or feel our heartbeat (at our pulse) and it is a perfect rhythm of movement and pauses, expansions and contractions.

Here is a diagram from an ECG showing a normal heartbeat… (pay attention to the seconds in time and imagine how many times this actually happens in a lifetime!)

P-top is the electrical activation of the atria; it is small as the atrial muscle mass, creating these electrical pulses.

The P-wave is followed, after a few milliseconds by atrial contraction.

The QRS complex represents the ventricular electrical activation. It obviously is much stronger than the P-wave, as the ventricles have much more myocardial cells creating an electrical pulse. Likewise, the QRS is followed by ventricular contraction after a few milliseconds. 

The T-wave represents the recovery of electrical activation of the ventricles, allowing the ventricles to be activated again. Of course, the atria recover from electrical activation in the same way as the ventricles. However, this electrical signal is too small to be visible on a standard ECG. 

My own ECG shows a very different picture!

A completely different image from the one of a normal heartbeat.

Simply said the heart is confused and flustered about the atrial electrical impulses causing the heartbeat to go all over the place. The P-waves are no longer visible due to an atrial arrhythmia, which, via the AV-conduction system, leads to incorrect impulses to the ventricle. In simple words: the ventricles are incorrectly activated due to an atrial arrhythmia. 

The sinus node (or pacemaker) of the heart is found in the right upper atrium, the chamber contracts, and squeezes blood into the lower chambers where it either leaves to be oxygenated by the lungs or to return oxygenated blood to the body. One thing for sure is that without this ingenious system which forms very early in fetal development, we would not be able to live. So, the sinus node is a very incredulous thing, as it literally listens in to the body and its needs, to messages it received from various nerves and blood born chemicals, such as adrenaline. The sinus node is then able to adjust the actual rate of the electrical impulses, so for example if you suddenly must run to move away from something, (you know the classical fight or flee situation) these signals will be received extremely fast, and the heart action (pumping) will increase dramatically to enable you to make the physical action. A normal heartbeat around 60-80 minutes can suddenly change to over 200 bpm when running flat out.

It is all very clever and almost mind-blowing not only how the human body works and, in the spotlight, here, is the heart. That is why I think people feel that the human heart is so ingenious it is miraculous, mystical, and hence my title, the heavenly heart. A very amazing creation process. And we know that even up to present day, no one has ever been able to completely understand the creation process itself. How life occurred on this planet in human form. And by the way I do not believe in the theory by Darwin that we evolved from apes, but this is a personal opinion. Many do believe this!

So, what is going to happen to me when I go for an ablation on 11th April this year. People found it really scary when I said that Lukas will work on my beating heart. A catheter will be placed through the inferior vena cava one of the body’s major veins in my groin, and up into the right atrium of my heart. The fibrillation or flutters (the arrythmia) means that the electrical system is sending out too many signals at the same time and my heart is unclear what it is supposed to be doing. Hence a very fast normal heartbeat called tachycardia at around 130 bpm in rest). And a poor pumping action because the electrical wires are all crossed. Using the catheter in the heart, he will be able to make scars in the heart tissue at the appropriate place. Last time I had a cryo-ablation (freezing the tissue to create scaring) where the pulmonary vein enters the heart (upper left atrium). To get there he had to puncture through the ‘inside’ heart wall, or to give it its proper name Septum). The catheter contains a special tip which tells him how deep he can go, so as not to damage the heart wall or even more so the working of any of the valves… 

Basically, this is known as non-invasive surgery, because it is not open-heart surgery when they have to open the rib cage, like with my valve repair and then recovery takes a long time. This is all in one day care and I will be fast asleep all the time until all the work is done.

I would like to say here how incredibly important I think it is, not only for me, but for Lukas too, to have complete trust and faith in the idea he knows exactly what he is doing, he has performed this many times and I can surrender myself completely to the surgery. This makes me a very calm patient, I will not be having the shakes and jitters beforehand, maybe my heart rate will increase involuntarily, because of the tension, but I will be in a state of calmness which I can do using various techniques. Together with his team, and me, we can do it! That is totally the right mind set to enter into such a procedure.

The whole procedure will take about one and half hours and when I am awake again, I will have to lie flat for several hours to prevent any bleeding from the groin. There will be a pressure bandage over the puncture point in the groin and I will continue to take all my mediation before and during the procedure. I have anticoagulants (Pradaxa) which keep my blood thinner than normal all the time, to avoid any clots forming and passing through the heart to the brain which could cause not only heart problems but a stroke or such like in the brain.

When all is well, and the wound has sealed completely and there is minimum bruising, I will go home same day and then spend at least a week or so taking things easy to allow everything to repair and to allow my heart to get used to normal electrical impulses once more. This is very important and means maybe giving up things I enjoy for the time being, like sport, cycling and any form or stress (easier said than done in these times) or physical exertion to give myself and my heart the time to flow into the natural rhythm.

All of which I am very happy to do because I know better than anyone else how important the heavenly heart is!

And one final thought before I finish: The most FAQ was people asked me why this must happen again? After 2018. I didn’t know but apparently this is the reason:

The surgeons in London (1974) had to open up the atria to get access to the mitral valve. Also, the mitral regurgitation has also created some scar tissue to the large volume overload (the abnormal backflow through the leaky valve), even after these years. These issues make you more vulnerable to atrial arrhythmias. Moreover, these arrhythmias are already very common (6% in >65 years), and new scars develop over the years (in a way like wrinkles in the skin, or grey hairs). Even so, it the Mitral Valve has been working perfectly for 50 years, which is a great credit to their pioneering work.

And another food for thought: the date the 11th is a master angelic number, so how can it be better than this?

And finally, a ‘shout-out’ to my friend Patty Harpenau who is currently working on an online project called ‘Hemelhart’. When she asked me what is that in English? I could only reply ‘Heavenly Heart’! For more information on her very interesting online course on the Heavenly Heart please go to Highly recommended.


For the past couple of weeks, I have been engrossed in (and admittedly binge watched!) the mega series – A Million Little Things on Videoland. A very detailed story about a group of friends (8). The men meet each other in a lift which gets stuck, and they spend several hours with one another deliberating over life in general. They discover their mutual love of ice hockey in Boston, where the series is set, and agree to buy season tickets and go and watch the matches together.

In the first episode, one of them, a supposedly happily married, influential business and family man commits suicide. The remaining three men are totally shocked as to why and so the story begins. Sorry not being a ‘spoiler’ but this does actually happen in the first episode. But the story continues on over the years and the overriding theme is ‘friendship’.

So, what does friendship actually mean to you, to me or anyone for that matter?

As youngsters the majority of our friends are school, college or university ones. But as we grow older and have partners the friendship group continually changes. Of course, if you are like me, you have friends from your childhood years, and these are without any doubt ‘soul friendships’ because they are still just as intense all these years later. Even past-life friendships.

Good, true friends are priceless. And be aware of that and cherish them. During life’s different phases people come and go. Sadly. we lose some as well to death.

If I asked you how many true friends do you have? What would your answer be?

Maybe, you can count them on one hand. I am not talking here about casual friendships, which we all have but true friends who you know you can totally depend on, whatever and whenever! There is a big difference isn’t there?

A Million Little Things is a great title for this drama because over the years of their friendship, literally a million little things happen to them all. But no matter what, they all remain friends through thick and thin and are an example to us all. Even though this is a fictional series.

It made me think about my own life and truthfully the real friends can be counted on one hand, maybe two at a stretch. One of my oldest friends is from my early school days and another from the first job I had.

It may be hard to make the distinction to what is often referred to as a ‘fair weather friend’. These are people who often come under the heading as a friend, but only when it suits them. True friends are those who you can depend on totally – from both sides – the people you can call, if necessary, at all hours of the day and night for help. No matter what.

The series was a long-haul watch, but so worthwhile. I won’t spoil anymore of the story, but just highly recommend it!

It definitely gives you something to think about, especially as you get older. Who are the ones you can totally depend on? The ears that listen to you whatever you encounter. For advice, for comfort, for just only listening. All qualities of a true friend.

And another, oh so important quality – honesty. Not just someone who says what they think you want to hear. Sometimes the brutal truth is worth so much more than a ‘nodding’ agreement. Some friendships can suddenly end without a reason. Or at least one that you can comprehend. If this happens, it means when you know you are in the right, that you are being a so-called ‘mirror’ to their issues and not yours.

Often intense criticism (just or unjust) is such a sign. Sure, you can be critical but be kind. Some criticism is very painful. Basically, think before you speak. There are so many ways to make a sentence. True!

I hope that this has given all of you something to reflect on. Yes?

Huge shout-out to the producers and actors in this series because they covered so many real-life important topics. From birth to death, from health to illness, pandemics, business, and private lives, from weddings to partners and even sexual preference. This series had got it all. A real recommend!


No one likes to be criticized! Let’s be honest. And people do it all the time, intentionally or unintentionally. It is not nice and can be painful. I know already that the ‘new age’ spiritually inclined readers will be jumping up and down, saying that criticism is all about mirroring something back to you, your shortcomings, or faults. But my point is how do you deal with this, and I have based this blog on a personal experience.

Now just suppose the criticism becomes an accusation about something, immediately the hairs on the back of your neck will rise up and your first emotion will be hurt, offense and then anger followed by basically wishing they had never said anything at all. As I type the famous line from Walt Disney’s Bambi comes to mind when Thumper says:

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

Good advice! I have used this example before in my blogs and remember this is a children’s’ film (in other words teaching children!)

One side of criticism is that, if it is genuine and helpful, you can accept it in a much more constructive way, than when someone unjustly criticizes you. Right? The aforementioned can assist you long term to maybe take another approach, look at and do things differently and then in my mind, this is positive. And even helpful.

I don’t really want to mention all the horrible comments that appear on social media in this blog, but these are really good examples of unhelpful criticism, when the writer of the said comments thinks it is a freefall to ‘bitch on’ something alarming about someone else and virtually be very unkind. And even worse if they don’t know the person personally.

Unjust criticism is not good. Being accused of something that some random person thinks you have done wrong. Even said with the best intention is probably better left unsaid. As you all know I am a writer, and this week I was accused of doing my translation work using Google Translate. As if, come on … I found this very insulting indeed. Almost slanderous and people have been taken to court for airing such comments in public. It did make me cross, and it was unacceptable. But on reflection I could easily conclude that it was definitely untrue and said by someone who does not even know me. My advice to said person would be, shut up and go away. But you will all no doubt recall that in some bad cases people are very definitely sued in court for deformation of a person’s character. The British royals spring to mind as I write.

I also concluded that I had done a good translation job when it came to this project, but at the same time, it is not my job to ghost write or re-write someone else’s work, unless having been asked to do that. So, in this way, hurt and confusion arise and your self-confidence gets a big dent. Or does it? Are you strong enough to think that you know you did your best and maybe the whole point here is, that the original text was not good in the first place. Now that is food for thought, isn’t it? That for example the original text was badly written in the first place?

It was certainly a lesson for me, and I said outright that such comment was totally unacceptable and to stop. Saying something critical to someone is not being passed on in a loving way. On the contrary, it is insulting and better not said.

So, my thoughts today are, a couple of days later, that we all maybe should stand still and think twice before criticizing anyone. Are your comments helpful or cruel? Yes, have a think about this. Constructive comments (and read here not criticism, helps). Unkind, and definitely untrue comments do not. Simple as that.

Think before you speak. That is a good point to begin and maybe choose your words carefully. People are highly sensitive these days anyway and unkind comments or criticism is not helpful at all. The end result can even go so far that you think you never want to cross paths with this person every again. That is not the right attitude really but understandable. 

The times in which we live are supposed to be those when we are loving and kind to one another. Being constructive and helpful. Always.

I hope that this short blog helps you too if you have been unjustifiably criticized ever. Think about Thumper and what he said and remember this, is the person who said it worth it?

Should you give their comment any attention or literally brush it to one side and think, well if that is what they think it is their problem. Not easy, but I feel you can do it if you have the gut feeling that is unkind, untrue, or downright rude (this made me think of Miranda Hart, a very funny English comedian, who often says: ‘Rude!’)


I think Miley Cyrus’s song: I can buy myself flowers, was a gamechanger for many women.

It was they say, a song aimed at her disappointment in her marriage with Liam Hemsworth, because after all the whole world knew that he had a problem keeping a certain body part in his trousers and was terribly unfaithful to her during their short marriage. You may think what you like but I thought the song was a strong statement to women and to tell us that we can do things on our own.

I put it to the test myself last summer when I went out for lunch by myself at a local restaurant, and afterwards wandered around the Ibiza market. I was perfectly fine, and it was the steppingstone to doing more things on my own. I can! 

This forthcoming Christmas Eve I am off to Rotterdam to a Christmas Proms Concert with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. I have been trying to take my family to something like that and everyone did not want to do, and it reminded me of Saturday mornings as a girl, my parents taking me to the Royal Festival Hall in London for a concert, followed by an educational afternoon in London. At the time I seem to remember I thought it was a bit boring, but it was the laying of the foundations of my love for classical music and what better way to start the Holiday Season that floating away in your mind on the notes of orchestral music. I told my friends I am going and many asked ‘alone’? Er yes, I replied. A strong women can take herself to a restaurant on her own, to the cinema, to a concert. It is a sign of being more than comfortable on your own and I think a sign of strength. I actually saw a quote on the socials similar to this! Signs, right?

I think I never ever anticipated being on my own at my age. Just thought like would go on in retirement finally having the time to do the things we had put off for years. When someone suddenly is told that they have a life-threatening illness, it all becomes serious, and you realize that being on your own is something that is going happen a lot faster than you thought.

After the initial grief, and going through the process, I have to say that as far as I was concerned that I felt it was a relief. Not for me but for my partner. The suffering, anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, and the idea of having to leave his family behind (which was awful by the way). But I felt a strange feeling of relief and told my GP so when I saw him a few weeks later. He understood as many of you will who have been through a similar process.

Watching and waiting for life to end is a horrible process for the person in the main but for the family too. Of course, any death, sudden or otherwise is a process of grief. A girlfriend of mine who suddenly lost her brother-in-law, told me that I knew nothing about death! Er … what I replied of course I do, but she thought it was different and needless to say, said friendship fizzled out pretty damn fast. Not only about that but for a lot of other reasons too and it is very true that you find out who your real friends are.

But I was the one, knowing that life does go on, and with Christmas approaching I was off to buy a tree (a real one) for the first time in years. Having constantly been up against someone who would not have needles dropping in the house. I had my first real one and decorated it with Christmas music playing in the background. This doesn’t mean that I am cold-hearted, I just knew that survival meant picking up the threads and making the best of things under the circumstances.

A few months later quite by chance I found a folder in my letter box about learning to play Bridge and immediately another memory back to my father who played avidly when he worked in Paris. I went to join and truly believed that I would never ever learn all the rules, but amazingly so and now I play weekly, and this introduced me into a large circle of people as well.

Believe me sitting in your house feeling sorry for yourself does not work long term. Of course, I am not saying that the day after a funeral you have to be partying in a night club somewhere, but it is all about having the strength to pick up the threads and move forward.

It has been two years since he passed and looking back on the two years, I can truly say that I have done such a lot. I re-found my strength. I found yes, I was able to ‘buy myself flowers’, ‘write my name in the sand’, ‘talk to myself for hours’, take myself dancing, ‘hold my own hand’, and the most important part of the song ‘I can love myself, better than anyone can’.

Now there’s a phrase, love myself? Is that the ego talking. No. It is saying that if you are able to love yourself and believe me a lot of people have problems with this, that you will then project an energy of love for others. If you feel confident with yourself and happy, you will pass on the same vibe to others.

I feel confident getting in my car in a few days, driving to Rotterdam, parking in a garage, and going to a concert. I can think of nothing more lovely than starting the Festive Season this way. You can book literally everything online these days, including a reserved parking space so it is so easy. All it takes is gumption and the self-confidence to do it. And the point is you have to. No one wants to be alone and lonely, sitting at home, surrounded by a permanent cloud of misery. Do they? You can have your memories but make them happy ones to look back on and most of all remember that a true show of strength is that you can get out and get on with things on your own. One of the things I found most confronting was that I did not know how to fix things, so I got help. The garden is large and a lot of work but get help. Organize a family BBQ and ask them to come early and do the gardening first. It is not a sign of weakness asking for help. On the contrary, it is being honest not only with yourself but with others and what is wrong with asking.

So, on this note. Remember one thing. Be strong. Dare to be strong and dare to do things yourself. People are impressed they really are and let any comments (negative) just flow in and out of your mind. 

Wishing all my readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful sparking New Year. 2024 adds up to 8 which is the number for Love. Now who doesn’t want that in the New Year? Love!


So, we have all made it! The final weekend of 2023 and I wonder how many of you are spending this weekend, reflecting back on the year which is about to end. We all do it. And the more so, the older you get. The range of emotions which come up as you look back can range from anything. From joy, gratitude, loving, happy, healthy, to sorrow, grief, regret, pain, and so on.

How many of you are making the famous New Year resolutions. I don’t anymore. Why? Because in the main, the majority have long flown out of the window by the second week of the month. Yes, there are of course always things that I think I would like to do, but why make it even harder after the Christmas festivities (and I think for the majority of us: overindulging) then why want to start the life-changing diet on New Year’s Day. Probably like me your fridges and cupboards are still full of over-buying for Christmas. Certainly, all my shopping I did online but having to go into the supermarket for the one thing I had forgotten (spring onions), reminded me big-time of how chaotic the shops are, and you begin to wonder if people think if they are ever opening again. I cannot give any sensible reason why we all do this, go overboard, but we do……

So here I am at the end of this year, which in the main has been very good for me. I have achieved and done a lot. Some projects lost; others gained. Formed new friendships, lost others. Been confronted a few times with death, old school friends, other friends and of course the people we all know from television, music or theatres and concerts. And there have been a lot. There always are as the socials depressingly remind us, every year, about the people lost in 2023.

Younger people will maybe not be reflecting on the year gone by, more planning the fantastic NYE party and fireworks. It is a tradition here and no matter how desperate the economy is, hundreds and thousands of Euros worth will be lit and send up into the sky. I used to buy when my own children were younger, but now it is virtually banned everywhere I was surprised to see major traffic jams yesterday of people buying just across the border in Germany. Spending a small fortune, because ‘hey it’s tradition, isn’t it? And hope that they don’t get stopped by the police at the border. Hospitals are preparing for the storm of firework victims. Strange but it is so. I usually watch the ones from London, across the Thames on BBC, best view ever in the comfort of your own home.

It has never been my favorite night of the year. Ever since I was a child to be honest. In England they did not used to have fireworks, this was more a tradition on the 5th of November remembering when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the House of Parliament and failed. Sadly, many may say today seeing what a farce our governments are, at home and abroad.

How has your year been? Can you look back and reflect positively or negatively. Obviously, it is going to be a mix of the two. I think for me, things that were very positive were the travel trips I made, the new contacts I encountered, the fact that I finally mastered all the rules of Bridge and now play weekly. The work I did, the books I translated, my own writing. The meeting to inspire my new book (the sequel to A Second Chance) and a magical meeting with the Friesian horses, during my trip in September. A new car (albeit that it was badly damaged in the storm at the end of October). It had to go into repair and quite by chance I picked up it this morning, all bright and shiny new once more. It is little things like this that make a year positive. Of course, there have been bumps, dents and bruises at some stages, but they have passed now, and I really feel there is no point looking back in any other way than that it was an important lesson. An example: after nearly two decades or working with someone and many of you reading this will know exactly who I mean, without me mentioning any names and suddenly, a disagreement, and then making the choice, which I did, to walk away. I have sort of got to that stage in my life that sometimes walking away or severing the cord is the best for me. And I do it, without regret. I am not saying it is easy because it does hurt sometimes, but it is the best long term. Sometimes over the years friendships and such like become toxic and often you plod on thinking, we have known each other for so long, and basically going against your intuition when it no longer feels right.  Without realizing that in the main it is better to move on.

I am grateful for 2023. For the things I learned. The things I saw and did. The places I visited. The friends I have and most important of all, my own close family. The joy on the faces of my granddaughters at birthdays, and Christmas. The birthday parties we have in my garden.

The funny things they say. When my family were growing up my own parents lived too far away to see them regularly and I see now how grateful I am that I can pop round any time.

The more negative things in 2023, are done and dusted. Literally. Without any doubt important life lessons for sure, but no regrets. 

In a few days stepping into 2024 (the numbers add up to an 8) and this is the connection to love. What the world really needs right now. Much more love, tolerance, and compassion towards one another. 

Thank you to all of you who read my blogs during the course of the year. I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Try next year to be honest and realistic with yourself. It makes things so much easier. When things don’t feel right, make a choice (we all have the right to make a choice) and then one which is for you. Don’t make impossible resolutions and then end up depressed during the second week of January, because you couldn’t keep them going. Do it at another time of the year. January is a long wintry month, after the full-on December month. We have all overspent and need to tighten our belts.

Be positive, enjoy the simple things in life. Get out into nature, talk a walk. Go to a movie, or a concert. That was something else I really enjoyed just before Christmas, a classical Christmas Proms concert!

Clear out the cupboards, donate the excess of food to the people who don’t have any. Clear out your wardrobes of things you no longer wear and take it to the Charity Shop. Declutter your possessions and your mind.

And remember love yourself. This is not an ego thing. If you can love yourself, you radiate love to others like ripples on a pond.

Look into a mirror and say to yourself this is going to be the year when I …….. (fill in this bit yourself).


A very wise friend of mine wrote on this subject so I will start this blog using some of her words: (with grateful thanks)

But first of all, what does ‘severing the cord’ really mean?

Basically, in our lives we often and regularly make ‘connections’ with other people. This can be in all walks of life. From family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues etc.

Usually in the beginning you are very enthusiastic about the connection. You know almost instinctively that your paths have crossed for a reason. It can be the beginning of a short or a very long connection. Sometimes life-long. As a little bit of an exception to this are the connections we make within our families. Firstly, our parents, grandparents, and siblings as well as cousins, aunts, and uncles. These are so-called blood connections, but it doesn’t always say that these almost bonded connections will last forever.

In my blog I want to talk about a connection I made myself with a person. Quite by chance a meeting somewhere and an almost instantaneous form of recognition. I knew afterwards I just knew that I had to meet this person again. It was definitely not a romantic connection, just in case you are wondering, more a past-life connection.

And that is exactly what happened, a second, third, fourth meeting and suddenly lives are entwined. The cord is connected but what happens when you suddenly realize that you now have to sever that cord. That connection that felt so right for such a long time, but suddenly it feels toxic and wrong.

This is what my wise friend wrote:

If there is one thing that I have learnt in the past year, it’s better to say goodbye in love than in anger or even revenge. Let me put it another way: I am not saying goodbye, but I am just leaving it where it belongs; in the past. Basically, I understand it, but the person that I am feels sad because it’s never nice if you don’t understand and only listen to the many stories that the ego makes up to give it a reason. Sometimes there isn’t any tangible reason, but life just follows another path. So, just leave one another whole. The bruise on the ego will heal again, the wound in the heart knows the blessing of time and the soul doesn’t have any opinion other than love.

Soft love because you are able to look way beyond all the fuss. I even place all the sadness into the hands of God. Because God has a bigger brain than I do, and I whisper a soft prayer ‘open new paths for me that bless the path which has been walked’.

Do you know why? If you go to bed feeling angry and your soul releases your body in a sleeping packaging, then you don’t want to saddle yourself in the angry dreams of the lower frequencies, do you? A person is a bit like an iPhone, the majority of updates are uploaded in the night. Walk on courageously, be wise and stay within your own wisdom.

So just a thought that I would like to share. Not as a ‘must’ or a ‘have to learn’ idea but just to inspire to leave one another whole. There is enough anger in the world isn’t there?

© Patty Harpenau

And yes, how true is this? It is not easy because of course you have to deal with all sorts of powerful emotions like rejection, anger, hurt, sadness, non-comprehension and so on.

This is exactly what I experienced. After a huge number of years and a serious almost business-like connection, pushed aside without a reason. Or I should really say, pushed aside with excuses (and even lies).

It was the words of my friend that gave me clarity. It doesn’t matter who you believe in or what your religion is, the name God only refers to a higher energy.

Why would you keep punishing yourself and keep the energy going in a connection which has just extinguished. By you or by them.

It is not easy believe you me, because the thoughts keep running around your mind, but there is a certain moment when you can pick up a very strong pair of scissors and literally cut the connection. When I did this, I felt a huge burden fall from my shoulders and I was reminded of one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings” ‘never be a doormat’!

A few days later I felt so much lighter and noticed that my thoughts had cleared. It no longer seemed important, and I wondered why I had actually spent so much time thinking about this in the first place. 

The world is a strange place at the moment, we can all agree on that, and that it is why it is so important to take steps to sever any connection which no longer feels right, and this applies to all walks of life.

Just ask yourself why would you keep battling on with a lost cause? Why would you choose to keep bashing your head against a brick wall? Not literally of course, this is just a saying. It means really why would you keep punishing yourself so harshly?

If you can accept it and let it go (and really do that) then you will suddenly find that a new door opens, one which you never could have imagined would. Offering new insights, new connections and the energy immediately begins to flow. There is no point whatsoever keep on standing still in a bad connection because you almost feel obliged to do so. It is as my friend wrote, much better to let it go and to leave one another whole. Revenge, bad thoughts, bad karma, it doesn’t matter. The other person will eventually be confronted with their actions or not. The universe moves as they say, sometimes in very mysterious ways. The most important thing is that you (or I in this case) walk away with pure thoughts and releasing with love. 

Nothing else matters.

Wanneer is de klant werkelijk koning or koningin?

Is het waar dat tegenwoordig wij als klanten de ‘koning’ or ‘koningin’ zijn? Helaas niet vaak is mijn ervaring. Het lijkt alsof tegenwoordig dat het men totaal niet kan schelen hoe je klanten  wel of niet behandelen.

En natuurlijk heb ik een voorbeeld: Ik ben een fan van de Ibiza Markten en deze zomer hebben er een aantal plaatsgevonden vlakbij waar ik woon. De eerste was in Stellendam en ik ging lekker lunchen bij Basta (mijn favoriet restaurant) op dit moment en langs te markt. Ik kocht een paar ‘hebben’ dingen en een hele mooie jurk. ‘One size fits all’ werd en gezegd en inderdaad het klopt. Ik was zo enthousiast dat ik had afgesproken om met mijn familie naar de markt de gaan bij Brunotti Beach Club in Oostvoorne. Heerlijk lunch gehad en langs alle kramen gelopen en ik zag nog een jurk, echter mijn ding, turkoois en crèmekleurig met glitters in het stof. Ik heb betaald met de pin (tikkie) en was superblij. Bij het thuiskomen was de gezegde ‘one size fits all’ helaas niet zo. De jurk was zo nauw dat ik kreeg het niet aan. En wat dan, gekocht op de markt en hoe verder. (zie fotos).

Ik heb contact opgenomen met de organisator van de Ibiza markt een superaardig vrouw, Vanessa die wat vragen had. Welke jurk, hoe ziet het eruit, hoe duur, en waar heb je het gekocht. Dat allemaal teruggestuurd en afgesproken dat ik met de jurk naar de volgende markt zou komen in Dinteloord. Helaas was dit niet mogelijk voor mij om dat ik precies op die ochtend mijn hond moest laten inslapen en mijn gedachten van verdriet waren op dat moment niet bij markten of jurken.

Nogmaals contact gehad met Vanessa en afgesproken dat ik afgelopen vrijdag 6 augustus 2023 naar de laatste markt van het seizoen zou komen, wederom in Oostvoorne en bij aankomst ‘vragen waar ze was’?

Gevonden natuurlijk en wij kwamen achter dat deze kraamhoudster (Mood22 uit Noordwijk) was niet komen opdagen, ze hadden geen zin en had min of meer niet voldoende afgezegd bij de organisatie. Niet erg beleefd zou je zeggen!

Vanessa wist ook geen raad meer en gaf me informatie, telefoonnummers, e-mails, website enz. van Mood 22 uit Noordwijk. Dit is gewoon een winkel in Noordwijk!

Eind van dezelfde middag kwam ik in contact met een of andere Sjul en via WhatsApp heb ik alles uitgelegd en gezegd wat mijn probleem was. Nou, jammer dan mevrouw je had het moeten ruilen binnen 14 dagen en wij kunnen niets meer voor je betekenen! Ruilen waar dan?

Ik vroeg waarom ze niet naar de markt was gekomen maar ik werd afgesnauwd met de woorden, dat zij hoeft geen verantwoording aan mij af te leggen en jahoor, dat is juist, het was een vraag. Meer niet!

Het komt hierop neer, ze zijn blij om je geld aan te nemen voor een jurk (of product) maar verlenen daarna nul komma nul service. 

In totaal heb ik op de markten diverse jurken gekocht maar nooit problemen gehad.

Een heel vriendelijk meisje van een andere kraam vertelde dat zij ook de jurken hadden  verkocht en ja, Italiaanse merk, en die vallen heel klein. Ze hadden de jurk ook nog, maar die was inmiddels afgeprijsd voor de helft (i.v.m. eind van het seizoen). Logisch.

Zou je niet kunnen denken dat het moment dat ik stond te betalen bij Mood 22 (Sjul or Joy) de naam weet ik niet meer, dan ze hadden kunnen zeggen, kijkend naar mijn mate, ‘pas op dit model valt klein!’ Dat wisten ze wel. Nee, natuurlijk niet het gaat alleen over verkopen, geld ontvangen en nihil service richting de klanten.

Hier zijn de gegevens van Mood22 als je ook slachtoffer bent geweest net zoals ik van een miskoop.

Mood22 (dameskledingzaak)

Molenstraat 16

2201 KZ Noordwijk



Mood22 is ook op Facebook!

Eerst werd gezegd in de WhatsApp ‘ruilen is niet mogelijk’ en later ‘ruien moet binnen 14 dagen’ (ik citeer uit haar eigen woorden).

Nou Mood22 ‘even in de spotlight’, hoe klantonvriendelijk jullie zijn. Dit was een jurk van Euro 74,95 (terwijl andere jurken op de Ibiza markt aanzienlijk goedkoper zijn en nog zo mooi).

Ik hoop dat mijn pad nooit meer met die van jullie ooit zou kruisen.

Stelletje idioten! Nogmaals de klant is altijd ‘koning’ or ‘koningin’. 

Tenslotte wil ik geen enkele kritiek richting Vanessa van Ibiza Markt. Zij was heel aardig en probeerde mij enorm te helpen. Ik hoop dat ze volgende jaar denkt: Mood22 nodigen wij niet meer uit. Maar daar ga ik niet over!



It was just after Christmas 2022 and the 4th January 2023 when I saw an advertisement for a complete EMMA BED (limited Orange Edition). The offer comprised of the bed frame (metal), the mattress, two pillows, a duvet and bed linen. Very special offer, you know the type ‘hurry whilst stocks last’ and as I needed a new bed for the spare room, I placed my order. Thank God in retrospect I choose for payment with Klarna in three installments.

Huge savings, normal price Euro 1885,71 with savings of Euro 1000, so it was going to cost Euro 885,71. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Almost too good to be true. And that was certainly the case!

As I write this blog, now the19th July 2023, more than a half year later, I can tell you this. 

In retrospect the advertisement was misleading, because in the main, EMMA did not have any stocks. It has taken months for all the parcels to be delivered and I had to personally chase up the final one, which had been just dumped at  totally different address.

Apart from the fact that EMMA are, in my opinion, totally useless, the delivery people they use may even be worse. These days, courier services like GLS, DPD and sadly even DHL have dreadful drivers who have one criteria when they deliver. As quick as possible, lack of attention, signatures that are made by them on delivery and its awful to say, usually by people who don’t or can’t even speak Dutch (I live in The Netherlands). 

With the increasing demand for online shopping caused mainly by the Corona crisis, companies found that they had to go to all lengths to find delivery companies and the service we had a while ago, is certainly not the case now. I will give you another example. I recently ordered a new kitchen dinner service which was going to be delivered by one of the aforementioned companies and I opened my front door as I had heard the van drive up and the delivery man literally dropped my parcel about 5 meters from the front door! Of course, I had to say something, seeing as the parcel was marked ‘fragile’ warning him that if anything was broken, he was on my camera surveillance! They don’t care of course and off he went.

But back to the Emma fiasco.

Thank goodness that I opted for the Klarna 3 installment option as I had paid only one installment and, in the meantime, have sent a load of emails to EMMA about where is the rest of the bed? ‘Ah, yes, sorry stock problems, we hope to get you delivery to you asap!’

To my mind asap is not 6 months. As I said in the beginning, this was a misleading advert because in actual fact they did not have any stock to send.

EMMA is by the way a German company located in Frankfurt.

I communicated with Klarna about this matter, and they stopped the payment plan until the matter is resolved, which I feel isn’t even now. I may have finally had all the parcels, which have been in boxes in my spare bedroom for months waiting for the final one to arrive (the mattress), so just imagine if I had needed this spare bed earlier than July??

I have complained to EMMA about their abdominal service and asked what are you going to do about this? The payment is still on hold, and I couldn’t believe it when I received an email this week. The usual blah blah about yes, they could understand my frustration (and that is putting it mildly believe you me!) and they were offering a Euro 60 compensation payment which will only be paid when everything is resolved. Read here when they have received the rest of the payment. That is downright insulting, Euro 60 comes down to Euro 10 a month for all that inconvenience.

I think that they should cancel one of the two outstanding payments for all the hassle I have had with them. The time I have spent writing emails and also actually chasing the final parcel which had been dumped by the courier at some camping on the island where I live. The fact that there is an address label with my details on and phone number, seems irrelevant, it’s a shame because they probably cannot read it anyway. Had a similar experience last week with a parcel from Amazon delivered by DHL and put in front of my gate at the end of the driveway where anyone could have picked it up and taken it without me knowing. Honestly, I give up.

I have spoken to Klarna in the chat and basically, they agree with me that this is very bad service, and it has taken far too long for the order to arrive.

It goes without saying that of course I will pay for the goods I order but this was diabolical, and it has taken half a year to fulfil my order!!

So be warned! Even though you may think: ‘wow what a good offer’, please realize that it will probably take months before you get it. Never ever pay in advance (just in case) and I do use Klarna a lot knowing that no payment is made until the product (s) have arrived and are OK.

We are faced at the moment with a lot of advertisements on all media which also include the ‘drop shippers. People running companies where they offer products at  prices which seem like a good deal but in fact are all coming from China and from Ali Express/Wish and such like. And then compare said prices yourself. Something you may pay Euro 30 for actually costs Euro 3 and these shippers are making huge profits across our backs. Personally, I think this should be made illegal, because for one thing there is always an issue with quality. Obviously because how can you expect a product which costs Euro 3 to be good? Yes, some might be but not all.

So, my issue with EMMA is still unsolved. I have written yet another email to Mostafa saying that the compensation was insulting and come up with a better deal. No doubt, because he has done this before, he will ramble on about company policy (boring) and that will be all.

I wish I had never ordered this bed to be honest. Every time I see the packages up in my spare room, it makes my blood boil and then I have to smile when I think about the promises EMMA make saying: ‘if you buy an EMMA product like a mattress, have a free trial for 100 days and if not satisfied, full refund and return’. They must be joking; you would be extremely lucky if you have even received the product in 100 days.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned!


Interesting theory depending on which context you think about this. You know that if you react to something, whatever it is that you are more than likely to provoke a reaction.

As I was about to start this blog, a quote came up on my phone which I think is quite relevant, from Eckhart Tolle: He says: “Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable about not knowing”. 

Hmm, true in a lot of cases.

My example today was going to be about a rather nasty email I received from someone over the weekend, and I suppose I must blame myself for provoking the reaction. I did not understand what was going on and said this in an email and to be honest I am a bit tired of the initiative always having to come from me in the first place. The last contact was in the winter of 2022, a birthday message from me to them, pretty normal you would think and despite the invitation to pop in for a cuppa, I declined as a thick November fog/mist was in my area and not exactly the day to get in the car and drive an hour just for a cuppa.  I thanked them for the invite and explained the weather situation.

From that moment on, heard nothing more.  I don’t understand and yes of course you are probably thinking I could have messaged, rung up or whatever, but why does the initiative always have to come from me. That is something I have noticed a lot recently that I am always the one sending messages etc.

So, as it is now 6 months later, I decided to send an email asking if I had done something wrong? It surprised me that after 20 odd years of friendship that there had been silence for so long, but should my conclusion be that the said friendship was over?

Yes, I know everyone is too busy now. Gone are the days when we wrote a letter, everything is digital these days and be honest, if we send an app, we almost expect an answer immediately. Yes?

I didn’t think that my email was particularly fiery and believe me I can write ones like that if I feel so inclined, more a questioning type of message. The reply I got a couple of days later, was so vile and vicious, that after one read, I binned it. Basically, it is all my fault, why I am still not sure, and I will spare you the details, but my hunch was right, the friendship has sort of fizzled out even though I was left with many questions. It was upsetting for sure, but the same day my horoscope predicted a very similar situation and told me that it was truly time to move on. And then came the thought, should I reply, or not?

Hence the title of this blog. If I had replied I would almost have been inviting a further reaction and to be honest one was enough. And I took the decision to just let it go.

Later same day I was working on some texts and came across something very similar. This is interesting and I think everyone can relate to this at the moment.

We as humans are evolving with huge rapidity. We have come out of an age where ‘suffering’ and ‘paying for your mistakes’ was a big issue. This made us all fearful and afraid of rejection. With the new age, it is not about this anymore. It is all about being your authentic self and sometimes even making yourself vulnerable. Isn’t that basically why you have friends? People you feel totally at ease with and can share your inner thoughts? I think so, maybe others don’t.

In the same email I mentioned above, I was accused of ‘lamenting’ so much about my personal situation, they felt there was no time to talk about their problems. This I thought was untrue, but hey, everyone has the right to their own opinion, but my suggestion is keeping your own opinion to yourself if it’s hurtful, it serves no purpose whatsoever to ‘reject’ another in the same way. That time is over! If we don’t realize this and keep going over the same ground again and again, we will continue to be stuck in the mud and make no growth at all.

The whole point is that we as humans and soul beings want to grow. That is why we came here and why we wanted to have the experience. As another friend of mine said: you can spend your life sitting in a chair or you can leap up and crash through all the barriers! May sound strange, but as long as you keep postponing your growth by not living your dream or desire, that is not ok.

So, what is your dream or desire? How do you achieve it? Many people ask themselves this question and try to answer from their minds and not their feelings. End result is that you may think you are in a transformation process, giving yourself a big pat on the back that you know better than the rest, but in fact you keep falling into the same pitfalls over and over again. There are no guidelines or instructions how to do this, you must feel and follow not only your heart but also your gut instinct. Don’t over complicate things but trying too hard, often just setting the intention is enough. No one has all the answers straightaway. Truly.

So, to come back to the beginning of my blog, another important thing is to realize if the people in your life, from family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues or whatever are no longer resonating with you, then you need to be brave and face up to it which is basically what Eckart Tolle says in his quote. We may all be on a journey but that doesn’t say we are at the same station or even on the same train, theoretically. Our life path is personal, and some run all the way and with success too, whilst others go at a much slower pace. Nothing is wrong or right. You just need to be true to your feeling.