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!

SOLAR PANELS WITH A BUZZ !

Well after weeks of waiting, finally the day had come to install my solar panels. Perfect timing, I thought, a day after the Summer Solstice and long summer days and evenings. It’s been weeks, if not months planning this exercise. Solar panels are trending here at the moment and literally everyone wants them. With the exorbitant rises in the prices of electricity and gas, thanks to totally stupid wars (in this day and age?) and supplies from Russia which have been affected by sanctions. The strange thing is that here in The Netherlands we have enough gas for our national demand, but we sell the largest part to Germany. What? How ridiculous is this? Yet another example of typical useless EEC ruling.

Anyway enough, back to my panels. When I first noticed the opportunity here, I filled in the form. A long telephone conversation following, and it surprised me that they seemed to know about my house. Angle of the roof perfect. 4 older solar panels (which would be removed and later placed on my shed) and yes, they could install 8 panels. Several administrative things later, someone came to inspect my roof, and everything was fine and ready to go. Installation date: 22nd June 2022.

The day before I tidied up everywhere as the cables will have to pass through the room to get to the meter cupboard and a new group of fuses (a group box) will be installed, as it is a definite requirement that the entire electrical system can be switched off instantly the so-called main fuse.

They arrived on time, and it was a perfect summer’s day with no weather implications, no snow, no ice, no winds and not too hot. They were nice and got going straightaway. First job, remove the older solar panels, all four of them before the new ones could be put up. Three were removed and then I suddenly heard a yell and the installer coming down his ladder very fast. He was agitated and looked shocked. ‘Sorry’. He said, ‘have to stop all work as there are three wasp nests under the final panel’, which was now lying loose on the roof. 

I got him to sit down as he did look a bit shaken and let’s be honest who wouldn’t be if you have disturbed a wasp’s nest and they are buzzing everywhere. Many phone calls later the company who were installing, said, the first priority is to arrange for an imker to come and secondly the loose panel must be off the roof as soon as possible as rain was forecast and winds the next day.

Easier said than done, as this is ‘full-on wasp season’ now and the imkers are very busy and the earliest one could come was on the following Thursday (i.e., a week away). Crickey what now?

The men cleared up their things quickly and left. I was in total agreement with them about stopping for the blasted wasps because if you get multiple stings and don’t know if you might react allergically, then the only thing you can do is dial for the emergency services as you need an epi-pen really fast. This could even involve the arrival of the trauma helicopter as this is a remote area and no one wants to be subjected to that, if possible.

My phone went non-stop for the next couple of hours as everyone was trying to locate an imker who could come immediately. ‘Oh’ I said, does this mean they can come back and finish off the work?’ Er no, the new appointment for installation is now 15th July, three weeks away and to be honest I am pretty pissed off about the whole thing now. Not that it was anyone’s fault but just the frustration of yet another wait.

There would be a slight chance that if they could come earlier than the 15th (which I very much doubt myself) then they would ring me, and it would be short notice. I agreed saying I would cancel any other appointments if necessary.

A full day later and late that evening a good friend had arranged for the imker to come and the panel to be removed as there was heavy rain forecast during the night.

Well, you would never believe what happened next. The imker who is perfectly used to dealing with these wasps, took a look before taking all his equipment up onto the roof. Two of the three nests empty and the third had only a few wasps in it, so with a waft of his gloved hand, all three nests in the gutter and the panel is now off the roof too. It took less than 5 minutes total.

The imker left and I chatted on with my friend. It was one of those glorious balmy summer evenings and we sat out in the garden until around midnight. What a bit of serious bad luck it all was, but I do realize that always and each and every time safely comes first.

So, roll on to the 15th of July, which by the way is St. Swithin’s Day and notorious for rain. I will be having a ‘heated conversation’ with them upstairs if it damned well goes and rains on that day. So, finger’s crossed and hope all goes well and then I can join the huge number of people converting to solar energy.

My older panels were installed in 2001, that is the birth really of the first solar panels in this country and even though they are ancient compared to today’s standards, they still collected on average 10 KwH on solar energy (a month, not daily). The new ones will collect on average something around 3500 KwH a year, which is more than half of my consumption, which of course has changed now too due to personal circumstances.

Solar panels are trendy and in great demand and who begins to wonder why we don’t make them here, but the majority of them come from China and I won’t even begin to talk about transport complications etc., due to the dreaded ‘C’ word.

IMAGES: GOOGLE

SALIMBENI PROFUMI, ROME, ITALY

I thought I would start this week on a positive note and write a blog which I hope you will find interesting. Not a moan about this and that but about the discovery of something really lovely!

Recently on the socials, the Italian based firm Salimbeni have been advertising their perfumes, reed diffusers and saying, ‘once you try you will want more’. They even offered free trial samples where you only paid the postage and when another offer came up to try three of their reed diffusers I jumped at the chance.  I have to say it was a bit tricky as my country (and why I don’t know) wasn’t in the choice list, so I sent a quick IG message asking if it was available here too? A very helpful friendly reply and this is quite a treat in this day and age, when you seem to spend more time on chasing things up or complaining.

So, Alice Almeida, the Customer Service at Salimbeni replied immediately and said: yes, and she would be happy to take care of things. Would I send my details and she would email me a link to pay (Euro 27, — for three 100 ml bottles) and the postage was free. It literally all took less than a couple of minutes and within two days, they arrived. This is customer service and how it should be.

I have three different perfumes. Respiro di Mare (which means ‘breath of the sea’) which is now in my bathroom and smells divine. It’s not overpowering, just lovely and refreshing and conjures up thoughts of the Italian coastline, Portofino, waves, freshness, wind – just perfect for bathrooms.

The others are ‘Erbe Aromatiche’ obviously Aromatic Herbs and ‘Fico dell’ Elba’ (Fig trees of Elba). I have actually been to this island off the Italian coast and it’s beautiful and I instantly see an image in my mind of brilliant blue skies and sea, sunshine, figs and sweet ripe melons.

Salimbeni is based in the heart of Rome, Italy just off the Palazzo Borghese for those of you who are familiar. They say they only chose the very best certified quality materials, and the Master Perfumer composes the elements with wise skill to create excellent perfumes. He (or she) does, I can vouch for that!

Apart from reed diffusers, there are waxed soy candles, car refreshers and one of the most exciting things, an intense Cologne or as I prefer to say, Eau de Parfum. This is comprised of five non invasives aromas to wear on the body, but with a strong personality. I have a sample of the Elisir (Elixir) di Bergamotto (Bergamot) and it the most sensational perfume I have smelled in a long time. The first aroma is delicate but powerful and lasts all day. Not overpowering but present and I love it. And will definitely be ordering it next time around.

Often perfumes can smell ‘cheap’ which really means that their ingredients are sub-standard, and the more expensive ones reiterate the phrase: ‘you pay for what you get’. True. Quality comes at a price, but there is nothing worse than having an overpowering cheap smelling perfume and people almost backing away if and when you come close. Surely everyone would want to feel that they are eluding a perfume which tantalizes the senses.

I am impressed and being a big fan too of Rituals, I have to say: ‘move over Rituals’ some very big competition coming from Salimbeni.

I personally love the Italian language, it’s one of my favorites and love the country too. The words flow like waves on a sea, sensual and sexy. And that sort of describes the perfumes by Salimbeni. Sensual, sexy, and just delicious.

If you are interested in their products and want to have a look at their range and website: go to: www.salimbeniprofumi.eu or if you are lucky enough to be in Rome, pop along to the Via Fontanella Borghese 74 in Roma, 00186 and visit the shop itself. I guarantee you will not leave without a bag of something.  It makes me want to get on a plane and go and sample all the aromas made here.

Can’t wait to try and other perfumes too!

SOMETIMES IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HOROSCOPE IF YOU ENCOUNTER ‘ONE OF THOSE DAYS’ (REALLY!)

Yesterday, when I read my daily horoscope and tarot reading, it warned me that the day was going to be frustrating and challenging concerning finances and plans. How true was that! 

It all started when my washing machine decided after 9 years of daily faithful service it was time to say goodbye and the motor stopped. Ordering a new one online, if you know what you want, is easy-peasy these days. So, I did just that, taking the option for a new model which was slightly damaged for a much-reduced price, after all it said: thank you for helping the environment and saving the life of a perfectly good machine with slight damage. Sounds good doesn’t it. I paid and within minutes got a confirmation back, that it would be delivered the next day.

I needed to remove the old one and place it outside so that it could be returned once the new one arrived and couldn’t even untwist the tap and water connection. Thanks to a great friend who came and helped, all ready to go, old machine outside for re-cycling and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new one.

I started to get slightly worried and sorry if this sounds racist, when I read that driver Mehmet was on his way and would deliver to the door stop. I thought they were going to install, which is normally the case ordering from this company, but sorry no, this was a slightly damaged machine and to the door delivery only. I thought, as my son was coming that afternoon, that to be honest, we would be able to install it together, I mean how hard is it to attach the hose for the wastewater and add the hose to the water tap? Child’s play, yes?

So, a van pulled up and Mehmet and his colleague were standing at the door with a huge box. I mean huge, it would never have gone through the front door. ‘Fridge/freezer’ he said. ‘No’, I replied, ‘washing machine’. It was quite hard to convince them that this delivery was wrong, they got aggressive and stormed off muttering in some incomprehensible language, nearly knocking over my very large vintage terracotta pot with eucalyptus in the process. The packaging was left strewn on the street and all I could do was then get on the phone to find out what was wrong.

Thanks to a helpful person at the online store – Bol.com – the product was reported as ‘refused at the door as the wrong product’ and she phoned the supplier several times. This is unfortunately one of the problems becoming more and more apparent when Bol works with other partners, they are not as good as the service Bol provides. As I had already paid, I would have to wait for a refund, but no machine and the washing basket getting fuller. Because, let’s be honest, you really miss a normal household appliance when they have gone and left you….

To cut a long story short, the lady from Bol called me back three times and she had put things into motion. Where the washing machine that I had ordered was, no idea but a pretty good guess would be that Mehmet and colleague were probably trying to deliver to the person waiting for the fridge/freezer.

My money would be refunded, and it was on my account next day and I ordered the same product, this time new and a little bit more expensive and they will deliver and install tomorrow and take my faithful old machine away, which has been out in the rain last night on the drive, poor thing!

It is a sign of the times that when things go well, they do, but any form of problem involves you in several hours on the phone and praying and hoping that things will be resolved and put right. The compensation email from the Bol partner has by the way still not been received as they were offering me a financial compensation for the ‘f*** up’. Only fair!

Next issue:

For a while I have been looking at getting a new e-bike and considering a couple of things. I have, as I have told you in earlier blogs had a total hip and knee replacement on opposite sides so being able to get on and off a bike in a sudden emergency is crucial and even though it seemed a simple exercise to find one, the phenomena of the ‘frame size’ came up. What the hell do they mean by that? Well simple, it’s based on your height. So, all the easy get on/get off bikes are designed for poor old shrinking elderly people and the frame height is 49 cm which is basically a child’s size. As I am 1,78m this is not the right one for me. Seems a bit judgmental don’t you agree that the easy get on/get off bikes are small frames!

Anyway, one the best-known e-bike specialists (Stella) had got in touch with me and had arranged for one of their representatives to come to my home with a bus full of bikes in all sizes and models for me to try. Not only getting on and off but riding as well. It all sounded too good to be true and it was!

The time of the appointment was changed three times, same day luckily and when the man phoned me from the bus when he was literally in my street in front of my house asking whether or not he was at the right address, should have been the sign for me that this was not going to go well. He got here and managed to drive the 100 meters further to the parking spots and came to the door. I followed him out and he was huffing and puffing getting bikes out of his bus. A cocky little man from Amsterdam who then went on to moan about the long drive. I told him what I was looking for and virtually every model in the bus, he told me was unsuitable for me, because of my handicap. What handicap? Just that little bit of extra caution as I have other surgical parts in my body. I told him that I ride on the home trainer every week at the gym, and it was really important for me to be able to get off and on the bike safely and in an emergency, a sudden stop for example that I would not literally have to throw myself off the bike to get off. It was like talking to a complete idiot who treated me like a senile demented elderly person, making remarks all the time. I was well and truly p***** off by the whole procedure, let me tell you.

Eventually he got out a bike, which to be honest was very nice and sleek and said try this one. It was really difficult to get onto the saddle, which he then changed for a child size saddle (for goodness sake how dumb is this) and I said I could have a ride. ‘Off you go’ he said. ‘Could you at least show me how the bike works?’ I asked. He tutted and moaned a bit more and when I came back and I asked the price, this was much more expensive than I had been told on the phone and he had about a thousand excuses why the bike I was originally interested in would not be suitable for me. It was when he called me tall and force in stature (this is the polite version by the way) that I was done to be honest. A typical boring stupid little salesman who went through the normal bullshit and had nothing to say at all which was relevant to the entire idea suggested by Stella in the first place. He put all the bikes back into his bus and then came into the house. I had several questions which he did not really want to answer and when I asked about the special offers which Stella put out every single day on all social media, he told me that I should be grateful that he was offering me a better battery. 

I was so grateful that my son was here and said: ‘right we will think about it’. To that, this beastly little man (and such a good example of a man with small man syndrome), stood up and left the house. What a wanker (excuse the language, but he was).

My son was also spoken too like a nobody, this guy remarking on his Tesla car etc. which had nothing whatsoever to do with an e-bike and talking about me to him. No way!

My son rang Stella and told them that under no circumstances whatsoever will I even consider getting an e-bike from them. They were shocked by what had happened and asked my son: ‘what do you expect us to do?’

Well Stella have a think about this for starters. Ensure that the people representing your company and visiting clients have a basic good idea about normal manners and grace and realize that they are there to help a potential customer, not to ‘slag them off with bullshit’. Not to try and be some cocky little nobody, when informing a potential client about the possibilities and which bike (from a large collection) would be a good investment for them. It’s irrelevant if they had a long drive to come and visit and basically were then fed up because they did not make a sale, and he was very pushy about the battery offer only today and tomorrow. Come on how stupid do you think we are? It’s downright insulting. If I was the CEO at Stella this guy would have been out of a job by 9am this morning!

Later when we were talking about it all, I was reminded about my horoscope that very morning about encountering difficulties and obstruction on financial matters. That it would be a frustrating day. It was.

So, my advice, take notice of messages you receive (horoscopes or whatever) and I know many people don’t believe them, but always read them. There is some truth in that kind of synchronicity. Always!

FOREARMED IS FOREWARNED

PLEASE EVERYONE BE ALERT AND KEEP YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU AND WHEN IN DOUBT A SIMPLE CHOICE: DELETE!!!

I opened my phone this morning to read three (yes, three! and all that before 9am) posts and comments from people who have been ‘abused’ on social media, either by the worst of the two options: Instagram or Facebook and another who had been scammed for a substantial sum of money by a bank fraud situation.

I have spoken a lot about fakes and scammers over the years and believe me they are getting more and more resourceful. If you have been sensible like me and brought your Instagram profile back down to ‘private’ you will hopefully, no longer be inundated with rubbish messages! You can also put key words in to filter messages you may receive, but so far. I can only confirm that it’ s been a great success for me and I don’t get them anymore. Sometimes, one creeps in, but I never ever read and delete and report.

I realize of course, there are those of you out there who use your accounts for maybe other reasons and need to keep them more open to the general public. But you can switch off comments, if you find yourself having loads of bitchy and evil comments, like a friend of mine recently told me. It is so sad that the socials have become a platform for this and that everyone feels they can say what they like, being totally disrespectful and sometimes down what rude! 

And yes, we make ourselves open to this, because we all love the socials and keeping up with what is going on and sharing our lives. But there are limits. I also find myself extremely irritated by the so-called influencers and I won’t go on ad nauseum about them anymore. I never follow and it does worry me how much influence they may be having over young teenagers and adults who follow their each and every move. The majority of photos are tweaked and photo-shopped so please don’t be fooled by the ‘perfect appearance’. There are so many apps to make yourself like ‘a Hollywood star’ and those of you who have been following the Depp/Heard litigation will now know that the most magic make up is: ‘the bruise kit’ (as Amber Heard said herself about her alleged bruises she received). Very few influencers will ever post normal photos like ones we do, which maybe show the real truth. Influencing is all about really conning people into believing the adapted truth. Enough said.

They just do it for the money and the perks, nothing more. Those who carp on too about people faking their accounts are also ones to be aware of. I know of instances where they were worse than the scammers themselves! Really!

Recently, someone I know who has to deal with fake accounts and women all over the world thinking that they are chatting to him, had someone turn up at his private address! A very sad disillusioned woman thinking he had invited her. Now this is taking things too far! It was painful, humiliating, devastating, incredibly brutal (to use a few of Johnny’s words) and ended up with everyone wishing it had never happened. This person just happens to be gay and happily married to a man and in his work has no time whatsoever to be chit-chatting with women around the world. All he does is share his journeys as a sea captain. Nothing more and many enjoy.

Another person I know from a closed and private workshop group posted this morning that she had lost a substantial amount of money from a so-called bank fraud. Please, please write this down in large capital letters that the bank will never contact you in this way. Ever! And if in doubt, hang up and delete and close off your banking app on your laptop, smartphone whatever. This is an awful experience, and you may find yourself completely left to deal with it alone, the bank probably will not even help you recover the sum lost and remember you can report them for this negligence with KIVID (The Netherlands) or another organization that you can make a claim for help. Also, really important file an official complaint with the Police for Internet Fraud. This all helps to prove your innocence and the fact you have been taken for a ride. Or abused if you prefer.

A good tip is never open your banking app’s anywhere apart from in the relative safely of your own WiFi. Anywhere else is making yourself vulnerable.

These scammers and fakes are getting more and more inventive and find many ways to push themselves into our lives. Just remember the majority are the so-called ‘creeps’ in places like Ghana and Nigeria and loads of them sit in rooms with rows and rows of computers faking and abusing people, robbing people of money and their hearts. Don’t be a victim. Wise up to it, please

A new way of scamming I have discovered, and this is a personal story. I recently posted out on Facebook warning people about a company here in The Netherlands who offer goods, you pay, but the parcel never arrives! In other words, you lose money, so I posted out to warn others, just like I do in my blogs. Someone asked me to make the post shareable and I did (something I don’t normally do) and yes, would you believe it this is the message I received this morning: –

Quote: From Facebook user: Jeffrey K Walton (living in Nevada USA)

Hallo mijn oprechte en oprechte excuses voor het abrupt schenden van uw privacy. Nou, ik was door mijn update aan het scrollen toen ik je profiel tegenkwam en ik was gefascineerd om je te leren kennen, ik hoop dat het niet erg vindt om mij een vriendschapsbezoek te sturen of kunt mee een bericht sturen op Messenger. Ik heb geprobeerd je te sturen maar deel het niet doorlopen. Ik hoop dat je het niet erg vindt.

Unquote!

Now the Google Translate version in English, as I purposely wrote the Dutch one first as there are mistakes in the text (a tell-tale sign) that this is not genuine.

“Hello, my sincere and sincere apologies for abruptly violating your privacy. Well, I was scrolling through my update when I came across your profile and I was fascinated to get to know you, I hope you don’t mind sending me a friend visit or you can message me on messenger. I tried to send you but did not go through the share. I hope you do not mind.”

Unquote

Get the drift how fake this is? I sure hope so. And yes, you did violate my privacy so just f*** off!

Needless to say, I have deleted and removed this comment because if you look at his profile you will see there are only three photos, no friends and it is so obviously a fake profile and needs to be reported.

I have deleted the comment from my Facebook page and please take this as a serious warning, the tighter the circle and by that, I mean the more we become aware how inventive these people are, the more they are looking for different outlets. Don’t be fooled or taken in. Ever!

I know it may be getting boring for some of my readers that I keep carping on and on about these fakes and scammers but there are still too many sad stories out there, even people I know personally and all of us need to be more aware.  It just spoils things entirely for the genuine, normal people in the world and listen to your inner voice and don’t be taken in by their rubbish.

Take care with what you share! Keep it light, open and impersonal, no photos of your children and any other information which entices them to make their move. BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU SHARE!

Have a happy day everyone.

SOMESTIMES IT’S BETTER TO BE DAPPER (DEPP) AND LESS SEEN AND NOT (AMBER) HEARD !

How many of you reading this blog have got yourselves caught up in all the legal entwinement between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and the number of litigations.? The live broadcasts have been amazing. I will be open and admit when I first heard that these charges were being made, that my first reaction was biased and based on the idea that Johnny Depp had quite a history of both drink and drug problems. You will see I am purposely not using the word ‘abuse’ here.

But here we are several weeks into this trial for the defamation of Johnny Depp’s character. I can only say that every single time he has been on the stand (under oath as well) he has been calm, cool, polite, and behaving like a gentleman (and that is the meaning of ‘dapper’) and many of the testimonies by people have proved that point too. This is, I believe. the 4th accusation for damages, this time around it’s Johnny Depp suing Amber Heard for defamation of his character. Even though several audio recordings have been played which were, to be blatant, quite shocking, there has not been one single occasion when Johnny Depp lost his temper in court or said anything detrimental. Quite the opposite. Even when he was provoked by Amber Heard’s lawyer saying when ‘he poured himself a mega pint of red wine’, he calmly raised his eyebrows and said, ‘a mega pint?’ and then went on to say: ‘a large glass maybe’! Such control.

JUST OBSERVE THE EYES AND FACIAL EXPRESSION!

So, one or two words are spoken by her answering a question, and his side immediately raises an objection, making statements like ‘hearsay’ or ‘leading the witness’ and I don’t think many of us would be able to remain cool and collected and actually remember what we were even trying to say. To be able to do that you need to be an ‘actrice’ and then play the role as opposed to being your true self.

He has without any doubt whatsoever ‘won’ over the people and the socials are praising him for his demeanor, his calmness, and the way he is conducting himself throughout what is sadly becoming a bit boring now.  Hopefully it will conclude, and the jury will be wise and make the right decision. Johnny Depp’s lawyers are smart pro’s because once Amber Heard took the stand and was questioned and was quite hysterical every five minutes, the objections came fast and furious, I noticed she was taken off balance and lost her train of thought. When an objection is ‘sustained’ it means it is allowed and the witness must answer the question. As against ‘overruled’ meaning the question has to be rephrased. The judge decides every time.

I have noticed that Amber Heard plays a role, her facial expressions are very exaggerated, and her emotional outbursts are false. Pure role playing. She is being called a ‘borderline case’ and I can only agree. She just doesn’t come across as being someone who is speaking their truth and stories are muddled and over done to the point that I am sure most of the jury will have great difficulty in keeping to the actual point or reason for the litigation.

Don’t you think anyone would lose their cool when provoked and abused verbally like she does? There is and never can be an excuse for physical violence or abuse, but this is someone who is an expert and who could drive anyone to the edge.

Not many of us who are not in the acting profession will totally be able to realize that ‘acting’ is assuming a role and pretending to be someone who you are not in real life. And the more roles you have, do you become more detached from every day normal life. Just imagine what it would be like when every time you appear in any public space that people are snapping photos all the time and provoking you into making a statement which you may say in the heat of the moment, but not mean in truth. Would you like that? I know I would dislike it intensely. 

You are maybe having a ‘bad hair day’ and then appear on all the glossies, not looking your best and then criticism can be very cruel and hurtful. Don’t you really begin to think that maybe these famous movie stars start to lose their grip on the reality of real life? I do. Could you keep up in this world?

Many of us grew up with the wonderful series of films: The Pirates of the Caribbean and Johnny Depp playing the role of the very cheeky Captain Jack Sparrow! Savvy?

He has a lot of public sympathy and now the story has come out about the abuse he received (and suffered) himself during his childhood from his mother, do you really believe that he would then become the abuser himself in later life? I find this hard to imagine.

Anyone who has suffered any form of abuse carries the scars for a long time and to me it does not seem feasible (or possible) that they then become the abusers in later life because they know, better than anyone else, what it is like to be abused, whether its physically, mentally, sexually, or violently. Our soul would put these damaged, hurtful memories into a very deep place in our subconscious and only serious therapy would enable a person to deal with this in later life and not automatically make them the same. Does this sound right to you? I think so.

I am hoping that the trial will conclude soon, mainly so that people can focus on something else and that both parties, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, will be able to get back to their normal lives without the taint of such prejudice anymore. Remember it always take two to tango but having listened to this trial over the past few weeks, my main thought it that Johnny Depp will win. He just comes over as the more polished professional to my mind. Amber Heard on the other hand is such a good example of a narcissist, becoming over theatrical to prove her point and like narcissists do, never being able to ever admit that they are or were wrong. Once a narcissist, always a narcissist and it reminds me of a very famous old story about the toad and the scorpion. I wrote about it in another one of my blogs. The phrase that comes to mind is that: ‘a leopard never changes his or her spots’. 

The sad thing about a narcissist is that they can convince people very well that basically they are good people at heart, but they will always revert to their poisonous sting (like the scorpion) when push comes to shove.

I wonder who you think will win? Is there a winner in actual fact? A mega sum of money will be paid for damages, but will this actually repair the damage? For both parties.

We shall see!

Images: Google

THIS IS WINE … NEXT LEVEL!

What a total coincidence! Many would dispute this with me about whether or not coincidences exist. They do in many ways from very subtle to ‘straight in your face’.

Now, just by chance a friend of mine came to lunch. A long-postponed event because of the Corona rules and regulations and other family issues and brought a bottle of wine with her. We drunk it over a lunch and to be honest I thought at the time – this is really delicious and one of the best I have ever tasted.

I know some information about wines in general but would never describe myself either as an expert or a vinologist. I know what I like and to be honest prefer to have one glass of something really good compared to drinking a bottle of mediocre wine. But this was 10-star excellent wine. I am a white wine drinker and love the rose’s too. Red wine is for me a ‘no-no’ I am afraid because in some or other way it gives me an instant migraine like headache.

I used to be an avid fan of Chardonnay wine but lately I find myself turning more and more towards the lighter Sauvignon Blancs. Even though I lived in France during my secondary school years in the holidays, it was a time when I did learn about French wine in particular. But being only a teenager, was only allowed a small glass every now and again at meals.

I think that is basically a good idea to introduce children (read young adults here) to wine and to show them that alcohol when drunk in small quantities is perfectly ok and normal as opposed to it becoming an obsession later as they grow up. My father and mother were tolerant on that score, and it was never an ‘issue’ to me, even as I grew older.

A few weeks later I researched on internet, something I do often for my work, and found that this wine was imported into The Netherlands by a small group of enthusiastic people called Clavis Wine Import. And guess what, the person who is looking after the area I live in, turns out to be someone I have known for a very long time (more than 20 years to be exact).

So, a couple of chatty emails later and an order placed and last weekend I collected 18 bottles of wine.

I have the following:

Saint Marc Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (6)

Saint Marc Reserve Chardonnay (6)

And a selection box of different rose’s (6) to try (including the rose from Saint Marc Reserve).

To share this with you I will tell you about the wines tasted so far.  Well at the lunch we had the Sauvignon Blanc, which was fresh, fruity but at the same time very smooth. I could talk about the wine, the vineyard, its location etc. etc., but all of this is on the Clavis Wijn Import website and if you want to read more detail please go to this link:

www.claviswijnimport.nl

Sauvignon Blanc in my opinion is one of the lighter wines, perfect with many dishes, but a lighter variety than to say a Chardonnay. The fruit (citrus undertones) and freshness of this wine was just excellent, and it was not watery with a bitter after taste. On the contrary, and quite the opposite. Light but a great after taste almost as if you were pressing the grapes literally into your mouth and tasting the sweetness and purity of the fruit itself. The best and most important thing about the wines imported by Clavis is that they are pure and natural. No additives, no extra’s, and no rubbish and this makes them special. As my title says … this is wine next level.

Sauvignon Blanc is well known as a dry, fresh wine. Wine lovers worldwide appreciate this wine, and this is the reason why a second fermentation does not take place. Sauvignon grapes can be planted in warm and cool climates. Cooler climates result in fresher wines.

In the meantime, I have tried the Chardonnay. Now many will describe a chardonnay wine as having a sort of oily taste. Some do I agree, but this one is a smooth as silk. It is a ‘stronger’ wine than a Sauvignon Blanc with a deeper, sweeter fruit taste and often a sensation of the wood of the barrel. This is I think what makes people refer to Chardonnay’s as being oily. This one is not and smooth and silky to the palette with the heady notes of fruit but at the same time a similar freshness as the Sauvignon Blanc. This must be a specialty of the wine blender at Saint Marc which is in France (of course) in the region of the Pays d’Oc. The golden region of French wines and I think golden describes this wine too, it’s gorgeous light golden color in the glass and I always drink wine from crystal glasses. Why? No real idea, it just seems to taste better that way.  Even though you must hand wash the glasses which is a fad if you have a dishwasher, but it is so worth it.

Chardonnay wines often have a sweeter fruiter taste like mango, pineapple and often more ‘flowery’ resulting in the creamy softer taste. The Saint Marc Chardonnay I would call silky as opposed to creamy.

Sauvignons on the other hand have a more citrus fruit flavor, green apples, lemon grass and dragon which gives the wine its fresh taste, with an almost fiery herbal sensation. In other words, the freshness of the wine. The Saint Marc Sauvignon is pleasure for the palette and did not strike me as having any bossy overtones at all.

I will move on soon to the rose’s, but it takes me a while to drink the bottle on my own and that is why I much prefer, screw top bottles, which can be sealed and kept in the fridge more easily than corked ones. Often air can seep through the cork giving the remaining wine a musty flavor (or corked as they say in the business). 

First on the list is the rose from the same vineyard Saint Marc Reserve. Again, all details about the grapes and the process are on the Clavis website and I don’t really want to write and just repeat their information.

All I can conclude is if you want to take the wine you drink to the next level, seriously take the time to look at this website. Often there are special wine tastings held usually on the first Friday of every month and you can sign up for information about this on their site.

I know it’s easy to grab a couple of bottles in your local supermarket or take advantage of special offers in off-licenses, but believe me, it is so worth the extra bit of effort to try and buy these wines.

The difference is stunning and to my humble opinion proves that wine made in the purest way without all the extras is simply the best. And it is a good idea to actually treat yourself every now and again to something so excellent. And why not? You deserve it don’t you?

Anyone coming to visit me will be drinking this wine from now on. It is definitely what I said wine – next level. Excellent quality, affordable and most important too delicious for words. Pure and unadulterated drinking pleasure.

Here are the details for you to see what is on offer: (and more important how you can order some for yourself!

www.claviswijnimport.nl

To be continued…

Images: Google