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.



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: 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!


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 – – 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!



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.


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.”


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.


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.


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


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:

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!

To be continued…

Images: Google


How often have you thought about pulling up Dandelions (Taraxacum Officinale in Latin) in your garden? Thought of them as a nuisance and a weed which needs to be removed. Well, think again because I bet you did not know this about dandelions…

The Dandelion is the only flower that represents the three celestial bodies of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars.

The yellow flower represents the sun, the puff ball (or dandelion clock), the moon and the dispersing seeds the stars.

The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.

Every part of the dandelion is useful, root, leaves and flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.

Up until the 1800’s people would pull up the grass out of their lawns and make room for other useful so called ‘weeds’ like chickweed, malva and chamomile. 

The name dandelion is taken from the French word ‘dent de lion’ meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves, which by the way are lovely in salads.

Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plants.

And seeds can travel up to 5 miles from their origin!

So, isn’t that room for thought?

My 3 year-old granddaughter loves them and often picks and carefully brings the ‘puff balls’ for me. Cradled in her small hands so that the seeds don’t blow away. She calls them ‘whoosh flowers’. Isn’t that cute?

I think maybe the dandelion is the most unappreciated flower in our garden and in nature and maybe we should leave them be and not pull them up as weeds as their message is interesting to say the least.

Wash leaves thoroughly before using in salads particularly if you pick them out of your garden.

Images: Google


Cuddle bees! My granddaughter and I have a project. We are soon to be the happy owners of a 5-star hotel for ‘cuddle’ bees. Never heard of them? I hadn’t either. It’s a new initiative to introduce a special species of bees to your garden and works like this …

Online you can order a special hotel (5 star preferably of course) for your bees which you then place on a south/south easterly wall in your garden at a height of above 1.5m. The bees come too in the same package, in their winter cocoon in a special tube. The male bees will probably be awake on arrival and there is no need to be afraid that they may sting you as they don’t have sting in their tail! These bees are a special species known as Red Mason Bees (Osmia bicornis).

As the remainder of the bees awaken from their winter hibernation, they move into your hotel and then spend the next few weeks, paring with the female bees and gathering pollen in your garden to feed the young bees. They are major hard workers in pollinating the flowers and fruit trees in your garden. They fill the corridors (or rooms if you like) with pollen and earth to not only protect the young baby bees, but to feed them and then close of the corridors with earth to stop birds picking and maybe eating their young. We won’t allow that! And they are happy, grateful guests too, usually remaining in a radius of 500 meters of their hotel.

We all know that the bee population worldwide is in serious trouble and that many experts say that when the bees become extinct, life on earth as we know it, will too. That is a pretty daunting prospect, so this is a great way to teach our children and grandchildren to have respect for the bees and not to be afraid of them. Bees and wasps will only sting if you antagonize them by waving your arms about and screaming hysterically. Sit still and they may settle on your plate (wasps especially) and then fly off. 

I have lots of other bees in my garden because of several trees that blossom in the Spring and in the first instance my granddaughter was wary of them. I keep telling her that bees just buzz by, say hello and then move on and that they are hard workers, collecting the pollen in special pockets in their knees and making honey in normal hives. They have always fascinated me from an early age and we had hives in our garden. Honey fresh from the hive and the honeycomb is the very best and so good for you.

It’s interesting that bees have a special significance too. I remember doing research about them for one of my books and I would like to share this with you:

So, for starters …

The Symbolism of bees relates to focus, dedication, hard work, teamwork, fertility, prosperity and generosity. Because bees exist on every continent on Earth, except Antarctica, they have been the subjects of mythology and folklore for many cultures all over the world.

The bee symbolizes community, brightness and personal power. Follow the bee to discover your new destination. The ancient Druids saw the bee as symbolizing the sun, the Goddess, celebration and community.

A bee landing on you represents courage, confidence, independence and determination. It is also a sign of high social energy, charisma and a good omen for attracting friendships and or good relationships.

Bees are a symbol of wealth, good luck and prosperity since ancient times. Charms in the shape of honeybees are good luck for attracting wealth. The same of course goes for coins with the honeybee symbol.

Are you convinced on the importance of bees? Hopefully yes and this is a very cute way to introduce young children to bees and hopefully preserve them for many more years yet to come.

 See the website to order yours!

Images: Google


Please, please please can we abolish the dreaded Instagram Influencers?  They are just so boring! Yes, I admit I have an account myself, but I only use it to share news about new blogs, or photos I sometimes take whilst out walking and never ever anything personal. My account is private, I don’t have a ‘blue tick verification’ (don’t want it), I only follow those I know, and only allow people I know personally to access my posts. But in some or other way, these blasted ‘influencers’ seem to creep in at all times and the majority of them, I am definitely not following at all. We all know that computer system algorithms access absolutely everything. Just look up one simple thing on Google and you will see that all your sites, Instagram, Facebook, and such like are then inundated with advertisements.

The thing that really irritates me about these ‘influencers’ is that maybe they begin in the right way, like a person for instance who is calling themselves a ‘travel blogger’. In the beginning they tell interesting things about where they are traveling and give useful tips and tricks, but then they start to send totally boring messages far too much and far too often. Like ‘Good Morning Friends’ every single day of the week. Within no time you are in their life big time, and did you want to be in the first place? Of course, the easy way to duck out is to delete all people you are following, but as I said some people are posting interesting things.

Here in The Netherlands the biggest Instagram influencer (and by this read earner) is a man called Bas Smit. I started following him as he used to post really funny stories about things, he was testing from the cheap online sites like Ali Express, Wish, Light in the Box etc. It was amusing; ‘was’ being the main word in the sentence, because now it no longer is and he has become so deadly dull, I stopped following. Not out of any malice but it just got boring the same old posts about his enormous collection of ‘Croc’ shoes, walking the dog, down the same pavement, a weekly dance routine with his personal trainer and so on.

The thing most people may or may not realize is that a major Instagram Influencer is paid big time. Either in freebies, or in money. If you are an influencer, say promoting the Boss campaign then this is literally earning you big bucks. However, unknown names who then become big influencers and this usually means that more than a million people are following them end up having so many freebies, it is totally ridiculous and out of all context.  I will use one example but not mention names. It is not my style to use names in my blogs, out of some form of journalistic respect but this is such a good example of how utterly stupid being an Instagram Influencer has become. And basically, it is all our fault.

I just happen to know of a young woman who is a big influencer. She posts every single day and several every day, beginning with the ‘Good Morning Friends’ crap. Then during the day, you are totally subject to every single event, about where she lives, about her child, about her parents, about the free products she is promoting (and therefore offering you a discount if you buy too) and then all the luxury holidays she goes on, supposedly as a travel blogger, but to be honest I have never ever read a proper blog with useful information. On the contrary, it is all stories about upgrades on planes, because no way is she going to travel economy class, only business and then the viewer is subjected to copious stories about how the child was sick on the way to the airport, how he didn’t sleep on the plane, how irritated other passengers were… should I go on, or have you fallen asleep by now?

If I was writing about an all-inclusive, five plus star holiday blog, giving advice to others then that is what it would be about. For instance, about the accommodation, the food, the services, things to do and such like. I would not be posting up stuff of a personal nature and in these times, I wonder why people do? But at the end of the day (or blog in this case) my readers would have had a useful piece of information telling them a lot of facts they could consider if they were thinking of taking the same or similar trip themselves.  Mine would be a piece of written text and not stupid Instagram stories, which by the way disappear after 24 hours.

The person I am writing about does not, sorry she does not. It is all totally boring posts and stories about the glamorous lifestyle, but that wasn’t really the point was it. Being an influencer is not a free ticket to bore your ‘public’ with the same old b.s. again and again and she does that. Since last autumn, never ending series of trips to places that the majority of us have on our dream ‘bucket list’. The top-class accommodation and continual upgrades, and I seriously wonder, do they have a real life at all? Or is life one long posting session, keeping up appearances, making content for us poor sad ‘guys’ (as she says) who are stuck at home, or at work, or can’t afford such luxury. Do we really want this rammed down out throats 24/7? No, I guess not? And as long as there are huge numbers of followers, the story continues and never ends. And as I said it is so totally boring, well I think it is. I don’t want to keep on seeing the same old promos about some food substance they are promoting, like gummy bears for my skin and hair and offering me a discount. In fact, I am capable of thinking for myself, and I don’t need some obscure influencer to tell me. Any fool can find literally anything on the internet these days and wouldn’t actually be more fun to find out for yourself. And to be blatantly honest I am not at all interested in her relationship with yet another boyfriend, lovey-dovey shots with sunsets, hundreds of posts of the child in the pool. Not at all.

And don’t think for one minute I would contemplate ever following this person, because I wouldn’t but it is surprising how much ‘content’ manages to seep through the cracks.

This is not any form whatsoever of ‘sour grapes’ even though you may be thinking that reading my words. Not at all. I am just glad that I have other things to think about and do, and not allow myself to be ‘influenced’ by such rubbish. But there are some very vulnerable young people in the world who really look up to these people and, sorry about this, is that the people they look up are basically very shallow. A lot of people are easily influenced; that is my point.

In this day and age and under the current circumstances in the world today, isn’t it time that we all had a think about these influencers and stopped following? Seriously! The more followers the more space they have to indulge themselves (not you) in totally luxury and spend their days literally lounging around in one luxurious resort to another, just because we follow them. And we all know that advertisement is big business and expensive.

The absolute ‘bloody limit’ I thought was the offer of an all-inclusive 5-star stay in one of the villas in the Maldives (where she is for the umpteenth time, the only change is the man friend who has tagged along too).  She is offering that to her followers. All expenses paid including airfares. What got me about this was the gal to even suggest that she was offering us poor souls a holiday as a thank you! That was the moment when I ensured once and for all, that she is so definitely blocked from my own account that I seriously hope I never ever see another post again (or story for that matter). And, what prompted me to write this blog. And by the way this free giveaway earned her another load of followers too! So read here, even more money!

But Instagram Influencers will continue to make big bucks and get so many freebies because we follow them, or not in my case. The fact that we do, and this earns them, the difficult to obtain ‘blue tick status’ which is based on the number of followers and the only gain is theirs and theirs alone. It is so boring, compared to other Instagram users who have a message or story to tell. Who share interesting things about their life? Or who give us useful information about things. 

The action we need to take, is that we need to be choosier because it is up to us, who do you want to follow (apart from the obvious, like family and friends). One thing that I noticed is that a huge amount of these influencers come from Germany. The comments to such stories and posts are enough to make you reach for a bucket… 

I wonder why this is the case, but it is just a fact I noticed.

IT’S TUESDAY 22-2-22

There will be copious amounts of information today about this significant date. But significant dates have happened many times over the centuries and we call such an occurrence a ‘palindrome number’, which is a fancy word for a number sequence. I read earlier today that the last time this happened was on 11th January 2011 (1.1.11). 

I remember I was quite excited when my birthday came up on 20-08-2008 and thought this was pretty special too. Yes, for me, but maybe not for you.

However, number sequences happen all the time. Many say they are signs from angels, or other spiritual guides giving you a message, but I bet many of you reading this blog will say: I often see duplicating numbers on the clock. Someone very famous quoted that: ‘coincidences just don’t occur’. Is this right or wrong? Are they coincidences or special messages for us? 

You can look up loads of information about the meaning of repeating numbers but the thing that struck me this morning is that 2 is a number representing a pair, a couple, two things, two people and if you have a highly developed sense and by this I mean ‘the Claire’s) – Clairvoyance, Clairaudience etc., you will often take a pause to see the significance of an occurrence. Like a moment when you take another road home, for no particular reason and then hear later on the news that the road you normally take was blocked by an accident, which had occurred. Or you miss you train or your flight and suddenly find out later, it was for a good reason.

2 to me is all about the word ‘trust’ and we all need a lot of that at the moment. Trust that eventually things will all come together and we will be back to our ‘normal lives’. This then raises the question what is normal, a lot of us have forgotten that after more than two years with a worldwide pandemic going on.  

Recently I have noticed that a lot of strange things are going on. People who speak out (and this refers to my blog yesterday) are suddenly flagged by the socials – in other words – they are noted under the category as being ‘dangerous’ about what they say. I mean, this is totally ludicrous, since when did we become ‘dangerous’ for speaking our truth? I have always thought that ‘fear’ which is basically a word which represents ‘power’ is a strange thing. Powerful people take advantage of people by conjuring up ‘fear’. That is exactly what happened with this pandemic and I am not trying to be light about it all. On the contrary. But, how much of what we were told was actually true? Who knows? How good was the research on the substances used in vaccinations? Any virologist will tell you that a virus mutates, so how many boosters do you want to give a person to protect them?

One thing that made me laugh this morning on the news was that the man who spoke the most about ’fake news’ is actually going to launch a ‘Truth App’. Seriously? Believe me I will not be downloading that onto my iPhone or such like. Even though I would agree that Trump came for a reason to wake up the stuffy powers in the US Senate and then made a complete ‘balls up’ of being the President. Sorry for those who are supporters and yes, it is your right to have your own opinion, but come on … how seriously are we going to take the idea of him launching a Truth App?

I have diversified from my intention at the beginning of this blog – sorry. This was all going to be about numbers, sequences and their meanings but once I get into the flow, the words just tumble out and before I know it, a blog is written.

I think in these present times, it is very important to pay attention to little signs, sequences, and any other form of messaging that we as humans receive. I am not talking here about getting a message from your boss that the meeting will now be at 10am instead of 11am, I am talking about ‘silent’ almost inexplicable messages that we receive. A sudden gut feeling, that inner voice and those deja-vu moments. That is what the significance is, of days like today.

As I said you can read huge amounts of posts today about the meaning of this day, and tomorrow will be equally important when it comes down to receiving said signs and messages. The universe does not work with days of the week, or dates, they choose the moment to send you a message when you need it the most. When you feel hopelessly lost and unsure of which direction to take. The moments when you feel something is just not right and later get the confirmation that said feeling was exactly right. For you. Not everyone is on the same position on the path and a good thing too, otherwise it would be far too busy. It’s busy enough anyway.

A number or any number will have some sort of meaning to someone. You may often choose numbers, say in lottery tickets that have significance to you, your birthday, your wedding day, the date of birth of your children and that is perfectly fine. We don’t all have to automatically jump onto the bandwagon of thinking that a sequence of numbers is the same for everyone.

By the way the meaning of palindrome is according to the dictionary, a word, phrase, or sequence of numbers that can be read forwards as well as backwards. It gives the example of the word ‘madam’ or the phrase ‘nurses run’. Bit strange but it proves the point. And not to be confused with anagrams. Whilst researching some fact for this blog, I read that the most popular number is a 7 – no idea why?  They say it’s the luckiest number in the world. Is it? 

Examples of palindrome numbers are 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,22,33,44,55,66,77,88,99, 101, 111, 121 and so on.

So many and therefore this confirms my thought that it may make a great sequence today’s date, but in fact, any date or number is special. Agree?

Just take today as a day with a special significance and make it, like any other day, a special day.  And most important, just enjoy it!\

Images: Google