As many of you know who are regularly reading my blogs, my passion is writing and recently I wrote this piece for a very good friend of mine who is going though some big changes in her life. At the time she was actually many miles away (on the other side of the world to be exact) and I felt inspired during our ‘whatsapp chats’ to put my thoughts into words for her.

She is making life-changing decisions, reaching a huge turning point in her life, where she is finally making choices for herself, despite the consequences. I actually read this out aloud at a gathering on Sunday in her home. As I came to the end, I saw that every single person in the room was extremely emotional. I think it struck a chord with everyone, so I thought I would share with you:


My dear friend,

Recently I saw a quote on social media that said:

‘If friendship lasts for more than 5 years, then you are more than friends, you are family’.

A beautiful sentiment: but to me this is completely opposite to the principle that you get your family, you choose your friends.

It’s something to think about isn’t it?

What does friendship mean to you? A good friend (masculine or feminine) is someone who listens, it doesn’t matter what you want to tell them, whatever it is about, they will always listen. Without any judgement, without comments, without giving you the feeling that you may have done something wrong. Because doing something wrong does not really exist.

Just remember, the thing about making mistakes is; that you did the best you could at the moment with the knowledge you had. There is never anything to reprimand or rebuke. We may make mistakes. We learn from them.

A friend is someone you can share everything with. Really everything. Your paths have not crossed without a reason. Even though we all may be on our own individual path, it is true that they often cross. No one is brighter, more beautiful, or smarter because they just happen to be a bit further along their path of development, we all do it in our own time. It does not matter: remember the journey is so much more important than the destination. It is not only a moment of learning, each day, each moment but also a moment to grow. To develop. If by chance we were all standing on the same path at the same time, there would be complete chaos.

How often in your life have you met someone, it does not matter if it is a man or a woman and you feel a special ‘click’ with them. Something that says within, this is good, this is right; You feel that you are connected with one another, whichever way that may be.

It is almost a sort of déjà-vu moment, just as if you have met one another before during another journey perhaps? It is difficult to put into words, but you just know within. You recognise them deep in your heart. Your soul just knows.

A friendship grows and quickly you feel that this is important for you. Age plays no role. You know within that it does not matter at all if you see one another each and every day or not, you still remain connected. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever.

Because real friendship is so pure, even if you have a difference of opinion, or even a row, nothing can destroy or stand in the way of your connection. You can always talk it out, explain, and make things good again.

Friends are really like stars, you don’t see them all the time, but you know they are there.

Friendship is important, never forget that. Friendship is like treasure, which you have been looking for over a long period of time and you finally find it. It gives you a feeling of freedom. Cherish it; this is something special, because real friendship is exactly that. Special, something to fight for, to talk about, to listen, to give advice but also to receive. A friendship has to be two ways.

Just to be. To be there for one another. Always!


This is a ‘sneak preview’ of part of the first chapter of my book which is being published on 13th March 2018.  This book will be available through or through me (the author). As this is something new for me to share content on the UHMI site, I will offer a special discount for people who purchase the book through me. 10% of the listed price (plus postage and packaging).

A romantic fictional novel, something completely different, hope you enjoy!


Jill Kramer






Christmas in New York

It was a really cold day and as the plane taxed off toward the runway it started to snow. Kate was glad that she has decided to take her full-length coat with its real fur collar, as she was sure it would be even colder in New York at this time of the year. The engines of the plane got louder and soon the Boeing 747 (completely full) was charging down the runway ready for take off. After a steep climb up and through the clouds. Kate hoped there would be some blue skies and some sun on the long flight into JFK.

It was quite some time since she had been to New York. Three years to be exact. In the past she had been many times, but more often on business trips rather than for pleasure. Her dear friend Beth had asked her to think about having a holiday and spending Christmas with her. Christmas in New York! She was so looking forward to it. Christmas trees, lights and the buzz of a city that never sleeps.



This morning I have woken up with the words going around in my mind from the song by Cher – ‘If I could turn back time’. No idea why? It is a very cold frosty morning with Siberian winds blowing from the east, wind chill factor about -14oC. So why are these words coming up.

I wonder how many of you reading this maybe thinking, oh yes, if I could turn back time … what would you have done differently?

I thought about my own life, choices made, right or wrong. In fact my rational self is saying the choices we make are based on what we either know or felt at the time. So is there ever a wrong or right choice? What would I do if I could turn back time?

In 1977 I made the choice to transfer over to Holland. I was actually working at the time for a Dutch company in England. This was three years after my heart operation in 1974. I think at the time I was in the mood for seizing each and every opportunity that came my way, because I had seen, at a very young age, how precious life was and how easily it could all be over. So I took the plunge and went. It was pretty tough in the beginning, leaving my home and family behind and having to take care of myself. Learn a language in order to have some idea what people were talking about. This is a must I think if you go and live in another country, to actually speak ‘the lingo’ and secondly to adapt to their traditions and customs. Originally my plan was that I would do it for a couple of years and go back. It is now 2018 and I am still here. What would my life have been like if I had never taken that decision. Where would I be standing now?

What if I could turn back time?

Someone once said to me that they thought all the major decisions one makes in their life are based not on intuition or with any real conscious thought, you just know when you look back that they were the right ones. Nice theory, but does it really fit in today’s context? There is no getting away from the fact that people all over the world are changing, becoming more spiritually aware. Maybe asking more questions than they did previously? Maybe making decisions based on intuition rather than on the rational. Interesting isn’t it?

Looking back over the past 40 years here in Holland, what if I could turn back time? What would I have done differently? There are without any doubt some things on my list where I think, yes, if I had known then what I know now; I would have maybe not done this or that. My maternal grandmother used to say: ‘if wishes were horses beggars would ride’. This is an English proverb and was first recorded in 1628 in a collection of Scottish proverbs. It is really saying: if wishing could makes things happen, then even the most destitute people would have everything they wanted. Well we are allowed to have our dreams, desires and wishes, so why not?

If we no longer have wishes or desires or even dreams to that matter, then what is there to look forward to? Don’t we all want to create and manifest exactly that?

I think if we could literally turn back time, then maybe we all would do something differently. Make a different decision, another choice. But as I said in the beginning, we made the choice at that time with the information we had.

So that is my thought for this cold frosty morning:

What would you do differently if you could turn back time?

Please feel free to place a reaction under this article or send an email to

There is definitely going to be another follow-up!



I am absolutely overwhelmed by the number of reactions I have received by email on my blog about ‘Donate your organs, Yes or No?’ My email inbox is working overtime and I am afraid that I cannot respond to each and every one of you personally, I take this opportunity to say a big thank you for your feedback and your time.

The reactions were interesting to say the least. I have tried to categorize them into several sections. I cannot go into each and every comment; there were literally hundreds of emails.

* By far the biggest, is the section of people who are undecided. They find it difficult like me I think, to actually make a decision of such magnitude. A lot is ‘mind over matter’. It is the idea when you think rationally about it, which makes it hard to decide. Someone told me about an article they had read where people who were announced as being brain-dead, had organs removed but knew about it and felt the pain. That is shocking to say the least. This is something we have to take seriously. Even though we know the importance of the time factor after death and removing and replacing the organs as quickly as possible in the people waiting. There is a huge difference between being ‘brain dead’ or ‘heart dead’. I looked it up on the site. Being brain dead means there this is no brain function but the rest of the body is still working, breathing, heart beating, and blood going around the body. In contrast to being heart dead, when life has literally ended. I would advise everyone to have a look at this on the Internet site if you are having trouble making up your mind.

* Another group talked about the idea that they did not want to have another person’s organs in their body that they would actually prefer to die. Not many people said this but a group of you did. One of the things people mentioned was infections or disease in the organs transferred. Was the blood removed from the organs properly before use? What if there were the first signs of cancer developing in cells in the organs being used?

* One section talked about only wanting to confirm being a donor and donate their organs to people who were only donors too. I respect this choice, whether it is right or wrong I cannot comment.

* Of course there was also a large group who were already donors themselves and wished to continue to be so, even donating their entire body to medical science.

* A lot of people commented on the financial aspect of organ trading, from country to continent. This was something they felt strongly about and was a big issue in decision-making. They definitely did not want to be a part of this.

* I also received a great reaction from a doctor who is a friend of mine. This was an interesting comment and very worthwhile to mention. Looking rationally at the question purely in the role of the professional, then the more organs there are to donate and use, the better, as their job is in fact to cure people and improve their quality of life. True. But on a personal note, yes definitely for loved ones, and having seen the results of said transplants in patients then the gift of life becomes even more apparent and overcomes any personal doubts.

This person kindly reminded me, about a brilliant doctor here in Holland, from the Amsterdam Medical Centre, who is now the CEO of 5 academic hospitals in London actually took the step of donating his own kidney to an anonymous patient with kidney failure. Wow this is impressive and I think quite an important message to us all! A very loving deed.

One thing that I am quite confused about is the fact that if you decide to donate your organs, the people in your family have the final say? I have not yet seen the official documents yet, but doesn’t this really defeat the whole idea? If someone really wants to make a contribution to helping someone else but the relatives say ‘no’ in the end, I see this really as not respecting their wishes. Do you? Tricky question I agree. Also a decision, which is made when emotions are high.

Of course this has been a discussion in my own family over the past few days and we still haven’t come to any form of decision. This is a question that you really have to think hard about and take the time. Important though to be clear with one another what your wishes are. Even though you may not want to talk about it, do!

Whether you decide yes or no it is a very personal and private decision and one, which everyone has to respect, I feel. The age is from 18 years and there is no age limit.

I wish we could see more about cell stem therapy coming up because the results with this are incredible. Why don’t we make it obligatory that everyone has stem cells put aside? I just happened to read in this morning’s paper that it is now possible to make new teeth grow using stem cells. Amazing! The mind boggles about all the other options in the future. A huge amount of progress has been made over the last 30 years or so, so maybe invest more into this work? To me this seems a more natural way. Why not take cells or blood automatically from the umbilical cord instead of just throwing it away as medical waste?

Is this maybe not the way forward too? I know very little about this subject to be very honest but I thought it was quite relevant that this crossed my path too!

Again thank you all very much for all your responses. Most appreciated!


Sorry I thought we had moved on from all the fuss about discrimination concerning children’s’ parties and special festive occasions. I must say I am really glad that in February finally after months and months of talk about the Dutch Sinterklaasfeest (5th December) and loads of people up in arms about racial discrimination is over but the latest hype is that there should be a stop to children’s parties about Cowboys and Indians.

I am beginning to think the entire country has gone completely bonkers! It seems that the people who are making all the fuss are forgetting that we are talking about children’s’ games, which have been played for years.

I heard this on the television last night and so the impulse to write this column, that party centre Tivoli/Vredenburg will no longer be organising children’s’ parties with this theme (Cowboys and Indians). Why on earth not?

Apparently some small group made an official complaint against ‘My First Party’ because of use of ‘Nazi types’. Er, sorry what? When the prominent activist Anouscha Nzume joined the cause and threatened to withdraw her co-operation on another feministic festival, there was no way back. This meant that the organisers in Tivoli ended up with their backs against the wall and made a statement that ‘they will no longer be organizing this type of party anymore’. How much longer are people going to succumb to such people? Really aren’t they doing exactly the same tactic which they are making such a fuss about?

Well of course I have had to google ‘Anouscha Nzume’, who on earth is she, never heard of her? Well she seems to be a writer and an actress, or in other words as the newspapers are describing her as a complete hysterical nutcase! OK. Even my most least favourite TV programme (Football Inside) has had a discussion about her. I could only agree. Born in Russia, Russian mother, father from the Cameroon (Africa). Came to live in Holland when her father (a doctor) came to learn more. Aha, well she is really a sort of guest then in this country, like me. Not a national. Not that that makes a lot of difference but maybe she should remember the fact that the choice of coming to live here means that you adapt to the local customs or go back to where you came from?

As far as I can remember, children have played cowboys and Indians, it just a game after all. Do people like Nzume seriously think that children are comparing this to some kind of insult to first nation peoples? They probably don’t even know what this means. A racist game? Let’s have more respect for our forefathers please.

I seriously think that all the media fuss of late whether it be about Sinterklaas, Cowboys and Indians, transgenders and goodness knows what else, are people who seriously need to think about doing something else with their life. Maybe channel their short-term media popularity into supporting positive things, instead of screaming from the rooftops about what they consider everyone else is doing wrong.

How much longer are we going to listen to these co-called splinter groups that do nothing more than cause aggravation.

I am all for having an opinion, but come on …. get real! A fellow writer Saskia Noort recently said (and I think this is very relevant): Maybe we should stop writing about them and giving them even more attention. Good words, enough said.

A DATING SITE? Is ‘Tinder’ your choice?


Yesterday quite by chance I got into a conversation with an aunt and niece about dating sites. To be perfectly honest I know absolutely nothing about them, apart from their existence and from commercials on TV.

The name Tinder is quite interesting for starters. According the Oxford English Dictionary, Tinder means:

‘A flammable material such as wood or paper, used for lightening a fire’

I found this amusing because if you are a member of Tinder are you the material for lightening someone’s passion, lust, love or what?

It was quite an eye-opener for me to be part of their search for the perfect partner. Apparently once you enrol and state your specifics, like age, gender, location and such like you receive a whole gallery of photos to choose from.

Oh the photos are funny in themselves. I seriously wonder why people post up such photos and men take note, women do not want to see you in sunglasses they want to see your face, look into your eyes to maybe judge if you are a match or not? Change your profile!

You go through your daily selection, a swipe to the left is immediately ‘binned’ as unsuitable, and a swipe to the right means, yes, interesting! Only when you get a sort of confirmation or ‘match back’, can you then start a conversation with one another and maybe arrange a date. In other words they think you look interesting too.

It all sounds horribly complicated and confusing to me! But as I said, I am a complete non-starter to dating sites. One thing that I do find irritating (and I only know this from the commercials is that there are some sites for highly educated people) What? Does it mean you are suddenly unsuitable if you don’t have some sort of degree? Degree in what I ask myself. I find this discriminating. Do we judge people these days on their intellect or how they are as people?

Anyway, back to Tinder. The niece told me that one of the first questions she asks is about the size and performance of their gear? She said she had recently had a match with a young Indonesian guy, so she had googled the size of men’s’ (you know what) who come from there! You can imagine over a glass of wine this became a hilarious discussion.

Is that the first priority then with the younger generation looking for a partner, the size and shape of the equipment? I see the gap between my age and hers thinking I would never ask that as my first question, but come on let’s get our priorities right! Perhaps I should wake up a bit on this score? Just in case you are wondering the smallest are in China about 11 cms long she said! What?

Actually I think people who put their profile up on Tinder and such like are quite brave. I can never imagine going on a date with someone through this media, but again it is the generation gap. Quite by chance there is a new programme on TV (from the UK where else?) where couples choose a potential partner based on observing their naked parts. I zapped off immediately to another channel. Some of the comments were unbelievable including one man who compared a girls’ intimate zone to a cheeseburger! Really? This is how you possibly choose a partner these days?? I am confused. Fast food à la but …

Anyway the upshot of yesterday was that I have never laughed so much in weeks.

Thank you to both of you for enlightening me on pros and con’s of Tinder. I don’t think I will be signing up !


Recently a very controversial law has been passed here in The Netherlands. All citizens have automatically become donators of their organs. There has been so much fuss about this law and a lot of coverage in the press that I was not sure if I was actually going to write something about it myself.

It is such a strange thought, almost makes me squeamish. On the one hand I certainly can completely understand the principle that if you donate your organs you can prolong or even better the life of others. Certainly as a parent with a child desperately waiting for the donation of say a kidney, liver or heart, that you are so extremely grateful if one becomes available and your child can then live a normal life.

That I can get my head around rationally.

But the idea that someone might remove all my organs after death is strange. I think this is being honest. Even though I will personally know nothing about it, because my soul will have already left my body anyway, but it still feels strange. I wish I had an answer why.

Recently I asked my own children what they thought about this. My daughter who is nearly 30 said quite simply that she did not care what they did after her death. Yes, true, but the idea that a doctor would remove all the organs for donation and transplant from my child for another; it was still strange. My son was undecided.

I have been asking myself over the past few days, why do I feel this way? I know better of course that the person who donates will not know a thing, but how would I feel if I had to make the decision that the organs of my loved ones are donated to others? Would I and could I?

This new law is supposed to make it all clear and concise, but it doesn’t really as far as I am concerned. The new law automatically makes you a donor. If you don’t want to be one, you then have the choice to fill in a form and say no. But what about the people who forget or don’t make the effort to fill in the form? Who are suddenly confronted by the fact that they became a donor automatically?

As you can imagine the press have been having a hay-day with the entire subject. Ranging from people saying that the Government has no right whatsoever to say what you will or will not do with your own physical body. True! The supporters of course are enthusiastic, particularly the politician who will go down in history for making this legal, and others (and this makes me sad) who say, well I will not donate my organs to those people who are not donors too! What a dreadful way to think. That is going totally backwards let’s be honest.

So an interesting thought came up:

What are your thoughts on this matter?
What would you choose?
What would you choose for your children (under adult age)?
Are you a person with someone in your family who is actually waiting for a donor right now?
How do you feel?

I am still undecided. I realize that at my age I don’t really have a lot to offer myself  now. Still I will have to make a decision whether it is yes or now. Still undecided. I find it a really difficult subject.

Do you?

Reactions please to or leave your comment under this article.


Just a really short blog this morning about my latest book. Entitled : A Second Chance. At the moment with a friend who is editing and correcting any of my mistakes. Hope to publish 13th March 2018.

A Second Chance is about four people who literally get A Second Chance in life. It follows the story of Kate, Thea, Thom and Christiaan and their respective families. A chance meeting in New York. A business prospect. Baking for Beauty. Friesian horses and a ranch in Springville, USA. Penthouse apartment in Rotterdam, Holland. The growth of the business which Kate and Thea originally started together in a small warehouse.

Coming soon. This book will be published through Brave New Books. Available through or via the author for those outside the catchment area.

A romantic fictional novel.  Watch this space!



What a strange title you may be thinking. First of all better start with an explanation of the expression ‘Porky Pies’.

Years ago and probably still to this day, in certain parts of London (the east in particular), they speak a local dialect called ‘Cockney Rhyming Slang’. The idea is that you give something a name that rhymes with something else. For those of you who have visited places like Portobello Road and the Docklands (despite the fact that it is a very trendy place to live these days), may or may not have seen the Pearly Kings and Queens. An old tradition where men and women dress up in black suits covered with pearl buttons.

Yes, probably you are now thinking something along the lines – always thought the English were strange! Maybe so, but it is just a tradition. This dialect is complicated and even for native speakers, like me, hard to understand. You just have to use your imagination…

So if you think about what you would think a’ whistle and flute’ might be, well I will help you it’s a suit. You would say to someone that you like their ‘whistle and flute’ if they appear in a new suit. Same goes for someone who might say ‘I’ll take the apples and pears’ which means stairs. As opposed to going up in a lift for example.

Anyway, that it the theory behind cockney rhyming slang! One of my favourites is then ‘porky pies’. Not only do I love Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, which is a delicious pie with a water crust pastry and filled with pork and a sort of jelly snack and so typical in England, but ‘porky pies’ can also be lies.

And so this week, the news in Holland has hit the world stage. One of our politicians, well our Minister of Foreign Affairs (Halbe Zijlstra) to be exact has been caught out telling ‘porky pies’ (lies). It is not so much about what he said, but more about the fact that he said something that has made him the laughing stock of the entire world. How can a Minister in such a position be taken as credible when he just tells lies? This actually happened in 2016 and it was not something that was so terrible, just a silly stupid mistake that someone with his education and upbringing should have known better.

Of course we all love to exaggerate. This is something a bit different. Think about anglers when out fishing, they love to tell a little untruth about the size of the fish they caught, bigger than anyone has ever seen or even exists in some cases. This is harmless. It is also considered to be ok to tell a ‘little white lie’ to maybe a dear friend who asks you if you like their new car, new house, new dress or such like and you think it is awful, but for the status quo, you may say, ‘er yes its lovely’ when you might preferred to have used the word ‘ghastly’. You just don’t want to hurt their feelings so you take the easy way out.

Well said Minister of Foreign Affairs suddenly found himself in the position that the only way to get out of a very embarrassing situation was just to resign. Strange but true. There was no way back, once you have lost your credibility in the world that is it. No one will ever believe another word you say. And the World Press had a hay-day about it, not to mention the numerous jokes on social media. Would you ‘Adam and Eve’ it? (Believe it?)

But don’t feel sorry for him, it was after all his own fault and by the way, even though he has resigned and become jobless, he will be able to survive on a huge amount of money every month he receives from the authorities, just because he was a Politician.

Seems a bit unfair doesn’t it when you compare it to people who lose their jobs in industry and spend years literally scraping the barrel to survive?

I wonder what Halbe Zijlstra’s ‘trouble and strife’ thought about it all? (Try and work this one out for yourself!


Gold, Gold and more medals …

This year for some reason, I have been watching several live broadcasts from the Winter Olympics 2018. Wow, what a start, an amazing Opening Ceremony, with spectacular things, like the 1200 drones flying simultaneously and forming the five Olympic rings in the air!

But yesterday saw the start of the skating. I used to skate when I was a girl. Went every Saturday for lessons at Richmond Ice Rink (UK), whilst my parents did their weekly shopping. I actually got quite good, but this is not speed skating or doing long laps around the rink, this is more ice skating in the form of dance, jumps, pirouettes and such like. Shame I never took it any further.

When I arrived in Holland in 1977 I was introduced by a colleague to skating on natural ice outdoors. I remember one weekend, when the ice was particularly good, she asked me to come with her on the so-called ‘ Windmill Tour’ near to where I lived. Well, yes, I can skate and I have skates, so got them sharpened and off we set one Sunday morning. There is something quite special about skating on natural ice and also the more stops you make for warm chocolate milk with a dash of rum, the better you get. It was such fun.

I remember the next morning I could hardly get out of bed. My muscles were aching all over my body. I suppose it had been a bit optimistic to get out on skates, for the first time in years, and then do a 30 km tour. I hobbled into the office hoping that I could sit down the majority of the day and allow my poor limbs to recover.

This is the reason why I have a lot of admiration for the Dutch top skaters. They follow rigorous regimes of training all year around, summer and winter there is no respite at that level.

So yesterday was the 3000 m for women and several top Dutch competitors. A surprise win by an outsider by it gives you a feeling of pride (even though I don’t originate from Holland but have lived here now for 44 years) when all the three competitors step up for the medal ceremony and this tiny little country has the top 3 world places.

This morning was the turn of the men, Sven Kramer (we have the same surname, just by chance) and he won his third Olympic Gold medal and set a new Olympic record. (5000m) What an achievement.

I was watching the ‘short trackers’ too. Another medal (silver) for Holland for his achievement in a very tough and busy group.

Yes it is moments like this that make the people of Holland very proud. You can spot them all the time amongst the crowds, always dressed Orange (the national colour), with funny hats and the King and Queen are with them too, having equally as much fun.