So, readers it is the 2nd January, time to clear away all the Christmas decorations, if you already haven’t and now the New Year has begun, I would like to write something about Resolution or Intention? And in particular to the long list of things we write down that we are going to do differently in the New Year.
For many years, a lot of people start the New Year with a clean slate. Good idea for sure, and then make a list of their New Year’s Resolutions. If you like me, find that the list is binned before the end of the month, maybe it is time to turn things around and make intentions.
There is a subtle difference in the word but a huge difference in the energy.
So, let’s start with the proper definition: (Source Oxford English Dictionary).
A firm decision to do or not to do something
A formal expression of opinion or intention
The action of solving a problem or contentious matter
Passing of a discord into a concord
An aim or plan
The action or fact of intending
A person’s plans
Taking the first definition of both words, can you see the tremendous difference?
The first in Resolution is surrounded by negativity. Why? Well because the word ‘not’ comes into it. Intention on the other hand is positive because it talks about an aim or plan.
True, the difference it very subtle but the words just give so much more space.
The word ‘aim’ is quite different from ‘a firm decision’ do you get the general idea?
When we turn the energy around in all walks of life to positive as opposed to negative, then there is so much more chance of success. How often have you heard people talking and saying something negative: from something so simple as: ‘I have a party arranged for Saturday, but it is sure to rain!’ Never heard of the Law of Attraction. You have almost ensured that it probably will.
The universe is very subtle in messages. And the fact of what we transmit comes back to us, almost like a boomerang. It is as simple as that. This is nothing new and nothing I have made up myself, many influencers in the spiritual world have been saying this for centuries.
So, what about your intentions for 2020, knowing that this is a new decade and the fact that we all know it’s a new moment. New choices and new chances. That is all possible this year. It’s a leap year too, so we have 366 days to do something different in and with our lives.
And there is no moment like the present: today.
You can really put the past behind you one last time but taking a simple look back on what you have achieved this last decade. What were you doing in 2010 as opposed to 2020? Well a basic simple fact is that you are 10 years’ older. Does it feel that way, or does it feel as if the time has flown by? In my case definitely. I have memories of the Millennium when we moved into a new century and half the world had prophesized ‘doom and gloom’ scenarios about the end of the world and the fact that nothing digital could cope with the new numbers. Such a fuss and in actual fact, the moment came and passed with no consequences at all.
However, one thing to think about is that the past is the past. It has gone now and no matter what happened or what you did, you cannot change it anymore. You are in the present moment of the here and now and basically don’t know what the future will bring.
So how do you make sensible intentions? Well simple. By making, saying or doing something you intend to do and really want to do, is totally different from a list of things you know beforehand you will never keep.
For instance, to say: I intend to eat more healthy foods this year and drink more water, get more rest, stop pushing myself to my extreme limits, get more exercise and so on and so on, are intentions that you can keep. And more important they are things you can adjust on a daily basis.
To my mind the word: ‘diet’ is just as good as saying ‘food binge’ or ‘cravings’ because you put so much emphasis on the word, saying you cannot have this or that, when there are going to be days when you do. If you say for instance, no more sweets or chocolates and then have some, are you literally going to beat yourself up about it? No of course, not because the next day is a brand-new day and you can re-adjust your intention.
These are simple examples but of course there are more serious subjects which you can include into the loop as well. Abuse, toxic relationships, bullying, social media overindulgence and many many more.
So, this year I have made some simple intentions for myself and truly believe that this time around, the list (and by the way I have not actually made one) will not land in the bin before January is finished. And intentions can be adjusted all the time. Of course, I want to lose weight, get fitter, drink more water, get a good night’s rest, cut down severely on social media (or as I mentioned in an earlier blog FOMO – fear of missing out). Maybe if we all, me included spent less time sharing our lives on social media but actually sharing it with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances there would be much less ‘abuse’ on social media in general, fat shaming for example, to name but one.
The number of likes we have on our posts, is it really that important? Does it make you feel better the bigger the numbers? I doubt it very much, unless you are the type of person who just loves to go on a daily ego trip.
So, as I bring this blog to a close, have a serious think about this. Think about what your own intentions are and why? Remember you can always adjust and change or add to them. This is not a list of things you have to do, or else. Remember what I said earlier, new moments, new choices, new ideas …
True you can say you want to stop smoking, or drink less alcohol, but these are addictive habits which you have probably had for a long time. And such habits can take a long time to break. But you can do it if you really intend to. The secret is all in the word: intend or intention.
There is no point whatsoever putting so much negativity into this, as it has the reverse effect. Try and put more positivity into the things you want to do in all walks of life.
There is no moment like the present, you can begin today. Begin small and start taking bigger steps, you don’t have to run the ‘marathon’ tomorrow.
For quite a while I have been thinking about writing a few words in a blog about the word: politeness. It seems to be something which is disappearing from society at an alarming rate. Why? I will try and explain.
Let’s start with the official definition from the Oxford English Dictionary
A noun: behavior that is respect and consideration of other people
Hmm, that is food for thought isn’t it?
Probably a lot of you (or even the majority) who read this blog will be thinking that you are polite. That will be basically correct because we have all, hopefully, been brought up this way. But because society in general places such huge demands on us right now, often simple ‘norms and values’ are pushed to one side. Mainly because of the pace of life. But is it an excuse? No of course not.
It really does not take much effort to be polite. A simple ‘please and thank you’ or saying ‘good morning, afternoon or evening’ to people. How much effort does that actually take?
One of the worst areas where politeness seems to have flown out of the window big time is in the shops. When was the last time you asked for help in a shop recently to find something? My own experience was in the local DIY Gamma store, a few weeks back, when making an enquiry about wall paint. A young girl, with her phone in hand of course, sitting behind the ‘enquiries desk’, eventually looked up after I had been standing there for a couple of minutes. I asked her if the latest trend color for 2020 was available in smaller cans. I was quite amazed when she eventually replied: why do you want to know? For goodness sake: maybe because I want to buy a can and only need one liter instead of five. Eventually after you have done several rounds of the shop, you find someone who can help. Problem solved but the frustration of how unhelpful people can be leaves a ‘sting’ in the whole experience.
Another totally irritating thing is when you are perhaps queueing in the local shop to pay and they pick up their phone and start a conversation. You were of the impression they were actually helping you. This happened to me the other day in the bakers. I was about to pay and the girl behind the desk suddenly picked up the phone and took note of an order for another customer. Perhaps it might have been more polite to ask them to wait a moment and finish off the transaction with me first? Is that so much to ask? It seems so!
I noticed to that people rarely add the word ‘please’ when they ask for anything. Or ‘thank you’ when they actually receive what they have asked for. It is a sad reflection on the times that we are all so incredibly busy, usually with our mobile phones, to remember the politeness we have all be taught.
There is such an incredible difference when you go shopping Stateside. I have been many times to both the USA and Canada and believe me the assistants in shops are so helpful, it is almost mind blowing. Nothing is too much trouble and why? Well, because they all work with a minimum salary and receive commissions on sales. That must be the best incentive ever to be polite and helpful. It is such a refreshing change when going into a store and asking for something that first of all, you get a reply and they are helpful to the moment you leave the store. One of my experiences in New York several years ago was in the Sephora Shop on 5th Avenue. My son was looking for something special by Jean Paul Gaultier. They did not have it in stock, but in the time we were in the store, they had arranged for it to be collected from another store and brought by taxi. I mean, how amazing is that?
Another thing I really like Stateside is the idea of a personal shopper/helper. Not that I am incapable of making up my own mind, but when they wander around with you, they come up with helpful suggestions about maybe trying another product or saying that this product is better than another, or even what is on offer. They carry around your basket to the cash desk and then often give you a goody bag of free samples too. Again, this experience was in the Sephora store and even though it’s is quite some time ago, I remember it well and the impression it made on me.
In general, Stateside and in Canada people are so much more friendly than in Europe. This is just a generalization because of course, there are polite people here too, but the difference is so noticeable.
So, isn’t it about time as we step into a new decade to maybe reflect a little bit on this subject? It is really the minimum we can expect of each other isn’t it? Politeness. One of life’s normal things. It would be so much more pleasurable if you encountered more politeness in so many walks of life.
Try it! Next time you go into the shops, perhaps say ‘Good Morning’ you will probably be shattered by the look on their faces. Let’s stop being on the phone when in shops. You do not need to be having a conversation with anyone whilst you are standing at the cash desk. Phone people back when you are finished. Nothing is that urgent. Not to mention the fact that it is damned irritating when people are carrying on a phone conversation for all to hear. We are not interested are we?
That is one of the biggest issues at the moment, that we are so dependent on the fact that we have to be available for literally everyone 24/7. We don’t. Nothing is that urgent. And no one is indispensable. We all think we are, but we are not. I used to think this about myself too.
My idea was this morning, before I started to write this blog, was to create a clean slate and to step into the New Year with a fresh start. I had already been through my emails and deleted more than 3500, all of which I had read during the year, but just keep on file. Why? I am probably never ever going to read them again. Did the same with all the emails I have written to other people. Cleared the lot and my ‘in and out box’ is now empty! Hoorah.
Cleared my Instagram account too. Archived all the old posts ready to start afresh with new posts in 2020. Changed profile photos too.
Even though this may not be about politeness which was the theme of this blog in the first place, it is about my commitment to do things differently in 2020. I realize that big changes are coming and I want to be ready with that same clean slate, to completely go into the new energy and new times. Release a lot of old baggage I carry around. And a simple ritual like clearing out your email and other social media can be a very refreshing one. No more wading through piles and piles of irrelevant things anymore, and even better no more scrolling down and down to things in the past. As I often say, the past is gone, you cannot change it, you are in the moment of the here and now. Tomorrow is something we know nothing about and what may happen.
So, let’s all be ready for this and reflect on the idea about trying to update our ideas of what politeness means. I am willing to say, that if you do you will be pleasantly surprised how things seem so much better. Slow down, no one ever has told you that you have to race through your life at break-neck speed. What doesn’t get done today, can be completed tomorrow. Remember the word ‘deadline’ is so negative. Think about ‘lifeline’ and the energy turns around completely.
Goodness me all that thought: food shopping, decorating and preparing and whoosh … Christmas is over. Weeks of Christmas songs on the radio, it feels strange today, Friday 27th December that it’s normal music once more.
With the winter sun today, all the decorations look out of place, I actually wondered should I clear them away or wait, even though the dark evenings are so much better with a lot of light and candles burning…. So, I will wait until the New Year.
Did you like me, and everyone eat too much, sit around too much and watch too many films? Say yes if you did. It was my granddaughter’s first Christmas which was fun, and she is now 10 months old (where has that time all gone?)
The ‘piece de résistance’ this year was the pudding I made for Christmas Day. From a recipe from the Dutch supermarket chain, Albert Heijn. When the magazine appeared at the beginning of December, I remember thinking at the time … this is it!
A sponge base, filled with loads of mascarpone cream, two meringues and lots of fresh raspberries and toasted pistachio nuts. I did adapt it a little bit and my goodness it was all gone and very delicious indeed!
There was a lot of rain here and so mild for the time of year. A lot of people went out to the local beaches on Boxing Day during a sudden dry spell, which had been my intention too, but never got around to it.
Yes, ‘never got around to it’, seems to have been a sentence cropping up a lot this year. I have been a bit distracted from my writing, not sure why, think just a typical case of writer’s block, as I was shocked to see I have not written a word in my new book since November! But that is the way it works with inspiration, you either have it or you don’t. Sometimes the words flow with such speed I have problems keeping up with my own typing. Pages and pages get typed when the story line is going well, but other days, and sometimes even weeks, can mean that you don’t even type a single word.
Must get a bit more organized in the New Year. I don’t usually bother with a so-called list of resolutions for the New Year. Of course, I think like everyone, that I must pay more attention to my food habits, but I have such a sweet tooth, a day does not seem the same, without a mid-afternoon cup of tea and a couple of biscuits (preferably chocolate). I just seem to need a sugar shot around this time of day. But I really want to make a more conscious effort this coming year to eat more healthily. A recent stomach bug meant that just before Christmas I could hardly eat anything except mashed bananas and fruit smoothies. I lost some weight for sure, all put on again after over-indulging over Christmas.
It was quite a shock this year that the supermarkets are now open Christmas Day too. Why on earth is that? You can do so much pre-Christmas shopping beforehand only going for fresh last-minute items last minute. Personally, I am a huge fan of online supermarket shopping, you know they deliver it at the door and we also have a new service where I live, where fresh bread can be delivered daily too. If I ever go into a supermarket and I prefer to avoid at all costs, I cannot find a thing, whilst an online list takes me literally minutes.
Even still my fridges are full and cupboards too, despite the fact that we have eaten quite a lot. Why do we always have to overdo the shopping pre-Christmas. Are we actually worried that the shops will not open ever again? They haven’t really shut at all this year.
I think it’s unfair to ask staff to work on Christmas Day, but I would probably be very surprised to see how many people actually were food shopping on that day. Were you?
Now it feels like a sort of ‘time limbo’ fast forward to New Year’s Eve, which just happens to be my most disliked evening of the entire year. It is such a forced moment I always feel. Of course, I know that literally everyone looks back on the year which is just about to pass, and looking forward to the New Year, which is coming, but it is not my evening at all. I enjoy the firework displays, but at the same time think of how many casualties there will be from firework abuse, despite all the warnings. How many people will be totally hung over on the 1st January because of alcohol abuse. As I said, not my evening at all. I never understood all the fuss and I know my dislike goes back to events when I was a child. Not happy memories and they seem to have stuck with me all through my adult life.
But on a more positive note, there has been a lot happening astrologically including a total moon/sun eclipse (26thDecember). Some people in the world should have had an amazing view of a ‘ring of fire’ when the moon covers the sun and still a circle of bright light can be seen. We know that eclipses are always powerful moments, but this one just happened to be on the South Node. I will explain: A solar eclipse can either be a north node eclipse (when the sun and moon are conjunct at the North Node of the moon) or a south node eclipse when the opposite occurs. The North Node symbolizes new beginnings and yes please, we all want that I think. The South Node eclipse, however, is about culminations and endings. Which sounds very appropriate for the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one. Another way to look at a culmination or ending means that something reaches the maximum point of manifestation.
Not as scary as it sounded is it?
To my mind, and I have thought this for a long time, moving in 2020 is quite something and it will be a year of major changes for a lot of people. I have written a blog earlier in more detail which you can scroll back to read if you want, but I personally feel that big changes are already starting. Not with anything in particular, but I am noticing that suddenly I have a different tone of voice. Somethings that I often would have voiced an opinion about, don’t seem to matter anymore. Why? I have no honest answer but maybe you like me, are noticing that things you used to get ‘worked up’ about have sort of faded into the background. It is now becoming more and more apparent that 2020 will be the year when you dare to really show the real you to the world, without any reservation and without any fear of rejection. Either take me as I am or leave me alone. May seem a strange sentence to write, but how often have we all ‘adapted’ ourselves in the year nearly passed. Numerous occasions I dare to suggest. You, me and everyone.
This continual fear of not wanting to miss anything (FOMO = fear of missing out). Yes, you can agree with this too? I know I have felt that all through 2019 and all of a sudden, it is becoming less. Yes, I have my laptop on, to write this blog and my iPhone beside me but I am really trying to make a conscious effort to put it aside and not to be ‘online’ as much as I have been in 2019. True, my personal situation and the fact that I was at home most of the year, recovering from one operation to the next and my phone was my link to the outside world, but now I am more mobile it seems less important somehow.
I am ready to literally leap into the New Year. 2020! A really lovely number combination (read my previous blog if you want to know more about the significance of numbers) but I am feeling the energy build up already … can’t really explain, a sort of fluttery feeling inside, anticipation, curious, what is going to happen, how will it make me feel, what if I literally turn my entire life upside down and make other choices. 2020 is all about this and we should all be prepared that a lot will be asked of us. The main theme is the realization that when you are really your authentic self and dare to show yourself completely to others, then you become so great and so huge. Doors fly open and things you thought were impossible become possible. You want to grow. We all do. There has been far too much distraction across the globe with this and that (and I am not belittling world events and how dramatic some have been), but at the same time, we are going to be asked to go so much further. Dare to take bigger steps than we have before. Just go the extra mile and do it with enthusiasm. If you can do that then the joy and satisfaction will be something so much greater than we have experienced ever before. Why is 2020 such a big year and why should we expect so much. I am not a visionary, but people who are extra sensitive to energy etc., will agree with me I am sure, it feels like a surge or build up, which is almost indescribable.
So, let’s all get ready. You are either getting on the ride or staying behind. What do you choose? Remember the reason we all chose to be here on this planet now, was to grow as souls. Fear and not wanting to bother is not an option anymore.
Let’s all get going and growing then, more love and tolerance in the world. Less judgement and opinion. Each and every one of us is a unique divine spark of light and it’s time to get shining.
One quote I really loved this year was:
‘Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save, they just stand there shining’.
So come on, shine your light too. Happy New Year!
And something to reflect on as we go into 2020.
If you carry one thing with you today, let it be this:
You are brave, you are beautiful, you are strong, you are smart, and you are loved.
Images: Jill Kramer (private collection) and Google.
Can you really imagine that it will be 20 years since the Millennium? Two decades have already gone? Where? Time flies they say, but this morning I realized we are literally only a couple of weeks away from reaching the milestone of 2020. Or should I say a major turning point!
This is particularly interesting from a number of points of view.
First of all, astrologically. 2019 is drawing to its close and even though there have been a number of significant astrological happenings during this year, eclipses (partial and total, sun and moon), new moons in particular signs, transits and such like it has almost felt as if there was something building up during the entire year. As if we have been waiting for the plot to thicken and the answer to be revealed. It is time for a grand finale to this particular decade. This month Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system will move into the zodiac sign Capricorn.
There is a 5 planet Capricorn stellium and the solstice on the same day (21st December). The eclipse will also be in the south node. Dramatic full moon in Gemini with Venus (the early morning and evening star) conjuncting with Saturn and Pluto, who also just happen to be only 1 degree apart from each other. Venus will be literally sandwiched between Saturn and Pluto as follows: Saturn 19 degrees, Venus at 20 degrees and Pluto at 21 degrees and all in Capricorn. And the full moon is also at 19 degrees in Gemini. The meaning of the quincunx (or 5 planet stellium) is asking you to find a creative solution to something. Pay special attention around the time of the full moon. On a clear night sky all three should be clearly visible. And very close together. Like the three wise men! Or the pyramids at Giza.
So, you see what I mean about building up to a Grand Finale.
And on Christmas Day (25/26 December) a full total solar eclipse in Capricorn. How much clearer can the planets make it for us? It is an eclipse all connecting to the word: endings!
It feels as if this year has been all about reflection and looking back one more time knowing that some major change is coming. There is no more time to remain in an emotional way and keep looking back and thinking or hanging onto past memories. If you are, make sure you have completed your own personal situation, because once 2020 kicks in, it’s time for moving forward, not slowly walking forward but making a huge leap for change and something completely different.
It not only me saying this but many leading astrologers and spiritual people around the world are saying the same.
2020 is a nice number combination too. Even though we say that it will be a 4 year. (2 plus 2 is 4).
For those of you born on the 20th of any month (like me) then you will have a lovely row of three 20’s or when you bring it down then 222. Let’s look at that then as well. 222 is a spiritual number with a deep meaning. The number is associated with hidden love. If you keep seeing this number, you can rest assured that some guides and spirits are supporting you big time. They are telling you that something important is going to happen. And more important you need to pay attention to it.
It suggests too that you are at a point in your life when you are looking for a sense of balance. Enough up’s and down’s, peaks and troughs! It requires you to still have a lot of faith and to keep trusting. It reminds me of my godmother’s words: ‘let go and trust’. This is exactly what is being asked of all of us.
The 222 suggests peace and harmony.
So, if you are literally thinking as you read my words, yes, this resonates with me, then I can only say, be open and aware for any signs or symbols you receive. They can be really subtle too. Often things we think it is perhaps a coincidence but in fact they are actually signs from the universe. And it can be simple things like looking at a clock and seeing repetitive numbers. Waking up at the same time in the night, looking at the clock and seeing it is 2.22 for example. Why do you keep waking up at that time? Numerologists say that this combination means that angels are communicating with you.
Even the sceptics who might be thinking now, what a load of rubbish! Just wait and see. You will suddenly find that it occurs in your life and then think back to this blog.
2020 is going to be a year of huge potential. Big turning point, big changes and it is time to do something in your life that makes you optimistic and enthusiastic and boy, do we all need that!
One of the major focus points in 2020 will be in relationships. Focus and Resonance. If something does not feel right, you are not focused then believe me something is going to shake things up a bit. You may find yourself discovering something about one or two or your relationships (and this can be in any form: partner, family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, colleagues – everyone is in this loop) then 2020 is going to be bringing big changes for all of us. You may be thinking – oh no not for me – but believe, it will happen. Relationships are almost scientific if you like, a cooperation between two people as two unique science subjects.
2020 will be a year when there is much more team work instead of people all striving on their own. Working together instead of creating your own little island and then wondering why nobody doesn’t take any notice, will be a thing of the past.
When you look at numerology then the Chaldean value of 2020 is 0
The Pythagorean value is also 0.
A complete circle. Or a circle completed.
2020 is the third millennium in the 21st century. The start of a new decade.
In Roman numerals MMXX.
And there is more…
One of the key words for 2020 will be LOVE
It symbolizes faith and trust in relationships. Also resonating with the word compassion, meaning; to have more compassion with the plight of others. Having a big open heart for others makes you a better partner, friend and lover.
Strongly linked to the angelic realm too, 2020 is an assurance that they are supporting you. It means that all the reasons are present for you to live your life. Even when it means making huge changes, taking a different direction. Ending something. Creating a situation of calm in your life. If you don’t have that now, then 2020 is almost going to force you into making the changes to have exactly that.
We also use the term 20/20 when we talk about the way we can see, or our vision. This is the perfect situation when a person has so-called 20/20 vision. It refers to clarity or sharpness. So, the year 2020 also means that a huge amount of clarity is on its way too.
It does not matter what your age is, 2020 is going to have a major effect on everyone. If you are reading this, then you have a purpose to fulfill and with 2020 literally only a few weeks away, it is a moment to stop wasting time and get on with things. If you can imagine the ‘ceiling’ becoming the ‘floor’ then you know without any doubt that this is really going to be time for enormous change.
Just challenge yourself and go for it. These are the words of advice for 2020. There is no more time left for messing around and thinking ‘shall I or shall I not’? It is making a decision, no matter what, and getting on with it.
We are all going to be literally liberated from our little boxes and soften into a greater expansion. Literally: spiritually, mentally and physically. Freedom, love and truth are the signs and actions needed. It will be a leap of faith, isn’t it always, think back to how people were talking as we moved into 2000. Some people thought the world would come to an end, people thought that all digital communication would malfunction, and here we are already at the point of going into 2020. Another 80 years and it will be 2100.
We are right into the holiday season now; Thanksgiving has been and gone and now it’s the build-up to the most festive time of the year. Time when there are a lot of challenges. Challenges for those who have to spend the days alone, as opposed to those who have family commitments and are glad when it’s all over. Spell out your intentions, there is a huge full moon coming up on 12/12. Interesting again as the number 12 has lots of meanings too. 12 months in a year, 12 signs in de zodiac, Jesus had 12 disciples and so on. Two primary numbers the 1 and the 2. Signifies the beginning and the singular nature of the universe. It relates to completion, perfection, harmony, motivation, achievement and independence. It is seriously time to make up your OWN mind and not allow others to have any effect on you. Seriously!
So, what else is there to say about 2020?
You remember the famous predictor Nostradamus: This is what he had to say about 2020:
Destructive Earthquakes, Economic crisis. Wildfires on a staggering scale, Record number of storms, Sea level will rise, Big war, Chips will be implanted, England will have a new King, Humans will live on the moon (or maybe Mars). Kim Jong-un will be removed from his office.
Just to remind you. Nostradamus was a famous French doctor and alchemist from the 16th Century. His predictions have been unnervingly accurate about some things, including the beginning of the Second World War, the fall of Communism, the assignation of President J F Kennedy and so on.
A lot in his list for 2020 don’t seem that far away from the truth, do they?
Summarizing: Even though it may seem that 2020 is a critical year, it does not mean an end but rather a fundamental transformation on a world-wide scale, a re-birth of humankind and a new level of spirituality. And people have been saying exactly this for a long while now.
But I don’t really want to dwell on prophecies or ‘doom and gloom’ scenarios because I truly believe that it is up to each and every one of us to take some time right now to examine our own lives. What changes would you make? What is your dream or desire? What do you really want to do? And then just get on with it. Irrespective of any consequences. We all know by now that we all said a resounding ‘yes’ when asked if we wanted to be here right now. So, what is our own personal situation and/or contribution? What is yours’s?
Finally, as I bring this to a close, just want to say A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. Thank you for all your comments and support this year. It’s been a tough year for me as you know from other blogs, that is why I personally really welcome the idea that 2020 is going to be all about big changes. It is time for change. For all of us.
Definitely for me!
Let’s all step into 2020, take the time to look back one more time at the things you want to, then close the chapter in the book, it’s time for a new one.
And change begins with you! No one else, only YOU!
An exciting day: the first piece of artwork from Ian Delaney arrived here in The Netherlands. I am the proud owner of this – The Cliffs of Moher – on the western coast of Ireland.
Isn’t it just beautiful. You feel as if you are standing at the top of the cliffs, looking down on the sea gently rolling onto the shoreline. You can almost smell the salty sea air as two seagulls enjoy the view with you, one flying off on the warm current of air.
I promised Ian that I would promote his work here on my social media including my website in the hope that you all spread the work about his work. He is on Facebook – Ian-Delaney-Artist – and has a website currently under construction.
I know once you see his work, you will want one too. The latest a seaside view at Bray is just finished. But be quick his work sells really fast and goes to countries all over the world.
Pleased to say, this is a first for the Netherlands.
I wasn’t really going to get on the bandwagon too and write something about the news surrounding the British Royal – Prince Andrew, but this cartoon in the Dutch papers this morning just made me laugh out aloud and so here goes then.
The interview which I am guessing many people saw was in one word a fiasco. Just a load of nonsense from him and in particular my question is: can you remember what you were doing all those years ago on one particular day? The day he was supposed to have abused Victoria Roberts. (or had sex with a minor, which is against the law).
Personally, I have difficulty in remembering what I did last year on a certain date, let alone 18 years later. The offence took place in 2001.
And what is more; what a load of crap about not being able to sweat? I mean how stupid does he think we all are? You cannot change a simple normal body function just because you have difficulty in owning up and telling the truth. You would have thought the questions he as being asked during the interview would have made him squirm and sweat profusely! Squirm he did for sure in his chair. But the arrogance and smiling face all the time. What a hypocrite.
For those of you like me who have now ‘binge watched’ the third series of The Crown on Netflix (which was excellent and so accurate on the details, cost by the way 50 million pounds to make) will agree I am sure that this is not a normal family. I mean so many scandals, thinking back to Princess Margaret, who was an alcoholic most of her life and had a raging affair with Roddy McDowell whilst still married to Lord Snowdon who was also having an affair in their marriage. Almost makes them seem like ‘normal’ people doesn’t it. Because things like this do happen. I am not saying it is right, but it is unfortunately a fact of life.
The strange thing for me this series was that as a child growing up in the UK in those years, that I could remember a lot of the events. Aberfan for example, such a tragedy.
The so called ‘institution’ of the British Royal family in these times is a complete farce. Yes, sure they do a lot of good things and it is not easy being in the spotlights 24/7 but in the end, they are just normal people who just happened to be born into a privileged position. I am just adding here reading back that I am so glad I was not born into a family like this. Sure, it has its advantages, but so many more disadvantages. It can never be an excuse for such behavior as Prince Andrew’s because you just happen to have been born ‘with a silver spoon’ in your mouth. As we say. Different corners, so different rules. I do not think so!
To my mind Prince Andrew was always someone who was never center stage in the news. He was off somewhere doing military service, and when his marriage went wrong with Sarah Fergusson, sorted of faded into the background. We all know that this marriage was doomed, similar to Diana’s when it concerned royal princes, who think they are a cut above the rest. And they can just do what they want. Wrong! They are people who are supposed to set an example to others. What a joke then.
Were you surprised like me in the Netflix series that Prince Charles actually fell in love with Camilla before her marriage to Parker Bowles? All the nonsense he said later when his marriage with Diana ended in divorce, that he wished he was Camilla’s tampon? Er sorry get real, who says things like this?
Anyway, back to Andrew who we all know has been a very naughty boy who could not keep his ‘dick In his pants and of course he knew exactly what he was doing! Being the father of two daughters, one would think, he might have had second thoughts. But oh no, anything for a quick shag. Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the newspaper tycoon, Robert Maxwell has suddenly disappeared off the globe. How convenient. She was apparently Epstein’s PA or whatever name you want to give her.
Epstein actually took his own life so that he was not involved in the allegations of sexual offences with minors and that left Prince Andrew holding ‘the baby’ as we say.
His interview was a disaster but huge compliment for the person who interviewed him for her tenancy. Well done Emily Maitlis! She kept asking the same question and he was visibly squirming in his seat. Wouldn’t we all have had much more respect for him if he could have admitted his mistake. I think people who have paid much less attention to things if he had. Let’s face it British royals have been having affairs in and outside their marriages for centuries. So, what is new really? Not a lot apart from the fact that Prince Andrew was so stupid as to have sex with a minor, knowing full well, and certainly with his education that this is breaking the law. With two daughters of a similar age, you might have thought he would have restrained himself. Sown his oats elsewhere with a person of his own age. He even had the audacity to rope his eldest daughter Beatrice into his lies, saying he was having a pizza in a place in Woking on the alleged night of the offence. In 2001? He can remember that exactly. I don’t think so do you?
I know I certainly could not remember one particular night in 2001 and what I was doing? Could you?
Anyway, the upshot of this whole sordid affair is that he has resigned from all his royal duties. I agree. Who on earth would want to be talking to such a spineless individual? Hope they find a suitable place in Buckingham Palace where he can hide away with his shame! I wonder does he have any? Probably not.
My thoughts go out to Virginia Roberts, who has made an official statement under oath to the FBI about what happened. It will not surprise me one single moment when she suddenly disappears off the face of the earth. We all know she is talking the truth, so why couldn’t Prince Andrew have done the decent thing and said, yes, he had done something terribly wrong, apologize sincerely to her personally in public and then there would never have been so much fuss as there is now.
Shame is all this fuss coincided too with the 72th Wedding Anniversary of the Queen and Prince Philip, who really did not have a normal married relationship with one another, but they stuck it through for 72 years so bravo for that. Even though everyone knows that Prince Philip like his sons, also often thought the grass was sometimes and definitely greener on the other side of the fence.
You know what makes a Monday morning when it’s raining very special? Well, it’s when I log into my website having had a really busy week and see literally thousands of comments from all of you out there. Who not only take the time to read my blogs but also the time to make a comment. You all write such lovely things. Thank you everyone!
Sometimes people ask if it is OK to share my work in their own social circles. Answer is: of course, but please acknowledge the source that is all I ask, mainly because of copyright.
Others say they have been searching for so long for information like this, then I am thrilled you found my website and glad it helped you in some or other way.
That is why I do this work.
To all of you who say, you like the colours and layout, I am also glad, because I try to change regularly, following the seasons, making the colours bright and cheerful especially on dark rainy days.
SO FOR ALL OF YOU OUT THERE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT, YOUR TIME AND ALL YOUR COMMENTS.
There are so many now, it’s almost impossible to reply to them all.
For those of you asking about contact details, you can write an email to me and send to email@example.com. It is a good idea to mark PERSONAL as I get hundreds every day.
Have a good week my friends, hope to see you here again soon.
Well, it’s that time of year again, 31st October and Halloween. A day when we can all get spooky, go ‘trick and treating’ which is more of an British/American festival than European.
I remember as a child, well young teenager actually, that we used to have a Halloween party in my Dad’s garage. We would decorate it all up with woolen webs and hollow out pumpkins with scary faces. We would light candles and night lights to create a spooky atmosphere. Because Halloween is the ‘night of the dead’. And the general idea is to get ‘scary’. And be scared.
The actual name Halloween is derived from All Hallows Eve (the evening before 1st November) which is All Saints Day. This festival finds its origins in the Celtic calendar, when all the harvest had been gathered in, preparing for the winter months ahead, it was time for a free day and of course a festival. A moment when the veils between life and death were lifted. This is known as Samhain. The Celts loved their festivals of course and believed that Halloween was the day when all the ghosts of those who had passed during the year, came back to the living once more. The ghosts would then knock on people’s doors, scare them silly and ask for food. The origin of getting yourself made up to look even more creepy dated back to Celtic masks which were worn, similar to those on Beltane (the spring festival in May).
When the Romans conquered the United Kingdom, the Celtic traditions were merged with their own traditions and it became a festival of celebrating the harvest and the honoring of the dead.
In the 9th Century, as Christian religion spread across to America and Canada, the festivities became more well known. Special cakes were baked for Halloween, with currants and raisons. By the baking of each bread a prayer was said for those who were no longer here and to help on their way to heaven. This we know today as ‘trick or treating’.
It is a festival that seemed to have taken on big proportions these days. Parades are held where people dress up and look scary. Dance events are held where you get yourself made up to look like skeletons and ghosts and shops are full of Halloween merchandising.
So, for all of you out there today, Happy Halloween.
Now in the UK Halloween is quickly followed by another celebration for Bonfire Night. This is the 5th November when we all remember the moment when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London with gunpowder. This is celebrated still today when dummies are made up to look like Guy Fawkes, bonfires and fireworks. This morning, I happened to read a funny article in the paper which I would like to share with you.
And mention the dreaded word BREXIT. And yes, I know we are thoroughly sick to death of the whole subject. We do not want to hear another single word, but there is a funny twist to this blog. This day, 31st October was supposed to be the final moment for the Brexit break with the EEC, deal or no deal. And the best spooky person ever in this story is of course the completely mad Boris Johnson, or BoJo as he is known to his chums.
It was in fact 23rd June 2016 when the British people voted on whether or not they wanted to break away from Europe. Yes, 2016 and in 2019 we are STILL talking about it!
The main problem was, and a lot of my friends confirmed this, that no one had any idea about the consequences. And look what trouble there has been ever since. Grown up people in the Houses of Parliament have spent months and months of debating and shouting about how this should actually happen. In other words, they had no idea whatsoever when the referendum reached the conclusion that the British people no longer wanted to be part of Europe. They preferred to stay on their own island and do their own thing. Ok that is OK, because I think there are a lot of people in Europe who would like to see the EEC dissolve.
So, after months or arguing the terms and conditions and people going to and fro from Brussels and Strasbourg for yet more talks with the EC council, where are we actually standing now?
Well I will tell you, the entire circus has been postponed yet again until next year. It cost Theresa May her premiership and now the British people were more or less forced into having to have someone to lead the country, and what did they get – BoJo. There have been so many things that have never happened before in the rich history of British democracy. Parliament was sent home on a long recess, which surprisingly enough the Queen herself approved. She is probably like many of us, totally fed up of the entire subject.
In other words, the mess continues, without any clear direction and now talk of an Election, so if BoJo no longer is the Prime Minister, who is in charge then? The wonderful Mr. Speaker John Bercow has retired and who can blame him after all those voting sessions and shouting order until his voice was hoarse!
So tonight, as the children have their ‘tricks or treats’ perhaps a thought to make you smile.
What if Guy Fawkes had been successful on the 5th November 1605 and actually blown up the Houses of Parliament, might things have been a bit different? Perhaps a lot of people in the UK will think on the 5th November that their ‘ultimate treat’ would actually be that a life without parliament would be the best festival celebration ever?
It’s officially the begin of the Astrological Autumn and Equinox and I realized as I walked through the doors of the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven today, 26th September 2019, that it is exactly one year and two days later than my first orthopaedic operation, a total hip replacement on the 24th September 2018. The planning had been that Remco van Wensen would do this operation but in the end it is Paul de Baat. Just a change around with the waiting lists. Paul and I had a quick phone call with one another beforehand, which I personally think is very important to at least establish a connection.
Thinking back: I remember that early Monday morning (24.9.2018) well. Arriving, as it is just starting to get light, into the totally empty car park in front of the hospital. Not all the lights are on inside, the hospital is still resting from the night. The only person visible in an empty entrance area, behind the reception desk.
I am not feeling nervous just accepting the fact that the moment has arrived and in a few hours, a badly damaged hip will have been replaced by bright shiny new parts and eventually the pain I had, will go.
Checking in as normal and then another short wait before I am wheeled off into the Operating Area. One of the things I thought is amusing, is that this area is called: ‘The holding area!’ Just like at Schiphol airport the same name, where planes are waiting to take off. I seem to be the last to arrive. There are many patients already here and I am the first to be on my way to theatre. Last in, first out! But this is a big hospital with many specialities. This is the first time for me to actually be in this area, as before I was in the special designated heart centre.
Final checks, IV drip in place and now ready to go in Operating Theatre 16. You already know what is going to happen, and I find personally the best idea is just to let go and trust the people who are trained to do this work.
I have an epidural and sedation and know nothing more until I wake several hours later. The operation is a success. It’s been difficult, lost a lot of blood, but the new hip is in place and I am off to another area called Recovery.
The wonderful thing about the choice for an epidural and sedation is that you are awake and feel fine, no nausea. There is no pain at this stage, as the feeling has not completely returned to your lower body area. It’s not long before I am taken up to the ward on the 10th floor. Good, I have a wonderful view from the window across Eindhoven towards the airport where I can see planes taking off and landing.
When the feeling does eventually return, it is controlled by pretty strong opiate painkillers. By next morning I can sit on my bed and stand up. Its scary believe me, but in fact the hip is now perfect and can support my total body weight. Just the fact that there has been intensive surgery and there is a large wound, feels sore, bruised and painful.
Three days later, I am discharged and go home to continue my recovery. It is amazing to see how each day literally is another step and things become easier. Stitches, or I should say staples will be removed in 10 days time or so and in 6 weeks back for a control, an X-ray and see how I am getting along.
At this stage I did not realize that this operation would be the first of three.
Well if there is one thing you have to be pretty sure about, is that no matter what or how you feel, each and every day, you try and move a little bit better. I am supported by crutches and truly find a difference every day. Things I could not do at first have become easier. After all the initial problem has been solved, it’s just a question of time for muscles and tendons to be less painful and start getting strong again.
Even though you can control the pain by using strong opiate painkillers, I realize fully that the sooner you can cut back or even stop is better. My own determination is so much stronger and no side effects anymore.
It is all about personal mindset.
I begin a fairly rigorous and extensive training schedule with the local physiotherapist Michelle Roos from Fit and Fysio in Dirksland and although I almost feel like a slug the first time on the treadmill, I really notice as the days and weeks go by that I am getting not only fitter, but the muscles are gaining strength. My heart rate which we have been monitoring every time is just getter better and better. More effort does not mean that my heart rate suddenly goes up.
There is a slight problem with this therapeutic plan because I cannot do some of the exercises because of intense pain in my left knee. Opposite side to the new hip. During the next control at the hospital and some X-rays, there is some dramatic news. My knee needs replacing and pretty fast too. One big problem. During a fall with my dogs way back in 2003, I managed to break my leg in 4 places (now who do you know who could manage that?). A long titanium surgical pen is inserted into the tibia bone from knee to ankle and remained there for sixteen years. And now the only way forward is to have it removed before a new knee can be fitted.
Operation number 2 looms on the horizon and after all the pre-screening checks have been done, a date is set. 10th April 2019. Normally the removal of screws, plates and such like when bones have broken is not a major thing and I am planned into the afternoon session. Go through the whole procedure again and find myself back in Operating Theatre number 16 with Remco waiting for me this time around.
For some or other reason, after the epidural when I cannot feel anything anymore, the sedation is too light and I find myself in the middle of a sort of episode of DIY. Drills going, the sounds of hammers and such like and despite asking again and again if I can please go to sleep, give up and close my eyes and try and imagine myself on a beach somewhere in the Bahamas. It is a tough long operation, but the pin has been removed and I am having a temporary plaster cast fitted so that the bone can rest. Remco has had to do some pretty intense invasive surgery including that they make an opening into the tibia bone to get the pin out.
I can only say here that he is a miracle worker because to be honest I never thought they would get it out. And it’s given to me to take home in a plastic bag, all cleaned up. Back into recovery and to the ward and then pain, which is so intense and dreadful that I am back down in the theatre that evening at nearly midnight. Just as luck would have it, the same anaesthetist is still on duty, Barbara Versyck. After copious amounts of more morphine and ketamine, the decision is made to give me a complete nerve block in the entire leg. The wounds are bleeding profusely and the once white plaster cast is going a shade of pink. Once she has done the block and believe me I did not feel a thing, I am pain free and manage to try and have a restless night, filled with all sorts of weird dreams and thoughts. At one stage I thought I actually saw my son standing by my bed and the thought crossed my mind, I am still alive or dead?
The following morning and the block is still working perfectly I am taken back down again for a new temporary cast. It is shocking actually to see how much the wounds have bled. To my amazement, and I really would have preferred to have stayed another night, I can go home early in the evening.
A long recovery then starts as the temporary cast is replaced by a proper one with the colour of my choice and I have it for two whole months. Using crutches all the time to move about, and trying to shower with a plastic bin bag on my leg, I spend the majority of my time on my special hospital like bed, which I have on loan, either in the house or in the garden as actually moving about is cumbersome but also extremely tiring. With a wheelchair too I can get about here at home as best I can.
On the 6th June, next check up and more X-rays and yes, the cast can go. Thank goodness, as the weather is getting warmer. My leg looks ultra thin and pale, whilst the rest of me is really tanned from sitting in the sun. It is such a strange feeling. However I have to continue to walk only using 50% of my body weight and still using crutches. Remco sets a date for the operation and with one final check up and once more going through the pre-screening sessions, in which Barbara is playing a role to make sure that this next time around, the sedation is such, that I do not hear or see a thing during the entire operation.
8th August 2019. And a lovely combination of numbers and astrological energy. It’s the official opening of the Lion’s Gate Portal today and being a Leo with the sun in my sign, seems the perfect day to have the 4th and hopefully final operation.
Everything goes well, and I am not even awake until I arrive in Recovery at the end of the afternoon. Actually I have great difficulty concentrating on what the nurses are saying as I feel as if I am still under heavy sedation and just before the end of the afternoon, on my way back up to the 10th floor and the ward.
By the time the physiotherapist arrives, as it is the intention to get out of bed and stand up with full weight on the new knee joint, I am miles away in a deep sleep and she just leaves the folder with some simple early exercises by my bed. A lot of powerful painkillers as this has been yet another big intense, invasive operation. All in a day’s work as Remco would undoubtedly say himself, but for me as the patient, a bit different.
Next morning I am feeling much better and I have to get out of bed. It is such a strange feeling because although you know the new joint is far superior to the worn out one they have removed, it is still strange to stand up full weight on both legs and then find the courage to walk a few paces. You have to, to go to the bathroom for starters. In a bit of a crazy attempt to get back into bed I swing up my operated leg and nearly go through the ceiling with the pain. That really hurt and I need an extra dose of painkillers to get rid of the pain. The problem is that literally everything has been moved and tendons and muscles are so painful.
But it gets easier each and every day and once I have gone through the post operation routine physiotherapy here I can go home and do just that on Saturday 10th August.
43 staples on the wound, which is looking clean and dry and once removed by my local GP, it does not feel tight anymore. In the meantime two weeks have literally flown by and I have had physiotherapy twice a week here at home. We are making progress. Michelle and I, she has been with me right from the beginning, so our contact is strong and we talk a lot (too much sometimes).
7 Weeks later (26th September), back at Catharina Hospital again, check up post operation and loads of X-rays. Walking with two crutches is getting easier and easier and eventually I will go down to one, then none. At home I can manage easily sometimes without, but find when I have been sitting behind my laptop for too long, everything stiffens up and the first few paces are hard. However being so long in the small area of only my home and garden, suddenly being amongst a lot of people moving in all directions is strange.
Remco is pleased with my progress. His first comment was: ‘well we made it, the new knee is fitted’. Yes we did for sure, his expertise and his courage to attempt to remove the, what we now call the ‘offending’ pin, has made this possible. A huge compliment to him for that. He asks me to make sure that I try and straighten my leg as much as possible, otherwise my knee will lock in a slightly bend position and he shows me how to straighten. Oh that was painful that final last push down to complete straightness which he did with my leg resting on his, as he pushed down on the knee. Working on the home trainer will help this a lot.
I think one of the most important things when you undergo this type, or really any type of surgery is that the connection between the doctor and his patient really is part of the story too. It is, as I wrote in my blogs with Lukas Dekker (my cardiologist at Catharina) about my heart ablation in May 2018, which was my first operation of the 4 in one year. There has to be a ‘click’ or connection between the doctor and patient, as this plays such a huge role in how, I as the patient, step into each and every operation. The more relaxed and trusting I can be makes my body so much more responsive to the surgery that Remco has carried out and believe me this had not been standard new knee replacement. This has been a really long tough story, which needed a lot of special extra mind- set and recovery. It has not been easy for sure, but I never lost faith, because I always knew in the end, that there would be a certain moment in time where I completely forget that my body now has two extra brand new shiny joints and that I will be fully mobile again. I may not be taking part in the New York Marathon or such like, but I would not have done that before anyway! Remco says that there is a huge difference between replacing hips and knees. Yes I can imagine that, but all the same, mobility and pain free movement is the key to success.
My goal was to get fitter and mobile once more. To be able to walk my dog along the dykes here in Zeeland, to be down on the beach with him again. To enjoy my granddaughter, who was born in February this year. To be able to walk comfortably wheeling her in her pram.
On that score I can only say I am on my way now big time. Today 3rd October was my first session, driving in my car for the first time since April this year, taking myself to the next village and having physiotherapy in the gym. As part of this blog, we decided to take some photos and as I was getting onto the home trainer for the first time, I suddenly turned the wheel full circle. Ouch that was painful but we were so distracted by the photo session going on and in the end I managed five whole minutes and also pedalling backwards. I could feel the stretching going on with every revolution and then managed three other pieces of apparatus including the leg press. It felt like such an achievement and Michelle remarked about how different my mind-set was today, as compared to when I started last time there, after the hip replacement. I have so much more confidence.
First physiotherapy session at Fit & Fysio in Dirksland with Michelle on the apparatus (3rd October 2019)
So a fantastic job well done Remco and Paul too of course, could not have got this far without you both and all your team at Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven.
Special thanks too for all the nursing staff on the orthopaedic ward, you are all really lovely.
Also enormous thanks to Michelle my physiotherapist from Fit & Fysio in Dirksland.
Will keep you posted on my progress. Dancing by Christmas? We shall see.
It’s been quite a journey, but the end destination will be so worthwhile as I will have my mobility back again.
For more information on Orthopedics in the Eindhoven area go to:
Images: Private Collection Jill Kramer, Catharina Hospital, Fit and Fysio Dirksland (copyright). Use of all the images in this blog is not permitted.
And then just one more photo and for the very squeamish, don’t look, this is the pin Remco removed from my tibia bone!
8th November 2019
A little update: Yesterday went for a check up at the hospital and pleased to report that everything is going very well. Sometimes I need to remind myself not to go too hard and slow down every now and again, remembering that this knee has to settle into my system too. Taking Remco’s words to heart and will remind myself ‘that Rome was not built in a day’. Onwards and upwards as they say. Next appointment August 2020.
Suddenly a lot of my blogs seem to have gone ‘viral’ and I am getting anywhere up to 1000 emails with comments per day. I am sorry even though I try and read them all, it is almost impossible to answer each and every one personally.
But I really want to say how much I appreciate you and the fact that you take the time and effort to tell me how much you are enjoying reading them.
There are a number of new projects in the pipeline, so keep up with my RSS feed. I am going be adding a number of new blogs in the next few weeks.