To be honest, those of you, like me who live in Europe are probably sick to death of this subject! But things are getting out of hand. So much uncertainty for so many people not only European nationals living in the United Kingdom but also for British nationals living in the EEC as well.

The newspapers are full of it, it’s on the TV, but tell me is there anyone anywhere who knows what is actually going on? Apart from one definite fact: Brexit is going to happen, hard or soft 29thMarch 2019. No matter how many unruly discussions take place in the House of Parliament or how many times Theresa May goes back and forth in Europe seeking support. It is just over two months to CUT OFF TIME!

I myself, am a British national living in The Netherlands, you know that small country just across the North Sea! I have been here since 1977. When I first arrived I actually needed a sort of ‘work permit’ to reside and work here. Well I had a fulltime job so it was not a problem. I had a permit, which needed to be renewed every five years. You would think no problem at all, apart from remembering to renew and paying for it! All costly and time consuming.

But when the referendum took place and people in the UK voted to leave the EEC, everyone was in a panic. How, when, what will be the effects and so on?

Recently I received a letter from the Authorities here that as a British national I will be allowed to remain here even in whatever form Brexit takes, because I have lived here for more than 5 years and speak the lingo (it would be a pretty poor show if I didn’t after all these years) and more important I am married to a Dutch national. My children were born here and have Dutch nationality. So no worries. But, to be on the safe side they suggested that I need to renew my expired pass so I am officially entitled to be here.

Thank God, I had visions to being deported back to the UK! 

However, someone informed me that actually I have the right to become a Dutch citizen; I meet all the necessary criteria. So I rang to find out how to do this, because why not?

First of all I need an Apostille Stamp on my birth certificate. Now mine is one of those hand-written ones, almost falling apart it is so old and I have to have one with this Apostille Stamp to start procedures here. Ok, these days should be easy to order online. It was. Cost GBP 75 !!!!!!! For a duplicate piece of paper with a stamp on it. There, take it or leave it, I have no choice.  I have ordered and it should be here within 8-10 days working days. Am I missing something here, printing out a single sheet of paper from the records and stamping the damned thing and posting is going to take that long?? In this day and age and computers?

Next step I have to go to my local council offices and fill in some forms there, take my new stamped Birth Certificate and my currently valid British Passport and then they will make checks on me? Er what? Yes, to see if I have any outstanding fines or debts to governmental or official organisations and to see more important, if I am a citizen of ‘good standing’. In other words: No Police Record.

And yes, I speak English and Dutch (tick that box).

Cost Euro 187,00 !!

It will take about 2 months for this procedure, goodness I thought the Brits were slow, but … and then when everything is approved I will be invited to a special ceremony with the Mayor who will welcome me to The Netherlands as a citizen. Yippee! Are you bored with this blog already?

Then I need a Dutch passport too (Cost Euro 71). I can keep my British one too! Good, that was an emotional idea actually the thought of losing it!

Well I think you will agree with me this is an expensive exercise but I am shutting up and just getting on with it, mainly because I literally have no idea, like everyone, what is actually going to happen long term. And I want to stay here. That is the issue.

It is the UK going to hold another referendum about what people think? A lot of my friends in the UK told me when I asked them, that there was not enough information before the last one and no one realized the consequences. The British are a proud folk and want to do things their way, but as far as business, trade and an endless list of other things, like fishing rights in the North Sea for example, all of this is going to be affected. And now they know that, are they so sure they agree with leaving? Of course there are also ‘pro and against supporters’ who have apparently nothing else to do at all, but parade around in London with balloons and banners!

And the Dutch too are fed up of all the rules and regulations in the EEC. That highly overpaid people determine what is happening in each and every member country. To me it seemed at the time that trying to create a ‘united states of Europe’ was mission impossible. It just does not work too many countries with different languages for starters; different beliefs and very different economic climates cannot just be all thrown into one big melting pot with a label EEC. The only positive thing I think about is a single currency; because it is really handy when you say go into France, Belgium or Germany (our neighboring countries, that you don’t have to exchange money because we all have the Euro. And don’t get me started on ‘the Euro’ either!

Today a friend in the UK told me that the CEO of Dyson (you know they make those very posh vacuum cleaners) having had a Governmental Grant of GBP 2.8 million in one year to start his company and is a strong campaigner to leave Europe (so pro Brexit), as he wanted to keep jobs, trade and income for the UK is moving his HQ to Singapore. As my friend said: ‘not putting his money where his mouth is’. Booooo! Humbug! Order!

See how crazy this is all getting? 

Why aren’t politicians (either the UK or the EEC) actually listening to what people want. What people in for example Eire and Northern Ireland want? What farmers, fisherman, tradesmen and literally a huge list of people want? Why? How can we have a so-called EEC when literally every single member state has different rules? Pensionable age just as one example. 

Differences in taxes for another. Pricing in general.

Perhaps it is time to re-think the entire principle behind the EEC and give it up. Yes, agree a trade agreement which makes it possible, without about a thousand rules and such like and mountains of paperwork, easy trading but let’s be honest, all of us, it just doesn’t work does it?

Send those highly overpaid Euro-parliament members home, stop the huge amount of costs involved in Brussels and Strasbourg. Allow national income to be distributed in each and every country by not sending grants back and forwards where there is only one winner – not the people, but the EEC. 

I don’t have an answer, I really don’t but I do think it is time, to stop all this going backwards and forwards. Make a decision. The people’s decision! And then get on with it. Just like my friend remarked this morning, its like a sticking plaster, either pull it off or leave it on!

Images: From Google Images (acknowledging any copyright of course!)

Special thanks to you Imran_the_Umar for your comment on IG this morning!

The Art of Confessions

My latest and 9th book published yesterday! Date was just perfect, 19.1.19 which gave me a row of three 111’s and then it cleared for published online at exactly 11.11 hrs (Amsterdam time) too. So a lovely row of 7 1’s. It was by chance a good day as far as the energy was concerned too. Well known astrologer, Kari Samuels, wrote: ‘it’s the 19th day of this 2019 year so double 19/1 energy. 1 is the beginning of a cycle and 9 is the end of a cycle. 19/1 is directive from the Universe to consciously release aspects of your past so you can begin a brand new way of being’. Sounds pretty good don’t you agree?

So just to ‘wet your appetite’, here is the introduction and prologue of the book…. It will be clearing soon through the book channels, Central Book Archive Online, and I am going to also release through the UHMI section of this website. You can also contact me if you want to purchase the book. Guideline Price is around Euro 20. The cover is made by a dear friend of mine Annette Barel. All rights reserved of course.

So read on please…

Introduction: (this is the back cover to the book).

Little did Joanna Taylor-Broome know when she decided to organize an art retreat in Devon, England, that her advertisement would attract the attention of seven people (eight including herself) from all over the country and even the world. It had been her dream to do this for a long time, together with her daughter Rosie, who would help her with the catering.

Joanna had been a keen artist all her life, but she was surprised as the seven totally different people arrive to take part. How each and every person in the group has a story to tell and how they all bond together.

Devon cream teas, sunshine, beaches, deckchairs, sea and sand, all the perfect ingredients for a week’s retreat. On the Sunday afternoon, after a roast lunch at the pub, the first guest arrives and Joanna realizes she is going to really have her hands full … much more than she thought.


Seven Women and one man, all together in a house called the Lemon Tree, perched up on the cliffs overlooking the sweeping bay of Woolacombe. They all came from all over the country, one of them from another continent. But in some or other way, they had all caught sight of the advertisement for an Art Retreat, for a special reason. It would be run by Joanna, an art therapist. It was the first time she had ever done this. Normally her workshops would be one-day events, but this was a whole week with a very mixed bunch of people. Two of them, she did know, two old school friends, who she too had met on several holidays in her summer cottage over the years.

To say she was a bit nervous, would be an understatement and she knew of course that as they and the week progressed, a lot would come up. That was the nature of her entire course, allowing people to express themselves through art. And even more important bring things to the surface that had been held within each and everyone of them, in their individual lives. Confessions, secrets, things that they did not really want to tell about themselves, especially to complete strangers.

As the week went on, around that well-worn wooden table in the kitchen in the Lemon Tree, it would of course all come up whether they wanted it to or not.  What would come to the surface in Joanna herself?  Even though she could distance herself to some extent from the group as she was organizing it, but deep in her heart she knew that events like this were ones where you could not really make plans at all! It just evolved. Apart from a basic idea what they were going to do each and every day, the art would create the opportunities. Some would blossom, others would literally run away when things became too confronting, which they could not and would not cope with anymore.

Well, everything was ready; she had everything packed and a fairly long drive down into the western corner of the United Kingdom, to one of the best-loved counties in the kingdom. Rugged coast on the northern shores, two wild moorlands, famous for the ponies that roamed freely there and the sandy coves and Riviera type resorts, which people have been flocking to for years, for a breath of sea air. Where palm trees could be found along the southern shores, thanks for the warm Gulf Stream in the Atlantic. Quaint chocolate box thatched cottages dotted on the hillsides.

Yes, Joanna was looking forward to the entire week, who was coming; she only knew some of them by name. And a man too, that was very interesting, not of lot of men actually enrolled for her events. An American too, he had sounded really nice on the phone.

Starting her car, together with daughter Rosie, they set off, chatting along the way. Leaving the busy main motorway leading away from big cities to the West Country. Along secluded lanes, they finally drew up in the car park at the Lemon Tree.

It looked a lovely house, inviting, cosy and a beautiful garden to the rear. Yes, Joanna thought as she stepped out onto the gravel, this was going to be a very interesting week for sure.

Image: Jill Kramer/Annette Barel (protected by copyright)


I just knew it would only be a matter of days before I wrote something on this topic. Probably the main reason behind this is, that I am currently taking part in an online ‘challenge’ (for 5 days only) all about the Art of Forgiveness being organized by another friend of mine: Veronika Rutten ( Believe me highly recommended!

So what is behind this word?

Forgiveness: is the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.

Forgive: to stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) or an offence, flaw or mistake.

OK a big topic then, which applies to all of us I think.

During the challenge I surprised myself how many thoughts and insights on this subject came up. A lot!

So I will share a personal story of my own as this illustrates the subject in one of its many forms.

For a long time, more than 25 years to be exact I had a friend. We shared a lot with one another, mostly concerning our children, school issues and so on and she was also my hairdresser. I lived in the same town as she did until I moved away in 2013. Strange in retrospect, the friendship became even stronger when I moved away. We had so much more contact and often talked about how many wasted moments there had been when we both lived in the same place. I knew her husband and children well too and vice versa.

It was around the time before their 25thWedding Anniversary that she began to confide a lot of things with me. She no longer loved her husband and over the past 5 years had sprung from one affair to another. I will not write about some of the very personal things she told me, but to be honest I was shocked on some matters. Not so much about the fact that she was not in love with her partner anymore (that happens all the time and is quite the norm these days) but more about the nature of the affairs. I had often wondered how anyone could be so tolerant of another, that she kept managing to be constantly either ‘out or away’. So really there were so many signs that this marriage was doomed and it was just a question of time before it was going to end. So you may think maybe her husband was far too easy and should have put his foot down more often? Probably, but he didn’t, because he loved her so much!

And end it did. The marriage finally stranded after she had been away yet again, across the world and came home and announced she wanted a divorce. I knew of course at the time, that there was already a new partner waiting in the wings. But I kept my mouth firmly shut. After all that is what friends do don’t they, respect confidences?

The divorce was tough and it hit her husband really hard. He was in one word – devastated. Why? He did not understand and she never really told him why. In the summer I was actually staying with them for a few days. What a weird situation, officially divorced but still under the same roof? That happens a lot these days, purely on a financial basis, if a house has to be sold, also her business was there too and the clients still came and went irrespective of what was going on ‘next door’. One evening during a long discussion with her husband, he actually asked me upfront: has she met someone else? I had to lie. That is so against my nature, but his pain and sadness was so great, who was I to inflict even more? I so regretted that moment and I thought about it a lot all the time.

Later in the same year, she visited me with the new ‘man in her life’. He seemed nice enough, I suppose, but my underlying thought was – it wasn’t quite right. He was almost like a gigolo, she was so in love, completely blind for absolutely anything anyone said (including her own family, even the children) and it was ‘utopia’ as far as he was concerned, a pretty new, very willing girlfriend who paid for everything too. Fill in the spaces yourself between the lines! Twice divorced himself, a number of children from different wives. I sometimes thought, it was perhaps not the best of choices? But she was my friend and even though I basically knew she could do so much better and eventually the shine would wear off as they had very little in common, apart from the physical. I kept quiet.

Quite by chance, during another visit the ‘new man’, accidently (or not?) said things to my family. Things that I had really shared with her in great confidence myself. Because that it what happens, of course in any dialogue with someone you consider to be a really good friend, things get shared. Often perhaps just as a comparison to make a point, to offer advice, to show your own vulnerability. The end result was that I was absolutely furious that she had told him things I had said in confidence. And even more so that he thought it was his place to talk about it too! I hardly knew him after all.

I was in the first instance, speechless, literally. Shocked, disappointed, incredibly hurt but most of all – so angry. Angry at whom? Well in the first instance with her, because she had gone so beyond the norm as far as I was concerned and this is my friend? Eventually when I had simmered down a bit, I wrote an app to her, saying upfront and to the point, what I thought, and when I think back, we used to app each and every morning for months and months so this was quite normal. Not just the easy way out.

The response back was not what I expected. She blamed me for everything! That shock was even bigger. So I decided to ‘control, alt, delete, (as we say) literally everything and break all my contact with her. It was not easy believe me, because in the end I felt guilty. I took a lot of the blame upon myself mainly because I did not just understand. I felt enormous pity for her ex, her family and her children, because suddenly I saw a side of her that was totally strange. It was the ‘easy way out’ for her because I never heard another thing. Nothing, complete silence. A friendship ended like putting out a sack of waste into the garbage! That is tough.

It played around in my mind for a long time. But I did not do anything. I did not try and reinstate the contact. Why? I just got to the point when I could not, that is the only answer I can give you all.

However, something changed a lot when I took part in this 5-day online challenge, which was all about forgiveness. You may be thinking that it was all about eventually forgiving her for such abuse of a friendship. No, it was about forgiving myself. I have spent sleepless nights going over things again for sure, wondering what went wrong. I still have some photos taken this summer during the week I stayed with her and there are a lot of happy memories there too.

So what is forgiving yourself all about? Well it makes you look once more at things purely from your own side. True, I had taken on all the blame, but there are always two parties or more in any conflict aren’t there?

It is actually Day 4 today, final day tomorrow and it has only literally taken me a few minutes every morning to start my day. Writing down short answers to short questions. But good questions because the answers were the same. Each day brought a new theme, looking at a certain thing in a certain way, like for instance today is about: learning and growing.

Is this true? Yes, because today I feel as if there is suddenly more space. I have finally been able to shed all feelings of guilt and that the ending of this friendship was my fault. It wasn’t, I just got caught in the slipstream of basically her insecurity, her faults, her blindness, her egoism. She suddenly was no longer a friend and I grew because I know now that this friendship is well and truly over. Why? Because there is no trust anymore. From my side. When trust has gone and is so damaged, it is better just to release and let go. By forgiving, because I do, I allow myself to grow. I have learnt and grown.

I think a lot of you reading this will be able to identify with this yourselves. Every single story will be different. For sure. There may be much bigger issues and reasons than in my story. But sharing it with you was my way of explaining the words: Forgiveness and Forgive. You can do that too you know. You don’t have to debate about it for a long time; just really it is all about forgiving yourself. It may sound strange, but just try it!

I did not realize the importance of the words really. And the power that lies behind the action of forgiving yourself. I talked about it a lot with family and other friends and they all said: she is not worthy of your friendship. I think that too, but at the same time, I can forgive, first of all myself and then her. 

That is really important.

And when you can do that, you will really surprise yourself how much you grow!

Images: Google Chrome


I am not entirely sure how this word seems to come up today, especially as I am ultra busy in the final stages of preparing to publish my latest book on the 19thJanuary 2019.

But it did, and of course it got me thinking as usual!! What does rejection mean?

Literally: The dismissing or refusing of a proposal, idea etc.

Now that is a bit vague, even for the English Oxford Dictionary, because to me there are so many things I can associate with this word.

The meanings can range too; from something quite innocent and perhaps insignificant. Like for instance rejecting food or drink. In other words eating or drinking something that your body rejects. It makes you ill. You might be allergic to something in it?

But today I want to look at the meaning of how it feels when you as a person feel rejected and believe me, this is not nice! (understatement).

At the moment, between loads of other things, I am taking part in a 5-day online discussion about ‘Forgiveness’ (and yes maybe I will come back to this word in another blog). A friend of mine is running it and to be honest it is bringing so much more to the surface than I really expected. I actually like taking part in online things, when they only take a small amount of time; well you think they do, when you start. But in actual fact just thinking and writing down a simple list of names (that was the first exercise yesterday) actually got me thinking a lot. Why? Well it is because often forgiveness is about something someone has done to you, or you to them and rejection. And forgiveness begins with you. I learnt that again yesterday. There is so much power behind forgiving yourself.

One thing about being rejected by someone is that you should always remember that, in the majority of cases, it is really more about them, than you. Why do people do it then, you may ask? If you could imagine that you, in this case, are just a mirror for their own issues. Yes, it can be very hard and tough to understand at the time why someone reacted you in this way but always remind yourself that it has more to do with them than you! That is important. Because it happens much more than we realize.

Now everyone will agree with me I am sure that we are living life in the very fast lane these days. Time flies by, a week starts, you have all sorts of plans and before you know it, its Friday again and have you actually even done one or two things from your list? I find this happens to me too. After a weekend, Monday comes and I do actually make lots of lists and sorry to say that not even 25% is crossed off by the end of the week. Why is that? Well, because there is always something going on, all the time, and a lot of distraction (often from social media). Even though I know that we are all very much into social media, me included, it is good every now and again to literally put your smartphone, tablet of whatever to one side and ignore it for a while. Switch it off if you prefer. I too, often find that I am in the middle of something, my phones makes a sound and I automatically pick it up. That means that I have lost my concentration.

But back to my word for this blog: Rejection

The feeling of being rejected by someone or something can be really difficult to deal with, especially when you are left with the question, which you do not know the answer to: why? It could be that someone you have considered to be a friend for a long time, suddenly does something you did not expect and pours ‘rejection’ all over you. This could mean the friendship ends, and it could if you don’t talk about it. But not everyone wants to get into a conversation about the ‘why’. So how do you deal with things like this?

Well first and foremost you and the ‘rejector’, like everyone is human. It is perfectly OK to make a mistake, we actually learn more from mistakes than anything else. But is it an excuse to actually reject someone else if you make a mistake. In other words blame someone else? The answer can only be: no. It is not right and not fair for starters! You would actually feel so much better about yourself if you were more open and actually said when and if you had made a mistake. People will appreciate you so much more.

But what if this happens to you through no fault of your own. Then I come back to my statement about being a mirror to the person who rejects you.

This subject often comes up in a lot of workshops and believe me I have done many over the years.

When it is through no fault of your own and you are rejected for whatever reason, it can stop you in your tracks. It can be painful. It can make you angry, disappointed, hurt, left with a feeling of ‘what hit me there?’ or just complete uncomprehension.

Like me use another example. Imagine if you know someone, you like them a lot, it does not really matter in what capacity: a friend, a good colleague, a family member (who you think you get on with more than others). The list can be quite long. You have a gut feeling that its mutual and then completely out of the blue, rejection! Have you ever thought that they might do that because they are not in control of their own feelings? So it is easier to take the short cut and reject. It would be so much better for them to talk about it with you and vice versa, but they don’t. It may be that it falls into the category ‘of not being the done thing’. Whatever that might be, because basically: wrong and right are just two sides to the same coin aren’t they? And think back to what I wrote about how beneficial the learning curve can be from ‘mistakes’.

Something else I can link in with this word, is this. How many people have, when buying a house, had their offer rejected or been outbid by someone else? If another offer is again rejected and you lose the house you thought was exactly right for you, you may feel just awful. Angry, sad, disappointed and so on. But how many times have you looked back, maybe years later and come to the conclusion, that the rejection at the time was terrible, but in retrospect it was the right thing. Because the house you thought was just right was not in the end, for whatever reason. This is just a simple example but it all comes back to my word again.

Makes you think doesn’t it?

One very old cliché you can think about in times of rejection is quite simple: Their loss, your gain. Sometimes it is hard to see it at the time, but in the end, when the pain has gone away, it is so true. Really, even though you may feel that they are to blame, they cannot help it really because they are literally projecting their fears, doubts and uncertainties on you! You are just the mirror.

Sometime we all need to remind ourselves of that old cliché.

You may not see it immediately but it is ‘their loss, your gain’.

Think about it.

What a lovely quote this is to put things into perspective …



How strange is that? Yesterday, I write a piece about the interpretation of the word – Tolerant – and just as I have published my blog, some news hits social media about the so-called Nashville Pact. And the fact that one of the political leaders in The Netherlands has signed. What is it all about?

Well, to keep it brief as I suspect many of you are actually following the news, this is a pact signed by many people across the world, based purely on belief. Nothing wrong with that you may think? But this was something so incredibly biased and wrong and made a lot of people feel as if we are stepping back into the previous century.

So my word that comes up today is: INTOLERANT

Literal meaning is: not tolerant of views, beliefs or behaviour that differ from one’s own!

So yesterday I offered the thought out that the word Tolerant means that we are almost afraid to speak out anymore and here comes its counterpart Intolerant.

So what was all the fuss about?

The Nashville pact is a document drawn up by Christian people about the do’s and don’ts of their beliefs. One of the things that social media went absolutely ballistic about yesterday was the mention that same sex unison (marriage, partnership, friendship, relationship) is in the eyes of God – distasteful or soiled.

Now The Netherlands on that score is one of the most ‘tolerant’ countries in the world. Meaning that the Dutch believe that people have the right to do what they want. This may sound in total contradiction about the things I wrote about yesterday, but in the mass of this hysteria and literally thousands of prominent people having their say on social media channels and on national TV, here is quite a statement!

So my question this morning before I get on with some other work is: who thinks that they have the right in this troubled world to compare themselves to God? That they speak as one voice representing God? (Irrespective of your own personal beliefs, I am using the context God as The Creator).

When surfing around Internet for some background information I came across something interesting:

One of the most prominent people in the USA (Nashville, Tennessee, one of the southern states, as you all know) is a lesbian priest and one of the biggest well-known TV preachers.

She signed the pact, treaty or document (what is in a name?)

This document originated in 2017. It is a strong supposedly Christian document in which people are against any form of same sex unison. One of the prominent leaders here in The Netherlands (Kees van de Staaij) signed too, declaring that he considered that homosexuality is a sin and unclean (soiled) and here we have another new word cropping up ‘transgenderism’. (A state or condition in which a person’s identity does not confirm unambiguously to conventional ideas of male and female).

This document was launched at an Evangelical Congress in Nashville. The driving force behind this was the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). An organization that speaks about ‘complementarity’ (a relationship or situation, which two or more different things improve or emphasize each other’s qualities) an institution for more than 30 years!

In simple words it says: that man and women each have a different role in life given to them by God, both in the Church and in the family. The man is the leader and there is no place for women as leaders in the church. Er … excuse me, wasn’t one of the people who was so in the forefront on this pact a lesbian, leading preacher? Or have I missed something here?

We are supposed to be moving forwards into a new year, 2019, 19 years since the Millennium and nearly into 2020 … and it feels like about 1820 to be honest. What is the matter with everyone and the outcry yesterday confirms that people are actually not going to tolerate such, well for want of a better word, unchristian thoughts.

Tell me who on this planet really thinks that they can speak for the creator?

Answer: No one. Yes beliefs are perfectly all right and I have no judgment whatsoever on this subject. I believe that each and every one of us has the right to think and be, what we want. To walk our own paths, irrespective of what other’s think or say. But I do not agree that some people think they have the right to spout their beliefs on what I consider to be a ‘fragile group’ of people who actually dare to be vulnerable and speak their truth. The only important word as far as they are concerned is Love. Didn’t Jesus say: ‘love thy neighbour’, irrespective of anything? 

My grandfather was a lay-preacher in the Zionist church in Cheshire. So I have grown up and learnt at an early age in these circles, but he was an open unbiased man who judged no one. I must have taken on this opinion at a very early age.

To my mind this Nashville pact (treaty, document, call it what you like) is something that belongs in that amazing, round shaped filing cabinet, called the wastepaper bin.

Control, Alt, Delete.

And just before I go, Kees van de Staaij was on one of the most popular talk shows on TV last night saying … perhaps he should not have signed! Honestly, make your mind up please!

One comment I read on social media, I think it was Instagram, was that someone wrote: ‘Imagine being married to a man like that’!


What does the word – TOLERANT – mean to you?

The other day, during a discussion over coffee, someone talked about the word – Tolerant. It all sort of started with something that hit the headlines here in The Netherlands about the fires on NYE in Scheveningen (on the North Sea coastline) near to The Hague.

Over many years, people who live on one side of the harbour entrance, live in Scheveningen, on the other side it is Duindorp. There is such rivalry when it comes to the building of the fire, which is set alight on the beach on NYE by both sides. 

Now fires on such occasions is nothing new, but this year a record number of wooden pallets/crates were used to build gi-normous constructions on either side of the harbour. Now NYE is quite something else here in The Netherlands. Over the top I think is the best way to describe it. Recently films on You Tube showed fireworks here on a typical NYE and it looked like a war zone. People have really had enough and all through the year there are endless discussions on whether or not it should be banned, completely, the stopping of illegal firewords, firework free zones marked out in major cities. And so on, all discussions and very little actual action Is actually taken.

This NYE, a sudden sea wind meant that the pile of pallets/crates was seriously on fire and sparks and flames were blowing over the entire neighborhood. Totally out of control, there was nothing anyone could do. The damage is intense, from cars, to homes, clothing, people running for shelter as’ balls of fire’ and ‘hot sparks’ literally dropped from the sky.

Even more discussions about who is responsible? The mayor for not stopping it, knowing that the height of the fire before it was even lit, was way beyond the normal sensible limitations, the Fire Brigade, the Police and as if ever so, the final say about who is responsible gets passed around. This is called: ‘passing the buck’ around until everyone literally does not know anymore who is eventually responsible. In other words, no one actually has an answer or is willing to step up and say so. So let’s literally sweep the entire mess under a huge carpet.

But coming back to my word Tolerant. I looked up its meaning, as I often do and it says:

Tolerant: The ability of willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with…

Well there you have it then!

Or: the capacity to endure continued subjection to something such as a drug or environmental conditions without adverse reactions.

My friend remarked over his coffee that being tolerant means that we have just become scared of saying what we think. We just go along with things and as such we are tolerant. Tolerance has become fear. From a positive thought to a negative one.

Food for thought isn’t it?

So are all the people in the USA being tolerant when local governmental offices have been closed down and they have not received any salary, just because ‘tpothus’ has decided that in his narcissistic way, that damned wall is going to be built between the US/Mexican borders no matter what his senate or other governmental officials say. Majority or not, he is having the final say whatever the consequences. What about asking what his fellow citizens think? Is anyone listening to them at all? No, I think is the answer and there you have my word again: tolerant (or tolerance as it is in this sentence). 

So why are we all being so tolerant? That is my question and thought today, as life returns to normal after the Festive Season. Schools begin again and on this morning’s main news, there HE is again, carping on once more about his wall and that it is going to be built of steel! Does anyone really care? Why is the US going to such expense, surely there must be a peaceful way and the money spent on projects which are much more urgent and needy? USD 15 billion for a wall (and they expect now that the costs will be more in the region of USD 33 billion – er what?), when you think what a huge worldwide subject, which it was in 1989, when the wall built many years ago between West and East Germany was knocked down. I am sorry I just don’t get it at all. Can someone please explain? What is the point?

Is tolerance now another word for fear? Fear to speak out and say what you think? Or do we all just keep running along with public opinion? No matter what we think? Basically yes, we do!

How much longer are people all over the world going to be tolerant? This world is in a big mess. Any fool can see that and basically we all do nothing about it.

Why aren’t big influencers taking more of a stand? Speaking out more? We have become tolerant of far too much on a huge number of subjects.

Going back to the situation here in The Netherlands about the NYE fire a lot of the victims are uniting as one front. They are speaking out about the damage of their property and would you believe it, the major who has been saying nothing than: ‘I will wait to see the results of the general enquiry about the incident’ turns out to be the person sitting on the committee for said enquiry. For goodness sake! Where is her empathy for the people who have suffered? Talk about biased.

Maybe the word – Tolerant – is something we should all think about this January, the first month of a new year. Is it time maybe to speak out about the things we do not agree with? This does not have to such a trending topic, like the wall between Mexico and the USA, or even about a fire in one town in one very small country. It is so much more than that.

If there is something that you do not agree with and accept purely because you are afraid to speak out about it, maybe this is the moment to find some courage and do just that? 

Are you just being tolerant of a situation, person, of thing you basically do not agree with? Are you afraid of speaking out then? 

Isn’t it time? You remember the old trusted saying: that a ripple in the ocean is the beginning of a wave. How true is that?

Maybe it is time for people to say more about what they think and stand up more for themselves. Perhaps we have all been far too tolerant for far too long? I think so do you? 

Image: Google Images

2019 Eclipse Season starting again

Just a short post today, it is the start of Eclipse Season. We have a New Moon today and then a lunar eclipse in my sign Leo on the 21st January 2019. Have a great app on my iPhone for those of you who are interested in following lunar cycles called: Moon Plus. You can download for free from the App store. Enjoy.

A new moon in zodiac sign Capricorn has significant meanings when it comes to relationships:

It is urging you to make your needs a priority.

Take some time to set personal boundaries.

Consider getting rid of partnerships that don’t offer honest intimacy.

Have a good Sunday everyone!


Well today is the 3rd of January and as I have mentioned earlier, 2019 is a 3 year so it seems appropriate to write something today!

It is a horrible grey January morning here in The Netherlands and pouring with rain. I saw a magnificent rainbow a few moments ago, the last bit of blue sky before the downpour.

Just as 2018 came to an end, I was working on the translation of a blog by a friend of mine called Janosh. It was all about ‘Making your own Statement in 2019’. If you want to read it for yourself, go to ( and click on the blogs, there are three languages to choose from English, Dutch and Spanish.

I enjoyed doing the work because I so agreed with what he was saying.

The funny thing is that we as humans all feel that we have to join in with the masses. It is expected of us all to make New Year’s Resolutions! Why? Did we do it all so badly the year before? Or is it the idea that a New Year wipes the slate clean, you have 365 blank pages to write a new story?

Funny how the majority of resolutions begin with the word: less!

I find this interesting, why less and not more?

Of course, after the Holiday Season, where the majority of us have overindulged on all scores, maybe things like eating less or drinking less are applicable?

Before I go on, I looked up what the actual meaning is of NY Resolutions and is it apparently something common in the Western hemisphere (but also the Eastern). It literally says:

A tradition in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish personal goal or growth, in other words improve their life.

And it is nothing new. Resolutions date back to Babylonian times, when ancient civilizations promised to give back goods or pay their debts. The Romans promised to the God Janus, after which the month is named. Ancient knights took a so-called ‘peacock vow’ to affirm their commitment to chivalry. In ancient beliefs too, in Judaism at ‘Rosh Hashanah” culminating at Yon Kippur (the day of atonement) and in Christianity the liturgical season of Lent. Even though the meaning behind Lent is more about sacrifice than responsibility. Basically it was all about self-improvement. There is nothing wrong with that idea, irrespective of whatever belief you have.

Even though the actual holidays (Christmas and Boxing Day) are only 2 days in an otherwise normal week, it seems to be a ‘must’ to overfill our tables and over eat and drink. Otherwise we are not keeping up with so-called tradition. And every year I do it again, over buy, have far too much food in the house, overfull fridges and freezers, just as if, I like many, think the shops are never opening again. In actual fact, here in The Netherlands a lot of supermarkets were actually open on Christmas Day in larger towns and cities. Ridiculous! Of course it is wonderful to have time with family and friends and invite them to your table, again nothing wrong with that. But somehow along the way, I think a lot of us how forgotten the real reasons.

But back to new resolutions and the blog which inspired me to write this one too.

Why do we all feel that we HAVE to start with major plans and changes in the New Year? It is such a ‘come down’ from the festive season. A lot of people feel that they have to have a swim in the freezing cold North Sea. Why? Why on the 1stJanuary, the next day would be exactly the same wouldn’t it? Janosh said, do you do it because you really want to, or merely to follow the masses? The latter is I suspect, the case.

The minute Christmas and all festivities are over we are completely subjected to advertisements about getting fit, eating more healthy foods, a membership to the local gym is a must, we have to get our holidays organized whilst the offers are on.

I agree with Janosh, why do we? No one is saying that WE HAVE TO.

What is wrong with doing things differently and as he said: ‘making your OWN Statement in 2019’. Why not indeed?

I personally think it is a complete waste of time making NY Resolutions unless you fully intend to keep them and come on let’s be honest the majority of us have given up around the second week of January. Why? Do we set the bar just a bit too high? Do we expect almost instant results? Yes we do. It is a sign of our times that we want things fast. We have to otherwise we cannot keep up with the pace of life these days. We have all become impatient on that score.

But my question is why do we allow ourselves to be so influenced? Of course it is good for us all to live our lives in a healthy way. Eat good, nutritious fresh foods, cut back on junk food, and drink more water and less alcohol. How many of you reading this agree? We need to take better care of our physical bodies, but considering the majority of us have spent our lives not doing that, we cannot expect ‘a complete turn’ around in the space of a couple of weeks. If you want to make a change on this score do it gradually. Funnily enough I opened the national newspaper this morning and the cover photo is of a man who lost 70kg in weight over a period of two years. No crash diet, not being an intense gym junkie, but just cutting down and being sensible. Now there is a word: sensible.

If you are overweight and have gained weight over a long period of time, then you cannot expect to shed it within a couple of weeks. Your body has got used to the excess and it will take just as long to reduce down as it did to build up. But what if you have been overweight all your life and you are a ‘mood or comfort eater’? Then the big question here is why? The only way to do anything about this is to make conscious change and choices for you. If you are someone who is a ‘mood’ eater then ask yourself why don’t I think about doing something else when I automatically find my solace in food? There is always a reason and may it is time to think about changing that reason? Same applies to ‘comfort’ eating. Why do you need the comfort? Isn’t it time to think about making a change in your circumstances?

Whatever the reasons and whatever you want to change in your life, there is one first important thing you have to think about and that is the reason. Do you really want to? Is the change right for you or are you just following the trend? Are you completely behind your choice? If not, why not? It is much more about having a short dialogue with yourself about the ‘how’s and why’s’ before you even set about thinking what your list is. There is a big difference in the words MUST or HAVING TO as opposed to WANTING or WISHING TO.

To be perfectly honest I have not made a single resolution this year apart from one thing and that is, to be kinder to myself. To have more respect for my body, my mind and my health. If there is one thing on this entire planet, which you cannot buy, it is good health. Of course I can cut down on food, drink more water, go to bed earlier, exercise more, but it is never going to be anything sustainable unless I really want to. That is the whole point. I have to go deep down inside me to ask these questions and then the answers are already there. If I don’t want, then believe me I will not succeed whatever the list of reasons may be. 

Going back to what Janosh talked about in his blog: If you want to make your own statement in 2019 then do just that. Dare to be a little bit different and not just run with the herd. It is our nature as humans to follow the masses, do what is expected of us, but what will happen if you dare to maybe do things differently knowing that it is something you really want. Not just on the outside but deep within too.

One of the cartoons in the newspapers this morning shows a cat stretching on a couch and asking itself, what are my resolutions for the New Year. The answer he gave was only ….. I am just puuuuurfect.

We should all think about this! 

Happy New Year

Image: Google Images


I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. It seems only like yesterday that my daughter and son-in-law came to tell me that they were expecting a baby and that their greatest adventure ever will begin in February 2019.

So I am going to be a grandparent.

It is emotional when your own child is suddenly going to be a mother too.

Now she is at the 32-week stage and only 8 weeks to go.

Yesterday was the first time for ages that we had a ‘mum and daughter’ day out.

Probably not the best choice of days, 27thDecember, the after Christmas sales have started and virtually everyone has taken the rest of the week off work.

Roads filled with cars with family, all going at snail’s pace.

Arriving at the Mega Stories in Rotterdam Alexandrium, the car park was virtually empty and we parked right beside the lift. I am still using one crutch when out and about where people are, having had my hip replaced several weeks ago. Just in case!

Strange how after Christmas, the music playing and decorations suddenly look all out of place and too crass for words. And the place was virtually empty! Hoorah, we seem to have beaten the bargain hunters after Christmas. We wandered around the shops and my daughter bought some of the last bits and pieces on her list. Then to the Prenatal Mega Store.

I had been planning to actually make a small quilt for the baby’s playpen, which we have already bought for them, but choosing the materials is quite something when she has a very definite idea about which colours, materials and such like. Not to mention if the filling is officially approved for newborns? A trip out the previous Saturday to the only haberdashery and material shop we both know on this island, revealed that they had finally closed their doors weeks ago. So is online ordering the best alternative? Unless quite by chance we find a shop here today.

My daughter wanted to buy her ‘bringing the baby home outfit’. Yes, this is special the first outfit after she is born (yes it’s a girl too) is something you have to choose for yourself. Then upstairs to buy ‘a thing’ for the Maxi Cosy and suddenly we come across the most perfect quilt for in the playpen, fluffy soft material and exactly the colour she wants. So easy, all done and bought for probably a fraction of the amount the material would have cost and not to mention actually making it, that would have been quite something else, as I have never done quilting before! So perhaps a bit of a too adventurous idea, now solved.

Another thing on the list ticked off.

On the way back and by this time it is so busy and people are so glad when someone finally vacates a parking place we talked about the next few weeks. Only 20 actual working days for my daughter and then she will officially be on ‘maternity leave’. 

We have nicknamed the baby ‘Truus’. It started as a joke but somehow its stuck; even my daughter is calling her that now. It is not going to be her name; we only know the initials so far, which of course I will reveal at a later date.

On the drive back home we were talking and it is interesting to hear that she, just like I did all those years ago, had definite ideas in her head about how the delivery will go, how she is going to deal with it and say what she does and doesn’t want. She said: “I want it all to be over with in 2 hours and then go home (from the hospital)”. Wishful thinking perhaps for a firstborn? But you never know do you?

I related the story I have told many times to people about my old school friend in the UK who was just about to have her baby and full scale panic to get to the hospital before the baby arrived and her husband went upstairs to have a quick shower and shave!  Her daughter was nearly born in the hospital entrance they cut the time so fine!

I told me daughter that I think that the best way to deal with the contractions is to learn to breathe properly. Learn to breathe the ‘yoga way’. Deep breathes from the belly and puffing and huffing, when you have to at the end. She does not want an epidural, no painkillers, just the natural way and then the only way is controlling your breathing. Agree?

For Christmas this year I had a really great book: 100 things grandparents should do with their grandchild and some really lovely amusing things too. Over dinner on Boxing Day, my daughter suddenly said Oma Kramer (which is Dutch for Granny and no I am not going to be called that). Under no circumstances! It makes me think of my own mother-in-law who was not the easiest of people and I just cannot have Truus calling me that too. So I want to keep in line with the tradition from my side of the family (the British side) and take the name Nanna. If Truus arrives on the 20thFebruary (the actual official date is the 23rd) she will be sixth generation from my side born on the 20thof the month. Just wonder if she will arrive then?

So it’s going to be Nanna and Opa! No more discussion about that. Final say so!

I must admit it is getting more exciting now. My daughter is really showing now that she is pregnant. She was so exercised and trim beforehand that you could not even see a bump at the beginning, but as I told her recently you billow out in the last 2 months. (In other words take on the form of a breached whale).

Truus is running out of space in there now, you regularly see either a knee, foot or her bottom suddenly move and sticking out. I have felt it too. My daughter is starting to get the Braxton Hicks type of pre-contractions. That is when your soft bulge goes incredibly hard and there is a lot of movement inside.

Next week we are all going for the final Echo before birth!

Tomorrow going to go for a cuppa with her as two of her old school friends are visiting and one of them is exactly at the same stage, exactly the same expected date, wonder how they managed that? 

So I have a little job to do today. When the idea of a ‘baby shower’ was mentioned, my daughter said empathically that she did not want to have one under any circumstances. It’s really something that has blown over from the USA, like Black Friday. No one ever did that here before.

I could buy lots of things for my little Truus to be, but I want to make something more special, something I have actually done myself. There is so much (too much) choice in the shops and any fool could buy them.

So closing off the first one of my countdown blogs now, to get creative. With a bit of luck it might be ready to take with me tomorrow.

I wonder how many of you out there remember this too? Not only being a parent for the first time but also on the verge of being allowed to climb a rung higher up the generation ladder to becoming a grandparent.

Please share your own story in the feed!


Well, only 2 days to go and just wanted to add in this last post in 2018. A huge thank you to all of you out there who have read my blogs and taken the time to write such positive comments. I have done my best to reply to as many as possible. So …

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

Prettige Feestdagen en Gelukkig Nieuwjaar

Joyeux Noel & Bonne Annee

Felix Navidad & Properos Ano Nuevo

Augori do buon Natale en Felice Anno Neuvo

God Jul & Godt Nytar

Feliz Natal en Bom Anno Novo

Noflike Krystdagen en in profet Lok en Sine yn it Nijne Jier