SHARING A PART OF MY LATEST BOOK : A SECOND CHANCE

I promised to share the first two chapters of my latest book, which was published yesterday, 13th March 2017 (quite a significant day for me personally and I will be sharing more about this soon). This book will be available in a few days via www.bol.com and if you are not in the ‘catchment’ area for this site you can order via me if you want to read on all about Kate and her adventures.

A SECOND CHANCE BY JILL KRAMER

Kramer, Jillian Elizabeth
NOVEL, Romantic Fiction
‘A Second Chance’

Other books by Jill Kramer:-

* Impossible Love
* Re-kindling the Flame
* True Colours
* 2016 was a Blogging Good Year (e-book)
* The Blue House
* Het Blauwe Huis (Dutch)
* Fireflies in the Summer (and other short stories)

Published by: Brave New Books

ISBN: 9789402173987

Available through: www.bol.com (or from the author)

Website: www.wordpassion12.com

Email: wordpassion12@gmail.com

Edited by: Annette Barèl

Disclaimer:

A SECOND CHANCE is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely coincidental.

Jill Kramer 2018 ©

All Rights Reserved

Falling in love with someone is the most wonderful, yet the scariest feeling in the world. When you are not sure where life will lead, but it’s too much of an exciting adventure for you to care. When just the sight of someone gives you butterflies; when hearing them say your name gives you a warm fuzzy feeling running through your body. You get all these odd little feelings and you are happy. But there is a niggling feeling when you are apart that tries to discourage you. But then you see the other person again and everything is better, everything is perfect ….

This book is dedicated to all of you who know exactly, in all walks of life, how great it is to have A Second Chance.

I hope you enjoy.

Jill Kramer 2018©

Introduction:

When Kate unexpectedly decides to take a last minute trip to New York City, she never realizes that this will be the beginning of a new phase in her life. She runs a business called Baking for Beauty with her friend Thea. They have been incredibly busy up until Christmas with their special boxes for the Holiday Season. When her friend Beth invites her to come over, she doesn’t hesitate and gets on a plane to John F Kennedy Airport in New York. In the taxi queue waiting to go into Manhattan, a fellow passenger asks if she would mind sharing. Actually she does, and sits in silence all the way into the city until the taxi drops him off at Central Park. During her stay they keep bumping into one another all over the place. Surprising really when there are so many people there at this time of year.

A chance meeting in Bloomingdales, they make an appointment to meet up in Bryant Park, Kate is disappointed when he does not show up, even though she waits for almost an hour.

Months later, back at home, suddenly one day, someone arrives with a huge bunch of flowers and an invitation to lunch.

Read on …..

CHAPTER ONE

Christmas in New York

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

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

She settled herself down into her seat on the plane, glad she had got a bit more leg room in the comfort class. Business Class was so totally over the top expensive these days, luxurious, but to be honest she would rather spend the money shopping in New York than actually paying a fortune for a plane seat! The stewardesses were rushing back and fro as the ‘seat beat’ sign had been extinguished and people began to move about.

Kate got out her Ipad and went to her e-books. It was the only way to survive a long flight she thought to get engrossed into a book because the flight was quite boring after take off.

There was a good film on offer, but for the time being she was happy to read the book, the latest from Dan Brown, an author who she loved and again about his character Robert Langton, so she knew it would be an exciting book from start to finish.

Some of the places mentioned in just the first chapter were familiar to her. Montserrat just outside Barcelona was a place she had visited several times.

She was glad that the seat next to her was filled by a small child, who had fallen asleep within minutes of the plane being up in the air and she was not squeezed in by an older larger person. Flying time to New York was nearly 9 hours and she would be there around lunch time local time. 6 of the hours being the time difference at this time of year.

Within minutes she was totally engrossed in her book, the plane flew across the north of England and Ireland and then all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to John F Kennedy International Airport.

Her mind wandered off her book and she closed her eyes. Having had such an early start to the airport, it was not surprising that she drifted off into a sleep, filled with mixed dreams about the past year, what had happened and it could be concluded that 2017 had been an eventful one for sure.

She was woken by the stewardess asking her if she would like a drink and something to eat, the majority of passengers were already eating those typical plane meals. She accepted gratefully. The air in planes is so dry it made you thirsty.

After she had finished some food and had a warm drink, Kate began to feel drowsy and settled down with the very inadequate cushion on planes and closed her eyes. It had been such a busy build up to Christmas this year. A couple of years ago she had started a little company called the Baking for Beauty.

She and her friend Thea, whom she had known for almost 20 years, suddenly had had the idea that they would make things for beauty based on the idea of bakery. Soaps were shaped like slices of cakes, ‘bombs’ for in the bath were shaped like donuts and so the ideas had flowed. There were body scrubs, body and hand lotions, hair masks and lip balsams. In the summer they started making products, all of which were purely natural and included no artificial ingredients and special boxes for Christmas and birthdays. After a lot of publicity on social media, things had taken off big time and the orders were piling in. It was a really busy time for them both (not to mention all their staff now) and that is why Kate had decided she needed a complete break and had chosen to go to New York for Christmas. She and Thea had been making, stirring, filling and boxing for weeks on end. Every single muscle in her entire body ached from the physical effort, but this year had been a record one for sales, their biggest ever.

She was grateful to the huge amount of helpers they had had, it was a full on job with little time to relax until all the parcels had been despatched and knowing that there would be a lull in orders during the week between Christmas and New Year, she had made a snap decision to accept Beth’s invitation and actually go off on a trip somewhere completely different and away from the endless invitations to spend the days with the same people year in, year out. She was thankful that after her divorce the majority of her friends had remained loyal, but she still felt a bit of a loose end on her own during the Festive Season.

It was not long before Kate had drifted off into quite a deep sleep despite the plane noise and the huge amount of people on board as the plane was completely full not a single empty seat. In her dreams she was thinking of New York, of all the times she had been before and being a real romantic, wondering if she just might meet someone really special on this trip?

When Beth mentioned the idea of New York, she had just happened to see a picture of Central Park in the snow, it looked so pristine and white and so lovely, her mind was made up instantly.

In her dreams she was already there and having a totally romantic and wonderful time, and it was announcement on the tannoy that the plane was preparing its descent into John F Kennedy airport, which woke her up in a start.

After taxi-ing to the terminal and disembarking Kate joined the long queue through the passport and customs section. They were thorough and strict here and even though she already had her ESTA visa in place she still knew there would be fingerprinting and eye photo’s to be made. Since the terrorist attacks in the USA, it was a nightmare these days and people who came into the country were screened literally from head to toe.

She collected her luggage and went out into the cold sunny day to join yet another queue for taxi’s or limo’s into the city centre. Beth lived in a beautiful top storey loft apartment in the Meat Packer’s District in Lower Manhatten.

Eventually she ended up sharing a taxi with a man who was obviously either coming home for Christmas or doing a last minute business trip. As they both got into the taxi at the same time, and he asked: ‘share’, she had only nodded. He looked tired (well who would not after a long transatlantic flight), sad eyes but the most amazing colour blue and a boyish appearance. She didn’t really want to make conversation or share a taxi, but it was inevitable really having to with someone when plane loads of people arrived at JFK at the same time, the number of taxi’s and limo’s were limited too. So she just stared out of the window and made no conversation. Neither did he.

The car sped through the motorway lanes towards Manhattan Island and her first glimpse of the Hudson River and the bridges crossing the water and the sky scrapers made her feel excited. She was really looking forward to being back again and also meeting up with her friend Beth, who she had not seen since her last visit.

The taxi dropped him off first in Upper Manhattan, at the top of 7th Avenue to be exact. She knew it well, it lead immediately down to Times Square, past Carnegie Hall. She carried on then on her own to where she would be staying.

CHAPTER TWO

Sunday 24th December

After a difficult and disturbed night’s sleep in a strange bed, with endless city sounds, which went on all night, Kate was awake early. It would take her several days to adjust to the 6 hour time difference anyway.

When she had arrived yesterday mid afternoon Beth had suggested that they spend an easy day at home. In the end they have given in and gone for a quick meal locally. Kate was tired and after the long flight you just needed time to chill out and stretch your legs, which she did walking to and back from the restaurant.

There was such a real buzz in the air in New York. Everywhere was decorated for Christmas and after breakfast (all healthy and non fattening of course), she and Beth planned their day. First of all they would go to the shops along 5th Avenue and took a taxi there. The pavements were filled with last minute Christmas shoppers and each and every shop window was decorated. They walked down to Times Square, cutting through between 6th and 7th Avenue and the crowds were huge. Preparations were already underway for the big ceremony planned for New Year Eve. Kate would not be there for NYE, she had to go back before then.

There was a distinctive chill in the air, as if there would be snow, quite normal for this time of year and as winds blew down from the lakes separating Canada and the USA, Pittsburgh had already had snow. Despite the cold, there was a wonderful atmosphere everywhere, people wishing one another a ‘Merry Christmas’ and huge numbers of Santa’s shaking tins for donations at virtually every store. At the end of the afternoon, they decided to treat themselves (well it was Christmas Eve after all!) to cocktails at the Top of the Rock bar by the Rockefeller Centre.

Here was the famous Ice Rink and the biggest tree Kate thought she had ever seen. The lights all glittering in the wind, which had picked up during the day. They took the elevator all the way up to the top and settled down into comfortable chairs.
‘Well’ said Beth, ‘I think it has to be a Manhattan don’t you? Kate nodded, as she gazed out of the windows across the skyline of New York. She could see all the famous landmarks, mainly because of the lights. The Empire State and Chrysler Building all lit up in different colours, with the winter background of the setting sun across the Hudson and East rivers. It was quite beautiful, Kate thought. She was glad to actually sit down, rest her legs as they had walked quite a distance, which was so easy to do when in Manhattan. Each block was number either East or West and the main roads leading up or down from Central Park were numbered.

Within seconds a smart waiter brought them their cocktails which were delicious and Kate thought that she must try not and drink it too fast, she felt the warmth of the whisky which it contained go down from her throat warming her entire body, right down to her toes.

She and Beth had also been talking non-stop. Their friendship was such, that they just started again from the moment they had left off and Kate had told her all about her little enterprise. Beth was a writer and very well known in fact. Kate was not a person to be influenced by this fact, probably the reason why they had become such good friends for quite some time now. Kate loved to write as well, and that is how she originally met Beth. At one of the book signing sessions, Beth had just looked up and said to her: ‘You look nice, how about meeting up afterwards’. Kate at first had thought maybe she was being propositioned, but Beth was just one of those people you took an instant liking too.

They both sat there, stretching their legs, sipping at their cocktails when Kate suddenly was aware that someone was staring at her. It was her taxi man. He nodded and she nodded back but made no more effort than that. How strange bumping into him here of all places, considering the number of people who were milling around in the city today.

After a third cocktail and Kate was feeling decidedly tipsy by this time, she and Beth discussed their dinner plans, and decided a super sandwich from Dean and Deluca was probably enough considering they would be eating huge amounts of food over the next two days. Beth’s family were coming for Christmas dinner plus a number of friends and she was glad that Kate was there to help her with a turkey that looked so big they both had wondered earlier if it was even going to fit into the oven.

Traditional Christmas dinners were Kate’s speciality, she had done so many over the years. Stuffing the bird first of all, then wrapping the breast meat with bacon or pancetta slices to keep the moisture in, then a huge roasting bag and setting the oven time. She and Beth had planned all the traditional trimmings of course including Bread Sauce, which had made them both laugh the evening before. Who on earth would want to pour a sauce made from bread all over their turkey? It sounded awful, but it wasn’t, it actually went very well together, with the roast potatoes, cranberry sauce, and different vegetables. Beth had drawn the line with sprouts. She disliked them intensely and they had gone for a selection of roasted veggies, like parsnips, carrots, onions, pumpkin (which Kate was sure everyone in the USA would find strange as pumpkins were usually used for more ‘sweet’ dishes than savoury). But that was all for tomorrow morning.

It was time to pay the bill, which Kate did, and pull their tired bodies from their chairs and get their snack before the shop shut. As they went to leave, Kate looked back at her ‘taxi man’ who was staring at her quite intently and she just mouthed the words ‘Merry Christmas’ and left without another thought.

 

IF YOU WANT TO READ ON, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME ….

THANK YOU FOR SO MANY REACTIONS TO MY BOOK – THE BLUE HOUSE

Every day when checking my email in the morning, I am absolutely amazed about the number of reactions to my blog post in which I shared the first two chapters of my book THE BLUE HOUSE.

I want to take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate your words and also that you are taking the time to write back to me. I try and reply to each and everyone of them.

In the blog I shared only the first two chapters so of you want to read on all about Grace and Matthews adventures, then you can buy the book in two ways:

First of all, for the people who are in the ‘catchment’ area for the website www.bol.com you can order my book online. You just need to type in my name (JILL KRAMER) in the book search and you will see all of my books which have been published so far through my publisher (Brave New Books).

For those who are not able to order online through bol, you can always send me an email and I will order for you. The price is Euro 19,99 ex postage and packing.

Know that transferring money across the globe can be expensive because of exorbitant bank changes, I have a PayPal account and can send you an invoice which includes the link to pay to your own email. So if you are interested, please send an email to me: wordpassion12@gmail.com and let me know your full details (name, address, and email) I will order for you and send the invoice for payment. As soon as funds are received I guarantee that the book will then be sent to you.

This coming week, my 8th book is being published: A SECOND CHANCE. I shared a sneak preview in another blog. More information about this is on my pages (on the left hand side of the site).

Anyway, let me know if you are interested.

FRIENDSHIP

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

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

FRIENDSHIP

My dear friend,

Recently I saw a quote on social media that said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A SNEAK PREVIEW TO MY LATEST BOOK : A SECOND CHANCE

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

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

 

Jill Kramer

 

A SECOND CHANCE

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

Christmas in New York

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

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

IF YOU COULD TURN BACK TIME

 

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

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

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

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

What if I could turn back time?

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

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

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

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

So that is my thought for this cold frosty morning:

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

Please feel free to place a reaction under this article or send an email to wordpassion12@gmail.com

There is definitely going to be another follow-up!

A FOLLOW UP TO MY BLOG ABOUT DONATE YOUR ORGANS? YES OR NO?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COWBOYS AND INDIANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A DATING SITE? Is ‘Tinder’ your choice?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DONATING YOUR ORGANS? YES OR NO?

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

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

That I can get my head around rationally.

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

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

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

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

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

So an interesting thought came up:

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

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

Do you?

Reactions please to wordpassion12@gmail.com or leave your comment under this article.

A SECOND CHANCE

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

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

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

A romantic fictional novel.  Watch this space!