Dec 30, 2009


Dutch New Year celebrations started officially yesterday morning, with the legal sale of fireworks in Holland. Legally, they must not be let off before 10 a.m. on the 31st Dec.; but unrealistically, billions of bangers, rockets and other heart jumping noisy explosives, are now in the hands of millions of over-excited Dutch youth.

So, since I am not allowed to leap out, screeching bloodcurdlingly (and brandishing my broomstick) onto the backs of our local youth - and physically remove their fireworks from them when they let them off right under my windows (!) - that just leaves the following:

Check list:
Wheelie bins under cover.
Letter box sealed shut.
Last minute shopping done.
All windows closed.
Monitor the dog's pulse and respiration.

A friend's German Shepherd mix is staying with me, while her 'mam' holidays in Dubai - and she is cowering on top of my feet. She has been there for almost the last 24 hours and my feet are numb. Toasty, but numb.

This poor dog is my greatest concern; what with all the smoke and noise coming from the street she is a nervous wreck, so I have created an elaborate, 'escape' route, out of my scullery door (mine is the only residence on the ground floor - a sort of granny flat) and into a small enclosed back passage. Then out through another door into the main hall, past the lift and out through the electronic back doors onto a large cul-de-sac of grass and trees - and from there it is just a couple of minutes mad dash across the grass, around a corner, across a road and into a large wooded park, where an 'off lead' area for our four footed friends, offers sanctuary. Phew!

After a bit of a run, I will put her back on the lead and since the local New Year's bonfire is being built further up in the park, we will then proceed the opposite way, past monuments and duck filled ponds, towards an area of high prickly bushes - to relax and sniff at rabbit holes. (The dog, not me (!) I gave up rabbit hole sniffing years ago...). It seems to soothe the dog's nerves and the local rabbits are apparently used to us now, since they don't bolt anymore.
I just hope that these cute, seemingly unafraid bunnies - and the local tame ducks - have the sense to bolt and hide from the growing swarms of kids armed with thousands of 'bombs': i.e, bangers that get louder and more dangerous every year... *shudder*..
Because some of them really are like small bombs. Obtained illegally from Belgium and smuggled into the Neths. I saw two of them blow a couple of impressive holes in the tarmac outside a party in Amsterdam, a couple of years ago.

Happy New Year everyone - and be safe! And that goes for your pets and the local wild life too.


Dec 5, 2009


Its that day of the year again in The Netherlands. Santa Claus is coming – or as the Dutch call him; 'Sintaklaas'.

Yes, that’s right, in Holland, Hollanda, Pays Bas, The Neths., little and grown up kids everywhere, are paid a visit by St. Nikolaas the 'good holy man', sometime during the evening of December 5th. – which also happens to be ‘the Sints’ birthday.

Bishop Nicholas of Myra, Turkey, as he originally was - except that little Dutch children are told that he now lives in Spain - travels to Holland every year towards the end of November in his steamboat; accompanied by his piebald horse 'Amerigo' and a bevy of 'Zwarte Pieten' or Moorish helpers. (Except, I have had this nagging suspicion - ever since seeing black make up on the Chief Piet's ruff (aha!) - that they are not real Moores, but rather a large group of Dutch chappies, with their faces painted black and dressed in brightly coloured silk knickerbockers and jackets, with black hose and a jaunty feather in their hats). But whoever they are, these Pieten will then dance through the streets of Holland and into the shops, throwing handfuls of sweets and pepernoten - pepper nuts - at throngs of delighted, excited children.

In the lead up to Dec. 5th. - the kids may periodically place one of their shoes on the window ledge of their bedrooms, or by the fireplace if they have one, complete with a carrot for Amerigo - and one of the Pieten will ..er.. break into the house, take the carrot and leave a small token gift in the shoe.

But December the 5th. is the really Big Day (!) - and I have been invited to share in this one, at my youngest daughter’s house this evening, where we will wait for that loud knocking on the windows and ringing on the doorbell, that will announce that Sint and his Pieten have galloped by and left a huge box of presents outside the front door..!!
Except that Grandma will not be in the room, because she will have left just a minute before to ‘spend a penny’ (darn this old bladder!) and after carrying what will seem like a whole toyshop, on tiptoe, out of the shed and placing it by the front door and banging on the windows and ringing the bell, will have just made it back into the downstairs toilet - a split second before…

‘Presents! Presents!’ The kiddies will burst from the sitting room into the hall, eyes and mouths wide and almost wetting their own pants with excitement…!
‘Oh, how wonderful!’ Mama will chant, opening the front door to a ton of brightly wrapped packages.
‘Yaaay!’ Grandma will manage, feebly, hobbling after them and wincing at pulled muscles.
‘You forgot to throw the pepper nuts around,’ Mama will hiss.
‘Oh h*ll’, I'll mutter, reaching into the hall cupboard and belatedly and surreptitiously chucking handfuls of the things, into the box of toys and all over the front door step.

And when the gifts are gathered in, we’ll sit by a roaring log fire with a glass of something deep red and delicious or brown and fizzy and devour plates of ‘lekker’s: i.e., tasty nibbles on sticks and chocolates and crisps etc.. and dole out the presents and count our blessings and try and build up some energy for December the 25th…and Christmas Eve, when the 'Kerstman' or rather, Father Christmas/Santa Claus (?) will be coming to Holland from Lapland (?)with his little elf helpers and dropping down the chimney and leaving a bunch of presents under the tree.. and oh yes, this fat, jolly, ho-ho-ho-ing (Coca-cola) fellow is a completely different chap to Bishop St. Nicholas of December 5th…. (er, isn't he....?)

Confused? You me both and every kid and adult in the Neths.! But who cares? Better to just go with the flow…. it’s expensive … but after all, isn't that what the next 11 months are for? To save up...?
Ho-Ho-Ho! Merry December 5th.!!!!

Nov 14, 2009


Reciting Pi to 40 places, in an occasional attempt to keep the old hypocampus from shrinking, has always been one of my favourite brain exercises. But whilst on most days the old grey cells will proudly rattle of the sequence - and throw in a rapid 12 times table for desert - on others, there is a black void past the first 4 places. (3.14 15....er...?..thingy...er...?...darn it!).

So I can't believe people actually do this - for FUN!!!

Oct 24, 2009


* Doctors are a weird and wonderful bunch aren't they? I remember waking up from having my appendix out on my 18th. birthday and being greeted by a wildly enthusiastic surgeon informing me that the offending dangly object, was the l-o-n-g-e-s-t he had ever seen, let alone removed! Blushing furiously and not quite knowing how to respond, I shyly told him he could keep the thing, if he liked... to which he very seriously - and majestically ignoring the tittering nurses - told me he would be honoured to do.

I wonder if he did keep it and where it is now?
Floating in green stuff in a jar, on a dusty shelf at the back of some forgotten hospital cupboard?
Proudly displayed in some teaching hospital in the U.S. bought years ago for an exorbitant sum?

Wow! Think I'll google it! (You never know...)

* The above memory was jolted from its mental pigeon hole by a visit to Steph on her blog The biopsy report. Steph is a very brave lady and an inspiration to us all to fight on and stay optimistic, in the face of horrific illness. Happily, she is better now - and her skull is famous too! Good luck to you Steph. Stay well!

Oct 4, 2009


It's the daily routine that's to blame, I'm convinced of it, because now I've stopped jetting backwards and forwards and thinking outside the box, I'm back to forgetting where I've put things - again!
Keys; shoes; bag; knickers; you name it.. nowhere to be found - so yup, life is definitely back to normal!

Time for the old brain exercises I'm thinking (well, at least I'm thinking!) and actually, I've reinstated one of the 'brain drains' we used to do at school on the last day of term, when the teacher couldn't think of anything else to keep us busy - and quiet.

The key word is PLANET and you have to get as many other words out of it as you can.
I think the record for this particular word is 92 other words - but there again, that does seem rather a lot - I can only see about 10 at first glance!

Come on then brain - here we go!

P L A N E T.
plan; plant; plane; pan; pane; pen; pat; pet; plate; peat; pleat; pal; pale; pelt; petal; - is that all the P's?

L... yawn ... This is really draining. Just off for a quick cuppa and chocy bar (brain food) - carry on without me folks...!!

Sep 27, 2009


Whilst away in the U.K. recently, helping empty and clean out the old family 'ghost' house, I came across this remarkable example of ancient toy technology - my old 24 inch, plaster walking doll! Very modern for her time; her legs jerking stiffly into place with just the faintest of clicks, as I moved her forwards. Left, right.. left, right... and away we would go. Jerky dolly and little 5 - 6 year old girl, her long plaits swinging...

I don't remember how many wigs she had - I practiced my hairdressing skills on her with fierce enthusiasm - or how many sets of open/close eyes and new pairs of pink, plastic strap over shoes; all bought from the 'Doll's Hospital' in town.... a grand title for a tiny, poky, rather scary (with hundreds of staring eyes and other dolly spare parts hanging on the walls!) little shop in a side street.

Sadly, although I don't really know why I say that - she was after all just a doll, she was in pieces when I found her. Wrapped in a plastic bag on top of a very dusty wardrobe, chipped nose and fingers, devoid of hair and sight, her legs and arms arranged loosely around her - the elastics inside having corroded long ago......

She was never my favourite doll - and to be truthful, I have even forgotten what I called her.

Nameless and broken. I threw her in the bin. She was just a doll..... a piece of childhood long gone and for many reasons, best forgotten...

Back to the present and onwards to the future and the living! Give love to the living.

A new era.

New inward peace.

Sep 15, 2009


Out of circulation for a while, due to a bereavement in the family.

A lot of travelling back and forth between The Neths. and UK..

Best wishes to all,


Aug 13, 2009


Hmm... just logged on to read world news - and found 'Windows Defender' industriously downloading 0% of downloads and refusing to allow me to me click it away - as I usually do - to let it get on with its business in private. Have had to sit through umpteen cups of coffee just staring at those little 'yellow shield' and 'fortress' icons, until WD stopped doing what it was not doing and was ready to let me do what I wanted to do!

That's odd..... we now have noise - an insistent beeping, followed by a 'clip-clop, clip-clop'...
There it is again - 'clip-clop, clip-clop'.
Don't think I'm feverish... and haven't overdosed on meds (only coffee). So what can be going on..?

The only explanation I can think of, is that 'Trojan Equine' is loose(!). Now that would be bad! Quarantined that little b***er eons ago. How did he get out?

Perhaps the free Anti-Virus I downloaded almost one year ago (after a mighty fight to dislodge a particularly stubborn paid version of another brand) is losing its grip? Or this might be its unsubtle way of telling me 'one year free is enough already(!)' and to upgrade to one of its paid versions? *Sigh....* why do good things have to end?

There's that beeping noise again....twitch..(me, not the computer).

Oh good grief.... a window is now opening and telling me I haven't done a scan in two days.

Right, that's it. I'm off to watch the news on telly.
Assuming of course they haven't wiped the last decent news channel off in the night. Haven't got round to buying digital yet and my T.V. provider has cut most of the interesting channels out of 'analogue' or 'standard' or whatever it is that I've got.

Still, I know progress is unavoidable and we have to go with the times. So in just two minutes time, Geri will be progressing to the settee with the coffee pot and two slices of marmite on toast!

Now where did I put that remote........

Aug 8, 2009


Happily - it is not Swine Flu.
(Although I wasn't tested...)

Unhappily - it is the start of another bout of double pneumonia.
(A secondary bacterial infection. Though secondary to what, I do not know).

But there again, happily - the antibiotics are kicking in and things are slowly improving.
(3 cheers...).

Unhappily though - am not allowed out in the sun whilst taking the antibiotics.

Very happily though - it is an overcast day.

Ha-ha! Last laugh for me! .. (cough, cough...)

Aug 2, 2009


Don't know whether to blame this ridiculous looking pink creature I found lurking around - whilst clearing up the grandkids' toy box last Wednesday - but with mounting trepidation the list of today, includes:

Chills; coughing; very sore throat; horrible pain in back of neck; thumping head; aching all over, sore skin and runny nose.

Could of course be just a bad cold, but considering what happened last winter - when I felt ill but ignored it and carried on till I broke(!) - am now going to dive into bed and dose myself into a long healing doze. Read about that once in a James Herriot book (he was a Yorkshire vet'), how he put a 'sick sheep into a deep sleep' - Lor'.. don't say that fast! You'll lose your dentures - and when it woke up after 3 days it was cured! Brilliant stuff.

So ta-ta for now and take extra care when clearing out boxes and cupboards. Never know what might be lurking there.. My mother found a scorpion once, but that was when she was billeted in India during W.W.II..... (another time, another tale).

love and stuff,

Geri xx

Jul 27, 2009


Feeding the ducks in the park yesterday, met a neighbour just back from his holidays. A friendly man and very proud of his idiomatic-type English, which he practices on me – strangely with an ‘American’ accent - whenever he can.

Me: 'Howdy neighbour!'

Him: (Walking stiffly)…'O.K.. Jes got me a new case of the "galloping whatsits…".'

Me: 'Oh dear. That doesn’t sound O.K.. Picked it up on holiday?'

Him: 'Yeah. Makes it difficult to walk properly. A bit sore between the…'

Me: (Interrupting hastily)… 'Oo-er, yes yes, well, perhaps you shouldn’t be out? I mean, I know there are a lot of bushes around here, but perhaps it would be better to stay home, close to the...er.. W.C. You know - bathroom.'

Him: (With a slightly puzzled air)… 'But why would I wanna do that? I allus walk the hound round this time…'

Me: (More puzzled) 'Well, those ‘galloping…er…whatsits’ can come on quite - suddenly.'

Him: 'Awl-a-sudden? Well nay, s'matter-a-fact, took quite a while to tug them critters on!'

Me: (Totally confused). 'Heh???'

Him: (Lifting his T-shirt and pulling at his jeans waistband) 'Looky here…'

Me: (In rising panic) 'What are you doing man.? Get home quick! I’ll finish walking your dog for you!'

Him: 'The label. Look at the label.'

Me: ' "Colt". You’ve bought yourself a new pair of Colt jeans?'

Him: 'Tight sons-a-b****ers.'

Me: (Whinnying). 'NAAAY…toch!' (spelled NEE - Dutch for NO…).

Him: 'Whad'ya think I meant?'

Me: (Quickly) 'Nothing. Have a nice day.'

Him: (Shuffling stiffly off, mumbling in Dutch..) Translation: 'Strange woman. Goin’ a bit ‘potty’...'

Jul 25, 2009


The computer keeps telling me I’m overloading my ‘stack’..?????

So I looked it up on Wikipedia:

Main article: infinite recursion
The most common cause of stack overflows is excessively deep or infinite recursion. Languages, like Scheme, which implement tail-call optimization allow infinite recursion of a specific sort — tail recursion — to occur without stack overflow. This works because tail-recursion calls do not take up additional stack space.[3]


Jul 19, 2009


The world is overfull. Everyone seems to be in agreement with that. So I have decided to do my own bit for humanity and not visit that Italian IVF doctor famous for inpregnating (barmy)geriatric women.

Ideas on solving the problem of over population:

Good way? - Bad way?

I guess it's a matter of opinion.

I don't usually get political on the blog. But it's Sunday and it's raining - and I've finished all my chocolate. Bah, humbug!

Humbugs. Haven't got any of those either - in fact, do they still make them? You know, those black and white striped, odd shaped sweets? Or has the British government banned them as Racially/Politically Incorrect? I usually stock up on British sweeties (not available in The Neths.), when I visit family.

Perhaps 'the powers that be' will ban me after this. Or on the other hand, maybe some rich nutter will read this and leave me all his/her money...
Ha-ha! But wait a minute - If that happened I'd probably get roped into 'saving the world'.

B***cks to that. Just leave me to my rainy Sunday and my rapidly wearing off 'sugar high'...

Ouch... got a headache now.

Jul 9, 2009


"We climbed a big high mountain on a fair and sunny day and when we got to the top, went down the other side and had tea in a walled garden in Applecross".
And very nice it was too!

Jul 8, 2009


Lost in the eerie, dead woods.


Been a while since I popped in here... which means I’ve forgotten how to post a photo’(!) Been trying for half an hour…. Hang on.

No, still not working.

All right then, I’ll describe the photograph in question:


Looks a bit like the entrance to one of those ‘Dark Forests of Death’ fairy tales, so popular in children’s stories (and guaranteed to instil night terrors and bed-wetting, right up until puberty – and maybe beyond!).

Actually, it is a snapshot I took recently (since Menorca) of the dense and eerily quiet woods, that border my eldest daughter’s and son-in-law’s back garden, in the highlands of Scotland – and with nothing beyond them but the mountains, that reach right up to the North Atlantic coast.
But enough of this babbling! That confusing array of image buttons on the blog ‘dashboard’ awaits…and I wish I wasn’t so scared of them! This is ridiculous. Why can’t I remember what they all do? And if I click the wrong one, what is the worst that can happen? Crash the computer? (cynical laughter). Been there, done that! No, but I might lose the photo forever, or maybe accidentally delete the whole blog instead...

Oh what the heck - here goes…!

Hoch aye, it finally worked - and all this writing seems a bit daft now, since the photo is the first thing you see. I thought it was going to appear at the bottom of the post!!!

May 26, 2009


Well it’s three months later now and winter more or less gone, although you never can be sure, as it’s wet and chilly again today in my part of the Neths. - but never mind that, take a peek at the photo …

Those pesky seagulls even followed me to Menorca ! Of course, they could have already been there…(radical thought). This one was particularly persistent in its attempts to dive-bomb my grandson’s lunch.

That’s right folks, after a dreadful cold winter and an eight month list of depleting family maladies ranging from pneumonia, broken bones, ear operations, stomach flu, ordinary flu, continuous coughs, colds and very low spirits all round etc., etc., we (youngest daughter, two small grandsons and yours truly) took ourselves off to Menorca on Dutch Mother’s Day, 10th May, for ten sun filled, recuperating days. Well, eight actually, it rained for two (but even that was warm).

Back home now though, healthy, tanned and relaxed - and hopefully with re-built immune systems!

Bring it on!!!!!

Feb 18, 2009


Woke briefly from winter hibernation this morning and poked my sleep grizzled head out of the Geri Atric cave… A watery sun struggled through the clouds to briefly touch my tongue. Other folk hold up their finger to test the wind. I stick out my tongue to test the sun. Don’t ask.

Not a soul to be seen, except for a row of seagulls, perched motionlessly on the roof of the building opposite. They eye me hungrily.

I’m feeling peckish too and rummage hopefully through my depleting store of nuts and berries. Hmm, not much left. Spring will have to come soon….

A brief visit to the computer to read online news - and also to see if my blog is still there. Does the Blog Host Company, or whatever it’s called, delete your blog if it is not contributed to regularly (?) Not much to report at the moment but it’s nice to know I have an outlet, for those rare moments of rambling inspiration.

(Almost) cuddled back on the settee now, with the telly droning in the background and eyelids drooping…
Dreams of emigrating to warmer climes. Dreams of eating a mountain of chocolate ice-cream. Dreams of being young and nubile again.

Those ravenous seagulls are gathering under my window – and have been joined by flocks of raucous crows. I throw them stale bread and watch them half kill each other.
I like birds.

I hate winter.

Jan 7, 2009


There should be a breathtaking, winter wonderland photograph of my latest walk in the park, set right here, in the middle of this page…. however, there obviously isn’t… mutter.

Instead, my recently acquired, first ever digital camera, kindly given to me by my son-in-law, is informing me that it is full to bursting (with Christmas pics) which means that all the lovely New Years photo’s I took, depicting silver white Jack Frosted trees; dogs rolling delightedly on icy white grass; people clutching for dear life onto lampposts and ducks slipping and sliding comically on frozen ponds, were not recorded at all!

Technology is still taunting me…

Ah… there appears to be a drawing of a dustbin, situated bottom left on the camera screen. So I’m assuming that’s where the ‘old’ photographs of feasting family members must be thrown…Have fortunately recently mastered camera to computer downloading or uploading (?) so Christmas 2008 is preserved for posterity – but had not realized you also have to remove the pictures from the camera afterwards, to stop it getting ‘full’. Well, well. I thought they just sort of ‘dissipated’ into some eternal memory bank, or something… but apparently not.

Right…so how to proceed? Geri’s usual m.o. when faced with a new technological challenge is to ignore the incomprehensible, geek talk ‘instructions’ and press every button in sight. And when that doesn’t work, mutter unutterable words and weep with frustration!

However this year, things will be different. Think first and then act is my new resolution. So have laid the camera carefully down, put the kettle on for a nice hot cuppa and am about to rummage for brain food: - i.e., chocolate (!).

Hey-ho, off we go then… slurp, chomp, press, click… this should only take me about a week to learn. And then of course I shall have to go and take more photographs - but by the look of it the frost will still be here! Brrr...!

Wrap up warm everyone! Unless of course you live in a hot climate, then that would be just plain daft....