Let’s knit this city into shape.

Place: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Mission: To improve the city………by KNITTING!

I was in Rotterdam at the weekend and was walking along by the Maritime Museum (in the harbour area). Down one of the side streets I saw this! (see pics below) Knitted decorations for the street’s lampost and hand rails. A vision in bright pink, orange and purple.

I loved it. The fact that someone has knitted cute covers for the street is so cool. I took a few pictures to give you the idea…… I might just get some knitting needles and fix up something fab for my street.

The Dutch – They think of everything.

Someone has been really busy.

City improvement?

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I had to take this photo. The temptation was TOO strong.

I was waiting at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport when I first spotted her…. It wasn’t her face that caught by eye. My eyes were drawn in instantly by the glare coming from her skirt and socks. Ouch! Why did I not have my sunglasses on?

We queued to board the flight to Barcelona and ‘skirty girl’ queued too. I decided that proof would be required and so took this naughty little snapshot to remember he by. Home-made you think? Her outfit kinda clashed with her case too. That’s such a no-no….

Fashion queen or Fashion victim?

My friend Alison, the published author. This blog includes mysteries, adventures and family secrets.

My blog ‘One Life’ is the closest I get to having something/anything published. OK, each and every blog I add is ‘published’ here on WordPress, but it’s not the same as popping into a book shop or looking on Amazon.com and seeing my very own book. How I envy my friend.

Alison with her book.

The friend I am thinking and writing about in this post is Alison Zeitler. Alison and I met a couple of years ago in The Netherlands when she started working with my class at school (the joys of working in an international community as a teacher). Alison was, and still is, a superb teaching assistant. (It’s just a shame she’s not my teaching assistant anymore).

I was really impressed when Alison told me that she had written a book and even more so when I discovered that her book was complete and published. Alison was officially the first person I’d ever really known to write a book* – and I couldn’t wait to read it.

[*I mean a published book that people can buy and not the kind of book that I wrote when I was younger. I have stacks of stories and books that I made myself. Now, that is another story.]

Alison’s book ‘The Legend of Dragonmoon’ is a story about a girl who discovers that there is more to her family than she knew. She goes to Norway to stay with her aunt and there unfolds a series of events that turn her world upside down. A book with mystery, adventure and family secrets….. (“I’m going to like this”, I thought).

Inspiration for the house in the book.

I searched for reviews and information about Alison’s book online and arrived at the Amazon site. Their description of the book was as follows:

The Legend of Dragonmoon – The Big Green House follows the adventures of three cousins who are sent to Norway to stay with their great-aunt at Villa Skasen. They discover that their great-aunt can no longer afford the upkeep of the Villa which may have to be sold. It is left to the cousins to find the buried treasure on Skasen Island. Their task is complicated by superstition and myths of witches and lake dragons. A series of strange events place the three girls in danger. Their failure to find the treasure leaves only one option – they must rely on the old legend of Dragonmoon to save them.

 

While putting the finishing touches to this post, I spoke with Alison and explained that I wanted to talk about her book. This is Alison’s story and how she came up with the idea for ‘The Legend of Dragonmoon’:

“I have literally been trying to write THE book for my whole life.  At age 15, I promised myself that one day I would write and publish a book.  Over the years I began many stories and books, but none grabbed me and I always lost interest in them.  Then in the summer of 2004, we went on holiday to Finnskogen, Norway, and spent 2 weeks in a 100 year old green and white house standing on the edge of a beautiful lake. In the middle of the lake is an island.  Very Famous Five! We did a lot of the things that you can read about in the book, eg. Rowing over to the island and sitting on the porch roof.  Of course, my imagination just took off and soon a story began to form in my mind which originated from these three things – the big old green and white house, the 3 old ladies who used to live there and the word Dragonmoon which is actually the name of a woodland track in the forest.  I began to research the area and found out that it is full of old myths and strange legends.  I invented the legend of Dragonmoon which I weave thru the other myths and legends of the area.  I added a lake dragon to Lake Skasen and came up with a history for the 3 old ladies and finally, I had a story that I really liked”. 

 It all sounds simple when it’s put like that. More exciting news followed when Alison told me that the sequel was also in its final stages. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy. 

 

 

A place of mystery and magic.

 

 

A place of inspiration.

 

Alison explains that “the sequel carries the story on with the introduction of new characters/villains, the death of one character, and more about  the legend of Dragonmoon as the danger and excitement escalate to new heights. What I write is considered “low fantasy” because magical things happen in a real and natural setting.  My goal is to eventually write “high fantasy” (a la Tolkien) where the setting and characters etc are all based in a world that doesn’t really exist.  I already have a basis for a “high fantasy” story also connected to the legend of Dragonmoon so watch this space…”

With the first book published and the sequel on its way, what could be next?

“I would also love to write Scandinavian fairytales about witches, trolls, moose, shamans, etc. And I already have the outlines of 2 stories for my fairytale book which has the working title of ‘The Witches of Storberget’.  And in between all the magic and mystery, I write poems too, 122 to date and still counting…”

Now I am left thinking “Alison……Where do you find the time?”

If you are interested in finding out more about the book, the items or indeed the author and my friend, Alison Zeitler, you can check out more on her website here. There are some great photographs that reflect the essence of the story. You can find the location of the green house by the real Lake Skasen here.

Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed reading this post you may enjoy sharing it with friends and family via facebook, Twitter or other means. Click share below. You could also email the hyperlink (URL) to anyone you like.

Perhaps you’d like to comment. I will pass comments to Alison too.

   

Looking at the world through the eyes of a child. A collection of photos taken by three-year olds.

I find it so refreshing to look at photopgraphs taken by young children. Their perspective of the world is so different to our own. As a teacher I often forget quite how small the children are that I work with every day.

The photographs below were all taken by the children in my class (all aged three-years). We were searching for yellow objects inside the classroom and outside too.

The photos are not perfect, but that is part of their charm. Enjoy.

Spanish adverts (commercials) are seriously damaging my health.

Spanish TV is unreal. During our weekend break in Barcelona I sat with my group of friends relaxing in front of the TV. We watched a film (dubbed in Spanish but we didn’t mind). We were exhausted from our first touristy day out. The adverts came on (the commercial break to American readers). At first we laughed at the general ‘theme’ of the ads, but then we realised that the Spanish have ‘a thing’ for two themes……. Sex and illnness (in no particular order).

Almost every advert was related to sex or illness. It was unbelievable. I made a list for you all. Here goes:

  • Ear spray (the ad was way too graphic),
  • Cough medicine,
  • ‘Female’ cream (that’s about as much as I want to say…. Well that and the fact that this ad included a girl saying “Mummy, I don’t itch anymore!”),
  • Cold remedy,
  • Condoms advertised with ‘playing’ in the fields,
  • ‘Strepsils’ for your throat (“All major holes seem to be catered for in this break” said one of my friends),
  • Dandruff shampoo.

Are the Spanish on some illness scare….? And more….now it’s:

  • Rectal cream for piles… (delightful viewing),
  • Now risotto, but they’re advertising it with a couple getting ‘at it’ on the kitchen floor,
  • Breast milk? I don’t know what it was advertising,
  • More cold stuff…. A hot drink to soothe your throat,
  • Now cleaning product for your kitchen.

 I’m worried about stepping outside!!!! Spain must be under quarantine by now.

  •  More cold tablets….

Oh, it never stops.

Cartoon taken from http://www.savagechickens.com. (A great site, take a look).

www.savagechickens.com

A flight to remember.

Boarding an EasyJet Airbus A319

Image via Wikipedia

Just got back from a great weekend in Barcelona (Spain). It was eventful and enjoyable. The flight to Barcelona itself was not without drama (That’s always a sign that the weekend will be one to talk about for months to come).

There was an announcement early on for a passenger named ‘whatever’ (I can’t remember what exactly, but it’s an unimportant detail) to make himself known. The guy sitting front of me was that very man. He made himself known and was clearly embarrassed….He’d lost his passport while boarding. With all the swapping of bags and coats (the overhead lockers were “too full”) he discovered that someone had moved his coat and bag and was now rather unimpressed! Next began his complaining. I watched in mild amusement as he tried to make his point. The cabin crew could not have looked more disinterested if they tried.

Just after take-off we (my friends and I) were politely requested ‘banned’ from drinking our wine, which we’d purchased in the terminal. We hadn’t planned on breaking any rules and we hadn’t even started drinking yet (ok, perhaps a few sips). That’s not good when there’s a two-hour flight to enjoy. Apparently easyJet do NOT allow you to drink your pre-purchased drink on board even though in the terminal it showed that you could ‘Grab and Go’ (they clearly expect you just to look at your purchase) grrrrrrr.

The flight was great fun, however it must be said that the cabin crew were rather too orange (clothes and make-up) and one looks suspiciously male (although she was called Becky). What was that short for? Brian?

The passengers sitting next to me (yes, I knew them) were frantically flicking through gossip magazines and discussing circumcision of all subjects….. Oh help me! How was I meant to focus on reading my book or writing notes for this blog with that ‘talk’ going on in my ear.

The next joyful moment was when the 4-person-strong queue of people standing waiting for the toilet next to me appeared. Oh joy! Why did I end up picking seats on the last row on this easyJet flight? Glamour this was NOT!

Ten-minutes of turbulence followed! It was quite severe but we luckily stayed airborne. That was a relief. The air stewardesses…(how politically incorrect I know)….had just started eating the left over, un-purchased in-flight meals. Perhaps I should refer to this as the ‘perks of the job’. One came back, after going to tell everyone to get their seat-belts fastened, and told her colleagues that she had “had to use her stern face”. Classic! She said it with such pride.  

Next……More turbulence! What fun!