January: Drama. Blues. Booze.

I thought it would be a good idea to summarise my months throughout 2012. It is set to be a cracker of a year (a great year, to all my non-English readers, or should I say readers from outside of northern England).

January started most dramatically. Bas, my husband-to-be (I love saying that), and I travelled back to The Netherlands after enjoying Christmas in the UK. The drive from England to the Channel Tunnel was horrendous. When I say horrendous I mean utterly vile. Scary. At-my-wits-end-scary. I thought my life would end at some point on that journey. The rain was torrential and never-ending. Once through the Channel Tunnel (and after a welcome 30-minute break on the train), we continued our hell-raising journey into France where the bloody rain continued. How could so much water fall from the sky? Belgium proved to be no better – The rain poured from the sky and our car barely managed to stay on the road. Driving through a swimming pool is never recommended and as the car shook, swerved and vibrated its way along, the thought went through my head on more than one occasion that skis may have been a better option than wheels. I lived to tell the tale though, so all’s well that ends well.

It was so much worse than this...

January also brings with it the worst time of year, the post-Christmas-blues. Apartments and houses look so bland and bare without the joyful Christmas decorations. Is it just me, or am I the only one who never ceases to be shocked at how bare a home can look without the decorations hanging? It never seems that bare in November…

I was back at work, greeted by a class full of happy little three-year olds all eager to see their friends again – and their teacher, of course. One little boy saw me on the first morning back and said my name with such enthusiasm. It was as though he’d not seen me for months, years – or as though he thought he may never have seen me again…. Bless.

In order to brighten the mood, we had friends over for a games evening. I love games. Bas does not. Therefore, we played games. And Bas loved them. I won’t hear a word against them. That is the basis of our relationship. I am right. 🙂 We played some great games – word games where one team had to name 10 things related to a category. The highlight of the night being when my team was asked to name 10 deserts… We looked puzzled and skipped the category. I don’t know deserts other than Gobi, Sahara… I’m struggling. We asked to hear the answers – clearly out of interest. Answer #1: Pavlova. I have to hold my hand up and admit that after a few glasses of wine I sat and pondered where this Pavlova desert may be. Possible Eastern Europe…? The penny did not take long to drop. DESSERTS! My wonderful other-half avoided reading the next answer – trifle. We would have been laughing into the early hours. I love games.

A fab game. You must play it.

Throughout the rest of January, we visited family in The Netherlands, caught up with friends, helped our wonderful friend-and-bride-to-be choose her wedding dress. Yay! We had a decorator in to plaster the kitchen (our kitchen shall be finished this year – finally); we watched Carnage and The Iron Lady (Streep must win Best Actress at the Oscars) at the cinema; and we had meals out. Good fun all round.

Oh, but then there was the party Sunday. The Sunday we shall not forget. It started with a neighbourhood borrel (drinks and nibbles) at the pub along the street from our apartment. All our Dutch neighbours were there – although we didn’t recognise a soul. Normally I know one or two – but the absence of everyone from our actual street made the stress-levels rise. I was using all my Dutch skills. Speak Dutch and survive. I survived – almost. We were labelled on entry with a post-it note from the very official looking ‘organiser’, power-dressed in red. After spelling my name repeatedly (in Dutch), I changed from Jamey to Jami to Jame where I finally gave in. I’d be Jame for the evening – for the quiet life. Jamie isn’t difficult to spell. What panicked me next was seeing the organisers hand out coloured flower stickers. There was a game to be played. Panic stations. I know, I know – I like games. But not in Dutch and not when I know that my Dutch partner is clearly not going to be in my team. We ended up separated. I must not panic. I must keep calm. Drink. Hours later, and after meeting some lovely neighbours we made our way, on bikes, to another party. You can see where this is going. We drank. We chatted. We drank and had a fantastic evening – until home time. That was when the wall of reality hit. Cycling home was an experience. 🙂

Oh – and January officially became my busiest month for hits on WordPress. Thanks guys!

What a month. January – you have been memorable.

Bring it on February!

Another scary photo

It’s only a couple of days since I posted a scary picture. Here’s another chiller. If you haven’t seen the last then this is worse, so much worse. You’ll never visit Grandma’s house again.

You’ve been warned.

Look at the picture. Just keep looking closely and then you’ll see something you weren’t counting on.

Not one for the kids. That’s unless you never want them to sleep again.

Did you just look over your shoulder?

Here’s the other one – just in case you’re hardcore and love being scared.

Will Scotland leave the UK?

Tensions between Scotland and London have been hotting up over recent months. The question about whether Scotland should split from the rest of the United Kingdom is not a new one. It’s also not a question which can go unanswered for much longer.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing that the question of independence be put to the people who will be affected. I would however prefer for Scotland to remain as part of the UK. I don’t see many benefits for an independent Scotland or a smaller UK within Europe with the current economic troubles.

I saw this referendum voting slip. Of course, it’s just for fun, but I do like it.

On a serious note, there have been strong debates over what the question will be. Will it be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to independence or will there be a compromise; a semi-independence. I hope not. I think it should be ‘in’ or ‘out’. Too much hangs on it.

What will happen to the rest of the United Kingdom without Scotland? Will it still be called the UK? Some say yes, some say it cannot. What will happen to the Union Flag? The blue (from the St Andrew’s flag) will disappear…

Will Scotland enter the Euro? Will Wales and Northern Ireland also seek independence?

Countries dividing is nothing new in Europe. It wasn’t that long since Yugoslavia split into other countries (Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc) and that Czechoslovakia split into Czech Republic and Slovakia. It just feels weird that this time it could be my own country, the UK, splitting up.

The future of the UK looks set to be interesting over the next couple of years.

What do you think should and could happen?

Courtroom Blunders

These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
I find it really hard to believe that some of these comments actually came out of people’s mouthes. Crazy! I wish I’d been there to hear them.
 ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
____________________________________________ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s twenty, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you shitting me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The auto psy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

And the best for last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law.

My List for 2011: And how it went…

2011 promised to be a year of exciting events. I made this list at the end of 2010 and worked my way through them as times marched on. I wanted to save the memory so have cut it from my headings and popped it into a post.

New things need to arrive on my blog.

Total achieved for 2011: 14/35 (43%).

  1. Propose to my boyfriend. OK, this wasn’t on my blog list before I did it. It was in the list inside my head (but I couldn’t add it here until I’d done it – secrets and all). #1 on best things I have ever done.
  2. Visit Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. April ’11 – Fantastic times. Kuala Lumpur was a great city. The Patronas Towers – wow! Singapore is outstanding. I could live there! On top of those two destinations, we also made it to Bali for 5 days. A great holiday. Read my post about Malasia here and my post about Bali here.
  3. Travel to at least one European country that I have not been to before. Visited Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic in March. Great city! My first visit to the Česká republika was amazing. You can see what I discovered here.
  4. Read all of the Harry Potter books again. 29/8/11: I have read 4/7 books. Loving it. Read about them in My 2011 Books tab.
  5. Invent something.
  6. Pay off one credit card. Done. Yippeee! July 6th and the deed is done. This feels great!
  7. Learn a new skill. I should have said ‘start learning a new skill’. I’m learning how to play tennis and how to serve. I doubt Wimbledon 2012 is on the cards, but I’m surprisingly not as bad as I thought I would be.
  8. Visit at least three museums in The Netherlands (I must be more cultured in this country while I live here). Suggested places via WordPress so far have been…. De Pont in Tilburg & Waternoodmuseum in Zeeland. Museum #1 in February ’11: Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) – Went to see the ‘Dutch Masters’ exhibition. ‘Nice’ was the word of the day. I liked the works but I was not blown away. My favourite painting was one of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands by Andy Warhol.
  9. Go to the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. It was an amazing experience. A spectacular production in Germany. The atmosphere inside the Arena with 35,000 people watching it LIVE will stay with me. What a party! The best Eurovision Final that I have seen LIVE. Congratulations to the winners, Azerbaijan.
  10. Make the most of my blog. I really feel that my blog is established now. I have great WP buddies. I am reaching a worldside audience and now I am understanding what my preffered style of writing is. I do need to make more effect with reading other blogs. There is so much out there to read. Great stuff. My target for hits this year is gonna be double, at least. I’m stunned. So very pleased.
  11. See my family in England more.
  12. Try harder to speak more Dutch. Working with Dutch children during a two-week summer school. The Dutch is just flowing. I’m certainly more chatty with the Dutch in-laws. 🙂 I can say I’m trying VERY hard now.
  13. Go to a least one tennis tournament.
  14. Start tennis lessons. I’ve started practising…. Lessons should begin in September (but they didn’t)… oh oh oh.
  15. Have a huge house party and invite loads of my brilliant friends (this happened in January 2012) – better late than never.
  16. Send a message in a bottle. Hmmm, I emptied a few bottles in 2011 but never managed to stay sober enough to fill one with a letter.
  17. Send a message tied to an inflated balloon.
  18. Post the replies (if any) on my blog.
  19. Make a complete and utter fool of myself. Oh what to choose…? Fool #1 To end my two-week job at the Summer School, I danced and sang in front of a room of non-English speaking parents. The songs – simple. Lots of repetition and lyrics that I won’t repeat. Did I look a fool? Hell, yeah! Fool #2 was on my camping holiday in France. I can’t dive. I tried, but I can’t. Luckily only Bas (my beloved) saw me springing from the pedalo. Thankfully. I dare not upload the photos to Facebook or WordPress. The shame would be too much. Not a classic diver’s pose.
  20. Attend a carnival.
  21. Kiss the love of my life on the top of a world landmark. Two kisses and two landmarks. Lucky me. 🙂 1st landmark: The Singapore Flyer. 2nd landmark: on the roof bar of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Yay!!
  22. Fart in a crowded place. Done. Silent but satisfying. This is a public blog, so no details necessary… But I hope the crowd at the Take That concert are all recovering well… 😉
  23. Research 10 more people to add to my family tree. I am shocked to have achieved this by 11th January 2011. The wonders of searching on Facebook for names and surnames that you know. The links are endless.
  24. Get back into my art. Complete a picture that I am proud of.
  25. Visit someone that I haven’t seen for over 5 years.
  26. Finish redecorating the kitchen. We’ve been in this apartment for 3 years now. It is time to finish those jobs. (This has been started).
  27. Dance in the rain. (Thanks to Melanie on WordPress).
  28. Read a book that is considered a ‘classic’.
  29. Enjoy a weekend away with Bas (and stay somewhere unusual).
  30. Write a letter to Santa.
  31. Sing karaoke. (Thanks Jim Chaney, I borrowed this one from your list).
  32. Reach 10,000 visitors to my blog, One Life – before December 31st 2011. Wow, wow, wow…. I don’t know how it happened but I’ve reached my target. It’s 18th May 2011 and today I passed the 10,000 visitors total. Thank you visitors for stopping by and reading my blog.
  33. Write a poem. I wrote some drunken limericks way back in Spring. I must type them and load them onto WP. Coming soon…
  34. Start doing some exercise (sit-ups will be a good start). (Thanks to Tilly Bud – for having a similar challenge on her blog). I am trying – I now have the ab machine, but still don’t have that wash-board stomach that I wished for…
  35. Try 3 new recipes (I’ll let you know how I get on with them). Receipe #1: Biscuits – I made these with the children I was working with on Summer School (a two week course for children to learn English). I’ll have to blog about it. Watch this space.

One scary photo

Some images stay with you for a long time – and this one is no exception.

I saw this photo as it was passed around on Facebook. I had to ‘borrow’ it for my blog.

Take a look at the photo. It seems pretty normal – but – keep looking and when you spot it you’ll wish you hadn’t….

I got a chill when I noticed.

Don’t blame me when you’re freaked out!

Want more – Here’s another.

Jumbled Jittery January

2012…. How did that creep up on us all so quickly?

I am still recovering from the shock that Christmas arrived and went by in a flash. I’ve almost finished my Christmas chocolates. How many days has it been since that lovely day with the family? More to the point – How many days are there until next Christmas?

I’d better get my Christmas list ready…. (just kidding)

I’ve not been blogging very much recently. I have lots of excuses (all good ones). Here are a few:

  • I am such a popular boy – I have to deal with my fans.
  • I’ve been in England for two weeks and was unable to blog.
  • I enjoyed Christmas with family and great friends.
  • Work has been manic.
  • I’ve been hit by the old ‘wordlessness’. Eeeeek.

But – Fear not! I am back and aim to keep you all entertained with fresh and funny little treasures over the next few months.

Keep you eyes peeled – I’ll be making you all smile soon.

J x