28 December 2005

Merry Christmas

JD and I spent our Christmas the way it should be: At De Kuip in Rotterdam, to watch Feyenoord beat AZ Alkmaar 2-0. Not a bad afternoon, apart fom the fact that it was bitching cold!

Had a nice few days with my parents and with my sisteer. Christmas Day was celebrated by inviting the whole family to my parents' house for a buffet. Everyone brought some food and it was really good fun, as usual. JD was a little take aback by the Dutch custom of sitting with the chairs arranged in a circle around the living room. Makes it difficult to talk to anyone apart fromt he person you happen to be sitting next to.

JD still really struggles with speaking Dutch, something that frusdtrates her beyond belief. It gets on my tits a bit sometimes because a lot of it is her own fear of looking like a fool. She would be much better off simply saying: Sorry, I did not understand, can you repeat that again please. Instead she mumbles and feels stupid. Poor JD.

What else happened? Well, we are now the proud custodians of a Compaq TabletPC TC1000. We got the wireless network (built in to the tablet) going and JD is sitting next to me composing a multi-harmony version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with the help of the Microsoft Composer Tool that allows you to simply write the notes on the staff with a pen. I am quite impressed actually.

The only thing that is wrong with the thing is that it does not work on the battery. It only seems to work on mains power. That is of course a bit of an issue seeing the whole point of a tablet PC is that you can carry it around with you. We had visions of loading CSI episodes on it and watching them on the bus on the way to University. JD would be envied by many!! So we are still trouble shooting and I will take it to the computer shop tomorrow and see what they have to say.

JD will use it until she has finished her dissertation in September. After that, you are all free to buy it from me.

15 December 2005

The Big Freeze...not

So where is it then? The big freeze? We were promised a record-breaking cold spell this winter. But I haven’t seen it yet. A few chilly days is all we got so far. Oh, and a smattering of white stuff that does not even deserve the name Snow.

Bah Humbug!!

06 December 2005

Excuse me?

A woman has been awarded a few million pounds compensation after the judge agreed an ambulance crew did not do enough to save her life.

The woman had taken an overdose when she was depressed. The ambulance crew was called (obviously she changed her mind) but for some reason, she feels they did not arrive quick enough or work hard enough and the woman sustained brain damage.

So she decided to take them to court. And she won.

I just can not believe this. She wanted to die. She took the pills. How can she sue that they were not there soon enough and because of that, the pills were able to do some of their destructive work.

Ridiculous. Absolutely stunning. I don't say it very often but: What is this world coming to?

05 December 2005

More Civil Partners

"Unlike marriage, civil partnership law has no problem with promiscuity: although adultery coupled with intolerability opens the door to divorce, sexual infidelity does not provide a basis for dissolving a civil partnership. Similarly, although a marriage is voidable on the ground that either party is incapable of consummating it, there is nothing comparable in the Civil Partnership Act."

This part of the Civil partnership Bill really feeds the opposition's arguments. It allows them to say that all gays are promiscuis and that this Civil Partnership reflects that by not saying adultery is wrong.

I personally see it as a modern change to the marriage-laws. I reckon that if they were going to re-write the rules and laws about marriage, they would leave out that promiscuity and adultery as well. Because these days it is a fact of life that marriages no longer last a lifetime and that people cheat on eachother.

The other thing, the inability to consummate a marriage, is just a ridiculous part of a bill that apparently means that a partner has the 'right' to have sex with their spouse. There are many married couples who do not have sex for a wide variety of reasons.

A Civil Partnership or marriage should be able to be dissolved when the parties no longer want to be part of it. The reasons are of no concern to anyone. So rather than showing the 'lesser' value of the Civil Partnership becasue adultery and consummation are not mentioned as grounds for divorce, I think it is simply a reflection of modern society as a whole, where sex and sexual relationships inside or outside the relationship are nobody's business but the parties involved.

In fact, the fact that neither adultery or inability to consummate the relationship is mentioned as grounds for divorce in the Civil Partnership could actualy mean that those who enter in to a Civil partnership have altogether different values than those who get married. For those getting married, sex is apparently a very important part of the relationship but not importanat enough to work on within your relationship. No. If your partner cheats on you or is unable to get it up, you can divorce him. But for a Civil Partnership, they are not accepted arguments and the judge supposedly has the right to send you back and order you to work on your relationship instead.

Marriage at last

As of today, gays & lesbians in the UK can enter in to a Civil partnership. It gives them (almost) the same rights as a married couple, with execption, I think, of adoption and some other bits and pieces I am not sure of.

That is of course good news. But unfortunately it means that in the past few days, radio and TV have been inundated with pros and cons of this new piece of legislation. So for the past week or so, and today, on the day of its introduction, the biggoted homophobes have been all over the airwaves, explaining to the world why gays should not be given similar rights.

And the debate is marred by side-issues. A lesbian who thought it was all rubbish because she simply felt that marriage as a whole was stupid and should be abolished. Her argument was that she got sick of people staring in to each other's eyes and saying I love you whilst wearing their Sunday best. Hardly the topic up for dicussion I felt. But of course this gave the religious guy the opportunity to play his 'all homosexuals want is the destruction of marriage' card. After all, this lesbian on the radio had just said so.

And then there are those who don't argue about equal rights but about the word 'marriage'. Civil partnership has clearly become 'gay marriage' but, mostly, Christians are on the airwaves objecting to the use of the word marriage because it is supposedly the union between a man and a woman. Really, that is a detail. Marriage is used in this case to mean 'a union between two people, driven by love and a desire to har their lives together'. Stop discussing the little details and talk about the real issue.

The main thing is that now, if JD has to go to hospital again for her brain tumour (God forbid), I can now be her next of kin officially. And when I die, JD will not have to pay tax on whatever little I leave her. And I can get her pension if she dies before me. And that my boss will HAVE to include her in any kind of partner-scheme he may have running. THAT is what it is about. Simple as that.

But people argue all kinds of things against it. Their biggest argument seems to be that it degrades the institute of marriage. I would say that straight folks have done a really good job of that themselves over the past 2000 years: 50% divorce rates, drive-by weddings in Las Vegas, forcing people to get married due to pregnancy, spousal abusse.....The fact that there seems to be a crisis in the Institute of Marriage has nothing to do with gays & lesbians. After all, they have always been denied their chance to be part of this destruction.

See, I don't want to be like straight people. If I did, I would force myself to get married to a bloke. What I want is equal rights for me and my partner. If people have a problem with calling that 'marriage', then fine. Call it something else. I don't care. Because it is not about wanting what others have out of jealousy. Those who argue that, since homosexuality is not normal, we should not treat them like normal people and give them normal rights, are on the radio all day. And quite frankly, it is making me depressed. I know acceptance of homosexuality has a long way to go. And I doubt it will ever really go away.

It saddens me to hear all the cliches being bandied around for days on end: Unnatural, against God's will; unfit for parenting, disgusting bedroom antics; not the same as straight folks so should not have the same rights; Allow this and why not allow peadophiles to marry children, or people to marry their goat; this bill tells kids it is perfectly OK to be gay and it certainly is not; children raised by a homosexual couple will grow up thinking being gay is normal and they are much more likely to be gay themselves; God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve; a child needs a mother and a father (Never mind that this argument is never used to ban single-parent families)and so on and son on.

So on a day the gay community should be celebrating a big step forward in their fight for rights and equality, I am actually sad and hurt by the venom that people spit out over the airwaves without having met me or my partner. On a day that should be a celebration, it actually reminds me of how many people hate me without even knowing me.

I want to crawl under the blankets in bed, with JD and just cuddle her and remind me that what we have is good, pure, honest and that those who are disgusted by it are a bunch of wankers who have a pea-sized brain that does not enable them to make up their own minds and think beyond anal sex and gay men.

01 December 2005

Off to Oz

One of my Rugby team mates is off to Oz for a year. I am not jealous but I certainly would like to go to Oz again sometime soon.

24 November 2005

Little Britain

Everybody is offended by everything these days it seems. People are no longer able to see the humour in something. And they are unable to just let things go and ignore them.

The very very popular show Little Britain has offended incontinent people and children of mixed race. And all in one episode. After it had already offended gays and old people in previous episodes. How were all these people offended? By being portrayed in a groosly exagerated manner. It is called comedy.

What did they do?

Take Daffyd. He claims to be 'the only gay in the village' when he blatently is not. He is fat, feminine and funny. Surrounded by gay men, he still claims they are not really gay because he is the only gay in the village. Obviously it is a spoof of all those gay people who feel very sorry for themselves instead of getting on with life.
And now of course gay men are offended. They are afraid they will be a laughing stock. Really?

Or Ting Tong and Dudley. The sad sap has ordered a Thai mail order bride who is not quite what he expected. She is butt ugly. He tries to get rid of her. There have been complaints from some organisation for mixed-race couples. THey fear that kids of Thai-English couples, or any other mixed-race couples for that matter, will now have to suffer abuse because other kids will say: "Your mother is Ting Tong!!" He is sorry to see that Little Britain did not take these sensitive issues into account.

And then there is the lady who can not control her bladder. She relieves herself everywhere. In the shops, on the street, at other people's homes. Wherever she happens to stand, she pees whilst being totally oblivious to it herself. Lesley Woolnough, executive director of Incontact, said the sketch was offensive and in poor taste.

"People with incontinence are often ridiculed, but it is not a joke, and the condition can be life-destroying for many older people.

"The comedy sketch by Little Britain shown this week depicting an older lady wetting herself openly in a supermarket was in poor taste, and for many of our 15,000 members particularly offensive."

Oh please people. Get over it. Let it go. Nobody KNOWS you are incontinent right? So nobody will laugh at you in the supermarket. Whatever happend to just ignoring all these things and not getting so bloody touchy? These characters are larger than life and are very much unrealistic.It is grotesk. No connection to reality.

To all those people who are easily offended because of their religion, sexuality, medical problem, race or whatever, I say a big Fuck Off. Get a life.

How to alianate your population

In Rotterdam, a local counciller has suggested that, to help the Muslims in ROtterdam, the council should put up signs that point towards Mekka. He argues that this would make the Muslims in Rotterdam feel more accepted in society and it would help them with their prayers as they no longer have to try and find out where Mekka is exactly.


This man is obviously out of his mind. He saw these signs when he was in Saudi Arabia. For the record: That is a Muslim country. He feels the Dutch people should do this for their Muslim compatriots. Fuck off. This guy clearly has no idea of the sensibilities of the moment. Political Correctness is the most hated term in any language at the moment. I think youwould be hard pressed to find a majority of the people in favour of this. Even Muslims would most likely understand that this is not the right time to suggest these things.

Get a life people. Get the important things sorted first.

22 November 2005

Selling yourself

I hate job interviews. They are so fake. And as far as I am concerned, they encourage people to be fake.

First of all, you are more or less expected to wear a suit. Why? Because everybody else does and so you do not want to look less dressed than the other people. Because apparently, not wearing a suit means you do not care enough about the job to dress up nice for it. JD tried to discuss this with me last night but I did not feel like going in to a deep discussion. But she is right.

When someone gives you a CV of a candidate, that CV should tell you if they are capable to do the job. On that basis you invite them. You check with their current employers and they will tell you if they can do the job or not. So when someone comes for an interview, in my opinion, the interview serves merely as a way to find out if the person has the right personality.

Agencies tell you to turn negatives in to positives. You know, when they ask: What are your weak points? You are then supposed to turn something rotten about yourself in to something nice. For example. Impatience. You are supposed to say that you like to get going and that you like to get things moving.

As if the interviewer does not see straight through that!! Why not save yourself the effort and simply say: I can be impatient. After all, that is what the guy across the table is thinking as well.

Why are you supposed to turn yourself into something you are not? It just turns the whole thing into an exercise of who has the smarmiest mouth, rather than who has the best skills. Nobody is perfect so making yourself sound like all your things are positive just makes you look like a tosser in my book.

So today in my interview, when they asked me what I disliked in a manager, I said: "I know I am supposed to turn ALL negatives in to a positive, but I simply do not like an indecisive manager. I can put a spin on that and make it sound positive but I am sure you would see straight through that. After all, that is your job during an interview." They smiled and said: Refreshing.

I don't know if that kind of honesty is good or bad. But I just get sick of being a fake. If my CV is not good enough, don't invite me. If it is good enough, then don't force me to answer questions in a dishonest way. Why can you not just be honest in an interview and say: These are my weak points but I am always ready to learn and improve?

Who decided that is a silly thing to say? Who decided that only a suit shows that you are up to the job? And why does nobody have the guts to break that mould? On both sides. The employer thinks: I like that person but a little unconventional. And the candidate thinks: I woud like to distinguish myself but not too much because that might put them off.

Now that everyone has been bullied in to turning all negatives in to positives, those who are open and honest about their good and bad sides are seen as weak and unable to sell themselves.

It really pisses me off.

16 November 2005

Good days, bad days.

Australia have made it to the World Cup football next year with the help of their Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, who also got South Korea to the semi-finals of the last World Cup.

That is good.

I went to see England vs Australia at Twickenham and England won. Totally fabulous match, some great rugby and a nice day out in London with JD, finished off with a nice Italian dinner.

That was good.

Lost out on another job today. Had interview but they don’t want me.

That is not good.

Especially since it seems that something in my personality puts them off. After all, this is the 5th time I have been to an interview where they said: Your CV is interesting, tell me more. And then, at the end of a nice conversation, I get told they did not pick me. Why? Am I too enthusiastic? Too chatty? Too ‘me’? Don’t know. I ask for feedback but never get any.

I fear I may be stuck here for the rest of my fucking life.

That is not good. In fact, that is very bad.

10 November 2005

Go where you are wanted

I consider myself a pretty openminded, welcoming person. I feel that the world does not belong to anyone so people shoudl be allowed to move wherever they want to move to.
However, I do not understand why people would move to a place, then compain about it and try to turn it into a different place that actually already exists.

So, with Islamic extremists who would like to turn Western countries into Islamic Republics, I have a problem. After all, there are plenty of other countries in the world that have Islamic law. So why try to change the laws of a country that has taken you in when you ran away from elsewhere? If I am unhappy in Holland about erhm.....the attitude to gay people, I will try to change that attitude but after a while, I would give up and move to a country with better gay rights (bad example but you get the point).

So I was pleased to read the comments of the Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello, who, as one of the first politicians, said what I feel:

"There are Islamic states around the world that practice Sharia law, and if that is your object, you may well be more at home in such a country than trying to turn Australia into one of those countries - because it is not going to happen."

See, this question has alays bugged me. I am a reasonable person, if I move to England and I don't like England, I won't try to change England fundamentally. I will simply move to a different country.

08 November 2005

Holy matrimony?

When a celebrity has a relationship, it is all over the news. When they break up, it is all over the news. When they find a new love, it is all over the news. This generally makes them look like butterflies who just go from one lover to the next, declaring that this one is the real one.
If you look at your own life, you are likely to find that you are no different really. Just that nobody reads about your love life and nobody says: A new lover? But they only split up a few months ago.

However, I do wonder sometimes what it is with celebrities and marriage. This morning I read in the paper that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are getting married. Not to each other of course but to their new partners. Pitt has been seeing Angelina Jolie since the day he split up from Aniston. And Aniston has been seeing some new beau for a few months now it seems.

But how many people get married after seeing someone only for a few months? Is it me or does that kind of thing seem to happen more with celebrities than with you and me? It seems to me that a disproportionate number of celebs tie the knot after seeing someone only for a few months.

Is it because their media exposure makes them lose all perspective of what real attention is? Is it because they get so much shallow love from their fans etc that as soon as they fall in love, they think it is the real thing and will surely last forever?

I know it is none of my business what someone else does but it actually annoys me a little when I read about yet another celeb getting married after 3 months dating. Then another 4 months down the line, they divorce again.

Renee Zellwegger and Kenny Chesney managed 3 months after declaring they had different expectation of the objective of the marriage and were filing for divorce. Different objective? What objective? Isn't it that you marry someone when you love them and for no other reason? Of course it could be that one of them wanted kids and the other said: No way!! But don't you discuss that kind of stuff BEFORE you get married? I would never get married unless The Kid Thing was discussed and agreed upon.

Britney Spears gets drunk in Las Vegas and marries some boy she knew form school. She then gets a divorce within 72 hours and declares she believes in the holy sanctimony of marriage and she is sorry for the mistake. I am sure she is not the only one who goes to Vegas and comes back married.

But in a country where the words Gay and Marriage are likely to cause offence if uttered in the same sentence, this kind of thing is really a bit rich. Stories like this do a lot more damage to the 'sacred bond' of marriage than 2 loving gay people wanting to get married because they love each other and want to share their lives together.

If currently in the US about 50% of marriages ends in divorce, is that not because people just get married in a moment of impulsiveness without thinking of the consequences? Sure it is. So how can gay people be a danger to marriage when straight folk are doing an excellent job on a daily basis, destroying the reputation of marriage and making it look like something you do on a Saturday afternoon whilst shopping at Tesco?

02 November 2005

Getting older

I don't like getting older. Where is the cut off point where you no longer look at your future but back at what you (could) have done in life?

At what point is the thought of going back to University to get a better job later on no longer something you 'should' seriously consider?

Au Au Au Au!!

Played well last Sunday against Worcester II and even scored my 2nd try of my carreer. It is kind of sweet to score the only try of the match. Shame it did not help us to a victory. Still top of the league with Old Leamingtonians Ladies but I don't think it will be for much longer. Played 5, won 3. Much better than last year but if we want to go for promotion, we will need to work a lot harder.

I am covered in bruises. More so than any match I can remember. Usually I end up with one really large bruise per match or so. This time however, I am coverd in smaller, really painful bruises. I realise that this time, instead of having a single painful encounter with something hard, I have stud marks all over my legs and arms.

The most painful one is my wrist. At some point I was at the bottom of a ruck and someone stamped on the inside of my wrist. Thank goodness the studs only scraped the side of my arm. I don't really want to think about what could have happened if the stud had hit me in the middle of my wrist: broken bones, burst blood vessels???
But the inside of my wrist now has a big black bruise on it and it hurts like hell. Especially when typing all day at work a they obviously hit the muscle of my ring/pinky finger.

I am 30 now. I love rugby. I am quite sad I did not start playing earlier as 35 really seems to be the age where you need to start thinking about retirement for the game. Mothers, let your daughters play rugby. It is fun and it is good for them.

19 October 2005

JD and I went to see the new Wallace & Gromit movie last night. Really funny. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a triumph of animation in an era of CGI animation. I HATE CGI animation as it has NO warmth or depth to it. This film is great with its little Plasticine characters which still show the finger prints of their makers in the close-ups.

Go and see it. I am not telling you ANYTHING about it. But it is fun.

To sell or to educate?

For her Masters Degree at University, JD has to keep a blog. Yes, blogging is an integral part of her course about Excellence models and how to achieve excellence in a business. She needs to blog and reflect on the things she has learned that day/week. Quite fun. After some healthy resistence against blogging, things have gone much better.

Thre good thing about it is that I can keep up with the sort of thing she is doing. I ask and then she explains but sometimes it is nice to read what is going on in her head and the things she is learning. I must admit, some of the things she is learning are fascinating and look really attractive to me.

And then some of the things look bloody obvious.

We had a Management Consultant in at my work yesterday. The Sales Team sat in the boardroom just talking about how we sell our products, who our customers are, what we actually sell, how we keep track of a sale and how we take care of existing accounts. The result showed a yawning gap between the sales team and the MD about what our direction should be.

We sell our product mainly through trade parters who offer our product as part of their offering. This means I rely on someone else to sell my product for me. Our trade partners sell the benefits of our products to THEIR clients who then may or may not decide to buy our trade partner's offering INCLUDING our product. Or they may decide to buy our trade partner's offering WITHOUT our product. Or with the product of one of our competitors. This makes it hard to keep control over your sale. Apparently there are positive sides to this method but I can not see them. However, we have been doing business like this since the start of the company so it can not be all bad.

The discussion yesterday revolved a lot around the question of who to approach: Get closer with our trade partners or should we simply see direct to the end-user so that the end user will say to our trade partner: I have this particular product that I bought and if I am going to buy YOUR product, you will have to work with this one that I already bought.

Or is there a middle way where we raise our profile in the market place so that end users will have heard about us so that when a trade partner comes in with our product, the end user says: I heard about these guys, I heard they are really good, I would like to use their product.

The sales team seems to be leaning more towards the direct sale whilst the MD seems to be afraid to upset our trade partners and seems to prefer the middle way. After all, if we upset our trade partners, they may stop selling our product completely out of anger. But then again, perhaps we could sell more products if we sold them directly to the end users.

Either way, some kind of decision needs to be taken if the company wants to grow to the next level. But when the Management Consultant asked the MD if he could discuss it with the other directors and make a decision soon, the MD was less than enthusiastic. He seemed to think nothing had to change.

If so, then why is the Management Consultant there?

Why is it that people seem to feel a need to hear things fm an expensive Management Consultant when the Sales Team has been saying the same things for months, if not years. oh well, there is money to hire a Management Consultant so the business can not be doing that bad.

And you know what, now that JD has her blog, I know that she is looking at this sort of thing. And we actually had a very interesting conversation about it last night. On the way to see Wallace & Grommit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit (about which more will follow).

In a strange way, I still feel like a child and I always feel some kind of strange pang of "Look, I am a grown-up" when discussing grown-up things like this. Donno.

14 October 2005

Eaten alive!!

JD and I are getting bites from unknown animals in our bed. I have not been able to find fleas or bed bugs but we (especially I) wake up with nasty itching bites on our legs.

I suspect it is fleas. Possibly fom the stray cat that kept walking in to our house this summer.

But I do not know how to get rid of them. Any ideas anyone? How do you get rid of fleas without having to throw your entire mattress out and buy a new one?

I am itching all over. Please help!

13 October 2005

They do exist: dutch rugby players in England

I have just come across this blog from Linda Riel. She is Dutch, used to play for the national Dutch ladies team and now plays in England for St Albans.

I started playing rugby only after I moved to England. I joined Old Leamingtonians as it is the only women's rugby team in Leamington Spa and surrounding areas. I knew nothing about rugby but at the end of my first season, I won the award for Most Improved Player. I am not sure if that means I am now a GOOD rugby player, but it means I am not as rubbish as I was when I started. And that is nice.

After my first season, I just wondered what the level of ladies' rugby in The Netherlands is like. If the health of the national competition is anything to go by, it does not look very good: each year, teams struggle to keep the competition alive, the Dutch RFUW does not seem to exist or is in a permanent state of sleep. It seems a small group of hard-core rugby women are keeping the game alive in The Netherlands.

I am not blaming anyone for this. Women just do not play enough rugby in The Netherlands. It is a total minority sport and without attention, the sport will not be able to move forward and get the attention, and funding, it so desperately needs.
Having said that, the Dutch team almost made the World Championships in Canada next year but missed out to Samoa....

Mind you, the support for men's rugby is not much better it seems. The Dutch RFU has a draconian website that screams AMATEURS and certainly does not give you the feeling it is taken seriously by anyone else but those playing the sport. The website says things like "We need to get more attention for our wonderful rugby sport." ...our beautiful rugby sport.....it just makes you feel there are all good willing amateurs.

Hang on, this post is going in a direction that I did not foresee. If people (read: The government and prospective players) are not prepared to put effort in (and if nobody really knows that they can play rigby at a local club), then those who DO put effort in are limited by time and resources. Until rugby is taken seriously by all parties in The Netherlands, I doubt it will be able to grow to the next stage.

Anyway....I did have a point....

When I got my award last season, I thought: I wonder how good/bad that makes me compared to my Dutch counterparts. Wouldn't it be nice to go on tour in The Netherlands to see if my team fomr the Midlans 2 League would match up to the Dutch girls who play in the highest (and only??) Dutch league. Perhaps I could even play for the Dutch national Team? Not this year but perhaps in 1 or 2 years? Or is that a ridiculous thought? I have NO idea of the general level of Dutch Ladies Rugby. So I emailed the Dutch RFUW and asked them if they kept a record of Dutch women who are playing rugby abroad. You know, in case they need to be selected for the national team.

Their answer: No. We keep a record of Dutch women who play for the National team and THEN go abroad. But apart from that we do not know about Dutch women playing abroad and there is no real reason for us to keep track of them or register them somewhere. We only select the national team from woen who play in The Netherlands.

And there you have it. A mentality that reeks of amateurs. How about Dutch women who live in New Zealand and might be really good. Or in whatever other rugby-loving country they get their experience? What if she turns out to be a really good rugby player who, with her experience and training from England, can really add something to the team? They would not know about it. And there is no way a national team will select someone who just calls and say: Hello, I think I am good enough to join the national team, will you have me? It is strange that someone who might be really good because they played in a foreign country would have to move back to The Netherlands before they will ever be considered for the national team.

By the way: how DO you get selected for the National tam in The Netherlands? Your coach informs the Dutch RFUW? Or you call them to tell them you think you are good enough to join them?

I am not saying I am good enough. I probably am not (yet/ever). The way they responded just really dissapointed me because I have fallen in love with rugby. It is a wonderful sport to play and to see the enthusiasm of the players being stiffled by a lack of organisation and direction makes me sad.

But until someone is prepared to put in some decent money and get all noses pointing in the same direction, women's rugby in The Netherlands can not move forward. Because it will remain a sport that is run and organised by people who do it outside their normal work commitments, who do not have the time to run an RFUW the way it should be run. Or they DO work at it full time but the support is just not enough with only so few people playing rugby. They try as hard as they can and they do their best but to make the next step forward, an air of professionalism is needed.

Mind you....the RFUW here in England is pretty rubbish itself but that is a completely different story. They are professional rubbish people. So I can actually hold them responsible for making a mess of things. With willing amateurs, like the Dutch RFUW, it is hard ot criticise because people do what they can to help.

I know this: If I ever return to The Netherlands, I plan to play rugby. I plan to help as much as I can with keeping the game alive, widening its potential and telling people it really is a great game to play.

It is. Go to your local rugby club this weekend and see if you want to join in.

07 October 2005

Bring on the snow!!!

JD and I are planning a little trip to the French snow in March next year. I am SO looking forward to it. After all, there is little else to look forwward to at the moment so I am spending a lot of time day dreaming about this trip. We have asked 2 girls frmo the rugbyclub to join us but we are going anyway, even if they do not come along. It is just cheaper to share fuel and accommodation expenses between 4 people. That, and the fact that they are nice company of course!

JD is a skier. I am a snowboarder. I need to point out that I have been snowboarding a total of 2 times in my life and that JD has many years experiences on the Sticks. I LOVE being in the snow. I find skiing scary. I fear that my legs will go their own way and I end up with my knee ligaments ripped to shreds. Probably an unrealistic fear but hey-ho: the biggest danger is feeling insecure so I feel happy on my snowboard so there is no need to start learning to ski. Not until I am an ACE snowboarder anyway.

JD refuses to learn snowboarding. Wanks on Planks she calls them. Because snowboarders frequently sit down in the middle of the piste. Well, skiers are Pricks on Sticks apparently and I agree with that. They just speed past you, so close to you that your woolly hat comes off in the drag!!

Anyway, I might buy some snowboard and bindings on Ebay as renting the kit may prove to be really costly and after about 4 trips, you have made back the costs of the rental. Or I might get it from The Netherlands over Christmas. Because here in the UK, ski gear is extortionately expensive.

06 October 2005


I am still looking for another job but the market seems to be very very quiet. I do not really want to stay both at this job nor in this town for much longer. JD has started her Masters last week and hopefully this is the last year we spend in this town. There is just not enough work for me here. Well, there is enough work but nothing that I like. It is all office based work. Accounts assistant, sales administrators etc. All boring and not very creative.

JD is thinking of doing a PHD. Just because it sounds so good with her surname. Actually, is three ANY surname that does not sound better with the title "Doctor" in front of it? Anyway, a PHD takes another 3 years. I have no problem with her doing another 3 years at University. But not at this one. Eventhough it is a very very good University, it is the location that forces us to live in a small town.

JD mentioned that perhaps she coudl do her PHD at a University in The Netherlands. They do PHDs in English there. But more importantly, it would mean that I could go back to my old job as a reporter for a regional broadcaster. I miss my old job.

But it got me thinking. If we were to go to The Netherlands and I was to take up my old job, I would feel like having failed at making a life and carreer for myself in England. I owuld feel like having achieved nothing after 2 years abroad. No real extra job experience, no insight into a different possible job market for me, no progression, no promotion. It would feel simply like I have put my life on hold for 2 years whilst waiting for JD to finish University. And after 2 years, no progress has been made in my professional life or in my financial situation.

That thought makes me depressed.

On the other hand, I want to look for another job here in England but as long as JD does not know what she wants to do after her Masters, or where she wants to do it, is it worth me trying to find another job? For all I know, I might not be in the new job for more than a few months. Or, worse even, I might find a job that I really like (yeah right) and then I may not want to leave whilst JD is ready to leave because I told her I wanted to leave!

The best option is for JD to get a job, make a lot of money so that I can just take a nice, low-paid job that I care about. Actually, not a good idea. I suspect that would really dent my pride and self-esteem if I were to become a kept woman.

27 September 2005

And so we go on...

This weekend, Old Leamingtonians Women booked their second win of the season. 39-0. That was good because last weekend we beat Tewkesbury 44-0.

Even better: I scored my first try ever. Never scored one in a match. Not in a friendly either. So I was well please to score the first one of the day on Sunday.

It is a strange feeling when you know you are about to score. I can not understand why people can fail in front of an open goal. I picked the ball up from the floor and ran towards the line. Well, not a lot of running really as there were three players between me and the line so I had to wrestle my way past them. Suddenly there was this weird feeling of: Oh my God, I could score here if I do this right (these thougths are not articulated thoughts, but an instant sensation that lasts less than a second. But that second can be enough to take your focus away fom the task ahead.

I pushed past the defenders and then I was tackled just before reaching the line. I was bloody well not going to fail with only an inch between me and the line!! So I stretched my arm out as far as I could but I felt I was still short. (To be honest, I don't know if in rugby, the ball needs to be completely across the line or just more than half way).

The Laws of the game say the ball must be placed across the line in one single motion. So no putting it down and pushing it further across the line. And as I put the ball down, I wasn't sure if I had crossed the line so I stretched a little further and rolled the ball another half-inch, across the line.

I am not sure if that was legal but the ref gave the try and the girl who tackled me said: Well scored.

I was well pleased with myself and jumped up and down, screaming: I scored, I scored!!!!

Nice of the opposition girl to say that it was a nice score.

Shame I still hate my job. Otherwise my life would be perfect. My annual appraisal is coming up and I have to fill out a form about hw I feel I have performed and how I feel about my job. It reads like a Tracy Chapman album sounds: depressing, depressing and more depressing.

Humbug. Oh well, at least I can look forward, hopefully, to a snow holiday with some girls from the rugby team next year. If JD can get the time off Uni and I can get the time of my, hopefully new, job.

22 September 2005

Can you build websites?

I need help.

I can build a basic HTML website. But my rugby club (Old Leamingtonians RFC in Leamington Spa) needs a new website and it needs to be old-man proof. basically, I am looking for a website with a database attached to it.

Most of the site will be 'static' but I need a number of people to be able to log in and write a match report that will then automatically be published on the site without them having to generate any HTML or anything like that. Similarly, these people should be able to add photo-pages, remove photopages, match reports, fixturelists and event notices without having to create a webpage completely and without having to add somethin to the navigation (i.e. the new pages should automatically be added to the navigation bars).

Any takers?
We can pay up to £100 for your work. We also have a template for how we want the site to look so you do not really have to design the art work as well. .....I think.

12 September 2005


I a still alive. Unfortunately my life at the moment is so terribly boring that ther is very little to blog about. Since I last blogged, I have been rejected for 3 jobs (2 after an interview, the BBC does not even want to invite me !), the rugby season has started (We got trashed yesterday) and JD is doing just fine.

Today is the last day of The Ashes. I am hoping for an England win. I have convinced my boss to put the cricket on the plasma screen in our boardroom.(Without sound). The boyfriend of a colleague of mine was sent home fomr work because nobody was working anyway, they were all watching the cricket so they closed the business for the day!!

It is nail bitingly exciting. Go England.

Of course after this evening, especially if England fail to win The Ashes, nobody will think about cricket anymore until the next Ashes series in 2 years time.

31 August 2005

Katrina and the Waves

Well well well...as hurricane Katrina leaves a trail of destruction in Southern America, some people seem to think this is the right time to make a quick buck. So there are reports of looting, fights and gunfire in New Orleans as people rob the destroyed stores for everything they can carry.

What is is about people that turns them into primitive beasts as soon as the think layer of organised society is, literally, washed away?

Some parts of the coast in Louisianna are 6meters under water and they fear hundreds may be dead. So why not go to your local jeans store and steal all the jeans you can carry When a reporter asked a man if he was saving things from his own store, he replied: This is everyone's store now.

Excuse me?

Now someone tell me why these people are any better than the looting Iraqis that got arrested and shot right after the fall of Saddam?? If I remember right, these people were declared criminals, insurgents and a danger to society. Well, I wonder if the people in New Orleans will get the same treatment: send them to Guantanamo Bay. That should help them stop looting next time around.

However, it is of course a tragedy that the government will spend more on the war in Iraq than they will spend on rebuilding parts of their own country. I read on the BBC website today that Iraq is already most expensive than Vietnam ever was. Nice.

Hillery Clinton for President I say!

30 August 2005

Laugh of the day

My sides are splitting at this. There is a whole host of these. I'll try and post some regularly.

25 August 2005


"One who saves a single life - it is as if he has saved an entire world"
Pirke D'Rav Eliezer, Chapter 48

It is DoNation week on the BBC. People are encouraged to sign up for the National Donor Register that keeps track of those who would like to donate their organs after their death.

It takes 30 seconds to sign up for this register. Even if you carry a UK donor card it makes sense to sign up as hoispitals can simply download the data fomr this list if they can not find a donor card on somebody's personal belongings. If you think you are already registered but you are not sure: Register again as the system will update your current information.

If you would like to receive organs if you ever become ill, you have no choice but to sign yourself up in case someone else needs your organs after you die. If you take, you MUST be prepared to give.


22 August 2005


The death last week of the former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam has sent a little ripple of shock through Britain. Mo Mowlam was the first person ever who dared to go into the Maze Prison and face Loyalist terrorists directly. Legend has it that she walked in, took off her shoes and her wig (she was having treatment for a brain tumour) and said words to the extend of: So, now that I am showing you my true self, you show me your true self.

The result was the Good Friday Agreement that brought, for a while at least, peace in Northern Ireland.

Mo was sidelined by Tony Blair when she deemed unfit for work due to her brain tumour. This has always hurt Mo as she considers it to be malicious lies to help Peter Mandelson get a new job.

Mo Mowlam died after hitting her head when she fell last month. She was in coma for 4 weeks and eventually her husband told the doctors to end food and water so that Mo would die, as she had stipulated in her Living Will. She was only 55.

JD and I have a Living Will. We made one just before JD went into hospital to have her brain tumour removed. Last week we went back to the doctor for the result of the first scan since the surgery. There was still a clear white blob in the brain as they had already said they could not remove the entire tumour. We knew this when we went to the appointment but to actually see on the scans that the thing you are fighting is still there, after the surgery, is somehow disheartening. JD was depressed for the rest of the weekend. Understandably so as things are going really well and are almost back to normal. SO we had sort of 'forgotten' about the whole thing, as much as possible anyway.

She said she did not want to die young and I told her that she may live to be 100 with the tumour. Or, if she is lucky, it may never come back again.

And then Mo Mowlam died. Mo Mowlam who was told she may well live to be 100 with her tumour. Of course we do not know if her tumour was malignant or not. Mo had received chemo therapy and radiation therapy. Both of these things are not on the books for JD as yet.

It turns out that the radiation therapy had damaged Mo's sense of balance and that she was suffering from the onset of dementia.

JD has been reading up on Mo Mowlam all weekend as if to see how big her chances are to end up like Mo Mowlam, dead at 55. I can only try to listen to her and hold her. I can not promise things will be OK . I can not imagine what it is like to have a tumour in your head and the only way you will find out if it is going to kill you is when you get headaches and other symptoms. And there maybe nothing we can do about it but wait until it either does or does not kill her. I think JD can be forgiven for thinking like that when you hear about someone dying of a brain tumour.

I think it would be good for JD to talk to other people who have suffered the same thing. The insecurity must be the worst thing. You just don't know what is going to happen. It is all so fucking random.

And I feel so bloody helpless.

On a nice note: JD and I are going to Holland in October for a weekend. My dad told me yesterday he cannot wait for October to come so that we can all cuddle again. Sweet man. The last time he saw JD was when she was still in hospital just after her surgery. I like the fact that my folks really seem to love JD. They are planning a weekend away for their 35th wedding anniverasy next year and they asked if JD and I would be able to come. I said they should just book it as we are not sure if JD will lbe able to make it, with her doing her Masters Degree and all. My dad said: I am not doing it if she is not here. I want to do it with the whole family (i.e. mum, dad, sister, brother in law and JD and me.). I was touched by that. I know they have liked most of my previous girlfriends but they really seem to love JD. Family support is nice.

17 August 2005

What a surprise!!

Twat Extraordinaire Tom Cruise is to be married to katie Holmes. Not at all a publicity stunt of course but pure love. So they both had films released at the same time. Coincedence. Of course. Cruise made himself look like an idiot by talking about his wedding all the fucking time. He recently slammed Brooke Shields for taking medication to combat her post-natal depression, claiming that no such thing exists and that if only she would be a Scientologist, things would be better for her.

Yes, THAT Tom Cruise is now looking at cancelling his high profile wedding. Apparently he wanted a massive society thing with press and what have you. His wife to be, who is learning to become a Scientologist, wants a small ceremony that includes her Catholic family. Cruise does not want that. Rumour has it that they are fighting and that this rift may not be one that can be bridged.

Gosh. Are you saying the wedding could be off? Really? What a surprise. Sad though, becasue we almost believed this was a marriage of pure love and not a publicity stunt.

Yeah right.

Tom Cruise must be desperate for publicity to be willing to look like a total twat by jumping up and down a couch saying how much he loves Katie Holmes and then cancel his wedding.

Serves him right. Twat.

11 August 2005

How can this be so true.......?

Your Birthdate: August 10

Your birth on the 10th day of the month adds a tone of independence and extra energy to your life.

The number 1 energy suggest more executive ability and leadership qualities than you path may have indicated.

A birthday on the 10th of any month gives greater will power and self-confidence, and very often a rather original approach.

This 1 energy may diminish your ability and desire to handle details, preferring instead to paint with a broad brush.

You are sensitive, but your feeling stay somewhat repressed.

You have a compelling manner that can be dominating in many situations.

10 August 2005

Happy Birthday to me!!


If the shoe fits...

Americans are up in arms about the new Rolling Stones album. It contains a song with the following lyrics:
"You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite. You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of shit"

And of course they assume this song is about George Bush. Interesting. His name is not mentioned. It is not implied the song is about him. It is just about the Neo Conservative movement that supports Bush. But hey, if they think this song is about Bush, it must be because they recognise his behaviour in those lyrics. And that can only be a good thing. Because that would mean they are finally starting to see Bush for what he really is: A hypocrite who thinks he can just walk all over the world and crush anyone or anything that does not agree with his protectionist, hate-filled, ignorant, economically destroying politics.

Separation of Church and State my arse!

I might even buy the new Stones album. Just to support them. But then again, I don't think they will notice the extra album sold in the UK. And I really don't like their music much at all.

08 August 2005

Becoming a Brit

I have lived in England for more than a year now. And in that year, I have become a different person. Slowley but surely, I have become a Brit.

How do I know this?

Well the first signs became visible when I started to play rugby. A sport much maligned by myself in the past for being nothing but a bunch of people on a big pile and lots of pushing and shoving. What was the sport in that? I still don't know why I start ed to play rigby when I got here because I still felt the same about the sport when I joined Old Leamingtonians Women's RFC in August last year.

Then I watched The Golf on TV. Again, not by choice but because JD watches it and actually considers learning to play as she feels it could further her carreer (Networking opportunities galore on a golf course). So another sport that I had always considered boring, stupid, useless and a waste of TV time became interesting.

But yesterday I passed my last and most serious test: Test Cricket.

The Ashes are being played at the moment. A series of 5 matches between England and Australia and the winner gets a little urn with some ashes in it. These are, according to the legend, the ashes of Cricket itself. Well, at least figuratively speaking. it is unclear what is really in the little urn. Anyway, they are called The Ashes because in 1882, for the first time in history, England lost a cricket match, in England, against Australia, a country that was only just formed fomr bloody convicts and immigrants. And they beat The Motherland. It inspired one newspaper reporter to write an obituary:

"In affectionate remembrance of English cricket which died at The Oval, 29th August, 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances, RIP. NB The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia."

And so, every so many years (2? I am not sure) England plays Australia and the winner of the 5 matches is said to 'hold the Ashes'.

Of course Australia wins most of the time these days as they are so bloody arrogant good.

But yesterday things were totally exciting. Yes I know, exciting and cricket usually do not feature in the same sentence, especially not for those who do not understand what the hell it is all about.

The bottom line: England had to bowl Australia out and they only needed 2 more people out to win. But Australia was doing really well and it was scoring more and more runs. And it looked like against all the odds, Australia would get more runs than England because England seemed unable to get all the Australians out. (There, does that make sense to you non-cricket people?).

In the end, England finally managed to bowl the Aussies out with only 2 runs left. 2 runs. That is usually achieved by hitting the ball only once and running 2 runs. So basically, it came down to the very last ball of the match. It was going to be England or Australia. I was biting my nails.

And then the phone rang. My dad. He would not understand the tension. So, and here it comes.....I let it ring. Yes, ladies and gentle men, I did not answer the phonecal from my father because I was watching the Cricket.

And that is when I knew I had become more English than I was prepared to admit.

Needless to say that I can not wait for the next match test to start on Thursday. Go England!!

01 August 2005

Old people shouldn't drive

Is there not a limit for old people when they are barred from buying new cars, on the basis of them being too old to know how to drive it?!?!?!?!

I just stopped on the way to work to help this old man who had just burnt the clutch of his brand new Peugeot 206. I am sure he had simply forgotten to press the clutch down when changing gear. He parked his car in the middle of the road, not on the verge or anything, and just stood there. I stopped and it turned out the man had no mobile phone or anything.

So I called the RAC and the poor bugger obviously did not know what to say or do so I explained it all to the RAC. And then a nice Police Man came along (As he was blocking half the road, traffic had started to build up.)

It was obvious to me that this old man had simply made an error driving but did not know what he had done wrong. And wrecked his brand new car in the process!

Apparently in Britain, old people have to fill out a form where they THEMSELVES state if they feel they are fit to drive for another 5 years. Of course they will all think they are perfectly fit to drive. It was however very obvious to me that this man was not fit to drive. He was totally confused about the situation and seemed to have no clue as to what to do. If he can not make decisions when he is standing next to his car, how can he be trusted to make safe decisions when he is IN his car? And how can some dealer sell a man of his age a brand new car without wondering if it is a safe thing to do?

In The Netherlands, when you are over 70, you have to do a driving test every 5 years before they renew your licence. That sounds much more safe to me. Because knowing how to drive a car is not enough to be a safe driver.

28 July 2005

Don't Fuck with Britain

No more IRA violence

The IRA have today announced the end of the violent struggle for a united Ireland.
Good for them. It is, no matter how much I despise violence, a difficult step to take for any army to give up the fight.
I guess they have lost all importance in the light of the terrorism we face these days. A small nail bomb just does not do as much for your cause when at the other side of the city, there are much more professional multiple-bombers at work. The other terrorists are prepared to die for their cause. This makes the IRA bombers look like cowards as they are not prepared to die for a united Ireland.

I hope the Loyalists will see the importance of this step. Most of the (small) Republican steps have been ridiculed by Loyalists. And yet, Loyalists have very rarely been asked for a 'sacrifice'. They have now become the same thugs as the IRA. Dealing in guns, drugs and all kinds of illegal stuff. They are now simply two organised crime organisations.

They should BOTH be treated like that. BOTH should be condemmed. Both should be asked to prove they have given up their guns.

27 July 2005

London today

in london today for business. Not on the tube though. Too sacred. Prefer traffic jams. Lots of police around.

26 July 2005

Sponsors needed

How often does a tele seller get an answer like this:

"Hello, I have sent you some information about our company and I am just calling to see if you are interested."

"Actually, I am interested. When can we meet?"

I was a little taken aback with the response but I am well pleased. See, I am trying to find sponsors for Old Leamingtonians Women's Rugby Football Club. To that effect, I sent out a bunch of really nice flyers to a bunch of local companies in the area. And the first one I called today for a follow-up said: Sure, let's meet.

I am positively glowing now. I might strike lucky only once in the whole thing but it certainly is a nice start. By the way, if you want to sponsor us, download our Sponsorship Brochure.

22 July 2005

Nicole Kidman sucks

I used to like Nicole Kidman. In fact, I used to think she was stunningly beautiful. Look at this picture. Nothing wrong with that I would think. Now of course this was before she got skinny and started to suffer from an eating disorder (which she of course denies. It is just exercise and eating fruit & veg. Yeah right.)

Anyway, as I said, I have gone off her. Why? Well, apparently she turned down playing a lead role in a film when she was younger becuase she did not want to kiss a woman. And because she was too shitty to admit to that, she lied and said she had school exams (yes, she was that young.....)

It can not be so bad to snog a girl that you would turn down Jane Campion. And I am mightily miffed that she denied another woman to be able to say: I snogged Nicole Kidman.

London under attack

I fancied using an American-style headline so there...

It seems the aim in London is more to create chaos than to kill as many people as possible. Yesterday detonators went off in the Tube and a bus, today a mosque has been evacuated and plain-clothes police have shot (dead?) a man on the Tube, creating another shut-down of the Tube system.

And their technique works. One major attack will not stop people from getting on with their lives. But consistent threats will wear people out and they will feel insecure about the dafety of the Tube. I am going to London next week but I will most definately not use the Tube.

Where are my 72 virgins?????

Inspired by a link to an article in The Guardian posted by Minispace I remembered a conversation I hear on BBC Radio 5 Live. Presenter Nicky Campbell was talking to an Imam about the suicide bombs in London and how martyrs of the Islam apparently get 72 virgins, an eternal erection, sofas made of jewels and wine that does not make you drunk when they get to heaven. Nicky suggested that people who want to be martyrs must be sexually frustrated if they want to get their hands on these virgins so badly that they are willing to blow themselves up for it.

Of course the Imam was highly offended and accused Campbell of trivialising the Islam. But I thought he had a point. Of course he was putting it bluntly but the Koran describes heaven as a highly sensuous place where there are women and sex and alcohol as much as the martyr could possibly want. So if a martyr says he just wants to get to heaven, he is effectively saying that he just wants to get laid and get rich. Bit materialistic I think.

The question is of course if the sexual rewards are the ultimate goal of the freaks or if they are just a nice added extra bonus for being a martyr. The piece in The Guardian actually tries to explain that the whole notion of the 72 virgins might be a matter of mistranslation. That if you translate the Koran in a different way (i.e. in the way language was spoken back in the days it was written and not just in plain Arabic), the promise is actually just of wine and jewellery and angels. Not of virgins.

Interesting thought: So many men might have died only to be offered a glass of wine instead of a virgin…….

20 July 2005


I am sure you have by now been sent the text of this thing called "How did we survive". It is doing the rounds on emails and website about how things used to be better in the olden days when your school report told you you failed, when injuring yourself when playing outside was an accident and nobody was sued etc.

Although the text is partially true, it is of course ridiculous to suggest that things were better 30 years ago. After all, it is the generation that grew up without seatbelts, law suits and PlayStations who have created the society we live in today. Soif they feel kids these days are horrible, it must be their own fault as they are the generation that raised these kids.

Anyway, I digress. I wanted to let you all know that if you think your government is molly-cuddling you, think again. The Dutch Minister for Traffic has just proposed a new law that bans motorists from having loose objects in their car. Yes, you read that right. Ban. As in: The police will give you a fine if you have an umbrella inyour car. After all, people could be hurt by those objects in a crash. You could be decapitated by your road atlas!
I suspect this is the final straw and common sense and reason has now completely left this woman.

A LAW to determine is I can have a First Aid Kit in my car that is or is not strapped up? Or an umbrella? I could not believe my eyes when I read it. But it is true.Thank goodness the Dutch parliament has told the woman she is a nut case and that she should spend her time fighting congestion or something important.

19 July 2005

More depression

Something else to get depressed about: American politicians who suggest dropping an atom bomb on Mekka to sort out the Islamic terrorists. And a Republican Party running around trying to control the damage. How stupid can these people be. No wonder Muslims believe it is a war against the Islam, rather than a war against terrorism.

17 July 2005

No denial

I thyink there is no denying it. I am getting depressed. Perhaps it is because I am about to turn 30 and I have no house, no car and a job that pays shit money with no perspectives. Perhaps it is becuase I have nothing to look forward to. Not that my life is shit, but when you have a job with no perspective, life just moves along and there is nothing in the future that helps you to go on. I am not going on a trip around the world, not going skiing, not moving to another country. Just life ahead of me.

But more than anything, it is my job. I hate it. It is boring. But on the other hand, I feel I have no skills to move on to something more interesting. I have a degree in Journalism, something that is proving completely useless out here. England is a much more competitive job market than The Netherlands. JD's fellow students have all just graduaetd and are going no starting salaries of £30,000 in places like London, New York and what have you. The average starting salary of a UK graduate is £22,000. STARTING salary. I currently get £15,000 and with my limited skillset, there is no real prospect to go anywhere over £20,000.

Journalism is a degree in general knowledge but you end up knowing nothing. In the end, it is the only thing I am trained to do. I went to a recruitment agency and the guy asked me if I had done purchase orders, sales order processing, stock control, invoices? In the end he said: " What CAN you do?". I felt that was particularly nasty of him and it certainly made me feel depressed.

If I had the money, I would go back to university and study marketing. I will achieve more as a fresh graduate with a useful degree that has taken me 3 years than I will achieve trying to climb the ladder for the next 3 years.
But I have no money. So I just don't see myself rising above jobs like Sales Administrator, Accounts Administrator, Administration Assistant and the likes of that. I am 30. If they can take no a 21 year old, they will. I need a salary of at least £15,000 to live on. JD is doing what she can to help me. But I am already feeling that tell-tale sign of not caring and nothing being good enough and "It will never change as I am not good enough so I might as well give up trying before I have even started."

I want to succeed in England. I do not want to go back to The Hague because I could not make it here. But it is so much different than what I expected. Much more competitive, much more based on performance. High flyers will do well in this country. People who are modest in their ambitions, like me, run the risk of falling behind and ending up behind a desk in a job they hate.

If you are reading this and you want to give me a job: I like creative things. Marketing or something. I liek a bubbly environment. THis is what depresses me most at the moment: I am alone in the office day after day after day, typing letters and sales proposals. It is not funy when there is nobody to talk to. At all. Oh, and I like sport. So I could be an outdoor instructor. If only I had a diploma in anything else than journalism.

16 July 2005

And so it begins...

I realised that the next week was going to be unbearable when the doorbell rang at 6.50am. I barely registered the M shaped blur heading out of the room. The postman had just delivered the new HP book.

M offered it to me to read first but I got the impression that it was one of those 'I'm just being polite but I'll be annoyed if you say yes' offers. Don't offer if you don't want me to take it up! But I scored brownie points for declining and making tea. Like a boyfriend in a shoe shop I will wait patiently until my loved one is finished.

However, as I will be reading it immediately afterwards, there are to be none, I REPEAT NONE, of the following uttered whilst reading: "ooooh, aaah, noooo, yeah, oh no he's dead!"

But M read the last page first so the book has just lost all real excitement for her. IDIOT.

13 July 2005

Radio Tour de France - The Sound of Summer

For as long as I can remember, the summers were spent listening to (Dutch) Radio Tour de France. Every day between 2 and 6pm they are live in France, on motorbikes, reporting on the latest developments in the Tour de France, the most exciting sporting event on the planet, and free for spectators to boot!!!!

The sound of Radio Tour de France is the sound of my summers. Being in England means I miss it. I miss it really badly. So I have decided to defy the ban on streaming audio at my job. I am listening to Radio Tour de France and I am happy. I feel like summer. Outside the weather is fabulously hot, inside the airco is working fabulously hard and I can listen to Rein van den Broek's famous Radio Tour de France Theme Tune "Trumpet Cross". You can listen to that tune here.

12 July 2005

London Explosions Part 4

News is coming in fast today. Raids on houses in West Yorkshire and Leeds, a car blown up by the Police at Luton Station and, most importantly, they identified the man who set off the bomb on the No. 30 bus in Tavistock Square. It was indeed the man eyewitnesses had said was fiddling around in his bag and looking nervous, moments before the blast.

This man was decapitated, something that is normal with suicide bombs according to Israeli terror experts. It seems that all activity today stems from identifying this man and widening the search to his last movements.

But how did they find out who he was? Did he carry a piece of paper with his name on it? Now they say they suspect the bombs on the Tube were suicide bombs. Things seem to change every 5 minutes at the moment.

09 July 2005

Why me?

Jane and i are spending a lovely weekend in wales. A nice pebble beach and lovely weather. The lady from the campsite however forgot to tell up that this is apparently a beach for naked men. We are surrounded by tanned naked men with binoculars. Very weird but worryingly fascinating. Maybe the woman though we would not mind being surrounded by gay men. I wonder why...

08 July 2005

London Expolosions Part 3

I think the response by the UK politicians has shown the difference between America and The Rest of the Western World. Blair did not stand on top of the rubble, proclaiming to 'get the bastards who did this.' He did not threaten with war against those who did this. He did not rant about patriotism, the greatest nation in the world, war, revenge, retalliation.

Instead, he spoke of finding those who did this, waiting for the results of the investigation before attributing blame, he praise the Police and Emergency Services. And the staff of the London Underground who all worked hard and were in complete control of the rescue operations. He spoke of his pride of the British people and how everyone had stayed remarkably calm.

There is a difference beyond recognition. So please, Americans, stop posting on all those blogs that Britain will now understand why the USA went to Afghanistan and Iraq. The attrocities may have been committed by the same people but the response is completely different. We, and I mean Europeans, prefer to punish those responsible, not those who happen to have the same faith, skin colour or religion as those responsible. We, and I mean Europeans, prefer not to just kill a lot of people, hoping the purpetrators are amongst the dead.

You will see the difference. You will see why Europa is not hated around the world but America is.

Is this an ani-America rant? I guess it is but it is not at all Americans. it is at those who post on the internet that these attacks have somehow vindicated America's actions against Muslims, Afghanistan and Iraq. They have not. After all, if America is fighting the war on terror, it looks like their approach has failed.

Celebrating British Newspaper

England has a reputation for a sensationalist press. And today, after the London bomb attacks, I was not disappointed. The more sensationalist the paper, the higher the death toll. Officially, the blasts have killed 38 people. That number is expected to rise. So the editor of the Daily Star felt it was safe to claim 60 fatalities. 52 according to The Daily Mail, 53 according to The Sun and one paper I saw this morning even claimed 100 deaths!! It seems that if you want to sell more papers, you need to increase the deathtoll. I don’t understand how editors decide to run with those numbers when the official statement is "37 but expected to rise".

The Daily Star opened with the headline "Bastards" and the intriguing "Ken Bigley’s killers behind carnage" (Ken Bigley was killed in Iraq by Al-Saqhawi after being kidnapped for weeks).

The Daily Mirror, up till yesterday, carried the slogan Make Poverty History. Today it has dumped that for the more popular: We will stand firm.

Pragmatic as always, these English papers.

07 July 2005

London Explosions Part 2

It is strange, the feeling when you hear what is happening. I remember it from September 11, 2001. You listen to the radio and watch TV. One attack happens, and then news fom another comes in. Whilst still trying to understand the first attacks, news of another one comes in. Adrenaline strats rushing through your body and a weird feeling of fear, excitement, amazement and morbid fascination takes over. That feeling that makes you wonder when it is going to stop. And then, after a few minutes or hours, they say there are no more new explosions. And the nerves go away. The adrenaline calms down. The curiosity drops back to normal levels.

And throughout the rest of the day, it is almost like you are searching for that high feeling again. Looking at websites, listening to the radio. But it is not as shocking as it was in that first instance when it was all happening.

People are weird. I am sure I am not the only one who feels like this.

I really do miss being a journalist. I feel amazingly frustrated that I am not out there on the street and making some sense out of it in an edit suite, feverishly working away before the evening news.

Reflecting on life

After speaking to Jane, I have pondered about life. As the explosions happen, it makes you wonder about how much choice you have in life. Jane has just gone through major surgery and came out of it really well. People have called her brave for fighting it.

But what does it matter if life and death is decided by which seat you choose on the bus on your way to work?

London Explosions

Fucking hell...
You try to get some news about what is going on in London today but everything is down. No websites are available.

I know it is probably 'wrong' to think such a thing at this time but my first thought was: I miss my job as a reporter. I miss it really badly. The adrenaline, the work.

I don't know anyone in London so I am not too worried. I guess this has to do with getting the Olympics. Someone wants to say: We are still here you know! IRA? Iraq? What?

12:13 - The explosion on the bus was a suicide bomber. In Britain. Fucking hell. That is somehow the scariest thing of the whole story.

15:41 - It has just been confirmed that there are at least 33 fatalities confirmed. Seven confirmed at Aldgate 21 confirmed at Edgware Road and five at Russell Square. Numbers of fatalities for the bus have not been confirmed.

06 July 2005

The Olympics are upon us

In 15 minutes we will know if London wins he 2012 Olympics. Why am I feeling nervous? I am listening to BBC Radio Five Live. Waiting for either dissapointment or elation. I am interested in hearing how the BBC reporters respond. Will they remain calm and impartial or will they show their personal feelings?

It is London.
The reporters have gone nuts. But with dignity. They are enthusiastic but not screaming. Most of them don't believe London has won it. In London people are coming out of their offices, walking into Trafalgar Square, cheering, singing.
It will be so much fun to see Jaques Chirac congratulate Tony Blair at the G8 summit later today!!

BBC website is suddenly taking minutes to load. The official London 2012 website is down too. I feel happy somehow. It is nice that there is something positive for people to look forward to.

01 July 2005

Question of the day

One can't help wondering if the crack of dawn and the break o' day were caused by nightfall.

I knew it: Orgasmic genes

Scientist have discovered that women who may have trouble reaching an orgasm can blame their genes.
Tim Spector, who led the survey, says it's all down to genes and evolution. If women reached orgasm too easily, they wouldn't be "very good selectors". The survival of the species requires more than brawn (the strongest male gets the female); it needs brains and the ability to be good nurturers and providers.

So the genes of women who were satisfied too easily were selected out, and those who wanted more than just a good time in the cave survived.

Hahaha! So women, do not despair if you can not climax easily. You will at least make a wonderful mother. When you think about it, it makes sense too socially. When we think of women who have lots of casual sex (Women who really like having sex a lot probably like it because they get lots of orgasms), we don’t think of them as suitable mothers. According to this theory, the slappers will eventually die out. Cool. I have no trouble with that at all.

29 June 2005

War of the Worlds

The best thing about the crappy Tom Cruise-vehicle "War of the Worlds" that has just been released? The fact that we get to hear the beautifully remastered "soundtrack" by Jeff Wayne.

Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of "The War Of The Worlds" was released June 9, 1978, entered the official UK Album charts, and stayed there for over 6 years. The re-release has just entered the charts at no.8 and is set to go to no.1 again.

I had only ever really heard the song "Eve of the War" with the catchy keyboards and the phrase "The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one," he said."The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one - but still they come!"

But BBC Radio 2 is obviously very happy with the new release of the entire soundtrack as they play different tracks for it every day. So now I have the whole album to listen to and it is fascinating stuff. Well worth listening to. Fascinating to find out that Wayne had simlpy been looking for a book to turn into a concept album. He apparently also thought about Aldous Huxley's "Brave new world".

Of course this album is based on the book by H.G. Wells and when I was studying journalism & masscommunication, Orson Wells's radio play was used an an example whenever we discussed mass hysteria caused by media. I am just about to finish downloading an MP3 of the original broadcast from 1938. I can't believe it has taken me so long to fully explore the story behind this work of art. it has so many facinating sides to it. I suppose the final step is to actually read the book that started it all off.

28 June 2005

Laugh of the Day Award

Today The Sun publishes a story about how Princess Diana is supposed to have had a one-night stand with JFK Junior. The paper is serialising a book released by Simone Simmons, a psychic who claims Diana used to talk to her for 10 hours on the phone and confessed she had sex with JFK Junior and tried cocaine with him.

Of course all the other papers, who do not have this 'scoop' are trying their best to discredit this woman whom they accuse of being a money grabber. Of course it does not matter that it is painfully obvious that these papers would all not have flinched at the chance to serialise the book themselves if they had been able to. But since they can not, they have taken to trashing this woman's reputation. Of course this woman is talking out of her arsehole. Diana was a mentally unstable woman who probably told people her fantasies and passed them off as real. Something we all do to a lesser extent but I think Diana just had a very blurred line between THE truth and HER truth.

Anyway, the Laugh of the Day Award goes to The Daily Mail for the following quote:

The claim is made in a new book, currently being serialised in a downmarket newspaper

Since when is The Daily Mail an upmarket newspaper?
Pot? Kettle? Bitter much?

24 June 2005

This could be his year...

1999: This could be Tim's year
2000: Maybe this year he will do it. He has had great preparation
2001: Could Tiny Tim finally make good on his potential and be the first since Fred Perry?
2002: He is getting a little older now and there are young guys entering the circuit. Maybe it is a little too late for him. But never rule him out for a surprise win.
2003: This is going to be his year. If anyone can do it, it is Tim.
2004: We said it last year but this year has been fantastic: Tim can win it. He reached the semis in Roland Garros, he had a great pre-Wimbledon tournament.
2005: If he wants to do it, he needs to do is soon because he is getting older.

And all this optimism is based on what exactly? Tim Henman has never won a Grand Slam. The poor man has the weight of a nation on his shoulders. He has never said he can win Wimbledon but people all tell him he SHOULD win it because they feel he can. And so with every step he takes on the court, he carries an entire nation on his shoulders. If he were to win the French or Australian Open, they would be happy for him, but they would be annoyed with him as well. For winning a tournament that is not Wimbledon.

Just as well that he will never win a Grand Slam. Tim Henman. A great tennis player. But some of them just never win a Grand Slam. And yet he has reached as high as number 4 in the world at some point. But for Britain, that is just not good enough.

Thankfully there is now a New Tim. Andrew Murray. But there is a small issue with that: he is Scottish. So the English tennis fans now have to shift their attention to a Scottish guy to perhaps win Wimbledon sometime soon. Because he really has the potential to win it. He has reached the 3rd round already this year. That is further than Tim. So maybe this is his year. Could he go all the way as a surprising outsider? If not this year, than surely next year. Next year could just be his year...


Yesterday could have been one of the worst days in the year. But it passed without any major problems. I got a 2.1 which is what I wanted and which is plenty to see me into my MSc.

The biopsy results were slightly useless in that they couldn't determine the type of tumour but that they could say that it wasn't high grade (malignant). The consultant told me after surgery that he was pretty sure it was benign but it is still nice to have that confirmed. So no further treatment for me. Except for anti-convulsants for the rest of my life as they don't know the exact tumout type. Yay!

So life continues as normal for now. There is a possiblity that it could change into a malignant tumour but there's no point worrying about that. I'm just getting on with life.

22 June 2005


Degree results at 3.00pm tomorrow.
Biopsy results and meeting with consultant and 'the other guy who deals with these types of things' at 3.30pm tomorrow.

This really sucks.

Do I deal with this with copious amounts of alcohol at lunch tomorrow or just suck it up and soldier on?

It's ok when I just have a bad day (I tend to have them quite a bit). It's diferent when you know that tomorrow will be a bad day. Is that being overly negative? Am I just preparing myself for the worst by believing it is a bad day so that I won't be too disappointed?

My mind is racing with all of the possibilities. Early death with no chance of getting the job that I want because I have a shite degree classification? Early death, good job? Shite job, alive for longer? Argh.

I'd like a switch in my head to flip when I get like this.

21 June 2005


In your company there is a manager. This manager leaves and the MD takes over the tasks of this manager as there is no budget to replace this manager. Over the weeks/months that follow, the MD comes to your desk and asks you to do little bits and pieces of the work that the previous manager used to do. 5 - 10 minute jobs. Have a look at this, tell me what you think of that, can you please give me this, can you book me that and so on. Nothing major. However, they are things that are not part of your job description and you are not getting paid anything extra now that you are taking on parts of a job someone else used to do. On top of this, you are getting paid less than what you were promised when you were hired in the first place.

The question is: Should you refuse to do the work as a matter of principle? The MD has already told your direct team leader that you are only asked for 5-10 minute jobs with no responsibility so there is no reason to pay you extra. The issue is not that you are too busy to do the things requested (You have plenty of time to do the jobs) but simply that you feel already undervalued at the job you are currently paid to do and now they are adding things to it without rewarding you for it or even asking you if you are prepared to do them.

What would you do in this completely hypothetical situation?

Would the answer be different if the things you are asked to do are actually much more fun and interesting than the job you are currently doing? Would you still stick to your principle?

18 June 2005


Guess who won the award for 'Most Improved Player 2004-2005'? Indeed. Me. I won an award. For a team sport. A sport I had never played or even seen on TV before I joined Old Leamingtonians WRFC. Wow. I have never won anything that made me feel so proud I think. I am feeling a bit smug. But very proud.

When the Captain mentioned that they were all pleased that JD had stuck with the club even when she could no longer play and that they were all happy that she could attend the awards ceremony after her surgery, everyone stood up and applauded. She felt really embarrassed but I felt so proud of her that I had tears in my eyes.

I joined the rugby team to make new friends. I never expected to find around 25 new friends all at the same time AND find something I feel proud to be a part of. Thanks girls!

13 June 2005


Hi everyone. I'm at home and have been since Thursday afternoon. Naturally it has taken me ages to get round to blogging but I have been even more restrained than normal as too much time at the computer would be bad.

I'm feeling really good at the moment. So much better than I thought I would. I'm still taking a raft of drugs but my dosage is reduced all the time.

Thank you for all of your kind words of support for myself and Marieke. I'll write more after I have the staples out today. Wuhoo!

08 June 2005

Tumour Diary: Day 4 - Going home

Today was a good day. In fact, today was a perfect day. JD was feeling much better and walked around. Her face is a little bit bloated from the bruising but nothing major. We went for a walk around the hospital and when I arrived for visiting hour this evening, she was all happy because the doctor has told her she can go home tomorrow!!

Can you believe it? they hack a piece out of her brain on Monday afternoon and she gets sent home on Thursday? Of course we are totally and utterly happy that everything has gone so extemely well. I don't know if they made it all sound horrible at the start so that it would all look much better and easier once it was all actually happening. Or maybe JD is indeed recovering extremely quickly.

Either way, the next step is waiting for the results of the biopsy. But tomorrow is a nice day for the two of us. I got champagne, roses, a clean bed, tidy house, croisants for in the morning....did I forget anything?

07 June 2005

Tumour Diary: Day 3 - Afternoon

I am home for a short while to get some laundry done, have some food and get JD some clean clothes.

Nothing has changed since this morning so it is all still very good. Nothing has changed. Apart from me having read the letter she left under our bed in case something would go wrong during the operation.

Nothing has changed since this morning. Apart from me having gone from a composed partner to a teary mess, sitting at home with a letter in my hand, crying my eyes out.

In the envelope was a letter and another envelope. I have not opened that yet. And I don't think I will. I will ask JD to open it for me this afternoon. If she does not want me to open it, she can throw it away. Or keep it safe for when it is needed. She told me I could read the letter so I did. If she had told me I couldn't I wouldn't have read it.

Just the thought of her not surviving. "Perhaps you can hear my voice or see me standing next to you when you read this...". I pictured myself reading the letter after her death or after something really wrong had happened. And I just cried and cried and cried. Like I am when I am typing this now.

I would be absolutely destroyed if something ever happened to her. I am nothing without her.

Can we please never have to do this again. Please. Pretty please.

Thank you.

Tumour Diary: Day 3 - Good morning

JD has had a nice and quiet night sleep. That is according to the night nurse. According to JD herself she had a reasonable night sleep with headache and interruptions. She seems quiet this morning but fully awake and talking. She had breakfast and some bananas. She asked her mother for a digital camera so she can see what she looks like in hospital.

I am feeling ok but of course i am anxious about any possible changes in her personality or behaviour that may have come from the tumor or the surgery. I have to learn to ignore it every time i think: would she have been like this before the surgery as well or is this different? We will be ok i am sure. I love her to bits even with her newly acquired comb-over.

06 June 2005

Tumour Diary: Day 2 - She is fine

A quick mobile blog to let you all know jane has had the surgery. It all went fine and she is looking really good. No bruises in her face yet and they did not have to shave her entire head either.

Tumour Diary: Day 1 - She's in

Do I care if anyone reads this? Not really. Just makes me feel better to write something, no matter how short.
I took JD to the hospital yesterday afternoon. We were reasonably cheerful until JD was appointed her bed. Right opposite a little old lady with her head in a full-on metal frame. Obviously she had some kind of spinal recontstruction done on her. Just not a cheerful sight. JD's mood changed instantly. It obviously started to dawn on her this was all really happening. My heart just melted when she sat there in that chair that seemed to grow biger every second.

The nurses seem nice so that is good. We just waited around and did a Sudoku. We found even the easy one to be extruciatingly hard on a day like yesterday. Surgery is today (Monday) at 1pm so remember to send your positive thoughts. You can pray if you like. it is nice to know that eventhough we are not religious, people take the time to pray for us and ask their God, who they feel is all powerful, for help in JD's name. Thanks guys.

I am about to go to the hospital to say good morning (If the nurses will tolerate me outside visiting hours of course) and then during surgery, I am not sure yet what I will do. Wait in the hospital for 4 hours? Or go for lunch with my parents who have set up camp on a campsite near the hospital? Don't know yet.

Risks of the surgery include seizures, anurisms, heamorages etc. Nice thought. They can not remove the tumour completely so they will try as much as they can and the rest will have to be treated by monitoring it and operating again if it grows again in a year's time or so. Or they give her radiation. But that can turn benign cells into malignant cells so they are not too keen on that unless it is the only option.

I love her so much. It is unfair.