23 February 2009

Not In My Back Yard!

See here the plans to build an electricity sub-station about 10 metres from my bedroom window. That is the final fucking straw. the site used to be a school but iis now being turned in to a Mental Hospital. No problem with that. It only got annoying when they started to patrol the site with dogs at night. The dogs bark at anything that moves. Not just intruders but also rabbits, foxes and moving tree branches and shadows. As a result of that, I now wake up at least 3 times every night.

And now they want to build the fucking electricity sub-station right underneath my window. Why there? I don't know but on the other side of the plot of land is a huge vast empty space and that site is next to an office block. So why not build it where it does not bother anyone? Could it be because that is next to a Council office? I don't know.

I am going to object to the plans but somehow I feel the decision has already been made. I mean, they would not start to build an entire new hospital without having sorted out electricity supply for it first so what is the point....

I will be moving soon I think. Fuck. I like where I live now.

21 February 2009

Gourmetten or Raclette?

When my parents came to visit me for the first time after I moved to England, I asked them to bring me a present, a Dutch Gourmet Set. Gourmetten (verb) is a tradition in Holland and everyone does it. I wanted to get myself a gourmet set in England but I could not find them anywhere. When I invited friends around to our house for an evening of Gourmetten, all of them told me they thought it was the most fabulous thing to do with friends and asked me where they could buy a Gourmet Set. I never knew the answer.

But what is it, I hear you ask. Well, it is kind of like Raclette (which is not the word we would use in Dutch, hence for years I thoguht I could not buy the Gourmet Set in England, only to find out I needed to look for a Raclette Set which is available at John Lewis!)

We all know the Swiss thing that is Raclette: melted cheese and bits of meat & bread to dip in to the melted cheese.

In Holland, we have given it a twist that has become THE most popular thing to do with friends and family around. The Dutch way is to use the top grill plate to grill meat & fish. The little pans at the bottom, traditionally used to melt the cheese that you then pour over the meat or fish, are used for side dishes. Like what, I hear you ask. Well, think of chopped onions, mushrooms, bacon lardons, eggs, spring onions, mini-potatoes etc. Everyone basically makes their own food in their own little pan and they can do whatever they want and make yummie or yukkie combinations.

Add a nice salad, some sauces, wine & bread and you basically make your own dinner. Great fun. In Holland, they make preparing all this even easier because at the supermarket or butcher, you simply buy a ready-made Gourmet Dish: a tray of meat such as chicken, hamburgers, steak, pork fillet etc, cut up in bite-sized pieces.

Recently, my folks visited again and since my Gourmet Set was broken, I asked them to bring me a new one. Clearly my mother thought you coudl not buy meat in England so she not only brought us a Gourmet Set, she also brought us a frozen Gourmet Tray (wrapped in tin foil to keep it cold on the plane). Bless her.

So next time you come to dinner at our house, you know what you'll get: Gourmetten. Pretty soon, one of my friends is getting married. Now that I know you call it Raclette in England, I can simply buy them a Raclette set as a present. Yay.

Strange though how you can buy the thing in England and yet none of my friends had ever heard of it and a few had asked me to get my parents to bring them one from Holland. Maybe I can start a trade in pre-cut Gourmet Dishes.

17 February 2009

Spotify is the dog's bollocks

The new addiction in the office (since this morning really): Spotify.

Spotify serves up instant, legal access to millions of tracks completely free of charge via an interface every bit as slick as iTunes. The difference is that you do not download the music. It is streamed via the internet but that is almost unnoticeable. There is no delay.

Its best feature is the shared playlists. This is brilliant for in the office here. One person has set up a shared play list and sent us all the URL for his playlist,. We can then simply drop our songs in the playlist and create a lovely variety of music during the day. t is great because it means no longer can one person take control of iTunes in the office for hours on end.

You can share your own playlists on the internet (check out Spotylist.com for lists from others), make them collaborative (or not) and post them online. So, say, you can share your playlist with your loved one at home and then both listen to the same musiic during the day from different places. All of it for FREE. All you get is a few adds played per hour but that is just like listening to the radio. Brilliant.

I am sure this was all available elsewhere before (Last.fm?) but I never used that.

I am LOVING this so much, it is the first thing I would even consider paying (a small fee) for if it was to become commercial.

09 February 2009


This weekend, JD finally plucked up the courage to have her hair cut off. It was a difficult decision that had been put off a few times already so I am proud she finally went. I think it looks a lot better now. Somehow, the long hair made her look more ill, in my opinion. Obviously, with half a head of hair, she still looks like she is obviously having some kind of problem but it somehow looks much better to me. And I love running my hands through short hair. There still are a few wispy bits on her head at the front but most of it is gone. She has left the hair on the back of her head, if anything because it is actually quite cold without hair! So tip from the top: don't have chemo or radiotherapy in the winter if you are going to lose your hair! It is cold!

Only 8 treatments to go. So far JD is doing great. None of the terrible tiredness we were warned about, no terrible headaches or anything. I guess it is not surprising that JD isn't too tired because she doesn't really do much during the day. That is not a bad thing! I just mean that if you have a very busy life with work and kids, you are going to notice much more that you are unable to do certain things. But if, like JD, most of your time is spent at home anyway, working on the sofa on a laptop, you are not spending a lot of energy anyway so it is not going to feel like you are using a lot more energy to do the same things you always do. I suppose in this case, that is a good thing! Yay for working on the sofa!

The only thing is perhaps that she is more forgetful and finds it hard to organise more than 1 thing at the same time. But apparently that is quite common with RT to the head and that should go away a few weeks after the end of treatment.

I am looking forward to the end of this. I am looking forward to things getting back to normal again. My bosses have been great in the past few months & weeks, giving me all the time I need to get to hospital and whatever else I need. It has made me a lot more stressed as I don't want to let my bosses down after them being supportive but I also need to be able to put JD first without feeling I then MUST go back to work in the evening to finish work off all the time. After all, my bosses knew I would need time and they offered me that time.

I am looking forward to hearing the radiotherapy has worked and the bastard tumour has stopped growing for good.

03 February 2009

Random Snowman

Last night, JD and I went out for a quick walk in the snow after dinner. And because we felt like it, we just built a snowman in a random garden. I mean, you can not have a garden and not have a snowman, right? So we just used all the snow in this person's front garden and built a rather ugly snowman. Then I rang the door bel and said through the intercom: "Hello. We have built you a snowman, hope you like it. Byeee!"

And then we left. Giggling. 30 minutes of fun. Go on. Do something funny today and make a stranger smile.