Tuesday, 26 September 2023

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 26 September 2023 - T for

Hello lovely girls,

How are you all? I'm still feeling a bit fragile and sad after the death of my mum, but I have friends staying with me and they pamper me with nice meals out and I'm looking forward to going to the UK on my retreat this Thursday and also seeing the children and grandchildren. Lots of nice things to look forward to.

I have a very special postcard to show you:

It's a typical traditional Russian window with the setting sun reflecting in it. But the special thing about this card is that it comes from Kazakhstan. I think it must be the first postcard I have ever received from that country. 

Looking at the map it is a huge country. Look at  Wikipedia or this BBC site if you want to know more.

The stamps are interesting. Of course I had never seen them and it is difficult to get information. 

But with the help of Google Translate I was able to understand that the subject of this stamp is a great Kazakh writer, society figure and learned scientist, who lived from 1897 to 1961.

His name is Mukhtar Auezov (But that was not on the stamp, I had to Google it.) I found some info about him.

The insect on one of the other stamps is Damalacantha Vacca, (according to Wikipedia): A large wingless grasshopper with a massive, stocky body. The color is yellowish with a dirty brown and dark pattern on the pronotum and abdomen. The body length of males is 28-30 mm, females 35-40 mm. The elytra are underdeveloped and there are no wings. The antennae are attached below eye level. On the fore tibia there are slit-like openings of the tympanic auditory organ. Distributed in the desert zone of Kazakhstan . Inhabits rocky-saline areas of deserts with rare saltworts.
 It feeds on saltworts . Moves slowly, runs on the ground. During the breeding season, representatives of the species, especially males, chirp loudly. The eggs are laid by the female in the soil. In case of danger, it takes a threatening pose, tilts its head to the ground and raises its abdomen.

The stamp with the gazelle on it is the goitered gazelle or black-tailed gazelle is a gazelle native to Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, parts of Iraq and Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and in northwestern China and Mongolia. Wikipedia 

So what has been happening with me here in Spain? I had my friend staying with me until Friday (The friend with the campervan who drove me from the Netherlands to Spain). She very much wanted to swim as the weather was still really good. We went to the reservoir lake nearby. The water was really low but she could swim:

We went out for a meal a few times, and I have photos of drinks so I can join the T-Party hosted by Elizabeth and Bleubeard.
Here I'm having a beer (for a change).

Then on Saturday my friends from Brazil came to stay with me. They own the property with the swimming pool that we sometimes use and they had some legal and admin business to do here. They are great company:

We organized a BBQ party at the pool with my friends and neighbors.
T helped me prepare some dishes:

And this was the result:

Everybody had brought things and the table was full of yummy food:

Needless to say, we had a really lovely time.

That's all from me today, apart from this beautiful sunset from my window the other day:

Happy T-Day everyone!



PS: I apologise that I have not been commenting (and sometimes not visiting) lately. Please forgive me. I hope I have more time next week when I'm on holiday.


Friday, 22 September 2023

A Postcard A Day - Friday 22 September 2023 - Friday Smiles

 Hello lovely ladies,

Stressful times for me, but I'm holding it together (I think). I'm sorry I missed last Friday. We were traveling. My Dutch friend with the campervan was going to drive to Portugal on her own and she offered to take me to Spain. 

But let me show you my postcard:

It's the famous 'Aunties' illustrated by Inge Löök (From Finland). I love those characters! I always said, when I'm old, I want to be like them. But I'm 72 years old, when am I going to get old? Life is what it is and I try to enjoy it as much I can. There's highs and lows. I'm going through a low at the moment now my mum has died. She was my last link to my native country (Netherlands) and I always traveled to Holland twice a year to visit my mum. Now there is no good reason to make the effort. To me, this is another loss on top of losing my mum. 

Lets not digress. Here is the stamp:
It's a stamp from a series of stamps with images that simbolise the Netherlands, like a bicycle, a cow etc
They are quite fun I think.

So, where was I? So last Friday I was in France and for some reason didn't have internet on my phone. 

I phoned my provider who explained what I had to do, but that didn't work and i thought it didn't really matter as we would be in Spain the next morning. 
There we encountered torrential rains!
Especially around Valencia. We were lucky not to find any roads flooded.
We traveled 2250 km in 4 days.

Yesterday we went to the reservoir. My friend wanted to go for a swim and I wanted to see how low the water was. 
As you can see, it was very low. Record low in fact. I think it is only 21% full.

My friend loves cats and whenever we are at a restaurant, she attracts cats for some reason:

And at a different place a similar cat:
Cute hey?

That's it from me today. I'm going to link up with Annie at A Stitch In Time to share my smiles, as in spite of everything I have had lots to smile about.
As per usual, I'll put some funnies at the end.

Have a lovely weekend,

I photographed this in a Rotterdam metro station. It reads: "Just turn them inside out, then you'll have 10". "Wishing you all the best in your time as a student." Advertising an internet store similar to Amazon.

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

A Postcard a day - Tuesday 19 September 2023 - T for Lions and a river

 Hello lovely ladies,

I'm home (in Spain) again! My friend Ineke drove me in her campervan. We took 4 days to get to Spain! That is a record! I am emotionally drained and physically exhausted but it's good to be home. I now have 10 days to sort myself out before I travel to the UK for a spiritual retreat (Boy, do I need that!) and a visit to all the kids and grandkids. My friend Ineke is staying until Friday, then she will go to Portugal to play bridge, which she does every year. 

Today I went to the post office to empty my postbox. As expected there were many postcards. I have chosen one for today:

I got this card from someone called Michael who is a geography teacher in the Ruhrgebiet in Germany. The translation on the card goes: "I am not perfect, but I'm so close that it scares me sometimes."
Of course I thought of Iris. Here is a Henry for you, Iris! He is almost perfect!

The stamp is the german Postcrossing stamp:

I think it is such fun to have a Postcrossing stamp. I wish the Spanish post office would issue one....

So what have been up to? In Rotterdam, my sister and i have been clearing out mum's things. We can take very little with us, so everything had to go. We gave to church bazaars and charities and other people.
There is a supermarket downstairs, so we just borrowed a shopping trolley and used that to transport 'stuff' around.

Every evening my sister and I went for a much needed walk in the fresh air. One day we went to the river Rotte (Rotterdam was named after this river).
This is a foot bridge (also for bicycles). It is slightly over exposed, but I'm there.

Then my friend and I left in the campervan for Spain. We took several days to travel and didn’t take any photos.
So this is it for today. My friend leaves on Friday but on Saturday my friends from Brazil will be staying for a couple of nights, so I have nice things to look forward to.

Happy T-Day all,

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 12 September 2023 - T for goodbyes, reunions and beach

 Hello lovely ladies,

It's been a bit of a sad week really. Most of you will know that my mum passed away last week and my sister and I have been organizing the funeral/cremation. Then of course we also remember 9/11 with lots of documentaries on tv about the dramatic events then.

More about me later, let me show you my postcard for today:

It's a card I will be sending today or tomorrow and it features Rotterdam, my home town. I was born here and my family have always lived here. It is a very modern city as it was bombed during the second world war.
Wikipedia writes:
Rotterdam (lit. "The Dam on the River Rotte") is the second-largest city in the Netherlands after the national capital of Amsterdam. It is in the province of South Holland,

Rotterdam's history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by William IV, Count of Holland. The Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area, with a population of approximately 2.7 million, is the 10th-largest in the European Union and the most populous in the country.

A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest seaport. In 2022, Rotterdam had a population of 655,468 and is home to over 180 different nationalities.[10]

Rotterdam is known for its university, riverside setting, lively cultural life, maritime heritage and modern architecture. The near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including skyscrapers designed by architects such as Rem KoolhaasPiet Blom and Ben van Berkel.

The RhineMeuse and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the highly industrialized Ruhr. The extensive distribution system including rail, roads, and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".

Now I would like to tell you how we said goodbye to our mum. Different countries have different traditions. But if reading about funerals upsets you, please don't read any further or just scroll right down.

In the Netherlands it is a tradition to have announcements printed, which get priority by the Netherlands postal service. We had them printed within 24 hours and we wrote the addresses ourselves, then put all the announcements in a special envelope and took it to the post office. The next morning the recipients in the Netherlands received their announcement which contained the details of the funeral and a correspondence address. So wonderfully efficient! (I'm not used to that any more, living in Spain).

My mum didn't want a big funeral and also didn't want a religious service. We didn't think we'd have more than 20 people (we have a small family). We had organized a 'gathering' in the funeral parlour, with table and chairs arranged a bit like a coffee shop:

I had also prepared a short talk:

In the photo above I was just about to start my talk.
We had put a nice photo of mum on the coffin and a small fun statue:
"World's greatest mum", because to us she was the world's greatest mum.

We spent the time talking to people we hadn't seen for ages and exchanging memories of our mum.

Then a large black Cadillac drove us back and we gathered (at least the family members) at the pub across the road for drinks and nibbles.

You can see part of my head on the far right.

Below are my sister (R), me (L) and my cousin (middle) outside the pub. (I had already changed my dress as mum's apartment is opposite the pub)

As today is T for Tuesday hosted by Elizabeth and Bluebeard, I will show you my drink (as if there weren't enough drinks on the table):
Elizabeth take note, I had stout.

The funeral was Friday. And then Saturday we needed a break and we got on the train to Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland). From the train one walks straight onto the beach. The beach is miles long.
In the photo I'm posing with my brother-in-law
There you are. We are now busy getting rid of mum's things. We can't take anything with us. Some things will be stored until next month until my sister comes back in the car. 

I'll be going back to Spain on Wednesday. My friend, that I recently went to Italy with, is going to Portugal and she is giving me a lift home (to Spain).

Tonight (Tuesday) we will be loading the campervan and we will be leaving the morning after.

Happy T-Day all,

Friday, 8 September 2023

A Postcard A Day - Friday 8 September 2023 - Friday Smiles (and sweet memories)

 Hello lovely ladies, Today is my mum's cremation. In a short while family members will be arriving and we will be going to a funeral chapel at 2 pm where we will sit  at small tables with a cup of coffee reminiscing about my dear mum.

Here she is on her 99th birthday. She was an extraordinary woman. She had an interesting life as she was 16 when the war broke out.

This is an old photo of my mum with my sister and I (I'm on the right). My mum was always elegantly dressed. This photo was taken in 1955 or 56.

I'm enjoying the time this week with my sister while we try to organize a funeral and also clearing the house. The weather is lovely. We have been shopping as i didn't have any clothes with me.

And we have been out for dinner last night (No photos) as my brother-in-law came to join us.

Of course we are very sad that my mum is no longer with us, but she was 99 and we all have lovely memories of her, so in spite of the sadness, I can still smile. On top of that, it will be great to see relatives and friends we haven't seen for a long time. I'm really looking forward to that.

Have a lovely weekend all.