A castle & brown eyes

First off, my vertigo is subsiding, woohoo!! Not all gone yet, but definitely improving. This means that on Sunday, after visiting my mother, I was well enough to take a day trip with my daughter and we visited my old boarding school which used to be situated in a castle near Utrecht. In my day (35-33 years ago… that sounds so old and long ago!) it all looked a bit different – in the second picture with the red arrow is the ‘Blokhut’ where I used to board with the school nurse and 4 other girls.

Mini me was curious about my boarding school years and as the grounds were open, we were able to walk around and look around. I always loved the driveway up to the castle and it still looks lovely…

The old coach house was still looking good from the outside, it used to be the girls dorm, where most of the girls lived…

There used to be a little wooden building to the left of the coach house that we used to call “The Chambre”. There we could buy evening snacks, play some pool (although I rarely did that) and socialize; it is completely in ruins now…

To the right of the coach house, the “Blokhut” was situated where I used to live. I first thought it was not there anymore as it is now almost obscured from view by shrubbery overgrowing it. I remember it like this (red arrow is pointing to my room)…

On Sunday the Blokhut looked like this… Only when we came up close could we see the entrance, the side of the building where I’d lived was only partially accessible around the back. Through the door I could look into the hall but my old bedroom window was boarded up.

The castle itself was still very pretty (although I don’t like the white plaster as much, it used to be all red brick)…

It was a lovely trip down memory lane and now my daughter wants to go to boarding school as well (even though I told her that boarding school also had its downsides).

The kids have spring break this week and I am off for the most part as well. Today Mr Esther and I decided to go for a walk somewhere further east and Junior was the one to join us for a change. He’s pretty busy normally with school or his girlfriend, but today, while mini me decided to spend the day with a friend, he had no plans. He decided to join us for our walk and it was lovely to have him alone with us for a whole afternoon for a change.

Besides vertigo, work and socially distanced outings here and there, I’ve been keeping busy with the Sue Thomas obsession, making two fan videos (now also up on the Sue Thomas video page that I set up).

I’ve also been re-watching bits and pieces of Suits again as Yannick Bisson’s brown eyes made me long for Gabriel Macht’s brown eyes again. I still love how the character of Harvey Specter developed and changed in the nine seasons that the show had.

Bisson’s Murdoch Mysteries season 14 is now airing, so I’m also watching the new episodes of that show as they come out. Nothing too challenging but a lot of fun, especially last night’s episode with the return of the whacko Newsome family.

I swear, I’d watch a spinoff sitcom with just Ruth Newsome-Higgins (Siobhan Murphy, a character that was introduced in season 10 and appears occasionally), she’s brilliant.

Another thing that has me fascinated is the Mars landing and the images coming from there…

Following NASA Perseverance on Twitter is cool.

Speaking of space, I know, I know that I should watch Richard Armitage’s new movie Space Sweepers over on Netflix, but I can’t quite make myself do so yet. While I enjoy some scifi, it’s not my go to genre and Richard’s role isn’t that huge, is it?

I’ll watch in time, maybe someone in the comments can let me know if it’s worth it? Maybe if his eyes were brown (my current obsession is kind, brown eyes) like in My Zoe I would be more tempted? Although, I admit that seeing brown eyes on Richard instead of his blue eyes is a little weird to me.

When I’m in obsession mode, normal online activities fall by the wayside, which means I have a huge backlog of blog reading to do. I don’t think I can or will promise to catch up on all, so my sincere apologies to those readers who are used to me commenting on their blogs! I’ll probably start coming around again more but not this evening, I have some more brown eyes that I need to get lost in after I post this…

Covidiots on the rampage…

… here in The Netherlands the past few evenings and probably this evening as well and that makes me furious. Read this if you want to know more: “Curfew stays despite ‘scum’ riots in Dutch cities“.

This past weekend an evening curfew started from 9 pm till 4.30 am to combat the further spread of Covid. The curve has been going down for the regular Covid 19 variant but is on the rise for the British variant, which is far more contagious. We’re basically battling two pandemic diseases at once now. There has even been a riot outside a hospital, for crying out loud! Seriously, what do these rioters think is the alternative: just all go out and party and kill each other instead through transmitting this disease? A few weeks ago, on January 6th, everyone was aghast at riots in the Capitol in Washington DC and now we have riots here. Not instigated by political leaders, thank goodness, but riots nonetheless. If they were peaceful protests I could understand but rioting like this over a night time curfew to protect each other? Where is the sense?

Sign in The Hague that says: “I understand that you’re angry but violence doesn’t help. – An ordinary girl

I despair at the idiocy of the human race.

Relief!

While The Netherlands is heading into stricter lockdown, with an evening curfew proposed to start this weekend, I can’t help but still feel joy and it’s all due to a new president of the USA! I feel a huge amount of relief that the White House will have some decency again. For me, it began yesterday evening with the touching memorial for the 400.000 who passed away due to Covid-19…

I watch the inauguration ceremony and I feel I can breathe again after the four years of terror a Trump presidency gave us.

On a side note, the Biden-Obama bromance still lives…

… and I love this Kamala Harris and Barack Obama first bump picture.

Kamala Harris was sworn in…

… as was Joe Biden…

… and for the first time in a long time I can look to the future again with some hope. I thought I’d be blubbering tears but really, my heart is just skipping with joy. Biden called for unity and truth in his inauguration speech just now and it’s just such a relief to hear a little sense coming out of a US president’s mouth again, delivered with heart and warmth. A Joe Biden presidency doesn’t only mean a lot to America but also to the world and he seems to realize that as well, going by his speech. I hope Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will do well and above all, do good, as they intend to.

Political scandal

We have our own political scandal here in The Netherlands now. This afternoon our Dutch government resigned over mismanagement of childcare subsidies. From the Reuters news agency:

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the resignation of his government on Friday, accepting responsibility for years of mismanagement of childcare subsidies, which wrongfully drove thousands of families to financial ruin.
Rutte said he had handed his resignation to King Willem-Alexander. The cabinet would remain in place in a caretaker capacity to manage the coronavirus crisis for now, with an election already due on March 17.
The resignation follows a parliamentary inquiry last month that found bureaucrats at the tax service had wrongly accused families of fraud. (Rest of the article here in case you’re interested or another one here).

The man in the middle is our king Willem-Alexander, the guy on the left next to him with the dark blue tie is our Prime Minister Mark Rutte

This whole scandal has been going on for a quite a while now and two months before our next planned elections this resignation of the cabinet has now happened. Mr Esther, due to his work, knows a lot about this issue and says it’s all indeed a mess of miscommunication between parliament, government, ministries and an administrative mess at the tax service. What irks him about this whole scandal is not that the government has resigned but the sensationalist tone the media takes that implies that everyone in government is corrupt and not to be trusted, as if people intended this to happen! No one intended this, and yes, it’s all been a mess but no one made this happen because of any personal gain. People in government are very well-intentioned, social, and all really care that this mess has happened and want to do everything to make things better. They are working on new strategies right now because no one wants something like this to happen again. But learning from mistakes and well-intentioned people trying to make things better are not news.

Now, with the elections coming, especially far right creepy politicans like Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet will milk this as if government is not to be trusted and only wants bad things for people.

They won’t look at the grey areas and won’t help make things better, they’ll just bully and divide and come up with short-sighted slogans and ‘solutions’ and a lot of people will follow them for that. I hope the far right won’t gain too much over this scandal. Geert Wilders recently published a reprehensible racist anti-Islam agenda for the upcoming election and I don’t want him gaining any more supporters than he already has (his party is the second largest in parliament right now, but luckily he is reduced to being in the opposition and not in governement).

As for other politicians in the upcoming election: I wonder whether our prime minister will suffer losses over this. I’ve never been a huge fan of Mark Rutte and his VVD centre-right party but he’s been an OK prime minister and people (me too) have been generally approving of his handling of the Corona crisis, so that may help him. I’ll never vote for him (even before this crisis) but he will be far preferred to any of the two wankers here above. I like some of our central/left politicians alright but not enough to vote for them, so I’m eagerly awaiting who the new Labour Party candidate will be, maybe that will help. Of course, party policy strategies will weigh strongly in my decision but it helps if the party I like also has a good leader that I like. Elections on March 17th here will be another emotional rollercoaster for me, I just know it.

Second Wednesday in a row…

… that I’ve been stuck to the screen watching US politics unfold in their congress. Last week the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win in congress was interrupted by the awful riot by Trump supporters on the Capitol. Today Donald Trump was impeached for the second time during his presidency for inciting that riot. Just like with all those Brexit debates and votes in the British parliament in 2019, I was glued to the screen this evening with the impeachment debate and subsequent vote in the US House of Representatives. (Good thing about watching these UK and US debates is that I learn a lot about how democracy is conducted there).

The US House of Representatives vote was 232 for and 197 members against impeachment and I wonder why 4 Republicans didn’t vote on such a monumental resolution. I took a screenshot of the moment the 10th Republican voted for impeachment…

I have to say, the arguments Republicans brought about ‘needing to unite and bring the country together’ felt very hypocritical to me after they only deepened the huge divide through repeated lies and spreading hatred during at least the past four years. Also, they didn’t seem to be able to keep their arguments to the point, citing the current president’s accomplishments and referring to Black Lives Matter protests that were violent. Yes, that violence was terrible too but those arguments didn’t seem pertinent to me to the issue at hand, namely that lies told for months on end and Trump’s speech on January 6th only emboldened his base to do what they ended up doing in that riot. The Republicans speak of healing, but healing can only begin if politicians start telling the truth and especially Republicans need to state at the very least the truth that there was no widespread election fraud. You can disagree on policies, you can’t disagree on the truth. Apparently 197 representatives don’t see it that way and continue to support a lying president. Thank goodness he’ll be gone next week when I’ll be stuck to the screen again, watching the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Images I have seen today of the National Guard having to rest in the Capitol to protect it from their own countrymen and women are extremely depressing, they don’t belong in a country which has always said it holds democratic values high.

A three week extension of our Covid lockdown here in The Netherlands until February 9th and the consideration of possibly even a curfew (as announced yesterday) is disheartening but almost feels like peanuts in comparison. US democracy is under siege and it’s heartbreaking to witness from the outside. I really hope the inauguration next week will remain peaceful!