Finding a little peace again

About two weeks ago I drafted a whole “worry list” post because there was so much to worry about and I was just too busy with too much going on. I ended up not posting it as I didn’t have time to properly edit it, it also just felt too whiny and open to discussion and I didn’t have the energy for discussion.

Now I’m two weeks on, it’s the weekend and things are looking up again. The worry about my son has resolved itself into a new strategy which I hope will make him happier, my mother in law was in hospital but is fine and at home, the market I organized for refugees has been done and dusted and gave me a real boost of positive energy. There was some big tension at work and on Thursday morning (the most difficult day) I happened across this little ad for a shirt that completely summed up my mood that day…

(OK, I don’t drink coffee, but in all other ways this was spot on)

However, things turned out alright in the end. I have for now been able to calm things down somewhat and while it was difficult, I do feel a real sense of accomplishment there. I’m also glad that the worry about my husband is lessening a bit as he is slowly doing better. Other worries do remain (my mother, wanting to move but there are so many ‘buts’ connected to that, work-volunteer work balance, a small health issue of my own that I still have to make an appointment for, etc.) but I guess I can’t do more than take it all one step at a time.

In the midst of all the unrest and turmoil, we try to do and plan some fun things to balance it all out. Mr E and I went to the cinema together last week (Dungeons and Dragons which was quite fun even though we don’t know the game at all) and last weekend, Mr E and I were treated by family (for our birthdays, which were in March and early April) to a trip on a ‘Dinner Train’. It is exactly what it says in the name: you eat a nice dinner while the train you’re on drives around for a little over two hours. I look terribly pale and tired in the one picture but it was a really lovely thing to do.

We have also pre-booked our summer holiday. We will be going to Vienna for 5 days in July (I’ve never been there before). The kids will come with us there and after that Mr E and I will continue on our own to Slovakia for two weeks. We’re doing it all by car, which gives us a lot of flexibility.

Next week will be a short working week (only Monday and Tuesday) as we head into several holidays here. This means I also have time for a little London getaway! Next weekend (Friday evening – Monday afternoon) I will travel to London on my own to visit my brother and to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the theatre with him. No other plans yet for London, it’s all open, but there’s always something nice to do there.

I feel more peace settling over me now than I have in many weeks and that’s a good thing. It also helps that on some days the sun comes out and we can actually sit outside for a bit. Our cat enjoys that too…

Here’s hoping for more calm waters for a while yet.


Yesterday at the end of the afternoon, as we hiked near our little house in the woods, we enjoyed this…

We had big plans for today but in the end we decided to hang out at the cottage instead (I finally made some time to catch up on my reading of other blogs), enjoy the views of trees and listen to the birds whistling even through closed doors (it’s too chilly to sit outside). We’re loving our little mini break.

Little House in the Big Woods (+Hattem)

So, yes, the title of this post is a little misleading as this has nothing to do with the Laura Ingalls Wilder book that I loved reading so much when I was a child…

We have spring break here and about two weeks ago I figured we needed a little getaway as life has been so busy for us with lots to deal with. So, I booked this little low budget cabin in the woods for a little Monday – Friday holiday. Mini me decided to stay at home but Junior has come with us for a day and a night and is heading back home on the train again this evening. For the rest of the week it will be just Mr E and myself in our little house in the big woods that we rented. It’s not quite as isolated as Laura’s house was (the cottage is part of a holiday park) but it’s still small and surrounded by trees and it’s peaceful. Just what we need.

It’s in the north of The Netherlands and yesterday, while driving up, we stopped halfway in the little town of Hattem. Mr E knew it was supposed to be an old town (it even used to be a “Hansestadt” but has never reached the grandeur of Hamburg or Bremen in Germany) and so we stopped there for lunch and a little walk around town. We’d never been before, it really was quite lovely. I also really loved having Junior around. He’s usually off on his own for holidays, so it really feels like a treat having him along now for a bit (click on images to enlarge).

We’ve been lazing away at the little house this morning but will soon start getting our butts into gear to venture out into the world again. Some sightseeing planned and dinner out before we take Junior to the train station this evening. Breaks like this are good for the soul, I’m already feeling it.


Mr E does volunteer work for an organization that specializes in heraldry. For that he had to be in the southern tip of The Netherlands for a day and we decided that as it’s the fall break, we’d make a real trip of it, including a few nights in a hotel. We found one on the castle grounds of a castle near Maastricht, drove their yesterday after I finished my volunteer work and today, here we are! We went for a lovely walk in the beautiful area, rested a bit, walked to a neighbouring town for dinner and all that with glorious weather.

Tomorrow is the ‘heraldry day’ Mr E came for and then on Saturday we take our time getting home again. I love mini breaks.

In the footsteps of the Romans

Time flies when you’re having fun! Our week at the cottage at the bottom of the Vesuvius has just ended. We had a grand time there, following in the footsteps of the Romans. We visited remnants of their villa’s, with the Vesuvius visible in the background…

On our 23rd wedding anniversary (July 26th, yay us!) we drove to the Amalfi coast. Beautiful there but very narrow and busy (overrun by tourists, really) and we couldn’t find a parking spot, so never actually got out of the car in either Amalfi or Positano.

We ended up in Sorrento, which turned out to be a really lovely town!

On a fun side note – as we walked through Sorrento I was thinking of Pierce Brosnan as I knew he had filmed around there some 8 or 9 years ago for the Danish movie Love Is All You Need, a movie I absolutely love and made two fan videos for. And sure enough, in the middle of the old town center, we stumbled across the location of the café that featured in the movie! Images from the movie…

… and my pictures…

We of course also visited Pompei which was quite impressive. It was a dream come true for Mr E to visit there. He went twice, while I went there once. Very hot, of course, and our feet got quite filthy, but very much worth it! Mr E wore his Monty Python “What have the Romans ever done for us?” t-shirt on his second visit (my first visit) there, which garnered some smiles here and there and one guy calling out enthusiastically: “Hey, Monty Python!”

We also visited Herculaneum, another town that got buried under the pumice and ashes of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Much smaller than Pompei but very impressive too with even the first known street billboard (or so they say) advertising wine. And yes, that’s a real cat in that last picture taking a nap in the souvenir shop.

We also took some time to relax while we were at that cottage (suriving the mosquito bites better after we bought mosquito repellent ointment), I even watched the new Persuasion over on Netflix (my thoughts on that to follow another time) and most evenings we cooked our own meals. And yes, I bought some cat food to spoil ‘our’ 3 cats with. The owner of the cottage also fed them, but not daily I think, so I wanted to spoil them while we were there.

Today (or actually yesterday as it’s after midnight) we left our cottage and drove along the northern part of the Naples bay and found a beautiful spot to have lunch. It is from somewhere here that Pliny the Younger witnessed the Vesuvius eruption (Vesuvius is visible in the background of the picture I am in) and 25 years later described what had happened in letters.

We have now driven to our new hotel north of Napels, on the coast, in a place called Pozzuoli. After we dropped our things at the hotel (we have a sea view, albeit along a busy street), we walked into town. Pozzuoli is the least touristy place we’ve been to (and it’s apparently also the city actress Sophia Loren grew up in) and we really like it. We also caught gimpses of the old amphitheater on the way. It’s got a lively center filled with Italians going out on a late Saturday afternoon/evening (no evening pictures here, though, but it did get very busy as we walked back to the hotel after our dinner).

We’ll be here for a few days as we want to visit Napels and maybe see something of old volcano craters in the neighbourhood. And so on we go…