Cats over fandom today…

I was going to post Richard Armitage pictures today but then we went to visit Mr Esther’s aunt and uncle to meet their new kittens and that whole plan went out the window. So, it’s cats over fandom here today!

It’s no secret that I adore cats. We had loads of pets growing up (especially dogs and guinea pigs) but we didn’t have cats. I always wanted cats, was famous for that wish and the nickname my parents gave me as a little girl was “Poestie” (“poes” is cat in Dutch). My mother still calls me “Poes” sometimes. When I went off to college there was no room for cats in my life and when I moved in with Mr Esther, he wasn’t about to have cats move in as well. He was a dog person but that soon changed.

We’d been living together for a year when we went to visit my parents who were living in Jerusalem again at the time, bordering the checkpoint to Bethlehem. When we came to visit them my mother had rescued two kittens that had been orphaned by a wild dog on the grounds of the institute they were living at. She hand-reared them and didn’t have the heart to release them again into a very uncertain wild future. When Mr Esther and I came to visit I fell in love! I mean, who wouldn’t with kittens such as these?

During the 3 weeks we stayed with my parents especially the kitten on the left (in my brother’s hand) was able to win Mr Esther over and when we travelled back to The Netherlands, we travelled back with two kittens. We called them our Palestinian refugees. One of the cats became ill at the age of 8 and died, the other cat was thankfully with us much longer.

When my baby son arrived, the cats didn’t trust the crying baby and virtually lived in the attic the first three months of his life. Yeah, they were scaredy cats and remained that always. They came to tolerate the children but weren’t that close to them. Babies and toddlers are scary beings but they adored Mr Esther and me. When one of the cats died, the other one seemed lonely for a while and hovered around me more than ever.

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We then went to the local shelter and asked for advice and they told us it would best to add a kitten for company. So, we got a beige-reddish kitten out of the shelter. Our old cat didn’t trust the kitten much at first…

… but in the end they learned to at first tolerate each other and in the black & white cat’s older age, they’d even lie against each other at times.

Where the black & white cat was somewhat stand-offish with our small kids, our beige cat instantly became fast friends with them, always searching them out. He has the dearest soul, loves everyone and allows everyone to love him.

When five years ago our old b&w cat died aged 17, my heart broke. We had loved her so dearly!

However, as our beige cat is such a social cat, we decided to adopt another kitten from a shelter a few months later. No one wanted the black cats there, so we took one home. This black cat, even though she turned out to be a mass murderer, instantly took hold of our hearts.

The two cats needed a few days to get used to each other but soon became friends, even though the beige cat really needed to get used to the playfulness of a kitten after only having lived with an older cat.

Nowadays the beige cat is the old cat, he’s 14. The cats still occasionally tumble over each other for a minute or two to play but mostly lead separate lives. They both love their cuddles from us. The beige cat takes to my son a lot of the time while the black one takes to my daughter but they both also love to spend time with Mr Esther or me when I sit on the couch and have a cup of tea, as pictured here last week…

The beige cat lies against me or Mr Esther on the couch almost every evening and likes to come on the bed when I put him there (the jump is now too high for him)…

Our beige cat used to greet us outside our house when he heard the car come home but now that we have a quiet hybrid Toyota, he doesn’t always come out anymore. He does often still come out to say goodbye when we leave, though.


Anyway, this whole post came about because Mr Esther’s aunt and uncle have adopted two kittens from a charity in Greece. They were inspired to do so after we told them about visiting a cat shelter on Rhodos last year and when their cat died, the decision to adopt these kittens was made. This afternoon we went to visit these kittens who are now about 5 months old. Although they look completely different, it reminded me of us adopting our two black & white sisters from Jerusalem, which kickstarted sharing our house with cats. These two kittens were found in a dumpster on the Greek island of Crete and are so very affectionate and playful! I think they will have a very happy home here in The Netherlands.


We’re in love yet again.

As I finish this post and link back to earlier posts on this blog, I’m realizing that this september is the 5 year anniversary of this blog! Coincidentally, I am also just seeing, this is my 600th post. Not as many posts as many bloggers out there (I, by far, don’t post daily), but 600 still seems like a lot to me. How fun that I was able to celebrate this with cats. 🙂

Family over fandom

Yes, I’ve been seeing more Toronto pictures of our Richard in my alerts and feeds but it’s family (and friends) over fandom at my house and it’s been busy. We’ve been to a friend’s house for a high tea for her birthday (and yes, these are all self-made goodies, so we baked some cupcakes and sausage rolls)…


With another friend of mine (once colleague) and an ex-colleague I went to see an Open Air Grease singalong, which was a lot of fun.

My daughter has taken up football (soccer to American readers), she just started training a few weeks ago and has games on Saturdays now which I go to. She has come a long way through some very difficult times and is in such a great place. It makes my heart burst with joy to see how much she enjoys football and she seems quite a natural at it as well. Team coaches are extremely pleased to have her, in any case.

My son has been playing handball from a young age. At 18 he now does his own thing  but we still like to go watch him play and cheer him on when he’s playing at home as he did last week on Sunday (in the white with number 10 on his back).

On Thursday evening my daughter and I went to the theater along with my mother, my older sister recently returned from Japan, my brother, his daughter, my younger sister and her girlfriend, some of her children and friends. The girlfriend, through contacts, had been able to score a load of free tickets to the Dutch version of the musical Anastasia. Musical was well-done but dragged a little sometimes. Still, great to have an evening out all together like that to a very well-staged show.


Friday after work (yes, I had work going on as well, which has been busy too) we went to my mother’s again to see my younger brother who was visiting from abroad and today, Saturday, was filled with chores. So, as you can see, barely time to fangirl over Richard! However, a few hours ago fangirling was back on as we happend upon Richard Armitage on our TV screen!

So, while half watching that, I multi-tasked and collected all the remaining Armitage at TIFF images I could find. I’ll post those in another post as this one is long enough! In the meantime, I’ll just leave with this…

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… and fangirl more on blog hopefully tomorrow. 🙂

The hottest day

Today was the hottest day on record here in The Netherlands. In the south of our small country, in the city of Eindhoven, the hottest temp ever was recorded at 39.3 degrees Celsius.

I see that our Richard has been running in the heat today in the UK…



… although (I just checked), max temp in Stockport today was 26 Celsius, so quite bearable, I think. 🙂

Day off work for me today, Mr Esther had the afternoon off, the kids are on their summer holidays, so we decided to do something nice today. My son went swimming with friends, and Mr Esther, my daughter and I drove to the medieval town of Deventer. We’d never been there before and it was so pretty (and yes, that’s an Albert Schweitzer statue)!

It was 37 degrees Celsius there, so that is probably why it was not very busy in the streets. We took many breaks, for drinks and something to eat…

The oldest still standing Dutch stone house (from 1130) is in Deventer…

.. we also came across some World War II monuments: “Stolpersteine” infront of a house, commemorating the Jews who lived there and were killed in concentration camps, and a monument for those who suffered or died at the hands of the Japanese in South East Asia…

Several streets in Deventer were decorated with fun, colourful umbrellas:

We walked by a church and another square (lot’s of open spaces/squares in Deventer).

We took a look at the riverside…

There were also cats who needed to be petted and we ended our day in Deventer with a pizza dinner in one of the umbrella streets…

It really was a very lovely hottest day in The Netherlands ever!

Taxi driver mama

Picture this: a Wednesday in a town in The Netherlands, I have a day off from work and the rain is pouring down…


7.30 a.m.: Mama takes pity on her daughter and tells her she’ll drive her to school so that she won’t get drenched during a bike ride that would take 20 minutes. It’s early and mama is not a morning person, so takes it easy and changes from pajama bottoms into pants that are still lying about and pulls on a sweater over her pajama top.

7.45 a.m.: Rush daughter out the door and drive her to school.

8.15 a.m.: Come back home again, find a gift from my cat outside my front door: a dead mole! Pick the mole up with a tissue and dispose of him in our green recycling bin, then time to sit for a little bit and have my Weetabix breakfast.

8.30 a.m.: Mr Esther comes downstairs, getting ready to bike to the station. First day back to the office after his operation / sick leave. Esther takes pity and offers to drive him to the train station so that he too will not get soaked. He says he can take the bus back home again in the afternoon (when time doesn’t matter, the bus schedule sucks).

9.05 a.m.: We leave home, needing a little extra time to drive to the station as the normal route is closed due to road works.

9.25 a.m.: Home again, time to relax and take in the news via print and TV.

10.10 a.m.: Son comes down for breakfast. For school he needs to do a practical assignment from 11.30 till 5 p.m. Getting there by bike, train, bus and 10 minute walk means he needs to leave in 5 minutes and he’ll never make it. He can’t afford to be late and also, I’d hate to see him arrive at that assignment all soaked. So, yes, I agree to drive him. Postpone the morning tea visit to my sister’s (where my mother is also visiting) and tell her I’ll be there around lunchtime instead. Make my way upstairs to take off pj top I’m still wearing and get freshened up and dressed properly.

10.45 a.m.: Drive my son to where he needs to be (half an hour away) but it’s pouring down and I take a wrong exit so that adds a little time to our drive time. Make it there at 11.22 a.m. which is well on time.

Noon: Arrive at my sister’s flat. Catch up with my mother, my sister and her cat. Also do the monthly chore of cutting my mother’s toenails (she has complicated toenails), eat a small ‘krentenbol’ (currant bun) with cheese, typical Dutch thing.

1.15 p.m.: Head to my daughter’s school to pick her up. She is famished (forgot to pack lunch) so on the way back home we pick up some chicken at KFC (she loves it, I think it’s so-so) and get home at 2 p.m. to eat and drink. I don’t have much chicken and especially like the corn on the cob. 🙂 Oh, and we discover a second gift from our black cat in the kitchen: another dead mole! It’s still pouring outside, apparently that makes for great mole-hunting?

2.30 p.m.: Mr Esther texts me to ask what time I’m picking up our dauighter, maybe I could pick him up while I’m already driving around with her. Tell him she’s home already as school was out early but I’ll drive extra to pick him up, so he doesn’t have to wait for the bus which takes ages to arrive and then drives a roundabout route.

3.00 p.m.: Leave home to pick up Mr Esther. Small-town after-school rush hour traffic and a blocked roadworks route, means the normally 5 minute drive takes 15 minutes. Way back is a little quicker, so home again with Mr Esther at 3.25 p.m. The man is very tired, so I tell him to go lie down.

3.40 p.m.: Drive my daughter to a therapist appointment. We get there 5 minutes before her 4 p.m. appointment. I don’t need to go in with her, so I stay in the car and read with music playing during the 45 minutes that she’s gone.

5.00 p.m.: Home again, my son texts. He’ll be at the station at 5.40 p.m. As he isn’t on his bike and needs to head for his job right away, I had already told him I would drop him off. (Job starts at 6, he needs to be there at 5.55 at the latest or he loses his shift and there is no bus that goes close to where he works and walking would take 30 minutes, which is too long). I make use of my half hour of free time to empty the dishwasher and fill it again, clean the kitchen and living room a bit. No time for grocery shopping and we’ve had KFC anyhow, so it would just be Mr Esther needing to get a warm meal, my daughter and I will figure out some sandwiches or something for the evening if we get hungry.

5.30 p.m.: It has finally stopped raining! Bundle up my daughter into the car and we both drive to the station to pick up my son. Luckily train is on time. It’s really busy with rush hour traffic but I get him to his work place with 3 minutes to spare. My daughter and I head on to a local soccer field. My daughter is thinking of taking up soccer and is doing her first trial training. We get there at 6.05 p.m., exactly at the arranged time. Apparently this is also the last training of the season, so it’s not a ‘real’ training session but a mixed (boys and girls) soccer match. My daughter (wearing black pants and a light grey sweater) gets in there and after about 20 minutes, she’s the first one to score a goal! She scores a total of 2 of her team’s 5 goals…


The trainer likes her, she still needs to learn some technique but she plays very nicely and she’s really quick, he says. My kids are both quite athletic and Mr Esther and I always wonder who they get that from…

7.45 p.m.: Back home again. Mr Esther is up and about and just about ready to head out to get something quick for dinner. He also wants it simple, so it’s pea soup for him and me and baguette with several soft cheeses and aioli (a garlic sauce) for us and my daughter as well (she doesn’t like pea soup). Dinner at about 8.15 p.m.

9.00 p.m.: Head out to pick up my son from work. He eats something in the car and also has some leftover baguette with cheese when we get home again at 9.30 p.m.

Looking back on this very wet Wednesday, I think I would have made a killing had I been a taxi driver for the day! I’ll do it again if this man cares to grace my taxi…


Right, it’s now close to 1 a.m. and even though it feels like my day off only started a few hours ago at 9.30 p.m., I do need to head for bed now (and back to work tomorrow). I bet I’ll be dreaming of driving…

The London BTS weekend

My daughter and her friend are fans of the Korean pop band BTS and last weekend we were in London so the girls could go to their concert. It was stressful getting tickets a few months ago, but two tickets were secured and the girls were very excited to go. As a fangirl myself I was well able to empathize with their enthusiasm for BTS. 🙂

We flew to London from Amsterdam early on Friday morning. The girls wanted a pancakes breakfast (my daughter is the one with the ponytail)…


… after which we boarded the plane and arrived at London Luton airport before we knew it. Took the bus to my brother’s house in Hampstead and met up with him and my niece. The weather was turning out to be gorgeous, so we had a picnic lunch in my brother’s garden!

The girls had heard that there would be some sort of BTS event at Piccadilly Circus at 6 pm, so we all went into town. We shopped a bit, then my brother and niece headed home again (my niece was leaving for the weekend to see her mum) and I went to Piccadilly Circus with the girls.  We got there just before 5.30 pm and it was crowded, as illustrated by these two tweets!

And also illustrated by my pictures:

As I can’t upload videos here, I made 3 gifs from a video I made of the crowd while we were waiting:

The fans are called “Army” (yeah, not the Armitage Army, though) and the atmosphere at Piccadilly was electric. Excited people, BTS chants, BTS singing and dancing. This tweet, while not filmed perfectly, does show you the joyful mood. It was filmed not far off from were the girls and I were standing.

Busses drove by and every time an open roof tourist bus passed, everyone started cheering and clapping and waving at the people on the bus, who were waving back at us. Someone on a bus filmed our crowd HERE and if you know where to look you can even spot me in the crowd with my sunglasses on. Anyway, at 6 pm on the dot a Hyundai commercial showed on the big screen, featuring BTS and everyone started screaming.  The girls were very pleased to see their favourites up on that huge screen.

OK, yeah, so it was much ado, apparently only about a commercial, but still it was really fun to be there. We watched the commercial on loop a few times and then left. As Wembley Stadium is on the same underground line as the station near my brother’s house, the girls on the way home decided to go on to Wembley and check out the merchandise store there before it closed at 8pm. My daughter sent me a picture of herself walking underneath the huge poster of her fave BTS member, if I recall correctly that is Jungkook…


They bought tour t-shirts there and then came back home. Good thing they did, because the next day, on Saturday, they ventured into the city alone to find several BTS pop up stores. The one store had a  6 hour queue, the other store a 3,5 hour queue! They didn’t stand in line but did look on in amazement and also got to explore the city a bit on their own.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (i.e. my brother’s house), we spent a quiet morning at home as I had come down with a bad cold. But I didn’t want to waste my whole time in London with sickness so I looked into theatre tickets (preferably matinee) for my brother and I.  I could have gone to see Hugh Jackman again as he was in London with his show for the weekend and I could have gone to see Muse do their concert on Saturday as well.  But, as tempted as I was, I’ve already seen the Hugh show (although, if I had a money-tree I would have gone to see him again) and I’m seeing Muse here in The Netherlands in a few weeks. In the end I was able so score last minute tickets to see The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre, not far from Piccadilly. All I knew about the musical is that is has won many awards, is supposed to be funny, concerns itself with the Mormon religion and I had seen this video of the opening number…

So, on Saturday afternoon my brother and I were at the theatre, wondering what exactly was going to come our way.

… and boy, did we have a blast! I realize that the Mormon religion and Uganda, where the Mormons are sent to in the musical, are stereotyped and the language really is quite filthy at times but it was so very funny! We laughed all the way and when in the second half of the musical the Ugandan Mormons portray how they have come to understand the religion (due to very ‘creative’ missionizing from Elder Cunningham), I swear tears were running down my cheeks. It’s best not to reveal too much about this musical but if you like a spoof on taking religion literally that also doesn’t completely bash religion and is funny and uplifting, then go and watch this. I loved it.

Sunday was BTS day for the girls. My niece was back home again for a few hours before having to head back to her boardingschool, so we all went out to lunch. First time I ever ate a falafel burger, but it was good! At the end of the afternoon I accompanied the girls to Wembley, just so that I could see the venue for myself. The girls were wearing their new tour t-shirts proudly.

What I completely love about the BTS crowd is the diversity. People from all walks of life, all nationalities, all backgrounds were there, more diversity than I’ve ever seen in a pop or rock crowd. So cool! Dropped the girls off at the gate, I planned on going into the city afterwards but was feeling pretty bad so headed to my brother’s place instead. He was still out, driving his daughter to school. I curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and the last scone that was still in the house…


Switching through the channels I saw that The Battle of the Five Armies was on, so I watched that…

… then watched and chatted with my brother after he came home. We waited for the girls, who came home at around 11.30 pm, totally exhausted and totally euphoric about the concert. Near the end of the concert the fans had a surprise for BTS, where the whole crowd chanted one of their songs back at them. My daughter said that they had teared up as well at that moment…

… and they so want to see BTS in concert again. Apparently they announed they’d be coming again next year.

On Monday morning we all slept in. My brother was working from home, he took us out to lunch before we made our way to the airport again for our fliight back home. I had been less productive on my weekend due to not feeling well (and I’m still sick now, ugh!) but still had fun and the girls had a blast – the full BTS experience for them! It’s been so fun to see them fangirl. 🙂