Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Solstice Moon

Happy Winter Solstice to You!

It was a wonderful early evening moon. The world here was hushed by the amount of snow lying and the moon was so bright. A perfect Solstice night. By morning and time for the eclipse sadly the clouds had crept in. Shame to miss the eclipse, but the moon was wonderful beforehand, so it made up for it.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Precious Days

We have visitors. No I'll rephrase that as they are friends and are I am sooo happy that they are here. It started with a picture book sledging afternoon. Here it is a winter wonderlnd and we enjoyed it sledging, with homemade Glühwein and stollen. I am a happy bunny...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chaos Master

and destruction machine on four legs. A Persian carpet, a pair of glasses, several Steiff soft toys and much more besides has been demolished. Such a shame he has good taste! How can looks and action be so far apart? Is he the devil in disguise? At least I now understand the whole devil concept!

PS. The picture was taken with my new toy. Canon 550D. Pretty impressive so far.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts for the Day

My mother send me this this morning.

Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children by Jan Hunt, M.Sc. 
  1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready.
  2. We become angry when a child fails to meet our needs.
  3. We mistrust the child’s motives.
  4. We don’t allow children to be children.
  5. We get it backwards.
  6. We blame and criticize when a child makes a mistake.
  7. We forget how deeply blame and criticism can hurt a child.
  8. We forget how healing loving actions can be.
  9. We forget that our behavior provides the most potent lessons to the child. 
  10. We see only the outward behavior, not the love and good intentions inside the child. 
She is right. It made me stop and think. And it made me promise myself to try harder, to think  more about my actions, words and thoughts, to do more justice to the little man in my life and where he is coming from.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Want to Know Why I am not Blogging?

It is this combination.... and almost in this order! Love 'em all but they are time consuming. Lots of time outside so little time in front of the computer and really little time creating 'cept for knitting because you can do that anywhere, almost.  My life is very un-virtual right now.

Hope to be back with more regularity soon. How are you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The most precious link today

It's November. I have a long post about the good things in life and more specifically the good things in my life. but instead I would like to post something that really struck a chord with me today. I really like these sister-in-laws' blog Sugar City Journal. It made me laugh so much and just describes life with us right now.

 Hope November is treating you all well

Monday, November 8, 2010

Its Autumn

And there is no denying it. Hope you are wrapped up warm

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Perverseness of Life

Why is it that sometimes not getting what your heart so desires, makes what you already have seem so much sweeter? And when slapped down, it sometimes just increases you will to succeed.

Sadly the cold punch season is over, but that means the Glühwein season is approaching. It has to be said Germany has it's merits above no speed limit on the motorways (I know you are sick of hearing it). This place does Christmas really well. Glühwein is just one of the small parts that make up the whole great experience.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flea Market

I am doing a flea market (inside) this Saturday. For anyone in the area, it is in the Schwelmer str. 10 in Flingern (Düsseldorf) from 09:00 - 17:00. The flea market is taking place in a disused machine hall so it'll be good even if it rains. 

We've got everything you need (and plenty you don't but might like), funky secondhand clothes for grown ups and kids, antiques, preloved books, English and German, new things, crockery, pictures, some electrical appliances, telephones, new toys, oh you name it.... and some jam. It is all in a good cause. I am going to save my takings to go visit friends in China (silly people that moved away!).

Oh do come along. You might find the steal of your day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chaos - Why No Pictures or Posts

A while back we had some renovations done to our place. Needn't have been too disrupting, some new windows, more insulation and new vents on our radiators. We weren't anticipating weeks of chaos. Too bad, it happened anyway.

We got back from our holidays (good thing No. 1) to be swallowed up by workmen traipsing in and out of the place, dust saturating everything and mess everywhere. That was just the windows. The day after the heating vents had been swapped, we had water pooring out of all of our radiators. A big hooray and thank you goes out to the lady who amazingly saved our laminate flooring (having to have that replaced would have been a nightmare). The water meant getting everything up off the floor and desconstructing my office. For those of you not in the know, it is about as big as an under-the-stairs cupboard and is stacked to the ceiling. This is the reason why I have never published a picture of it here and am so unlikely to ever do so. It is a very small room, but very central to my life. Despite it being so small, if it is out of action then our place falls into chaos and with it, any ressemblance of organisation I might have pretended to have.

Why should this affect this space you might ask. Well, with no space there to organise or blog, and the space elsewhere covered in the stuff from there, not only have the physical spaces to do these things been filled, but also the motivation or interest. Add to that a lack of personal laptop (it had to go back to it's owners, my old employers (good thing No. 2) and you have seen the result. Yep, no blog.

I have thousands of pictures from our wonderful holiday to a beautiful part of the world. I have news that I shall devote a whole post to. And lots of thoughts about autumn and the new routes my life is currently taking. Hmmmmm..... just have to get that office sorted.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

September Always Brought Beginnings

Tomorrow I shall be back with pictures and news. Big changes here. And they are good ones.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What a Day!

This time three years ago, I'd just started out on this journey called motherhood. I really think that day was the most moving of my life. No squishing romanticism going on here, it just was. My mother said once that once you know you are pregnant, nothing ever is the same again. Well "that" moment came to me early one September morning when the little man that brings so much joy (and a whole load of other emotions!) physically came into my life and could be touched. One thing amongst many others struck me at the time and that is how much one little person can create/bring forth/ draw out (I can't find the word I am looking for) love from so many all by themself. You bear a child which is so intricately part of you, it is born and immediately has a sphere of influence that you do not realise and cannot necessarily influence.

Well today, we celebrated his birthday at home, with friends, with family and in Kindergarten. Once again, I am amazed at this little man and the circle of people he has collected around himself. Some of them certainly are our doing, the friendships he has are not. The love shown on this day by those people makes me so thankful. Thankful that this little man has the capability to reach out to others, inspire their love and affection (so important for a fulfilled life), thankful to his friends, our friends, my friends and the family for showing this and for giving him all those lovely presents  (and I get to play with too).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Trusty Companions

Whilst clearing out my stuff and saying goodbye (to that beautiful French abode), I found these guys. Oh these trusty friends of mine, they accompanied me to many gigs, down country lanes (when I should have been revising), to my high school leaving do (with a lovely purple long dress), in conversations about the meaning of life, a good photographic angle, in a dark room, .... I couldn't believe I could live without them. Who would want to live without boots? I was told once that I would grow out of boots, well you know what, I haven't. I have just changed the brand. Now they are beige instead of brown. But I still love them and wear them until they look this beaten. 

Well as clearing out goes, I was clearing out and that meant saying goodbye. I cermoniously put into the rubbish bin (and yes I lifted the lid several times over the course of the week to take them out again, but didn't) and said goodbye. But not without a photo shoot. I now have a nice series of docs to put on my wall.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Over a week ago, we had one day of beautiful sunshine. And we were lucky enough to be invited to a pool opening party. The cousins had a great time playing in the pool, entertaining grandparents, and generally enjoying summertime.

Since then it has gone back to be a Welsh summer. No disrespect to Wales, I love the country and yes, a good summer there is perfect. I have experienced many though that were mainly rain and a lot like the one we are having here. Everytime I get frustrated about it, I remind myself of those millions that have had far more water come down on them than we have this year. For us it is frustrating, for them life threatening and terrorising. So once again I am counting my blessings and saying thank you for this beautiful day. Oh and please, if anyone is reading this that has some say in the matter... please can we have some more sunny ones.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Times, they are a changin'

Times are changing here. Okay, okay, life is about change. But this time, it is a big one. I have spent the last 5 years working for the same company, with great collegues and content that was right up my street. Officially I left yesterday. It was a treck to get there (long and expensive train ride) and a change after five years isn't a bad thing, right?

So right now, I am spending my days being fairly domestic. There are many things that have just been left by the wayside waiting for their time. The first to be dealt with are going to be those Elderflower berries (seen in the last post).  Their time is up this week (just got to buy some rings for my bottles). And I have just finished The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris (called The Girl with No Shadow in the US). I loved it. I loved Chocolat and Blackberry Wine so I was expecting it to be good. Now I have finished it, I can now get back on with my life, but I feel a little lost. Does anyone else have that feeling after finishing a good book?
I shall just comfort myself with the rest of the stack waiting here for me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Free Fruit for Jam

Aren't they beautiful? Such pretty mirabelles found by my husband. The men in my house share the opinion that if they don't produce edible bits, there isn't much point in plants. I don't wholey agree, but, I can see the point. 

Having said that free fruit good for jam (and other eating) is about as good as it gets. It is the time of year. Wonderful. These are around the corner from us, just waiting for the juicer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back on track.....hahhaa......

The weather has changed. It is close, damp, and humid. Oh and I hate this kind of weather. I can hear myself five times louder than anyoneelse, I have no patience (watch out little kids, small animals and anyoneelse daring to come close!) and like to moan a lot. I did't make it back on track, but that is just as life isn't panning out as planned. Never mind, that is life, right? To make up for it (why is my cat pushing my computer around? Can't he read??) I'll post you some pictures later when I have finsihed grumping.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back on track

as of tomorrow, promise.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saying Goodbye

After 10 years, it is time to say goodbye to this beautiful place. My visits have been fewer than I would have liked and strangely, despite the pool, more often in winter than summer. I mean how much more can you want for a summer break than a pool and a big river, the clearest night sky to stargaze, roses, roses and more roses, peace and quiet, good produce to make yummy meals.... 

I know it sounds a bit like a pensioners paradise. Hihi.... but it is so nice to step out of my busy urban life and slow down here. When I am here, I always find it difficult to believe there are people running around in big cities, stressing about meetings, deadlines, projects and clients. Now it is time for others to enjoy this special place. I sure hope they do. They better had!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Weekend

We've been up to all sorts. The theme is enjoying ourselves.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trouble Waiting to Happen or a Trio Infernale

We spent the weekend with the whole family in Worpswede. It is a beautiful village near Bremen. Some wonderful artists have lived here including Paula Modersohn-Becker. I have wanted to visit since reading about the place and the people whilst learning German at high school. Well, it took a while to get here. And I have to say that I'd now like to go back. We got a good look at the place from the outside, but having five kids with us, the oldest being five, we didn't get to do very much gallery visiting, nevermind going in to the museum. 

The weekend was full of wonderful moments though. And I have discovered why we parents  are so into focussing on the beautiful and good moments (more about that later).

This picture, on the surface, of three little boys looking at an insect, is one that when I saw it for the first time on screen, reminded me just how important those moments are. Just  just how much one moment captured can make you think about now, the soon, the later and much later. Look at these guys. Between Yorck, the oldest (the one in Lederhosen) and Tjark, the youngest (the little guy in the checked shirt) are 11 months. Over the past 2 and a bit years, the difference between the three of them has been huge. Even the difference between Ari (the guy in stripes) and Yorck has been significant at times and they aren't even two months apart! 

This weekend the obvious developmental differences between these guys gave way to an amazing pleasure in one another. Tjark is still a tinsy bit little, but everyone could see that that is going to disappear very soon. Often all three of them were on their way somewhere, together, fast, without parents, shrieking with joy at being together (and up to no good!). There was also the fun watching parents run after them to stop them jumping in a river, tumbling downstairs or rushing out in front of a horse and carriage (yes this is a possibility in Worpswede).

It made me think not only about much fun they obviously had this weekend, but also about the years ahead. We all live in the same city, joint playdates, family occasions, birthdays and the like mean that they should play an important part in each others lives. Although unlikely that they will go to the same first schools, they may go on to the same high schools, let's see. Taking a step back and thinking about teenie years makes me shudder. I just have this feeling there are going to be high jinx and silly pranks (if we are lucky) going on there!

However in the mean time, it makes me happy to see that they like each other and have fun playing together (obviously there are moments when that is not the case!) Hopefully they will grow up to respect and care for one another. For some reason I like to think about them as old men cackling about funny situations together.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wishing you a good start to the week

Wishing you a good start to the week. May it be full of summery moments. I am still relaxed from the weekend.... and what a lovely weekend it was. More about that later.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Someone else's Stash

I told you about my award winning ebay steal. Now I am washing and airing it. Good that the weather is so hot (and now windy too). I now have a nice pile of material, such a nice pile that I have no idea where I am going to store it. Yesterday I ironed a lot and whilst doing that I thought about the woman who's stash this had been. Did she have things in mind when she bought each piece or did she just buy them? Some have obviously been reduced or pieces with faults. What was she like as a person? Did she sew for herself, for her family, for friends? 

There are two ways of looking at this collection of material (I don't know if there was more): it is what is left over after a lifetime of crafting, all the really nice pieces have been sewn, or there are plans and dreams in still in there. I think the truth, as ever, is somewhere in between. Some of the pieces literally shout out about what they want to become. A pretty pink summer skirt, a child's winter fleece, a Barbie dress (?? that must be the material talking as I haven't come up with such things before!!), a pair of grey autumn trousers.  I am sure you will end up seeing some of these things here.

Some of the pieces pay hommage to a certain period of time. There are pieces of spun nylon in purple, red, bright yellow and bright blue. There are some horrible beige nylon with light blue flowers raised on the surface. A bit like flocked wallpaper. In this heat it doesn't just look horrible, it makes my skin crawl. What would you do with them? The only idea I had was to ring a clothing museum and ask if they could use them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Building with the Neighbours

One morning a couple of days ago, the doorbell rang. Nothing out of the ordinary, but I'm still surprised when I'm not expecting it. It was one of our lovely neighbours who was clearing out. Everyone has been clearing out here as we are having some maintenance work done in the cellar. People that go through Sperrmüll were almost in fistycuffs outside our place recently. More about Sperrmüll another time though. Anyway it was one of our lovely neighbours with this set of building blcoks. I feel building blocks is a far too lowly term for them, especially after I looked for them on the net. (Browsing that site, they do have a lot of nice things. I just have this feeling that I might well be spending some of my "presents for other people's kids" money there. Just look at this bed). It is set of blocks that you can build fancy manor houses with.

Just look at those columns! And the big clock.  And those windows. If Yorck doesn't play with them, I certainly will. The term "building castles in the air" will just have to move aside for "building manor houses on the living room floor". I could deal with a manor house far better anyway. Castles tend to be draughty.

Thank You!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A home for an external drive

Somehow this picture snuck it's own way in here. So in answer to Helen, it is a felted sleeping bag for my external drive. Nothing special, but I think it is fun. And it keeps it from getting scratched when in the depths of bag.

Hot, hot, hot

It is ssooooooooooooooooo hot here. Somewhere around 38°C. The only way to survive is by eating ridculous amounts of ice cream. And as everyone knows that's no fun!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

drei-zwei-eins-meins BINGO!

Wasting time looking at material on Ebay wasn't quite so wasted. Look at the loot in this boot. 2€! I challenge you to get a better deal! There are some wild, some pretty and some pretty grim (70's nylon) pieces in there. And there are some that are already calling out to be turned into clothes. Clothes for me, clothes for Yorck, clothes for Karneval, clothes for little girls (don't have any of those at home)..... I shall have lots of fun! I do have one question though, what do you do with three meters of purple (or red or yellow or brown) nylon? Any takers?

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Week of Events

I intended to write every day or to at least post a picture. My excuse is that life got in the way. The events were (not in order of appearance)

Event 1: the new nephew arrived! No proper pics or details of him yet (he is a little new to be broadcast yet). Believe me though he is lovely and has that old man feeling about him that newborns often do. It is as if they are wise. The question that remains is though how do they go from wise old creatures to the crazy under threes?? He has been welcomed into our family (well at least everyone has viewed him) and found him to be satisfactory. The boys (you saw them last week), generally agreed he was good and then turned to the business of leaping about on the hospital bed and running down hospital corridors holding hands. Far more fun to be up to no good when there are two of you! 

Event 2: Germany beat Argentina. Now I don't have England to support (and we now theoretically beat Argentina 2:0) I can support Germany (at least a little bit). You have to acknowledge that they are playing very nicely, thank you very much. The whole country is a state of black, red and gold and serious excitement. Next round is Wednesday. 

Event 3: wild storm with flooding. About an hour before the match the heavens opened. We'd been in the garden playing and reading before hand. I was swinging Yorck and we were listening to it rumble around. It sounded a bit like far off artillery fire (we spend quite a lot of time near a Belgian military range. It sounded very much like that. My parents-in-law were reading the weekend papers. At some point we went inside as it was too dark to read and getting really quite threatening. All of a sudden, down came the rain. Stair rods are positively bend in comparision to what we saw. We stood for ages and watched the water lash across the garden. 

After about 20 minutes I went down into the cellar, just to check. And it was pouring in through the door. About 10 cms in places. What fun we had mopping it all up. Well the cellar floors are now clean. It turned out that all the houses in the area had water in their cellars, thorough their front doors, wherever there was a little crack to pour though, through it came. 

Event 4: discovery of the Pomodoro Technique A spectacularly effective way to increase your concentration skills. After just three "pomodoros" (yes the idea of measuring time in plastic tomato egg timer units is somewhat bizarre, I used my phone timer) I had reduced the amount of distracting thoughts to half. Just writing them down as you go highlights how many there are! It's worth a look, even if you can concentrate well.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just Another Summer’s Day

or the day after. Today is going to be a day of snide comments, blatant „Schadenfreude“, and the like. What do I have to hold against all this? Well, a decent night’s sleep (not a normal event on a Sunday night) and a beautiful summer’s morning which I am enjoying to Coldplay. Even if football isn’t coming home, that one (in comparison) small island produces a disproportionate amount of excellent music artists. I will enjoy today anyway. I suppose if you are going to live somewhere abroad (only a problem once every two years, don’t forget the European Cup!) I suppose it’s best to live where the party has a good chance of being to celebrate the world champions, isn’t it? And in a way it is better than to live in the county that is now going to fall into a mix of self pity, anger at a massive ref. mistake and self inspection. Have I mentioned just how beautiful this morning is?!

Time is speeding by. Last Friday was Yorck’s nursery leaving party. I have to admit that I no longer have a baby, but a little boy. The toddlerisms are almost over as well. Time for Kindergarten (European Kindergarten that is.). I am sure going to miss the cosy nursery he goes to now. The nursery assistants (is that what you call them?) are great, Yorck feels nearly as at home there as he does at home. I suppose moving on is one of those things that is going to accompany us until he makes his own way in the world (it breaks my heart just thinking about that even now). Thanks to all of you who have made my little man so welcome over the past two and a bit years.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oh dear!

4:1. No more excuses to run around in my fooball shirt anymore. My life will be filled unwillingly with black, red and gold.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Boys in Parks

Summer really is with us here in Düsseldorf. So Yorck and I are spending our days outside with friends. We are really enjoying Düsseldorf. It has to be said, I never noticed before how green this city is. It just came 7th in a Mercer quality of living survey of the world's cities.A lot of parks and green go towards making somewhere livable, if you ask me. It is also somewhere that seems to pull people back. I've ended up living here twice! So as part of this challenge (34 days of summer) I'm intending to show and tell you about some of the places around here.

Yesterday we went to the Nordpark. I have been there once before (in a different life) and although it was nice enough I wasn't overly impressed. Quite different yesterday. It was wonderfully wot (more than warm but not HOT), the fountains were on (they can't have been there last time I was otherwise I'd have been back there many more times inbetween) and the boys (those two rascals on the pictures) had a wail of time. You can see the evidence of the nephew I mentioned who would be coming this summer here too. 

So for any of you who live or are coming to Düsseldorf, the Nordpark is worth a visit (despite it's dubious origins). There is even a little cafe hidden away in it's depths. I've heard they do a mean iced chocolate!

And then there are other playgrounds which are just places that are great to hang out in with your mates. Nothing like a well placed table tennis table in the shade for a snack for the boys and a coffee for the mums (Thanks Helen!) 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Okay, okay, so it has to be about football

Deciding to be more present and enjoy life a bit more sure is the way to start. Just deciding that no chores were going to be done yesterday, just fun in the park and intense football viewing, has recharged my battery enormously. To anyone who doesn't know, I am a Brit (for football, English) married to a German living here in (currently) sunny Düsseldorf. So days like yesterday are good: England and Germany win their respective games, days like the coming Sunday (England vs. Germany) are fraught.

Between games, Yorck and I went to the park and had amongst lots of other summer fun, a Sesame Street park moment. Lots of kids running around enjoying themselves. Yorck and I were sitting on a big seesaw. The shades of skin varied from so white translucent would be a better description, through prettiest tan with long loose brown curls to a gorgeous black (with the biggest grin out). Our park on a weekday is like a United Nations Assembly (only the kids can solve their problems more easily). I love it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time to ......enjoy the remaining 92 days of summer

It's time to move forward, start seeing and savouring again, enjoy the summer and enjoy my great family and friends

So to celebrate this I have decided to join Evidently in her 94 days of summer. Although I have obviously started a little late (I plead tight work deadlines) and can't make up for those lost days (is there a moral in there somewhere??) I shall do me very bestest and intend to post you a picture from my neck of the woods as often as possible.

This summer is promising to be a bit more relaxed than some past ones have. Just 1 wedding, 3 family parties, 21 birthdays (most need no more than a quick call or card), a new nephew (due any day now... exciting), the rest of the world cup.... well these are the things that sping to mind.

In the in-between-times I will be playing, working on some of those to-be finished projects (never call them unfinished!) and enjoying life.

What this space........

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It's a Cat's Life

This is just rude. I sit at my desk and work and he just sunbathes. In my next life,  I am going to put in to be a cat.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Quick Link

I found this great idea, thought, photo linked in a great blog Bluebirdbaby that I read regularly.