Everything is replaced

Note: All the prices in this post have been converted to Euro. In 2002 parts of the EU switched to euro. The conversion rate was 1 euro for every 2.20 guilders.

Yesterday we’ve finally bought a new gas hob. The old one is now exactly 20 years old and has always been a pain to keep clean. The burners can’t be taken off, they’re screwed into place. The hob itself has lots of little corners and hard to reach places, even places you can’t reach at all. It’s dirty and one of the knobs has been broken for years.

But I was reluctant to replace it as it has an iron lid and I like to place pots and pans on it. The newer ones all have glass lids or no lids at all. But since we have been updating quite a few things in the kitchen, the hob has stood out like a sore thumb. So we’ve decided on a brand new one, with a wok burner.

All this has made me realise that all the white goods I bought when I moved out of my mom’s home have now been replaced. 20 years ago I bought a fridge/freezer combo, a washing machine, microwave and this gas hob for 863. I can’t really remember te individual prices, but the hob i do remember. That cost 81.

The microwave was the first thing to be replaced, as it stopped heating food.  A few years later the washing machine stopped pumping out the water, which resulted in a flooded bathroom. In 2009 we replaced the fridge, when we saw the freezer didn’t cool to -18 C anymore. That left only the hob. Which has now been replaced too.

That left me to contemplate what I still have from 20 years ago. And it boils down to our cutlery, given to me by my family. It was my uncle’s and when he died I got it. And a skillet that my dad gave me, because he didn’t use it. Up until a few weeks ago we even had the washing up bowl that was given to me when I moved out, but that started leaking.

So now everything has been replaced. The hob once, the rest of the stuff at least twice. I wonder if the new hob will be of the same economical value as the old one, but I doubt it. It would mean it has to be used 61 years…

The witch who lost her broom

Random things I saw lying at the side of the road yesterday.

  • A pair of washing up gloves
  • A dead duck
  • A red and white checkered tea towel
  • A blue women’s shoe
  • A witches’ broom

Is there a story in these items?

Broom

Maybe the witch had to leave the house in a hurry whilst doing the dishes. She hung the tea towel on the end of the broom to dry and whilst she tried to get the gloves off she hit the duck. Of course the duck and the witch are to blame for this unfortunate mid-flight collision. The duck shouldn’t have crossed the road while the witch was flying there. But the witch should’ve known better than to do things that had nothing to do with flying.

After hitting the duck the tea towel fell off, the witch lost one of her shoes. The broom crashed to the ground and the witch had no choice but to go further on foot. Bare foot, holding one blue shoe in her hand.

Did she get a lift? Will she get back to pick up her broom? And why was she in such a hurry?

Photo courtesy of Vilseskogen @ Flickr

 

Veggie garden 13th May

So, the runner beans and chinese beans haven’t made it. I knew it was early to plant them outside, so I’ve sowed new ones. The marrowfat peas are doing great!

The cucumber plants have survived cat Dipsy landing amongst them and I’ve moved them outside just half an hour ago. I made a frame with rope to get them to climb.

The beetroot, onions and carrots are slowly starting to get out of the ground, but not much to see yet. The radishes are almost ready for harvesting. I’m thinking of doing a salad for dinner and will be using one or two for that.

The lettuce is doing great and it won’t take long before we can do the first harvest. Mind you, I just take some leaves and leave the rest of the plant to grow bigger.

The black currants are aiting for the sun to give them a little colour. The tayberries are flowering and here and there there’s already the beginning of a tayberry. The strawberries are in full flower and if the flowers are anything to go by, we’ll be eating lots and lots of strawberries in a few weeks.

Things I did in February

Well, the short answer is: not much…

Books I’ve read:

Bandieten op Bali
De discus valt aan

Currently reading:

The Delicate Storm

You see, my TBR pile has grown quite a bit again. A friend of mine asked me to pick up 3 boxes of books, which we split evenly amongst us. But they are all children’s books and I love reading children’s books. Many of the books in the boxes I have read as a child.

I’ve had problems with my thyroid levels due to working a few night shifts. This meant that I haven’t been reading as much as I wanted. Luckily my boss and I have decided that it’s not advisable with my health issues to work anymore night shifts. I am so relieved about this decision.

The 365/365 challenge is going well. I haven’t released many books in Feb, but I’m currently on 82 released books. As for the 52 books in 52 towns challenge I’m up to 18 towns/villages/hamlets. A pretty good score if I may say so myself.

I’ve started working on the vegetable patch. I’ve been digging and removing lots of grass. I’ve also cleared the tiles in the garden from grass. My sis in law has a dethatcher which we can borrow. This is very necessary, as the front lawn contains more moss than actual grass. And in the lawn at the back there’s a large patch of moss that keeps growing bigger and bigger.As for making the vegetable patch bigger, I’ve still got to remove 3 square meters of grass. Which I believe I can do in about 3 hours. But I won’t do it all in one go and it has to be a bit dry. The grass is very heavy and I don’t have much room for it in the green wheelie bin. The bin can’t weigh more than 80 KG and you will be surprised how quickly it’s up to that level.

I’ve made a chart of what seeds I have and when I need to plant them out. Of course, after I made it I bought and been given more seeds, so it’s completely out of date again.
I did sow some bell pepper seeds about 3 weeks ago and yesterday I saw there’s already 3 showing the first leaves. Which makes me very happy.
The cement bucket and pots still haven’t been bought. This I will (try to) do later this week or next week.

As for the fencing that blew down last October, our neighbours have bought a fence online and it’s been delivered last week. In the last weekend of March it’s supposed to go up.

I am hoping to do a few more blog posts next month.

Horsemeat in our food

Ever since the horse meat scandal broke out I’ve been amazed with the way people react. Instead of being concerned about the mis-labeling of the products they simply seem more upset about eating horse meat.

Let me just tell you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating horsemeat. Horsemeat is a delicacy in many countries. It has been for thousands of years.
In the late Paleolithic (Magdalenian Era), wild horses formed an important source of food. In many parts of Europe, the consumption of horse meat continued throughout the Middle Ages until modern times, despite a Papal ban of horse meat in 732. Horse meat was also eaten as part of Germanic pagan religious ceremonies in northern Europe, particularly ceremonies associated with the worship of Odin.
Domesticated horses and cattle did not exist in the Americas until the Age of Discovery, and the Conquistadors owed much of their success to their war horses. The Europeans’ horses became feral, and were hunted by the indigenous Pehuenche people of what is now Chile and Argentina. At first they hunted horses as they did other game, but later they began to raise them for meat and transport. The meat was, and still is, preserved by being sun-dried in the high Andes into a product known as charqui.

horsemeat
France dates its taste for horse meat to the Revolution. With the fall of the aristocracy, its auxiliaries had to find new means of subsistence. Just as hairdressers and tailors set themselves up to serve commoners, the horses maintained by aristocracy as a sign of prestige ended up alleviating the hunger of lower classes. It was during the Napoleonic campaigns when the surgeon-in-chief of Napoleon’s Grand Army, Baron Dominique-Jean Larrey, advised the starving troops to eat the meat of horses. At the siege of Alexandria, the meat of young Arab horses relieved an epidemic of scurvy. At the battle of Eylau in 1807, Larrey served horse as soup and bœuf à la mode. In Aspern-Essling (1809), cut from the supply lines, the cavalry used the horses’ breastplates as cooking pots and gunpowder as seasoning, and thus founded a tradition.
Horse meat gained widespread acceptance in French cuisine during the later years of the Second French Empire. The high cost of living in Paris prevented many working-class citizens from buying meat such as pork or beef, so in 1866 the French government legalized the eating of horse meat and the first butcher’s shop specializing in horse meat opened in eastern Paris, providing quality meat at lower prices. During the Siege of Paris (1870–1871), horse meat was eaten by anyone who could afford it, partly because of a shortage of fresh meat in the blockaded city, and also because horses were eating grain which was needed by the human populace. Many Parisians gained a taste for horse meat during the siege, and after the war ended, horse meat remained popular. Likewise, in other places and times of siege or starvation, horses are viewed as a food source of last resort.
Despite the general Anglophone taboo, horse and donkey meat was eaten in Britain, especially in Yorkshire, until the 1930s, and in times of post-war food shortage surged in popularity in the United States and was considered for use in hospitals. A 2007 Time magazine article about horse meat brought in from Canada to the United States characterized the meat as sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, and closer to beef than venison.

You should be more upset by the fact that a few people have been mis-labeling your food than you now are with the fact that you’ve eaten horse meat. You enjoyed it when you didn’t know what it was, right?

Lifebook

When my grandmother went to a carehome my dad got asked to make a lifebook for her. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s’ and the book would be a great way for staff to get to know her a bit better. And for her to look back on her life.

I’m writing this blog post in hopes to help people who are looking into making such a book for their relative.

What would be included in a lifebook?

  • Full name and preferred name (if needed)
  • Date of birth and place of birth
  • Photos and names (and birth dates/death dates) of other family members
  • Family tree
  • Photos of schooldays (if possible)
  • Photos and name (again with dates) of the spouse and children from the marriage
  • Places and houses the person has lived in (photos, maps)
  • Photos and names of much-loved pets
  • anecdotes about their life
  • Occupation of the person
  • Photos and names of friends
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Birth certificate can be included too
  • Favourite music
  • Letters

Why is all this important?

The full name and preferred would be already in the files of the nursing home where your relative is staying. But sometimes your relative will only listen to a pet name from their childhood. Many times that name is not recorded in the files. Make sure you included that name.

Date of birth and place of birth should, again, be in the files. But sometimes it’s hard to find out the exact place of birth. Maybe the village doesn’t exist anymore. Or maybe the records don’t show the right place of birth (it happens).

Photos and names of other family members are important. A person with Alzheimer’s travels back in time. They’ll start asking about people who have long since died. It’s nice to have photos and names at hand. A family tree will come handy for carers, as they can see how people relate to your relative.

Schooldays are a really important part of a person’s life. Teachers have probably had a great impact on a person’s life. Photos will bring your relative back to those days.

One of the most important days of your life. That’s how almost everyone describes their wedding day. Almost anyone has at least one picture of their wedding day. Makes sure not only to include pictures from the spouse (if not alive anymore) later on in life. They won’t recognize them anymore. Harsh but true. But they’ll know that boy in the soldier uniform or the lovely girl in the long dress is the person they are going to get married to. These picture are very important.
As for the children. If you are visiting and you tell your mother/father you are his/her daughter or son, it might happen that they don’t remember you. This will hurt, a lot. Talk to the carers about it. You’ll find they are talking about you when you’re not around. They see you as the little boy/girl you once were. the grown person who stands in front of them doesn’t look familiar. Although they won’t mind a cuddle, as they somehow know you are close to them. How they know? They have no idea, but they feel love if you’re around.

Include photos of much-loved houses your relative has lived in. Have they moved like a 100 times in their life? What would they choose as the most important place they lived in. Think the house they bought when they first got married, the house the children were born in. The house the last lived in.

Pets are a very important part of life. Don’t think about the guard dog that wasn’t allowed in the house, think of the cat whose kittens were born in front of the stove in the kitchen. Think of the lamb that had to be bottle fed every few hours. Those are the important ones.

anecdotes, things your relative might suddenly start talking about. My grandmother suddenly started talking about a family where she had worked when she was about 14. Nobody remembered anything about that family, only her youngest sister did. She shed some light on my grandmother’s  behaviour when she talked about this family. This family had a massive (negative) influence on her. She hadn’t talked about them for over 70 years, but she remembered.

I think you’ve now got a pretty good picture of the important things that might help your relative to remember. And help the carers to care for your relative even more.

I can’t do this alone. Who can help me?

Ask help from friends and family. As I stated above, asking your aunts and uncles is a great way to find anecdotes from their childhood. Things they might have never talked about. Ask the nursing home if other families have made lifebooks. Ask them if you can view those for ideas. Nowadays you can make great photo books online. Use those services to your advantage.

Maybe there are volunteers in your local area who can help you. Or maybe there are organisations that can help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. A lifebook isn’t something easy to make. It’s hard.

If you think you’re done, ask someone to go over your work. Ask them for input. It’s easy to include too much information. Maybe you’ve included stories that are important to you, but aren’t so much to your relative.

Is it really worth it to include negative parts of my relative’s life?

Yes, it is! Negative events are just as important as positive events. Let me tell you a short story.

In a nursing home where I worked was a woman who had severe dementia. The last few weeks of her life, when she was in bed, she was screaming and crying. The only thing we could understand were the words: “Don’t take him, don’t take him.” We had no idea what triggered this. And the only way to get her quiet was to give her a babydoll. When she didn’t have the babydoll in bed with her she would try to get out. We found her on the floor, on her hands and knees more than once, trying to get her babydoll.
We asked her daughters, she had 3 girls,  what she might be talking about. They had no idea and didn’t ask other family members for clues, despite us asking them to do so.
After the woman died, her brother dropped a bombshell on her daughters. It turned out that she had gotten pregnant when she was just 15 and had a baby boy in a home. That boy had been taken away from her right after birth. She had never spoken of this. Right until she died. When one of her daughters told us this news, we could finally understand her erratic behaviour towards the babydoll, who was, coincidentally, dressed in a blue jumper.

If the daughters had asked their uncle if he could shed some light on the womans behaviour this story would have reached us much sooner and we could have made sure she had that babydoll with her at all times. We might have been able to give it a name with her, making her feel more comfortable with this sad story. Sadly they didn’t and we tried to get that doll away from her on multiple occasions, for example when we needed to wash her or give her food. Which made her even more upset without us knowing.

So yes, negative details of someone life are important. Of course you don’t want the whole book to become negative, so don’t include too much.

I really hope this will help you make that lifebook for your relative. If you have tips, don’t be afraid to share them in the comments. I’d love to get as much feedback and tips as possible!

This post has been inspired by yesterdays Daily Prompt.

Banning jumbo packages of paracetamol?

Next week drugstores and supermarkets are banned from selling jumbo packages of paracetamol. Reason for this legislation is the rise in suicide attempts using paracetamol. Recorded cases have doubled since 2001 in the Netherlands.

pcmol

I’m seeing some problems with this legislation.
For one; who’s going to stop me from buying multiple packages in one go? There’s no rule that says I can only buy 1 package. So instead of 1 package containing 100, I can simply buy 2 packages containing 50. I’d still end up with the same amount of pills.
Secondly: Who’s going to stop me from visiting multiple stores to get more packages? In my hometown there are at least 7 stores that are selling paracetamol. If I’d go to all of them and buy 1 package in each store I’d end up with 350 pills in one go. Do that again the next day and you’ll easily get enough if you want to commit suicide.
Thirdly; Not too long ago we had a woman with Alzheimer in our carehome. She went out to buy a package of paracetamol. She came back with 15 packages of 100 pills… Nobody at the store where she bought them stopped her. Now I know she had a habit of getting very angry when someone tried to reason with her, but this was just ridiculous…

So, you see, there’s really no way to stop people from buying as much as they want. In my opinion this legislation is just a farce. Something that makes us feel safer, but isn’t really doing anything.

Picture by Leach84: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arleach84/7727106004/

Woudagemaal

Woudagemaal

Earlier today, we visited the Wouda Gemaal in Lemmer. It’s the worlds largest steam-driven pumping station in the world still in use.Even today the monumental pumping station ensures that the people of Fryslân keep their feet dry during high water. When that happens, the ‘cathedral of steam’ pumps up over four million litres of water per minute from the Frisian ‘boezem’ (drainage pool) into the IJsselmeer.
Since 1998 the Woudagemaal is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This list includes monuments of such exceptional value, that they rank as the common heritage of humanity. Among others UNESCO calls the pumping station ‘a highlight of the Dutch hydraulic engineering’ because it shows in a special manner how man controls nature by steam power.

Steam Engine

These are just two of the many pictures we have taken. I will post more pics at a later date, when I found the best ones.

For more info on the Woudagemaal, please visit:
Woudagemaal
Wikipedia