Friday, 22 September 2017

Last try with my Bonsais

I love Bonsai trees and over the years I have tried many times to keep a little Bonsai tree alive. The problem is that they are often sold at the gardening centre in really small pots, so it is very hard to give them water. Usually the trees are dead within just a few months.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a friend's house, who had the most beautiful Bonsai trees, all in excellent condition. Her secret was that she planted them in new, bigger pots after she bought them. This solution is so simple, I cannot think I did not think of it before, but I decided to give it a try immediately.

I bought two new Bonsai trees, one without a pot, and one very small one in a very small pott. I also bought two new pots and special soil for Bonsai trees.

They now look lovely in their new pots, but it is the last time I will try working with Bonsais, if this does not work, I will never buy another Bonsai again!
Setting it up in the living room

A new pot filled with new and good soil.
 The little Bonsai is almost ready to go in. 

Two beautiful Bonsai trees, and I hope they will live!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

See what I have done, Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty wax
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one

Some crimes, however long ago they were committed, still spark people’s curiosity. Lizzie Borden is one of them. I recently saw a very entertaining pulp series on Netflix called The Lizzie Borden chronicles with Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden who kills familymembers and neighbours without batting an eyelash. 

And a couple of weeks ago I also picked up this new novel. It tells the horrible story of the murder on Andrew and Abby Borden. Abby was Andrews second wife and he had two daughters with his first wife, Emma and Lizzie.

On August 4th in 1892 both Andrew and Abby were murdered brutally with an axe.

Lizzie was arrested, but since the jury did not think a young woman was capable of a crime like this, 
she was acquitted.

There were several theories of who was quilty. Was Lizzie the murderer, or perhaps the maid Bridget, or was it a stranger after all, or did Emma have something to do with it?

In See what I have done Sarah Schmidt plays with the different theories and makes them into one story.

She tells of the almost claustrophobic atmosphere within the house, of two sisters who could not live with each other but also not not without each other. And both of them had their problems with their parents. Andrew refused to spend money on his family and Abby was deeply unhappy.

Sarah Schmidt managed to write a very interesting story, where the language took me a few pages to get into, but after that I found the way she uses words makes the story even stronger. It is a very physical book in that respect. 

It is not easy to write something original when so much has already been written about a case like this, but this is certainly an original and well written book that I really enjoyed.

Published in 2017

Friday, 15 September 2017

Modern art in Porto

Porto is such a wonderful city with a lot of history, but it also has some great modern art in the streets!


This one can be seen in the garden of the Serralves museum

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A farewell to Summer

I saw these beautiful bright flowers on my way to school on the first day after the Summer vacation. After six weeks school started again and my life of leisure is over!

We did not have a very good Summer in The Netherlands, a few very warm days and a few good day, but for the rest it was rain and wind all the way. And the past week it was even worse, on Friday all of my students were soaked to the bone because of the heavy rains.

So I think we can say goodbye to the Summer and look forward to the autumn. Yes, in The Netherlands that usually means rain and wind, and even more rain, but it is also the time for warmer clothes, closing the curtains earlier in the evening and light a few candles to bring some light into the darkness! The perfect season for reading while you sit on the sofa under a blanket, with the rain against your window and the lights turned on.

If things are horrible outside, you must make your home even more warm and inviting. The Dutch word for this is 'gezellig', roughly translating as 'cozy', but that is not completely right.
Here is to a very 'gezellige' autumn/

Saturday, 9 September 2017

What am I reading?

Lately I cannot really review books here, since I read a lot of French and Italian novels (in Dutch translation of course) and a lot of these books do not have an English translation.

But I also have a few new English books lined up, so here is a little mix:

Just read
I just read these two amazing French novels. The first is:
Entre ciel et Lou by Lorraine  Fouchet. This is an absolute lovely book, a feel-good novel about a widower who must honour his late wife's wish to make their grown-up children happy.

The other one is a very chilling thriller about a Parisian husband and wife who need a nanny for their children, but before they know it, the nanny has wurmed her way into their lives.
This book is called Chanson douce by Leila Slimani.

I hope there will be an English translation of these books available soon, because they were both very good!
Reading now
These are two of the books I am reading at the moment:
My non fiction is a biography about the photographer Diane Arbus. I saw the movie Fur with Nicole Kidman and although I did like this (very strange) film, I do realize it is not really a good portrait of this interesting woman. I have not read much yet, but I am very curious to read on.

The other book is a pocket I bought for just eight euro's, and this I have been reading in the bus on my way to school this week. It is very interesting and a great read. I would never be able (or dare to) walk a trail like this, but it is fascinating to read.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Museum of Enkhuizen

Enkhuizen is an old fishermen's town, and it has loads of history. Near Enkhuizen is an open air museum and this is a lovely place to visit. Here they have old houses that show how the people in the 19th and early 20th century lived. It is like a real village, with an old fashioned baker, a postoffice and a school.

A few weeks ago, on a beautiful Summer day and my father's birthday, we visited this museum. Here are a few impressions.

You pass Enkhuizen by boat to go to the museum









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