Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Me and camping again

Our family is on a camp out again, 2 weeks in the Netherlands, with 2 kids and this time 2 small kittens as well.
We booked 2 weeks in 2 different camp sites from the same group of campsites.
We did it via a vacation eBay sort of thing, and got both weeks rather cheap, being Dutch and all. . . .

This time we took our old campervan, a VW LT28 from ‘79 so no rental tent or bungalow, our own spot you know. Well the first campsite is actually a sort of an all in camp thing really; they have a swimming pool, cafeterias, shop and even entertainment for the kids. The swimming pool is a so called subtropical swimming paradise, with slides and what not, even a sauna and a Turkish steam bath. Low and behold they even have wifi and cable, so that is nice when you have a blog and haven’t had the time to work in advance.

After driving there at a super speed of 80 km/h, the kids and the kittens are not in the best of moods, so we set up camp in no time. We can give the kittens some rest to sleep and the kids a good swim so all sorted I’d say, everybody happy.
We were at the back of the whole park and had a really good place with space and good neighbours, so I am pleased. I got more than a few beers offered and spend more than a few back, but after a week your social skills need to be at top, not to step on too many toes. That is what you get for not camping in the wild, but camping in a social happening. Man I look forward for the times where we can go wild camping again, where nobody is offended if I fart or not. But keeping it cool, a week is just about enough not to get sick of any involuntarily chosen neighbours. In this spot though we even participated in a field barbeque with 12 spot or campplaces or what is the word. Darn I hated not to have some good chillies with me, but I got a great sauce from the neighbour left of me. 30 odd people that have never met before, had a great time and some good food, shared stories and beer.
So, in between of having a chat and a beer, some coffee and a swim, I wrote 2 blog posts knowing they had great internet. So I went upfront to ask for a 7 day ticket on the first day, and got told the internet didn’t work for a day. Now after the BBQ and water games, I went back up to the front desk, asking for the internet. It should have been sorted, but they were coming back the next day. “Do you want a week card for internet or just a day?” Well, I ask her if it makes any sense if I take a week’s worth of internet if it is about to work the next day, leaving us 3 days at this camp site. The girl behind the desk looks at me in sort of a glaze, that sentence was just about too difficult for her I guess. “Give me a ticket for a day, that is 24 hours isn’t it?” She replies: “Yes sir, and it works for a day. . . . .
So this evening I try to upload 2 blog posts and nothing happens, nothing works. Next morning before the swim and all I go up to the office and get to hear they will fix the internet that day, however that evening nothing works. Next day I get the same answer and my money back. Let’s keep happy, stressed out that I didn’t update my blog, I at least get my money back without a sorry.

Next week, next camping complex, this time with an open air swimming pool next to a fishing pool where you are not allowed keeping your fish. On the way down there we got lost looking for some ingredients in Germany that I need for my next recipe, but we’ll get there in time. . . . Eventually we got there, and driving into it all, I got paranoia really. There are fields with hooligans all wearing different kinds of shirts, to fields that look like a truck stop. I am really getting worries there, but at our luck we land in a field at the outskirts of the camping complex and it is relatively speaking rather quit there. We actually are almost next to a washing place and a shower complex so no long walks to get a good shower and wash my hair.

The neighbours here are far less social, thus giving me more time for our own little group, and less to worry about if I fart or not. That is good, just a hello and the weather is nice, that is all. However, as we have the kittens from 12 weeks old here, and being in the path from all that want to wash up or do the dishes. . . . . We are the place to visit for small kids and people that act like small kids asking if we don’t mind them petting the kittens, even the hooligans come over for a chat about the kittens. All in good harmony so this is nice if you are up bright and shiny, but not if you had the worst night’s sleep of a week.
Now, as this camping complex does not have a tropical swimming pool, it does not have showers at the pool, leaving us with the showers next door.

Using these showers however, I finally understood what is happening in the showers at all camp places in Holland. There must be this bloke in building in construction, tiling these floors. Whenever these floors look perfect, they are tiled in a certain way. They look like all the water is going down the drain, but whenever you trust the water going to the drain, and then it happens. The water slowly creeps to your shoes and clothes, making them all wet and soaking in the time you are doing your hair. This guy has to travel all through the Netherlands doing all the showers in all camping places, so watch out for this guy !
He is not alone though, because in the showers where the floor is spot on, the guy will see to it that one of his mates will put in a shower head that only squirts this little that you will have to run around to catch any water.

So for next time camping I will leave with the question, weather you want your clothes wet, or yourself dry.

Yours sincerely,

Bart J. Meijer

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Bedtime story: Cats, the new house and the screaming monster

Our new house is fun, soo much fun, but the boss tells us we still need to learn.
We learned that the boss and his wife don’t like it when we play under the bed in the morning, so we don’t do that.
Today when we woke up, we played in the hallway, which was very nice!
But me and my sister got in a real fight, and I cried a bit loud and bit my sister back.
So my sister cried too, and she woke up the boss with her cry. He came down the stairs and we were still fighting a bit, and he got mad. “Don’t you two fight, that is not nice!”
Then he put us on the floor and made this smelly stuff called coffee, and we played nicely in the hallway again.
My sister got a fur people wear outside from the wall and hid under it, that was real fun !
I followed her under the fur, and jumped on her back, my sister liked that too.
She came out with her head, and got away again. Hide and seek, and I found her all the time.
The boss came to have a look, and started laughing; you little buggers, so you are the ones that drop all the coats! He gave us a hug, but told us not to play with the coats.
So that is how they are called !

Then after the boss had his coffee, he came with a big thing, and told us he was going to vacuum clean.
It was a thing with a sort of rope on, also very nice to play with.
He said; I am glad you guys are not afraid of it!
And then it happened, he took the rope and put in the wall, and the thing started to howl like a very scary animal. My sister and I were very very scared, so we ran through the house to get away from this thing. The boss didn’t run from it, so strange.
We found a place to hide, and had to stay there forever, it was so scary.
The sound went through the entire house, and after a very very long time it stopped.
Then we heard the boss call us, so he was not eaten by this monster.
He called and called, but we were too scared to stop hiding. The sound of the boss calling came closer and closer, and we suddenly could see his face. “Ow you poor little things, so you were scared after all!
We sat on his lap for some time, getting hugs and all, that was very nice. We were not scared anymore.
Then he put us on the floor and gave us a rag to play with.
We didn’t play with it in the start, because it looked a bit like a fur, a coat. So he told us we could play with it, and he also played with it. I even won from my sister and the boss, and had the rag all for myself.

After all that playing my sister fell asleep on another rag, and I got to sit on the boss’s lap again.
I was thinking about this angry and frightening vacuum thing and got scared again. After a cuddle I got to hold the boss’s hand, and finally fell asleep.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Bedtime story: Cat eye perspective, adventures in the house.

The boss said this difficult word, no idea what it means, but it has to do with cats, with us!
Me and my sister are two little kittens, and we just moved house, to a new family.
In this new house, and with the new family we have some great adventures
We are very tired now, as we had a lot of adventures today, and we had great fun. Before I fall asleep I will tell you what we’ve done.
This morning when we woke up, it was almost light. Me and my sister are sleeping in the hallway, and all those people sleep upstairs.
So this morning we climbed that thing called stairs, and it was very very high! We had to climb 14 of these things, they call steps, and I even fell off the second one.
I didn’t hurt myself, no, it made me want to climb it more !

When we finally were upstairs, we tried to smell where the big boss and his wife sleep. We were hungry after climbing that big thing, so we followed our noses. The boss makes a loud and snoring sound, very low, he must love it in that big box he is sleeping in.
Under that box, a bed I think were all kind of fun things to play with, and we made some noise. The boss stopped snoring, so we tried to be silent. If you stop snoring, you are not pleased, at least we are not. So we hoped he wasn’t angry.
Behind a leg from that box called bed, was a black and silent thing, we were very scared off.
My sister got closer and closer to it, and found it was a piece of cloth we could play with.
Not at all scary and we played some time with it. We did make some noise playing and woke the boss. He was not mad really, but laughed; you little buggers give me back my sock!
So we left the sock alone and waited for the boss to put on his fur.
He took us downstairs and we got breakfast, ow that was nice!
The boss came and sat with us while we ate, and he didn’t take a bite. He had a cup with black smelly stuff that he drank. I was a bit worried that he didn’t eat, but he left us more.
After we ate our breakfast, we had a little nap on his lap, while he ate bread. We like bread too, but we don’t touch his, or he will get mad.

After our nap, we played on the floor! That was nice, as we found a pen with some string to it, and played with it for very very long. Even the boss played with the pen, and we tried to catch it, and really we won !!

Yawn! Then we with a ball, I will tell you later. I am so tired and my sister too.
So now, I really need to . . . . . .
Photographs taken by me, worked over by Paul R. Boon

Monday, 4 June 2012

Writing or spamming? What on earth am I doing?

Dear readers, ( the few I have now, or the many I got in 5 weeks )

I am a bit in an odd mood.
Last week my computer slowed down getting even slower then it already was. Now that is not exciting news. It actually is bad news as I got used to the darn thing, and I hate formatting installing and the likes.
Then again, it has served me very well over the last 8 years, so I can thank it for a lot. It has brought me work, friends and served me for all the slave work I had to do for study.

This little small form factor computer has done a world of favours for its boss, knew my printer as its best friend, and made me art and stories. Loads of em. Sill it has to go now, for an other sff computer is going to serve my needs now.
Not going to scrap it, I will give it a good clean, and feed it to the kids.
I will teach the kids to have respect for it, use it wise, and feed it a picture now and then. They can use their little camera's to feed this little computer their view of the world. If they use it with respect, it will serve them long.

See, this is how I am doing! Not right, romanticizing a computer, I felt odd since these last few days.

So hoping to do some writing today, I restarted the old computer for one of its last times, to serve me for some writing. When it had started after a cup of coffee and some more time, it told me a very nice thing!
I got some advice in from Scott Roberts! Scott is a St. Louis, Missouri-based Blogger and Chilehead, about my own chilli blog. Taking this advice to heart, I tried to connect my blog to my official Facebook page, and Facebook to twitter and twitter to R.S.S. Now that last bit, I have not succeeded upon, will have to conquer that an other day for I needed to write a bit now.
My goodness I really had to study to get that right, making me wonder if the wonders of the new social world are really something for me. Social media at its best, things seem to work for me now, so now my Facebook posts at Twitter what I am blogging about. So now I don't have to do as much SEO (search engine optimization) as my social media is doing the socializing for me.
Reading the last part, I sound like a nerd aren't I?

Do I need to learn this all just to be able to write???
No, surely not as I can also write on a roll of toiletpaper, and have the kids flush every story after they've read it. Then again, if I hear my kids tell my stories to others and I see their blush of excitement again, and the listeners love my stories I am convinced. I am convinced that I need to write, and share stories to people that want to hear them, so I should try and get the audience that wants to read. So I have 2 groups that I need to try and reach, one for reading about chillies and recipe's, the other group is the one from parents that take or make the time to read their kids a story.

So for those groups, and to give them the choice weather they like me and my writing or not, I need to get social on social media. But the question arises if I want to be a spammer or a writer? I want to write for sure, and actually don't want to be bothered that much with all the things surrounding publishing and getting known. To have someone do this S.E.O. for me, I have to pay about 45 Euro/hour, and I make zero writing so it is not the best of ideas.
So I will have to spam a bit and I need to rely on friends to share, if they like the story I wrote, and that simple drop of oil will spread on water having the greatest colours you have seen. So if someone likes a story or something I wrote about chillies, and its get shared, I have to let the story go.

Maybe someday I hear my story told by a total stranger, for the simple reason that he liked it, and found it.

Rant over, and I will have blogger put it to facebook, and facebook to . . . . . . .

I'll get my coat. . . .

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

me and camping, another rant

Me and camping.

I like camping, as I love to be in the nature and love to be outside.
I love the smell, the freedom and the fact that it really unwinds me.
It relaxes me that much that I can start dreaming again, I love it.

There is camping and camping, and I don’t like all.

I hate campsite's that look like truck stops, where you neatly park side by side, and you can use the pins from your neighbour to secure your tent.
I have been at a place in Holland, where you really could not see anything other than tents and caravans. Looking over the roofs of tents and caravan you could see some nature.
I had to stay there 7 days, as it was already paid for. . . .
One off the greatest trips we have made, was a round trip through Scandinavia, by car.
We did that with a Reliant Robin, and had the weirdest stories, even came in newspapers.
As we were the first to round the Baltic Sea with a 3 wheeled car.
We were at the Trondheim toll ports for a tunnel, and I ask this bloke if we had to pay.
As motorcycles were free to enter, and cars are not.
So after my unexpected question the bloke says; sure you have to pay, it is a car, isn’t it?
So I told him it was registered as a motorcycle with side car, and I had only a motorcycle license, showing him my license.
We both saw him reach for the phone to ask his superior, and this made him think.
“How on earth am I going to explain my boss, that I am really seeing a 3 wheeled car”
He doesn’t say a word, and signs us to drive, with a shaking head he is seeing us off on the road.

We ate fish fresh from rivers, had various fruits from the forests, and slept at wonderful places.
All the places we camped out on, were in the middle of nowhere, as one can camp there 1 night only in almost every spot.
In Holland it is forbidden to set up camp, other than in campsites, there they do have campsites, but you can also camp in nature.
And so we did, being Dutch and more. It is so nice to just camp out at a river or a pond, with nobody to be seen.
It is a great experience really feeling on your own, I am sure you would love this too.
When we came back and entered the Netherlands again, we got a call from a friend, inviting us for one night in a camping in Assen.
Now here is what happens in a Dutch campsite in Assen.
When we arrived there, we had to set up camp in a place around 1000 sq Metre, which had 14 camp spots. All but one were taken, and that is where we had to set up our camp.
We had places for our own that were much larger, in the free of Scandinavia !
As soon as you drive in the neat and square place, everybody gets out of their tent or caravan, to see the new arrivals. At least half gets a drink, and sits on a chair to watch the spectacle of someone setting up camp. They seem to have hunger for seeing someone fight over setting up a tent or a caravan.
Well, as we used to set up camp every day, we had everything set up in 15 minutes, tent including table bedding and what have you. And the coffee was ready as well.
The spectators all crawled back in their tents and caravans, disappointed that there was not one word spoken hard or loud. Smooth !!

At night, around 03:00 I had to pee, and went to the toilet.
In the day time I already felt paranoia almost, for every look everywhere you take are people.
We were on our own for 3 whole weeks, and only spoke to each other, or enjoyed the silence.
So forgive, it is natural, I hope.
So I was taking a leak at a toilet building around 03:00 and guess what, left and right of me were people !!!
I wanted to go home or drive off right that instant!
Other than having no privacy, there are more things that I can’t stand while camping out.
That is, when we are on a camping that is.
Showers, I hate the average shower at a camping, for it is not clean or nice to be.
So what happens if you really have to shower, they have those things that you have to put a coin in.
If you do that, you can shower for about a minute or 5 maybe, and then you have to walk to the dry part where your clothes are to put in another coin.
So after wetting the place you wanted to put on your dry socks later, you can yet shower again for 5 minutes.
Mind you, I have long hair, very long hair for a man and I want to have it clean and nice.
So, getting it wet and shampoo it takes 5 minutes, then rinse and wash again takes another 5.
And I like using conditioner, so another 5minutes later. . . .  
I still have to wash my Willy!!!

So now we go to camping where you can shower for free, even if it costs 5 euro more per day, at least you are relaxed when taking a shower.
Guess what, for economy reasons the shower runs 6 minutes, and then stops for 4 before you can shower again. . . . .
I hate camping !!!

Then again, in the days I do not take a shower, I write at least 4 pages per night.
So !
I shouldn’t bother taking a shower, stinking up the place or not, get relaxed and enjoy nature.

And write !!!

Yours truly

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Critical about food, food critic, tasting and much more.

 During the years I have been tasting and testing things if they would fit my taste.
Some odd and off things came to pass, and learned a few things for sure.

One of the cuisines I like most, is the Belgium one, for sure.
Not right simple, they seem to give ingredients the time to develop into a great food with real taste.
Slow cooking maybe, these people have great palate, and keep it simple.
Keeping it simple, as in not combining too many tastes and herbs, they can cook for sure.
Their ham is superb, both natural cured as well as their smoked ham.
Their cheeses are out of the world, made by trappists at times, the same that make lovely beer.
Once I bought a Jerommeke or Petit Munster Géromé, good bloody grief that is a cheese one can smell a good mile away.
When I got myself over the smell off it I tasted the cheese, wow.
A mouth-watering experience that even makes me hungry right now, the taste lingers on in your mouth even after a good sip of Trappist beer.
Even my then 7 year old son loved the taste of it!
Strong and harsh maybe in taste, one can taste the rich cream and perfect milk coming from the Vosges.
I wouldn’t eat it again, if not accompanied with a good Belgium Trappist beer, where a monk took all the time to make it as perfect as it can be.
Now whilst the Belgium women may not the most beautiful women in the world (well a few exceptions here and there!), they do however make up for that with the food they make and more!
I would fall in love with a woman that cooks like they do.
Their Carbonade flamande is superb, their salads are great, and their dried sausages and hams are like no other.
Do Belgium’s have more time then we do?

Good taste is a bit of a curse for sure, believe me.

Having a good taste, or palate, that develops over the years is great in some aspects.
Not all the time though, as I do taste almost anything wrong and it is hard for me to compliment a chef.
Vegetables, for sure I love them, but I can taste if they use seaweed fertilizer or fish bone meal to them.
And once eaten Heirloom carrots and beetroot, I can’t get used to the “normal” ones again.
I even can taste if peanuts are a bit old, as I do with walnuts or hazelnuts.
So, if anybody puts some cheaper nuts on the table with a beer, I normally take just one handful and feel embarrassed as I want to throw them away.
Or hide them under the carpet once tasted.
Same as when I am cooking myself, I really have to learn to stay away and not add something else, again. . . .

About nuts and all, something I noticed was that nuts seem to be rawer lately, discarded the thought as I thought it was just me.
So I told my wife a year ago not to buy me peanuts any more. And told her that I thought they were rawer lately, she didn’t notice she said.
Now a week ago I found some French peanuts in a sale at a shop
I just had to buy one bag to taste even if they were cheap as dirt.

So tasted them, and they were great, tender, soft almost.
This is a taste I remembered; from the times I loved to eat peanuts, which I almost don’t anymore.
I had the misses’ taste as well, and now she does agree, they are rawer then before.
We got back at the shop, and bought 40 odd packages. . .

Now, peanut butter seems to be dryer lately, containing less oil. No worries, I just add a spoon of sambal and eat that on a sandwich.
But now with the nuts, I got an idea.
Are the nutty companies going green like I do in my chilli blog?
If they do it this way by saving energy serving their nuts rawer,
don’t, as they taste like  . . . . . .

Ok, rant over, I’ll get my coat.

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer

Thursday, 26 April 2012

So, what am I about?

So, what am I about?

Well for starters, I am trying to enjoy life to the fullest.
Count my blessings, every day.
I think one of the best characteristics about people I like, and myself, is that we try to enjoy the good things in life.
Now this sounds ever so simple, and at times is so hard, but at least the intention is there.
And sure, even I have had dark times, where I lost the ability to see anything positive.
Then again, who didn't have hard times.

Still, trying to see things positive, or enjoying the good things in life is art.
You have learn to think around things.
Trying to see a problem as an opportunity to learn, not only seeing the problem itself.

It is as if you are looking at a picture someone has drawn or taken, and you are asked to comment.
How easy is it to to talk about the mistakes, faults and other noticeable mishaps.
How hard it is to complement the other about the things that are good, that take a while to see maybe.

Or how hard it is to accept a compliment, without say, ah it was just. . . .
I get carried away, and have that sometimes.

Other then that I am about coaching and teaching.
Unfortunately, I was no longer needed, and out you go.
I will go on about that some other time for sure, but

I started thinking what to do next, what am I about?
Teaching for years, and well, the technique I was teaching comes natural to me, so no sweat.
So what was my teaching about?
Coaching and helping troubled youngsters, and most of all, telling stories.
Relevant stories for sure, but telling stories.

Now I see my kids copying me, and tell stories, explain or teach.
I love em for that, and more for sure.
And they love me for more, the caring I do and the food I make and many things more.
But most of all, they love my stories, and the stories love me as,
they keep coming back to give me and others joy.

Yours truly,

Bart J. Meijer