Friday the 13th of November 2009       

Posted by Graham at 19.25.  0 comments.

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11 may 2011.

German washing

 I am not rich, but not poor, so most things I need, like a washing machine I buy second hand. I bought a German Zannucci washing machine about 5 years ago, 100 Euros, 1500 new. And it works like a dream. Only problem was it took 4 blokes (not me) to carry it upstairs, it has a ton of something inside to stop it shaking. And with usual German precision it works like a dream. I was changing my bed stuff today and I thought that quilt could do with a wash, about a year later than a women would have noticed, but hey I am a bachelor. And the cushion has seen better days, so I slung them both in the machine. 3 hours later it was stuck on something so I moved it on, it washed again, rinsed again, but the stuff was too heavy and it wouldn't spin. German technology is simple no spin, you can't open the door, water everywhere, so spin or nothing. I tried everything but I could not get it to let me open the door, even without power or water. So as usual when I have a problem I hit the net, nothing, now I know I brag about my language skills but a German NG? Well with not a little difficulty a guy, kindly in English, told me to look on the face for 'abpumpen'. I looked 'N' abpumpen, so I set the dial at N, waited and in 10 minutes it stopped, turned itself off and I could open the door. The quilt and cushion are now dripping on the balcony, but they look very clean. \


ID card

28 April 2011

 All this talk of birth certificates, when I wanted to become a Dutchman 10 years ago, I turned up and asked, they wanted to see my passport, no problem but they also wanted a birth certificate, which I had, but no good, I needed a special birth certificate, a so called Apostille. It is basically my birth certificate with a stamp on it from the British Home office. So I rang my mother and she went to the local registry office and asked for such a thing. No problem, 10 pounds for the birth certificate, which we had, and 40 to get it Aposille. Nobody in the registry office asked my mother for any ID. So a month later I got an Apostille birth certificate. And the Dutch were happy, using the same system I could have got a British Passport and Apostille in my dead brothers name. And the Dutch knew this, but now they have a paper ( Apostille) signed and sealed by the British Home office saying everything is correct, which btw it is. After becoming a Dutch citizen, with passport, all that needed to happen was for Britain to send a letter saying I am no longer a British subject. My Dutch nationalization took a month, they wanted me, the British Home office took 8 months and charged me 200 pounds to inform me and the Dutch government, I was no longer British. In the summer I am goingto visit my 84 year old British mother, and we are going to try and get this Dutchman a British passport. 200 quid surely they will kow I am no longer British..... Won't they?


Fell off

24 May 2008


It had to happen, for the first time I fell off my electric bike, "fell off?" more like tripped. I had done my saturday shopping and was on my way home when my left shoe lace got caught in my pedal, so I slowed down to release it, and when I came to a stop it was still entwined so I couldn't put my foot down and over I went. For once I fell on my 'good' side so getting up would have been no problem except my on top foot was still tied to the pedal, after several attempts at getting released from the beast, I gave up and waited. Cars stopped, people got off their bikes, and people came running out of their houses. Finally a young lady came to my face and said, "It's OK I am a nurse". I politely pointed out I am the world champion faller, I was fine but my foot was tied up to the pedal. People were stopping and offering help by the second, finally one bloke took charge and he together with a total stranger tried to get my lace free. Somebody shouted, "Shall I call an ambulance?", and some guy doing absolutely nothing just watching with his hands in his pockets said, "I think the fire brigade would be better." Somebody else shouted, "Pull his shoe off", this they tried, and me laying on the ground thinking, my mother always said wear clean underwear in case you have an accident, don't remember her saying wear clean socks. Anyway I always tie my shoes very tight so they couldn't get it off. The guy who had taken charge at the foot end shouted, "Has anybody got a pocket knife?", all quiet, "scissors?", he shouted optimistically. And then a rather nice looking middle aged woman pushed forward and shyly pulled a knife from her handbag, I say knife it was more a blade, nasty looking thing, had she been a teenager with that thing she would probably have been arrested. Anyway with one swoop she cut me free, put her blade away and disappeared into the sunset. I wouldn't like to meet her on a dark night, well I would actually, good looking women. Anyway I was helped up, with very little dignity, I thanked everybody and tried to make a clean getaway, and seeing there was no blood or guts the crowd dispersed. Except for one woman who had run out of her house, she said, "I know you", I said "do you?", "Yes", she said, "You are the computer man, I saw you give a demonstration earlier in the year". I thought holy Lord please don't let het have a computer problem, anyway I didn't wait to hear I politely said, "Bugger off". Then I got on my bike and sped away as fast as I could. I wish Sam the cam had been there, would have made a great photo. Whisky anybody?



5 December 2003

A day at the shops

  Today in Holland is Sinta Claus, (St.Nickolas) and good little boys and girls get nice presents. I decided to go and buy some paint for my spare bedroom and a super electronic store is selling shiny printing paper cheap. So far so good, so I grab my 500 paper pack and head for the door before I see something for the computer I don't need but want. Now these stores have a habit of packing the place full at this time of year so when a women and two little kids pass me on the right hand side I have to lean to the left. Now one of her offspring, a little blond haired lad about 18 inches high, for some reason takes it into his head to push me out of the way, no contest you may say, but, my legs aren't always helpful. They have been severely trained to go forward, and sideways is a big negative. Sideways used to mean landing on my head, until a gang of us got together and taught them (my legs) that they should not do that. But never underestimate the will of a pair of legs.
   All of a sudden they realise that we have reached one o'clock and still slowly but surely listing ever to port (left), and different parts of my brain are having a deep discussion. My legs feel a certain deja vu for freer times, and decide to go for two o'clock, my balance is trying to use a 500 pack of paper and a small blond head as a counter balance,any other part of my brain still functioning was trying to manipulate my head into place to stop me landing on my gammy arm. And the legs are winning. But help is at hand, out of the corner of my eyes I see a pile of big boxes piled to stop my fall, oh goody goody, oh dear, then I see the 500 euro, (I think it was 500 can't be sure the price went first) TFT computer screen on top of the boxes to show what was in the boxes. Well by now I was at three o'clock and so I flung out my elbow and prayed. Good news, TFT computer screens in boxes make excellent buffers. Sadly the one on top which had been showing XP, I think, was no longer on top of the boxes or functioning. I glanced down and a lady asked me if I would be kind enough to let go of her son. Within seconds half a dozen big men in black suites with orange ties were surrounding me, and the words they were using were not nice. I and my sidekick, who was obviously loving every second of this Sint Klaas had a huge grin on his face and was obviously delighted that he for once wasn't the one getting the rollicking. Though by the look on his mothers face, that was yet to come. And in a short moment when the head honcho paused for breath, she also gave me a few choice Friesian superlatives.
   Well there was nothing for it, I had to 'fess up and explain why my balance is a bit wonky, when I tried to lift my left arm to illustrate the point he was having none of it, he was minding his own and looking the other way, as he tends to do when things get tense. Anyway finally they got the picture and suddenly turned all nice and sweet, (I think they feared my insurance company), and all was well. I did consider offering to take the screen off of there hands for half price, if it was still working that is...but what with the cost of Christmas and all I decided not to offer. So I paid my 3 euro 99 for the paper and my legs were kind enough to take me out, in a fairly straight line.
Anyway I got yellow paint for the spare bedroom because it was on sale, stacked in a lovely pyramid. Still is I think



17 June 2006

About bombing

About 25 years ago I was living with a women here in Friesland on her farm. She from Rotterdam and a women who is not backward in coming forward, the kind of woman I like. Then I got an invitation to my sisters wedding and we decided to go together. At the reception dinner Ans (that's her name and I am still like the crazy old cow) and I got paired up on one table with my now late uncle Raymond and his wife. Uncle Ray was a many times decorated RAF bomber pilot, and a very nice gentle man, he was also a very successful businessman. So it was a nice polite English summer wedding. Then half way in the meal Ans said "You guys didn't need to drop quite so many bombs on my fathers house". Rotterdam got it bad, first from the Germans, then when that important harbour was in German hands from the allies and finally when it was relieved every night and day from either pilots that flew in bad weather and thought Rotterdam was Germany. Or were coming home and needed to release the unexploded bombs in the sea and Rotterdam stretches out to sea. The truth is Rotterdam got blitzed by the Allies and more or less flattened, and though the Dutch are not vindictive, Ans and a highly decorated RAF pilot from Bomber command on one table was a problem waiting to happen, I thought.
But when Ans said "You guys didn't need to drop quite so many bombs on my fathers house", my uncle said quietly, "I still have nightmares about the innocent people I killed in Germany. I never understood Dresden, but I and my navigator had orders, you will never know the silence in an aeroplane after you have bombed innocent people, and I am sorry about Rotterdam" Ans got up and kissed him, and we decided to order a decent bottle of wine and we had a lovely day.



2 October 2006

The Sample

     The early sixties, northern English industrial working town, a small ten year old boy with freckles walks shyly carrying an empty bottle through a pub car park towards a rear door, not really a door, more a half door, only the top half opens, the little boy hopes a horse will look out, he has never seen a real horse. He softly presses a bell marked 'Off sales'. A buxom lady wearing a white apron opens the half door looks down, "Hello Gra Gra, must be Saturday, bottle of best for your dad is it?" The urchin nods shyly, gives the woman his empty bottle and the two shilling piece he was clutching tightly. The woman reaches backwards takes a pint bottle from a crate behind her, and gives it to Gra Gra with her right hand and pats him on the head with her left. She then gives him his one and threepence change, smiles and the lad walks home contented. 
    Forty years later same little boy, now a man, walks through a hospital car park to a rear half door exactly the same as the first one, again carrying a bottle. He shyly presses a bell marked Lab. A similar lady wearing a white coat opens the top half of the door and looks down at the man. He shyly offers his bottle, but this one is not empty. The woman looks at it, shakes it a little, holds it up to the light, finally almost reluctantly she places the bottle in a crate, removes an empty one, and gives it to the boy. He waits for his change and pat on the head, he receives neither. The woman nods and closes the door. The man sighs, and walks home alone.  



5 May 2006

Liberation day.

  I went swimming and decided to bike into the city to get myself some fish from the open market. As I approached the centre the road was blocked off and security guys told me I couldn't take my bike into the centre of the city. There are a load of concerts and shows and who knows what because it is Liberation day. He then went through my back pack looking for alcohol, he got his hands nice and wet on my wet towel;-) Well it is a nice day so I decided to walk into town. I am not a big fan of these street party things, too busy for me. Anyway a few minutes later I saw a crowd and curiosity killed the cat, so I walked over and there was the Prime Minister of The Netherlands strolling around chatting to folk having his photo taken (no I do not take my camera to the fish market and I had left my camera phone at home). Nobody tells me nothing, I didn't know he was in town. Anyway I had a good close look at him and it occurred to me besides a couple of men in suites hanging around it was unbelievably easy to get up close. Security? THEN I looked over my shoulder and nearly fell off my feet. Quietly standing next to me was this guy built like a brick shit house, obviously wearing a bullet proof vest under his sweat shirt and that was not his wallet he was holding in his pocket. If you ever wondered what one of those Special forces/SAS blokes look like in civilian clothes, this is what they look like. Me, never backward in coming forward, told him how I was just thinking how little security there is, not that it was that obvious who he was I added, he smiled and said have no fear, WE are here. I believed him. Then I said, "Any bloody way what you doing standing behind me? Do I look like a Terrorist?" He laughed, and said "Yes, you have a back pack." I was tempted to tell him to stand still when talking to a tax payer, he had this nasty habit of turning and looking around all the time. But I decided not to, anyway Harry Potter (The Dutch PM) was moving away, so he did the same. I retrieved my bike and went to the Supermarket instead. But it nice to know these guys, at least here in Holland are accessible and won't blow your head off if you talk to them;-) Graham  


03 March 2006.


I fell off me bike in the snow, went arse over tit, usual red knuckles,
fingers, arms, knees etc. but my thigh muscle gone all funny. Had to go
swimming, and did, and now late evening, I think I may have broken my thigh
If only the bloody thing would turn blue. Can you get water on the fucking
thigh muscle? I have wanted good strong thigh muscles on my left leg (aka
quasimodo leg) for years.... but....
Anyway it hurts, so I took the opportunity to open that bottle of scotch I
got for xmas, purely for medicinal purposes you understand.
If it turns blue overnight I promise photos, but .....I was about to post
and I swear it is getting bloody bigger, tell me you can not get water on
the thigh muscle?
Graham Cloggie.


18 August 2002.

The Gloryhole

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday) while preparing dinner I chopped up some Broccoli and put it in a pan.It turned out my guest does not like broccoli so I left it and opened a tin of something. This evening when I looked in the pan, the broccoli had turned brownish so I decided to deep six it (that's cockney for ditch), so I threw the vedge and water down the Glory Hole. (aka Toilet). And you have guessed it, an hour later I discovered by means that are not relevant to this tale, that it was blocked. This is at 7 o'clock on a Sunday evening. Call a plumber, Ha! So out with shirt and hand, then elbow, then entire arm down the Glory hole. I could not free it, I wanted to have a glass of something strong, but for obvious reasons decided not to. Then it came to me, Broccoli, when raw is hard, but when cooked is soft, so if I could cook the broccoli, voila. (It takes a strange mind to be a bachelor), so I took my soup ladle and a bucket and ladle by ladle emptied the Glory hole of all the cold water, and other contents. (I did have a glass of the strong stuff while doing this, for obvious reasons). Should I ever invite you to dinner and serve soup, you will never know which ladle I am using. Anyway in between I had boiled two giant pans of water, and then came Le moment supreme, I poured in the first one, and as it says on British fireworks, "light the touchpaper and retire." I sat for ten minutes next to the Glory hole and waited, and slowly but surely the water began to sink down, half an hour later it was gone. So I poured in the second pan of boiling water. Et voila, it went down in 3 minutes. I flushed and all was clear. (It takes a strange mind to be a bachelor). If anybody comments that pouring down hot water would have worked anyway, with or without Broccoli, I will invite them to dinner and serve soup using a ladle. I have spent the last two hours in the Glory hole and five minutes in the shower. I still like broccoli and it still takes a strange mind to be a bachelor. 




28 July 2001.

The clip round the ear 'ole.   

Only yesterday I was reflecting, having just read Sweet Janie's story about her leg, what a really quiet life I lead. Until today. Being a normal Saturday afternoon I packed up my plastic bags and went off to the supermarket. Was a normal Saturday shopping day, met a very well tanned friend, who told me what a wonderful Computer tan I have, (none thus), and did my shopping. It wasn't until I got to the cash point that things started to go wrong. First of all I noticed for the first time in my life, that at least half the (lady) shoppers were staring at the two (litre) bottles of wine and the rest of shopping in my trolley. Can't think why I noticed this for the first time today. Anyway, I got to the cash desk, paid for my things, and then the young lady asked if I wanted the free grocery cards. These are strange things that supermarkets give away when you spend a certain amount of money to get a free I don't know what. Well I never save these things myself, but waste not want not, I always take them, and give them to somebody else. Sometimes makes somebody rather happy. So I took my two cards and started to pack it all in when I noticed a perfectly normal looking lady next to me doing the same. So I tapped her on the shoulder and without a word offered the cards, don't usually need to say anything, they are usually grabbed up. Then this lady (and I use the word in the loosest terms), turned around and gave me the most terrible look with evil in her eyes. My first thought was I shouldn't have sent Marian that unrequested graphic, and that she had flown (on her broomstick) across the pond, to pay me back in person. (We all have our own nightmares.) Then without warning she gave me the most horrendous ''clip round the ear 'ole.'' For the sake of our American cousins that means she hit me on my ear. Now I wouldn't call myself a wimp, (though others might), I have in my day played Rugby, but I must confess it brought tears to my eyes. I was completely stunned. At that moment a rather attractive lady of about 45 came over to me, not to condone me but she said, ''Well if you are giving those away I would rather like them,'' my first thought seeing her age was to ask her if she would like to join in the Can We group, but I didn't, I simply handed them over. By now about a dozen women had gathered round the women who had struck me and though they didn't give her a round of applause, they were very close to doing so. Their husbands meanwhile, having more experience of angry women shoppers than me, (being a bachelor) had (wisely) withdrawn to a safe distance and were examining the ceiling. Then a spotty faced youth of about 10 appeared and informed all and sundry that he was the manager. He spent a few minutes listening to the women who had hit me, along with by now two dozen witness statements, I think the word rape was mentioned, but I carried on packing my groceries, getting ever more red in the face, partly from the sore ear and partly from the embarrassment. Finally the spotty-faced Perry Mason came over to me, (and not to help with the packing). Then I realised that I had just given the evidence away to Miss Can We under 50's group, life for me and my work permit were not looking good. I realised it was time for action, so I pulled myself up to my full height, looked Spotty in the eye, and in a loud, clear voice, so that every witness could here, told him in my best Dutch, (Coby if you want to control my grammar I'll mail you privately), and told him to "Go forth and multiply". I then turned around and without looking back walked out of the store. I have an idea I heard a slight applause from the lurking husbands, but I can't be sure, after all they have there Saturday evenings peace to think of. I then decided to take some drastic action, so I came home poured a glass of wine and wrote it all to my friends on Fifty-plus. And now I have just about stopped shaking (I'm not sure form anger or fear), and its time for another glass of wine. Have a nice day.




17 March 2004.

The bubble bath

On a Wednesday morning at the swimming baths I visit, there is an Underwater Aerobics class for the elderly. After there session in the small pool many of the seniors come into the main pool area to relax for ten minutes in one of the bubble pools. As normal this morning eight of them climbed down and squeezed into a bubble pool, leaving shampoo and glasses on the side. Just as they were getting settled a charming young man, probably about 15 years old, went over and looking down into the pool, and had a polite chat with a couple of the grannies. Now anyone below retirement age, and who had there glasses on, could see he was fiddling with something hidden behind his back, and a gang of half a dozen of his buddies looking on sneakily from a safe distance, told me that something was not quite right. After the young man had finished his polite chat he bent over a little to say good day, and I, and his buddies noticed that he slipped whatever he had been fiddling with, into the pool. The gentle folk had hardly finished commenting what a nice young man he was, when the pool turned white with millions of soap bubbles, engulfing the gentle folk above there heads. Obviously the urchin had taken one of the bottles of shampoo, unscrewed the top and slipped it into the bubble pool. All hell broke loose, and the panic to get up the single ladder was a sight to be seen. With the two life guards trying to help but making things worse, it resembled a scene from Monty Python, and most of the regular swimmers were roaring with laughter. The life guard screaming that soap bubbles won't hurt anybody didn't seem to help, but obviously Senior Aerobics works as nobody's pacemaker actually stopped working and they all got out in one piece, if a little shaken up. Afterwards one of the guards who knows me from my daily visits, asked if I had seen who done it, but being a fully paid up member of the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil club, I shrugged my shoulders. When I left the water a muffled "Thanks Mister", from a quiet corner, made me smile again. Good shampoo. 


 23 January 2006.

After the party.

There are many tales about who discovered Australia, it was most certainly not Cook. Abel Tasman, was undoubtedly a Dutchman, and they named Tasmania after him. We do not really give a damn, but to get to Tasmania you need to sail around a big island, called Australia. We definitely discovered large parts of the East Indies. We were sailing there and bringing home tea before the British knew what tea time was. And then there is New Amsterdam, somebody chose to call it New York, I could talk about The Dutch and the Americas for hours, but I won't.  The important thing is that for at least 200 years before anybody except the American Indians knew that the US existed we, the Dutch were not only discovering places and leaving our people there, but bringing people home from those places. We like people from far off shores, we embrace them and they are part of our world. At this moment one million of the sixteen million Dutchmen are not white or Christian, so what else is new? We really do not give a damn what you call us, but until you have been here, and my spare bedroom is free, do not call us Eurabians. The 200,00 East Indians don't like it. Not to mention the 300,00 West Indians. We like our land, we are inclusive, hell they took me. But because you live in America, do not presume or even think you know anything about the Netherlands. You don't, we don't drive pickup trucks, we don't eat big steaks, or wear silly big hats, but  we are respected everywhere in the world.