29/11/2010

The first snow…

by Rob on

Oh yes, the first snow of this winter’s season… and for me the first snow since I have moved to Heemskerk.

I just love snow. It is as a blanket that covers the world with innocence. A lovely sight…. It gives the world a complete new look.
I do realize that snow can cause big problems for that that have to travel, but still… I really like it. Right now I see the children coming outside to have their first snow fight of this season, if that is possible already.

Right now the snow is still coming down strongly. I wonder how the world will look tomorrow!! Do I dare to wish for a White Christmas????


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My mother’s recipe book

by Rob on

Some where around March of this year my mother was taken permanently into a caring home. Because of that we (her children) had to clean out our mother’s house. A though job to do it was… physically, but even more mentally.

One of the things that I took along with me from my mother’s house to Heemskerk were her recipe books. All this time these recipe books had a nice spot in my kitchen, but I never really used.
One of these books is rather old. The title of the book is “Ik kan koken” (“I can cook”) and was published in 1956. So the book is over 50 years old.

Already for some time I wanted to make in a weekend “Hachee”. Hachee based is a typical Dutch stew based on beef and onions. Often cooked potatoes are served with it.

I looked up the recipe in my mother’s recipe book and decided to make it that way. Well, not completely that way. because the book suggested to use butter to bake the beef. I used olive oil for that.

In the hot olive oil I fried cut onions (2 really big onions). I added in small parts beef to the fried onions. While beef was baked I added pepper, 2 leaves of laurel and some cloves to it. Not describe in the recipe, I added also some fresh garlic.

On the moment the beef was nicely brown, I added some water to it and for 2 hours I left it stew.

After the two hours the beef was very soft and tender. I added some red wine to it. Also not in the recipe, but I added red en yellow paprika cut in small pieces, mushrooms and corn. And during the time this all got warm again, I boiled potatoes.

And there, a very tasteful traditional Dutch stew…. And with such a nice stew you drink a dark, powerful beer. A bock beer for instance!


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My newest play thingy…..

by Rob on

Although it isn’t a real play thingy… It will be rather useful to me!

Anyway, I always wanted to have a drawing tablet for my computer. Specially after someone showed me how handy such a tablet can be with processing pictures. Oh sure, everything is also possible with a mouse. But with such a tablet things will go easier and faster (for instance you can jump from one side of the screen to the other, while with a mouse you have to drag the cursor to the point where you want it. Now it is just one click with the pen on the wanted position and the cursor is there).
Many functions are very easy to access. But maybe even most important, when making very precise and small adjustments to a picture the tablet will be way more useful as the mouse.

But I admit, it will take some time to get really used to it. But that is okay :).


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When the lady smiles…

by Rob on

When I came home this evening and I opened the door of my apartment I thought I recognized a soft sweet scent. I felt how I shook my head as I realized the wish and desire were fooling me.

I took off my coat and opened the door to the living room. Pleasantly surprised I saw two suitcases standing beside the couch. With a big smile on my face I knew that the sweet scent was the perfume I know so well. Marion was home!!!
My apartment is not that big, but I couldn’t see her around. Then I noticed that the door to the bedroom was slightly opened. As silently as I could I opened the door and there in the light falling through the curtains I saw the one I love so much asleep in my bed.
Without making a noise I walked to the kitchen and filled myself a glass of Muscadet wine. Making sure that I didn’t wake up Marion I turned the chair in the bedroom around. With the glass of wine I watched Marion sleeping for the longest time.
I really have no idea how long I was watching her…. half a hour? A hour? No idea!!! But at certain moment she started to wake up. Still sleep drunk she saw me sitting beside the bed. Some sweet kisses and words helped her wake really up. I got for both of us a glass of wine. We enjoyed the wine and talked a little about everything and nothing. Then all of a sudden she slipped with a big smile her arms around me…

As Barry Hay of the Golden Earring already sang at The Night of the Proms…

But when the lady smiles,
I can’t resist her call
As a matter of fact,
I don’t resist at all

Yeah.. I didn’t resist at all…


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Night of the Proms 2010

by Rob on

Yesterday evening I have been to The Night of Proms. It is almost an tradition for my Patrick and me to go there. It the fourth time in a row. But this year we went only to the event in Rotterdam. Some of the other years we also have been to the German edition of this event in Dortmund. What also was new that Patrick’s father did come along because he really liked some of the artists of the line-up.

The line-up was really good this year. Of course there was the choir Fine Fleur and the orchestra Il Novecento again. Without them no Night of the Proms….

The line-up was really great. As almost always John Miles was there. With songs as “Music was my first love” and “The show must go on” he made people almost tear down the building.

It was for the first time I saw Grace Jones live. And I really must I like it. This woman with her great voice and weird dresses really knows how make a show. I might not know much of her music, but surely I know “Strange, I have seen that face before”.

Although I am not a real big fan of Boy George, I have to say that he a very good performance her. Apart from his well known songs as “Do you really want to hurt me”, he sang “You were almost on my mind” truly in almost perfect way. Of course I knew the song, but took some time to realize it is a song from Elvis Presley.

Barry Hay… do I need to say more? As I already predicted to Patrick, he gave away a great performance of “Radar Love” (that was a easy one :P). “When the Lady smiles” brought back many good memories. It is amazing how long Barry Hay (and with him of course the Golden Earring) are playing their music. I can remember to have seen a live concert of them when I still went to school. And believe me, that is long time ago.

Charlie Siem, a violinist I never had heard from before, as entered the stage. But I liked what he did. A name to keep an eye on. A master on his violin.

And then the was of course John Fogerty of the so well known Cleedence Clearwater Revival. Well, lets keep it simple…. The complete hall exploded when he started to sing “Bad Moon Rising”. What a voice he has and how very well he can play the guitar.

All with all, a great show again. And I am happy I was there again. All this great music combined with the orchestra and choir…. and of the more the amazing light-show and special effects made it all it just perfect.

Next Saturday again to the Ahoy in Rotterdam… Jean Michel Jarre!!!


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Zandvoort aan Zee

by Rob on

Yesterday I spend some time in the town of “Zandvoort aan Zee”. This town is a well known spa in The Netherlands.
One of the reasons I went there was that I never had been there before. But maybe an even more important reason was that I wanted to try out my new lens (the “18-200mm AF VR” one). And I never will let a possibility go by to visit the sea. A walk along the beach always makes me feel relaxed and refreshed.

Although the clouds were promising rain, it stayed dry during my walk over the beach. The wind was playing a harsh game with the waves rolling onto the beach. A impressive, yet wonderful sight…

“Zandvoort aan Zee” belonged until 1772 to the House of Brederode. I have visited one of the castles (now a ruin) belonging to this house before (see my my post about that).
As so often history is connected and entangled in many ways and that always leads to surprises.

For the days of yesterday there rain and nothing else as rain predicted and yet at times the sun managed to break through the blanket of clouds and blue sky showed. I always love to watch clouds and specially above very alive sea.

For most people the weather might have been kinda bad, but for the surfers it is the weather to go out and ride the waves… I did surf in the past, but never on such waves. My respect for that.

And yes, I love my new 18-200mm lens… It is a great step forward compared to my old lens…


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My Photo-site…

by Rob on

People who read around here more often may remember that I used to have a photo site. I have taken this site down some time ago because I wanted to update the site to Gallery 3 (Gallery is the software on the site that I use for displaying my pictures). Another reason was that the pictures displayed on the old site was not a good collection any more.

So after I installed and customized the new version of Gallery 3 I started to add pictures again. But I have chosen to process the pictures I want on the site all over. This means that every picture I want on the site will be processed from scratch with UFRaw/Gimp to a result I find acceptable on the site.

Also I am still playing around with the look and feel of the site. So this may change every now and then.

Processing all the pictures all over and adding good comments to them is a lot of work. This means there only a few pictures on the site by now. But the number of pictures will grown over time.

What I really want to place back in what was in “The Past” on the old site. It was filled with old B/W pictures of my family and of myself when I very young. Some even me as baby.

When I place a picture on my photo site that I really like or there is something to tell about I will post it here and comment on it.

For those that don’t know, but here is my photo site: Photography is the skill to steal a moment from time….


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Let me first apologize for the lousy picture, but it was made with the most awful compact camera and I am too tired/lazy to do some Gimp-magic on it. But…

As I told already, I dropped my DSLR camera last week by accident. This with the result that the 18-55mm lens that I have was broken. Well, at least the AF-function (Auto Focus) was not working anymore. Setting the focus manually is still possible, but that is not something you really want this modern days…

But some times one can get lucky. I was able to buy a very nice second hand lens today.

My new lens is a Nikkor DX 18-200mm AF VS lens. Nikkor is Nikon own brand for lenses and Nikon is known for its high quality lenses.
It is very nice lens that can be used in many circumstances. Hence, the 200mm makes it even a very nice zoom-lens. Although it is possible to make good pictures with full zoom while holding the camera in your hands, but it will lead to many pictures that are not clear. But this new lens has the Vibration Reduction (VR) that will help a lot on this matter. This will be my first experiences with VR, but what I have seen from it by now I really going to love this
Of course this lens is also Auto Focus (AF), but as said that is really something these days.

I really think I am going to enjoy this lens…. :)


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A view from the past…

by Rob on

I don’t know why, but today I looked up on Streetview of Google Maps the house in Haaksbergen where I lived for so many years. When you look up something on Streetview of Google Maps you expect to see the current situation, but that is of course impossible.

But still it is very weird to see something there of which you know it is not there anymore. The picture of the house where I used the live on Google Maps is at least a year old. That means it still belonged to our family. It is so familiar… the curtains for the windows… the plants in the garden… the lamp next to the door…. even with a close look at the picture one could see the name plate next to the door that told that Henny and Wim Berkers were living here.

But as said, it is a view from the past… Earlier this year when my mother was taken for permanent in the caring-home we made the house empty… literally empty and that was already strange enough. It is all gone now. New people moved into the house and they decorated it all in their own way, not knowing of the past of the house.

Although explainable by logic, it is strange to see such a view from the past…


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