Miranda vs supermarkets

by Jennifer on

Miranda vs supermarketsVisiting a supermarket with Miranda is always fun! It is really Miranda vs supermarkets :-)

She really dislikes, how people squeeze hard in a bread to feel it is really fresh. Or how people go through the packages with cold cuts to get the one with the latest “best before date”, not realizing that they take all the other packages out of the cooled environment. And there are so many more examples.

Mir really refuses to buy food items at the supermarket. Things as washing powder is okay with her, but food.. no way! So for the bread we go to the bakery, for meat to the butcher, for vegetables and fruits we go to the greengrocer and so on.
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, the quality of the food at the specialized stores is much better and mostly more free of all kinds of additives to make it longer useable. Sure the prices may be a bit higher, but that is it well worth according Mir (and me as well).

So yes, taking Mir along to a supermarket is a fast way to get her grumpy. This morning again.
Mir went along to the supermarket to get the things that we normally buy there (as washing powder and such things). I warned her not to do so because it would be bad for her mood. She assured me it was okay.

When we entered the supermarket, I saw already that Mir’s face changed. There was a plate with orange segments and everybody was grabbing it. This goes against every hygienic rules Mir knows.
I told her to go and have a coffee at a nearby restaurant and that I would come there when I was done. No need to get in a bad mood this way.

I know that there are people who find this all ridicules, But please realize that “food” is Mir’s profession, she has to be serious about it. And consider what if she wasn’t that serious with the food that she might prepare for you…

And of course, every human is allowed to have his own little piece of craziness :-)




(Used photo was released to the public domain, please see Public Domain Pictures)

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About black olives…

by Miranda on

OlivesLast week Jennifer and I had a visitor that stayed for dinner. Our quest enjoyed the dinner very much, but there was one thing she had a remark about: The olives that I served with the dinner!
According her these olives weren’t of the best quality. As she always had these shiny uniform coloured black olives. Those were the real good ones and those more greenish pale coloured I had were not.

I had some bad news for her!

The olives I served were brought back from Lesvos by Marissa and Richard, who spent their vacation there.

The thing is those deep dark shiny olives don’t exist, not by nature anyway.

Maybe lets first see what the difference is between green and black olives. The colour shows how ripe the olives were when they were picked. Green olives are picked before riping and black olives when they are ripe, which is when the colour turns black.
Lets right away make a point here: Ripe olives are not black, they are more dark purple and are not uniform in colour (how much depends on the species). So these ripe “black” olives are not the deep black uniform coloured olives you can buy in the supermarket.

The shiny black olives from the supermarket are really green olives that are treated during the curing with calcium chloride salts, iron salts (ferrous gluconate). This gives them the dark shiny colour and they are this way faster edible.

There are some health concerns about calcium chloride salts and ferrous gluconate going around, but I don’t know how serious these have to be taken. But a fact is that olives treated with this salts lose in taste. This special strong taste the olives normally have is lost and that is a big pity. So taste was sacrificed here for how the olives look.
Of course the big Olive Companies in California will try to convince you other wise. But those who have tasted the “real natural” olives from Greece or Italy know better!


And oh, since our visit to Lesvos the Kolovi olive is my favourite, closely followed by the Kalamata.

For your trivia: Olives are fruits. Yes, they are *SMILE* .

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Many years ago I bought a vinyl long play record of Tony Hazzard. I was still going to school. So yes, really a long time ago.

First of all, I can imagine that specially younger people don’t know who Tony Hazzard is. Even in “The Gang” only Miranda and Jennifer knew right away who he was (Ladies, age shows :P).
Anyway Tonny Hazard is an English songwriter (born 13 October 1943, Liverpool). But when I mention that he wrote “Fox on the run” and “Ha! Ha! Said the clown” for Manfred Mann, then almost everyone knows these songs. But he also wrote for the Hollies, Andy Williams and others.

Loudwater House

Anyway, the Album I am referring has the beautiful name “Loudwater House”. I bought it at a store for second hand records in the city of Enschede. I don’t know why I bought this record, because at that time the name Tony Hazzard also meant nothing to me. I must have been 13 or 14 years old (the album was released in 1971).
Maybe it was the effort the precious owner took to protect the cover with transparent tape (which now has a more negative effect, but okay). Or maybe it was the very stylish and wonderful signature of the previous owner…

But what really made me buy the record was what I saw when took out the record to the check if it was not damaged…

Loudwater House

“Stone The Crows” was written with big characters on the paper over. Somehow these words made a big impression on me at that young age. I don’t know why. I had no idea what it really meant, but it felt as some kind of secret message.
Remember, at that time we didn’t have Google or Yahoo. Now I know that it can be an “exclamation of incredulity or annoyance”. Or that it can refer to the in 1969 formed British Blues-Rock band (I assume this is what it about).

At home I listened to the record I had bought. And right from the first moment I loved the music. And I still do! It is a kind of very relaxing rock. Good lyrics and a nice sense of humour.

But playing that record over the years so many times, did no good to the quality of the record. Specially my very old equipment was not that good and that did a lot of harm. So I started to look if there was an CD version available, but sadly I could not find anything. But to be really sure about this, I turned towards the person who would really know this, Tony Hazzard himself. So I sent him a message:

“Dear Tony,

I have a question for you 🙂.

A long time ago I have bought the vinyl long play record “Loudwater House”. I loved that album and I still do. But over the years playing that album so often the quality went really down.

So I wondered, is there ever a CD version published of that album? I have been looking around for it without any result, but that doesn’t mean anything. So I thought I ask you directly (cause who should know better as you 🙂 ).

Thank you for all those years that I have enjoyed your music.

Best regards,

To my own surprise that was within a few hours an reply:

“Thanks, Rob.

A double CD came out on Sanctuary Records in 2005 called ‘Go North – The Bronze Anthology’. It consisted of ‘Loudwater House’ plus ‘Was That Alright Then?’ plus various outtakes. Unfortunately the company closed, along with the stock which sometimes appears on eBay. In fact I had to buy a copy on eBay! It’s also available on download on iTunes and Amazon. You can also buy used (and sometimes new) vinyl copies on the internet. You can find my later work at www.tonyhazzard.com

Cheers, Tony.”

I was very happy with this fast reply.

So first thing I did was downloading the mentioned album from iTunes, so I have the music is good quality again. Next task will be looking for the CD on eBay or our own Dutch “Marktplaats”.

And oh, somewhere in the future “Loudwater House” will get a new meaning!


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Mountain Tea

by Mel on

What an interest suddenly for Mountain Tea. I would expect interest for well-known Greek products as Olives, Olive Oil, Oregano, Ouzo, Honey, Feta, Kavourmas, Loukaniko or even Manouri. But Mountain Tea?

But okay, Mountain Tea!

Mountain Tea

Mountain Tea (Σιδερίτης) is also known as Shepherd’s Tea, here we have right away a reference to the origin of Mountain Tea, or Ironwort as it also is called.

Mountain Tea is of course not a real tea. Real tea is prepared from the leaves of the tea-plant (“Camellia sinensis”), while Mountain Tea is prepared from the Sideritis-plant. In Greece there are 17 species of the Sideritis-plant (some bounded to a local area, others more common). Among these 17 species is there only one cultivated: Sideritis raeseri, the other species are growing in the wild.
Throughout the Mediterranean other variations are known (mainly in Italy and Turkey).

Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations in the world. In ancient times shepherds resided in remote isolated regions and developed a deep intimacy with their natural surroundings. It is through these conditions they discovered the qualities of many herbs. And Mountain Tea was one of these.

Mountain Tea is rich in iron and antioxidants. It is good for the digestion and it is anti-inflammatory.
There are over 60 chemical constituents in the essentials oils within Mountain Tea that have been shown to be beneficial for a wide array of health ailments, such as common cold, flues and coughs. It is also said that it can have a positive influence on Diabetes, osteoporoses and seasonal allergies, to people who interested in weight loss, dieting, increased performance in the athletic world all the way to those with severe depression, ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease (read careful: A positive influence, not a final cure or anything alike).

One advice on preparing Mountain Tea: It is important that Mountain Tea is boiled and/or steep in hot water for a period of time long enough to extract the essential oils within this plant (at least 5 minutes). It is tough to penetrate the woody Sideritis-plant, because of its evolution to growing out of hard limestone and at times under extreme weather conditions.

The Mountain Tea we drink here is coming from Macedonia, the Greek province of Macedonia and not the Republic of Macedonia (<- Small political rant here).

Mountain Tea tastes the best with a little bit of Honey. Greek Honey of course, as produced around my home town. *SMILE*

Rob, there is a nice portion of Mountain Tea for your colleague and you on its way to the Netherlands *SMILE* .




(Credit photo: Mel)

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Wonderful insults

by Miranda on

CurseWhile browsing the internet I ran into an awesome list of wonderful insults that people used in the past. I have to admit that I really like them.
And I am serious when I say that I am planning to memorize them and use them whenever the situation is right for it.


Gobermouch: This is an old Irish term for someone who likes to meddle in other people’s business.

Gnashnab: An 18th century northern English word, meaning someone who just complains all the time. Contemporary synonyms include nitpicker, moaner and grumbler.

Snoutband: Someone who always interrupts a conversation to correct or contradict the person speaking. Every social group has a snoutband, who thinks they know everything.

Stampcrab: Someone that’s clumsy and heavy of foot would be considered a stampcrab.

Scobblelotcher: Mental Floss notes this word is “probably derived from ‘scopperloit,’ an old English dialect word for a vacation or a break from work.” A scobberlotcher is someone who avoids hard work like it’s their job.

Whiffle-Whaffle: This is someone who wastes a lot of time.

Zooterkins: A 17th century variant of ‘zounds’ which was an expression of surprise or indignation.” It’s less of an insult and more of something to yell after someone has insulted you..

Zounderkite: This is a Victorian word meaning idiot.

Bedswerver: Shakespeare coined this one to describe an adulterer.

Fopdoodle: A fopdoodle is someone of little significance.

Klazomaniac: This would be a person WHO CAN ONLY SPEAK BY SHOUTING.

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by Rob on

SilverIt is not that I have many silver items in my house. Not at all I would say. Just 4 and those are on the photo in this article.

The little pig was a gift for the customers of the company I work for (although the company has now different owners),
The other three items have more value to me. They belonged to my mother and I can remember that they were gifts for mothers day. So yes, they are kinda special to me.

Now I have been told that it not good to polish silver too often. So in that way I am taken really good care of my silver things. I mean, when I walked this afternoon through my living room I suddenly noticed that they were not shiny any more, but looked really grey. I realized that this was moment to polish them.

I can remember that my mother always used something called “Silvo” to polish her silver. So I went to the local supermarket and to my pleasant surprise this silver polish is still available.
I also can remember that this silver polish had a very strong scent. So I decided to do the polishing on my balcony and that was a good decision, because the scent was everything but pleasant.

Now, 30 minutes later, the silver statues are all bright and shiny again!

But I am very afraid that somewhere in the future there will be a day that I suddenly wonder when these silver statues all turned grey instead of shining brightly!

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Photo’s we love: The town of Stipsi

by Marissa on

My first contribution to the new category that Rob created here on our weblog: The town of Stipsi (or also know as Stypsi).

Stipsi is a traditional town on the island of Lesvos. It is about 4.5 kilometres away (uphill!) from the well known town Petra, situated on the south-western slope of mount Lepetymnos, at an altitude of approximately 400 metres.
Don’t make the mistake to think that traditional means old fashioned, because that is not the case. All modern means as internet and alike are available.

This year Richard and I step during our holiday to Lesvos quite some time in Stipsi. Our hostess Mel showed us around the town and told us many interesting things about this town.
The result is that I have fallen in love with Stipsi.

Stipsi owes its name to `styptiria’, a hypo sulphite of aluminium and potassium, which is fοund in abundance in the subsoil and is used in the processing of hides and as an excellent mordant in dyeing.

The village was the birthplace (1866) of the hero of the Macedonian Struggle Metropolitan Germanοs Karavangelis, whose bust adorns the yard of the primary school.

Stipsi is, among other things, well known for it olive oil and honey.

It is good to have a place to stay at Stipsi…




(Credit photo: Marissa)

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A forum…

by Rob on

On request of the authors here on my weblog I will be adding a forum. They would like to have a place where they can discus things and make fun without bothering anyone. A forum can be a perfect place for that.

As I listen to the authors here on my weblog :-)

I suggest two make a forum with two area’s. One public area where anyone who wants to participate in the ongoing threads can do so (with a good Captcha, or anything alike, to block any spam). And the second area should be completely private with only access for the authors, so they (we) can discus subjects that are more private, for whatever reason this may be.

There are two options to do this.
There are WordPress plugins to have an forum. Big advantage of this is that everything is integrated into WordPress. So no messing around with the users and security. Everything adjusted to the layout of the used theme.
On the other side I could install a full forum-package aside of WordPress. This will most likely lead to many more features and control on everything.

Let me ponder on that a bit and try some things.

To the authors here on my weblog: Thank you for being such nice people *SMILE*


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When I waked up last Friday here in the hotel, there was message for me waiting on my iPhone: Rob did hurt his ankle again and he need for now a crutch to walk.

On his way to work he stumble on lose tile on the side walk. He was walking from his home to the train station, so he was not that far away from home. Luckily he made the right decision and returned home. Continuing to his work most likely would made it all a lot worse.

When I called him he told me that his ankle was all swollen and very painful. Put weight on made it even hurt more. Luckily he had crutches at home, so he could start to use those right away. It is not the first time that Rob had something like this (an accident he was involved in made his ankle a weak spot) and so he had already cooling packs at home. These eased the pain a lot he told me (remember there is currently a time difference of 7 hours between us, so by the time I got him on the phone he was already cooling his ankle).

Poor Rob, this kind of things always happens to him!

When Marissa heard about this (and knowing that I am in the US), she decided to drive right after her work to Rob’s place to help him out. What a wonderful woman my niece is! And apart from helping him out, it was also nice that he had some good company during the weekend.

Just chatted a bit with Rob. His ankle is no longer really swollen and the pain is a lot less. So tomorrow he will be going to work as normal, but he already decided for himself that he will be using a crutch for some days, so he will not encumber his ankle too much. Good decision of him!

Why this kind of things always happen when I am really far away. I would really liked to be there for him now.
Any way, just one and a half week and I will be going home. Looking very much forward to that!




(Credit photo: Public Domain, see Pixabay )

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The Dutch flag… as promised

by Richard on

Dutch flagAfter Mel posted an article about the Greek flag (very nice article btw), I felt almost obligated to write something about the Dutch flag. Well, here it is.

This will be also my first article here on the weblog. I always thought my first article would be about cars or sailing. How wrong I was :-).

The Dutch flag stands as a symbol of the unity and independence of the whole Kingdom of the Netherlands. The red-and-white blue is used both at land and at sea as a civil flag, service flag and war flag.
The Dutch flag is a horizontal triangular colour in red, white and blue. The flag of the Ministry of General Affairs identifies the colours as bright vermilion, clear white (silver) and cobalt blue. The flag proportions (width:length) are 2:3.

The colours have a symbolic meaning according to tradition. The red would stand for the common folk, the white for the church and the blue for the nobility. In other countries, as France, Croatia and the United States, this symbolism was appreciated and sot he same colours can be found in their flags.

The history of the current is related to two other flags, the Prince’s flag and the Staten flag.
The Prince’s flag (orange, white, blue) was the flag of Prins William Prince of Orange (“Orange” is derived from Aurasio and is unrelated to the name of the fruit or the colour). He leaded the revolt against King Phillip of Spain in 1572.
The Staten flag (red,white, blue) most likely goes back to the late medieval period. It is said that the colours were taken from the coat of arms of the Bavarian house, the rulers of the county of Holland during 1354–1433

In 1813 The Netherlands regained its independence and the Prince of Orange returned from exile. In order to demonstrate the attachment of the people to the House of Orange, the orange-white-blue Prince’s Flag and the red-white-blue State Flag were shown next to one another. Which of the two flags should be the national flag was not decided at that time.

From the same period dates the custom, prescribed spontaneously by popular will, to fly an orange pennant together with the national flag as a sign of allegiance of the people to the House of Orange. The pennant is added on King’s Day (Dutch: Koningsdag, 27 April) or any other celebration related to the Royal Family.

On 1937 February 1937 Queen Wilhelmina finally made the red, white and blue colours the national flag of The Netherlands.

The use of the Prince’s-flag (orange, white and blue) is at the moment controversial at least. Although this flag has it origin with “De Geuzen” (Gueux de mer, “Sea Beggars”), the pro-Dutch privateers. it was during World War II used in the Netherlands by the NSB (“Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging”, National Socialist Movement). When recently a right winged political party had this flag in their office it leaded to harsh discussions.

Anyway, I am proud on the Red, White, Blue!

(And Rob, thank you for allowing me to use your photo the Dutch flag. Seeing the orange pennant it was taken at a King’s Day?)



(Credit photo: Rob)

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