Me and my big mouth…

by Rob on

You know it when you say something you don’t really mean, out of fun… to make others laugh and have a good time. And suddenly it gets a slight bitter taste.

Many will know that Marion and I have a so called “LAT” relation (Living Apart Together). The weekends we are mostly together, but throughout the working days we are not. A good situation we both support and are very happy with.

More than 4 weeks Marion has been sleeping next to me. The nights before our vacation to Lesvos, during our vacation and the days after our vacation.
It felt good, also the “special” nights (don’t ask :P).

And all the time I was bragging about how nice it would be to have the bed for me alone again… No one to bump into, all the spaces, blablabla…

And now the vacation is done and all returns to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to change anything in the way Marion and I are living…. but the bed is suddenly very empty. Me and my big mouth….




(Source photo:

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Marion is in the USA

by Rob on

I am sure that many of our friends know that right now Marion is in the USA for her work. She has to stay there for about 3.5 week. She and her colleagues will discuss all that happened the last year, the good and the bad. See if it is possible to improve things, even that what is already going very well. There will be talk about the plans for the coming years. And there will be all kind of (product) trainings.
This all has slowly turned into a yearly happening as it shows that the company benefits a lot of these yearly meetings.

So yes, I do understand that this all is important for the company Marion is working for. But do I like it? No, 3.5 weeks is just too long. Sure, I am used to it that Marion is often away from home. But as said,  3.5 weeks is just too long for me. But don’t worry, I will survive.

This late afternoon Sanne, who is visiting me, and me were chatting with Marion. For her it is end of the morning (7 hours time difference). It was so good to see her face (I am so happy with fast internet connections and modern communication protocols which make real time face-to-face communication possible).

The hotel where Marion is staying in Tennessee is a good and luxury one. No simple hotel room, but a nice suite with a good big bed, a comfortable place to sit to read or watch television and a good desk to work on when needed. The bathroom is big and with a tub and a shower.
There are more nice things to this hotel as a indoor swimming pool, a gym and a sauna (a real one that is heated with coal). The bar of the hotel is very comfortable and a nice place to spend some time with other hotel guests.
So the hotel that was selected for Marion to stay is really okay.

While we were chatted with Marion we managed to locate the hotel on Bing…

Hotel Mario

I even know now the windows belonging to the room where stays, which is kinda nice to know.

On Google Maps, in street view, you can see the hotel, but sadly you cannot get anywhere near it. Funny are the differences in colour of the walls between the photo’s of Bing and Google. I assume the weather is the reason for this. The weather seems much better on the first picture.

Hotel Marion


Near by the hotel there is a McDonalds. Marion is no big fan of McDonalds, but she tried to be open minded and had there a snack. It seems not to be possible, but according Marion it is even worse as over here in The Netherlands.
But the kitchen of the hotel is good and there are some nice restaurants around. Marion said she will not die of hunger :-)

It is good to see that they did everything to make her stay of in Tennessee some comfortable as possible. I am happy about that, but to be honest, I cannot wait on the day to pick her up at Schiphol Airport again!




(Credit pictures: Microsoft Bing & Google Maps)

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For us Easter is always a moment to relax. Maybe with a close friend as Sanne, but no big crowds. In our every day life, Marion and I are often surrounded by quite some people. So some days as Easter are perfect to be for a little away from that. This year we have even chosen to be just with the two of us.

So we took this morning a long and enjoyable breakfast. We spent almost 2 hours at the breakfast table. Talking, laughing, enjoying the good food (see the photo at top of this article with al the nice food). Both of us just one egg, we both don’t like eating a lot of eggs as some people do with Easter.
And of course we were not eating all the time. As said, most of the time we were talking and enjoying tea or coffee.

So really time for us.

Easter flowers

I do know that Easter is for many Christians an important festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion.
And that is perfectly fine with me. As said, as long one respect that someone believes other things that are not in line with you own believes and can live and act in full freedom to his/her own convictions (within the laws and such of course), then I support freedom of religion.

But, as yesterday on a forum, someone claims that I should be not allowed to celebrate Easter because I am an atheist, I will explain calmly that Easter originally had nothing to do with Christianity, but it was the celebration of Eostre, who was the pagan goddess of fertility. The rabbit was her sacred animal and the egg the symbol of rebirth. And there we have it again, Christians use very pagan symbols for their celebrations and that is something that is not allowed according the bible (Not that I care, it is their bible. Not mine).

My point? Very simple… every one should celebrate Easter in their own peaceful way!




(Credit photo’s: Rob)

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Most will know that Marion is often during the week away for her work. Aside from that we have a so called LAT-relation (Living Apart Together). The result of this that we mostly only see each in the weekends (maybe it is a nice idea that Marion and I write some time an article about this, there are many things to such a relation as we have).

It is very normal for me to wake up once or twice during the night. And when that happen and Marion is asleep beside me, I always enjoy it to hear her breathing, soft in and out. And to watch her sleeping through the soft moonlight that flows in the our bedroom.
Maybe it is because we don’t see each every day that I still feel my blood flow in a little faster through my veins when I watch her like this.

Some times I can see that she is dreaming. Mostly she moves a little. Saying soft things that I cannot understand. But I can see she is relaxed. So all is good.
But every now and then she is more restless in her sleep. I am always afraid she is having a bad dream about memories from less good times. When that happens I always want to wake her up, but I am assured by experts that this would not be good. Luckily when it happens it is not very long and I am very happy to see her relax again.

When I look at her in the half dark of our bedroom I feel really happy to have her in my life and that already for a nice long time. One of the best things that ever happened in my life, that is for sure.

I always feel the need to cuddle her softly when I’m watching her sleep, which I don’t do because I don’t want to wake her up!

(The picture, at the top of this article, is called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and made by John Simmons in 1873. This pictures is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.)




(Credit picture: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by John Simmons in 1873, Public Domain)

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Restaurant “Nieuwe Koningin”

by Rob on

Tonight Marion and I had dinner at restaurant “Nieuwe Koningin” in the city of Haarlem. It is not the first time we were here. Returning means that we really liked it there. And again we were not disappointed.

They say that the first impression is very important. You feel directly very welcome when you arrive. You are the appreciated guest and that is exactly how you feel there.

We both had the same main dish, sea bass with sweet potato cream, bacon and fennel.It was delicious. The taste was soft and had the fish a nice structure. Exactly how it should be.
Along with the sea bass we had French fries, a mixture of vegetables and rice.
We forgot the name of the wine, but it was perfect and went very well along with the fish.

As dessert we had chocolates served with coffee and a liqueur.

The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the restaurant easily leads to some good conversations. Something I love to get lost in with Marion.

We will come here again, that for sure!

Website of restaurant “Nieuwe Koningin”

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Today I was talking with someone about all kind of topics and suddenly, as thunder on a clear day, there was that question again: “When are Marion and you moving together? Or even get married? You two are so long together by now…”

People who know us a little will know the answer… we won’t.

We both are very happy with the way our lives are going. So why would we change anything with the risk that things my turns sour?
So why should we? Because people expect you to move together after a certain time? Or even worse, because society expects it? No, both very wrong reasons.

As many will know Marion has been married and it was a very bad marriage. So bad that she is literally allergic to the word “marriage”. And even if it would give a big tax advantage, this is not open for discussion.

And I myself been also for a long time in an relation that in the end turned out not to be succesful. Some things just happen, so putting really nowhere the blame.

After the period with both became single again, we rebuilt our freedom and independency. We re-started our lives again. Not looking for a relation again. And I think I can say were both happy. Things were good. So we both were completely off guard when we met the first time…. and well, things happened :-).

Anyway, after being some time together and feeling wonderful about that, we found both out that we didn’t want to give up our freedom and independency again. We needed a safe-spot in our lives. I know that some people will say that in that case we are not meant for each other. I think that by now we have proven that we really are meant for each other.

So we decided for a LAT (Living Apart Together) relation. And that is really working awesome for us. We both bought a house (Marion has her bungalow already a long time and I bought my apartment after I got my permanent contract for my job in Hoofddorp).
So we have always our own place with our won stuff and where we can do whatever we like, which is important to us. And yet we are most weekends together. I even believe that the way are living has strengthened our relation and made it more solid.

And lets be honest, when you need an official paper to proof you really love each other, then there is something very wrong…

So if you even wonder if Marion and I will move together or even get married…. No need to ask, you have the answer now! :-).

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Bram Hijmans trail

by Rob on

In 2012 Marion and I made a bicycle ride into the dune-area and we discovered a wonderful small path leading us through the forests. This path was called the “Bram Hijmans-trail”. We had a very enjoyable time over then (see the article A nice bicycle trip… about that).

I learned that Bram Hijmans was a composer from Heemskerk who lived from 1932 to 1996. But when I later tried that find the trail that was named after him again, I failed. I asked quite some people, but no one could really point to it again. Even Google gave only a limited result when searching for it and that what was found did not gave the location of the trial.

Until some days ago, when two persons gave me the information I was searching for. One was a colleague who found on the Internet a PDF with a walking trail that was leading along the “Bram Hijmans pad” (the PDF even contained a map).
Almost at the same time someone from a social media site told me that I just had to follow the “Hondsbosseweg” (which can be found on Google Maps) and that would lead me directly to the “Bram Hijmanspad”.

Yesterday was a very warm day, so we waited until the temperature was bearable again. Marissa and Sanne (who were visiting us) joined Marion and me on our trip bicycle to this “long lost” trail. We made a small detour through Heemskerk and Beverwijk to show Marissa and Sanne some of the nicer things to see around there.

As the map showed and as I was told, the “Hondsbosseweg” leaded indeed directly to a very path that could be very well the trail we were looking for. But as I saw this very old direction sign, I knew we were on the right location. I could remember this sign very well.

While we followed the trail walking next to our bicycles (bicycling is not allowed there) we saw some very nice sights. And even with Heemskerk and Beverwijk really close-by, you got a feeling there to be somewhere in the middle of very big wild reserve and for many kilometres no one is near. I like that feeling. And so did the ladies when I mentioned this to them.

And then finally the complete confirmtation that this is the “Bram Hijmanspad”…

A said, we all enjoyed this little trip into this wonderful area. As Marissa remark, so different as the forests in Twente. She couldn’t find the old oaks and such where she is so used to. But according her it was wonderful to wander here around.

I think I will come here more often and enjoy the area and all that is close to there.

When I bought this camera (Nikon D300s), Marion gave me a GPS module (I still love it very much). And as the GPS module was turned on, I will now always be able to find back the “Bram Hijmanspad” (each pin on the map represents one or more pictures taken on that place).

Back on the normal roads, I realized that it was from there where we were a little trip to Wijk aan Zee. I suggested to the ladies that we go there for some food and drinks. The idea was welcomed very positively as we all were hungry and thristy.

We ended up at beach pavilion Timboektoe. A very nice place to be. After dinner there (although it was already late for dinner), we stayed there rather a long time. The conversation was good and we laughed a lot. Time flies when you are having fun…

Well, another great weekend….

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“Berlin”, Ellen ten Damme

by Rob on

Some time ago I was informed that Ellen ten Damme would give a special concert. There were two reasons for this concert to be special: All the songs would be in German. And concert would be used to make a new CD. So I bought tickets for the best available seats. The concert would be at “Het Concertgebouw”, Amsterdam.

The idea was to have somewhere dinner before the concert and, if time would allow it, to have something to drink before catching the last train back to Heemskerk. Well, at least that was what Marion thought…

Next to “Het Concertgebouw” is a very good place to eat located: “Brasserie Keyzers”. We have been there before and decided to go there today again. They serve mainly seafood, which is fine by me as it is of very good quality.

The concert was called “Berlin”, which refers to the German songs or as Ellen ten Damme said: “She was looking for the way to Berlin”. The performance was awesome. Again Ellen ten Damme showed that she has great musical skills and knows how to set an performance, all with great humour. The songs were a mixture of well known German songs, as song written by Ellen herself.
I hear often people say that German is hard and harsh language. During the show I saw again confirmed that this is not correct. It sounded wonderful.

As said, there was a recording for a CD at this concert. And at the end of the show it turned out that the recording of some songs were not perfect, so they had to be done again. Which was not a punishment at all. Marion already said that we would stay to the end of it all, skip the planned drinks after the show and go directly to catch the train back to Heemskerk. I just nodded..

When all was done there was in opportunity to register to get the recorded CD to a very nice price. Of course I registered.

Outside again I think Marion started to suspect something, because I didn’t hurry in a single way to get to the station to get the last train. And she was right, already weeks before I reserved a room at the hotel Weber (and early in the morning I already brought the things we would need for the night to the hotel).
Hotel Weber is not a big hotel, but is surely a very nice hotel with wonderful rooms with lots of luxury.
At the wonderful and very comfortable room we enjoyed some very nice wine and chatted a long time, before showering and going to sleep.

In the morning we had breakfast on our room. Around 11:00 we checked out and went home. Both of us feeling good. It was indeed a wonderful evening that I will remember with great pleasure.

Marion loves this kind of surprises and I love it to be able to give her this to her.

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Already for some time Marion and I had planned to have a nice walk along one of the beaches here again, but because of all kind of reasons it just didn’t happen.

So this morning the sun was shinning and we saw our chance today. We decided to go the beach of Zandvoort. The train almost takes you directly to the beach. We often go for our trips with the train to avoid parking problems. And for us it makes the travelling much more relaxing when Marion has not the concentrate on the driving (and we know that many people don’t agree with us on this, but so what? :-) ).

When we arrived at Zandvoort the sun had disappeared and made place for a soft rain. But that was okay. The temperature was nice and the wind was not too bad. We walked for a while along the boulevard.

Sadly the soft raining turned into a more harsh rain and we decided to find some cover. As we both already were a bit hungry we looked for a place to have dinner. We found a restaurant called “Boomerang” where they served mainly Australian food and that made us interested. Marion decided for an ostrich steak and I went for a mixed grill of kangaroo, ostrich and crocodile. I had kangaroo and ostrich before, but it was the first time I had crocodile meat. It really was nice tasting.
The food was very good. The people of the restaurant were friendly and helpful. But there was something in way the restaurant was decorated and the atmosphere we both didn’t like. But apart from that it was all very good.

After our dinner we continued our walk along the boulevard and the beach. The rain stopped and even the sun started to shine again.

The last time I walked on the beach my foot, that I injured last year, gave me rather some problems in the loss sand of some parts of the beach. That went this time already a lot better. Still an uncomfortable feeling, but there is clearly progress and that is important.

It was a very nice afternoon and it was good to have seen the sea again.

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Valentijnkade Amsterdam

by Rob on

Recently I have talked with some of my family (my fathers side of the family) about the Valentijnkade in Amsterdam. The reason we talked about this street is rather simple, it is the street where my grandparents lived and where my father grew up. Pictures from long ago showed up, which was wonderful to see them.

Some years ago I visited the Valentijnkade, but that was just a short visit to have a look around. But now, after all the new information I got and the pictures I have seen, I waited to go there again and have a better look around. Make pictures and such.
I had not planned anything for this yet, but when two weekends ago Marion heard that the weather would be very nice for the time of the year, she suggested to go there that weekend. A grand idea and so we went to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of those cities you really don’t want to go to by car. We took a train from Heemskerk to the Amsterdam Muiderpoort rail road station. The idea was to hire there bicycles. Although the sun was shining brightly, the wind was strong. And all of a sudden I had visions of bicycle wheels stuck in tram rails (something that happened to me some years ago). So we decided not for bicycles, but we took the bus. Just a short ride of two bus stops.

When you walk from the Molukken Street onto the Valentijnkade first thing you will notice is the Hartmanbridge (in Dutch “De Hartmanbrug”).

The Hartman Bridge was named in the past “Bridge 109”. But in 2007 it was renamed to the “Hartmanburg” after André Hartman, who was the owner of the cigarette shop on the corner of the Valentijnkade and the Molukkenstreet and who died in 1993 by a robbery of his shop.

My grandfather lived at the Valentijnkade 32, 1 floor (European way, for American people he lived at the second floor). It is also the place where my father (and the others of my grandparents family) lived.

On the picture above almost the complete family of my grandfather (only one uncle and my grandfather himself of course are missing).

And here another picture made of the family on the Hartmanburg or Brigde 109 as it was called at that time.

One thing I am very happy about it that the houses at the Valentijnkade have almost not changed over the years. Of course they have been modernized to nowadays standards, but from the outside they are almost not changed, very unlike what happened to the street where my mother grew up.

It was very nice to wander around. We sat for the longest time on the Hartmanburg, enjoying the sun and chatting a bit which other. So many stories about my father that I still needed to share with Marion. There were so many things buried in my memories and visiting this place brought them all back up…

It really was a very nice and enjoyable day!

ps. The names of the people in the older pictures are known to me, but I found no use in it to tag all the names in this article.

Here some more pictures I made around the Valentijnkade:

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