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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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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