“Suske & Wiske, Het Monamysterie”

by Sanne on

Suske & Wiske 341
Just as Rob I am a big fan of the comic series Suske & Wiske (or “Spyke & Suzy” as they are called in Britain or “Willy & Wanda” in the US), but unlike Rob I don’t collect the albums. So every time I see a new released album, I warn Rob not to buy it. This because after I read it, I sent it will all kinds of pleasure to Rob so he can read it and add it to his collection.

So this week I saw a new release in a book store, it was number 341 in the series called “The Monamysterie” (which translates to “The Mona Mystery”). The album was released on 12 September (ISBN 9789002263149).
I sent Rob a text-message asking if he already had bought this album, which was quickly answered by a “no”, which I answered with a “Don’t buy it, it will be soon laying in your mail box!”.

In this album professor Barabas examines, commissioned by the Louvre, the Mona Lisa. When he turns the figure from the painting to life with his Teletransfor, it seems to be a man. He claims that he had modelled in 1911 for the copy and fleas from the lab. The Mona Lisa is a fake! And this is the beginning of the adventure!

The album is on its way to you, Rob. Have fun with it!


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“Buy a cow” (koopeenkoe.nl)

by Miranda on

Cow

Last weekend Rob and I chatted through Skype.and the conversation turned to meat. Don’t be scared, this article will not be about vegetarianism. Not that anything is wrong with that, but Rob and I both can appreciate some good meat.
But having said that we both also care about the well being of the animals.

Rob told me that someone he knows very well (and sorry, I forgot the name of this lady) who gave him last year some meat from extreme good quality. Very clearly no bio-industry meat, but very well prepared meat and never has been frozen in before.
Believe me, every time you deep freeze meat it loses some of its quality. Often meat from a supermarket has been frozen before you buy it. There are even stories going around that meat in a supermarket can be 2 years old (beware, I said “stories”. I have no idea how true these are). All in all, for me, enough reason not to buy any meat at a supermarket.

For me it is very simple: Something that has been frozen, you never freeze again.

Anyway, Rob really loved this high quality meat that he got last year and he has been looking for a way to buy it for himself. He found one organisation, but you had to collect the meat yourself and only throughout the week during office hours, this was not doable for him.

But very recently he was pointed by someone to another organisation who sounded really good to him AND they deliver at home during two evenings in a week. This organisation is called “Koop een koe” (“Buy a cow”).

People buy a part of a selected cow. When the cow is “completely” sold, the animal will be slaughtered with as less stress as possible (which can be a lot less as in the common slaughterhouses).

These cows are kept in a friendly way. When possible they can walk outside. The sheds are modern, clean and with lots of space. A calf can stay for 8 or 9 months with their mother, which benefits the health of both.
No preventive antibiotics. No not needed medicines at all.
The meat is really pure 100% beef. There are no E-numbers, sugar, colourings or preservatives used.

Some people may not like the idea that you buy a cow that is still alive for its meat, but on the other side you know that this cow had a good life.

When the meat is delivered is it all ready to be placed in the freezer (labelled and all). But I would like to advise to pick one piece of the meat and enjoy for once the wonderful taste of meat that never has been frozen before… it is worth it.

The package meat is marked with an ear tag number, that is the cow’s ear tag, so the meat is always traceable.

The thing is that Rob told me very excited about this organisation, but privately I already often buy my meat through “koopeenkoe.nl”. Apart from the well being of the animals, the meat is of superb quality. And for me, with my background, that is also very important.

Miranda
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“Koetjesrepen”

by Sanne on

Koetjesreep
Yesterday, when I was doing my weekly shopping for groceries and alike, I suddenly saw something in the supermarket that surprised me: “Koetjesrepen”!

I was convinced that they were not made and sold anymore. Turned out I was very wrong.

But maybe let me first explain what “Koetjesrepen” are, because I assume it is something only known in The Netherlands and maybe Belgium. The photo at the top of this article may let people think it is a chocolate bar. But no. It looks like a chocolate bar, but it isn’t. The bar contains less as 35% cacao and according Dutch regulations it isn’t chocolate bar. So they call it a “Cacaofantasie”(cocoa fantasy, which is also in The Netherlands a protected name).
Originally the “Koetjesreep” was made by the Dutch company Promena Boon & Comp (Wormerveer). Currently this is done by the Belgian Chocolate Group.

I will not go into the discussion if the “Koetjesreep” is healthy or not (I am truly amazed about the nonsense that is said about food).

When I was a young girl my parents had always these “Koetjesrepen” as treat, as so many parents I guess. It was a good and cheap replacement of the more expensive real chocolate bars. And I loved them. But just as with Rob when he recently discovered that “Quality Street” still were around, nowadays I find the taste acceptable, but not more as that. Maybe I am spoiled by too much “real” chocolate that contains more cacao.


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Zebragras
Chlorophytum comosum is a well known houseplant. The common name for this plant is spider plant, but is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant. In Dutch the plant is known as “Zebragras” or “Graslelie”.

It wants a light place, but preferably not too much direct sunlight. Apart from that it is an easy plant to grow. Regularly water and once per month a little fertilizer is all that is needed.

The plant is also known for it air-filtering capacities and for these reason NASA is interested in this plant.

So why an article on this weblog about this rather common houseplant?

Well, during the last years of mothers life, she had a “Zebragras” plant in her house. A nice big and healthy plant.

When my mother was taken in to a home because her health didn’t allow it to live on her own any more, the house where she use to live needed to be cleaned and everything removed from it.
Among other things, I took the “Zebragras”-plant with me to my home.

Since then, this plant was standing in my living room, growing strongly.
That is until summer this year. I noticed the plant stopped growing and clearly the heath was getting weak. I realized that this plant was slowly dying and nothing would stop that.

Luckily, many plants have a special way to multiply: Rooting plant cuttings. Basically this means you take a healthy sprig of a plant and put it in a glass of water. If everything goes well after some time the sprig will start to develop roots. When there enough strong roots the sprig can be placed in potting soil and with a little luck the sprig will start to grow.

Even more luckily is that rooting from cuttings is mostly successful for the “Zebragras” plant.

So some weeks before our holiday to Greece, I took the two most healthy sprigs from my mothers plant and placed them in water. Already after a week the first roots started to grow. One week before we left for Greece, I placed the two sprigs in potting soil.
3 Weeks later on our return the sprig had started to grow and formed new leaves.

I waited two more weeks and the sprigs had grown into strong healthy young plants. The plant I had taken the sprigs from was really almost dead. And the time was there to replace the old plant with the young strong sprigs.

I am happy that I could save the “Zebragras” plant that once belonged to my mother this way and that there is now a strong and healthy plant again, as can be seen on the photo at the top of this article.

The white ceramic pillar and pot on the photo belonged to my parents and was given by my brother, my sister and me to them for their 25th wedding anniversary. The “old plant” was also placed in this plant pot.

Happy that it worked out this way!

Rob
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Tokmakia

During our vacation this year we have been visiting the Eastern part of Lesvos. A beautiful area where wild horses roam and turtles can be found. Also the home of many bird species, there are more wild bird species on Lesvos than anywhere else in Europe.

At a certain moment we made a break aside a road that led along the East coast of Lesvos. I looked over the sea and saw there some islands. I turned to Mel, our Greek friend from Lesvos, and pointed towards the islands.
Before I even could say something she confirmed smiling that these were the Tokmakia islands (when you look at the photo above, the islands more to the horizon, not the small one closer to the coast).

Last year, when we travelled with our best friends as a group to Lesvos (and Mel certainly belongs to that group), we sailed around Lesvos with Richard as our “captain” as he his the skills and experience to handle a sailboat as the one we rented.
The Tokmakia islands was the place where we dropped the anchor.

It is said that the Tokmakia islands attract, like the ancient Sirens, everyone who is passing by. And that is true, when you are standing on your boat and you see those islands you will feel a strong desire to explore those islands.

The water around the Tokmakia islands is crystal clear, it almost looks as if there is no water. It creates the image that your boat is floating in the air.
The islands are home to many bird and plant species, a wonderful place for those who are interested in these.

As said, last year with visited these islands. The water was too shallow near the beaches, so Richard decided to drop the anchor on some distance. After we made sure that the anchor was properly secured, we swam as true explorers to the island holding food and other stuff above our heads so it would not become wet. After a few times to the sailboat and back we had anything we wanted on the beach of one of the islands (the one called “Ασπρονήσια” or Aspronisia).

On the beach we had the nicest pick nick and even a small BBQ (very good secured so nothing could go wrong).
We swam in the crystal clear water of the sea, we enjoyed the sun on the beach, we explored the island and were amazed by the beauty all around us.

Our time on Ασπρονήσια was truly amazing. Something never to forget. When we left (and made sure no garbage or anything else was left behind) we all were feeling great.
Back on the boat we prepared to sail away and when the anchor was raised I heard Richard say to Marissa that they would come back to these islands.
And oh yes, one day we will go back there…

I must have been standing there for a while, dreaming and watching the Tokmakia islands there out in the sea. Suddenly I felt an arm around my shoulders… Rob… He smiled. And do you know what he whispered in my ear? “We will go back there… “.

And now I know for sure that we will return to the Tokmakia islands one day!

(The photo’s below were made during our holiday of 2016, when we visited as group these wonderful islands).

Marion Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia Tokmakia

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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….

Rob

 

 

(Source photo: www.metaphysics-knowledge.com)


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Forge of Empires

by Rob on

Forge of Empires
As with every holiday there are these “empty moments” when nothing is going on and nothing needs your attention. Mostly it is early in the morning, late in the evening or when the ladies were getting a tan.

For these moments I loaded a game called “Forge of Empires” on my iPad (well, you are a gamer or you are not 😜).

The game is about building a city and taking it from the stone age way into the far future.
You have to build houses for your citizens. Create an army. Conquer land. Defend your city. Produce all kinds of goods and much more.

Luckily, you don’t have to be present all the time. You can just quit the game any time you like and look hours later what all happened. New goods may be produced. More money may be collected. Other players may have visited your tavern or repaired your items…. or your city may have been attacked 😮.

Of course the idea behind this game is that you buy for real money in-game items that will help you to process faster and easier in the game.
Apart from a few euro when I was completely stuck in the game, I will not spend real money on this game. And for the most this is not needed at all, just some patience is needed.

I think I will keep this game loaded on my iPad. May be nice for traveling by train to work and back home again.


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Parsley (Dutch: Peterselie)

by Jennifer on

Parsley

As Marion and Rob are currently on Lesbos, it is maybe a good moment to speak about parsley. Oh, there is a connection between parsley and Greece?
Yes, there is! For the ancient Greek parsley was a symbol of joy. Laurel wreaths were made of parsley and worn at festive.
A combination of parsley and oregano was considered a cure against a hang over.

It were the Romans who spread parsley over Europe.

Anyway parsley (Petroselinum crispum), or “peterselie” as we call it in Dutch, is a species that belongs to the family Apiaceae.
Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean (southern Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia). There are nowadays many cultivated species available.

Fresh parsley sprigs or chopped leaves are very often used as garnish of many dishes. Chopped leaves are also often used in soups and stews.
Sometimes it is even used as a snack. It has indeed a very nice flavor. Try it someday, you may like it.

Fresh parsley contains relatively large amounts of minerals (especially iron and silicon), as well as B-vitamins and carotene. The vitamin C content is exceptionally high (80-300 mg per 100 grams).
This only goes for fresh parsley. Dried parsley contains a lot less vitamins. So fresh parsley is always preferred over dried ones.

Apart from all mentioned before, parsley is also beneficial for your health.
Parsley is anti-inflammatory. Regularly eating parsley can help to prevent inflammations.
Parsley supports the digestion. If your digestion is not optimal, by, for example, a mostly sedentary existence, parsley supports the digestive process and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers.
It provides a clean, fresh breath.
Despite good oral hygiene you can suffer from bad breath. Eating parsley helps you to get a fresher breath. Parsley contains quite a bit of chlorophyll; a substance with an antibacterial effect. This substance fights the wrong bacteria in your mouth.
And these are just some of the positive effects of parsley.

There, how a simple herb as parsley can be so special!

Jennifer

 

 

 

(Photo was published in the public domain, see Public Domain Pictures)


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The stars above

by Rob on

Now the darkness has covered the island, the temperature has become very nice. Very welcome after the heat of the day.

Mel, Marion and I made a very nice walk in the neighborhood of Mel’s house. Just 5 minutes away from her house and the darkness is complete. Then, looking up to the sky, something unknown to The Netherlands anymore, shows… a sky full of bright and playful stars!

The heavy “light pollution” in The Netherlands hides the beautiful star filled skies from us. Even in the sparsely populated parts of our country, it is nothing like as hereupon the hills of Lesvos.

It is amazing to see how many stars there are in the firmament, all differences in brightness and size. Just imagine that the star closest to us, apart of the sun of course, is still 4.2 light years away from us. The furthest known star is 13.4 billion light years away (Hubble 2016). Just try to comprehend that!

I tried to make photo’s of this wonderful sky, but I failed in that! Next year I have to bring a tripod to capture this awesome phenomenon!

On my iPhone and iPad I have an app called “Starwalk 2”. This app has many nice features, but there is one I really love: if you hold the device in any direction it will show the current firmament including planets, stars, satellites, deep space objects and more.

The pictures below are things we have seen tonight. It was really awesome how we could match the information given by the app to the real sky!

Ah well, both Mel as Marion are dozing slowly away into sleep. Lets get some sleep I would say!

Petra Petra Petra Petra Rob
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The town of Petra.

by Marion on

Today Rob and I walked through the town of Petra. Petra is a town in the northern part of Lesvos and where we rented our studio for this vacation.
Petra
This is what the Wikipedia says about Petra:
Petra (Greek: Πέτρα meaning rock) is a former municipality on the island of Lesbos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lesbos, of which it is a municipal unit. It is located at the northwest of Lesbos and comprises the villages Petra, Skoutaros, Stypsi, Lafionas, Ypsilometopo and the settlements Petri and Anaxos.

Petra Church
Mel would still do an article on why the town is named “rock” and the connection to the lovely church of Petra (Mel, gentle reminder 😁).

The costal town lies at the foothills of mount Lepetymnos. This gives a magnificent view on the town.

Petra is a town with many nice small streets with lots of shops and taverns. A real pleasure to walk through. Many typical Greek buildings showing a diversity in building style, but all with the typical red roofs.

Petra Street
The main road of Petra leads directly along the sea, very nice for walks. Especially when the wind plays with the sea.
East of the town there is a very nice sandy beach. Great for swimming and tanning. And there are many nice restaurants near.

Such a nice town!

Marion
Town of Petra

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