Monthly Archives: October 2013

Darkness and Light

Have you ever given a thought to this.

No matter how much darkness there is, it can never extinguish even a single spark of light and yet light can extinguish even the darkest deepest darkness.

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There is no such thing as a Coincidence!

Some years ago I read, “There is no such thing as coincidence”. I, like many reacted straight away by thinking yes but what of that chance meeting with an old friend this morning or what of my buying the same something or other as my cousin. But then the writer went on to talk about seeds and Oak trees. He explained that Oak trees don’t just materialise one day into massive great kings of the forest. No, there is first a seed which lands on the earth buries itself and lies there dormant for a while until it finally starts to shoot up out of the earth and grows into that mighty Oak.
In just the same way, that “coincidental” meeting with a friend is the result of many small occurrences, which slowly, rather like the ball in a pinball machine point you in a direction that finally ends up with your coincidental meeting.

The “coincidental” car crash.

We get up out of the wrong side of the bed one morning. On our way to work we give the finger to a neighbour who has by accident pulled over a little to quickly in front of us, the neighbour in turn calls you something or other unpleasant and puts his foot down on the accelerator, narrowly missing another innocent car, this driver gets rather flustered at the incident and turns into a road without stopping or signalling and crashes straight into another car causing severe damage. Coincidence?

It’s all connected in one way or another

 

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A prayer to our new Government in waiting

A prayer to our new Government in waiting.

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A prayer to our new Government in waiting

Norway’s new government in waiting has really got it’s priorities right. It’s already announced it will legalise Professional Boxing in Norway! Now, when you consider our schools are falling apart for lack of maintenance, our roads are a joke, our trains likewise and immigration is out of control (even though you lefties won’t admit it); Boxing is a really important subject…Well done, well prioritised, perhaps you should also regulate the colour of milk cartons while your at it, that’s really needed!

During the election process it was quite incredible how many billions the various political parties could find to build new schools and roads and how much better you are going to make it for us. But why, I ask myself, didn’t you do it when you were in power these last 8 years? And please stop telling us you didn’t mean it that way and we have misunderstood. You did mean it at the time, to get your 2 minute sound bite, but you had no intention of following up, because you think we have short memory retention and would forget it!

I also want to know why we the electorate, don’t put our foot down and demand honesty and action from all you politicos instead of just sitting back and moaning…like I’m doing now. Honour to the French in this. When they believe something is wrong, they go out en-masse and demonstrate. Is civil disobedience the only way to make you think! Do we really have to start a revolution to get you into the 21st century? I hope not.

All we, the electorate require is honesty and a good days work from our politicians, we don’t need pacifying with meaningless and  ludicrous new laws, we don’t want lies, we want our taxes to be put to good use and not wasted on bureaucracy, we want our borders and streets safe and protected. We don’t mind immigration if it’s for the right reason and not just to sponge and make demands of us. Most of all we want our children to grow up in a safe environment and excel at what they want to do, be it bus driver or Company director, is this too much to ask for?

I’m only asking.

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Why would anybody want to live there?

I was back in Oslo on Tuesday. Minus 17 degrees celcius! Face hurt it was so cold, feet froze, muscles went stiff after walking a couple of hundred yards to the local shop, nobody in the streets.

Why on earth would anybody want to live in Norway in the winter?

Just asking

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Democracy

The people of Egypt are standing up for their rights by trying to stop a newly elected President from giving himself more power, ostensibly to  push through changes. Perhaps we should all ask ourselves, why do our so called leaders need extended powers to make things better for us?

Pastor Martin-Niemöller said this in 1940:

Quote

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Unquote.

Fight the extremists, use your vote, get out and protest, say no to politicians who cheat….anything, but do something.

Stephen

“Yes, I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can find his way by moonlight, and see the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

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If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium or France or Germany

Day 1. From sea to shining sea.

It should have been a dawn start, well not actually dawn but early. With one thing and another we didn’t get under way before 13:00, by then we were, what shall I say, “tense” “irritable”? Well anyway we followed the glittering blue Mediterranean a couple of hundred kilometres north east wards in glorious sunshine, then turned north over the mountains. Nature was in a good humour when it created the landscape here; high forest clad mountains, brilliant swaths of yellow bushes, red, gold and amber earth. As we climbed the temperature rose to 35 degrees but it wasn’t uncomfortable as the air was so clear and dry. After several hours driving and a stop at a local restaurant together with a group of San Ferdin boys all dressed in white with red scarves hyping themselves up to run with the bulls in Pamplona we started down towards the vale of Zaragoza. What a change in nature. Long flat fields full of corn and potatoes and what a change in air. Dust, dust everywhere as tractors harvested the corn and dug up the potatoes. Zaragoza looked like a town where an atom bomb had been dropped. Dust and building work everywhere. Glad when we had passed that place.

Northeast towards Pamplona and San Sebastian, northeast? Why are we driving west? Oh right, the road swings northwards later on.

What’s this, have we made a wrong turning? Are we in Austria? What’s all these Tyrolean houses doing here? Green fields, green mountains aren’t we in Spain any more? Oh yes, its Basque country, green and different to the rest of Spain, no wonder they want independence, well some of them anyway. And there’s the shining Biscay Bay, well in my imagination, it was too dark to see it.

Day 2. French cuisine

Rested and refreshed we start our next stretch. First with a drive through San Sebastian, and yes, now we see the shining Bay of Biscay! Northeast and we pass over the border into France, the landscape still green and lush the language still a strange mixture of X’s Y’s and Z’s. We drive through Bordeaux, but didnt buy any wine, passed by Cognac and didnt buy any Cognac, Limoge and didn’t buy porcelain and near Rouqefort and you guessed it we didnt buy cheese.

In Poitiers we decide to find one of the famous French restaurants and have a typical French meal and go to one recommended by many. We let the owner help us decide. Well, shoe soles wasn’t what we had expected! Meat so tough that it wasn’t chewable. I really wonder whether all this hype about French food is just that, hype. I’ve never had a meal there that I could call memorable. Anyway at least the waiter was decent enough not to charge for the main course and the atmosphere was pleasant. Just for the record, Poitiers is a very pretty medieval town which has retained its quaint old world atmosphere and well worth a visit. And Joan of Arc was everywhere! And….much to my surprise the people there were actually friendly. Never met a friendly frog before.

Day 3. Joan of Arc here as well?

Onward through less dramatic countryside past field upon field of corn or whatever. Quite boring actually after Spain and Basqueland. Whoa stop! We’re driving in a field! Well at least that’s what my b***** Garmin is saying! “Warning, warning, danger danger” or was Emily, or whatever her name is saying “Recalculating” “turn right” We take the chance and keep driving. Or rather we keep stopping and stopping and stopping at the eternal Toll stations. We stop at a motorway café, bad choice. Another shoe sole, M chose roast chicken, more like roasted shoe sole. Me, I stuck to water, won’t go into the details of why! Finally arrive at Orleans to be greeted by Joan of Arc; what again? She greeted us at Poitiers, was she born here as well? This needed investigation! Out with the old laptop. Google it and what do you know. She wasn’t born anywhere near Poitiers or Orleans but several hundred kilometres northeast at a place called Domremy! Ah well I s’pose she spent a night or two at these places. We give France a new chance to tickle our tastbuds and ask “Sour Margaret” (the receptionist at the hotel we had chosen) if she could recommend a nice little restaurant with good french cooking…..shouldnt have done that either! Don Pedro doesn’t sound very French does it? Food wasn’t anything to write home about either, we sent the spaghetti back it tasted like it had been in water for a week and my pizza was warmed up from lunch….local beer was OK though.

Day 4. Achtung bitte!

Off again on our trusty steed, galloping over hill and dale towards the world metropolis of Paris! Traffic tearing in from our left, then our right, two inches of room between us and the car in front….just enough room for a Frenchman to squeeze into…no problem. What’s this 110 kph….not fast enough or has he tied a rope to the back of our car? Hate to think what would happen if we have to stop suddenly. Round Paris like a whirly gig Then out of Paris onward forever onward. Through battlefields and into Champagne, needless to say we didn’t buy any. Emily starts playing up again, think she felt left out of our conversation but she didnt want to go where the road went, kept thinking of the old saying about “a woman scorned” would she take revenge on us later would she send us to Russia instead of Norway? We spoke to her gently and persuded her that “these roads are new since she was last updated in May” My god how fast the frogs can build motorways. And the we continued on toward Luxembourg. She had a little, that is to say Emily had a little turn at Metz, she wanted a right turn but again we had to explain that the frogs build motorways in days so she had to get used to being a bit out of date occasionally and not to take it so personally. Left France and into Luxembourg where they have cheap fuel, well thats how the story goes. Queues half way down the motorway back to France of lorries and cars waiting to fill up at the tax free fuel pumps (tax free?), nah, we’ll take the next one, which started to look like the wrong choice. Phew, 2 kms before the border with Germany, there glowing in the evening sunshine we see our saviour Esso. Fill up at a credit card pump, get a reciept which of course I didn’t look at then on our way again. Into Germany. Didn’t I mention about “a woman scorned”. Emily now takes her revenge! “Take ramp right” she said, and dutifully we take ramp right. “Recalculating” she said, “what” says I, “Yes” says Emily, this is what you get for being a naughty boy! Into the wild countryside, into roads only just wide enough for our car. “Turn right” she says, we turn right, “Recalculating” she says “****” says I “Recalculating” says she “*****” says I. “Will you behave yourself in future” says she, “Yes” says I, “Promise” says she “I promise” says I so she took me at my word and guided us back to the main road. Never under estimate the power of women! Think I’m going to change to Donald next time I use Garmin. Back on the fast straight German roads we whizz with intens delight to a little hotel in Cologne we found on our way south last year. “Yes sir we have a room” says the pleasant young man. We show our VIP card they had so conscientiously talked us into last year. “Oh, we dont take those cards any more, you see we have new owners now. Ah well, same pleasant staff at the hotel, so that hadn’t changed. Never given much thought about German cuisine but they really do have a good food culture so great dinner with great local weiss beer and a good hearty breakfast, despite the bulging stomach! Cheap fuel in Luxembourg, our credit card showed 128 euros for half a tank, can’t even fill a whole tank for 70 never mind 128. We ring to Esso only to be told that is only to ensure we get our money, we wont debit you for the whole amount. Cheap fuel in Luxembourg, they get it back with the interest they earn on our cash!

Day 5. Motorway madness

Well, it wasn’t so much madness but boy do the Germans know how to drive fast! We are sure cars were passing us at over 200 kph and we were cruising at 120! Damn Polish lorry drivers are a pest though, keep pulling out to overtake on hills when they must know they haven’t got the speed to get past the lorry in front and despite the constant signs saying lorries to stay in right hand lane, and then you have what seems to be a lead van. It looks like there is a guy in a van with a walkie talky whose job it is to report back to the lorries, not sure what they are reporting back but can’t be the weather, anyway we met loads of these in front of conveys of Polish lorries all of them with great aeriels on the roofs of their vehicles and all of them talking on microphones. Mysterious! Evening comes and we need a hotel. OK Emily “Please” find one for us please. Since you ask nicely there is one in a town called Neumunster just up the road from here. OK “Please take us there”

Ever seen the film “Stepford Wives”, Nuemunster reminded us of that, very perfect and a lot of inbreeding, bet everybody knew what everybody was doing there; weird place. Hotel full, try another one called Stahlverk(Steel works), name should have been a give away. Great staff and welcome, yes of course we have a room for you (another hint?) The architect and Interior designer must have gone mad when planning the hotel…rusty steel everywhere, great big hooks hanging from steel ceilings, be jabbers what do they do here at night? Room with one lime green wall rest plain concrete, including the ceiling, washbasin well actually a wash tray just a porcelain dish with a small indentation in the middle for the water to run off, great shower though.

Day 6. A life on the ocean waves.

Quick drive into Kiel. Early, so why not a little shopping tour…early, not if you are sailing to Norway. Hundreds of cars already waiting, check in started so that little idea is scotched. So we wait and we wait and we wait. Can’t understand with all the technology available today that check in takes longer than it did when it was all manual. Probably because those in administration that order it don’t understand its full potential and capabilities, just like many know how to write a letter in Word but don’t know how to format or send it out to multiple addresses; just a thought. Made the mistake of telling check in lady that we had a blue card, Lane one she tells us. Wow, first car in lane and hundreds of cars in all the other lanes. Kindly gentleman takes our boarding passes and says “follow that truck”, wow, special treatment. Waved right to the front of the que, wow! Boarding now, up the ramp, right to the back of the boat. First on, last off principal. It was well meant. Norwegian territory……and Norwegian prices 2 cups of coffee, NOK 40,-, breakfast 2 coffees + 2 croissant NOK 128,- or if you are feeling generous, buffet breakfast NOK 279,- per person, how can you defend those prices on a ship buying it’s goods at tax free prices?

Day 7. Stop start stop start

“We are arriving in Oslo, would car drivers please go to their vehicles now”, the voice over the loud speaker says. Obediently we go to our vehicle. We sit and we wait, first on last off. Ah well. Abject terror as we move towards and through customs, have we got contraband, not sure but we do have a bag of Spanish flour with us and some vitamin tablets, will we be body searched, will we be sent to jail and the key thrown away, no, not this time, we drive straight through and start the last part of our journey. 700Kms at 60 and 80 kph! One lane, then oh boy 2 lanes, oh, its only 600 metres. Great 100kph oh no, 60 again and so it goes on for 8 dreary hours, at least it was sunny, until we reached the mountains. Then over the watershed where Norway is separated between south and west where at a lake at the top the rivers run out at one side southward and at the other westward, that’s fascinating. The clouds come down and the rain starts, then the eternal tunnels under grey bleak mountains, driving 100 kms in and out of fjords just to cover 10 kms as the crow flies and then 3900 kms later, tired and weary we pull into our drive and the end of our little adventure.

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