Monday, 30 March 2015


Many times I've written about reflection of self on this blog, of working on finding your true self or about finding out who you really are or what you really want in life.
This morning as I was heading out the door of the place I was working at, the lady just flipped on the tele and I saw Stedman Graham talking about the very same thing. Stedman Graham, who most of us know as partner of Oprah Winfrey, was very inspiring in the very few minutes I heard him talk. So I looked it up just now and what I read is the very same thing I always talk about here on my blog (missed that opportunity to sell a book ;) )

Stedman says;

Part of what makes us human is our ability to be aware of our own existence, to both live and to reflect on our own lives.
It is this capacity for self-awareness that allows us to see our authentic selves and build our own identity, rather than letting others dictate who we are and what we do with our lives.
Inevitably, however, the stresses and routine of daily life can get in the way of this self-reflection. We become caught up in the task of getting through the day—in surviving—to take time to cultivate that awareness.
But with the development of a strong sense of who we are and what we want to do in life, we naturally begin to take agency in our lives, and become successful no matter what challenges life presents.

Isn't that the very same thing that I'm talking about blog after blog after blog? Only he takes it a lot of steps further of course (he's looking at a much bigger picture, I would be satisfied with my own developement) The stresses of daily life that are keeping me from my own personal development and identity? Of course I feel that it can't all be blamed on the daily stresses. You have to be strong enough to not let them get you under and stress you out, but even so; it is a struggle not to. There are always people who are labeling you or who want to dictate what you should or shouldn't do.

Maybe that's why I've become a bit more on my own the last couple of years, not so much on my own as that I keep away from large groups of people, or family members or so called friends. I don't care anymore. Most times it had been a one way street anyway and who needs that? I just want to be in the comfort of my own home with my own family and not be bothered with their opinions. It sometimes feels like I'm anti-social, I'm not though, (feeling very socialy active on Twitter every day!) I just can't be bothered with the drama and the interfering of my life anymore.

I really want to find myself again, find my own Identity. I think I have or I'm on the way of finding it, but I let myself be stressed way too much. I'm surely but very slowly come to realize that I'm the only one who can change that part of my Identity; the stressing needs to go. It's bothering me enormously. I've started to eat more healthy now time to behave more healthy and find my true self.

© KH

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Music on Sunday, songs about clocks and time

Because it's that time of year again where I can moan about Daylight savings time again (why on Earth would we still be doing that anyway? Read this article on it I found rather disturbing)I thought songs about clocks and time would be relevant.

So here it goes;

© KH

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Netherlands; or how to demolish ones legacy

As we speak the reburial of King Richard III is taking place in Leicester. Unfortunately it is not being aired on any channel we can receive so as a lover of history I cannot watch it live. I have said it to several people over the last days that I find this remarkable but all I get as a comment is that they don't get what all the fuss is about; just some bones and who's to say it is that one king anyway? Dutch people are getting more and more on my nerves I have to say. They don't care about anything anymore. Not their own legacy and certainly not others. Who cares right? Tear it all down! Demolish every old building because the maintenance is too expensive. Insult your own King because you think he gets paid too much, who cares? Complain because your government wants to put windmills 20 km out of the coast and have more green energy that way.

Why would you mind wind turbines at sea if you get a better, cleaner Earth?

Complaining is all that they can do. If it isn't about the weather (a Dutchman's favourite subject) than it's about politics (next favourite) or worse 'the foreigners that are with too many'. Compaining is all they do these days. But when they can go cast their vote they don't because they think it's no use or they don't feel like going. You can't complain if you don't vote!

 people in a queue for Richard III 

More and more I feel like I'm living in the wrong country.
British people have (in my eyes) still a feeling of belonging, of their legacy. Look what happened over the last couple of days when King Richard III was being brought to Leicester Cathedral; loads of people were in queues standing waiting (in queue!! Try to make the Dutch stand in a queue I dare you!) for hours to pay their respects for a 530 old dead king! Would the Dutch do that? I don't think so! They know nothing of their own history! I have to admit, I know more of the British history than of my own Dutch one. Why? It's not being taught properly for one (all about WWII which is fine but should not be the only subject in history) and it interest me more.

There used to be 600 from the 9000 windmills in Holland here in the Zaanse Schans but now only 12 are perserved

I'm so annoyed by the reactions of indifference of most Dutch people when you talk about history, or things that concern your own country. They just don't give a damn anymore. If you see how it's done in Britain that for example Prince Charles is so involved in the enviroment and organic farming. Charles has sought to raise world awareness of the dangers facing the natural environment, such as climate change. I know our King has done his bit with the water manegement but still, 'we' don't care enough! Our enviroment, our legacy is being broken down. In the UK they protect it by ways of the National Trust and other organisations. Here they want to build it all or break it down. Preserve it for posterity? Why would you want to do that? In my own town there's hardly an old building to be found, all broken down.

I know this is a very negative blog with a very negative view on my fellow countrymen. There are of course good things about them, I'm probably in one of those moods where I'm just fed up with all the negativity they send out. So don't mind me, find out for yourself. There are lots of lovely things still here to see especcialy in Spring with all the Tulip fields in full bloom.

© KH

Monday, 23 March 2015

Richard III The Reburial of a King

King Richard III of England died (the last King of England who died on the battlefield actually) in 1485.
Richard, the last Plantagenet king, was killed in battle against Henry Tudor in 1485 and buried hastily without a coffin in a long-demolished monastery.
His bones weren't found until 2012, when archaeologists excavated them from a Leicester parking lot. DNA tests, bone analysis and other scientific scrutiny established that the skeleton belonged to the King.

On Sunday, yesterday, a hearse carrying the monarch's remains, sealed inside an oak coffin, processed through Leicestershire's countryside to Bosworth, the battlefield where the monarch fell. Crowds lined the route of the cortege, and re-enactors in costume fired cannons in a 21-gun salute. Unfortunately Channel 4 aired that so we couldn't watch that. I just saw bits and pieces of it online. 
Remarkable to witness a reburial of a King after all those years! It brought a tear to my eye even though this particular King does have kind of a reputation; like I talked about recently in my Art on Friday blog about Richard III  .

The coffin will lie in Leicester Cathedral, where it will be lowered into a tomb on Thursday.

Richard III was also a play by Shakespeare. But this will now have an end no one could have ever guessed. Not even the great bard. 

© KH

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Music on Sunday, Classic Spring

It's Spring and even though you can't feel it quite yet outside you can see it in the buds and the flowers and hear the birds sing their song! So let's hear some classical music about spring and feel the sun come out!

I love this piece;

© KH

Friday, 20 March 2015

Art on Friday; Comets, Meteors, Eclipses

Today we were supposed to see the partial Solar Eclipse here in Europe. I do say 'supposed to' because it was foggy and cloudy so we didn't see a thing here sadly. I was wondering though; are there any paintings about phenomena like these from like for example the Renaissance or later? Well there are;

In this fresco by Giotto di Bondone the Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet - likely the most famous of all, Halley' Comet.

 Astronomers Studying an Eclipse by Antoine Caron 

"Desolation des Peruviens pendant L'Eclipse de Lune. Voyage Historique de l’Amerique Meridionale."
The Spanish explorer Don Juan described the Peruvians' despair during an eclipse.

The Great Comet of 1680 over Rotterdam by Lieve Verschuier  

A German etching of Kirch's Comet. 1680

  Eclipse by Carl Schmitt (1889-1989)

 The Rare and Antiquarian Book Collection of the Armagh Observatory

© KH

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Music on Sunday, Songs inspired by Folk Songs

Scarborough Fair

It's hard to find new topics for music sometimes and Songfacts is a lovely site for inspiration. I will put the explanation with the songs.

This is about the United Kingdom miners' strike of 1984. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had instituted a policy where mines that were considered unprofitable were shut down. Bono wanted to explore the impact the strike had on the miner's friends and families. The song was inspired by folk music. Bono wanted The Joshua Tree to explore various forms of American music they had encountered while touring there.

This song was inspired by the 1987 Enniskillen bombing, when a bomb planted by the IRA exploded during a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, killing 11 people and injuring at least 63. Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr explained to Q magazine in 1989: "In the second part of 'Belfast Child' I'm trying to relate to people in Northern Ireland who've also lost loved ones. I'm trying to talk about the madness and sadness and emptiness. I'm not saying I have any pearls of wisdom, but I have a few questions to ask. When I'm asked on American TV who my heroes are, rather than saying Lou Reed or Bob Dylan or someone who goes without saying, I say there are these people called Amnesty International and what they are doing I think is rather heroic. It only takes about 30 seconds."
The music is based on a traditional song called "She Moved Through The Fair," which Jim Kerr heard for the first time a few days after the bombing and decided to use the melody for this song.

Traditionally an Irish folk song, this was covered by The Dubliners in 1967 before Thin Lizzy rocked it up in 1972 for their breakthrough hit. (thanks, Brad - Brisbane, Australia)
This tells the story of a bandit in southwest Ireland who robs an English Army Officer to keep his girlfriend Molly happy after she promises to love him forever. She then betrays him and the young man is taken to jail.
This is a loose adaptation of the 1848 Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts." The song's melody has been borrowed from on many previous occasions including in Aaron Copland's 1944 ballet score "Appalachian Spring." Also English hymnwriter Sydney Carter adapted the tune for his 1963 song "Lord of the Dance."
According to Neville Judd's authorized biography, The Dark And The Rolling Sea "is a relationship song turned into a metaphor". The melody is based on an Irish ballad "The Maid Of County Down."

In Medieval England, this became a popular folk song as Bards would sing it when they traveled from town to town. The author of the song is unknown, and many different versions exist. The traditional version has many more lyrics. Paul Simon learned about this song when he was on tour in England, where he heard a version by a popular folk singer named Martin Carthy. When Carthy heard Simon & Garfunkel's rendition, he accused Simon of stealing his arrangement. Carthy and Simon did not speak until 2000, when Simon asked Carthy to perform this with him at a show in London. Carthy put his differences aside and did the show.
Martin Carthy learned the song from a Ewan MacColl songbook, and had recorded it on his first album, according to BBC's Patrick Hamphries.Paul Simon admitted to the July 2011 edition of Mojo magazine: "The version I was playing was definitely what I could remember of Martin's version, but he didn't teach it to me. Really, it was just naivety on my part that we didn't credit it as his arrangement of a traditional tune. I didn't know you had to do that. Then later on, Martin's publisher contacted me and we made a pretty substantial monetary settlement that he was supposed to split with Martin, But unbeknown to me, Martin got nothing."
The lyrics are about a man trying to attain his true love. In Medieval times, the herbs mentioned in the song represented virtues that were important to the lyrics. Parsley was comfort, sage was strength, rosemary was love, and thyme was courage.
This was not released as a single until 1968, when it was used in the Dustin Hoffman movie The Graduate. It is on the soundtrack.

© KH

Friday, 13 March 2015

Art on Friday; Ming Dynasty paintings

I love Chinese paintings, there's something about them that draws me to them. So today I'm focusing on paintings made during the Ming Dynasty.

Leaf album painting of flowers, a butterfly, and a twisted rock sculpture, by Chen Hongshou (1598–1652)

 A Fisher in Autumn, by Tang Yin

A painting of birds by Bian Wenzhi

 Snow Plum and Twin Cranes by Bian Jingzhao

 A portrait of Xue Tao (far left) by an anonymous Ming Dynasty painter

 by Lu Ji

by Chen Zhou

Lady by Tang Yin

Landscape by Tang Yin

Apricot blossoms and peacocks by Lu Ji

© KH

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Things to be grateful for

When I'm at home looking outside to my garden I'm quite happy with what I see. Maybe at one point in my life I did want to live in a big(ger) house with some land where I could keep some pigs and chickens and sometimes I still do, but I am really happy with my home and garden with all the critters that live in it. There are so many birds in my garden and now even mice, I know not for everyone but I like them, they're cute. In a few weeks the toads will come again and the snails, the butterflies and bees and the gang will be complete.

So I've decided I'm going to make a list (if not in writing then in my head) every day about things I'm grateful for; not in any specific order.

- The animals in my garden and in my house (my dog and bird)
my dog is getting old and has dragged me through many a thing where I was in tears over. 

- My health
Even if you’re health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.

- My mum who is so energetic and has found a new love after being a widow for 12 years. Even though I found it hard at first, dad is gone for so long now and she is so much in love. :)

- Spring!

It's turning into Spring again surely but slowly and the flowers are showing their faces again!

- My two boys.
Yes they can get under my skin at times, yes they are a lot of work especially now at this age, but I wouldn't want to miss them!

- My hub.
Of course it is sometimes hard with his autism, the grumbling
when things doesn't go the way he wants them to (I compare him with Waldorf from the Muppets sometimes)
But I'm grateful that he's in my life!

 - My elderly peeps/my job.
I like my job, it's fulfilling and I have enough free time left to do the things I love doing, like writing and editing pics.

- Books.
What would I do without them? Books are life! I couldn't live without them!

- My sis! I'm so grateful to have a sis like her! You wouldn't have thought it but we weren't always this close. As kids we could fight like all kids do. But now I think she's my best friend! I love her dearly! I couldn't imagine my life without her.
We go on trips together, I visit her frequently and we send each other postcards because we live 60 km from each other. End of April we even go to Edinburgh together! My favourite city!
I am really proud of her as well.

© KH