Friday, July 31, 2015

Some Of The Things I Brought Home

First of all, these two books:

One is called Country Christmas Dreams and has really great deco ideas for outside and inside:

The other one I'm reading at the moment. It's name is The Best Of Herbal Witch and I'm planning to write a review of it as soon as I've finished:

As usual, I bought several lifestyle magazines:

This one I only discovered recently and it quickly became one of my favourites:

It features houses in Scandinavian style and had some really great articles, including one about a Dutch housewife, and, as usual, great photography:

Wohnen & Garten must be known to my long-time readers, since I mentioned it before:

This summer, it ran an article about Jane Austen. The topic Mr Darcy is being milked for all it's worth:

The big news is that, apparently, someone published Jane Austen's mother's cookbook with authentic recipes. I'm sure, all the lovers of Pride And Prejudice are going to rejoice in this news. Me, I'm planning to write a post about it soon. (The novel, not the cookbook).

And, of course, there were some cool ideas for summer outdoor gatherings, table settings and stuff like that:

Ladies and gentlemen, that was all for today. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Vacation Impressions

We've generally had a great time, the weather was about +30*C with some exceptions, my health improved tremendously, we ate German pies every day (and I truly believe Germans make the best pies in the world), and it was all around fun. There were some negative and positive changes that I noticed.

On the negative side, I have never seen so many overweight and outright obese people, especially young people of both sexes as this time. Most of them were Germans, though, unfortunately, we encountered some countrymen falling into this category as well.

The degradation of morals progressed to the point that we came across an enormous billboard advertising a wh***house right next to McDonald's alongside the road. Ironically enough, it was situated only a couple of kilometers away from a monastery. I really don't understand why Holland gets such a bad rep about prostitution, as such brazenness isn't allowed in my country, at least for now.

Recession also gets more noticeable, as some middle price category shops closed, and got substituted with those selling either very cheap/second hand stuff or expensive boutiques. The same process is underway in our neck of woods.

Prog students showing their stupidity demonstrating in Trier. Luckily, there were few of them, and even fewer people appeared to care about their "causes". All this free tertiary education stuff has a downside, too.

On the positive, the tourism industry was blooming, with at least the half of the tourists being Dutch-speaking. As a result, we got menus and price tags in Dutch, and even some waiters who addressed us in our own language.

The quality of the tourists also improved, and they generally looked much better dressed, especially in the evening, as folks obviously changed for dinner, even in our village.

The house prices stay low, it's still relatively clean and safe, even in cities, accommodation and food are very affordable. Illegals aggressively pushing trinkets in the streets have virtually disappeared. All in all, it was a great vacation.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

An Important Announcement

At least, it's important for me:) Donovan Greene from The Legionnaire reviews my book:

Book Review: The Long Way Home

Today’s book review comes from (where else?) the request of a reader. Sanne Wijker is a reader of mine who herself blogs over at She is the author of the book “The Long Way Home”. She dropped me a friendly e-mail asking if I’d give it a look. Me being me, I did.

Before I even made it to the table of contents, I found myself gazing at the lyrics of a Manowar song. 

It actually did a pretty good job of setting the tone for what turned out to be a thrilling adventure novel.

The story begins with a brief introduction to the two central characters and allows for a steady glimpse of the fantasy world that Wijker has created. I quickly found myself taking a liking to the character of Lennart, though I had a sinking feeling that he was being set up to be an eventual antagonist, given that he was being presented as a cold and pragmatic figure. Needless to say, I felt great relief when it turned out that he was to be the main character of this tale after all.
Oh, you are hopeless,” sighed Brian. “You never can be serious, never.
Think about your honor. That swine called you —.”

“An idiot, I know, but I think I can live with it, while in your opinion my honor demands me to challenge him to a fight, kill him and get executed. No, thanks. I don’t like the idea. I have only one year left to go and then I will be free as a bird and with money in the bank, too. I’d rather stay alive.”
It is hard not to like a man with perspective and restraint (and lest certain of my readers find that this description of Lennart paints him as an unsympathetic a hero, I would let them know that he very quickly comes to learn which moral lines he will and will not cross, and his pragmatism is often tempered by his unyielding adherence to his moral code).

Read the rest of it over here

I'm Back!

Hi all! I'm back from vacation and try to post more as soon as possible. Comment moderation is switched off.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Short Personal Note

We are going on vacation tomorrow. I'll be back in two weeks. In my absence, all comments will be moderated.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

11 April, 1935

As promised, it's the time for another historical post which will contain highlights from the next issue of the Catholic Illustration (Katholieke Illustratie). 

Among other things, we read more about the Liturgy of Holy Suffering,

a reportage about a flight to Berlin with F XXXVI "Eagle",

the continuation of a novel about the Danish king Waldemar which gets kidnapped together with his son by one of his German vassals, an article about how not to make photos,

a story about the then recent plane crash, with the pictures of the victims,

(the first pilot Piet Soer on the left),

an article about a wellness hotel in Switzerland, the events of the last week in pictures,

(the funeral of five scouts who died in a car crash)

(the Queen visits a flower exhibition)

(Lord Eden arrives in Prague and meets Dr. Benesch (on the right)), and then finally, we get the ladies' section.

So the ladies are given advice on how to save money while buying curtains, how to excercise the stomach muscles after childbirth and how to make this great tea cosy:

Because, as the article states, who wouldn't want to have it?

We now get to the fashions review. In the morning, you wore a woolen skirt with a dark blouse and a small hat, in the afternoon, a wide dress with enormous sleeves in black, or white by a black dress, in the evening, linen, cotton and artificial silk dresses with lace.

The menu for the week was:

Spinach soup, beef rolls with field peas, oranges.

Pork cutlets with rapini, bread pudding.

Ground meat with cabbage, pearl barley.

Beans with fatback and onions, rhubarb.

 Atlantic cod with carrots, rice cake with apricot jam and warm vanilla sauce.

Hutspot with  brisket, rice with butter and sugar.

Bouillon (from the brisket) with egg cheese (omelet prepared au bain-marie), veal steaks with broad beans out of a jar, compote.

One of the last items of this issue is a legend about Doubusz, a hutsul living in Carpathian mountains. He once saw Saint Elias  arguing with the Devil and shot the Devil with his rifle. As a reward, an angel of the Lord made him impossible to kill with bullets, fire and steel  and Doubusz lived as an outlaw with a band of brave and strong men whose leader he became. He helped people in need and avenged crimes and injustice, however, as so many men before him, he was ruined by a woman.

Doubusz fell in love with Axenia, a sweetheart of another man and strange enough, when her original boyfriend Stefan decided to take revenge, Axenia agreed to help. She found out that the only way to kill Doubusz was to shoot him with a silver bullet  sprinkled with juice of the magic herbs over which twelve masses were read and well through his armpit.

So the next time when Doubusz came for his nightly visit, she mocked him and shut the door in his face. Doubusz raised his arms to break it and at this moment Stefan shot him with a magic silver bullet exactly through his armpit. And thusly ended the story of Doubusz.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was all for today.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

1984 Wasn´t Meant As A Manual

Dear British people, 1984 was meant as a warning, not an instruction manual:

Teachers can lawfully “confiscate, keep or destroy” unhealthy snacks in children’s school lunch boxes, a Government minister has said.
Lord Nash, an education minister, said that the child in question and a second member of staff should be present during the search. Parents must also be warned that the searches might take place.

The peer was answering question in the House of Lords about the powers that “teachers in the state sector have to inspect children's lunch boxes and to confiscate items that they deem unsuitable”.
Lord Nash said it was up to school governors “whether to ban certain products to promote healthy eating`.

Since British children presumably still eat breakfast and dinner at home with their parents, shouldn´t the government officials  also have legal power to search their cupboards and refrigerators and `confiscate, keep or destroy` anything they `deem unsuitable` as to `promote healthy eating`?´With their consent, of course.

Every time I think things are going downhill in my country I only have to look to UK to realise how lucky we are over here. To begin with, the majority of our schoolchildren eat their lunches at home, with their mothers and siblings.

 Here is the link to the whole article.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

On The Evilness Of Potatoes

Potatoes are dangerous! They belong to the evil Nightshade family and are related to such notorious plants as tobacco which is responsible for lung cancer and belladonna which is poisonous. Tomatoes are part of the family, too, as well as peppers and eggplant.

Seriously though, all Nightshades contain alkaloids (in case of potatoes solanine) which aren't exactly beneficial for you, though some may disagree. As a result, there has been a lot of speculations going on whether we should really stop eating potatoes and tomatoes. Especially potatoes are linked to arthritis and autoimmune diseases in general.

Others point out that the dangers of eating potatoes are likely exaggerated and many Nightshade plants are perfectly harmless and even provide various health benefits. This article, for instance, points out that tomatoes are more of a wonder food than health hazard since they contain lycopene, an antioxidant which can potentially prevent various forms of cancer. 

Myself, I'm not convinced that potatoes, tomatoes and paprika are what brings so many people to an early grave, however, certain precautions may be not out of place, as of not eating green tomatoes and unpeeled potatoes. You can also try and substitute regular potatoes with sweet ones, which belong to the world healthiest foods.

Pity they are so expensive over here!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Heat Wave

He has it warm, too!

We have experienced a heat wave this week, which must explain the lack of any sophisticated discourse on this blog:) Three times the temperature rose above +30*C, on Wednesday it was +34*C. It appears that we've seen the last of it today, as the wind changed and brought cold air from the sea and we just had a thunderstorm.

At home it's still uncomfortably warm, though, but the nights are getting colder again, so I have good hope tomorrow it will be bearable. In other news, the Greek are having their referendum today.
I'll update you on the results.

UPDATE: it looks like they voted "No".

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The 4th Of July

Congratulations to my American readers on Independence Day! Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Could It Really Be True?

Did the Star of Bethlehem appear again, and if yes, what does it signify?

Here are some pictures taken from our terrace.
June 30, 2015:


The "Star" (in reality, Venus and Jupiter very close together) is the one below, the one above is Regulus (I think).