Gijs the hedgehog

Meet Gijs, our hedgehog

We have a new daily visitor in the garden, meet Gijs the hedgehog!

You can nearly put your your clock on it – Gijs will appear around 16.30 every afternoon, entering the garden from the neighbours garden.

Gijs the Hedgehog - enters the scene

He then has a little walk through the garden to see if there is anything interesting to eat for him. We have been feeding him small bits of cheese the last couple of days, and he loves those.

Gijs the Hedgehog - are you looking at me?
And after a bit of time in the garden he leaves again.

Gijs the Hedgehog - leaving the scene

Isn’t Gijs cute!

Stolen bicycle poster Amsterdam

My daily cycling route to work

I thoroughly enjoy my short (2.7 km) cycle ride to work every day. It is a very relaxed ride on cycle tracks seperate from cars. My bicycle trip passes the old Amsterdam Olympic Stadium. I also pass loads of houseboats (very Dutch way of living) and a lock which connects de Schinkel to the Nieuwe Meer. Amsterdam really is a city of water. You can see the lock below.


Larger map

In the evenings and weekends my bicycle is safely parked in the fantastic underground bicycle parking space at Amsterdam Zuid train station where it is guarded 24 hours a day. Yesterday however I had to park my bicycle for a couple of hours at an unguarded bicycle parking spot at a Metro station. And I found this poster:

Stolen bicycle poster Amsterdam

I was really happy my bicycle was still there when I returned.

Here is (for now as I am moving soon – more about that later) my daily trip. What is yours (if any)?

Here we are

Where have you been?
Well I have been kind of busy and I have left London and moved back to the Netherlands.

What? Why?
Good question. Because four years 24 hours a day in the hustle and bustle of central London was enough for me.
London is a very exciting and fantastic city and there is a lot on offer. But living there 24 hours
a day is different from visiting it as a tourist. There are great jobs in London, and a lot of people
come to London to work and get great working experience. This also means that everybody is always in
a hurry and building up a social life is hard. And I was incredibly tired of flat sharing too.
So after four years I decided that it had been enough. I packed my stuff, called a man in a van, and
voila I left.

When and where to?
I am back in the Netherlands – back to my roots. After 14 and a bit years abroad I felt that it was time to
move back to my home country.

When?
I have been here since the last week of June 2010.

Do I miss London?
Sometimes. I miss that life never stops in London and that there is always something to do. That the shops
are always open and that there are so many theatres, cafes and cinemas. That you can attend events with interesting
people like Bill Nighy or Kevin Spacey. And the English sense of humour. And the charity shops with
cheap English pockets. The red busses. And ok then, the tube outside rush hour hours.
I better stop now otherwise I might want to move back.

I will definitely be back in London as a tourist though and I am still waiting for Bill to get his act (literally)
together and take on a play in London.

What now, then?
That is something I am asking myself too. I have found a job and am currently working in
Amsterdam. I am back on my bicycle which makes me happy. And I am looking at potential nice places to live.
I am not sure if I want to live in a house with a little garden a bit away from a city or in a flat a bit
closer to a city. Decisions, decisions!

And seeing as I have been away for such a long time, I need to start from scratch building up a social life too.
In other words – there is enough to keep me busy for a while (besides filling out a million forms – which
you have to when you change country)

So that’s the story, morning glory. How have you all been?

I will also try to post more regularly but posts might be shorter and sometimes just contain cool things I find on the net. But it is better
than nothing at all right? And as a new thing you can Facebook “Like” posts here on this weblog.

Alice in Wonderland, Crazy Heart, A Single Man, The Lovely Bones …

Were among some of the most anticipated films on my to-watch list. Some exceeded my expectations, and some really didn’t.

From great to not so good:
A Single Man
Has to be seen for Colin Firth’s outstanding understated performance. It is a very slow paced story but it looks fantastic and is very well acted. (Nick (About a Boy) Hoult is great too.) Absolutely recommended and that BAFTA was well deserved.

Crazy Heart
Talking of outstanding performances – Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart is also incredibly watchable as Bad Blake, a washed out country singer redeemed by a young journalist. Bonus points for Jeff Bridges for performing all the songs himself. Even more bonus points for this film not having the supersweet hollywood ending you expect. And hey – it also features Colin Farell with a pony tail! Great film which scored Jeff Bridges an Oscar. (He is also very fabulous in the Fabulous Baker Boys).

Alice in Wonderland
It has Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. It has Helena Bonham Carter with a very large head. It has the Cheshire Cat voiced by Stephen Fry. And a caterpillar voiced by Alan Rickman. And there are talking rabbits too. And all that is set in an incredibly visually fantastic Tim Burton universe. This should be a cracker but somehow it wasn’t. It looked great but the story was just not that great. Sorry Tim.

The Lovely Bones
I loved the book. I am not quite sure what Peter Jackson ate when he made this film, but he turned it into one long surreal trip. Too bad really as there are some great actors on board: Stanley Tucci is seriously creepy and Saoirse Ronan is great as Lucy Salmon. But those were about the only good things about the film.

A brand new day

Pedro mentioned this song on Twitter this morning, and I simply had to dig up that song. Try and sit still why listening to it, I certainly can’t. Nor can I listen to it without a smile on my face, it is the perfect mood buster.

If you want to see the the original film clip, it’s here . Thanks @Pedro! (Youtube possible removed it because of copyright issues, so you have to go through some ads to get to it).

Any more tips for songs that can boost your mood?

Have a good Sunday!

The London house share market – an example ad

£170 per week (en suite) / £736 per month

We have a room to let!
Ideally want a quiet single person, who’s hardly ever in and who doesn’t need to use the kitchen much. Spacious family house in Chiswick. Big room with shared en suite bathroom. Near to tube (Chiswick Park) and mainline station (Chiswick). On the busy Ellesmere Road, but room is at back overlooking garden. £170 pw, all bills -broadband – included.

So for £736 a month they want someone who is “hardly ever in” and who does not eat as they don’t want you to use the kitchen much.

I think I am going to email them right away, that sounds like a bargain deal to me! [add Cynicism!]

(PS1: I actually emailed them to tell them that they were greedy people, sorry I could not help myself. And I hope the room does not get let.

PS2: And in case you were wondering, am I now moving again? Yes temporarily as I accidentally ended up in a smokers room in Battersea and I it making me sick (literally). The temporarily – I will tell you more about that at some point.)

Perhaps it is quite a good ehrm idea

More than 50 charities are supporting a UK campaign to levy a Tobin tax on transactions between financial institutions, which can be used to help fight poverty, protect public services and tackle climate change.

I think it is a brilliant idea. And this man is also just very luvely.

More about Robin Hood Tax here.

(Short film written and directed by Richard Curtis)

Where were we?

I am not the complaining type but saying that my new year started smoothly might be overdoing it a bit. January just isn’t my month. After losing my job in November I just found out that I need to move out of my room.

I am not happy to go as I really enjoyed the view but I didn’t really have a choice. And while I was prepared for a stressful couple of weeks chasing for a new place, things seem to have fallen into place already. (Let’s hope nothing gets in the way now but) I have found a room around the corner of Battersea Park. If I continue walking along the side of the park (even though I am already sure I will spent a lot of time in the park as there is a tea pavillion and a place where they sell ice cream near a lake) I will get to Albert Bridge and if I walk over the bridge, crossing the Thames, I stand in Chelsea. It is a brilliant location indeed with lots of cycling possibilities too.

I will share with two men again, I am used to that now, and I am fine with that, not the least because we’ll have a cleaner. And I just hope that I can stay there for a longer period than my current room. I know that nothing is certain in London, it is the nature of the city, but one can always hope.

I will also be very close to Clapham Junction (good for shopping and train connections) and loads of bus stops so that’s all good.

There is only one thing – I need to pack all my stuff down in boxes again, and I have exactly 16 days to do it.