Home2019-12-16T14:19:42+02:00

Drawing (32)

It’s good to see you draw again, Peter. Our minds must have been in sync, because this week I got back to drawing as well.

I got into zentangle drawing five years ago. It was a great way to get my mind of things when I had to deal with losing my first pregnancy and dying parents in law, all within five months time. In the years to follow I didn’t draw as much as in that first year, but every now and then I grabbed a card and a pen to draw something. As I did this week.

My drawing evolved beyond the classic zentangle. I even used some watercolour to add a splash of colour this time. It is not a design that I planned to draw, it is what evolved after drawing the first line, the wave in the bottom half. I started yesterday, and finished it this morning. It is a great reminder to myself that even little bits of time can be used to create something. And that many little bits combined will get you to a finished product as well.

Windmills reinvented?
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Cats’ reasoning (31)

We have a rule in our household. A fairly simple one. Cats are not allowed on the dinner table. As is the case with all rules in life, it is prone to variations in interpretation. In this case there is a very specific distinction of interpretation between the species. The human interpretation is something like this:

Cats are not allowed on the dinner table in any way. Not to take a short cut, not for taking a nap, and especially not for left-over snooping.

Human interpretation of the no cats on dinner table rule.

The cats in our household are very much aware of human interpretation of this rule. Yet, their interpretation is a bit different

Cats are not allowed on the dinner table when humans are watching.

Cat interpretation of the no cats on the dinner table rule

The cat interpretation of this rule is the one that is mostly followed in this household. I don’t want to be inter-species role defining, but in this case I think saying cats will be cats is allowed. So whenever I approach the kitchen and the dinner table I often hear a cat jump off of it (or the kitchen counter, same rule, same interpretations).

And in some cases the cats find a loophole:

Technically I’m not on the table, therefore I do not have to jump off when human approaching.
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Barman (30)

The title of this post does not refer to a person serving drinks in a bar. I’ve rarely seen a bar since Daughter was born, so I haven’t been able to collect bar stories of any kind to share with you.

Today I learned a whole different meaning of the term Barman. It refers to a moquette. You may have never heard of the term moquette before. Neither did I. Despite not knowing this term, I bet you have interacted with a moquette in your life. You may even interact with a moquette on a daily basis. If you’ve ever taken the bus, the train, the tram, the metro, chances are really high you know how a moquette feels. It is the thing you sit on. Moquette is the fabric on a seat. The woven kind.

Apparently London is a hotspot for moquette. With all the variations of public transport, moquette design is a ‘thing’ for London transport. Thanks to a man named Andrew Martin, who researched the history of moquette patterns and collected them in a wonderful little book, I learned the name of the blue and red pattern of the London tubes I can remember I rode on: Barman. It was designed by Wallace Sewell (the company name of two women: Emma Sewell and Harriet Wallace-Jones), it was first called ‘Landmark’, but later re-christened in honour of Christian Barman, the man who commissioned the classic moquettes in the 1930s, and debuted on the Central Line.

Moquette patterns are something I’ve never really paid attention to, but after flipping through this book I know I will never take my seat in London public transport for granted. That is, in case I’m still allowed to travel to London after tomorrow’s Brexit.

Thanks Peter, to gift me knowledge I never knew I wanted to have.

Bonus: A Brief History of Moquette, featuring Andrew Martin.

Barman is the pattern you see bottom right.
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Only fifteen years old, but our house is totally outdated (28)

A lot of houses are being built in our neighbourhood. I went for a walk and I planned my route to pass the new area, to see how the building was progressing. I hadn’t done so for a couple of months and to my suprise many houses were already inhabited, others were being prepared by painters for its owners to move in within a couple of weeks. The sidewalks were mostly put in, so it wasn’t as dangerous to walk there as a few months back, when many builder vans were riding around.

Energy transition is a big theme for housing in The Netherlands. Ever since the government realised the damage being done in Groningen due to gas extraction can’t be denied any longer, we all need to plan for a gas free house (most Dutch houses are heated on gas). These newly built homes are state of the art when it comes to heating systems, insulation and solar power. That became tangible when I passed a parking lot for residents.

The entire parking space was covered with solar panels. It is a solution I wish we could create with our neighbours. At our previous home we had a carport, which was especially convenient in winter. We never had to remove ice from our car. Now, we sometimes struggle to open the doors of our old and reliable Volvo in winter when it’s freezing (its rubbers are not what they used to be). Our parking space is a bit too small to invest in such a solution though. Nevertheless it’s great to see how smart solutions are being implemented when possible.

The one thing that surprised me though is that I only saw one powering station for an electric vehicle. The amount of electric and hybrid cars being sold is rising quickly, so in my opinion it would make sense to plan ahead and install such power stations for new houses. But then again, it might not be too much of an effort to put them in later on.

My conclusion is that our house was built fifteen years too early. Local government has said that this whole neighbourhood needs to solve the gas problem individually. The owners of these new houses are the lucky ones. They don’t have gas to begin with. We probably need to invest a lot of money to install a gas free heating system in the near future.

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102.000 names (27)

Since last Wednesday all the (known) names of Dutch citizens who were brutally deported and murdered by the nazi’s are being read in Kamp Westerbork. It is an attempt to make everyone realize how many people, with a name, a life, aspirations and sorrows were wiped from this planet.

Earlier this morning (CET), they started reading the names starting with W. It is the first letter of my last name. Could I have been on that list? Whenever I hear a name and the age two years of age, three years of age, four years of age, ….

They will finish the list later today, because on this day seventyfive years ago Auschwitz was liberated, but so many people, to this day, live with the consequences of what one man thought was the best version of mankind. The older I get, the less I grasp the phenomenon of racism.

Watch the livestream here or here.

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