zondag 31 juli 2011


If I ever win the lottery I will buy a house here. Connemara always feels like coming home. If I would win those millions I know which house I want. It stands just outside Cleggan, right in the corner on the way to Kylemore. Cleggan bay is at the doorstep, and to see it all you need to do is cut down some bushes.
I have always loved this house from the moment I saw it for the first time years ago. It is on the market for many years now, but never sold.

It is a big house which has a little exotic atmosphere due to the shutters and the yellow colour it is painted in. Very big it is with stalls and stables. We wouldn't need all this space. Bram would make a nice plan for the inside. Furniture would be simple. Not too many things in it. An empty house gives nothing to worry about. It provides space in your head to think and to be creative. The house itself is big enough to live in. A studio on the top floor with plenty of light to knit, paint, weave and print.

Three years ago when we stayed here 4 weeks I did knit labels with embroided words to hang at empty houses. At this house I hanged one with the word: HOME. No one has taken it off till now.
Perhaps one day it will be my home. The only thing I need to do to get it, is start playing the lottery.

zaterdag 30 juli 2011

Soul Connection.

Yesterday evening I made a little walk to Selerna Bay. To get there you have to follow a path which runs down the fields. 2 men were working on the fence and a woman was chatting with them. She asked me if I was living in the area, what kind of job I had and how I felt about this place. My reply on the last question was that Connemara - and esspecially the area around Cleggan - always touches me and that tears are often running here. You probably have a soul connection here, and she might be right with that.

There is no other country where I have been, which makes me cry so often, and sometimes without a reason I can tell. Perhaps it has to do with all history buried here in the ground. Not visible, but feelable if you are sensitive for it.

The woman happened to be a psychotherapist with Carl Jung as inspirator. Yesterday afternoon we made a little trip to the Avoca shop and outside a text from Carl Jung was painted. Coinsidence or not I think the text is really true.

vrijdag 29 juli 2011

Simple Pleasure 2

Whenever I am in England or Ireland I start drinking tea with milk. At home I never pour milk in my tea.
In the cottage I found a big bag with porridge oats. 3 days ago I started my day with a big bowl porridge. Warm and soothing. Real comfortfood.

1 cup of oats, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of milk and 6 minutes on the stove is all it takes. Some sugar sprinkled on top with a little lump of butter. The butter melts and forms with the sugar pools of indulgence mixed with the warm porridge.

I don't think I will make it at home, but here it is the perfect food to start the day with.

Peat is what we need.

Traditionally peat (or turf) is used in a lot of households in Ireland. The first time we went to Ireland we stayed in a B&B in Moate and there we smelled burning peat for the first time. It is not an unpleasant smell, a bit smokey it is.

A lot of families have a small piece of ground to cut peat and use it at home. It provides warmth and was used for cooking. A burning stove gave security in this often harsh climate. To keep the fire going was very important even in summer when days can be chilly. The best is when the fire stayes on during the night and in the morning all you have to do is to put some peat on it.
In our little cottage used to be a big stove which runned on peat. It was Bram's task to keep it running. The stove was massive and took a lot of space.

Peat is provided to us by Pat who has a piece of land to cut peat. Everyday he fills a bucket.
Peat needs to be dryed after cutting and Pat does it in a traditional way. It is a big "mountain" of peat next to the house. Straw on top so rain can't come in. Netting and rope with stones to keep everything in place. There is a plan to stop the cutting of peat by law but I guess that won't happen soon. Ireland and peat go so well together already for centuries. It is part of the Irish identity.

The huge stove in our cottage is gone and a small burner is placed. We make fire everyday and it is always a challenge to keep the fire going. I am not very good in it which is strange because they say that only men can make fire. I don't believe this cause I know quite a few women who are very good in making fire.

donderdag 28 juli 2011

Simple Pleasures..

The older I get, the more I appreciate the Simple things in life. In our cottage is since a year good, but light chlorid water. Before that you could take a bath in brownish water coming from peat (turf). It looked a bit strange this muddy water, but it was very soft water and it added something -not bad tasting- to a cup of tea.
But for real good water you had to go to the well opposite of our cottage. Just a little walk to get there.Easy to find when you see the yellow painted old fashioned waterpump on the left side of the street. A little step and into the field it is where you have to go. You plunge your bottle in, and it is filled with the loveliest and very good tasting water you can imagine. It gave the feeling that you had to do a little work to get it.
Since 2 years they have a simple manual pump to get the water up. The reason they made this was that they were worried a child could fall in and drown. So for safety now there is this pump.
Bit different, but still the little walk is nice..and..yes..it is easier to get the water..but a bit of romance has gone too.

woensdag 27 juli 2011

Message from an Island

Yes...we are in Ireland. Arrived in Cleggan last Saturday. It always feels as coming home. Always when I see Cleggan from the top of the hill tears are coming up. This time was no exception. On arriving at the cottage tears again when seeing Anne and family. Really a warm welcome as always, but guess after all what happened last year it was even more special to be back at the little cottage by the sea. The last days have past by in a pleasant way with little walks, shopping in Clifden,my first swim in the Atlantic, meeting up with people we have got to know over the years as Heinz and Marianne, Nicole from the Clifden Bookshop,the owners of the lovely coffeeshop UpstairsDownstairs ( I am now having a cappucino there while writing this), Inez (who will come for dinner tonight..Fishpie on the Menu).
Did already knit a shawl for Anne in a beautiful hand dyed yarn from A Verb for keeping Warm I got from my knittingfriend Mike.

The trip to here went well. Bram was very tired ofcourse but now has 3 weeks to feel better. We have used the wheelchair much more and found out that it has benefits. A big cabin on the Ferry to Hull, the best room in the hotel and the kindness from people. Last year I didn't feel comfortable with it, but guess after all happened to Bram and me I really don't care anymore. Being Alive and being together is much more impotant than the use of a wheelchair.
Little drizzle now. Not very strange here..could clear up in the afternoon. Yesterday was glorious. A day full of sunshine and blue sky. Got really sunburned...

Ireland..always good to be here. Anne told me this morning that I already look so well..and Yes..I feel very well...
Shopping now...Fishmonger and Supermarket...Life is good here at the edge of Europe.

dinsdag 5 juli 2011

Busy days...

The last weeks at work before the long summerholiday starts are always hectic and busy. It seems it gets more and more manic each year. But I am not sure if that is really true. Perhaps it is only a feeling because I have this idea that I won't finish everything. And next to there is the lack of sleep. If I don't make enough sleep my days lack of good energy. After a visit to the doctor last week I got melatonine tablets from him which I use for the night. Last night wasn't too bad.
Guess I really need the coming holiday to calm down and get everything in the right perspective. Last year has taken a lot from me before and after Bram's operation, and it still does. Patience and taking more time is what we need, but we are both not so good at that point. We both had expected that after the 5 weeks rehab centre it would go upwards which isn't the way it is. Knowing that all is fine with his heart feels good ofcourse, but his tiredness is worrying. He now gets treatments from a very good Osteopat and tonight for the first time acupuncture. Hope that will do him good.
The trip to Ireland will be heavy for him, but we will go in slow gear with a few more stopovers in hotels on the way. The idea of staying in the little cottage by the sea with the 2 donkeys and Anne and Pat as neighbours makes me already very happy. We have been there many times and it was always good for the both of us.
Days will be filled with swimming in the ocean, reading, knitting and going to Clifden for a coffee. Visits to friends and walks among the cliffs at Cleggan Head or at the little island Innishboffin.
Just to be sure we won't be in problems we will take a wheelchair with us. Not very looking forward to that, but there are people who have to stay all day in a wheelchair which is not for Bram at the moment. My knittingfriend Mike and his partner are dealing with this for a few years and they are kind of an example for me. With his stick Bram still can walk small distances. I have decided for myself that I have to go over that feeling and look at the positive part of it. He and we both can do more if he doesn't get so tired.
I am writing this post in the train on my phone. Almost there now...busy day ahead..but the counting down has begun...and a full desk is wating for me....

zaterdag 2 juli 2011

The Fashionshow...

Yes,I know..this blog should also be about knitting..but that topic doesn't has to tell much at the moment. But it also tells the things I do or meet up with in life as the yearly fashion show from our department.My colleague Riky Vos shot great photo's and almost all of them in this post are made by her.
This year we had an extremely good 4th year class who showed their final work. It is not every year you have such a group who is so keen on knowing everything about the fashionindustry. It was always a joy to teach this group and the last half year was no exepction. They are all different and have different personalities which comes out when they are designing and producing their Final Collections. Next to that students from level 2 and 3 and the 3th year class showed their products.
My task during the show is talk the audience throug the show, which is really fun to do, and it seems I have the right voice for it.The show did start with the 3th year class who showed experimental outfits made from flax and linnen who were dyed with natual dyes. I always like big groups on stage

After that the Final work from level 2 was showed. Based on the theme Latino these girls showed off their colourfull outfits. Level 2 always moves me, because they come from such different backgrounds and cultures and to see them proudly on stage is a real joy.

The 3th year class showed naughty secretary girls
in tweed jackets with funny accecories
Evening gowns was also a theme and I particulary liked this pompom one (yes, all pompoms are handmade!!)

But most attention ofcourse was for the final collections. There are no pictures from all of them, but a few stand out for me and here is a little selection

Backstage is always a mess with shoes everywhere...

but there is also time to make some nice shots from outfit as those from Shusanik Moutafian based on baskets..

Next to the show students also have to present photos from a photoshoot they have done. I particulary liked those professional ones from Eline Bouman who's collection was titled "Le Sac"

Overall a real nice day and evening and let's see how next year show will be..