Sunday, 4 December 2011

Camping again...

Last weekend we went camping with Corinne and her family. Willem and Frank get on well with her daughters and Ed, her husband is also very nice.
We went to the Collie River about 2 and a half hours south east from here. A beautiful place. It was really relaxing and there were some lovely breweries too! Here are some photos. We also saw a possum!!!


Hello hello
Finally some time to post again. November has been a month of many concerts.
It started with James Morrisson and Deni Hines in The Quarry. He's a famous Aussie Jazz Trumpet Player and the Quarry is a wonderful venue 10 minutes from our house. You bring your own drink and pic nic and sit under the stars overlooking the city lights. I went there with a bunch of girlfriends and had a great night

Then it was Portishead in the Swan Valley at the Belvoir amphitheatre. Also a fantastic venue. It was a nice evening with Jamie, some of his colleagues and 2 friends of mine. Just didn't like the band so much as they didn't interact with the audience..

19th of November I went to Band of Horses and Kings of Leon with Elleke and Katja (and their partners). Two bands I really wanted to see and thet did not dissappoint. It was also great to be in a stadium again.

And a week later I was back in the same stadium for one of the best concerts I've ever been to, with Jamie. It was totally full and the Foofighters played with so much enthusiam and energy! Dave Grohl was funny and the drummer, Taylor Hawkins,  was amazing. They played all my favourite songs and gave 7 encores!

Next week we'll go the the Quarry again to see Ross Wilson, an old Aussie Rocker and we've got many concerts lined up like Seasick Steve, Icehouse and Lenny Karvitz. Just heard Duran Duran are coming as well to a lovely winery...

It's so easy in Perth.. never too far away and almost always great weather!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Whale Watching and Rottnest Island

We had a busy, lovely weekend. Saturday we had Lukas' 2nd birthday party (Urmila's son) and then we had a yummy BBQ at my friend Corinne's house.  Corinne is married to Ed, an Aussie en also Bart was there with his Aussie wife Heidi. 4 girls and our 2 boys and they got on so well! We are hoping to go camping all together the end of November.
It was a rainy day, but they had a fire so it was nice and cosy still outside.

 Ed and the fire.. time for whisky..

 Bart, Ed and Jamie
 The kids
Around the fire..

Later that night I had invited a girl called Inge over. I've met her once and really liked her. She's a dancer and has just finished her teaching degree here (masters of education) and needed help with her CV. Her husband came along and that was really nice too. I have just registered for her African dance class with Michelle, the sculptress from Willem's school and another girl called Anje. I actually met her in the Panta Rhei in Vlissingen this summer and she lives here now with her husband. Think it'll be fun and a good work out and so I will get to know Inge better too!

On Friday I went to a place called the Jazz Cellar with Anje and Peronne (she's leaving for Singapore in January, boohoo) which was fantastic! It's only open on a Friday and you have to be there before 6pm other wise it'll be full. Only a 100 people are allowed in. You go down steps in a (fake) telephone box and then we were met by some 70+ old men. He gave us 3 wine glasses. The rest (food and drink) you need to bring yourself. You find yourself a small table and around 7 pm the band comes on. Also 65+ year olds with their trumpets and trombones. Within no time everyone is dancig. Us included. King Louie from Junglebook, Oh when the Saints.. etc. Great and around 10.30pm they kick you out!
Totally loved it, so quirky. Full of young and old people having a great time!

And today we went whale watching, organised by Jamie's work woodside. We saw sooo many! Jumping out of the water and quite close to the boat. You can see the photos on Picasa. The boat then dropped us at Rottnest Island where we met the Quokkas again and played on the beach. It was a cool day, but it didn't rain. Another great memory!

Hope you had a good weekend too!
Some photos of the jazz cellar:

Sunday, 30 October 2011


What a lovely relaxing weekend it was. The boys don't really realise how lucky they are to live in a country so beautiful as this. All that space, warm ocean, whales just swimming past. It is just spectacular.
Especially as there were no flies (they can really ruin places like this). And of course it was good to have my friend Katja there too!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Another milestone reached!

Making the most of my "Frank only" days before he goes to school full time next year...
Super proud!

Busy weekend

It started with cleaning and food shopping on a thundery Saturday morning. Then to the gym for a good hour of body attack and then to Michelle, a mum from school who spent an hour and a half on my hair and make up for Noor's (my gym friend) 40th birthday party. It was a girls only frock party in her house. Around 50 women all dressed up having cosmopolitans and champagne. We went for a drink in The Stanley afterwards. We all chipped in and Noor's close friends made a book full of vouchers for all her favourite shops and reastaurants. It was a lovely but it also made me feel kind of sad. In this life where everyone moves away all the time it is difficult to find true/real friendships. It's not something I've chosen, it just comes with the oil industry. And I feel that I've neglected some of my friendships back home (or where ever they are..all over the world) So plan: I am going to do better and if you receive a phone call, a card and or a (email)letter in the near future, you know you matter to me a lot! I do have a couple of true friends here too, don't get me wrong. I am not lonely or anything, it just made me value friendships even more. Do I make sense? Anyhow, This morning we had a children's book event in Kings Park organised by the Dutch School. Really nice, a kind of hunt where the children met book characters and had to do some tasks to win letters. The letters made a word and with that they could "win" a bookmark. Sausage sizzle to finish off.. lovely. To  the beach in the afternoon for an hour or so and then to Renate, a Dutch girl I have met quite a few times but wished I made a little bit more effort and she's really nice but now they're leaving. But it was BBQ with good food and some nice people..
Hope you had a good weekend too!

 Michelle's creation
ready for the party!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


This week I went to work for the first time in nearly 3 years. I was just assisting so didn't need to prepare. My friend Marloes had prepared a fantastic lesson about heroes (theme of the Dutch children's book week) and I really like being there now so I get a very good idea of the level of the children (that will help me for next year when I am teaching myself). In total this week I work 4 mornings with the little ones and I also covered Wilna the head teacher with for 2 hours teaching individual children. Normally I will only work 2 mornings this term.  Last weekend we had a great time in Dwellingup (1,5 hours southeast of Perth) camping in the woods with 11 families from Willem's class. Kids got on like a house on fire and there was a lot of "adult time" too. It was nice to get to know the other families better and the surroundings are so lovely and peaceful there. Photos are already on Picasa.
On Sunday we had a taste of summer, 35 degrees so we went to the beach. Australia lost the rugby from the all blacks...
Last night was the first meeting of the book club I've started. Not everyone could make it and not everyone finished the book (The potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay) but it was a successful, fun evening and we've got lots of good books on the list to read. Gym this morning (my only free day this week!) and
I went to see my friend Urmila in hospital as she has just given birth to another baby boy!
This weekend we're just here. It's the rugby final, children's book week activities for the boys organised by the Dutch School, a 40th birthday party from Noor for me.. so lots to do..

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Camping trips

Last weekend we went camping in the wheatbelt, Dryandra woodlands. Supposedly full of wildlife which we didn't see unfortunately, but we had a lovely time in the woods. Really interesting and beautiful trees like the Brown Mallet and Kwongan. The boys roasted marshmellows in the fire and it was warm and peaceful. This weekend summer will arrive... 32 degrees predicted for Sunday. We're off camping again, this time in Dwellingup. We've been there a few times but this one will be on a different campsite: a site for groups and with a big group we will be! Around 10 families of Willem's Pre-Primary class should all be there on Saturday night! We're going for 2 nights. Looking forward to it! This Wednesday I went to see the film The Hunter with a couple of women. I enjoyed the film especially the Tasmanian landscape. Another destination added to the wish list! Next week I start working, 4 mornings assisting with the Dutch Nursery and a couple of hours individual teaching. This term I will work just 2 mornings as an assistant, which is easy! Will have my first team meeting on Tuesday too! Feels quite strange and exciting to be part of a school team again..Yesterday I found out some friends are leaving in March. Still the biggest drawback of our life in the oil industry. Next Wednesday is the first meeting of the bookclub I've started. Around 10 women! We read the Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay which is all about English Convicts arriving in Hobart, Tasmania early 1900's. Interesting and gruesome too! Quite curious what the others think too..
Willem is still crazy about his wii. I can't believe how quickly he managed to be soooo good at it as well! Frank started painting a lot. Right, will have to start packing the car now! Have a good weekend too!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Slades

This week Jenny, Duncan, Joe, Jim and Jack came over for a week from Sydney. They arrived 7 hours late because their flight was cancelled and had to travel via Adelaide. Willem and Frank were very excited and it was lovely to have them here and show them how and where we live. We were very lucky with the weather and had some lovely days on various beaches. The wii (which was Willem's birthday present from Auntie Jacqui, Uncle Andrew and Sam, and Eddie) was very popular and the boys had so much fun together. It's quiet again now, in the house. Hopefully we get the chance to see them again in Sydney or somewhere else in Australia next year.

We still have a week holidays left. Hopefully we can go camping this weekend.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Willem's Pirate Party

Today we celebrated Willem's 6th Birthday on the beach with a massive Pirate Party. We did it early because his birthday is in the holidays. He invited all of the boys from his Pre-Primary class and 3 girls + Cleo and Carmen, friends from outside school. 17 kids in total. The weather has been a bit unsettled recently so we were very lucky with a beautiful, sunny day.
Jamie had been busy making the pirate ship cake the night before and I sorted most of the games and food.
It was a fantastic morning, if I say so myself. It started with some drawing and some pirate books to "read". Then we all got together and played games like "Pirate Pirate Captain, a treasure hunt, gold coins search, walk the plank, water bomb fight, lots of pirate grub to eat and treasure to dig up. Most children came dressed as wee pirates (or mermaids)! It's a great group of kids and we had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


This morning I got a phone call from the Quintilian School, an independent school here in Perth and also the one where the Dutch School has a room. A lot of Dutch children go there and we are there every Tuesday as Willem has his Dutch lessons there. A couple of weeks ago I handed in my CV and there was the first call for relief teaching! Unfortunately I couldn't make it as I promised to go on the school trip with Kindy and Pre-Primary to the Art Gallery but it's a start!
On Monday I visited the Dutch Nursery class to see their way of working (actually observed my friend Marloes teaching) so I can do relief teaching there soon. This term it's easy as I can just bring Frank along to the classes. Next year it's easier as he will be in school 5 days a week as well.  Hopefully next term I can  work every Tuesday morning (as an assistant) in the Dutch Nursery and do some relief. Tomorrow I will observe Wilna again, the head teacher with the individual children although I am not sure if that's what I really want...
I went to Bold Park Community School today, another independent school to bring my CV (I already emailed them) and they were happy to see me. As they work differently from other schools (Reggio approach and some Steiner) they've asked me to do a trial morning next term. They also said they really liked my dress, like that would be a criteria to join the school :) But it was also promising.  So.. it's beginning to work out.. Although.. still no news about my ID number from the Government. They're a slow moving body, that's for sure. When I have it I can work in all the state schools too.

The trip to the Art Gallery was fun. I went along with Willem's class and they looked at the Aboriginal Art and all the stories of Dreaming with it. They also did some great artwork themselves.
Frank's Kindy class also learnt about Aboriginal Art and Frank is so inspired! His teacher said he was a great interpreter of the paintings. He found a stick on the way home and straight away started painting lots of dots this afternoon. He said he wanted his painting to go on the wall in the art gallery too!

Saturday, 17 September 2011


On Thursday I went with 3 friends to Guildford, a small old town not far from Perth with lots of antique and art shops. We had a lovely lunch and it was nice to spend a day with the girls. In the evening my friend Noor organised another night in The Stanley (one of my favourite hang outs) for all the Dutch women. Quite a few new faces which was really nice. Especially liked this girl Inge, who teaches African Dance in Fremantle. Hopefully I'll get to know her better.
Had a "chat" with the head teacher of the Dutch NTC school "De Schakel". I sent her a casual email after reading the newsletter in which it was quite obvious they were struggling with relief teachers at the moment. So I offered to help out. We talked for a bit and found out we both started teaching in exactly the same school: Driestromenschool in Middelburg, special needs education. Anyway... she can't promise me anything just yet, only an assistant teaching job for next term (one morning only). It doesn't pay very well and it wasn't what I really wanted but it is a start and who knows.. I just really hoped I could work in the Australian system but am getting nowhere at the moment.
Tomorrow our old Aberdeen friends (Tamar and Urmila and families) are coming for a BBQ. Unfortunately the weather is slightly unsettled, showery... but it'll be fun anyway. And in the evening we've got a "Bring and Braai" at Katja's as her South African husband turns 39 (I think).
Also I've started a book club. I didn't think it would be so easy as everyone is very busy but in no time I managed to get 10 women together. We're reading The Potato Factory (on my request) by Bryce Courtenay. One of Australia's most famous authors (although he's really South African). I hope it's good.. so far it's a good read.. I had to choose something quite quickly...and this was recommended...
We also went to Bells Rapids last weekend in the Swan Valley. Lovely spot along the river. We were just a wee bit too early for the wild flowers... I'll attach a few photos later.
Yesterday we went to the Frogfest at Herdsman Lake again, just like last year. We knew about the frogs now and still didn't see any but it was still a fun evening.
 Guildford with Thea, Simone and Katja

 Bells Rapids
Can you imagine what it will look like when all these flowers are in bloom??

About the boys.. Willem's reading is improving heaps, also in English. Frank is interested in reading now too, so we've started slowly...Willem's still very much into computer stuff. Frank is still totally obsessed by his cuddly toys Bambi and Kangaroo. He didn't want to go to Kindy last week. Reason: he only has one friend (Gabriel). Asked him who he likes to be friends with.. he said: Not A, cause she wears glasses and not E, cause she's already friends with R. And not B, J, J and A cause they don't listen to the teacher and not B cause he's already friends with I... but maybe D.. Yes, I like D to be my friend. So.. Delainey is coming for a play on Monday..

Busy now organising Willem's birthday party. We'll do it before the holidays on the beach. A total Pirate theme party. Lots of organising but I don't mind.. He's invited a lot of schoolkids and two other friends.
And we're also looking forward to Jamie's little sister's visit the 1st week of the October holidays. Willem and Frank can't wait to spend time again with their cousins Joe, Jim and Jack. They live in Sydney now, so it's not too far..

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Murder Mystery Dinner

Last week I organised a dinner party at our house called "Passion Pasta and Pistols" It was set in New York in an Italian restaurant and the owner had been shot in the back. Grieving family members came to the restaurant to support each other only to find out one of us was the killer!!!!

It was a fun night. Our friends really put in a tremendous effort in their outfits and roles, including accent! Lots of laughs.

I did well on the catering side too. Fabulous anti-pasto plates, wild mushroom pasta with fresh parmesan and rocket salad and  delicious chicken cacciatore..

Jamie was so full he didn't eat till 4.30 pm the next day!

 Mama Rosa, cooking the pasta for 25 yearze!

 Marco Roni, Mama Rosa, Bo Jolais, Angel, Father Alfredo, Tara Misu and Rocco

 Clair Voyant is awaiting the guests

The killer!!

Sunday, 4 September 2011



We had a fantastic holiday in Bali. We stayed in Villa Oasis, in Sanur, a fishing village on the beach. Our "villa" (it was more an apartment) was one of four around a lovely pool. It really felt like a little oasis in the heart of the village. It was quiet en peaceful. Sanur's beach was nice with a 4 km long promenade with bars and restaurants. It didn't have any waves as there was a reef just off the coast. Jamie thought this was a bit disappointing but the water was warm and clear. The boys loved the pool. We were quite lucky as there was another boy (Lorenzo, 8 years old) in one of the other apartments and they got on really well and played for hours on end in the pool. We also made some lovely day trips. Highlight was to Gunung Batur, a real volcano and Willem and Frank made it to the top (1717m). The day after we treated them to a water park with lots of slides which they totally loved. We also visited interesting and impressive temples, beautiful rice terraces and saw lots of monkeys in Ubud. Jamie went up the highest mountain one night for sunrise (Gunung Agung, around 3100m) and had the most amazing views.
The people are so lovely and the food is delicious. Willem and Frank really liked nasi goreng!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


There's something about the spring. As a child, it was my favourite season, the first warm sun after the cold dark months, my birthday on it's way, happy people around you. In Scotland spring was always very welcome. The first snowdrops, crocuses, it has always given me a very happy feeling. Never thought it would be the same here in Australia. You can't call winter "winter" here and it's not like we haven't had the warm sun shining either. But the flowers are just so pretty it makes me smile. More and more are flowering now. First the yellow daisies, now the bottlebrushes and the kangaroo paws. I can't wait for our first free weekend to go camping again and to see all the wildflowers here.
It's funny, in Oman, I didn't experience spring for 5 years and I didn't mind. Guess there was just so much else going on to be thinking of flowers then. But it is definitely my favourite season, even though here in Australia my birthday is still far away...

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Just to let you know what we've been up to. Not that much to be honest... Last weekend we bought a BBQ (after a year of being here!!) and we invited Evelien and Katja and their families round for a good Aussie BBQ. The 6 kids got on as a house of fire and it was a lovely evening. It also happened to be our 7th wedding anniversary so that was nice...
Boys are doing well at school. We had some vaccinations, Hep A and B. Swimming, Tennis, Multi sport, play dates. Dutch lessons, it's all going on and the days fly by. I still go to the gym 2/3 times a week. Haven't been running much since I got back from The Netherlands. I'll miss the City to Surf race so...didn't really see the point... but will pick it up again, I think/hope..
Have had a couple of lovely girls nights out to the cinema, we saw the French film "beautiful lies" a light hearted, entertaining film and yesterday we went to the slow-moving but quiet touching film "the tree of life". In the diary.. let's see.. next week I am going to Aboriginal Dance with Tamar, there's Bali, Jamie's Birthday and I am even already thinking about Willem's party, an ambitious Pirate Beach Party plan is in my head..Then it's the october holidays.. Hopefully Jamie's little sister Jenny will make it here..
Hope you're all well too!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Jamie's sister and family visit Perth.

Sorry for the slow updates... We've just been busy. Jamie's sister came with our nephews Sam and Eddie. Andrew arrived 6 days later. We had a lovely time together. They were a bit unlucky with the weather. Most of the week it was showery and windy an quite a bit cooler than before. We never got wet though and were fortunate to time our walks in a way we always had shelter when it started hammering down. We tried to show them  most of the sights around Perth but a week is too short. Promised Sam and Eddie a surf lesson, but it never happened because it was just too dangerous.. They've gone now and flew to Darwin to see the "real Australia. And now the weather has been lovely again. Such a shame.
We spent today on the beach and it was so warm!
Will write more soon about all the day to day things. Here's the photos of the family visit:

Friday, 22 July 2011

Summer in Zeeland

We got back last night. Very good flights and the boys were incredible. We slept in this morning till noon... What a rain in Perth! Katja came round straight away so we had a good catch up and squeezed in a walk in Bold Park in between the showers.  We all had such a fantastic time "back home". The boys feel at home immediately and my parents are simply the best. Managed to see a lot of friends and just had a wonderful time. Thank you so much everyone for making time for us, looking after us and thinking of us! I found it really tough this time, to say goodbye because it will be another year till I'm back. Here are some photos:

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Stress and stupidity

Pfffffffff, I am so losing it! We booked flights to Bali. All very exciting of course and then yesterday I realise it's right in the week when it's the City to Surf race (12k) for which I have been training. It's a huge event and it ends near enough at our front door and now I can't take part. Not the end of the world, I know, but still very stupid and annoying.
But now comes the best part. I phone up KLM because I still hadn't received my e-ticket for the flight tomorrow. He says I never paid for the flight and therefore they cancelled the reservation. You can believe my reaction. The boys (and me too) are so much looking forward to going home. How on earth am I going to tell them... Well not, obviously and I asked the guy to see if the flight was still available. And.. luck is with was. I only have to return one day earlier. And pay an awful lot more... boohoohooooooo.
But at least we can go. Just feel really bad towards Jamie as he's the one working and I am spending more money just by being stupid and forgetful. At least I sold our Stokke cot for $500. So that's some money coming in...
Now finish packing and cleaning and let the stress flow out of my body....

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sculpture Course

Yesterday I went to the Fremantle Art Centre for a sculpture course. The art centre is a beautiful old building, built by convicts and it's first use was a lunatic asylum. A Hungarian guy called Viktor was our teacher. It was a small group and everybody else had done sculpting before. We bought a piece of Hebel stone, a man made "stone", which is very easy to carve. I borrowed tools from one of the mums in school I really like, Michelle, who is a sculptress herself. That morning I had woken up at 5am hearing the loud crashing of the waves and they kept me awake, so I decided to make a wave. Also because I thought it would look good in our garden with ocean views. It's hard work! Pfew, certainly feel my arm muscles today! But also great fun and although my sculpture isn't perfect, it still looks alright for a first attempt!
The other bit of news is: I won an i-phone! I entered a competition about Russel Crowe and his new film. I don't care at all about Russel Crowe but I could use an update as my phone is a real old one (can't even take pictures). You had to name his best films and write 25 words why you liked them:

Beautiful Mind, L.A. Confidential and Gladiator are his best films
They stay in your head
You feel in your toe
That's Russel Crowe!

Still haven't got the phone.. need to fill in a form to prove my identity, blablabla
But am happy I will get it at some point (probably after my trip to the Netherlands)

What else.. boys are doing well. Willem has lost 2 teeth now. His reading is improving. They still enjoy multi-sports, swimming and the tennis on Friday afternoons is a real success. The boys love it and I get to sit in the setting sun with a bunch of nice parents from the school and a drink. Makes me feel part of the community.

Thursday night I went out with the mums from Willem's class, Friday night I organised a girls night out to a tapas bar in Leederville. It was a really good night, despite the really heavy rain.
Saturday I ran to Cottesloe (about 8k) and Jamie drove there with the boys to meet our friends on the beach for a swim. In the afternoon we had a leaving party at the Dutch School. One of the dutch mums is leaving. I don't know her very well, only go to the gym with her, but it was nice to catch up with a lot of people.

Here are some photos of the sculpting course. Jamie did well looking after the boys and took them to the beach. They were in their swimming trunks and Willem even went in the sea. It's winter!!!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Estate agent

Last week I phoned our estate agent in Aberdeen. We'd heard the woman who lived in our ground floor flat would leave the end of June. We're glad to see her go. She broke the washing machine, the tumble dryer and she also claimed the lawnmower was broken but we suspect she just didn't want to mow the lawn. Anyway, you can imagine the state of our garden. I don't like that at all as everybody looks after their gardens really well in our street. But that's not even the worst: she also hasn't paid the rent regularly. Anyway, I phoned Lewis, who I always dealt with. I was told he no longer worked for the company. I was surprised and to be honest, it would've been nice to have been informed. The new guy, James, was very understanding and apologetic and would find out about everything as soon as he could after I explained our experience with our first tenant. I received an email today in which he explained their solicitors are now dealing with the rent she still owes us and he also found new tenants for our property starting the beginning of July. A couple signed up for another year for £100 more a month than last year. This time we will include a gardener in the rent, though. Anyway. good news!

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Today we went to Guildford, an old town about 15 km east of Perth on the Swan River.  It has lots of antique shops and a fabulous old pub, the Rose and Crown.

We had a lovely time. Dinner at Katja's.. perfect ending
Hope your Sunday was just as good.

Friday, 10 June 2011


I passed the test, 8.5 reading, 8.5 speaking, 8.5 listening and 7.5 writing. I am so happy!
The results will be forwarded to the Teachers Registration office and they will than assess my file one more time but within 14 days I hope to be a provisional registered teacher! Plan is to do relief for the remainder of this year and maybe will start looking for something more permanent (or fixed term) in 2012 when Frank also goes to school full time.
Last weekend we had a long weekend and we went camping in Yalgorup, south of Perth. It was cold at night but still pleasant during the day and you are allowed fires now so it was lovely. We also had a birthday party for Willem, a farewell party (Sue and Gareth) and dinner at Arjen&Urmila's.. so we were busy!
Willem had a wobbly tooth and it came out yesterday. Frank had his 4 year old vaccinations today. Tennis on Friday evenings is great, it's such a lovely small tennis club and it makes me feel part of City Beach Community.
3 more weeks and then I am flying back to the Netherlands.

 Camp site with fire ring
Salty Lake

Monday, 30 May 2011


Last Saturday I sat the IELTS test, an English proficiency test. If I score a 7.5 on each four skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking) I can become a registered teacher here in WA. It started at 8.15 am at the university here and about 300 people were there. Nearly all young Asian people and some African. I was the only white one. Most people were young and have to do the test to be able to study here. It started with a listening test which wasn't too difficult although I know I missed one or two questions. Reading was not easy but I found it doable. Just very dull texts about the geology on Mars and changing consumer markets.
Then writing. Two tasks, one was to describe a table about population growth in four areas of the world between 1950 and 2000 (150 words) and a second task where I needed to argue whether teachers should teach morals, manners and values or if they should just stick to the curriculum. The second task was worth more points so I concentrated on that one and wrote a good piece, I thought. Then I realised I didn't have enough words for the first task and only had 5 minutes left so I started to speculate about the table (rather than describing it). Later after my oral exam which went well, the examiner told me most people fail their writing as they miss some key points they need to pick up from the table, and certainly with the speculating I will have lost points. Also I should have given both sides of the arguments a paragraph in task 2 and I only highlighted one. I assumed they just wanted to see if I could write in English, but they actually want you to be able to read a table and write a proper essay. So it's not about English as such....Well. Just have to wait and see. Results in 2 weeks. The rest of the weekend was lovely. Beautiful weather, bit of beach, Willem had a birthday party and Katja and Elleke came for lunch on Sunday. Also on Saturday night we went to Jamie's boss' 40th birthday party in Subiaco which was nice. This week the weather is slightly unsettled, few showers but we need the rain so I am not complaining. Jamie's recovering well and even went back to work on the bike today. Tomorrow I have kindy duty and on Thursday a night out with the Dutch mums. Now I am going to have a shower (bit sweaty after Body Attack) and I have to pick up Frank from Dutch school...
Love to all

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Jamie and his bike

Yesterday Jamie got knocked off his bike by a car that just didn't see him on the roundabout. We spent all morning in hospital to have him checked over and luckily he escaped with just cuts and bruises. A real shock though and the helmet probably protected him a lot. He 's just really battered and feels stiff. He has a sore neck, hip and shoulders but it will heal in time.
The doctor signed him off work for 2 days but he insisted in going this morning so he took the bus.

Ben Folds was awesome. A great show, funny, quirky with surprises and old favourites. Especially loved the songs "Picture Window" from the new album. The lyrics are written by novelist Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity) and "Still fighting for it". It's music you can't really fit in a box, which is kind of what I like... There was a blind couple sitting beside us (including dog). They had a fantastic time too!

Monday, 23 May 2011


We're well into autumn and we had two days last week with substantial rain but this weekend and today it has been lovely again and it will be the rest of this week. It's chilly in the mornings and at night but around 22 degrees and sunny during the day. This weekend we went out with our friends from Oman, Sue and Gareth. We went to a small wine bar in North Freo called Mrs Brown and then on to Harvest, a very cosy bistro style restaurant with lovely though rather pretentious food. But we had a lovely evening. On Saturday morning we went to Cottesloe beach to meet our friends and in the afternoon Katja and Johannes came for dinner. I made nachos for the kids and a yummy Thai green fish curry for us. On Sunday I found out that Band of Horses will be the support act for Kings of Leon in november. I love Band of Horses and we just got tickets for the concert so that made me happy. We went to the beach where Frank found more beautiful shells (the house is overflowing.. he's a real hoarder!) and Willem played baseball with Jamie. In the afternoon I went for a run around lake Monger (3.3km) and Willem and Frank cycled. This morning Frank and I set of to Trigg beach, the surf beach. The conditions were perfect so I tried again to ride some waves.. I really need more practice but it's fun. Frank had fun on the beach with his friends. It's so nice to meet everyone there.. The boys have started "multi sport" after school on Mondays and love it. Today it was a bit of hockey, rugby, soccer and throwing. Tomorrow Katja and I are going out to see Ben Folds. Am really looking forward to his show. That's about it for now. Hope you're all happy and healthy, where ever you are!

Thursday, 19 May 2011


Finally some proper rain. Today it's really stormy! Planted some vegetables again the other day so it's good for them and the lawn and all other plants in the garden. Basically it's good for everyone this rain. All lakes have practically dried up and the longneck turtles and birds are desperate for water. It prevents bush fires and will provide us with drinking water...We just got soaked on our short walk to school!
Boys are doing well. Frank enjoys drawing and colouring and Willem is showing some more interest in reading. Although the computer is still his favourite. Tonight we're going out with our good friends from Oman, Sue and Gareth. They are leaving soon for Kazachstan and they are the first to go. There will be a lot more leaving at the end of this year. Biggest drawback of this life. We're going out in North Fremantle to places I've wanted to go to for a while so I am looking forward to it. Also it has been a while since Jamie and I went out together. Last Tuesday I saw a Western Australian film called "Mad Bastards" about an Aboriginal community in the Kimberleys. Beautiful place, would like to go there sometime. Music was good as well and I believe it gives an accurate picture of the problems with the Aboriginals. Quite sad but this film showed hope too. Next Tuesday Katja and I will go and see Ben Folds. Really looking forward to that!
I've been running. Twice I did 12,5 km in Bold Park and yesterday I ran to Scarborough and back on the beach. It was so beautiful, just love the ocean. Jamie started in a new team at work a couple of weeks ago. He is a lot busier but seems to enjoy it.
can't believe how fast the time goes... Mid May already.. another 6 weeks and I'll be flying to The Netherlands again for 3 weeks. That should be fun!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mt Cooke and camping

Here are the pictures of our weekend away. It's May and supposedly autumn but the temperatures are still much higher than normal. 29 degrees again today and also this weekend it was lovely so we decided to go away camping. Jamie found a nice walk up Mount Cooke, the highest top of the Darling Scarp. It's 582m so officially a mountain... It was quite tricky to find the way. You would assume it would be a popular day walk from Perth but it took us a while to find the path through the bush. But after we found it, it was a really nice walk. The boys were excited about climbing a mountain and did really well (although Frank was pretty tired on the way down). Then we went on to Dwellingup. We camped in the jarrah woods before and it is just such a lovely spot. We camped on Charlie's Flat which is more for individual cars and families and we found a good spot amongst the trees so you feel like you're on you're own in the woods. Still a huge lack of wildlife... really wonder if echidnas and possums actually exist! Through the woods flows the Murray river. It really needs some rain but it was still a great playground for the kids. We met Katja and her family on Sunday and had some wine for mother's day..

Monday, 2 May 2011

Sydney and New Zealand

Here are the photos of our holiday! Will write about it very soon. We had a lovely time. Janko and Rebecca and their kids are in town (good friends from Aberdeen) so too busy seeing them and also the weather is still way to nice to sit inside and write this blog... sorry!! Back soon, promise!

Belated updates 3

Jill and Alan came back for a week in April after visiting family on the east coast. We took them to New Norcia, an old, interesting Spanish place north of Perth. We also had a BBQ on the beach (on my birthday) and Jamie took them to the outdoor cinema.
 A drink on the veranda

 Outdoor cinema "HR manager"
 New Norcia's Spanish church

Found along the river

 A drink in the New Norcia Hotel

 BBQ on the beach
 Watching the
 Beach BBQ again

New Norcia Hotel