Tag Archives: family

When The Waves Break The Silence

When The Waves Break The Silence coverpicWhen the body of a man is found on the beach of Luing in Scotland, it appears that nobody knows who he is.
He hasn’t been filed missing, nor is there anyone to claim the body. It remains a mystery who he is and what his story is, until Stella McFee, new officer in town, Lily Cochrane, intern at the local newspapers and Fiona Diggs, intern at the coroner’s office, stick their heads together.
It then appears the man has anything but a pretty past.

Based on true events, but altered for obvious reasons.

This book isn’t suitable for the under 18, contains strong language and may cause bad memories to arise. Help for the latter is included in the last pages.


kindle edition:

paperback edition:

Dutch publisher (book in English, publisher situated in the Netherlands):

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Posted by on October 11, 2018 in Books, Projects, Promoting


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Het Kerstdiner/ The Christmas Dinner

‘Fucking hell, Juultje, knoei eens niet zo!’ Renate onderbrak haar gesprek met de schoonvader van haar schoonvader om haar vierjarige dochter terecht te wijzen, die de oerlelijke, net nieuwe servetten van de dochter van deze schoonvader gebruikte als canvas met haar bordje ossenstaartsoep.
‘Dat is niet érg hoor’, sprak Renate’s schoonvader Theo daarop goedgemutst.
‘Nou ja, het vlekt wél’, Bettina, Theo’s vrouw.
‘Dan had je maar iets moeten maken wat bij de servetten matchte, schat’, sprak Bettina’s vader, lonkend naar Renate. Iets waar zijn vrouw niets van moest hebben, maar gezien de hoeveelheid drank die hij al achter de kiezen had, maakte het hem nu niets meer uit.
Hoe zijn dochter zo’n pietlut had kunnen worden was ‘m een raadsel.
‘Wat zou er eigenlijk voor gerecht pássen, bij zo’n kleur als deze?’ deed Harry, Renate’s man en Theo’s zoon, een duit in het zakje.
‘Perzikkots’, Sem, Bettina’s oudste zoon.
‘Getverdémme!’ riep Juultje met een vies gezicht, om daarna in lachen uit te barsten. Het werkte aanstekelijk. De hele tafel deed mee, zelfs Tanja, Harry’s zus, die toch altijd moeite had met sociale situaties.
‘Ik denk dat kaassoufflé er ook wel goed bij kan’, vulde ze bovendien aan. Tanja was als enige vegetarisch.
‘Genoeg! Ik begrijp de hint, en nu weer lekker eten graag’, stoorde Bettina zich teveel. Wat Renate onzin vond.
‘Hoezo, wat is er mis met wat gezonde conversatie tijdens het eten?’
‘Niks, maar dit was geen gewone conversatie, dit ging over iets smerigs’
‘Hypothetisch gezien’.
‘Ik word er toch een beetje onpasselijk van’.
‘Volgens mij ben jij de enige, ik vond het een creatieve uitspatting. Bedenken welke kleuren er bij servetten passen. Er bestaat volgens mij niet eens wat tuttigers?!’ bekritiseerde Renate stiekem het onderwerp.
‘Nou….’ begon de Trees, Bettina’s moeder.
‘Ja? U had meteen beeld?’ nu had iedereen beeld. Wat Renate dondersgoed wist. Harry kon een proestlach niet onderdrukken.
‘Renate, kom op, laat het gaan’, sprak Theo dreigend.
‘Goh, wat klink je vaderlijk. Werkt dat bij jullie zo? Jij spreekt haar berispend toe en…’
‘Renaat, kom op’, Harry onderbrak haar, ‘we zijn nog niet eens aan het toetje toe’.
‘Oh ja, wat was dat ook alweer?’ Renate pakte de menukaart erbij.
‘Ambachtelijk bereide appelmoes met biologische slagroom’, las ze.
‘Nou, dat kleurt tenminste wél bij de servetten’, concludeerde ze.
‘Mag ik dat dan op de servetten smeren?’ vroeg Juultje.
‘Ja hoor schat, maar eet eerst even je soep op’.
‘Jij zei poep!’ schaterde Juultje.
‘Nietes, ik zei “eet je soep op”’ herhaalde ze, om te horen dat het wel net léék of ze dat zei.
‘Poep! Poep! Poep! Poep!’ riep Juultje.
‘Nou ja, zeg, Juul, dat zég je toch niet tijdens het eten?’ Harry, hulpeloos. Hij keek voor hulp naar Renate. Die nam een hapje ossenstaartsoep, raakte, per ongeluk expres het bovenbeen van haar schoonvader’s schoonvader aan, tot groot genoegen van deze, en deed net of ze het poep-geroep van hun kleuter niet hoorde.
Het was goed zo, anarchie.
Een vrolijk kerstfeest werd het.


[dit was een van m’n eerste deelnames aan een schrijfwedstrijd, die ik, zoals gewoonlijk, niet gewonnen heb. De opdracht was om over een kerstdiner te schrijven, max 500 woorden]

‘Goodness gracious, Jools, don’t spill so much?!’ Helen interrupted her talk with the father-in-law of her father-in-law to correct her four-year-old daughter, who was using the incredibly ugly napkins of the daughter of this father as a canvas with her little plate of oxtailsoup.
‘Oh that’s quite alright’, Theo, her father-in-law shushed.
‘It does stain quite badly’, Bettina, Theo’s wife.
‘Then you should’ve prepared something that matched the napkins, dear’ her father spoke, ogling at Helen. Something his wife quite disapproved of, but since he had had quite a few drinks, he no longer cared for her opinion. How his daughter turned out to be such a nitpicker was beyond him anyway.
‘What WOULD match with a color like this?’ Harry, Helen’s husband and Theo’s son, provoked.
‘Peachpuke’ Sam, Bettina’s eldest.
‘Ew, gross!’ little Jools yelled, followed by such a contagious giggle that within no time at all, the entire table joined. Even Tanya, Harry’s sister, who always had quite a problem with social situations.
‘I think cheese soufflé could match it’ she added. Tanya was the only vegetarian at the table.
‘Enough! I get the hint! Please just enjoy the nice food now, please!’ Bettina got too annoyed. Helen quite disagreed.
‘Why? What’s wrong with a bit of a proper conversation during dinner?’
‘Nothing, but this wasn’t an ordinary conversation. This was about something filthy’
‘Hypothetically speaking’
‘It is making me feel a bit unwell’
‘I think you’re the only one. I thought it was a creative excess. Thinking what colors might match the napkins. I don’t think there’s anything more fussy’ Helen secretly critized the subject.
‘Well…’ said Molly, Bettina’s mother.
‘Yes? You had an image right away?’ everyone had, now. Something Helen knew too well. Harry couldn’t repress his snort laughter.
‘Come on, Helen, let it go’, Theo spoke on a threatening tone.
‘Wow, you sound like a proper dad. Is that how it goes between you guys? You speak to her strictly and she….’
‘Come on, Hel’, Harry spoke, we haven’t even gotten to the dessert yet’.
‘Ah yes, what was that gonna be?’ Helen took the menu card.
‘Traditionally prepared apple sauce with whipped cream’, she read.
‘Well, at least THAT matches the napkins’, she concluded.
‘Can I smear that on the napkins then?’ Jools enquired.
‘Yes dear, just empty your bowl first’
‘Empty my bowels first??’ Jools started to giggle again.
‘No, I said “empty your bowl first”‘ she repeated, and heard how it nearly sounded the same.
‘Poop! Poop! Poop! Poop!’ Jools yelled.
‘Jools, you can’t say that during dinner!’ Harry said, helpless. He looked for help at Helen. Who avoided eye contact, ate her oxtailsoup in silence, touching on purpose by accident the upperleg of her father-in-laws father-in-law, who so very much enjoyed that, and she completely ignored the poop-yelling of her toddler.
It was a merry Christmas.
Best served warm.

[this was my entry for a writing context I didn’t win, as usual. The assignment was to write a story about Christmas dinner and to stay within 500 words. As I translated it, the word count may not be the same in English though]


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Posted by on January 30, 2018 in Daily life, Humour, Uncategorized


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Ricki and the Flash

A remarkable filmchoice for Meryl Streep. AGAIN. Though I genuinely enjoyed watching her in Mamma Mia, it didn’t make sense to me at all. Why would a class actress do such a film? But then it hit me: because it was simply just a FUN project. Even actors and actresses need fun projects, the in between snacks, right?

This film is probably a bit like that. Meryl Streep can sing. Not like a songstress (she would’ve become one of those if she were that good), but still: she can sing. I think this is why she ends up in films that contain music and involve her singing. She can do it and she likes it. She won’t pull it off like Kate Winslet did for that Christmas Carol film) but still: she can carry a tune.

This film is about Ricki, part of a very dated and mediocre band, called The Flash, who receives a phonecall from her ex-husband. Their daughter is going through a rough period, he would like her help to pick up the pieces for their daughter Julie (so very fine portrayed by Meryl Streep’s real life daughter Mamie Gummer).

Basically, it’s a trip down memory lane for the family. Because, as it turns out, all of her children will be there, and the new Mrs of her ex is out, as her father is having an episode and therefor needs care and isn’t present.

To be fair I’m not sure if Meryl Streep had a say in how her hair was done, but it’s distracting quite a bit. Especially as anyone could tell you that that’s not especially any type of ‘rock’ hairdo. They either should have gone with an actual rock look (her face worked out far better) or she should’ve just not washed her hairs for weeks or months or something like that. It’s really weird. I can’t think of any rocker, male or female, who would go for such braids/plaits. They’re the type your little sister would make, not a grown woman.

Other than that, the film is fine. It’s not the best acting you’ll ever see, but it’s certainly not the worst. Can you skip it and live your life with a clear conscious? This is also very possible….

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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized


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What about Eve?

‘Where the hell is Eve?!’ Burt shouted, after stumbling downstairs, still sleepdrunk.
He had heard an unusual noise from the backyard. Which had made him decide to walk towards the sound. Which had now resulted in him seeing what it was that made that sound.
It was one of those moments, that simply only ever happened when Eve was to be found somewhere.
Why on earth he would request for her presence was beyond knowledge though, as it wouldn’t help a thing. It wouldn’t help anything, except it being slightly more logical that there appeared to be a cow lying in the backyard, just in front of the sandbox Burt had put there only days ago, to please his son Sammy, who was nearly two years of age.

‘Eve, I think…’Mary-Ann, his wife, wanted to fill Burt in, who was raging with fury by now. She had followed him as she had figured it was time to get up anyway.
His neck had a nice red color. Though Mary-Ann wasn’t nearly as happy with Burt’s rage, she had to admit she liked the particular color that had formed in Burts’ neck.

If it had been a shade in a fabric, she’d most definitely want to wear it.

‘I don’t care!’ Burt shouted. Mary-Ann could have known that. The question of the whereabouts of her daughter, were rhetorical, merely a byproduct of what was important now: how to get rid of this particular cow?
‘It’s just that in moments like this, she feels even less like my daughter’, Burt explained, though it was quite hurtfull.
‘Oh you bastard!’ Mary-Ann cried. That was to be expected. Don’t ever insult a woman’s kid. If you touch her kid, you touch her. Wrong, period.
‘Go take a hike with your ‘she’s not my daughter’!’ she said, “I am going to put the kettle on”.
Now there was a good idea, even Burt thought.
The cow wouldn’t just disappear. It made a rather awful noise, yes, but nothing they could do about it or that, right now.
‘Where’s Thomas and Sammy?’ Burt asked surprisedly, when they sat down to actually drink their tea. He could barely hear himself think with all that mooing. It was like being interrupted by his toddler.
‘I suppose they are still asleep’, Mary-Ann replied, like nothing was different at all just now.
‘How can they be asleep when there’s a massive cow mooing all the way through the neighbourhood?!’ Burt replied, almost disgusted.
Mary-Ann noted a hint of envy.
‘Dearest, just because you awoke from that noise and woke me up, doesn’t change the fact one can shoot a cannonball next to their beds when they’re asleep. You know very well your lovely sons don’t wake up unless it’s time to play’.
Burt just looked stunned. A bit jealous, even. That his boys could sleep and not him.
‘I think we should phone the vet’, Mary-Ann said, as she took the cordless and started dialing for information. It took Burt about five minutes to reply, as he was gazing outside the glass backdoor that seperated them from the stoned backyard, which had the moaning cow in it. Neighbours were starting to become curious and gather at the gates of the garden.
Burt tried smiling to them, until he realized they were laughing at him, rather than being polite.

They knew, too, it was Eve’s presence.

He decided not to go out, as he heard Mary-Ann talking to the vet.
‘Ah yes, good idea’, she finally said.
‘…you could be here within the hour? Oh, that would be great!’ she said. Burt just took a sip from his tea. Staring at the cow, and Mrs Johnson, who just climbed over the fence as to comfort the cow.
‘Haha, species finding species’, Burt laughed sarcastically.
He thought he was allowed a rather offensive joke as the neighbours were so clearly making fun of him and his misery.
‘Come, now we go outside’, Mary-Ann said to Burt. He hadn’t even noticed she’d ended the phonecall.
‘Why, it’s there?’ Burt said, wondering why they should have to go outside while it was very obvious the cow wouldn’t move one bit.
‘Yes, but the vet says we have to keep the cow warm’, Mary-Ann said, picking up a woolen blanket from the couch.
Thomas and Sammy usually played with it and as such, it was never clean. It seemed perfect for this occasion.
‘Well, join Mrs Johnson, who seems to be singing lullaby after lullaby for that cow’, Burt said. He wasn’t lying. Mrs Johnson had a voice like a volcano, and unfortunately not a very pleasant one. Quite offkey. Mary-Ann politely joined Mrs Johnson’s presence, holding the blanket. At that point she noticed how windy it was, outside. It had to be, ofcourse. How else would a cow end up in a backyard that wasn’t even close to any farm where there were cows to be found in the first place?

‘What’s happening?’ Burt heard Thomas coming down the stairs. This made Burt slightly agitaded again.
‘What woke you up?’ he asked, highly sarcastically surprised.
‘Well, Mrs Johsons’ singing’, Thomas said, like that was obvious. He walked passed his stunned father, in his red pyjama with helicopters on it.
‘There’s a cow in our garden!’ Thomas exclaimed on a tone as if they’d just won the lottery.
‘Why is there a cow in our garden? Can we keep it? Can we call it MooMoo?’ he asked Burt. It always amazed Burt how quickly Thomas could get to the point of asking something.
‘Well, that’s a good couple of questions’, Burt said. He had no idea what to tell his son. He just took a sip of his tea, wishing it were whiskey or something else involving a lot of alcohol. That way it should be so much easier to forget about all of this.
‘Sammy!’ Thomas yelled, ‘Sammy, come! There’s a cow in our backyard! Mommy has gone out to sing with Mrs Johnson’, he was very exited to tell his little brother this news. Sammy, all of 2 years old and a bit territorial-driven, only said:
‘Not in my sandbox! Not with my new shovel!’. Then Sammy tilted his head up.
‘Can I have a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich?’ he asked politely.
Burt was quite surprised over the request of his 2-year-old, but he gave into it anyway. It was easier to distract himself with something as silly as a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich than anything else at the moment. Thomas wanted to run outside in his PJ’s.
‘No way, Thomas, at least put on a robe, or a coat, and your feet are bare’, Burt said. That was the moment Mary-Ann stepped inside again.
‘Mrs Johnson woke me up with her singing’, Thomas whined.
‘Dearest, there is a cow in the backyard crying, and you woke up by the sound of Mrs Johnson??’ she sounded surprised.
‘Yes, you have weird children’, Burt said, making a peanutbutter-jelly sandwich for his youngest.
‘What are you doing?’ Mary-Ann asked, ‘It’s not a Sunday, you’re not supposed to have a peanutbutter-jelly sandwich now!’ Burt rolled his eyes.
‘There’s a cow in our backyard, which has been moaning all night, there’s a woman singing lullaby’s for it, which woke up our lovely boys, who weren’t woken up by the sounds of that massive cow landing up in our backyard, and you are fuzzing about the fact that it’s not Sunday enough to make a bloody peanutbutter-jelly sandwich?!’
Sammy had found his way to the cupboard and just managed to get the jelly jar out there. The jar was too big and way to slippery. It fell on the kitchenfloor and broke. Sammy started crying as he saw Burt’s face, which was bright red as he was still annoyed with the nonlogic of this morning. The same red Mary-Ann also liked so much on the wall in the diningroom. Though it might be a bit agressive there.
‘I want peanutbutter-jelly!’ Sammy cried.
‘Come here love’, Mary-Ann said, taking their toddler in her arms. Sammy came to cuddle, and at that moment, Eve stepped downstairs.
‘Eeeeeeeeve!’ Thomas screamed while running happily into her arms.
‘I knew you were here!’ Thomas said, cuddling her.
‘Oh? Why? What happened?’ she asked surprised, looking at her mother and stepdad.
‘Don’t tell me you didn’t hear…’
‘…that!’ her mother finished her sentence.
‘Oh, THAT! I had my music on all night, with my noise cancelling headphones. A plane could come fly by and I wouldn’t hear a thing! But errrm…yeah, well…that’s….ooooh is that tea??’ she walked into the kitchen, as if the kettle had some sort of huge magnet in it, but genuinely distracted.
‘When did you come home?’ Mary-Ann asked her eldest.
‘Not too long ago, actually’, she admitted.
‘About an hour or two, three ago, by any chance?’ Burt asked.
‘Dude, what’s with the sarcasm? Don’t think I don’t hear it!’ Eve said, slightly offended. Then she looked at the clock.
‘Well, I think…’, she watched her clock, ‘well, yeah. That might be right?’
‘Right’, Burt said, looking at Mary-Ann with a stern face.

‘What did you do?’ Eve asked, when Burt had passed them to go shower.
‘Oh nothing, I produced you, is all. Go and have breakfast dear, all will be well, soon’

And so the day started.


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The Bloodline (netflix)

I’ve only seen the pilot episode. To be honest, it made me mad with motion sickness. I don’t know where the one filming it goes his degree, but I guess I wasn’t from a place where a story needs to be convincingly told, just confusing enough to go on.
And no, the camera doesn’t go ‘on the move’ all the time, but when it does, there’s no way of catching on to the story.
Which is vague, as is quite normal for a pilot, I guess.
A family is gathered for the anniversary of the parents who have ran a hotel for years. The children are trying to get everybody to get along, but then there’s the brother, who is so full of himself that he rather doesn’t attend the party at all. When he does, it’s a big surprise. And he brought along a guest no one invited. He is the king of being rude.
Meanwhile, all of this already vague stuff is being interrupted with images of a brother carrying around this rude brother around, not really explaining anything.
I’m quite sure that was my cue to become curious, but I wasn’t. I decided this series wasn’t for me.

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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Opinion, series, Uncategorized


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Om in de tijdgeest van Dodenherdenking te blijven: twee brieven uit de oorlog, van families die er qua geloof buiten stonden, maar er natuurlijk middenin zaten.
De eerste is van een de getrouwde dochter die haar ouders schrijft, de tweede van die ouders. De brieven dateren van verschillende momenten, zijn geen antwoord op elkaar. Ik heb de spelling van nu gebruikt.

“Vlaardingen 25 Febr ‘41

Liefste vader en moeder,

‘k Zal er maar eens even de tijd voor nemen om terug te schrijven. Want ik heb het druk. De dagen vliegen voorbij en dan is er dit en dan weer dat. Tante Saar zodoende ook vergeten en Ome Dies wist ik niet. Als er zich nog eens zoiets voordoet moeder, moest jij maar een bloemetje voor me bestellen in Goes, want jij hebt op ’t ogenblik niet zo veel aan je oren als ik.
Ik breng Tonnie en haal hem op de fiets van z’n school. Hij voelt er zich thuis of hij er altijd geweest is. ’t Is een lust om hem zo te zien genieten, maar ’t is voor mij een hele toer want hij is zwaar hoor en ’t is een heel eind. Jo zal misschien wel al geschreven hebben. Hij stond Vrijdagmiddag 12 uur onverwacht voor onze neus. Dadelijk mee aangepapt dat begrijp je. Zondagavond weer weg. ’t Was gezellig. Het is z’n plan de Paasvakantie bij ons door te brengen vanwege het werken aan zijn examen. Toontje bracht al 2 prenten mee, die hij zelf geplakt heeft. Een sluit ik hierbij in voor Oma Moeder.
Er worden hier verschrikkelijk veel mensen weggehaald. Maandag 43. Dinsdag ook weer. Waarvoor weet ik niet. Ze mochten niet eens afscheid nemen en zonder bagage of verschoning weg.
Adje is weer helemaal beter. Oma Vos maakt het ook zo goed en heeft nog steeds in kwartiezuing.
Jo vertelde dat vader naar Den Haag ging en misschien nog aan koren maar niet gezien.
Wanneer ga je naar Frankrijk vader? Schiet maar gauw op, want ’t is zo ’n beetje de stilte voor de storm denk ik.
Vanavond is ’t hier weer bijeenkomst.
Ik zal zeker wat rozijnen sturen, voor een papa heer tegelijk en dan geef je ze zelf maar, alsjeblieft moeder we verrekenen het later wel. De jas zal ‘k betalen, maar ‘k weet niet goed meer hoeveel het was. Misschien weet Adje het wel. Nu geliefden, tot de volgende keer. Houdt je taai. Veel liefs van ons allen en van jullie Ma
Ps Er is hier nog een klant die naar oester vroeg. Waarschijnlijk Honders. Zijn er nog?”

“Yerseke, Woensdag n.m. 7 uur 27/4, 1944

Lieve Allemaal,

Jullie brief van 5 Sept ontvingen we 12 Sept we hebben helemaal niet meer teruggeschreven omdat we hoorden, dat vervoer enz gestaakt was. Nu horen we echter, dat af en toe nog enkele brieven per fiets etc vervoerd worden, dus wagen wij een kans. We maken het gelukkig best hoor, zitten midden in het krijgsrumoer, veel gevlieg, afweer een vliegtuig neergekomen in de moer, nogal wat bommen op de Laren en omgeving. Ook één op de put van ons (duikersluis) en +_ 12 meter steiger weggeslagen, 3 huizen schuttershof, een paar loodsen en de helft van de loods (kuiperij Blieck en onder aan de dijk bij Ome Bram alle ruiten kapot. Elektriciteit al meer dan 3 weken kapot, waterleiding idem, gas slechts van 7 tot 9 uur ’s m. en 10 t 1 uur ’s middags en ’s avonds van 5 tot 7 uur dus zitten we bij een petroleumlamp daar we gelukkig nog wat olie hebben. Enorm veel is hier uit Frankrijk en België gepasseerd via Vlissingen en Hoedekenskerke bij Kole woont in Baarland en houdt ’t spreekuur te Kwadensdamme een bom van 2000 kg bij het kerkhof verwoeste zijn huis dwz plafond spreekkamer naar beden en grote scheur in ’t huis. Kole is vorige week even geweest. Hier was slechts één dode de vrouw van Gerrit Bos 83 jaar oud en voorts nog enkele gewonden. In Breskens 110 dood en 45 gewond (een zoon van Hovestad (Dirk) die vroeger monteur was bij Reitsma was daar ook bij de doden in Breskens, ook Axel, Vlissingen, Biggekerke enz moeten nogal doden gevallen zijn door bombardementen.
Er is hier veel fruit afgestormd en verder is het nu niet te vervoeren, dus kun je plenty krijgen. Ik hoop, dat de brief jullie mag bereiken. Veel kussen en beste wensen en groet je liefh vader.
Uitgezonderd boter gaat het met het eten goed hier.

(zelfde papier)

Lieve Allemaal, Je vader heeft zo wat alles geschreven. Hoe gaat het jullie? Wellicht ontvangen je deze brief wel niet maar we proberen maar eens. Gisteren is er een auto uit Rilland gereden naar Schiedam om geul en naar Vlaardingen om boter. Die is hier voor geen f100 te krijgen. Ik eet vet met olie en melk door elkaar en je vader een beetje van de karn. Aardappelen en groente hebben we genoeg. Overige levensmiddelen zeer schaars. Alles ligt stil. Geen school geen kerk. Ieder ogenblik jagertjes waar de afweer op schiet. Er heeft hier ook van dat zware met als in Vlaardingen gestaan maar daar er geen elektries is is het nu weg. We zitten met een petroleumlamp. Vannacht weer veel jagertjes: ook nog een bom in ’t gat waar mossels liggen gegooid. Wat heeft dat nou voor nut. ’s Nachts overal lichtkogels maar ik kom er niet voor uit ‘t bed. We hebben een paar keer het benauwd gehad toen de boten in de kaai beschoten werden. Bram slaapt nu weer thuis. ’t Schiet slecht op hè! Ik denk dat we er nog voor eerst niet vanaf zijn. De gasfabriek heeft nog voor 2 weken kolen. De kolenhandelaars hebben heuse kolen aan de bakkers moeten afstaan. Kunnen jullie Jo bereiken stuur dan de brief maar door. We zitten hier afgesloten voor de buitenwereld. Wat denk ik dikwijls aan jullie en kijk dan maar naar de foto. Je bent wel in tijd geweert. Ik zorg zo een beetje voor het eten maar ben gauw moe. Zou Dirk niet per fiets naar hier komen? Ik zie Lee wel eens voorbij komen. Door binnen wegen is het van af Bergen op Zoom wel te doen. De Rotterdamsche bank is in weken niet geweest zo dat velen bijna zonder geld zitten. Wij kunnen gelukkig bij Gerard van Oosten voorschot krijgen omdat we daar stukken gekocht hebben. Nu geliefden in gedachten veel kussen en omhelzingen ook voor de jongens. Hopende op een spoedig wederzien. Wat zou dat een vreugde zijn. Bogaards hoort zeker ook niks uit Zuudrande? Verleden week reed er nog een vrachtwagen voor bij met D waar op stond de Hullens Zuudrande. Er wordt ook hier alles weg gehaald wat rijbaar is. De dr en zuster rijden met een rode kruis vlag aan hun fiets. Nogmaals het beste toegewenst. Je liefh moeder
Tante Saar geeft een brief van Jan uit Den Haag ontvangen van 7 Sept”


In the timespirit of Holocaust memorials, here are two letters that were written during the war, by families that were, religionwise, outsiders, but even still they were part of the picture as a whole.
The letters are written by a married daughter to her parents, and a letter of her parents to her. The letters are of two different occasions, they are not a response to one another. It’s just two random moments during the war. I did apply today’s spelling to the letters. I used the original Dutch names of the places where things happened.
I chose to share them as they give quite a powerful image of how things were at the time. 

‘Vlaardingen, 25 february ’41

Dearest Mom and Dad,

I will finally take the time to write back. Because I’m quite busy. The days fly by and then this happens and then that. Aunt Saar I forget and I didn’t know about Uncle Dees. If something like that happens again, mother, you should order some flowers from me in Goes, because you’re not so busy as I currently am.
I bring Tonny and get him off school by bike. He feels at home like a fish in water. It’s so good to see him quite so happy, but it’s quite a tour and he’s quite heavy, so it is quite some work to get him there. Jo may have written to you by now. He unexpectedly appeared on Friday, 12 o’clock. Immediately did a catchup, you’ll understand. Sunday evening gone again. It was a good time had. He plans to spend his Easter holiday with us to work for his exams. Tonny has already presented us with two imprints he made himself. I’ll add one to this letter for Grandmother Mother.
There are huge amounts of people being collected here. Monday 43. Tuesday again. I don’t know what for. They weren’t even allowed to say goodbye, or pack some luggage or any refreshments.
Adje is much better again, up to shape. So is grandma Vos.
Jo told that father is going to Den Hague.
Are you still going to France, father? You should make a hurry with it, because it’s the quiet before the storm, I think.
Tonight there will be another meeting.
I will send you some raisins, mother, we will make the bill up later, it’s no problem really. I will also pay for the coat, but I can’t remember quite how much it cost? Maybe Adje knows. Well, hope to see you soon my loves. Stay strong. Love from all of us and you Maatje.
ps.s there was someone here asking for oysters. Are there any left?’

‘Yerseke, Wednesday afternoon 7PM 27/4, 1944

Dear All,

Your letter from September 5th we received the 12th Sept we haven’t written because we had heard that transportation etc had been discontinued. But now we heard that every once in a while, letters are being delivered by bike and so, we are taking a chance aswell.
We are thankfully quite alright, are in the middle of the martial noise, many planes, one got down somewhere close, quite some bombs on Laren and surroundings. Also one on a well of ours (diver lock) and about 12 meters of pier gone and 3 houses of Schuttershof, a few storage rooms and half the storage (coopery Bliecker and under the dike at Uncle Bram all the windows went bust. Electricity has been down for three weeks already, just like water and we only have gas from 7 to 9 AM and 10 to 1 at noon and from 5 to 7PM at night, so we’re seated with a paraffin lamp as thankfully we still have a bit of oil. Very much here has passed from France and Belgium through Vlissingen and Hoedekenskerke. Kole lives in Baarland and keeps his doctor’s practice in Kwadensdamme. A bomb of 2000 kilograms on the cemetery destroyed his house: the ceiling of his office came down and landed in the waiting room. Kole did visit for a bit last week. There was only one dead here, the wife of Gerrit Bos, aged 83 years, and some wounded. In Breskens 110 deaths and 45 wounded (a son of Hovestad (Dirk) who used to be a machenic at Reitsema. In Breskens, Axel, Vlissingen, Biggekerke etc should have lots of death victims due to the bombarnements. Lots of fruits have been blown off the trees and there’s no way to transport them right now, so they are easy to get a hold on. I hope this letter reaches you. Many kisses and well wishes, your loving father.
except for butter we are doing well here.
(same paper)
Dear All,
your father has written nearly all already. How are you doing? You might not receive this letter, but we thought we just try. 



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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Daily life, Uncategorized


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The Magdalene Sisters (review)

This film with, amongst others, Dorothy Duffy, Nora-Jane Noone and Anne-Marie Duff, tells the dreadful story about the Irish, catholic way of handling young girls/young women who have been going through puberty and all its consequences.
You’d think it’s dramatised. Or at least you hope it is.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

When the film came out, previous inhibitants of these laundrettes ran by nuns protested: said it didn’t show honest enough what went on inside those walls.
That it was way more awful.
You see three girls being brought there and the reason why.
One girl has given birth to a baby whilst unmarried. Her baby is taken away from her, seconds after she has been forced to draw papers to give him up for adoption. Another girl has been raped by her own cousin during a weddingparty and another one, an orphan, likes the wandering eyes of boys too much (apparently).
This is silly enough in itself, but the daily amount of abuse the girls receive is incredible. And all in the name of God. I was raised an atheist, which doesn’t help, but you can’t help thinking: a victim of a rape shouldn’t be treated this way. Also, no girl deserves to be called a ‘whore’ when any of this occurs.
It’s a powerful portrait. It also shows how vile religious life is towards any young girl or woman, because, let’s face it, there’s religions nowadays who forbid women to so much as show themselves, in case a man feels his urges coming up. You see, when you’re part of a religion, it’s always the woman’s fault. NOT EVER the man. Not ever. And if you can find an example where this is different, then please let me know. I’m honestly curious.
Back to the film:
Seeing how the nuns (the main one played by Geraldine McEwan, which she does so well indeed, as you honestly hate her at some point) consider themselves so much better than any of these girls. More priviliged. Factually, they were guards in a prison. While at the same time, they kept innocents.
How they ate in the same room as the girls, but behind a fancy bar and eating far more nutricious and tasteful food. Bread, butter, milk, jam,tea, etc. Where the girls had some sort of porridge while the Bible was read out loud. Of course.
The girls have to wash clothes and beddings and so on, are not allowed to speak to one another. When there’s already someone in there with a same name, the nuns would take your name too.
The girl who has given birth has not healed yet, but doesn’t receive any help when it comes to her milk being stuck in her breasts.
After the girls have taken a shower, they are obliged to parade in front of the nuns, who make fun of them. In the nude. For a young person in the bloom of life, that’s just cruel.
Any girl who objects, will be punished by slaps on the legs, arms or whatever with wood or leather. Speaking of anything else than a Bible is pretty much forbidden.
I do wonder what the exact goal of these Mary Magdalene Laundrettes was. Was it to simply punish the girls? The nuns that were ruling, if they had to apply for a job there, what was the exact job description? Was it to be ‘as cruel as humanly possible’?  There was no happy ending for these girls except for running away and flea the country, that’s for sure.
In the film you see a girl who ran away being returned by her father, who slaps her with a belt, tells her she no longer has a family, that they do not wish to have anything to do with her, tells her she’s a whore, that they are ALL whores and so on. The head nun is present when this happens. You can clearly see the nun doesn’t want to interfere because she wants all the girls in that dormitory to know just how unwanted they all are. If the father would have struck his daughter with an axe, I’m sure the nun wouldn’t have done anything either, for it was supposed to be an example to the other girls.

Anyone who considers rape to be not so much of an issue, should see this film. Because these are girls who told about their rape. They expected help. And I know you’ll say ‘but this is a different time, it’s different now!’ and I’m telling you that your consideration of ‘you should have cooperated then’, or ‘it was your own fault’, is the exact same message that is carried out by these bloody nuns. Nothing will change for any girl, if rape isn’t considered a serious crime and the perpetrator is ‘just a naughty boy’ of sorts. It’s not. It’s not a small issue. Having sex is a major change in a girls’ life, which should never be taken lightly.

I was surprised when, in the end, it turned out that one of the girls kept a very steep faith. If anything, this film prevented me from having any faith in faith at all.
These nuns should have been prosecuted. I hope some of them did. I’m afraid of the answer. In my opinion, they were nothing short of a guard in Auschwitz. If I would know where their graves are, I would tapdance on top of them. They were the worst nightmare for any young woman growing up. The worst thing is: with all of the talks about the church sexually abusing the youngest of persons in their care, I don’t recall EVER hearing or reading about these Mary Magdalene Laundrettes. That’s the biggest shame of all.

This film is powerful to watch and I’d recommend to see it. Just keep the tissues ready as the feeling of injustice will crawl into your mind and body.

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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in Films, Opinion


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