Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Nobility. Old money. Upper class. The patina of generations that transformed the parvenu or nouveau riche into old money. Usually three generations. 

I am never able to see a King, Duke or Baron without asking myself: who was the parvenu that brought you the money and (noble) titles?

Did you know that William I (1028-1087), 1st King of England, was the illegitimate son of Robert I, Duke of Normandy? And that he gained his title by conquering England?

Did you know that J.D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) made his money with oil, kerosene and gasoline?

Did you know that Duarte Pio, 24th Duke of Braganza (born 1945) descends from an illegitimate son of King João I who gained his titles by intrigues?

What do you think? What made the Spencers rich? Picture below: Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer  (born 1964) before his Althorp House.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


This week I realized that the image that best describes my mindset and reading-habit is: rafelranden. It's an image in Dutch. In English translated best with 'fringe' or 'outskirts'.
My Fringe on people:
My Fringe on history:
  • Stone age in contrast to our mechanized world.
  • Ancient Egypt in contrast to ancient Greece and Rome.
  • Neoplatonism in contrast to mainstream Christianity.

What's my point? It gives my life color and light as I engage myself with people, periods, books and languages that are not mainstream in my country and society. Thereby I appreciate what I have. It makes me realize - time and again - that nothing is given and everything comes from somewhere and has its own, individual story. It makes a normal and mainstream life, my life, better intelligible.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Without Preconceived Plan

Our holiday came to an end. How fast four weeks of a holiday pass. I don't dislike working but I prefer living in a steady state of 'dolce far niente' #dream #romantic.

I successfully finished the Four Days Marches in Nijmegen in my first week. 4 days x 50 kilometer. Pretty though! I fought and survived the demons of laziness, pain and sleep. For four days: Walking. Eating. Sleeping. Nothing else. I slept at my mother's place. My two sons visited me for a night. They cycled all the way from N to P, with the two of them, with the help of a map #ProudDaddy.

On Saturday in my second week, I fell from a stepladder. It caused terrible pain in my back. For two days I was hardly able to walk, sit or sleep. Not able to read. I only watched TV and fell asleep every now and then. After two weeks the strongest pain eased. Thank God! But I am still not fully recovered after 3 weeks.

Last week of my holiday we renovated 2 bedrooms.

The weather in The Netherlands was tropical. Kids played with their friends. Swimming. Watch TV. Playing games on computer and iPad.

I did not read one of the books I planned to read. I started with re-reading - I read it 15 years ago for the first time - Ton Lemaire's 'Wandelenderwijs'. A book on walking. After finishing that book, I read five other books without a preconceived plan. 
And now? Now I am in the mood of re-reading Johnny Frisbie's 'Miss Ulysses from Puka-Puka, the autobiography of a South Sea trader's daughter' (1948). And finally read her father's book 'The book of Puka-Puka' (1929). I bought this rare book, 12 years ago, for more than USD 170 but never read it.

... - you know.