Posted in Photo, Photo challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

Share a photo that means Everyday Life to you, is the challenge of Jon Sanwell – Without an H –  that we are faced with today.

Everyday Life. This challenge is all about people and the things they do every day: working, eating, drinking, chatting, dreaming, walking, exercising, or any of those things we do all the time without really thinking about it. Take a walk around your neighbourhood, or around the streets where you work or study, and take a look at the people you see. You might think that your neighbourhood isn’t very interesting, but imagine that you’re giving a guided tour to someone from the other side of the world—what’s normal for you might be extraordinary to them.

This is a photo of the local fish stall, where the people of our village meet to talk and share their life’s stories. And to buy fish of course. The owner is called René, a very nice and amiable man who is always in for a chat. And don’t think you can rush him: he always – and I really mean ALWAYS – takes his time to select, cut and prepare the fish wares with full attention. If you want his fish, be willing to relax and enjoy his bantering with the customers, while he imperturbable conducts his trade. He really brings people together in everyday life.

Fishmonger Sins * is there every Saturday, rain or shine and in all seasons, to provide us with delicious fish and home-made paella. I especially love the kibbeling, small chunks of battered white fish which is spiced with a special mix. And you won’t be able to drive home without tasting at least one piece, often many more. When my sons were young, we used to eat chunks of hot and spicy kibbeling the second we could lay our hands on it. And often we would go back to buy another portion to take home. Fingerlickin’ good!

Everyday Life in the Netherlands:

* ‘Sins’ is not related to the English meaning of ‘sins’, it’s just a family name 😉


Many others have taken up this challenge, you will find them here.

Posted in Biker Witch, Border hopping, Photo

Afternoon at the Geneva Lake

Switzerland. A new country after a magnificent climb over the Bernard Pass, crossing over from Italy.



The views were breathtaking, as was the winding road of the Alps.

We found a hotel in Vevey, with a view over the Lake of Geneva. You had to see through the trees though 😉 There was a music festival near the lake and V-man and I spent a great afternoon walking, talking, listening to music, reading and taking photos. The afternoon light of the Lake of Geneva was magical.






We had dinner upstairs. I hope I had veal in Madras sauce.


This gorgeous beauty we encountered on our walk through the town of Vevey.


For now I will say goodnight. It’s time for CSI in French. A welcome change from this series in Italian 🙂

Posted in Biker Witch, Border hopping, Nature, Personal, Photo

Love – Hate Relationship

Fresh air! Finally there’s fresh air in the air! I seem to have a love-hate relationship with Italy in summer.

The heat is sapping my strength. The motor helmet and jacket add to safety. But add triple to discomfort. While all Italians buzz past us, only dressed in shorts, shirt and slippers. Plus a helmet. Unbelievable.

Here again some photos of the Italian landscape, last night’s B&B which we found through the Harley Dealer in Levante, who called the owner. She, Susanna, came by car to lead us and our Big Black to her house in the middle of nowhere on a mountain. Beautiful! And a challenging small path with U-turns for V-man to navigate on.

Today we rode north again and are now in Ivrea. A hotel with WiFi, resulting in this post which I’m typing on my iPhone. No fancy editing of the header, I’m sorry 😉

The weather is changing here, there was a bit of lightning earlier on.

And now I’m going to take shower number 275 of this week. Have a lovely weekend.









Posted in Border hopping, Nature, Personal, Photo

Home Away From Home

Spring in Portugal! Last week the V-man and I caught a plane to the south. To the sun and warmth. Well, skip the last part, for it was around 16 Celsius. Skip the first part too by the way, for there were plenty of clouds, rain and thunderstorms. On the other hand, it immediately gets warm whenever the sun burns her way through that gray, oppressive blanket. And clouds are really photogenic!

During this short Portuguese holiday, we stayed in the wooden cabin that you can see in the third picture. Three years ago, we helped building this oasis of peace for dear friends of ours. And it has become a home away from home.

All of these pictures are taken with my iPhone, a pro-active device that fucked up helped me tremendously by switching on the option ‘Burst’. I have no conscious memory of ordering it to do that, but the result is that the photos are small: 640×480. I still like them though, especially after playing with a few modifying options. Of my own choosing this time 😉

These are pictures of our walk along the Atlantic Ocean near Cidade on Sunday, April 29th. I will post more during the next weeks.

Thank you so very much, M&M, for letting us stay once again *hugs*

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Copyright © Marion Driessen
Posted in Personal, Photo

Photos of a Dutchess

I fear I may have a new hobby… A hobby that will complement my writing: photography!

My enthusiasm for making and editing photos is rising sky-high, while I explore the many possibilities of my iPhone.

Hence a new blog on Figments of a Dutchess:

Photos of a Dutchess

Will you take a look?

Posted in Nature, Photo, Six Word Saturday

Photo Play

Six Word Saturday


Pushing buttons. Changing images. Enhanced beauty.

Photos @ Marion

Not a single photo you see in the magazines is completely original! All are altered – some a bit, others a lot more – by programs like Photoshop.

This is what a friend said to me last week. I stared at her and shook my head. I told her she was ruining my trust in mankind, that there must be pure photos too! Mirror images, like the ones I see each morning before after the morning grooming! But no. My friend is an experienced photographer and she recognizes the techniques that are used to touch up the magazine photos.

Intrigued, I started to explore the possibilities of my iPhone through the Instagram (profile: Doldriest) and Camera+ app. Using those, I started to play with shades, lights, flash, crops and special effects. And here are the results. In the third photo I was trying to focus/zoom on the the ice on the glass (which didn’t work obviously). What I got was the reflection of the yard.

Did I make these photos? Yes! Did I know exactly what I was doing? No, but I just played around and stopped when the images were to my liking. What do you think, are they any good? Tips?


Want to play along? All that’s necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words.

<< Click the button for more Six Word Saturday.

Posted in Books, Technology

Tablet Vs eReader

Yesterday I finally did it! No more postponing, no more talking. Yesterday I made the final choice between tablet and ereader!

For years I have been doubting, comparing and waiting for the right reading device to come along. I even gave an exploratory workshop on the use of ereaders in primary school a couple of years ago.

The general advice sounds quite simple:

  1. If you read a lot you should almost always get an eReader. A good clue is if you spend too much on books or read too much. An eReader is also a good fit if you really, really want to read more than you do.
  2. If you read once in a while you should almost always get a Tablet. If you read less than one book a month the Tablet is the right fit.

Alrighty! An ereader it will be and (un)fortunately we have a lot of choices.

  • Cybook Opus
  • BeBook Mini
  • Hanvon N516, N518, N520, N526
  • Icarus Reader Go
  • Icarus Reader Sense
  • Cybook Gen3
  • Sweex eBook Reader MM300
  • iRiver Story EB02 eReader
  • OYO
  • Sony Reader Pocket PRS350
  • Sony Reader Touch PRS650
  • Kindle 3
  • Kindle DX
  • PocketBook Pro 602
  • Samsung E60
  • enTourage eDGe

My heart was set on a Kindle, but those are not for sale in Holland. Of course I could have ordered one at It takes a bit of a travel to the US though, in case of ereader emergencies and breakdowns. So no Kindle.

And just when I was stepping further along the path towards the right ereader, Mr. Apple comes along and throws in a tablet: the iPad. What a magnificent device! Last May I was in New York and visited the Apple Store.

I touched the iPad, held and played with it, surfed and even read on it. It has a beautiful design, loads of apps, is colorful and has the most amazing possibilities. Smooth page turning, a delicate sound. I fell in love on the spot. But the price was way too high for my budget and that outvoiced any whimpering sounds the temptation made in my head.

Recently I bought an iPhone 3 – my  first own device of the Apple family. And again that Apple love hit me. I cherish this phone. It lets me read my mail, even type small messages. I can make photographs and directly mail them. My Google calendars pop up whenever I need them. I even can make phone calls with it! My (Dutch) university column last month was about the iVirus.

Then more good news! Prices for the iPad have dropped with the arrival of the iPad2. So yesterday, in stead of going to the carnival parade in our village, I went to a media shop to take another look at the iPad and to examine the difference between a five inch and six inch screen.

Seems the iVirus was not strong enough to influence my common sense. I made up my mind once and for all and in stead of the iPad, chose the

Sony Reader Pocket PRS350

It has a five inch touch screen, 800 x 600 pixels resolution, the newest e-ink technology, memory 2GB, can show JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and handles EPUB eBook, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, TXT, RTF and BBeB.

But most importantly it is very light, feels wonderful, has a strong battery which will last for weeks, is very relaxing to the eye – just like a paper book – and fits into every bag. The only setback is that I can’t read Amazon books on it, but perhaps that will be solved in the future. I can take it with me to the dentist, the hair dresser. It will travel by plane to Portugal in May, and on our Harley to the South of England in summer. There is no integrated radio, no Wi-Fi, no internet browser on my Sony ereader. And you know what? I like that!

Though very attractive, the iPad is too heavy for comfortable reading, too big to take easily along and too distracting as an ereader. I still have my desktop and notebook, plus my iPhone. No need for an iPad, other than as an expensive toy.

Oh and by the way, this ereader will not replace my beloved paper books. But it will be a valuable addition to my reading experience.

How about you? Do you have an ereader? And do you like it? Do you use this device often?

Happy reading all of you!