Unexpected talent

Memory, a short play (two person) featuring David Belrose and Gloria Dowton. Part of ten plays presented at the annual 10 x 10 showcase Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay. Three performances of the plays over two days April 12 & 13 2019. Story revolves around a long married couple and the humour and drama in issues with regards to remembering things.

Photo by courtesy of Marty Mascarin.

David Belrose is the partner of Brian Holden. I know them since 1999. They were the first house guests we had when we moved to Nijmegen, back in September 2003. Pierre moved Friday 12, I moved Monday 15, and Brian and David were picked up at Amsterdam Airport Wednesday 17. Apart from visiting Dutch highlights, we had a house in Bruges (Belgium). From Belgium the two Canadians visited Paris, and returned to Nijmegen.

Amsterdam, 20 September 2003, after an exhausting “touristic” day: dinner at our favourite Mexican restaurant; from left to right: David Belrose, Brian Holden, Pierre Bormans and Luke Barkhuis.


In case her Ladyship gets bankrupt because of the continuing story of cruising, there is a solution to earn some money: she is a master make-up artist for musicals. As in a recent production of CATS in Somerset.

Student housing#29-6531ZS 215

Probably there has been a contact between the house owner and the tenants. The green container has been placed on the parking of Graafseweg 215, so on the property of SSH&. Meanwhile the bag with the curious white (plastic???) pebbles is still on the ground and the pedastrian has to walk through it.

However, Nijmijgen City Community, the DAR (garbage collection service) and the Environment Council are busy with the case, as well as the owner of the student housing, SSHN. There will be an inspection next Monday.

But over the weekend we can enjoy this:


Meghan Markle home birth: Will Meghan give birth at Frogmore Cottage?

Meghan Markle, 37, and Prince Harry, 34, have taken the “personal decision” of keeping their birthing arrangements for the royal baby under wraps. And it seems that decision has fuelled rumours the former actress has opted for a home birth in order to keep the magical experience private. Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby. Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.” Bookmakers have slashed the odds on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex opting for a home birth at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor from 5/1 to 7/4 following the palace announcement. Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “Harry and Meghan want all things Royal Baby to be kept private, and you can’t get much more private than a home birth – so we’ve taken the scissors to the odds of exactly that happening as a result.” A home birth led by a midwife is believed to be the “favoured choice” of the royal couple, a source told the Daily Mail. But the same source added Meghan and Harry not had totally ruled out a hospital delivery, however.

Meghan Markle and Prince HarryHarry and Meghan’s child will be seventh-in-line to the throne once he or she is born, meaning there is less pressure on their arrangements. At present, an announcement is expected to be made once the Duchess has gone into labour. A second one should then follow after the arrival of the newborn. This will include details of the baby’s weight, gender and place of birth. Meghan and Harry are believed to want to escape the media spotlight and royal photocall that accompanied all three births of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kate posed outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in London with blowdried hair and immaculate makeup hours after giving birth to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Harry and William’s mother Princess Diana also participated in the same tradition after having both her sons inside the west London hospital.

There is still a strong chance Meghan might opt for a birth at a hospital but one located much nearer to her home than the Lindo Wing. The most obvious choice is the Mulberry Centre at the NHS-run Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey. Frimley Park is located 15 miles away from Frogmore Cottage, compared to a 23-mile journey to St Mary’s. Ladbrokes has current odds of 4/1 for St Mary’s and 8/1 for The Portland Hospital.

Student housing#28-6531ZS 215

People, who own a private house and live also in it, are not very amused when their (direct) neighbours are students or young people who may have studied in the past, but stay in their former student housing. SSHN / SSH& provides such housing in Nijmegen and Arnhem. Here is a quotation of their website. In the meantime, ordinary owners have to live with the nuisance.




  • SSH& is the premier student housing provider in Nijmegen & Arnhem…
  • …“SSH& is an active organisation that stands for good, affordable housing and the services associated with it for young students in Nijmegen and Arnhem as well as for related groups and individuals staying in these areas for short periods of time.”…
  • …the growing number of students without wealthy parents find decent rooms…. 
  • …SSHN primarily purchased townhouses in the popular neighbourhoods of Nijmegen Oost and Bottendaal as well as Nijmegen city centre for various student associations… 
  • …student living involves more than just renting a room…. 
  • …We provide the room & the student creates the wonderful experience inside it… 
  • …Students who are eagerly looking for housing in Nijmegen or Arnhem for the short or long term…

Solar energie#16

Smart meter:

The smart meter is needed because the network is under pressure. We use WiFi everywhere and at all times, drive electrically, want as much renewable energy as possible, generate energy ourselves and want to deliver this back to the network. These technical innovations make a lot possible, but also set high demands. The smart meter gives us insight into where the network is under pressure and the network needs to be weighted. A smart meter is an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy and communicates the information to the electricity supplier for monitoring and billing. Smart meters typically record energy hourly or more frequently, and report at least daily.

Combination with a solar panel system:

Usually solar panels produce electricity at a time when you do not use any electricity yourself. That power is then supplied to the electricity network. The energy company then settles the supply with the electricity that you purchase from the network (this is called netting) and pays the same price for this for your electricity (on average of € 0.23 / £ 0.20 / CA$ 0.35 per kWh, price level 2019). This set-off scheme applies till 2020. Starting 2021, a feed-back subsidy will probably take its place. With this you earn back your solar panels in an average of 7 years. The subsidy will also apply if you already have solar panels.

  • You take 2,000 kWh of electricity a year from the network and you supply 2,500 kWh to the electricity grid through your solar panels.

  • The energy company must pay the current electricity tariff for 2,000 kWh of supplied electricity (21 cents per kWh, contract price level 2019).

  • It may pay a lower rate for the remaining 500 kWh (this is often referred to as the feed-in charge).

  • The energy company may determine the lower rate itself.

  • The reimbursement is € 0.07 per kWh.
  • If you produce a lot of electricity, it is therefore worth comparing different companies. There are overviews on the internet, for example, search for ‘returning power and offsetting’.


In our personal situation the consumption level is about 3,800kW. Our solar panel system can produce 2,700kW max per year. So -also considering that an electric boiler will be installed to reduce the gas consumption- we will always pay for electricity, although the -now very expensive- gas consumption will decline. Electricity: 3,800 kW @ € 0,21 per kW = € 798 consumed last year (not including all fixed costs per year), and we did not deliver back to the grid. Gas: 3,304 m3 @ € 0.81 per m3 = € 2,676 consumed last year (not including all fixed costs per year). Our monthly instalment was € 323. So the year bill (not including all fixed costs) will say:

  •    € 0,798 electricity consumption
  •    € 2,676 gas consumption
  • – € 3,876 monthly instalments
  • – € 0,402 balance in our advantage, as it will cover the not included fixed costs.

Next year there will be an other situation:

  • Electricity consumption will incline, because of the new electric boiler.
  • Gas consumption however will decline.
  • We will deliver back to the grid the overproduction of electricity.

With the result:

  •    € 1,000 electricity consumption
  •    € 2,000 gas consumption
  • – € 0,150 back delivery from solar panels
  •    € 2,850 total due (not included all fixed costs per year)
  •    € 0,250 fixed costs
  •    € 3,100 total due (all revenues and costs included)
  •    € 0,260 monthly instalment

Arnheim moorland

The fire on Arnheim moorland is almost under control, the fire brigade says. Altogether, a moorland with trees with a size of approximately 25 hectares has been lost. The  fire started on the Defense  Training Site in the flanks of the Deelen Av. and the King Av. in the north of Arnheim. The fire brigade turned out with four platoons with a total of sixteen extinguishing vehicles.

De natuurbrand bij Schaarsbergen.

Strong wind

The fire was reported around two o’clock in the afternoon. Initially it was a plot of 50 by 50 meters, but the fire spread rapidly due to the strong wind. Firefighters released air from the tires of their vehicles to get a better grip in the loose sand on the moorland. About an hour and a half after the report, the fire was under control and the after-fire could begin.

The Military Police will investigate how the fire started.


Solar energy#15

First tree planted!


At 04:00pm today there was our first tree!


1 tree = 298.88Kg not emissioned CO2 =

€ 135  / £ 116 / CA$ 202 earned = 760kW produced electricity.

01 April 2019 (no joke!) was our most productive day so far: first input at 07:15am 12W last input at 07:30pm 8W, day revenue 16.766kW. Considering that the panels were out of order for 33 days between 31 January and 22 March, we could have surpassed the 1,000kW.

Where sunrise at the moment is at 06:55am and sunset is at 08:20pm, there is 13h 15m daylight. In June the longest day will start with a sunsrise at 05:17am and end with a sunset at 09:59pm, there will be 16h 02m daylight. (All times are in GMT+1 and for Nimwegen only, as the data varies by longitude and latitude).

American Express offer


As a VIP, during the opening days of this classic British sports event, enjoy top tennis at the famous Center Court, excellent hospitality in a luxury suite at Wimbledon and also meet one of the top players.

This 2-day package includes:

  • 1 seat on the 100 level of the famous Center Court for 2 competition days, including the opening match
  • 2 days access to the exclusive American Express Gold Suite in the competition park, inclusive catered lunch and afternoon tea
  • a variety of facilities in the suite, including air conditioning, comfortable seats, a private balcony and screens to watch the matches
  • presence at a conversation, a meet & greet and a photo moment with one of the tennis pros
  • luxury transfers from and to London (every day)
  • opportunity to purchase special Wimbledon items

Dates: July 1 – 2, 2019, location: London,
Price: £ 3,978 / € 4,639 / CA$ 6,956 per person


  • eventual hotel accomodation in London,
  • transportation from/to your city/country to London
  • transportation from/to your arrival/departure location to your London accomodation.

Call the Platinum Lifestyle Service for more information and to book, +31 20 504 8737.


Teacher Jade Groves explained that it was when the children practiced their balance by standing on one leg with a plastic disc on their head. “Do you guys want to show him?” she asked the children, as Prince Harry gamely joined in on one leg for a pose onlookers likened to the yoga move “tree pose”.

“You wobbled,” one child pointed out.

The Duke, who introduced himself to the children’s parents, crouched down to chat to three-month-old daughter baby Naz, just a few weeks ahead of the birth of his first child. Maria Ahmad, the baby girl’s mother, said: “He was so excited and happy about the baby. “He was asking about her sleeping. I think he’s worried about that – if the baby sleeps at night time.”

Prince Harry meets children at a ballet class YMCA South Ealing

The Duke also spoke of the necessity of charities telling their success stories, giving others inspiration that their lives can improve. “Most of the people I’ve met who’ve been through a really dark place, 99 per cent of them have come through it and found mechanisms to carry on with their normal life or have made serious adjustments in their life to be able to cope,” he said. “You, as charities, I don’t believe necessarily put those people forward. Those are the icons, the people that young people need to see and hear their stories.

Anwar’s columns#36

I am starting to look like you and become a real frugal Dutchman

In the Netherlands, the Prime Minister goes to work by bicycle. I know that image. Slowly I got used to the sober Dutch culture. Dutch people who are powerful do not have to show that with things. What they say or do is important here, not the size of their house, palace or car. I was hardly surprised when I recently saw the mayor of Arnheim shopping in my supermarket in Arnheim Presikhaaf. I thought it was a beautiful sight.

Now that I, as a newcomer, think I know the country and its habits, I suddenly see events that surprise me. I was invited on a public holiday for all volunteers from Refugee Intermidiate Workers. The party was at the Burgers ’Zoo in Arnheim. Half the zoo was rented and we were allowed to eat and drink as much as we wanted. Free. I didn’t understand anything. There is never any money at Refugee Intermidiate Workers? That’s why volunteers don’t get paid? Then why suddenly such a huge party that costs so much money? And what should we do at the zoo?

I had experienced it before. As a volunteer at the Eusebius Church in Arnheim we worked for three days on the preparation of an event of the municipality of Arnhem. A truck brought chairs, posters and special websites were designed, all for one afternoon. The municipality had something to present and wanted to do it at a special location. But the town hall is next to the church, the halls are beautiful there and the coffee is free from the machine. A good idea does not suddenly improve if it is presented at an expensive location. I am starting to look more and more like you. I am becoming a real economical Dutchman.

A goal in mind

I wanted to become an architect from an early age. I didn’t have enough points on my final exam in Syria to be able to study architecture, so I studied law. Once in the Netherlands I was advised not to study architecture here either, because there is not enough work to do. Well, everyone who reads my columns more often knows that I shall die because I am not able to find work as a lawyer, so I chose a different study program: Industrial Product Design at HAN. Some students in my study are allowed to do an internship with interior architect and product designer Kees Marcelis. Oh, I am a fan of his work. Sometimes, if I have no inspiration, I swipe through his designs for a while. At HAN it is a reason to walk with your nose in the air, if you can do an internship at Marcelis. I sent him a message on Facebook, to compliment him on his work and to ask if I could come and talk. “The Dutch never do that,” he told me later when I came to see him. ,,That is why you are very welcome. Nice that you just ask directly.”

His house, near the central station in Arnhem, was a work of art in every corner. He designed everything himself, from the stove to the lamp, to the walls and tables. I think that is great to do. And best of all: he said that as interns he prefers people from our education, because we are technically focused but we can also think creatively. I went to him uncertainly and without much hope for the future and went home as a proud IPO student. I have seen what I want to achieve and I feel it will work.

How can the people here not go to paradise?

Muslims go to heaven. Non-Muslims do not go to paradise. I always learned it that way. I thought that was fine, because I didn’t know any non-believing people in Syria. It was easy to believe that “the rest” would not go to paradise with us. The war in Syria changed the plan for my life. No longer do I spend my days between Muslims alone, because I came to the Netherlands. Here I live among “the rest”. Here I meet lovely people who take care of me, invite me into their house, cook for me, help me start up in the Netherlands and I even met a couple who took me home. All non-Muslims. Do they then earn nothing through these good deeds?

My Syrian friends in the Netherlands struggle with the same thoughts. How can the people here not go to paradise? They can’t help it that they were born here? That they don’t know Allah and can’t read an Arabic language?

When we pray, we all ask that question. We do not want to question the doctrine as we know it, but we feel so much sadness when we think of all the lovely people who do not go to heaven with us. “Together out, home together,” we joke. A Dutch friend said to me: if you look at it that way, it will be much nicer in hell, right? I thought of my friend Gijs, who makes me smile every day. When he comes to hell, it is indeed very pleasant there.

I’d rather go to heaven together with everyone. Our God is known as the great forgiver. I hope he is so forgiving that he turns a blind eye to the Dutch.

Solar energy#14

Monthly report: March 2019

Figures as per 31 March 2019

Considering, that the installation was out of order during the first half of the month, and that the technicians repaired the installation on 29 March 2019:

  • 122.858 kW  produced;
  • € 23.36 earned;
  • 18.16 Kg CO2 emission saved;
  • equals 0.16 trees planted; total 0.89 trees.

WotW – edition 103#4

Walk of the World edition #103

Training #4


  1. Leg 1: Home – Polder of Ooij – Ooij [coffee break]
  2. Leg 2: Ooij – Kekerdom [sanitary stop & drinks}
  3. Leg 3: Kekerdom – Millingen [lunch]
  4. Leg 4: Millingen to bus stop
  5. Leg 5: Millingen to Nimwegen by bus 80
  6. Leg 6: bus stop at Emperor Charles Sq. to home

The app on my smartphone reports as follows:

  • 5h34 minutes non-stop walking
  • 26.33 Km  (17.56M)
  • 34,283 steps
  • 2,555 kCal.


Visiting North Curry, day 4

All times are in GMT + 1 (Nijmegen time 🙂 )

A sunny day: at 11:30AM the day revenue was already 6Kw and current input level 1.14Kw. So far no worry about the solar panels during the last days. But I am curious what the technical people will discover 29 March… 😦 😦 😦

The day starts with packing the suitcase and handluggage:

A sunny last meal together:

NCY 03:00 PM – TAU 03:25 PM by car:

Upon Mary’s request we have extra time in Taunton at the fuelstation next to the busstop. I have to check the pressure in the tires, as Mary never does that, and the car had been out of use for 2 months. Front 2.15Mb and back 1.65Mb. Driving with Pierre has made me an expert with that machines… 🙂 😉 🙂 😉

But, upon arrival, the air machine at the BP station was out of order!

TAU 03:56 PM – BRS 04:53 PM, by bus South West Falcon:

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor falcon bus bristol exeter

BRS 06:25 PM – AMS 07:45 PM, by KLM Cityhopper KL1054:

Image result for klm cityhopper embraer 175

AMS 08:30 PM – QNQ 10:02 PM, by train National Railways IC3575:


Visiting North Curry, day 3

At 08:00AM I went down to open the house to the world, setting the table for breakfast and knocking on Mary’s door. We had breakfast  “en négigé”. I left Mary behind, looking at the piles of emails and… bills. After shaving and showering, and dressed for a weekday in jeans, I came down at 10:00 to check on the solar panels.

At local time Nijmegen 11:30 the day revenue was (only) 813 Wh and a present input level of 428.09W. But we had records in the days before:

  • 22 March: 12.80Kwh (sunny weather),
  • 21 March: 12.51Kwh (sunny weather),
  • 20 March: 3.99Kwh (cloudy),
  • 19 March: 3.99Kwh (system started up at 02:00PM)..

From 1 March till  mid 19 March the panels were out of order, the same situation as 1February till 14 February, and 31 January. The company, who installed the solar installation, will come 29 March . When I call SolarNRG, they can see a lot more than I. There is -according them- a failure in panel 9, but I can see on a separate screen on the computer and mobile phone, that panel 9 is working: e.g. at the moment panel 9 has produced for today 70.75Wh. Then there is a communication failure. I hope it is over by the end  this month. however according to the installation calculator we got already > € 100 back from the investment of € 4,000 (2.5%).

And a farewell dinner in Taunton, in the Castle Hotel & Restaurant. 



Buckingham Palace has a way of dealing with family feuds… and ‘emotional’ royals never fare well

The Royal family watch a military fly-past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force

As Tolstoy famously opined: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It’s a jolt to consider that the royal family are actually just like us – unhappy in their own way. We want to buy into the archetypal myth of the fairy tale: that the palaces, privilege and pomp lend themselves to living happily ever after. Tonight’s documentary, The Royal Family At War, debunks this myth: navigating the marriage break-up between Prince Charles and Diana,Princess of Wales in 1996; revisiting the abdication crisis of 1936, when Edward VIII renounced the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, and the current rumoured feud between the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.  Members of the royal family may marry for love – “whatever in love means”, as Prince Charles questioned in his engagement interview to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 – but history and tradition regularly conspire against them. Monarchy depends on continuity, conformity and the cult of the court. Familial conflict is not part of the regal code. The big business of The Firm requires that it operates as a diplomatic, rational machine. What is not tolerated, far less understood, is emotion. Those that heed the unspoken creed – duty over emotion – fare well. This week, unflappable Kate, who undertook her first public engagement with the Queen, fully cemented her position as a failsafe support to the monarch. Smiling and relaxed, her sunny self-assuredness must have been a balm to courtiers prickly over rumours of her rift with Meghan.

The news that Queen allegedly vetoed the Sussexes’ plan to set up a separate court and be “entirely independent” underlines the essence of a constitutional monarchy. This is an institutional structure to support the monarch, which doesn’t allow for that kind of rogue independence. The fact that William and Harry are splitting courts, as Meghan and Harry move from Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage next month,is unsettling enough with its potential for further rifts and rivalry.  History shows that the more colourful, excitable characters in the royal family who try to steer their own course tend not to reign triumphant. Consider the fates of Edward VIII, Princess Diana and Sarah, Duchess of York: all anathema to the British old school, stiff upper lip modus operandi. Which makes me anxious for Meghan and Harry.

The sixth-in-line to the throne is clearly more volatile and openly expressive than his elder brother, while Meghan has the double impediment of being not just emotional but an outsider. Worse, an American outsider who must quickly learn that the British way of coping can appear game-playing and manipulative; what is unsaid is often more significant than what is. Like her predecessor, American divorcée Wallis Simpson, of whom her friend, Nicky Haslam said: “To be an American was against her then, almost more than the divorce.” Fortunately, The Firm has modernised in part, and it seen as an advantage to our special relationship that Meghan has become a part of British royalty. Her gushingly demonstrative nature, however, penning positive affirmations on bananas and describing the feeling of her baby moving as the “embryonic kick of feminism,” must be raising eyebrows sky high in Court.  Hopefully, after the unfortunate loss of three palace aides, Meghan is now astute to the fact that it is the courtiers who hold real sway. The Men in Grey, as Diana called them, have successfully ensured the survival of the House of Windsor. As Queen Mary’s biographer, James Pope Hennessy, warned: “it is courtiers who make royalty frightened and frightening.” They maintain control by undermining power with gossip and setting up rivalry between courts. Clarence House took on Kensington Palace during Charles and Diana’s acrimonious divorce in 1996.

As early as in 1932, Edward’s equerry, John Aird, railed against the courtiers at York House who were briefing King George V against his son, lamenting “all the nasty gossip, which is very wrong of them and does no good.” At the time of the abdication, Wallis Simpson had realised that the courtiers wield tremendous influence, writing: “I became obsessed with the notion that a calculated and organised effort to discredit and destroy me had been set afoot.” She was right. The mantra for an effective monarchy may be duty over emotion but sadly, this is antithetical to harmonious family life. As Edward VIII said of his childhood, “Christmas at Sandringham was Dickens in a Cartier setting.” He considered his upbringing to be devoid of emotion; his mother, Queen Mary, could never understand nor forgive him for what she saw as the greatest dereliction of his duty when he abdicated. She wrote to her son in July 1938: “All my life I have put my Country before anything else, and I simply cannot change now.”

The Queen has followed suit and is a brilliant monarch, though fallible mother. Like the savvy Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge, she has never openly bleated about her position, nor given friends the green light to mutter to the media. Camilla, a true blue blood, has kept her feelings tightly and admirably to herself. From being a reviled figure at the time of the Wales’ divorce in 1996, who could have been crushed by the avalanche of opprobrium, she has become the nation’s favourite grandmother, proving herself to be the mainstay of Prince Charles’s happiness and an ideal consort.

Having written books about two controversial royal women, Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson, it is clear to me that emotion is the enemy of monarchical longevity. Drawing attention to fragility is viewed as nauseating weakness, while openly addressing conflict is simply bad manners. Diana became the victim of her emotional life. Ill-equipped to cope with her outbursts, such as confronting Camilla at a party at Annabel Goldsmith’s about her affair with Charles, the Palace found her irrational and difficult to deal with.  The same could be said of Edward VIII. After the abdication, his torment that his wife would not be received by his family, nor given the HRH title, caused him to further alienate himself. His obsessive and pushy tendencies regularly undid whatever miniscule steps had been made towards familial rapprochement. “If you gave the Duke of Windsor an inch, he took a mile,” said royal biographer Hugo Vickers. “He could be hugely whiney, especially to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.” If only the Duke of Windsor had been as patient and strategic as Camilla has been. I believe that eventually he could have returned to live in Britain with his Duchess, which he longed for. In terms of true grit of character, Wallis understood – and ironically had the requisite inner discipline to survive – court life. After the abdication, when she received trays of vicious hate mail each morning, she schooled herself to control her inner world. She developed an implacable façade to conceal the extent of her suffering. Unlike her husband, she predicted that the conflict with the royal family was unlikely to abate. During the Second World War, she wrote: “We had two wars to deal with – the big and still leisurely war – in which everybody was caught up, and the little cold war with the Palace, in which no quarter was given.” And never was.

London demonstration

Mass demonstration in London against brexit: ‘best deal is not a brexit’

Hundreds of thousands of people are on the move in central London to demand a new referendum on the Brexit. They carry banners with texts such as “The best deal is not a Brexit” and “Let the people speak.” The demonstrators walk from Park Lane to the parliament building. There are speeches by, among others, Scottish Prime Minister Sturgeon, Deputy Labor leader Watson and London Mayor Khan. According to the organizers, there are around one million demonstrators. It is unknown whether that is true, but it is clear that resistance to the Brexit is growing. An online petition for the withdrawal of the Brexit has been signed more than 4 million times. “We are here today because we feel we are being robbed of our future,” an 18-year-old demonstrator told Reuters news agency. “Our generation has to live with the consequences of this disaster. It will be harder to find a job.” The demonstration comes a few days after the European Union has given the United Kingdom a few weeks’ delay to arrange the Brexit. According to the campaigners, it is therefore now the right time to launch a referendum and reverse the brexit. If the lower house next week agrees with the draft agreement May has concluded with the EU, the United Kingdom will get until May 22 before it leaves the union. If the House of Commons says ‘no’ again and there is no other plan, the British will leave the EU on 12 April.


Visiting North Curry, day 2

View over Southampton harbour at 06:08 AM from my window:

The Balmoral will arrive at the City Terminal approximately 06:00AM. Disembarking will start after clearence of the ship by the custom officials.

First there are the groups disembarking, followed by the passengers for long distance coach transfers. Then the regular disembarking will follow: starting at the top deck downwards. As Lady Helen Mary is on deck 4, it will take a time. She has to pass customs on shore. After that the taxi driver Paul and I will be waiting for her in the luggage hall of the terminal. Paul will drive us to North Curry, where QUINCE COTTAGE -Lady Mary’s humble residence- will be waiting. There will be a pile of mail waiting, as she was only on a relative short cruise: 2 months 🙂 Mary instructed her house keeper Yvette to make up my bed in the guestroom with the great view:

And her Ladyship insists that I wear pyjamas. And my Rituals 🙂 bathrobe. So I carry a large suitcase, as I can not travel “light” on the plane. I can carry a small case in the cabin, containing among other things my LAPTOP for the daily updates from Somerset…
Upon arrival we paid a visit to the village grocery store, as there was  totally no food nor drinks, apart of a bottle of champaign, to celebrate the reunion. As a treat I invited Her Ladyship for dinner in the local pub, with the name: “The Bird in Hand”. The name is an enigma to me, but the food is good. We (Pierre and I) were there with Mary in the past.

The Bird In Hand

The Bird in Hand is a classic traditional pub, and its low beamed ceilings and open fireplace creates a warm, friendly atmosphere. The bar serves a wide range of drink including traditional ales, a wine list is available, and there is a range of fresh coffees. The various menus provides something for every appetite and budget, but fresh fish and seafood dishes are a speciality of the house, with produce sourced locally whenever possible.



  • Mary: none
  • Luke: duck liver paté

Main course:

  • Mary: sea bass
  • Luke: chicken breast with Stilton and port sauce


Prince Charles, William and Harry take on rare engagement as a trio: a night out to watch Sir David Attenborough’s new Netflix show

The Prince of Wales and his sons, William and Harry, are to team up for a family Netflix viewing session, as they lend their support to Sir David Attenborough’s new documentary. The trio will attend the premiere of Netflix’s Our Planet at the Natural History Museum on April 4, in a rare family outing for the Prince with both his sons. The Duke of Cambridge has already been involved in the show, interviewing Sir David about the environment on stage in Davos in an event which saw clips of nature footage screened. The event will highlight the topic close to the hearts of all three men, with each of the Princes regularly speaking about their concerns about the future of the planet. Although they appear together in family events, including the recent Commonwealth Day and Buckingham Palace reception celebrating the 50th anniversary of the investiture of the Prince of Wales, this will be a rare public engagement starring just the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex. A spokesman said the night would see the princess “continuing to use their unique positions to help highlight the threat of climate change and the multi-generational effort required to maintain our natural environment”. In 2014, they appeared together at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference at Lancaster House, where Prince Charles warned: “There is not a moment to lose if we are to save the species whose loss will not only diminish us all, but also expose their abandoned habitat to ever greater risk of destruction, with dire consequences for humanity.” The Duke of Cambridge has since focused on the illegal wildlife trade, speaking, writing and holding meetings to combat the global problem of the continued sale of ivory. The Duke of has recently turned his sights to the environment more broadly, imploring young people to save the planet. In a speech made during his tour of Australia, he acknowledged the dedication of the Prince of Wales’s campaigns on plastics and climate change. “My father and others have been speaking about the environment for decades – not basing it on fallacy or new-age hypothesis, but rooted in science and facts, and the sobering awareness of our environmental vulnerability,” the duke said. “And while those speeches would sometimes fall on deaf ears, he and others were unrelenting in their commitment to preserve the most valuable resource we have – our planet.” It will not be the first time senior members of the Royal Family support the work of Sir David. His working relationship with the Queen dates back decades, recently culminating in a documentary about trees. The Duke of Edinburgh supported his 2015 programme about the Great Barrier Reef, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have attended screenings of his documentaries at the Natural History Museum. In an on-stage interview at Davos, the Duke of Cambridge and Sir David highlighted the environmental issues facing this generation as showcased in Our Planet.  “Care for the natural world,” Sir David told an audience. “Not only care for the natural world but treat it with a degree of respect and reverence.”


Visiting North Curry, day 1

(all times in GMT)

IC train #3140: Nijmegen – Schiphol Airport; dep. 11:28AM arr. 12:59PM

A brand new Crown Lounge in the international / No Schengen area:


Flight KL0919 Amsterdam – Southampton; dep. 03:57PM arr 04:46PM

By taxi to the Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa, room 503:

A tremendous hotel, far better then the Grand Harbour Hotel, where Mary and I spent the night before the cruise to Spain and France in June 2017.  Where than the services in bar, restaurant (dinner) and restautant (beakfast) were far from  acceptable, here is everything overwhelming. Even after 20 minutes of my arrival, there was already a call on the door if I wanted more towels or anything extra before going to bed!!!

Dinner: as starter: Smoked salmon

Dinner: main course: Caesar salad with chicken  bacon.




Utrecht gunman

Utrecht gunman left letter in getaway car signalling possible terrorism motive

A 37-year-old man of Turkish descent was arrested on Monday

Dutch authorities said Tuesday they were “seriously” investigating a possible terrorist motive for the Utrecht tram attack because of evidence including a letter found in the gunman’s getaway car. Police were questioning Turkish-born main suspect Gokmen Tanis, 37, and two other men over Monday’s rampage in which three people were killed and seven injured, three seriously.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had earlier said they “cannot exclude” other motives including a family dispute, but police and prosecutors said on Tuesday that the probe was leaning towards terrorism. “So far, a terrorist motive is seriously being taken into account. This is based on a letter found in the getaway car among other things and the nature of the facts,” police and prosecutors said in a joint statement. “Our investigation has established no link between the main suspect and the victims.”

The three people who died in the shooting were a 19-year-old woman from Vianen, south of Utrecht, and two men aged 28 and 49 from Utrecht itself, the statement said. Armed police captured Tanis after an eight-hour manhunt that virtually shut down the Netherlands’ fourth largest city and triggered a nationwide increase in security at airports and key sites. Police said they had found a red Renault Clio used as a getaway car after the attack. They had also found a firearm after his arrest, they added.

Flowers have been set up in tribute to victims at the site of the shooting in a tramTanis and two other men aged 23 and 27 are still being interrogated, police said. A stream of mourners laid flowers on Tuesday at the site of the attack near the 24 Oktoberplein square. “One of the victims was my friend’s girlfriend. So coming here today was the least I could do,” Marco van Rooijen, 43, told AFP. “I am here to pay homage to the victims and to support their families,” added local resident Yvette Koetjeloozekoot, 29. Flags were flying half-mast on many buildings around the Netherlands. Public transport was running again after forensic police finished their investigations at the scene and removed the tram on which the shooting erupted. Rutte was chairing a cabinet meeting on the attack, which has raised security fears a day before provincial elections in the Netherlands. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country’s intelligence agency was “looking into” the attack. “Some say it is a family matter, some say it is a terror attack … Our intelligence agency is looking into the matter”, Erdogan told Ulke TV late Monday. Dutch media have reported that the suspect had a long rap sheet and was only released from jail two weeks ago on a number of charges.

Broadcaster NOS reported that some people close to him had links to fundamentalist Islamic groups, but also that he had divorced his wife two years ago. Police and witnesses said gunfire broke out on the tram on Monday morning, sending people fleeing and triggering a huge police response. Mosques and schools were closed across Utrecht following the bloodshed, before heavily armed officers surrounded a building and arrested Tanis. Support for the Netherlands poured in from around the world including the United States, the EU and Russia.  bv US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “America stands with you. We will continue to do all we can to help you in this terrible time of tragedy.”

Personal stamps

As I was for seven years the treasurer of the volunteer circle of the Saint Stephan Church, I had an account at the Dutch National Postal Services. I designed stamps of the church and had them printed on sheets of 10 stamps. Everyone in the Netherlands can design and order his / hers stamps. But I used the account also for personal stamps.

Self designed stamps through the past ten years; from left to right:

  • 2010 – Saint Stephan Church, Nimwegen (picture taken by Luke Barkhuis);
  • 2016 – World cruise, January 2016 – Saint Vincent (picture taken by Lady Helen Mary Stewart-Wilson Fox);
  • 2017 – Cruise to Spain & France, June 2017 – Captain’s dinner in the Glentanar restaurant on the Black Watch, with Lady Helen Mary Stewart-Wilson Fox (picture taken by a waiter);
  • 2019 – Nimwegen Byzantine Choir (picture = official logo of the choir, author unknown).

Byzantine stamps!!!

In my new position as treasurer of the Nimwegen Byzantine Choir I surprised my fellow boardmembers last Tuesday with an order of 100 stamps with the logo of the choir. And they arrived today. Half goes to the lady who takes care of sending cards to all members on their birthday, but also sick people get her attention. The remaining 50 are divided over the 5 boardmembers. It is the strict intention, that all outbound mail of the choir carries the Byzantine stamp.


Prince Philip passes Outward Bound Trust patronage to Prince Andrew after interviewing him for the job

Prince Philip and Prince Andrew at Christmas 2017The Duke of Edinburgh has handed over his patronage of the Outward Bound Trust to his son, the Duke of York, it has been announced. Prince Philip has given more than 65 years of service and personal commitment to the educational charity, known for its character-building outdoor adventures. The 97-year-old duke had remained its patron despite stepping down from public service in 2017, but has now passed the responsibility on to his third child, Prince Andrew. The Duke of York disclosed he had been interviewed by his father when a position opened up on the board of trustees years ago, with a view to him one day taking over the patronage. Princess Beatrice, his daughter, has now also been elected to the board as a trustee.

The Duke of York, who has been chairman of the board of trustees since 1999, said: “It is an enormous privilege to take up this appointment of patron from my father, who has been a stalwart supporter of the Trust and its work since it was founded in 1941. “I was interviewed by my father for a position on the board of Trustees before I was appointed and I knew from the outset his intent. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and rewards of guiding the Trust these past few years and with the wise counsel and guidance from my father”. The patronage is one of just a small handful handed over by the Duke to his family since his retirement. In 2016, the Duchess of Cornwall took over the role at Friends of the Royal Academy in 2016, and in 2018, the Prince of Wales became patron of the Royal College of Art.

The Duke of Edinburgh still has 773 active affiliations.

He became patron of the Outward Bound Trust in 1953, which was set up by his mentor and headmaster, education-alist Dr Kurt Hahn in 1941. Both men were also instrumental in the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. The Duke’s active involvement is seen as pivotal in taking Outward Bound’s mission to more than 30 countries worldwide, helping more than a million young people to participate in outdoor learning programmes designed to develop character, self-belief and resilience. Nick Barrett, chief executive of The Outward Bound Trust, said: “Both The Outward Bound Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme have helped instil purpose, resilience, a sense of adventure and fun in millions of young people in the UK and many countries overseas. “The Duke of Edinburgh has always stayed remarkably close to our charity. “His Royal Highness has advised and challenged the board, but also engaged brilliantly and directly when meeting with the young people who have benefited from our programmes. “The Duke of Edinburgh’s involvement has gone far beyond any mere call of duty. We are immensely thankful but also stronger for all his intelligent and thoughtful direction and interventions”

Prince Andrew will be succeeded as chairman by Charles Phillips, the charity said.

Ouwehands Zoo

A spray leopard triplet was born in Ouwehands Zoo (Rhenen, province of Gelderland). That happened on Thursday, February 28, the Rhenense zoo announced the news today. In addition to three young spray leopards, Ouwehands has also an orangutan young.

Een nestje nevelpanters.The spray leopard mother and triplets are doing well and are staying in a quiet place behind the scenes in one of the indoor areas for the time being. Because this is the first litter of this spray armored woman, it remains exciting how she takes care of her young without experience. The caretakers keep a close eye on everything via cameras. Three adult spray leopards, two women and one man are staying in Ouwehands Zoo. The two women were born in an English zoo in 2015 and moved to Ouwehands Zoo in the same year. In 2017 they were joined by the male. The first pairings were observed in November and December 2018. The spray panther is on the IUCN Red List in the “vulnerable” category. The spray leopard occurs in the forests of Southeast Asia, but it is also seen in grasslands and even the Himalayas.

In Ouwehands Dierenpark is een Orang Oetan-jong geboren Tjintha gave birth to a youngster after a gestation period of more than 8 months last Sunday. Mother and young are doing great. At the moment, Tjintha and her young are staying in an indoor area, separated from the rest of the group. The other orangutans are very curious and try to catch a glimpse of the brand new young. Eight orangutans are staying in Ouwehands Zoo. Bako is the man of the group, he is also the father of the young. The group also consists of two adult women, one adult man and two youngsters.

Anwar’s columns#35

Reducing CO2 emissions is useless if developing countries burn our mountains of plastic

The Dutch are very good at processing waste. A solution is found for almost everything. And if not, we will send our remnants to developing countries. When I was a student in Aleppo, I was happy with that. I often bought cheap second-hand clothing from Europe. Then you had something affordable and something special. Well organized, I thought. I now know better. Clothing surpluses, cars and computers are given to poor countries of Europe as a gift. While Europe also knows that second-hand items do not end up safely and sustainably.

We abhor CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, so we bring computers that we cannot recycle to Ghana. There they throw everything on a mountain and light it. Children then look for copper among the remains. That again yields something: especially health and environmental damage. I know it from Syria. There too, there is a large mountain of waste in every neighborhood where children in particular roam. Other countries donate our remains: it seems generous and sustainable, but it is not. Reducing CO2 emissions in Europe makes no sense if we allow people in developing countries to burn our mountains of plastic. If such a “gift” is already given to a developing country, I think we should also provide the knowledge and technology. If you do not give me the waste to Ghana, if my residence permit has expired, I will be happy to help. At a factory, for example, where Ghanaians recycle computers in a safe way. Europe is smart, so let’s act that way.

Shall we just throw each other here in the gray tin when we die?

If more than forty Muslims come to your funeral to pray for you, then you were a good person, the prophet Muhammad said. Syrians actually work their entire lives on a funeral network. You visit weddings and funerals, so that the families visited also come from your own family at special times. That is why there will be no forty, but a thousand people. The link between you and the person you visit is sometimes very thin. ,, When my grandfather’s brother died, they were there too. So now we go to the farewell service in that family, “my father would say. Often the head of the family keeps a booklet with the amounts given. If you give a wedding for one of your children yourself, you know how much money you can expect in return. You look in your booklet and see exactly how much you have given to which families, so how much you can expect at your son’s wedding. A kind of savings system.

When my Syrian friends and I talk about this subject, we find it sad for our parents that they have now built a network for free. And for ourselves, that there are not a thousand people around our grave in the Netherlands. “Shall we just throw each other here in the gray click when we die?” My roommate suggested. We have seen our entire life and learned how it “should” be. If I introduce myself now in a wedding room with only a handful of people, I get the shivers. I think I’ll just ask the Arnhem municipal administration. Then I will visit all the funerals and weddings in the city soon. Who knows, I may not need a gray click later on.

Arnhemmer Anwar Manlasadoon on 4 in The Colorful Top 100

Anwar Manlasadoon, columnist of the Gelderlander, is number four in the Colorful Top 100. The ranking is an annual ranking of Dutch people who contribute to a more inclusive society with their work, personality and vision. The Syrian Anwar started his column “Anwar citizens in” with the Gelderlander three years ago, when he was still living in a refugee center in Arnhem. He is now studying at the Arnhem and Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences and keeps Gelders readers informed about his integration. ,, Anwar thunders with special perspectives over the prejudices of a skeptical society because he is new here. He shares his passionate view of society in his columns, which are really worth reading, ”writes the jury. ,, Anwar is in this Top 100, with him the average acidity of columnists has fallen. And his fresh look is a lot more pleasant to read.” Anwar calls the quotation “the proof that we are stronger together”: “I am happy with the Gelderlander, because together we make this column. It is important to remember that I am not the only one doing its best in the Netherlands, there are thousands. Together with Dutch people, we can make something beautiful out of it.”

The number one in the ranking will be announced on 28 February.

“Special education” sounds pretty nice, but Google makes it a “school for sick children”

“How can I make sure parents don’t get angry if I say their child can’t learn well?” A teacher asked me. He teaches in a link class, where children from a different culture temporarily bridge until they can go to a Dutch school. He sends some pupils to special education, because they are intellectually limited. ,, Parents are angry at school and are also angry with their children. They think they should do their best better.”
Well, that sense of honor remains important for many parents. In addition, the Dutch are direct. You will be told if you are not well or if you have to study “lower”. That is offensive in many cultures, people speak differently there. For example: ,, Your son’s talents are best shown at the carpenter training. He is very talented when it comes to precision chores and woodworking. ”What the student is not good at is not mentioned. Parents proudly go home: boy, their child is such a gifted woodworker. “Special education” also sounds pretty good in Dutch. Still, Google Translate makes a mess of it. A Syrian acquaintance received a statement stating that his son must go to special education. The man made the statement through Google Translate, and read in the literal Arabic translation that his child is sick and therefore has to go to a school for sick children. Painful. I understand that Dutch people like clarity, but it also seems much nicer for Dutch children to just hear what they are good at.

Public buildings

If you see a beautiful building in the Netherlands, you can enter it very often. In fact, it might even have been built especially for you. I often study in the Arnhem library. It looks very nice from the outside and inside. Long wooden stairs, a slide from the third to the second floor and everywhere there is art. Parents are reading while their children play or read booklets. Homeless people have a warm place there and rest in the armchairs and students prepare their exams. When I was still learning full-time Dutch, I was often in the library at the language café. Volunteers teach newcomers there. When I had already reached some level, I wanted to help newcomers myself.

I tried to explain to a boy from Eritrea what the word “bakery” means. He just didn’t know what the word for bread was in Dutch, so the boy and I became a kind of Buurman and Buurman duo. I tried to explain words in all sorts of ways, while I still don’t speak Dutch well. There is no such public building in Syria where everyone comes together. Very beautiful buildings are not for civilians, but for defense or a ministry. In the summer everybody comes together in the park, but that is not really a study place. Everyone is in during the winter, but studying with the constantly falling electricity is quite difficult there. The library is what the mosque and church in Syria are in the Netherlands. It is the destination and refuge for all inquisitive people. Only in a library not just answers are given, but you can discover them yourself.

My diploma is just like a bonus card

Most Dutch people I speak do work differently than what they were trained for. Because they could not find work with their diploma or because they encountered something else. It makes me restless. Because when I decided two years ago to study Industrial Product Design at the HAN in Arnhem, I thought I knew where I stood. “The point is that you will soon have a college degree,” my friend Gijs said. “You will be able to work with it anywhere. Because it shows that you can think broadly and are smart.” My education costs me a lot of money. My parents are not here and I myself came to the Netherlands empty-handed, so I borrowed my studies together. When I am finished, I will have to pay back 40,000 euros of study debt, apparently only to show that I am smart. My diploma is then a kind of bonus card. In the case of a vacancy where an unskilled person may need five years of work experience, I can keep my diploma. “Blieb,” and then I get a five-year discount. Because I have a college degree.

I think it’s a pity. I would prefer not to study a bonus card together, but just be sure that I will get work in what I have been trained for. I didn’t choose this course for nothing. During our studies we often have to make an analysis. As students, we find product analysis very boring. Then we start designing, which is really nice. Gijs said: ,, That is how you should see it with work. Your complete education is the analysis, the boring period. Then comes the design phase, when you start working. You can go to all kinds of places with your HBO diploma and then it will really be fun”! I hope so.

Again marines misconduct

Sad day as Marines rocked by cheating scandal

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps Band from Quantico, Va., march down Constitution Avenue during the National Memorial Day Parade, in Washington, D.C., Monday, May 30, 2011. (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times) ** FILE **

Six Marine Corps officers wearing second lieutenant ranks have been accused of cheating during a nighttime land navigation course at Quantico, Virginia. It’s a sad day when America’s most-esteemed fighting force faces dings for something so sullied. America loves its Marines — but the stigma of cheating is a tough one to overlook.

  • And there’s more.

The very investigation into the cheaters led to an investigation into the investigators, after more allegations flew about botches to the investigation.

  • Yet there’s still more.

On top of all that — well, here’s how the Marine Times put it: “The episode was further complicated by the alleged illegal confinement of female officers and allegations of sexual harassment. In the end, numerous Marines faces discipline and one Marine’s claims of innocence led to a private polygraph test.”

  • What the heck happened here?

The Marine Times said the incident originated in December 2017, when a student complained to the upper brass that some of his peers cheated during the night land navigation exam by sharing key grid points. These grid points were then used to find stashed boxes in the woods — something students of the night course are supposed to undertake by themselves, using only a compass, in order to prove their knowledge of land navigation. Investigators began to question the students and confiscate cellphones to check for pertinent texts. Ultimately, the Marine Times reported, the students “began to rat each other out.” Six officers are now facing forced separation from the Marines. Two others — the captains who initially investigated — were slapped with letters of reprimand, something that will surely dent their files and dramatically decrease their chances for promotion.

  • And the sexual harassment claims?

One of the female officers swept into the scandal alleged she was wrongfully confined, pre-trial, for 24 hours. Semper Fi — “always faithful” — is the motto of the Marine Corps. “Honor, courage and commitment” are the “core values” of the Corps.

  • And its legacy?

“Founded in 1775, the United States Marine Corps shares its legacy with that of the United States of America. Intrinsically bound, the Marines have fought battles throughout time,” as Marines.com states.

This scandal, however temporarily, has put a bit of a stain on those creeds.

One year after the Marines United scandal leaped into the public spotlight, the Corps has armed itself with new policies and tools to go after perpetrators involved in revenge porn-related offenses and social media misconduct. To date, the Corps has carried out 80 dispositions of cases linked to the crackdown on online-related misconduct during the past year. It includes seven courts-martial, 14 nonjudicial punishments, six administrative separations and 28 adverse administrative actions. In total, the investigation has identified 119 potential culprits ― 97 of whom are Marines ― in the wake of the scandal, according to Marine Corps officials. “There’s been accountability, probably not to the satisfaction of some,” Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in January, when pressed about progress since the scandal broke. Charges have ranged from nonconsensual posting of images, extortion, to distribution of filmed sex acts without knowledge of the victim.

For example, on Aug. 10, 2017, a lance corporal was convicted at a special court-martial of Article 127 for threatening to distribute sexually explicit photographs and video unless he received something valuable. The junior Marine was also brought up on a whole slew of other charges to include destruction of government property, theft and assault. He received a bad conduct discharge and was reduced to private.

  • On Sept. 26, 2017, a sergeant was convicted at a special court-martial for Article 80 for attempting to broadcast video a victim’s private area and Article 81 for conspiracy to distribute the recording. He pled guilty and received a bad conduct discharge, 90 days confinement and reduction to private.
  • On Jan. 31, a lance corporal was convicted at a special court-martial for Article 120C for filming and broadcasting of a sex act. He received a bad conduct discharge, 30 days confinement and reduction to private.

The details of the above special courts-martial cases were provided to Marine Corps Times from the Marine Corps’ Judge Advocate Division.

Marines United, a secretive Facebook page that contained sexually harassing comments and nude images of female service members and civilians, had roughly 30,000 members. In some instances, the posts resulted in the stalking of victims. The site’s existence was dragged into the public sphere after a report in the online publication The War Horse. It forced the Corps to address the issue of sexual harassment across the Corps. In the wake of the scandal, the Corps moved swiftly to enact new policies to help police social media misconduct. Sweeping changes to Navy regulations allowed Marine commanders to pursue cases involving nonconsensual distribution of intimate images. And the top Marine released new guidelines on social media conduct and required Marines to sign a page 11 entry that they had read and understand the new policy, giving commanders new tools to punish Marines who violated the commandant’s directive. The Corps also introduced a tip line to go after offenders. Those actions are bearing fruit, the Corps says.

Ordination of Icons

mandylion 16 augustus.jpg

Saturday 09 March 2019 at the Titus Brandsma Memorial Church 07:00pm: Ordination of Icons & Byzantine Orthodox Mass. Celebrant: Ton Sip. Nijmegen Byzantine Choir, conductor Svetlana van Wielink.


The essence of the icon is most evident to us at the liturgy of the signaling of the icons, that is, the sacred act performed by the priest, making a painted icon suitable for ecclesiastical use. This ordination is absolutely necessary, for it is the ecclesiastical confirmation of the identity between the painted image and the heavenly primal picture. The current liturgy of the icons of ordination clearly shows traces of the conflicts that have raged in the Church in the time of the Iconoclasm. Also in the 7th and 8th century, the opponents of the sacred images mainly appealed to the second of the Ten Commandments (Ex.20,4): “Thou shalt not make unto thee images of God, nor any image of that which is in heaven above on the earth below, or in the water under the earth! “and they had seen in the veneration of images in the Orthodox Church a crime against the express prohibition of God. According to their conception, the worship of the images implied that God would fall short in the honor that belongs to him alone. On both arguments now the prayers and hymns of the icons of ordination take effect. In the opening prayer one addresses God and then clearly shows that with his prohibition he meant only the production of idols. “You have forbidden by a commandment, images and parables displease You, the true God, to make to worship and serve as the Lord “. After this has been established, however, it is pointed out with all the more emphasis that God himself has commanded “to erect images, by which not the name of strange, false and non-existent gods, but Your most holy and exalted name, that of the any true God is glorified “. As such are mentioned the Ark of the Covenant with the two golden Cherubs, as well as the Cherubs of gilded cypress wood, which had to be applied to the temple of Solomon by God’s command. Thus, after the abolition of false image and idol worship, God himself started to portray the mysteries of his realm. The most lofty image of itself – so the ordination prayer continues – God has accomplished in his incarnation, through the incarnation of his Son, who is the “Image of the invisible God” Koll.1,15) and the “irradiation of his Glory “(Heb.1,3). God himself “the sculptor of the whole visible and invisible creation” has portrayed himself in Jesus Christ, his perfect icon. The incarnation of the Son is the image that God has made of himself. Thus God himself is the creator of the first icon, who manifested himself to us in the form of Christ.

Now follows the most striking and for us West-Europeans most unexpected phrase: from Christ himself, the image of the Father, we have, it is said, a detailed, “not man-made” image, on which the facial features of the God-man have been preserved. Here the liturgy alludes to the already mentioned miraculous image, which Christ sent to King Abgar of Edessa, as well as to the tradition of the sweat, with which Christ on his way to Calvary wiped his face and on which the image of his countenance was miraculously left behind. Christ himself has thus made the first Christ icon and thereby legitimized both the painting of icons and the icon worship – this argument is therefore used against the first objection of the opponents of icons.

The second objection of the opponents, that God is shortened by the worship of the sacred image in the honor that belongs to him alone, is refuted by another viewpoint, which is entirely developed from the neo-Platonic reflection on the images: “We idolize the icons do not, but know that the honor, which is proved to the image, rises to the depicted being “. Not the image as such is the object and receiver of worship, but the depicted being that appears in it. In the prayers for intercession, for example, one finds the explicit request that the images should not tempt anyone, to only accept the worship that comes to God as the origin of all holiness.


Queen speaks of ‘greater confidence and optimism’ thanks to stable links with Commonwealth on 70th anniversary

The Queen has spoken of the “greater confidence and optimism” Britain can have thanks to its stable links with the Commonwealth, as she marks the 70th anniversary of the “family of nations”. In a message delivered ahead of Commonwealth Day on Monday, the Queen has given thanks for the ” networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw”. Saying the “enduring commitment” of the 53 countries is intangible, she added that nevertheless “its impact is very real”. In what is scheduled to be her last Commonwealth Day message before Brexit on March 29th, the Queen emphasised the element of “belonging” in a modern, connected organisation.

On Monday, she will be joined by members of her family including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for a Westminster Abbey service celebrating its 70th anniversary with music from Clean Bandit and tenor Alfie Boe, and a reflection by Lewis Pugh on ocean conservation. This year, the Queen’s message contains a plea to protect the planet, following her Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy tree project and a new focus on the ocean environment. “Com-monwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members,” the Queen said. “The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs. “Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth. “In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the  Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet,  and our people. “We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result  of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw. “With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real. “We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth. “I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.”

The Commonwealth Day service will be broadcast live on BBC One and across the BBC World Service. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who lived in Canada while filming her television show Suits, will spend part of the day with young people at Canada House making  maple taffy and watching dance performances. Later on Monday evening, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be guests of the Commonwealth Secretary-General at a reception at Marlborough House.