“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dragon Fruit or Pitaya

When we visited our family in Ilocos Norte province, see my blog-post here, we brought home some dragon fruit plants. This was in August 2013.

We nurtured them in pots, but since we did the back-filling, we planted them behind the bahay-kubo near the fence in our new vegetables garden.

One week ago we could harvest the first piece of fruit, see the picture.

Unfortunately there was only one piece of fruit. but since the rainy season started a month ago, I expect more will be produced the coming months.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Typhoon 1409: RAMMASUN (Int) or GLENDA (Ph)

Tropical Cyclone Track at 17:00 HKT 15 July 2014
Courtesy Hong Kong Observatory

Sta. Barbara

This is the first typhoon this year (2014-01) hitting the Philippines.
It's getting dark already (3.50 PM), so I guess the edge of the typhoon area has reached us now.

It's also starting to rain and I hear the thunder still far away, but approaching.

Landfall is expected this afternoon in Camarines Sur, south Luzon, about 500 km from our place.

In our storage room we have sufficient food to survive for a week.

We have prepared our compound, so we are ready for it, although I don't expect too much problems. Probably we will get some flooding in our area, as they usually open a dam in the river nearby. Since we have done the back filling recently, I don't expect flooding of our area, except the barangay-road in front of our house will become a river.

As we have another car since early this year, with all four wheels having disc-brakes, it's not a problem to drive through the water, so if their is an emergency we can leave by car.

It is now 8.05 PM, the thunder and rain stopped. I am waiting again for the the wind/rain. I will give an update tomorrow morning.


My weather station is broken, so I cannot give any meteorological data about the typhoon when passing this area. Next year I hope to be able put a new weather station in place.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Episode 9: Cohen becomes Coenman

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Go to Introduction, Background, Sources

Izak Cohen/Coenman during the 50 years commemoration
of the liberation of Hengelo (May 1995)

Cohen becomes Coenman

Izak continues the business as a trader of vegetables on his own. While purchasing at the auction he sits regularly near to Levie. But the brothers don't communicate. Sometimes Izak's son Julius joins his father. If he has a chat with his uncle Levie, he gets
chided for it from his father.

The decision of Levie and Rozetta to emigrate in 1970 towards Israel, cools down the relation between the brothers even more. Izak feels betrayed by his brother.

Levie carries on for only one year. The promised land Israel is not what he expected. "They are not waiting for Levie at the citrus auction", is his conclusion. He returns to The Netherlands and apart from other activities, he starts exporting apples to Canada.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Episode 8: Cohen Brothers

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Brothers Cohen Hengelo

Cohen Brothers

When the war is over, Izak returns to The Netherlands. Not to Hengelo, but to IJmuiden, where he is assigned to a mine sweeping operation to cleanup the coastal waters from mines. 

The love for his British girl-friend is unchanged. Izak decides to get Mary from Britain and to marry on September 26th, 1946. Ample a year later their first child is born: Gina. The birth takes place in Britain, as the healthcare is better than in The Netherlands and Mary's mother is available to support her.

Not much later the young family returns to The Netherlands and settle in Hengelo, where they have to share the house at Rozenstraat (Roses street) with brother Levie and sister Rini. The rising stress between them becomes more and more manifest, as a result of the different characters of the brothers. Mary doesn't feel comfortable, not understood and locked out.

Episode 7: Enjoying cakes with Queen Wilhelmina

Izak Cohen in Britain

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Enjoying cakes with Queen Wilhelmina

Izak gets as well his award the Cross of Merit. Autumn 1943 after arrival in Britain he is assigned as stoker third class in the Dutch "Motor Torpedo Boten Brigade", part of the British navy.

Before he begins his operational duty, he is invited for a cup of tea in London, with the queen of The Netherlands, Wilhelmina. Like all other Dutchmen who are joining the military in Britain, the queen invites them before their active duty. She fled to Britain with her family when the Germans invaded The Netherlands, and will stay in London until the end of the war.

The table is covered with all kind of cakes and other delicacies. Izak, who is not accustomed to see and eat this delights for many months, is keen to get one or more. But the queen proposes to have a walk in the garden. Izak is afraid that he will not anymore be in a position to taste the delights. He is looking outwards and says to the queen: "Your Majesty, I believe it will rain soon. We better stay inside." Wilhelmina agrees. Izak can start filling his starving stomach.

Izak is finally assigned to the Her Majesty Gier, also known as MTB 229 (Motor Torpedo Boat). The ship is taken over from the British navy. The Gier is one of seven similar ships of the MTB-flotilla, which patrols the English Channel. The base from which they operate is Dover.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Episode 6: Curacao

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Levie (sitting middle with beard) after arrival in the USA


By then Levie is already six months in Great Britain. But he didn't have an easy journey as well. In the summer of 1942 he gets a visa for Curacao from the Netherlands vice-consular in Perpignan, south France. This alternative sea route - Caribbean, USA, Britain - has been used in the war by several other refugees to finally arrive in Great Britain.

Levie travels first to Bilbao in Spain,where he gets a stamp from the English authorities, before he sets sail as an allied employee. The Cabo de Hornos sails with flash lights showing the word Espana (Spain), to let submarines know that it's a vessel of a neutral country.

Levie gets a canvas bed in the lowest part of the ship. "You can hear the rats patter. Big ones, yellow bellies", he says later. In Portugal the Cabo de Hornos is loading wine barrels for the US. Levie sits on top of the barrels and because of the evaporated alcohol he is continuously a bit drunk.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Episode 5: Back to The Netherlands

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This picture of concentration-camp Miranda de Ebro
is not included in the original book.
It was copied from another blog site here 

Back to The Netherlands

Recently arrived refugees report that the circumstances in The Netherlands have been worsened in a short period of time. Many Jews have been captured now and it's going on and on. When Izak got this message, he takes a drastic decision. He will get his Jewish fiancee Leentje Frankenhuis from Almelo city and her family into safety. From the vice-consul he gets his permission (and the required papers) to help escape people in The Netherlands.

After a journey by train of a couple of days Izak arrives early August 1942 in The Hague, where he gathers a group of about ten persons. Probably these are mainly family members of his fiancee. Izak collects an amount of 2.500 guilders, which he mainly distributes to his travelling companions. The company travels to Belgium and there it goes wrong already. In Brussels, the capital city, they are confronted with a Jews raid. Izak tries to save his fiancee by drawing her in a porch. But in the panic he catches the wrong girl from the crowd. He will never see his fiancee again. Also the other family members will not survive the war.


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