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Reports

Sunday, 15 July 2001
Glasgow --> Forbes by Alford, Scotland (UK)

From Glasgow to the non-existing village Forbes by Alford, visiting the Dutch family Annemarie and Jos Tissen...
Alan let me sleep in and I woke around 11 in the morning. As it was Sunday anyway, nobody was in a hurry. Laraine had left to their daughter\'s house as she was going to get married in 7 weeks.

Alan was again hooked on the car racing on television but prepared me a nice eggs with bacon sandwich for breakfast.

Last night he promised me to bring me up to Dundee, halfway to my next hosts, who would pick me up in Aberdeen. But today he found it easier to just pay me a ticket for a bus straight to Aberdeen. He did not have to drive and I did not have to hitchhike, that was a great deal!

So at 2.15pm he dropped me off at the bus station and bought me, next to the ticket also something to drink and candy bars for on the road.

Once in the bus I tried to do some writing, but the double decked bus was very shaky. I read some of the newspapers I found in the bus and tried to close my eyes.

The bus trip took almost three hours, including a stop in Dundee. The weather got very bad. On the road, along the horizon, I saw every kind of grey and occasionally I saw absolutely nothing because of the rain.

I arrived at the Aberdeen bus station and the weather was clear again. No proof of any rain could be found on the streets. But it was time for a sweater, a warm sweater. The weather conditions now had become very very Dutch…

Annemarie and Jos Tissen with their kids Jasper (8) and Ben (3), were my next hosts. They are Dutch and have been living in Scotland for over three years now.

The main industry in Scotland, next to the woodcuttings in the forests, the agricultural industry and the fishing, is the oil - found in the seas surrounding Scotland.

And where is oil, there is money. And big oil companies have their experts coming over from all over the world. Once Jos was the expert and lived a luxurious life with a lot of foreign families, with almost all expenses paid by the oil company they worked for.
But since last year Jos changed his profession and became an independent environmental advisor. His business is called Tina Consultants and he now has the oil companies as his clients, writing and selling them green reports about their oil-business.

The name Tina comes from There Is No Alternative. It can be explained as the problem you get when people still want to be able to drive their harmful cars but also want a much better environment to live in.

Annemarie used to work in the Netherlands, but is now a full time mother for Jasper and Ben. It's funny because she used to go to the Thorbecke School in Zwolle, in the 80's, which used to be my hometown in The Netherlands too! She even recognized a bit of a Zwollish accent in my Dutch…

They used to live in Aberdeen before, but with their own business they had to find something more affordable and got themselves a nice granite cottage in Forbes, a not existing village40 kilometers west of Aberdeen.

Forbes is the name of the large landowner, whose family has owned the grounds for over a century. And as the little villages have always been named after the landowners, Forbes is the name of the Tissen's current village.

But the landowner's family complained about the use of their name for the village.

In secret, Annemarie and Jos live in Forbes, but you won't find it on a map, you won't any sign along the road. You can only find it if you hit the neighboring village Alford by accident and ask for Forbes…

It is interesting to hear them talk about how this location in Scotland has changed their lives in so many ways.

Power lines along the streets connect the houses in the green nature with the electricity and telephone. Most houses in the area have their own private water supply and use a septic tank in their back garden. Instead of gas they all use oil from their personal oil tanks in their garden.

And it even more interesting to hear them tell about all the things they missed when they started to live here. The real typical Dutch things, which you can't buy in a store here, made them homesick in the beginning. Now they have learned to live with what they can have.

When we arrived at their house they both started to prepare dinner in the kitchen. It fascinates me that they use a lot of spices from the seeds, because as a seed it all stays much better than as powder in a little pot or fabricated in a bag. I could detect so many aromas in their kitchen; they really made food how it should be made.

The Indian rice meal was really luscious. After dinner they put the kids to bed and made some coffee.

It became present time again! The present from Alan and Laraine Shields in Glasgow to Annemarie and Jos was the book Great Glasgow Stories by John Burrowes. To see from the books on their numerous bookshelves, they'd love to read this book too!

After the coffee Jos connected me on the Internet to update my reports.

I was over three days behind in my reporting, what really bothered me. There is nothing worse than traveling the world, thinking I have to do something, all the time…

Tomorrow I'd be able to stay another day here. Just to be able to update everything I want to update on this website and really stay on one location for a day.

Just see those days as my weekly Sunday…

Good night secret Forbes!

Ramon.


PS: Again, sorry for the irritating \\\\-characters….



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