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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Helping out

What can you do when the skies are dark grey, the wind is blowing fiercely and there's a threat of rain?

Yes, stay indoors. But you can't spend all the time reading or browsing the net. So my sister decided to do some work for school already (she's an administrator, responsible for over 500 teachers) as there needs to be done a whole lot before the end of September. Normally she only starts work at the end of August, but if she does that, she'll surely miss the deadline because the whole bunch of documents needs to be send to Brussels around September 20th.

My sister only has one colleague, who is equally responsible for another 500 people. And each school year more teachers join the group, and more demands come from the government. Chris and Stijn has asked more than once for at least another person to help out, but there's no money for it.

So I've decided to help out where I can as I'm not working anymore. Yesterday afternoon the both of us were able to do the administration of one big school already - and as it looks it'll be the same kind of weather today we'll probably do another one.

That way, a lot of work will already be finished before she goes to her office and she'll be able to relax more in September!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rules should be respected

Nowadays, more and more people seem to disrespect every rule. And it's not only the younger generation. No, even the elderly are quite rude sometimes. This morning in the supermarket, I was pushed aside by a man who was easily ten years older than I, because he wanted something from a counter where I was standing. Another time someone hits your heels with their shopping cart because they are hurried and don't look out.

Also, a lot of people seem to forget they don't live alone in a block of flats. An example is the garbage left everywhere. Some don't seem to realize that even when vacationing they need to put the garbage where it belongs. And others clearly have not read the house rules (which are binding in court, when necesarry). The apartment beneath ours is rented out and since last year November a bunch of people from one or other eastern country (it's not Polish or Russian, those languages I can recognize) are living there. They specialise in making a lot of noise after 11 pm and before 7 am. They bang the doors and let the toilet seat drop with a thud. While doors have handles and toilet seats can be lifted and dropped without making a noise. My sister always wakes up by that noise in in her turn wakes me.

Something needs to be done about this. Talking to the guy who's responsible (the "syndicus" - I don't know the word for it in English) for our block won't help. He's quite old and doesn't care a lot anymore. But we'll find something. We have had other noisy under-neighbors and all the time they sold the flat or ended the rent. I'll have to find out if the owner rents legally. If not, something can immediately be done. Or find out who those people are. They don't speak a word of Flemish and pretend not to understand what you are saying. Good chance they're illegal or part of one or other thieving gang. There are a lot of Romanian and Bulgarian gangs operating in our parts. We have already noticed they are not always the same who come and go...

I don't have a problem with rules. We were taught to respect them from the time we could walk. We were also taught to pick up our dirt and put it in a bin. I won't throw a paper or something else on the street. When  I don't see a garbage can I just keep like a dirty handkerchief in my pocket and throw it in the garbage bin when I come home. The same with empty bottles or cans. But lots of others seem to think otherwise. What you see on the pavement when you walk home from the railways station to our home (a good 900m) - empty pizza boxes, cans, cigaret ends, dirty handkerchiefs.... You could fill a garbage bag with it. I wish Belgium had laws like in Singapore, where you are severy punished when you throw something on the pavement.

What about you?

Monday, August 13, 2018

19 medals in two weeks' time

The European Championships in Glasgow and Berlin have been quite succesful for the Belgians. They won 6 gold medals, 5 silver ones and 8 bronze ones.

Nafi Thiam won the heptathlon competiton, after becoming Olypmpic champion and world champion in this discipline. She's just the best!


And we got a big surprise in the marathon. 47 years after Karel Lismont won Koen Naert the gold medal. He seemed super fit and was lenghts ahead of his opponents.

In gymnastics it was Nina Derwael who won gold, in cycling Victor Campenaerts and the duo Kenny De Ketele-Robbe Ghys.

And another triumph for the Belgian Tornados in the 4x400 m. The three Borlée brothers (Kevin, Jonathan and Dylan) ran the race, along with young supertalent Jonathan Sacoor. The last one is already world champion with the juniors and is only 18 years old. He could be a great one.


And let's not forget Emma Plasschaert, who won the gold medal in sailing, laser radial class. Or the Red Devils, who won bronze in the world soccer championship in Russia...

Saturday, August 11, 2018

End of the heatwave

The long stretch of extremely warm and sunny weather has come to an end, with some thunderstorms on the go. Here at the coast it was not so bad, but other parts of the country (and also neighboring countries) shared in the flood and inundations.

The change was marked by an extremely cold day, with storm-force wind to go. Not very nice!!! Today looks a bit better, as we see the sun through the clouds. Could finally do some washing, as here we depend on nice weather because we have to dry outside. And tomorrow should even be better.

For me it didn't have to be that warm anymore, but I'd hoped it could stay nice enough until we head back home later this month. Two more weeks, was that too much to ask?

So 2018 won't be one of the best summers ever. I keep a journal about the weather in summer since 1993. I mark the weather conditions of each day, and so I can say that up to now 1995 has been the best summer ever (44 sunny days on a total of 62 of July and August), while 2013 comes up as second with 43 days. July 2016 was the best July ever, with very hot temperatures and 25 sunny days.

Do other people also keep stats about the weather? If so, please leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Rescued by the Captain

Say hello to Laura A. Barnes today. Laura is the author of Rescued by the Captain, a historical romance available now. She's doing a virtual blurb blitz tour which will run from July 30th to August 10th.


During the tour, Laura will be awarding a 10$ Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Blurb

Abandoned at sea
When Ivy Mallory awakens; she finds herself on the ship of the man who rejected her love years earlier. While he was away working for the Crown, she embraced the London Seasons trying to forget him. Caught in the middle of a treason plot; she must help save her brother. To do so she needs to put her trust in the one man who can protect her. But can she protect her heart from loving him again?

Found at sea
Captain Marcus Thornhill never imagined he would find a lady floating unconscious in a lifeboat out in the middle of the open sea. But it wasn’t any lady, it was Ivy. Seven years earlier he rejected her love for a life at sea. As he rescues her he gets involved in a treason plot that will bring the war to their beloved shores of England. As he unravels the plot he is unable to deny his desire for her. Is he too late in saving her and the love he has for her?



Excerpt

Thorn stood at the bow of his ship ‘My Hedera’ starring out into the dark night, lost in his deep thoughts. The brigantine dipped and swayed into the huge waves that rocked the sea. Dark storm clouds stretched across the skies blending into the black sea. None of the stars lighted the sky tonight; because the heavens had opened for a fierce storm. As he ran his fingers through his long, dark, wet hair he brought them down to his sides, fisting his hands in anger. The storm was nothing compared to the turmoil of emotions that were running through him.

“Captain, do you think it is her?” Sammy his first mate shouted to be heard above the thunder as he twisted his hat in between his hands.

“I don’t know Sammy, I don’t know.” Thorn whispered into the storm. 

Marcus Thornhill, Thorn to his friends continued starring out into the dark night. He knew it was her; he just didn’t want to admit to it. While trying to get control of his anger he tried to figure out who would have done such an awful thing to her. Before he returned to her he needed to be calm. He was angrier with himself than with anyone else. If he would have come home sooner, he could have prevented something like this from happening.

Author bio and links

I have always dreamed of being an aspiring author. I am making my dreams come true, one word at a time. When I am not writing, I am spending time with my family. I love reading books on lazy afternoons, and late into the night. Anytime really. Married 28 years to the love of my life and we have three wonderful children and two sweet grandbabies. Besides writing, I have always wanted to travel. In the last few years we have gotten our passport stamped in England and Scotland. We are hoping to add Italy to the list soon. 



Social networks
Website: http://www.lauraabarnes.com
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/lauraabarnes
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16332844.Laura_A_Barnes
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraA.Barnes
Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/lauraabarnes
Twitter: https://twitter.com/labarnesauthor  
Book+Main Bites: https://bookandmainbites.com/LauraABarnes
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/laura-a-barnes

Rescued By the Captain – Sale Links
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Rescued-Captain-Laura-Barnes-ebook/dp/B01NCWCDP7
Kobo Link: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/rescued-by-the-captain
I-tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rescued-by-the-captain/id1194175441?mt=11
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rescued-by-the-captain-laura-a-barnes/1125516477?ean=9781365606502
Lulu Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/laura-a-barnes/rescued-by-the-captain/ebook/product-23023095.html
Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Laura_A_Barnes_Rescued_By_the_Captain?id=XL7oDQAAQBAJ

Monday, August 6, 2018

Weekend London

We've left the coast for a couple of days. On Thursday I needed to go to the day clinic to have my blood checked (monthly check-up for my cancer treatment). All was well again.

The next day, we left early to take the Eurostar to London St. Pancras. Man, that was a hot day! In England they called it Furnace Friday... We checked in at our hotel and then did some shopping. I was able to buy a nice summer dress for only 25£. For the rest, we took time to wet our throats (has to be done when it's that warm) and relaxed a bit. In the evening we went to see Knights of the Rose, a new musical at the Arts Theatre. It was good in my opnion, although some critics think otherwise. One of our countrymen played one of the leading roles. His name is Ruben Van Keer. We had to chance to chat to him after the show.

On Saturday morning we visited the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace. We'd been planning on doing so for a long time. It was quite interesting, and well organised. After the visit, we had tea in the garden of the palace. The afternoon was spent with more shopping (girls are girls) and in the evening we went to see The King and I at the Palladium. Big production, with stars Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe.

On Sunday afternoon it was back home. But we got a nice treat. I went to the Eurostar counter to check if our seats were forward facing. The employee said they weren't, but he's check to see if he could give us other places. So we got a new ticket. When we boarded the train, we noticed we were in a first class wagon! We made the trip in first class, with everything that goes with it (lunch, free drinks...) Must say, you can get a like for it! (Pity that it normally costs a lot)

Now we're back at the coast to enjoy the last weeks of vacation before my sister goes back to work.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Look and you will find

Earlier this year, in March during a weekend at Antwerp, I bought a set of earrings with changeable precious stones. This collection was offered by a jeweler in the town center, De Gouden Ram. It was not too expensive, either. It's a nice concept - you can buy various stones and put them into the holder. I already have a nice collection of some really cheap stones of 5€ and then some more expensive ones. The only minus at this set is that the part that goes through the ears is rather thick and it hurt a bit.

So in the months to follow I've begun looking for hooks that are thinner and are also right to attach the holder with the changeable stones. Looked in Antwerp, Dendermonde, London and even Seville but didn't find anything that matches. Until yesterday.

We were spending the afternoon in Knokke, doing some shopping at the Lippenslaan (and having an icecream cone from Australian, which is about the best here) when we came up to a pop-up store of jewelry. We entered - and found at last a set of earrings that can be used for the changeable stone collection. Also in silver and now I won't hurt my ears anymore!