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Friday, September 30, 2016

Another weekend starts

Probably not as good what concerns the weather, but who cares? As soon as my sister comes home from work, we'll head into town. The local supermarket Colruyt exists 40 years on this date, so they're going to treat their customers to a drink (champagne or juice) and some light bites to eat. Can do our shopping as well tonight as tomorrow, right?

For the rest, it'll be a quiet weekend. Chris still needs to get back into 'Zen-mode' after the busy start of the schoolyear. It's not a light task, seeing to the payment (and other administrative needs) of more than 500 people - and then you'll have to know that all the files need to be complete before the 20th of the month, or else nobody gets paid. She was about crazy and could not sleep anymore, so concerned she'd missed somebody and they wouldn't get paid.

Perhaps we can do some planning now our trip to Paris (beginning of November) won't go ahead. We wanted to go to see Le Fantôme de l'Opéra but last Sunday morning a fire broke out in the Mogador theater and now the organisation cancelled the entire run of this musical show. We'll get a refund for our tickets, and also the hotel can be cancelled without costs.  For the money saved we can probably do a short trip somewhere next year.

And for the rest, enjoy the rest, sleep somewhat longer, take more time to prepare food and perhaps bake some for the coming days. We always like to have some donuts in the freezer, or cake. Comes in handy when you don't have any bread!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hour record on wooden bike

Today, at 1 pm, an attempt was made to break the hour record cycling a wooden bike. The previous attempt was made last year by Eddy Planckaert, a former cyclist.

Now KTA Dendermonde (one of the schools my sister does the administration for) and HoGent (higher education) created a new wooden bike. This bike is quite unique because EVERYTHING is completely made out of wood - even the chain.

And the hour record was broken! One of the students who created the bike rode it and did a lot better than Eddy Planckaert. Of course the two schools are more than happy with the result. It's good promotion for their woodwork options and they hope more students will want to work with wood in the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spaghetti night

Although not of the younger generation, my sister and I just love pasta! So every now and then we have a spaghetti night just because we love it.

Of course, we've created our own sauce with the pasta (which is wholegrain, much healthier than white one). We make a sauce with lots of onion, mushrooms, red bell peppers, a mix between fresh tomatoes and passata, minced meat and red wine. When the sauce is ready (at best after a day in the cellar) we spread it over the pasta and add grated cheese.

It's a bit of work cutting up all those vegetables, but it's worth the while!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Are we cursed?

Sometimes I'd believe we were. Or is it just the year 2016???

In the beginning of this year, our trip to Ireland was cancelled because of the terrorist attack on the airport of Zaventem (Brussels). Ok, we got our money back from the airline tickets and the hotel, but of course we had looked forward to this trip.

Next we got a message that the concert with Colm Wilkinson was cancelled. Well, not exactly cancelled but postponed to a date when we could not attend. This time we had to cancel the plane tickets ourselves (only got back the tax paid) and again cancel the hotel.

And two days ago, we heard that the opening night (and most likely a lot of other performances) of the 30th anniversary of Phantom in Paris is cancelled. There was a fire in the Théatre Mogador, where the performances would take place. I've called the tickets office in Paris, but they weren't able to say if or when the theater would open again. And we had so much looked forward to this Phantom in French! Now, whether or not the performance will go ahead, we'll go to Paris anyway. We already have our tickets for the Thalys train and our hotel is booked too.  Paris is an interesting place to visit, so that's not a problem.

But nowadays I'm afraid to book tickets for a show anywhere else than in Belgium, because there have been so many cancellations. You'd think we're cursed, right?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Who'll be the next US president?

Not long now before the answer is known: Clinton or Trump.

For us Europeans the American voting system is quite something special. But of course also here people are curious to find out who's going to be the next President of the Unitied States.

Are the Americans ready to have a woman as their leader? Or do they rather go for right-wing Trump?

I was speaking to an American some time ago, and he honestly couldn't say how he was going to vote. Neither of the two candidtes appealed to him. (Btw, I wouldn't know either. I don't have a lot of faith in politicians.) So he didn't know yet if he was going to vote or not.

That's something we can't do either. Belgium is one of the two or three countries in the entire world where you HAVE TO go voting. Not going means a huge fine.

What makes a good politician? Well, for me that would be someone who keeps to his/her word. A good government for me is one that stimulates the economy, spends enough money of the needs (police, social care, education, health) and has only about 10 to 15 ministers. No regional governments anymore.

Any reactions?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Weekend at the seaside

My sister decided to reward herself for three weeks practically non-stop work. So we took the train to Knokke at noon yesterday and only plan on returning Monday morning.

Better still, yesterday evening we went dining in Bartholomeus, one of the best restaurants in the region. We've know chef Bart Desmidt since he was a little boy who came horseback riding with his dad. He specializes in fish, of course, because his ancestors were fishermen. He still has friends and family who deliver fresh fish daily. The restaurant already has two Michelin stars, but I think a third one will come one day. It's just so good there!

The weather is also co-operating. It's been sunny and warm for weeks and the rest of the weekend is supposed to remain the same.

Well, it's nice to be here and only do what we like - no more talk of work.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Car-free day

Today the car is banned (or at least, that's the objective) from many a city and road.

However, not so many people can do without their car! An example: a good friend of mine would use his car to go and buy bread. You should know this bakery is about 100 meter from his house!

Also lots of people still go to work by car. The roads to Brussels are full of cars in the mornings and evenings, and causes big delays.

Now I don't know what's so special about cars. I had one, I admit. But I never had a lot of fun driving it. I sold it about 20 years ago because I was afraid I'd run down somebody or hit anything. Too many people drive irresponsably.

We have been completely without a car since my sister equally sold hers now 7 years ago. And we don't miss it a day!

If you live in a city (or near to one) you don't really need a car. You can run your errands on foot or by bicycle using cycle bags. And a trolley helps a lot when you're on foot. It's good for your body, too. You walk a lot and you do a workout when shopping.

When you need to go anywhere, you'll find there is mostly a good public service, either by train, bus or tram. It gets you where you want to be, in even less time than by car. We used to drive our car to the coast. Most times it took about 2 hours for 90 km, because there were always problems underway. By train it only take 1 hour and 40 minutes, and then you have to wait some time in Ghent for your connection to Knokke!

So for me they could just as well ban the car altogether! Keep only vans and taxis on the roads. Everyone who goes to work should do it by public transport. And when you choose to live in a rural area, then you'd best buy a bike to get to the nearest station... but that's your choice, of course. You can also go and live in a town center.