Saturday, May 23, 2020

Back at the coast

'k Wil terug naar de kust... These are the first lines of a Flemish song, which is extremely popular now. The government finally gave permission to owners of a second home to visit that place.

So we didn't hesitate to take the train (mouth protection required) and head to Knokke-Heist! We found our flat more or less in order (lots of dust, but that was easily fixed).

The best thing was, that we could go for a walk and enjoy the fresh sea breeze. Wind in the hair, how nice!!! And lots of restaurants and coffee bars that are still not allowed to open, they offered take-away ice-cream, waffles (Brussels or Liegeois), coffee, tea and hot chocolate. We truly enjoyed our afternoon.

The decision came just in time to enjoy the long weekend (yesterday was a catholic feast, and nearly everyone gets the Friday off as well. And next week we'll return for another long weekend, as there is another holiday coming up.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Lawsuit against Belgian state

A group of second home owners has announced they'll start a lawsuit against the Belgian state because their rights as owners are threatened. The situation is, that the government forbids to go to your second home.

If I had enough money, I'd join this group of people. Personally, I also think the government has none argument whatsoever to forbid going to your place at the coast/the Ardennes/whereever. 

At the beginning of the measures against Covid-19 (March 13th) a lot of things were forbidden. You were supposed to stay at home and only leave it to buy food, go the doctor or hospital. After seven weeks of lockdown, there slowly came measures to relieve the pressure. Factories could work again. The week after, the shops could open their door anew. Since today, the school are open once more and it's permitted to see some friends and have your grandchildren visiting. But it remains forbidden to go to your second home. Where is the difference?

We don't have a lot of social contacts. We don't receive friends at home and we don't have kids or grandkids. For us the coast is a way to escape day-to-day life every now and then, and my sister needs it to reload energy for her strenuous job.

I truly hope this lawsuit will waken up the politicians and they'll permit going to the coast once more!


Thursday, May 14, 2020

Birthday coming up

It's my birthday tomorrow - but it won't be one like usual. Of course I'll receive cards and mails, wishing me well. In normal circumstances, though, we'd go out to have a nice dinner in a restaurant we like to visit. Now they are still closed and we'll have to do without.

Luckily I have a sister who cooks fairly well. She has promised to make pepper steak with home-made pommes frites and a tasty salad of witlof - and there will be a birthday cake as well. (I'll have to go and buy it at the bakery myself, but who cares?) And a bit of bubbly later in the evening.

As soon as the safety measure allow, we'll go to the seaside and have lunch or dinner in one of our favorite restaurants, that's for sure.

I miss feeling the sea breeze playing around my head. And walks on the boardwalk or the beach. It brings peace and recharges the mind. It brings energy. Being cooped up at home doesn't - even when we can sit outside when the sun shines. It just isn't the same...

And what about you? Do you miss anything now that this corona business is going on?

Monday, May 11, 2020

R.I.P. in Reykjavik

Let's welcome author A.R. Kennedy today, who's doing a virtual book blast tour for R.I.P in Reykjavik, a Cozy Mystery available May 19, 2020. The Book Blast Tour will take place May 12 - 18, 2020.



A.R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Blurb

Traveling with your family can be murder.
One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.


Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.  

Excerpt

NÆSTA MORGUN                                     {NEXT MORNING}

I had only one thought at breakfast. How did a young man die on vacation? There was no accident, no trauma, no nothing. He was fine one moment. Dead the next. It didn’t make sense.

I looked at my phone. I did the quick math. It was the middle of the night for Charlotte. I still considered calling. Awake Charlotte or just woken up Charlotte would give me the same answer—I had lost my mind. Just woken up Charlotte would be more angry about it.

I could hear her saying that it was ludicrous that I had found a dead body on vacation. Again. But this wasn’t a murder.

Milo’s death had to be what it appeared to be. A tragic accident. He drowned. The police were doing their due diligence in the unexpected death. An autopsy would reveal an accident. I could return to enjoying my vacation, with my mother.

Or at least trying to.

“What are you doing?” I asked my mother when I returned to the room after breakfast.

She was writing in a notebook, as if she were journaling. It had to be her latest fad.

“Recording my recollection of the event,” she answered.

“Didn’t the police take your report?” I asked.

“Yes.” She put her pen down and closed the book. “But this is for Dateline.”

“For what?” I asked

“For the investigation show. You have to know it. I watch every weekend.”

“And why would you need notes?” I asked.

“Because I’m sure we’ll be called in.” There was an excitement in her voice that was disturbing. “We were eyewitnesses. You pointed it out to that guide.” She seemed oddly proud of that.

“Sigi,” I told her.

“Yeah, the guide. They’ll probably want to talk to him too. But maybe his company won’t let him talk to the press. It’s not really the publicity the touring company would want, right?”

I ignored her question. “Did you see something useful?” I asked.

“Not that I know of. But these shows would want to talk to anyone who could give them any perspective. I had a bird’s-eye view of all of you. You were only a few feet away. You flirted with the dead man shortly before his death.”

“I did not flirt with the groom, Mother.”

“I’m not judging,” she retorted. “He was a good-looking guy. You’ve done worse. Do what you want on vacation. Anyway, the shows won’t care.”

“Shows?” I asked.

“Definitely. There’s 48 Hours, plus the ID Network has a bunch of shows. We would do them all.”

This was not the mother-daughter bonding I had envisioned. Not that I had ever envisioned mother-daughter bonding for us.

She didn’t note my horror and continued, with even more excitement. “New groom dies on vacation. That’s a big story. Plus, he’s handsome. They always love when the handsome ones die.”

“Mother!” I rebuked. “He drowned. Why would Dateline or any of those shows do a story on a drowning?”

“Because he was murdered! Had to be. Who drowns snorkeling in clear calm water? I Googled it. No one has died there before. You heard the police. They told us to stay in town.”

“Considering our return flight isn’t for several days, I think we’re good.” I went into the bathroom but then stopped. “What do you mean you Googled it?” My mother was not good with technology. That was more her mother’s area of expertise. “Let me see this Google search.”

She handed me her phone. The detective had told me others had died there. I couldn’t imagine he would be wrong. Or worse, that my mother was right.

I hit her internet browser and pulled up her last search. “Death at Thingamajig.”

I handed her back her phone. “We were at Thingvellir yesterday, Mother. Not at ‘Thingamjig’.”

“Close enough,” she said, dismissing me.

I didn’t bother Googling deaths in Iceland for her. We still had a few more days on vacation and I wanted to leave the hotel again.

I glanced at my watch. “We have two hours until our tour.”

“What tour?” she asked.

“Check the itinerary. I’m going to walk around Reykjavík.”

The hotel was at Old Harbour with the city center only a few blocks away. As I exited the hotel, I took in the harbour’s pier with the many fishing and tour boats docked. The pier was lined with large teal buildings, housing restaurants and touring services. Mount Esja was in the distance.

I took a deep breath of the clean air. No smog here. Other than spending time with Pops as a child, I could not remember ever breathing air as fresh.

I read the harbor’s sign about the touring companies stationed there. Whale-watching options were plentiful. I’d have to check back later on pricing when they opened.

My phone rang as I walked up the hill toward the city center. I almost didn’t check it, assuming it was my mother, asking where we were going later. I was surprised when I saw Charlotte’s name and face appear.

“What is it with you and finding dead bodies on vacation?” she asked when I accepted the video call.

“I didn’t find a dead body on this vacation,” I answered.

“That’s not what Mom said.”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I shouldn’t have been surprised my mother had told Charlotte. I should be surprised that I didn’t get this phone call last night. “Okay, technically, I found it. I noticed it before anyone else and I pointed it out to the guide. But the guide really found it.”

She smiled. “You certainly found your travel partner on this one, didn’t you?"

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Mom! She’s keen on the whole murder thing.”

“The man drowned. It’s a shame. Tragic, really. But not murder.”

She huffed. “Ooh. I get it.”

I didn’t like her tone. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it wasn’t good. “What is that supposed to mean?” I asked.

“Mom thinks it’s a murder, so you think it’s an accident. You always have to take the opposite side from her.”



Author bio and links


A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life'. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.











Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Biology of the Brain

Today met say hello to Kent MacLeod, author of Biology of the Brain - How your Gut Microbiome Affects Your Brain, a non-fiction available now from Ultimate Publishing House. Kent is doing a virtual book blast tour in conjuction with a virtual launch party for the digital book this same day. This book blast tour will take place on May 7th.


Kent will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3364/

Blurb

FOREWORD BY SUZANNE SOMERS
Biology of the Brain
Are you sick?

Are you plagued by chronic health problems with no cure or remedy in sight?

Are you tired of spending thousands on medications that only seem to make you worse?

Think that your drugs are a sham that are just managing symptoms and never dealing with the root cause? You’re not alone!

Millions suffer from similar ailments and health struggles just like you, only to be prescribed more medications that can actually cause harm, and in some cases, even kill you. The medical industry has it all backward!

Chronic health conditions and mental health disorders are increasing at an alarming rate, and yet we are still trying to use the same old ineffective drugs that can have very serious side effects.

We’re the blind leading the blind in the hopes that the next great pill will solve all of our problems. Meanwhile, the health of the majority of Canadians and Americans is deteriorating—fast!

But there is a growing understanding in the community that there’s a bigger beast at the heart of the health epidemic…

It’s called the microbiome. And it’s intimately connected to your brain.

Microbiome health is brain health.

In The Biology of the Brain, Kent MacLeod, pharmacist, founder and CEO of NutriChem Compounding Pharmacy and Clinic, breaks down why modern medicine is killing people instead of healing them. Instead of leaving the problem as it stands, he provides you with clear, actionable steps to not only heal your microbiome, but to restore your brain health and get your life back.


Exerpt

I’ll never forget this 63-year-old woman who’d come into my clinic. We’ll call her Susie. Susie had type two diabetes, suffered from obesity, and from severe high blood sugar. She tried diets and to exercise to lose the weight, but nothing worked.

She even resorted to medication to stimulate normal blood sugar levels and weight loss. This only made matters worse for her. By the time she came to me, she was desperate (it’s unfortunate I was seen as the last resort, but I’m glad she came to me).

We evaluated her lifestyle, her food intake, her diet, her regimen, her medications. We went over her prior tests, then did our own full-body analysis to determine the culprit of her health issues and inability to lose weight.

Can you guess what it was?

You’re right. Her gut microbiome was all out of whack and needed a drastic recovery if she had any hope of living an abundant life without worry, stress, and chronic health failure. After I went over the test results with her and explained her situation, she became noticeably distraught.


She had been struggling with her weight for years and she had made it her identity. She was never going to lose weight and would always have diabetes and health problems. There was no hope for her. As she wiped the tears from her eyes and lifted her head to me, I asked her one question, “Susie, do you want to get well?”

Author bio and links


Kent MacLeod is an international thought leader and award-winning pharmacist, with over 35 years of clinical experience delivering patient-centered health care. He’s globally recognized as a hormone health and nutrition expert, and he has lectured at health conferences, published research, and developed course material for many professional clinics based on NutriChem’s success.

He’s won numerous awards for his dedication to patient wellness, including the Canadian Compounding Pharmacist of the Year award, the Distinguished Pharmacy Practice Award, and the Outstanding Service Award for Innovation.  He also wrote the book, Down Syndrome and Vitamin Therapy: Unlocking the Secrets of Health, Behavior, and Intelligence.

He lectures throughout North America and Europe on the gut microbiome, hormones, mental health, Down Syndrome, pediatrics, pain management, as well as pharmacology. His philosophy is to work with every patient—individually—to ensure they receive the best combination of conventional and natural therapies for health maintenance and disease management.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, it’s time you learn why your body is hurting and correct it the right way.










Monday, May 4, 2020

Mayhem and the Marquess

Please meet author Win Hollows today. Win is doing a virtual book blast tour for Mayhem and the Marquess, a historical romantic suspense available now from Evernight Publishing. This book blast tour will take place between May 4th - May 8th.


The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3359/


Blurb

Daughter of an infamous murderer, Ivy Wollard now wields knives instead of needlepoint to survive in a society where no one wants her. When the Marquess of Blackbourne comes along and ruins her chance at a better life, she decides she’d rather have her toes eaten by eels than agree to his proposed scheme. There’s no way her surrender has anything to do with the mesmerizing angle of his jawline or the wicked twinkle in his eyes.

But Asher Blackbourne has a secret. He knows it’s just a matter of time until he goes mad and loses his illustrious title, so when Ivy falls into his path, he realizes he could use her to keep his house of cards from falling down. If every illicit touch between them doesn’t drive him mad first, that is.


Yet Ivy cannot escape her grisly legacy and the dark desires of her father’s admirers. What if violence runs through her veins, and no one who gets close is safe? Mayhem will descend as this rake finally falls for the enigmatic woman who might be just his brand of poison…Er, cure, of course.


Excerpt

Blackbourne came towards the clawfoot tub, running a finger along the porcelain edge.
     
Ivy shrank back instinctively into the steam.

He chuckled. “Don’t worry, love. I won’t bite,” he drawled, and then paused. “Yet.”

She inhaled as his eyes flashed promises of things she wasn’t sure she understood.

“Your bathwater is quite thoroughly unrevealing with all those suds. What a pity.” He sighed, pulling the nearby chair closer to the tub and lowering himself down into it. “Will you wash your hair for me?”

Ivy blinked “Right now?” she choked, reaching up to pat her hair, which she’d styled in a high chignon.

He nodded, his posture relaxed, although Ivy knew this to be deceptive. He was waiting to hear her answer with taut focus. When she didn’t move a muscle, Blackbourne interrupted her tumultuous thoughts with a soft suggestion. “Let me help you.”

The words reached out to her with tendrils that wrapped her consciousness in a sensual fog, causing the hair on her nape to rise. This was not done, she knew. A proper lady would never allow a gentleman to touch her hair, much less while she bathed. But what about any of their arrangement was proper in the first place? Who would even know?

Besides him.

So she reached up slowly so as not to disturb the water covering her chest and drew the stickpin from her hair, letting its length fall in a heavy coil down her back.

His sharp intake of breath echoed in the tiled chamber.


Was that a good thing? Ivy’s body trembled as she watched him rise and come towards her through the steam…

Author bio and links


Win Hollows is a multi-award-winning romance fiction writer who still believes that love conquers all. She currently lives in Colorado with her own real-life hero and their three fur babies. Her passion is writing stories about love and intrigue and will continue to do so as long as characters keep having conversations in her head. Hollows’ other interests include traveling to places with delicious food and languages she can’t speak, having wilderness adventures, and, of course, reading! She loves connecting with readers and fans on Facebook, Instagram, and through her website.


Social Media Links:






Buy Links:




Sunday, May 3, 2020

Getting bored

Seven weeks in near isolation are having their effect on me - I'm getting bored!

I only leave the house to buy food. We are allowed to go running but that I never liked. You can't go further than just a few kilometer outside your house.

No shopping afternoons, like in the old days, with a stop at the coffee shop in between (not only a coffee, but also a waffle with cream...). No shops, no cafés or restaurants open. No museum, no gallery. No shows with famous artists.

Tomorrow the factories are allowed to work full time once more, and hopefully the week after the shops will open again. But as long as you don't have the opportunity to buy a coffee and sit down for a while, shopping won't be much fun.

Cursed corona!!!

What I also have to get used to, is having my sister around all the time. Normally she leaves for work in the morning and returns in the late afternoon. Peace and quiet all around. But now, she talks constantly and I can't concentrate like I used to.

Hopefully we can soon return to normal life!