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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Earthquake in Nepal

Due to a busy working schedule, I haven't been able to place a blog for a couple of days. Since my last blog post, the terrible earthquake in Nepal happened - with the destruction of so many lives.

Of course you know this country is situated near one of the lines that are touched by earthquakes, but still... Nepal is already one of the poorest countries in the world. When you see the destruction, you'd weep.

A cousin of ours is a big fan of mountain climbing, and he has also been to Nepal in the course of time. Now he's helping his former sherpa, who has lost his housing. Nearly every organisation here in Belgium is raising money for those in need, and most likely the people will give freely. People here want to give money for those in need, especially when the disaster is not their fault. A war in Ukraine will interest no-one, but an earthquake or tsunami does.

What concerns us, we have given all what we could miss in the form of warm blankets and older (but still in good qualituy) jackets to our cousin, who is collecting such items and will try to put them into a container for Nepal.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ikea bad for the marriage?

When browsing the weekend papers, you sometimes come up with a funny article. One such was the one about an American study concerning married life - and Ikea. (For those who don't know what Ikea is: it's a Swedish chain of warehouses selling furniture packages. Lots of people can't put all the pieces together... But truth must be told, all the material is very good and sturdy. When I was younger, my whole room was full of Ikea stuff.)

Well, this study claims that couples get into serious trouble when visiting Ikea. Because it's here the most difficult questions concerning the housekeeping pop up. Who is going to put out the dustbin? Who is doing the cooking? Who the ironing?

Lots of couple begin to argue and sometimes this leads to divorce....

LOL! Can you believe this???

Friday, April 24, 2015

Should children fulfil their parents' desires?

When reading the newspaper, you somtimes come across articles about parents who have a child with a fatal illness. Some of them chose to have another child then, which is only to be used as organ donor.

Other parents want their child to become that dancer (singer, artist, whatever) they never could become.

Do you think this is ethical? I don't have any children or grandchildren myself, but I'm sure I would never have wanted my boy or girl to be something I wished to be. I think every child has its own capacities, and it's up to them and their parents what these are. And then you should allow the kid to do what he or she likes to do.

It's the same with accepting that your child is different in nature. Some parents don't have any contact with a son or daughter who is gay or lesbian. I've know such a boy, and he suffered greatly by it. For me, it would not have made any difference if my kid was straight or gay. As long as they are happy, and healthy!

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Only 1 on 4 cooks daily

A research campaign revealed that only 1 of every 4 people in Belgium still cooks daily. 75% of the population only eats in restaurants or buys ready-made meals in the supermarkets.

All very expensive and even more so, bad for your health. How difficult is it to cook? My sister and I also work, yet we always find time to prepare our daily warm meal. Most of the time, we have a diner ready in less than half an hour. And on those days when we have more time, we make soup (yes, fresh soup, with lots of varieties) and prepare stews, which we then freeze and store for later use.

We try to find a good mix of warm meals, with sometimes meat, sometimes chicken, sometimes fish and also one day vegetarian.

In the weekends we take some more time in the kitchen, but that is because we like to eat and don't mind the time in preparing the food.

We have always had a self-prepared meal, although we like to have diner at a restaurant too. And we still take time to sit together at the table, while talking about our daily experiences. Only breakfast is a meal we can't take together, as I have to leave earlier for work than my sister.

Do you still cook? And do it daily?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mediterranean turns into a graveyard

The past couple of days, more than thousand refugees have found an early grave in the Mediterranean Sea. People mainly from Africa, wanting to find a better life in Europe.

The EU is getting more and more comments about not doing anything to stop this massacre. But what can be done? They can't really shoot them out of the water, right?

One thing is sure: Europe (and mainly Italy) can't help all those who seek refuge here. I don't know what they expect, either? Baked chicken flying into their mouths?

The past era's we have been swamped with economical asylum-seekers. They all think we get everything for free. They don't realize that our welfare originates from hard work and paying lots of taxes (especially in Belgium). That we have fought for our rights to vote, to work 8 hours a day instead of 16, to have free education for everyone.

The biggest mistake, in my opinion, is that Europe has never put rules to immigration. You can't immigrate into the US, Canada or Australia without proving you have either money and a job. Europe should have done the same. Then we'd had people who were willing to work as hard as we do and earn their rights.

But now these refuguees just go to the OCMW where they get a nearly rentless home to stay, and also money to spend.

And why emigrate? If their is unjustice in your country, unite and fight against it for a better world. Give people the chance to go to school, and you'll get less influence of extremists.

What do you think?

Friday, April 17, 2015


Three Fridays ago, the American/English series Outlander (based on the novels of Diana Gabaldon) was aired on Flemish TV.

Do you love time travelling? I do, and it's something I've always wanted to be able to do myself. Just imagine, being able to travel at will to those periods of time you love. As a big fan of the 17th century, I'd die to be able to experience how life in England was at the time of Restoration (and secretly wanted to meet King Charles the Second, to see if he was really that lady's man) - or I would love to travel to ancient Rome, and have a house full of slaves (yeah, I'm a bit lazy, I don't like to clean or to cook or to iron - wouldn't it be great if all these tasks were done by your house-slaves?).

So I watched this new series with great expectation. And I must say I have not been disappointed. Although the series is not quite like the book, it's still great television.

In the meantime, of course, I've also purchased the series of books starting with Outlander - and I'm completely sold!

Any other fans of Outlander, and Diana Gabaldon??? If so, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Top day for the coast

For once the weather forecasters were right. Today is a wonderful, sunny day with temperatures up to 26° Celsius.

And on top, it's still Easter holidays, so lots of people are free, not having to work. Little wonder thousands took away to the coast ... or at least wanted to! We were just out of bed when we heard on the radio that there were big traffic jams, delaying the drive to the coast with at least one or two hours. Normal traffic only resumed after 3 pm!

The railroads set in a couple of extra trains to Ostend and Blankenberge, next to the normal trains.

The result was that, when walking on the promenade, you had the feeling of high summer - with even more people than on a day of July or August. The beaches were crowded with people sunbathing, building castles in the sand, playing volleyball or jeu de boules, some even dared to go into the water.

We had an icecream and ate it on a sunny bench, and then returned to our flat. We have this big roof terrace on the south side, so we get the sun all day. We quickly put out recliners and provided ourselves with drinks... And then enjoyed the glorious sunshine!

We don't often go to the beach anymore, because it's a tough walk. Our beach is more than a kilmeter wide, even at high tide. When we stay at the flat, we have the fresh air too, but everything is at hand.

How's the weather in your side of the world?

Monday, April 13, 2015

In for BBQ weather?

If were are to believe what the weather bureau forecasts, we are getting real summer weather the next couple of days. Tomorrow it would be already 21° Celsius, and on Wednesday we could get even 26°!

Well, if that is true, and the wind comes from the right direction, we'll be having the first barbecue on our roof terrace this year.

Do you like barbecue? I do, especially when you have a big choice of what to put upon it. Here at the coast, you can go for fish, meat or poultry, whatever you like. I especially like all that comes out of the seas. And when you have a sister who knows how to cook, you can put tasty things on that grill.

Okay, let the sun come!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sunshine after rain?

Yesterday felt like high summer at the Belgian North Sea coast. Crowded terraces, full of tourists enjoying a cool drink or having a light meal, families with kids walking or cycling, youngster playing volleyball at the beach, ...

The weather was just wonderful for April. Very sunny as well, and we were able to dry our bedsheets in couple of hours, by just hanging them on the line outside.

But today it was cold again and it rained quite heavily. That's April for you.

The weather services predict better weather though. As from Tuesday, it would be warmer and sunnier again.

Well, we don't complain. We had three sunny days in Dublin already and this beautiful one at the coast yesterday.

How's the weather where you live?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jersey Boys UK tour

Just back from a short trip to Dublin, Ireland - the reason why I did not write a blog for some days. Did you miss me?

Just like the first time, we liked Dublin very much. It's quite a nice town and you can do a lot there (besides drinking Jameson or Guiness).

But we mainly went to see Jersey Boys. We have wanted to see this show for ages, but we never could find good seats for the London shows.  And by accident we came across some advertisement fr the UK tour. What was better still, some of the tour dates fell into our Easter holidays and it's quite easy and cheap to fly from Belgium to Dublin. Also the hotel was less expensive now than in summer last year.

But the best thing was that the lead role of Franki Valli was sung by Tim Driesen, who is one of our fellow countrymen. Tim really has talent. He also has a wide range of voice, which is what is needed when you do Franki Valli.

The entire show was great and the public was also very responsive. Sometimes the applause lasted minutes, and I'm sure the cast appreciated this!

After the show we waited at the stage door to get some signatures and also have a chat with Tim. Much appreciated!

(Here's me talking to Tim.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

I'd like to wish everyone who reads this blog a happy Easter!

Don't overdo with the chocolate eggs, though...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Growth for Brussels Airport

Brussels Airport is steadily becoming more and more busy the past years. Today, some 41,000 passengers left on holiday and the following days will be pretty busy as well.

Several new airlines have arrived in Brussels (among which Ryan Air and Vueling for low cost, and Emirates for those with money) and this has surely given a boost to traffic.

Also Brussels Airlines is not doing bad lately. They now offer some low cost seats on their planes, but you get the same service as those who pay more. You just need to be able to purchase those cheap tickets! I was ever so lucky to be able to buy tickets to Rome for nearly nothing.

As I mentioned, lots of passengers left today. But among these lots were families with children - who ought to be at school until the afternoon. This has been a problem for some time. As long as travel agencies will offer trips which are cheaper when you leave one or two days earlier than the start of the holiday, this will occur. The minister of education wants to do something against it, but what can she do? Doctors too easily write a letter, saying the kid is ill.

And we poor teachers, we can only travel during those school holidays, when everything is more expensive....

But hey, we won't complain. Not as long as we can find cheap airfares to those places we want to visit.

Have a great Easter, all of you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

At last - no more credit for those who can't pay

As from today - and I don't think it's an April Fool's joke - banks and stores can't sell good anymore to people who already are in behind with their payment for more than 1,000 Euro.

I think this is a good thing. Some people really don't have any notion. They don't have any income (only benefits) but they want luxury nevertheless. They buy the most expensive flatscreen TV, need to have the latest smartphone and usually have a big dog which needs a lot of attention (and food!). And of course they also want to travel abroad. So they borrow money - and in the end don't know how to pay back all their debts.

We were always told we could not buy anything before we had saved up first. And I still don't buy what I can't afford.

But how lower the social class, the more people seem to want - for free! They don't work, but they have mostly an air about them, demanding their rights. They need to have social contacts, so they need this (very expensive) phone with internet access. Hm, couldn't they go to the library and use the internet there, for a very modest yearly fee?

I really can't understand how someone can get so much in debt. We have such a big social network. When you lose your job, you have unemployment aid. And there is also the OCMW, which pays a monthy minimum wage to those who can't get unemployment aid. Before you lose OCMW support, you have to be not in order anymore with everything. How can you get into such a situation? In my view, this can only happen because you don't care anymore and deliberately see to it you lose everything. And for me, such people should not get anything from the state (which are we, hard-working and high tax-paying citizens).

What do you think?