Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trick or treat?

Just wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Halloween!

What do you intend to do? Have a party? Here in Belgium Halloween is getting more and more popular. It isn't a custom that originates in these parts, but kids watch American TV and so Halloween has crept into our towns some time ago.

Normally we celebrate 1st November, All Saints. But then Belgium is mainly a catholic country (or used to be).... It's the time when you go and visit the graves of your lost ones - although this custom is slowly disappearing too. We buried the ashes of our mother simply in the garden (which is allowed by law). She always wanted to rest next to her pets (she lived there all her life) Minou and Pluche. So we respected her wish and buried the urn with her ashes there.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A well-deserved holiday coming up

Around this time, schools will be closing until Monday, November 9th. Students and teachers both have deserved a week's holiday after the first long term of 9 weeks.

Never underestimate the job of a teacher. Here in Belgium we are laughed at by the general public, because we 'have too many holidays'. That's all the people see.

Indeed, not only the kids but also the teachers get school holidays. Here in Belgium they are as following: one week of autumn leave, two weeks for Christmas/New Year, one week of holidays in February or early March, two weeks for Easter and then we have a couple of long weekends in May/June. Followed by two months of summer leave.

Looks pretty much, but I can guarantee that a teacher needs this. Because the teaching profession is not just standing in your class, teaching your subject. You need to prepare your lessons (can take a while when you're a young and inexperienced teacher), you have to make corrections of the work your students deliver, you have to prepare examinations and tests throughout the year, you need to make an evaluation of what EACH student is doing (the paperworks gets heavier year by year). In short, you  have to put EVERTHING on paper to make sure you can't be sued.

Then there is the job uncertainly. Many a young (and also older) teacher will not be able to remain in one school throughtout his/her career. Sometimes you need to do a lot of interim work before you find a place to stay.

And never underestimate the kids. You need to have stamina to deal with them from day to day. Many fail in doing this, so they drop out after one or two years in the profession. You have to have the knack, or you're a basket-case.

So this holiday is well deserved i.m.o.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


A while ago, I heard the music of 'Bolero' on the radio (yes, I still listen to my radio, each day btw) - and the images of the supreme ice-dancing of Torvill & Dean come to mind.

Man, what a performance that was! It was the year of the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo: 1884. A long time ago, but then I'm already an old-timer myself (haha).

I'm quite fond of ice-dancing and so I try to see it whenever I can. I don't skate myself (well, have done when I was younger, but not ice-dancing) but the time of the big ice-shows has gone, I'm afraid. When we were kids we could go to Antwerp each winter to see a big ice-show in the Sportpaleis. Last time I saw a good show was two years ago, when we were in Salford (Manchester, UK) to see Robin Cousin's Dancing on Ice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How do you deal with sudden death?

On the risk of sounding too gloomy, I'd like to write a little about the way in which people deal with the sudden departure of a loved one.

I came to the idea when I was browsing a hotel-restaurant site. We're going to dine there next Saturday night. Earlier this year, chef and owner Steve Vandenberghe died while doing a rally in Africa. Not by accident, but because he got a stroke. He left a wife, Anneke, and a young son, Glen.

Now Glen was a rising star in the cookery world. In 2011 he won a major cookery contest (something like Master Chef) and got a contract to work for Peter Goossens in Hof Ter Cleve (3 Michelin stars). He stayed there two years, then went on with sous-chef Michael Vrijmoed who began his own business. Later on Glen moved to work with Niek Ducheyne. He intended to more work in the kitchens of famous chefs, and then return to the family's business and help out his father and mother.

But the sudden death of his dad forced him to make a decision. Should he continue his own career - or return immediately to the hotel-restaurant of his parents and be chef there? Well, he decided to return. (

I think that is such a beautiful gesture. Glen could easily have said, 'No, I want to be a Michelin chef myself; Do what you want with the hotel-restaurant.'

When our own father died - also of a stroke - we had to be adults at once. We had to take care of our mother (she was never able to do much on her own), start cooking and cleaning, take control over the money and banking. No time to weep and be worthless.

I see that's the way it often goes. Either you let go yourself - and you complain about how unfair life has dealt you all the time, or you face the facts and go on with life. Of course you miss the person who left, but that doesn't mean your life has ended as well.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

All-in-one ovendishes

When I have a busy day (today I was cleaning up my house) I try to cook something that doesn't take too much time.

And for that, all-in-one dishes are quite handy. Moreover, both my sister and I love eating them! Tonight, I'm going to prepare a dish with mashed potatoes, cauliflower, ground meat and cheese.

I just need to cook the potatoes and the cauliflower (doesn't take long), then mash up the potatoes and spread them out at the bottom of an oven dish. On top of these I put the pieces of cauliflower, and then I add the ground meat (you can even make this a vegetarian dish by replacing real meat by a soya variant) and then top up with the cheese (take one that has a good taste).

Put in into the oven for about 20 minutes and it's ready!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Eating red meat is bad for your health

The WHO has placed red meat on the same list as for instance asbestos... They clearly want to convey that eating (too much) read meat is bad for your health and can cause cancers or any other life-threatening condition.

Red meat includes beef, pork, lamb and mutton. Also every preparation with meat is bad for your health.

What a piece of luck we've switched to eating more soup for lunch!!! Since last spring, we have home-made fresh soup (without bread) for lunch and we only eat one sandwich a week. Added to that, we eat vegetarian twice a week. And I must say, we have been losing weight! When I go to see my doctor in December, I'm interested to see how the change in food pattern will have an effect on my blood levels. Both my sister and I need to be careful with sugars and fat. So hopefully the levels of these in our blood have gone down as well.

But for all that, I don't mind having steak and frites once in a while!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Evolution is expensive!

When you're more than half a century old, you have seen lots of changes in the course of these years.

I was born in an age when most people did not even have a bathroom. Washing was done in the kitchen, in an big wooden or metal tub. And you were lucky when you got your own warm water (heated over the stove)! Going to the toilet happened in an outhouse - and again you were lucky when it was close to your house, and not way back in the garden!

Then the telephone. Only the doctor had one. We got our first one in the seventies - because I was going to the university and my dad wanted me to be able to contact them.

We played records (singles and LP's) on our portable record-players (at request, in the attic so the older ones weren't bothered with the loud music...) and later on got a cassette-player. Big invention!!

But because we were reasonably well-off we did have a TV from the 1950's - and we were the first in our street to have a color TV. I remember when it was first playing, people pushed others aside to have a look through our front window.

In the course of time, we replaced our video cassettes by DVD's, our old records by CD's. Had to replace the telephone by a newer one and afterwards by cell phones (now smartphones).  We bought several computers (first they were nothing better than text machines.) But what costed most was replacing all my print books by electronical ones.

I'm doing this because we plan to go and live at the coast when we're pensioned. And the flat is a lot smaller than the house where we are living now. No more space for lots of bookcases! So here came Kindle  - what an invention! I have already spent lots of euro's by replacing all the print books by author. I've emptied a few bookcases already. The print books, I give away to charitable organisations.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Would you forfeit your principles for profit?

This is a question that most of us would answer by saying 'YES' wholehearteldy. Most people can stretch their principles pretty far if it involves (a lot of) money.

But there are exceptions. Yesterday I read an article in the newspaper about fashion designer Murielle Scherre. She has her own make of (sex) underwear by the name of La fille d'O.  Superstars such as Rihanna, Roison Murphy or M.I.A. are spotted wearing this underwear.

Murielle refuges to make compromises. She won't let her bra's and slips be manufactured in a country where wages are low or kids are slaving away. That would bring in a nice profit.

No, her undergarments are made in Belgium, with materials solely from here and made by people who know their job and are paid accordingly. Of course, this drives us the price for a set of underwear, but that's the way it is, says Murielle.

What do you think? Would you submit to easily made profit?

What concerns me, I don't really know. I don't mind a quick profit. If for instance I had something on my attic (which had been there for ages and thus has no value for me) which proved to be special, I wouldn't mind bringing it to Sotheby's for auction. But when some producer proposed a film deal for one of my books, and they'd plan to change everything in the story - then I would refuse. Even if they offered me a million or more. So it depends.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Decorating your home according to the season

Having no kids or grandchildren, my sister and I like to occupy ourselves by making our home cozy. We try to find fetching decorations for every time of year.

So right now it's time for Halloween-sphere! Over the year, we have found several nice figurines of witches and spooks, which we place around the living room. We also have pumpkins galore, and autumn leaves, as well as little forest animals. And cobwebs, of course. Plus a couple of funny corpses.

I think this makes the living room more cozy, especially when the days grow shorter and shorter.

Do you also like to decorate?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Summer/winter time - for or against?

Next weekend we'll have to set our clocks right again - from 3 am to 2 am. Not that most of us will do that in the middle of the night... rather before going to bed or when you wake up.

But it's a change anyway. This time we can sleep an hour longer. Myself, I don't have a lot of trouble with changes in time - didn't suffer from jetlag either - but my sister does, and so do lots of other people.

There are groups which want to protest against this switching of times. But it's now a European question and I don't think they'll cancel the rule. Too many groups of interested parties are looking over the shoulder (pharmaceutical firms, for instance, which produce pills against sleeplessness or provide pills which make you feel better during the day....)

Especially animals and little kids suffer from this change in time. And you know that a kid who hasn't got its night's rest will be nervous throughout the day - which makes mums and dads tear out their hairs as well.

So, what do you think? Should we get rid of this change in time???

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the future

Guess most of us have seen the film Back to the Future? In the second part of the trilogy, Marty McFly and Doc Emmet Brown arrive in the future on October 21st, 2015. And that's today.

Worldwide fans of the films are celebrating this fact. And it's nice to see what happened to the predictions made in this film...

Doc's DeLorean racecar rides on beer and a few bits of leftover food. This hasn't happened yet, but we do  already use bio-fuel.

When they arrive in 2015, it's raining very hard. Doc looks at his watch and predicts it will stop in 4 seconds. In reality we have iWatches and when you have an app, you can pretty accurately predict the weather.

Also on arrival, Doc peels off his old skin. Now Botox and plastic surgery are pretty common.

In 1989, you took pictures with an old-fashioned camera, and the roll of film needed to be processed. Nowadays we have camera's on our smartphones or extra-light digital camera's.

When Griff and his gang are arrested, a sort of drone falls out of the sky to take pictures for USA Today. Nowadays we see drones anywhere.

There are many more things that the film predicted correctly. If you know any more, feel free to comment!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More reading teasers for Halloween

As Halloween is drawing closer, I've got a few more teasers for you from my collection of short stories, Face in the Mirror and Other Stories.

Mark wandered around for what seemed like ages, not feeling tired one bit. He guessed he must be near the center of the garden. Indeed, the path he was following led him to an open space with a marble fountain in the middle. Four paths arrived from different directions. At the end of each path, a statue was put on a pedestal. Two of them represented animals – a staggering horse and a roaring lion – and the other two represented humans.
Face to face were the images of a man and a woman, sculpted so near-to-life that Mark could hardly believe they were mere marble. He was not very interested in the man, but the woman fascinated him.
“If only you could be real…” he whispered.
She was everything he wished for a woman to be: beautifully shaped with rounded curves and a face that looked kind and pure.
He gave out a hard sigh and returned the same way he entered. But the next night he went back.
From The Italian Garden

A shape popped up before her on the road. All of a sudden she realized she was daydreaming. She quickly applied the brakes and the car skidded to a stop. Yes, there was someone there; a huddled figure carrying two heavy bags. How strange! She drove this road twice a day and never ever had she seen anyone on this deserted stretch over Hawestone Moor. Nobody lived here, did they
She looked again. The figure – she could not decide whether it was a man or a woman – kept moving on steadily. For just one second Marie considered her options. If she would offer help, she would make it home even later than seven o’clock. But almost immediately her conscience forced her to open up her window and call out
“Hello there? Need a ride?”
The figure stopped and turned around. She saw that it was a woman and an old one for goodness sake. What was this granny doing out in this shit weather?”
“Thank you, dear. I’d like that.”
From The Witch of Hawestone Moor

The next weekend the leaves had increased in numbers. Tim’s mother phoned in to tell him that her son had been taken ill and would not be able to work during the weekend.
He was in a rather foul mood when he dressed in an old jeans and worn out sweater, and took the rake out of the garden shed. He worked for two hours and then went inside to have tea.
When he returned to the garden, the heaps he had carefully raked together had dispersed. And yet there was no wind that day.
From Falling Leaves

Monday, October 19, 2015

Going through things you don't like

I don't know about you - but I keep postponing those tasks I really don't like to do.

Like cleaning... I do clean my kitchen and bathroom at regular times, but I don't think the rest of the house needs the same care. After all, there are only the two of us. But my sister doesn't always see it that way. I can bear that there's a bit of dust, but she doesn't. So I need to take out my mop and dust all the furnitur (yuk!). Or wash the windows. I thing the rain can do that as well (...)

I'd rather sit behind my computer the whole day and just write. That's what I really love to do. A pîty I've never written that bestseller - which would allow me to hire a housekeeper to perform all those nasty tasks in the house.

Sure, you can get a cleaning woman/man for utility-checks (an invention of our government) but who are these? Man and women unable to find a job on their own, and who are pressed by the unemployment agency to take on these cleaning jobs. I wouldn't trust to have one of those in my house. I once tried to hire one, but after explaining four times how to mop a floor, I just gave up. In that time I could have done it myself!

What about you? Are there also things you don't like to do - but have to?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike: best DJ's in the world!

Tonight, Belgians with Greek roots, Dimitri Vegas and his brother Like Mike (Dimitri and Michael Thivaios from the Antwerp area) have been elected as the world's best DJ's in Amsterdam.

Must say, it's been a great week for us Belgians. First our national soccer team became the world's number one, and now this... Of course, Tomorrowland is also one of the world's best dance festivals.

Where is this going to end???

Friday, October 16, 2015

Preparing a trip to Hamburg, Germany

I've been spending most of this grey afternoon making arrangments for our trip to Hamburg in November.

My sister and I love musical theatre, so when we heard that Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Love Never Dies would be staged in Hamburg (as Liebe Stirbt Nie), we immediately decided to go and see the show once more. We've seen the show twice in London, way back in 2010, and loved it very much despite the criticism. We saw it once with Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess.

This Hamburg production stages Gardar Thor Cortes as the Phantom and Rachel Anne Moore as Christine. I watched some video's on You Tube and was impressed by Gardar's voice. So I think this will be a great show as well.

I don't have problems with the German language. I've lived and worked for 4 years in Germany (way back in the 1980's) and I've seen quite a bit of the country during that period. Unfortunately, I've never visited Hamburg.

So if someone who reads this blog has done, can you please pass on some tips of things to do? We are taking a couple of days there. Also looking for good restaurants. Comments are more than welcome!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Here comes the first snow

Brr, it's ever so cold! I've never experienced such cold during the first half of October (and I was born in 1956). It's barely 6° Celsius during the day and at nights there is some frost.

Also, in the eastern parts of the country, the first snow fell already yesterday.

Guess we're in for a hard winter. Fortunately, I rather like the cold. I prefer it over the rain which we normally have this time of year. You can dress to freezing temperatures or snow. I have warm coats and good snow boots.

Which season do you prefer?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Belgian Red Devils nr.1 in world FIFA ranking

Just can't resist it - at these times I feel proud about my country. Yesterday evening, our national soccer team - the Red Devils - won their match against Israel and have become the offcial number 1 on the FIFA ranking, passing Argentina and Germany.

Can you believe it? We're such a small country and still we are the best!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Belgium is number 1 in...

When our national soccer team, the Red Devils, win their match against Israel tomorrow, they'll be the number 1 in the FIFA world ranking! Can you believe that? (Well, they are already nr. 2...)

But there are other things in which Belgium is the top. Did you know...

* that we are the world's biggest exporter of frozen fries? We produce 50,1 ton of potatoes yearly and manufacture 3,8 million of frozen potatoe products...

* at the same time, Belgium is the country where car drivers lose most time in traffic, due to the traffic jams

* according to the Good Country Index Belgium is number 1 in culture

* with 3,595kilometer of rail tracks on a surface of 30,000 square kilometer, Belgium has the tightest railnet of the world

* that we Belgians pay the highest taxes on work of the entire world? Over 55%, yes sir!

* we are the biggest exporter of chocolqate (yummie!)

* we also are the country for beer and we make the best!

* we have the smallest amount of bullies in the world

* the download speed of Netflix is never higher than here in Belgium

Monday, October 12, 2015

Read for Halloween

As Halloween is drawing closer, and the evenings are getting darker, it's ever so cozy to snuggle up in your lazy chair and read something fitting the season.

You'll find this in my collection of short stories, titled Face in the Mirror and Other Stories, published by Rogue Phoenix Press and also available at Amazon, of course. These are a mixture between romantic horror and pure horror - although not too brutal and thus also ok to be read by young ones.

Here are a few teasers:

Then, she sensed a nearness again. She got the feeling that someone – something – was watching her. The front door fell into its lock. She looked around, not yet sure as how to proceed.
“Who’s there?” she repeated. The air around her did not move. All she could perceive was the utter silence of the house. She waited five more minutes until she felt certain she was alone once more. She shrugged. If someone tried to scare her, they would have to do better. She did not scare that easily. Not after what had already happened to her. She would stay the night, and nobody would drive her out.
From Face in the Mirror

That night, she was woken up by – something. She could not tell what or how. She got out of bed and looked around. Nothing. The house was quiet as before. When she looked out of a window, she noticed it was very foggy outside. Must be this nearness to the sea, she thought. She returned to bed and slept on, undisturbed.
From Rivers of Mist

She still was not sure as how to go on. Her mind told her that she should best file for a divorce but her heart still remembered the passion Paul and she had once shared. And what about these new feelings for Mike?
Once more she returned to the green valley to think about her dilemma. Where lay her destiny? With Paul or with Mike? The day went passed without her noticing it, and daylight slowly gave way to incoming darkness.
She was so lost in thought, that at first she did not hear the thudding of the approaching hooves. All of a sudden, almost out of the blue, they were around her; these lovely horses she had seen a long time ago.
Her face broke open into a broad smile as she hugged the beautiful stallion that approached her. It looked bigger than she remembered, but perhaps that was because she had been a child the first time she saw it.
From The White Horses of Porto Corvo

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wonderful weekend

It's nice to have some days off. But if they are blessed with sunshine and rather high temperatures for the time of year, you're even more blessed.

This was such an occasion. We've been enjoying our time at the coast thoroughly. We went out dining on Friday night - next door at the bistro, but always worth its money. The owner, Christine, knows us very well by now and treats us occasionally to something special. This time we got her best red wine for the price of the house variety.

And yesterday evening we were in Ostend to watch a concert of the Dublin Legends. Irish folk music at its best. The Dubliners are no more, but the remaining members formed this new band. I'm still singing Irish songs right now!

Today it was so warm at our terrace that we could hang the washing outside. And it was dry by now. We are still sitting here in the living room without any heating, with all the windows and door to the terrace open. Can you imagine that?

Sometimes you get weekends like this. I remember one from some  years ago (late 1990's) when we could still sunbathe around this time. And in 2011 we were in London for 25 years of Phantom of the Opera when it was also so warm and sunny.

You can load up your batteries this way!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Zoute Rally

This afternoon, we have been enjoying the lovely October sunshine (and it was quite warm) but also watched the old timers perform at The Zoute Rally, an event that spreads over 4 days.

We had got an invatation from the fashion house where we often buy our outfits, to come and watch the rally from inside or outside their store. Of course we were treated to champagne and sandwiches. I don't normally like the - what we call 'chi-chi' way of acting - which most of the competitors to the race possess, but I do admire the old cars.

I've read all of Clive Clussler Dirk Pitt novels, and Pitt is known to collect old cars (and often race them in the course of the story). Through my reading I know something about old makes of cars and what they can do..

And how was your afternoon?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Working overtime can be okay!

It's not always nice when you have to work hard and do a lot of overtime. My sister, who is solely responsible for thepersonel administration of more than 12 schools (meaning she has to take care they get paid on time, that sick leaves and other leaves are passed on to Brussels, ...), has worked very ard in September. She was in her office around 7.30 am and was not home before 6 pm. She also worked on Wednesday afternoons and during the weekend.

The only talk at home at that time was about the job (boring!!!!)

But right now we share the extra's! She's taken up a couple of days to make a short holiday. This is a blessing because this term is rather long (9 weeks) and a break in the middle of those is always great.

I don't know what we'll be doing. Enjoy the free time, that''s for sure. Perhaps go dining one of these evenings, and on Saturday evening we are going to a concert of the Dublin Legends in Ostend.

Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Print book or e-book?

What do you prefer? A book which you can pick up, turn the pages, admire the cover? Or just switch on your Kindle (or other e-reader) and choose the book you want to read?

I must admit I have a (slight) preference for e-books. Not because they are cheaper (they are, but I never minded to pay for a book I liked) or because you can read in the dark (must say, that's something I now like, as I wake up earlier than before and can now read without switching on my bedlamp). No, the main reason is just a practical one.

When we went on a trip, I always carried around a (heavy) bag of books, to read on my vacation. Now I just need that one (and very light) Kindle and I have my entire library with me.

But I still have some books (mainly those which aren't available on Amazon yet) which I love and can't miss. Some are right jewels - I have read them over and over. And of course, I also have books from Flemish authors which are not available as e-books. Moreover, you need a different e-reader for Europe and the e-books are more expensive than the ones you buy on Amazon (and they don't have freebies, either)...

What do you prefer?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Should we ever trust what's on a label?

The past weeks and days, there has been a lot to do about the industry cheating the consumer. First there was the Volkswagen scandal. Someone brought out that the diesel cars' exhaust fumes were much higher than VW tells us. Afterwards, it was Samsung. Apparently their TV's use more energy than claimed.

Food specialists also tell us we shouldn't trust all the labels on food. Some company just BUY a label and put it on their products...

Well, nothing new under the sun. People have always been trying to cheat others. That's why I tell my students to be critical and never to believe everything told to them. (Well, if they are really critical they can mistrust my words too!)

The problem with cars is not mine anymore. I don't have a car. And to be honest, I did not do away with it because of the environment but because my eyesight was lacking. Later on, my sister also sold her car because it 'ate' too much money for what it was needed (run some errrands).

About food, we ony buy fresh food. Probably treated with all sort of stuff, but we haven't died of it yet.

As a conumer, you should just use your head and decided for yourself what works for you.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day of the Teacher

Today is Day of the Teacher. Well enough, were it that the teaching profession is recognized as such...

Here in Belgium, there is in general no appreciation for what a teacher does. It used to be different, when our parents and grandparents were kids. In those days a teacher stood on the same line as the mayor and the priest. Those three people were in high esteem, for which everyone stood in awe.

Right now, both goverment politics and the general public assume a teacher's life is a walk through the park. Only having to work between 20 and 22 hours a week, having all those holidays, getting a good pension...

The reality is different. I dare everyone who thinks as described above to come into a classroom for a few weeks, and then reconsider. A teacher indeed performs 20 or 22 hours  in the class per week, but this means he/she has to prepare these lessons at home. That will easily take just as long, and for young and inexperienced teachers it will even take longer. You not only have to prepare, you also have to correct, especially when you are a language teacher. Again a couple of hours per week. 

Standing before a class is not really a walk in the park. You are working with young people, who think very differently than you do. You have to get into their world of thinking. At the same time, next to being a teacher who tries to bring them something worth-while, you are both a parent admonishing them, or a doctor/nurse who can tell them what is wrong with them. When you create a good relationship with your students, they come to you with questions and problems that only a sociologist or phychologist could solve - and they expect you'll know the answer. Sometimes you have to be a police officer. And importantly, you should never get angry and keep your calm.

Ok, all of us who've done this for several decennia don't complain about our job. We love what we are doing. But our beloved government has now decided to reorganize our pension system. When we started, we did it under different conditions. We agreed to be paid less per month, to have a better pension later on. Now the ministers think we should get less pension (why give so much money to people who don't work???)

So I think we could better forget the Day of the Teacher.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Open factory day

Every first weekend of October, the general public is invited to visit businesses and factories in Flanders. That's quite interesting.

This time, we did not have time to go for a visit (due to having to do some repairs to the house) but next time I'd like to take a look in the prison of Dendermonde. Normally you don't go there if you haven't committed a crime, but as it is an old prison it woud be interesting to see how the inmates are lodged. And another place I'd like to see is the factory of Vondelmolen. That is in the neigboring village Lebbeke.

Vondelmolen is known for making the best 'peperkoek' (= gingerbread) in Flanders. Sometimes, you can smell it here in our garden - and you become hungry!!! Or the chocolate factory of Callebaut. Yummie, Belgian chocolate! Once one of their trucks lost its load, spreading chocolate all over the road. What a waste!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Enjoying the (probably) last sunny & warm weekend

We live by the motto 'Carpe Diem', so we are now enjoying the last warm and sunny weekend of this season. On Monday the weather will change and we'll get the real autumn weather.

We made a long walk just a while ago, returning by the town center where it was quite busy. Lots of people strolling the streets and visiting the shops. Of course we went into our favorite tearoom to order some coffees with pancakes.

Once at home we did some little chores which needed to be done (and during the week you never have time). Well, that's a day well-spent.

Around 6 pm I'll start peeling my potatoes for dinner. We'll be eating once of our grandma's classics: potatoes with stewed onion and salt bacon. Yummie!

And how was your day?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Egyptian secrets

It's been quite a year for fortune-hunters! First there were revelations about the disappearance of Van Eyck's lost panel (still not solved, though), then came the news about the train with Nazi gold in Poland, and right now Britisch archeologist Nicholas Reeves claims to have found a hidden door in the tomb of Tutanchamon, which will lead to the burial site of Queen Nefertiti...

When I was a young girl, I dreamed for a while of becoming an archeologist (I was fascinated with history) and of course discovering that unknown tomb of one or other Pharaoh! Well, as I grew older and became more aware of the reality of archeology, I did not want it so much anymore. I'm still interested in finding out more about objects and people, but I know I could not bear to live in a camp in primitive circumstances.

I love to read novels which are set in ancient Egypt, like those of Paul Doherty, or Barbara Erskine's 'Secrets in the Sand'.

What about you?