Friday, March 31, 2017


Today, Brussels Airport saw at least 75,000 passengers leave or arrive. That's a lot more than before.

No wonder, most people here have had it with the weather. Lots of them look forward to some sunshine and a week (or two) of doing absolutely nothing.

What is worrying, however, is the fact that more and more parents don't care anymore if their children need to attend school or not.

Travel organisations offer cheaper holidays when schools don't have a break, which is the reason why lots of parents chose to take their kids away from school to leave either today or even yesterday.

I don't suppose you can do anything about the difference in pricing from the travel agencies. But the government could do something to pholdersuade parents to leave their kids at school until it ends for the holiday. Perhaps fine them? But knowing Belgians, this fine would have to be high enough, otherwise it won't do any good. What could work is warn the parents they'll lose their children support (in Belgian, every parent gets money for the kids he/she has)  if they take their kids away from school too early?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Positive effects

I don't know if it has to do with the new pills I have to take, but since I began taking them I have a lot less pain in my fingers than before.

For years, my fingers are plagued with arthrosis. The knuckles swell and the fingers becomes stiff and not able to bend. Quite a hindrance when you want to write or do something which needs full grip.

Right now, my fingers look quite normal and I can use them like normal. (Well, apart from the one finger I knocked against the banisters and still hurts like hell...)

For the rest, I don't seem to suffer any ill effects of that melange of pills: 4 in the morning and 2 at night.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Purr M for Murder

Hello! Today features author T.C. Lotempio, who's doing a book blast tour for the publication of her book Purr M for Murder - a cozy mystery from Crooked Lane Publishing.

The author will be awarding autographed copy of PURR M FOR MURDER (hardcover - US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link:


Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancé and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat café fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat--along with Littleton's dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington--who just happens to be Sydney's old high school crush--is highly suspicious of the sisters' involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton's death--until the killer notices she's pawing a little too closely at the truth.


We were in the doorway now.  A large desk was at the far end of what appeared to be an office.  The light was coming from a small lamp perched on the edge of the desk, and as we crossed the threshold, it flickered and then went out.  Kat shone the pencil thin beam of the flashlight around the room, letting out a sharp cry as it hit the wall nearest us.  “Lightswitch,” she squealed, and a minute later the room was filled with a harsh fluorescent light.  

I glanced around.  Yes, this was definitely an office, and not a very tidy one at that.  There were several file cabinets pushed up against the far wall, and two of the drawers in the one on the left were half open. Papers were strewn across the desk, and some file folders had dropped onto the floor and were scattered across the Oriental rug.

“Good Lord,” my sister exclaimed.  “For someone always so fastidious about his appearance, he certainly likes to work in a mess.”

I frowned.  “It looks more to me like it’s been ransacked. Someone was searching for something. What do you think, Kat? Kat?”

My sister had moved over to the far corner of the room and was standing before a large wardrobe.  “Wow, this is beautiful,” she said, lifting a hand to run it over the smooth exterior. She balled her hand into a fist and rapped it against the wood. “Solid oak.  I saw a picture of one like this in a catalog.  French, dates back to the late 1800’s.  I wonder what it’s doing in his office?”

“Who knows? Maybe he keeps his suit jackets in it,” I said.  “Why do you care, anyway?”

“It’s such a beautiful piece,” my sister murmured. “Too good for that rotter. It seems out of place in this office.”

“Maybe it just came in and he’s got it here for pricing,” I ventured.

“Maybe.  I wouldn’t mind having something like this,” Kat said, running her hand once again across the smooth wood.  “It looks deep enough – I wonder if the doors swing out all the way? It would be great to put a TV in.” 

I eyed the piece. “That thing looks hand-carved. He probably wants an arm and a leg for it.”

“Probably.” She gave the handle a tug. “Hm.  The doors seem to be stuck.”

I waved  my hand impatiently.  “Oh for goodness sakes, leave it alone. Must you examine it now?”

Her lower lip thrust forward. “Yes.  Who knows, I might not get another chance.”

I shot her a sharp look.  “You’re not thinking of buying this, are you?”

She sighed deeply. “I suppose not.  Littleton will probably want some astronomical figure for it.  But I might never get another opportunity to see such a finely made one up close.” She shot me an appealing look.  “Give me a hand, won’t you? You’re strong. Maybe if we both pull on the handle at the same time it’ll open.”

I knew my sister. Once Kat made up her mind about something she was like a pitbull with a bone. I knew when it was futile to argue with her. “Okay, fine. But if we get this open, one quick look and then we’re out of here.”

She nodded and I placed my hand on top of hers. “On the count of three, give it all you’ve got. One, two—three.”

We both tugged at the same time and suddenly the door flew open.  We went staggering backwards at the same time the body of Trowbridge Littleton, his eyes bulging almost out of their sockets, tongue lolling to the side, hit the floor at our feet.  

Author bio and links

While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first
Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, is out this December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York.

ROCCO’s blog:
Amazon- Purr M for Murder
Amazon: All Books Page
Twitter: @RoccoBlogger

Purchase Link:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Asparagus season

The asparagus season has begun. I really look forward to this time of year, as I'm very fond of asparagus. Nowadays you can buy them anytime, but when I was young you had to wait for the farmers to harvest them. Always around end of March, early April and lasting until the end of May.

Grandma already used to prepare asparagus as soon as the season started, not caring how much they cost. We don't either, as we want to eat them as many times as possible.

There are various ways to eat them. In it, preparing asparagus is dead simple: peel them and cook them for about 10 minutes. But then you can eat them just boiled or with a sause. Most popular here is asparagus 'Flemish style' with a sause in which egg figures. We had them today with smoked salmon, country potatoes and mousseline sause. Delicious!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Verdict: diabetes

I had a rather nasty shock yesterday. On Wednesday morning I went to my GP to have my blood tested, like I do at least twice a year. In June 2016 everything was still fine, but in December there was a raised level of blood sugar. The doctor said to pay extra attention (which I did) and come for another test in March.

I had really hoped this time the blood sugar would be better - but instead it was yet higher! Both the doc and I realize I can't do anything more (I don't smoke, I move enough, I try to avoid sugars and eat well-balanced). The problem is with my pancreas. It doesn't work properly anymore.

Our dad had the same disease and in a way both my sister and I realize we got a fair chance of getting diabetes as well.

Still, it's a light shock when you first hear it. I've been to see my GP to discuss what to do next. He's given me more pills to take (4 in the morning, 2 at night) which may help. We'll see the result in about 5 weeks' time. When the pills don't work enough, it will be insuline. Luckily, we don't have to pay a lot for all these medicines. That's one of the advantages of paying 50% taxes and social security. We also don't need to pay a lot for operations, especially when you pay (a little bit) extra for a hospitalisation plan.

So people, wish me luck and let's keep fingers crossed those pills will do their work!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sheik's Rule

Today, author Ryshia Kennie is doing a virtual book blast tour for Sheik's Rule - romantic suspense available from Harlequin Publishing.

Ryshia will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use this link to place your comment:


His sister's life is at stake, and despite his wealth and power, Sheik Emir Al-Nassar feels helpless. At least heading his family's security agency provides him with resources to track down her kidnappers. But when the ace profiler he's sent turns out to be K. J.—Kate—Gelinsky, Emir is furious. Finding the kidnappers' desert hideout is dangerous enough without the distraction of a beautiful woman.

But K.J. is unlike any woman he's ever known. Her fearlessness and incisive mind inspires Emir's admiration. And her compassion breaches his guarded heart. Still, rescuing his sister is a perilous mission. And allowing desire to cloud his focus could endanger them all.


Just looking at that hand confirmed every doubt he had.  It wasn’t just about customs, she was female and because of that and so many other things, she was the wrong person for the job.

“I’ll help you find your sister.  You just need to trust me.”

“No!”  The word came out with the pent-up fury that had built since the fateful call from Tara’s kidnappers and now the full impact of it sparked in his eyes as his temple pounded and his fists clenched.

“No,” he said with less edge but with no room for negotiation.  He was wasting time, had wasted time, first waiting and now in a senseless airport run.  “I don’t care what you specialized in. 
You’re a woman and because of that you’re going home,” he said bluntly.  “I’ve wasted enough time.  I’ll speak to the pilot and we’ll get you out of here.”

“You’re not being fair.”

“I’m not being fair,” he repeated, emphasizing each word.  If she’d been a man he would have had her by the collar up against the wall, his face in hers.  But she wasn’t and that was the problem.  “You’re useless to me.  I’d have to watch out for both you and me.  That’s a distraction.  Look at you – you couldn’t swing a punch or…”

One minute he was seething, glaring at her, and the next he was flat on his back.

“You bloody flipped me,” he snarled, leaping to his feet.

Author bio and links

In the author's own words

The Canadian prairies are my home and while the prairie landscape is blessed with beautiful blue skies, it also has four seasons that come on full throttle – especially winter and because of that I like to travel.  Often on those trips, stories are born.  
In 2011 I won my city's writing award, and was the first romance writer to do so since its inception.  In 2013 my romantic suspense was a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards.  Published in historic romance and paranormal romance as well as romantic suspense, in February 2016, my first novel was published by Harlequin Intrigue.
There’s no lack of places to set a story as my imagination and the too long prairie winters may find me seeking adventure.  The memories of those worlds both near and far, the words of a stranger, the furtive look one man gives another, often become the catalyst for a suspenseful story with a deadly villain and an intrepid hero and heroine who must battle for their right to love or even their right to live. 
When not dreaming of other stories, I can be found scouting out a garage sale or two, dusting off my roller blades or just thinking about the next adventure that may be miles away or in my own backyard.  

My website:
My blog:

Buy Links:;jsessionid=E03199EFF735F999123C1D7EA4C22E51?cid=225&iid=70048

March 22nd - one year later

Exactly one year ago, we woke up to the sound of terror. When we switched on our radio (always the first thing I do when coming down for breakfast) we heard the terrible news about the terrorists bombs at Zaventem (our national airport) and the metro station of Maalbeek.

32 people died in the attacks, and many more were severely wounded. Even as of today, some of them are not quite their old self. But people are resilient. Most of us don't give in to the bad and share hope that one day the world will be a better place.

One of the most catching images of this day, was that of the Indian air hostess Nidhi Chapekar (Jet Airways). She was one of the victims, and was seen sitting outside on a bench, severely wounded.

Thanks to the good care of the doctors, this is how Nidhi looks today:

She is still not completely recovered, but she has good hope she'll be able to fly once more. She had an audience with our king and queen.

All through the day, remembrance services are taking place and all radio and TV programs are about the terrorist attacks and their aftermath.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Human Element

Today, meet author Donna Galanti. Donna and Goddess Fish Promotions are doing a virtual book tour for A Human Element - paranormal suspense available now from Imajin Books. The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.

Donna will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to post your comment:


Evil comes in many forms…

One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite in her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a madman, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his, and she has two choices—redeem him or kill him. 


The man could hear the child's bellowing cries coming from underneath the blanket covering it. She pushed the child into his arms as if eager to be rid of it. He took the bundle and handed the nurse his packages. The nurse began to close the door when he heard another far away cry. 

The man wedged his foot in the door. "What was that?" 

"N-Nothing." The nurse looked up. 

The man risked looking her in the eye. 

"The girl is in pain and won't keep quiet." She clutched the envelope and folded her arms across her sagging bosom. 

"It sounded like another baby," he said. 

"It's just the whimpering slut. Now she's paid double for what she's done." The nurse took a step back as if aware she had said too much already. She glared at him. "Now go on. You have what you wanted. And so do I." She shut the door in his face. 

The man in black stood there for a long moment, considering the woman's choice of words. What if another child had been delivered and the frigid woman and country doctor kept it secret? 


He decided to keep this information to himself. He would find the opportune time to use it. He was a patient man. But first, he had to see for himself. He peeled back the child's bunting and looked for the first time into its yellow eyes. For that moment, the baby fell silent. 

"Welcome to Earth X-10." 

The baby resumed its wailing. 

The man turned with his noisy package and melted into the darkness satisfied, as the doctor had been, that the night's events had provided him with more than he had asked for.

Author bio and links

Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy (Imajin Books -  and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books - Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill ( - magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem ( Galanti) . She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools.

Visit her at and
Connect with Donna:

Purchase books 1 and 2 in the Element Trilogy:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Change of plans

Yesterday and most of today, we've been discussing the trips we're going to make in 2018. Yes, we always like to plan ahead - it pays of most of the time. You get better airfares and often you can have your hotels at a discount.

Originally we liked to make a trip to Oman next spring. But as we looked at hotels in Muscat and inland trips, we came to the conclusion that it is very expensive there. You pay a lot for a hotel room in Muscat, even when the hotels are slightly better than average (you can hardly say a hotel has 5 stars, when it's next to an open suer, or a busy highway, or next to an oil refinery). And the trips... A two night-three days trip with Hud Hud Travels would cost about 4000 €.

For that price we can stay 10 nights in great hotels in the UAE (Dubai and Ras Al Khaima), even staying in suites. And the airfare to Dubai is cheaper also.

So we are going to Dubai first and then head to RAS next spring. You can also see the desert there, ride a camel or an Arabian horse, do boat trip on a dhow, ...

We'll make the final reservations when we come back from Argentina. And next we must see what else we can do. Definitely a trip to London, like every year, and perhaps one to Milan. And for the rest: Helsinki? Dubrovnik? The Baltic states?

Friday, March 17, 2017

At last - one job done!

Almost a year ago, I placed an order with a company to do some repairs on my roof and drains. Because my next door neighbors had a new roof, the water coming down from my roof couldn't get into the suer anymore.

Better than complaining (the rainpipe was between the two houses, to provide for both of us) and risking another quarrel with my Polish neighbor (when they came to live here they were not very friendly) I opted to have my own drainpipe provided and going into the suer.

I called a local company and they drew up an estimate (we also needed a reparation on a chimney) and I agreed  & signed it. That was in May last year. I hoped the job couuld be done before winter, because when it rains hard, the water drips of the front. But no, nothing happened.

The reason? Well, the Flemish government gives grants to those who isolate their roofs (but only until this year). So all companies were isolating roofs and they didn't have time for ordinary repairs...

At last, I got a call yesterday, and the guy said he'd come by today. They arrived around 8 a.m. and instantly began the job. They were done by 11 a.m.  Now I need to contact town hall to order a connection to the suer system (will costs me around 600 €). But nowadays you have to make sure all you do to your house is made official.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Side Slip

Today, I'l like to introduce author Mike Fuller, who wants to showcase his latest novel, Side Slip (book three in the Sam Deland series). Mike belongs to the group of Rogue Phoenix authors. During this book tour, Mike will be giving away a digital copy of one of his books to a lucky commenter.


Stuck in paradise and he isn’t very happy about it. Even the beautiful lady detective that gunned down the man trying to kill them both can’t get him to stay. Corporal Sam Deland wants out. Back to work leading his squad of state troopers and home where he can take up the life he had to put on hold. But Sam isn’t the only one wanting him to return. The woman he left behind is waiting for him and so is the Russian Mob. Sam’s past is catching up with him, and he doesn’t see it coming, yet. Detective Christie O’Shea, the pretty Florida cop that nursed Sam back to health won’t have the time to miss him when he’s gone. Murder is what she’s paid to solve, and she has to go after a killer that has sent shock waves deep into the police community around her. A triple play of heart stopping and heart warming suspense, action and life as Sam, his troopers and Christie all find they are in the middle of murders and mobsters. A story that twists and turns through the investigations and the lives of characters you will grow to know, to cheer and to fear. Sharp dialogue, real characters and enough drama, humor and mystery to keep the reader up late not ready to put it down yet. Another thrilling Sam Deland crime novel from the author of Sink Rate and Rope Break.


The search for a hidden key did not go well. All the usual spots came up empty. Dickie went down the steps to the garage but still no luck and then back up to where Ray stood next to the front door and sighed, "Well, ain't no key. Let's get it over with."
The pry bar didn't get it done. Ray had to whack the deadbolt a couple of hard hits with the sledge before the door flew inward. Dickie started in and stopped short. He smelled cinnamon. Ray almost ran into his back. Probably one a them plug in thingys.
Dickie held up his hand and then swiveled his head back and forth, trying to adjust to the slightly brighter light inside. Dickie heard nothing except the clicking of a wall clock somewhere. He shrugged and crossed to the kitchen door at the other side of the living room. Ray split to the right and did a quick walk through of the downstairs.
They met at the foot of the stairs and Ray pointed to a metal cabinet next to the cold fireplace, "I'll start on that, give me the bar, eh?" It wasn't a real gun safe, just a thin metal locker meant to keep kids away from the guns.
Dickie handed the pry bar to Ray and started up the stairs, shining the flashlight as he moved out of the light cast by the lamp. The cash and handguns were usually in the bedrooms. There seemed to be three upstairs and a bathroom. Dickie had to piss by now and stopped to go. He started and almost pissed on his hand when he realized there was a candle in a glass jar burning on the tub rim. That appeared to be the source of the cinnamon odor and was certainly the source of big trouble.
Ray was pounding loudly on the metal cabinet downstairs, and Dickie almost shit his pants as the figure of a small woman in a bathrobe passed by in the hall just outside of the bathroom. Dickie didn't even zip up his jeans and stuck his head out of the bathroom and looked down the hall. The small woman was there leaning out to try to get a look at what was making all the noise downstairs. Dickie's blood turned to ice when she turned toward him, and he saw the black automatic in her left hand.
She hadn't seen him yet. She just stood there but then turned to go back toward the bedroom. He knew there was probably a phone there, and he couldn't let her get to it. He tried to melt into the small space between the sink and the door, and as she moved past, he stepped in behind her and grabbed at the gun.
He missed. All that police training didn't help. She yelped and turned the pistol toward him. It was not quite full dark in the hall and Dickie could see it happening and knew what was coming. Without hesitating, he swung the heavy flashlight and struck her across her left cheek. The blow emitted a sickening crunch as bone gave way to the heavy metal light. She staggered but did not go down. The gun was waving in the short space of air between them and Dickie expected it to spit flame and his death at any moment. He stepped into her and brought the flashlight down with all his strength on top of her head.

She followed the motion of the blow and crumpled onto the hallway floor. Dickie was breathing in gasps by now, but he could still hear Ray pounding metal on metal. He tried to hit the button on the flashlight to see if the woman was still conscious but his finger slipped across. The wetness puzzled him for a moment but he got the light to come on and as he played the beam down on the figure at his feet, he was surprised to see blood dripping off the end and falling through the shaft of light onto the pink bathrobe of the very dead woman beneath him.


Side Slip is not an easy read, but well worth it. There is nothing predictable about this book, but it does have a sort of familiarity. It has everything a crime novel reader could want.  There are decent plot lines, but it is character driven all the way, which is why it is sometimes hard to read. Fuller has made the characters so real that the reader sympathizes with them, even the bad guys. And he gives you a wide range of characters to choose from, Pennsylvania State Troopers, Male and Female, Florida Sheriffs, Male and Female,  Farmers that used to be Navy SEALS, Dope seller/ murderers, crooked cop/burglars, and dogs.

Side Slip is worth the read.

G. Lloyd Helm (rating: five stars)

Author bio and links

After writing professional documents for many years, Mike has finally devoted time to his true passion, writing fiction where the story and characters come alive in the reader’s mind. While his days were filled with authoring hundreds of detailed crime reports, arrest affidavits, search warrants and grand jury presentments, he took some of his own time and devoured books by the dozens. Reading not only was a rewarding diversion, it provided him with the added education he needed to function at a high level in his profession.
This has led to the creation of Mike’s crime/suspense/detective novels Sink Rate, Rope Break and Side Slip, the first three in the Sam Deland Crime Novel series. All are expected to be published in 2015 and 2016 by Rogue Phoenix Press 
Mike writes with the real life experience that many years of law enforcement shaped and influenced. The stories may be fiction but are based on how things happen in the real world.  His books are honest and captivating novels written with a unique voice that will both chill and charm.
Mike is a veteran police detective. He did it all from rookie patrolman to Senior Special Agent. His life has been enriched by a wonderful marriage, parenting, work, flying, sailing and good books. Mike is a lifelong outdoorsman, an experienced tactical firearms instructor, champion sailplane pilot and the captain of his own sailboat. All of these skills have made his novels vivid, exciting and real. Now retired after a career with three law enforcement agencies, Mike enjoys winters writing in Naples, Florida and summers sailing, writing and researching the next novel at his rural Pennsylvania home.

On Twitter:  @mikefullerwrite

Nice discovery

When spring is in the air, I tend to check out my wardrobe. It's always good to make a spring clean - with the rule, if you haven't worn it in two years' time, either throw it away or put it somewhere out of your wardrobe.

Most items I just throw in a sack for the clothes container. But some pieces I like to keep. You see, my weight has been going up and down for the last ten years. I have some very nice jeans that were too tight for like three years.

This morning, I did my yearly check and came to the conclusion that most of the bigger sized pants and jeans must be set aside (hopefully never to use them again) and I fit into the tighter ones once more! Yeah!!!

If you should wonder how this came about, no I'm not on a diet. But I do like to watch out what I eat. For the last weeks, I've been cutting down on my intake of wine (not more than 2 glasses a week). I drink more water instead (San Pellegrino). And I munch olives or nuts instead of potato chips. Well, I eat them once in the month because otherwise you can't go on. And sometimes I savor a small chunk of pure black chocolate. Guilty pleasures..

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring is in the air!

The weather can be so different from day to day. A couple of days ago, we suffered from cold and rain, and now the sun is out and we are reaching temperatures of around 16° Celsius.

What a nice change! Last Saturday was the first time I could dry some washing in the open air, and it's also wonderful not to have to take along an umbrella when you go shopping.

Taking out the bike doesn't create a mess (we have to come through our living room to go outside). It's a lot easier when you can go by bike when you need to do some shopping. I have two large bags in which to put items. You see it more and more nowadays. The cars are slowly banned from the town centers.

And when the sky is blue, you have so much more stamina to do all kind of things, don't you agree? Let's hope this nice weather continues for a while, because I really don't like the rain.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Haven't got time for it!

Nowadays, whenever I meet people I haven't seen for a while, they want to know how I get on in my pension. 'Don't you get bored?' is a question often heard.

No, I'm not bored. In fact, I often must say I haven't got any spare time! And this what I often hear from other pensioners. Everyone thinks we have all the time of the world because we don't have to work anymore.

But they forget we're not like our grandparents (or even parents). We are still relatively young people and we can't just sit around and do nothing.

My days are spent doing the housekeeping (already a fulltime job) and running errands (which means walking or cycling to the town center). Next to do I like to do some writing in the morning, also like to read a couple of chapter in a new book when I'm having my coffee break around 10.30 am and the second time around 3 pm. And then I look up things on the net - planning future trips is quite a joy, and already half the pleasure!

Should I feel I have some time left, I can do more research on my family tree. I've already gone far when following my father's line. But on the side of my mother there is a lot of work still to be done.

And there also is a frame of needlework that needs to be completed. In earlier years, I never found the time for it. Hopefully I can complete it one of the following...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wishing for better weather

Our former neighbor just sent us some pics of their stay in Egypt. All sunny images, with people in bathing suit and summer clothing.

Here the rain is coming down and it's chilly. I don't like rain at all. The damp goes into my bones and I feel aches all over.

The weather station talked about better weather some days ago, but right now they can't predict anything good. Spring is still far of!

I really would like some sunshine and milder temperatures. When I was younger, I did not like hot weather a lot. But recently I've discovered that I actually feel great when it's hot. I can bear the temperature as long as I drink enough water and wear a sun hat.

Let's hope the weather in Buenos Aires is better than what we're having here! We'll be there in April. In July we'll be in Florence, where we'll be sure of sunshine. And also in Poland, where they have a land climate.

How's your weather?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Nothing but good news

Sometimes, luck just falls into your lap. This morning I went to Brussels to see someone about my coming pension (remember my earlier post, where I told my sister had made an educated guess at how much this would actually be?).

Well, that was the first bit of good luck. The real estimate is higher than what my sister calculated. I offically go into my pension (now I'm on a sort of pre-pension) on June 1st of this year. Two years later, This is my pension as civil servant. But because Ive done some freelance work too, I'll be getting a second pension as of June 2019. Won't be much, but added to the rest, I won't have a bad old day.

On returning home, I opened the mail on my computer (still don't get the hook of doing this on the train like all the young people do) and got the next good use. My electricity/gas company send me their yearly bill - and I get money back!

Now they say all good things come in three. Perhaps I'll win the lottery later this week???

Monday, March 6, 2017

Our street resembles a building site

It's quite something. Four houses on the other side of our street were flattened to the ground and the rebuilding has started.

Luckily for us, the builders don't start too early in the morning! One of the new houses is being built by our Turkish neighbors. They now live in a house which is a bit too small for all of them (there are two families living there: father with  his two wives, and the son + spouse + three kids). We never had any trouble with them. Now the son is going to move to the new house.

The other houses belonged to people who died recently. I suppose right now, we're the longest living people in our street. I lived in this house since the day I was born (almost 61 years ago) and I don't think any inhabitant is there longer as I am.

It's good that there are some younger people around. The Turkish family has kids that are still growing up. Lovely kids, who liked to play in the garden, but are well-behaved and don't make a lot of noise. And they are also very helpful. When we needed to shift a big sofa, father and son were quick to help out.

Our street will look better when all the building is done. New houses and well-kept older ones give a street more prestige. Don't you agree?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

VME meeting

In Belgium, one of our laws stipulates that every block of flats should have a VME - Vereniging van Mede-Eigenaars (in English: asscociation of co-owners). The VME appoints the syndicus of the block. It's the task of the syndicus to see to the ordinary upkeep of the block of flats (broken down lights, cleaning, organisation of the disposal units, ...) For bigger decisions (repairing a roof, doing renovations to the front or back walls of the building, ...) the VME has to come together and vote with a 2/3 majority. Even so, only one owner can go to court when he/she doesn't agree with the decision taken.

Now, in a block of flats at the seaside, there are many owners who don't inhabit their flat, but rent it out to tourists. And this always causes trouble.

Those who live in their flat (permanently or only during the weekends, but never rent it out) normally want to pay enough money to keep the building into order. But the others only want their rent and say this or that can wait a while...

This morning, we also had our yearly meeting of the VME of our flat at the coast. About half of the owners are landlords who have units for hire. And I must say, most of them are pretty stupid. There is a new Flemish law that says each roof has to have roof isolation. Our roof doesn't have, as the block was built in 1968. But what those landlords don't want to know, is the fact it really is an obligation. Well, they shall see in 2020. Because when the roof is not alright by then, they won't be able to rent their flats anymore... We tried to make it a point of discussion, but they just laughed. We'll see who laughs last!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The best ice cream in Knokke

Been shopping to Knokke (which form one town with Heist and Duinbergen). Knokke is just as great for shopping as Antwerp and they have all the shops we like. My sister and I were able to find what we were looking for.

And what is better still, in Knokke they have an icecream corner that truly has the best icecream in the region. It's called Australian Ice Cream and is situated on the Lippenslaan.

Winter, spring, summer or autumn, there is always a big cue to buy a cone or waffle with this delicious ice cream in many varieties. I prefer the vanilla with dark chocolate (straciatella).

What is your favorite ice cream taste?