Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The days in-between

Let's talk about the period between the end of the exams at school and the official start of the long summer break: July 1st. Kids and students don't have to go to school anymore because their teachers need to be in council about their results. The parents, however, are still working. Summer camps and other amusements only start in July. So what to do in-between?

Some parents find a solution in leaving already for a holiday, figuring it won't hurt if the kids are not in Belgium but somewhere else, as they don't have to be at school. And tour organisers make it the more easy by reducing their prices in this period.

Yes, that's true. Tickets for planes, trains - just name it - are higher when the school holidays start. When you can travel outside these periods, you are able to save a lot.

On the other side, it's not legal to take your kids on a trip before July 1st. Kids should attend school until June 30th - even when they don't have to be in class. In some cases, parents had to give back the support money they'd received for the education of their children.

It's a problem that occurs every year and is discussed a lot in the media. I wouldn't do it, nor did our parents. We only went for a trip when the school was truly out.

Monday, June 24, 2019

The effects of hot weather

When the temperatures go above 30° Celsius, your life goes into another rhythm. As for myself, I do sleep well, even when it's hot. We keep the windows closed during the day and only open them at night. Then we sleep without sheets so that some (fresh?) air can touch your skin. I always wake up feeling refreshed.

But for the rest... You don't feel like doing a lot. No ironing, for sure! And no cleaning, that's much too strenuous in this heat. Ha, a good exuse to do little!

I take my bike in the early morning and hit the shops on opening hours. That way I avoid most of the heat. And then I keep myself into the house, where it's warm, but not as warm as outside. I drink a lot of water and take care of myself.

They say it's going to be like this for the rest of the week. We'll survive!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Heatwave coming up!

The weather here in Belgium is really crazy. It goes from cold to warm, from dry to ultra-wet. Two days ago, half of the country drowned under the heavy rainfall caused by various thunderstorms. Now the weather bureau predicts we're getting a heatwave.

The sun is shining already, but it's not very warm yet. A good 21° Celsius, which is lovely - when the wind would go down a bit. Here at the coast it's blowing a right gale. But anyway, it won't rain for at least a week, so we'll be able to go out walking or cycling. And enjoy ice-creams and cool pints when the temperature goes up.

For most kids, the exams are over and it's pretty busy here at the seaside already. The train this morning was full; I was happy to find a place to sit. The owner of the bistro next door is putting out the tables and chairs on her terrace, as she expects of lot of customers. I suppose we'd better book a table for tomorrow.

As of Monday the temperature should go over 30° - and stay that way until Thursday. Will make a nice change from that cold and rainy weather of the past weeks. Will also make the difference less when we travel to Italy at the beginning of July. When we have this hot weather here already, we're prepared!

And how's the weather where you live?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Our Flemish government launched a new tool yesterday: the mobiscore. This will help to sell your house/flat in that it tells the prospective buyer how near they are to schools, public transport, shops and restaurants, hospital, ...

I did the test just a moment ago and my house score 8/10 - which is a rather good score. Most houses score around 5-6. But then the railwaystation and bus station are only at a 5-minutes walk from the house. So are at least two schools (it's ten minutes to the rest of the schools). In the town center (10 minutes to walk) there are supermarkets, shops, restaurants, hairdressers and barbers, agencies for whatever. That's why I like living here. Everything is close-by.

The only minus to this new tool is that it is not obliged to mention when selling, as is the energy-saving score. I haven't got the score calculated, but I suppose there will be minus points for some points in the construction. That's normal when a house is nearly 100 years old. I had the roof isolated and we have double glazing, next to a boiler which is the newest technology. That's about all I can do whithout having to tear the house down and built a new one.

Do you have these obligations in selling also in other countries?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Away in your own country

You needn't always travel far to see some interesting things. We came to this conclusion during the past weekend.

We wanted to see a show in Brussels on Saturday, but because it only started at 8 pm we needed to get a hotel to spend the night. So we decided to make it a weekend, because that way you can see something more of the city you are staying.

Brussels is quite unknown to me. We mostly go to Antwerp, because our grandma was born there. The only thing I know about Brussels are the railway station, where you sometimes need to change trains.

Our hotel was near the Grand Place of Brussels. That's quite a nice one. Lots of old houses and of course a magnificent Town Hall. And not far away is Manneken Pis, the little guy who pees and is a symbol of the town. They usually dress him up in various costumes. On Saturday he was wearing the uniform of the local Gardevilles.

We had a good lunch in a restaurant at the market place, went to see the royal palace and other points of interest. An afternoon well spent and this way you can discover something more of the capital of our country.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Busy, busy!

This month of June is quite a busy one for us (Chris and I). Not one weekend at home, which makes it sometimes hard to get everything done.

The first weekend of June we were staying in the south of France (Nice). A nice and sunny start, which was good because we didn't get a lot of nice weather before (and not after, as well). Then, last weekend we were in Rotterdam. More about those two trips in my travel blog.

The upcoming weekend we'll be staying in Brussels. It's only 26 km away from Dendermonde, and you might ask why we are staying there. Well, the train service is poor in Belgium. There aren't any trains after 11 pm. When you don't have a car and you depend on public transport, you need to make choices. So when you want to see a show that only starts at 8 pm, the only option is taking a room in a hotel and spend the night there. That way we're going to be in Brussels. Normally, I don't like the capital that much (we are more drawn to Antwerp) but we want to see a show in Bozar. Can do some exploring of Brussels that way, as I don't know it very well.

The following weekend we are going to spend at the seaside - it's been some time since we went to our flat there. Looks like the weather might be somewhat better by then. I sincerely hope we'll get more sunshine coming up!

The last weekend of June (and beginning of July) we're off to Italy. We already visited Rome and Venice, so now want to see Florence.

Chris is looking forward to a long vacation from work. Two more weeks to go, and then she has 8 weeks to spend as she likes.Will do her good. That job is very stressy.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Come A Little Closer

Please welcome author Chrissy Brown today. Chrissy is doing a virtual book blast tour for her YA romance, Come A Little Closer. This tour will take place from June 10th to June 14th.

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes&Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please use the following link to place your comment:


Sophie was the love of my life. Okay, we were twelve the last time I saw her but still. I've tried everything to move on—whiskey, women, weed. Nothing seemed to fill the void. Now, ten years later, she shows up out of the blue. The problem, I'm not the boy she used to know. I have a reputation that could ruin everything. Still, I have to try. Even if nothing happens between us, having Sophie in my life as a friend is better than not having her at all.

Come A Little Closer is the second installment in the Georgia Boys Series. It can be read as a standalone novel.


I blush and shake my head. “We should get started on the bedroom.”

Kevin follows behind me, fiddling with his phone. I refill the paint tray and set it on the bedroom floor. Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” starts playing. Kevin comes up behind me, puts his hands on my hips and begins to move them to the music. He presses against my back. My hands fall to my sides, and I tilt my head against his chest.

“This is not helping my walls get painted,” I whine.

“Come on, dance with me.” he pleads.

I turn around and stare into his eyes. It would be so easy to get lost in them but I can’t. I won’t. My hips stop moving, but Kevin’s still dancing. I raise the paintbrush that’s in my hand and slap him in the face with it. Slap sounds violent. It was more like I grazed him with cream colored paint while my hand slowly moved in front of his face. Kevin stops dancing. His jaw hangs open. 

“Game on babe.”

Author bio and links

Chrissy Brown lives in Fort Myers, Fl with her hubby, two beautiful girls, one dog who loves to cuddle and another dog who pees on everything. She enjoys going to hockey games, reading romance novels and having “Netflix and Chill” nights. 
She’s addicted to everything related to the amazing emotion of love, and has been referred to as a "hopeless romantic" which she took as a compliment. It may not have been and she’s okay with that. 
Her Georgia Boys Series is New Adult romance that has three novels published in 2018. She has  a young adult romance standalone in the works as well as an erotic New Adult standalone started. She’s a busy writer, but she loves it.

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Another long weekend coming up

Thanks to all the catholic feastdays, we have another long weekend waiting for us. Not that we're over-religious, but it's always been like this. The period between Easter and the long summer break is a nice one!

Shortly after noon we'll be leaving for Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Not far away, but as long as you're not staying at home it's nice to be somewhere - doesn't matter where, in fact. The weather predicted is not the kind we had in the south of France, but well... It won't be a long, hot summer this year, like the one we had in 2018.

I always enjoy those short breaks, even when we just go to the seaside. It's a nice break from monotone day-to-day life. Not that I get bored easily, but a change of scene is always good. And for my sister it is even better. She has a pretty strenuous job and can use a bit of free time every now and then. Get her mind off those calculations and considerations of the job, making sure nobody gets forgotten. I'll be ever so glad when she finally can go on her pension - although that might take some more years, as the government changed the starting date to take up pension. She is nearly five years younger than I am, after all.

So, the (small) suitcases are packed and as soon as Chris gets home and we had lunch, we're off. You can take a Thalys to Rotterdam-Amsterdam, but we are taking the ordinary train. It doesn't take that much longer and we can even go first class for a low price.

More about the trip later in my travel blog.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Coffee isn't bad for your health

Sometimes, you can read interesting articles in your local newspaper. Like yesterday morning. There was an article about a British research project, concercing the drinking of coffee.

Most people think that drinking a lot of coffee is not all that good for your health. It can give you raised blood pressure, your heart beats more rapidly, it can cause a heart attack...

All not true, according to this research. Your heart can beat faster too when you climb some stairs or do another excercise. Doesn't mean anything. It will slow down pretty soon afterwards. The only problem that drinking much coffee can cause is that you have problems falling asleep - but even this is relevant from person to person. Personally I can drink mocca late in the evening, and still fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

So, good news for coffee lovers! They can have as much as they like - and don't have to feel guilty!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Long weekend at the French Riviera

Last Wednesday around noon we left for Nice, France. We'd been there before for a day's visit, in 2015, and found we could spend there a longer time.

The best part of the trip was, of course, the glorious sunshine! From the moment we arrived until we left the sun was out and the temperatures were around 22-24° Celsius. Not too warm, but just lovely.

We stayed in a nice hotel, ideally located not far from the railway station and equally not too far from the promenade. The only minor thing was the weak strenght of the internet, but that had nothing to do with the hotel. It's just like that in the south of France!

We explored more of Nice this time and we also made an excursion to Monte Carlo, Monaco. That's just 20 minutes by train (which is very cheap). I'll tell more about this in my travel blog.

It were relaxing days in the sunshine and of course we also enjoyed the French food. We dined out in bistrots which served decent meals - one of them was even outstanding.

Arrived home with a nice color on our skin (at last) and having had a great time!