Monday, November 14, 2022

Another productive weekend

The past long weekend was used to finish our work in the flat at the coast. Now all the stuff is divided in two parts: the things that go to the container park (last weekend of November) and those (boxed) which need to be taken home (next Sunday).

My sister's co-worker offered to help us moving these boxes. He has a pickup truck which is roomy enough to stow all the different boxes and packs of clothing. We also need to take along two relax chairs which we used to sun into. 

The only problem is where to put all the stuff once it arrives in Dendermonde. The objective is that everything will get a place, but before that we need to make some major changes in the downstairs of the house. The interior will be completely changed. These things need time. Nowadays, it has become difficult to obtain certain materials. For instance, for high-end isolating glass in windows you need to wait at least 6 months. The other renovations have to wait until the new doors and windows have been placed. Then will probably come isolation of the outer walls, then a renovation of the bathroom. Later on, it will depend on the pricing what can also be done. Sun panels would be great, and a new floor in the living room. We'll see what will be possible!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Nearly completed

Apart from the weekend in Antwerp (which was, btw, as always wonderful, with a great concert as special treat) we spent the rest of the autumn break at the coast. Our main goal was to empty the flat of the stuff that needs to be removed for the new owner.

We worked hard. All the clothing was sorted out - one heap for taking along to Dendermonde, the other for throwing away. We filled quite a few sacks for the clothing containers. Some household items were taken to the recycle shop which is not far away from where our flat is situated. People there are thankful for nearly unused stuff, like saws, drilling machine, new bedlinen, etc. What needs to come to Dendermonde was put in boxes: some clothes, towels, our dvd collection and our bunch of cd's. Plus all the little items we bring along from our trips abroad.

We did not work all the time, though. We took time to go and have a Brussels waffle with whipped cream in a tearoom  once and on Friday night we went dining at @Sea.

Next weekend we go again to to the last things. Then we'll have to load all the boxes and transport them to our house here. At the end of the month our cousin William is going to help us bringing bigger objects to the container park. We have booked a B&B for that weekend.

We'll be glad when all is done! 

In the meantime I'm waiting for the estimate for putting in new windows and doors in the house. We have already ordered work in the kitchen. Next will be an estimate for isolation of walls and roof and then for renovation of the bathroom. We'd like to make our nearly century-old house ready for the new times. Nowadays new built houses and blocks of flat need to have an energy label A (there is a grade from A: totally in order  to F: not isolated). Our house fetches E in the best case. With what we intend we'd like to go to at least C. More won't be possible in an house that old. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Busy weeks ahead

We're in for some busy weeks in November. Fact is, we have found a buyer for the flat in Heist (happened rather quickly, someone took a keen interest and the price they offered was well beyond our expectations). The buyer is a young woman who studies to be a doctor in medicine. She wants to take over some of the furniture, but of course there are things that need to be brought to Dendermonde.

Our main problem is, we don't have a car. I contacted a moving business, but they only have big vans and work with at least wo people. Great when you want to move furniture and the like, but not practical for only some boxes of stuff. Our cousin William is going to take some of the old stuff to the container park, but we don't want to ask him to bring the rest to Dendermonde as well. That would be imposing too much.

When we don't find a person (there is someone who'd do it, but we don't have his telephone number and the latest time we haven't seen him when going into town) we have to bring home the clothes, little figurines, dvd's and cd's in large suitcases... 

By December all should be finished, as by then the offical deal at the sollicitor's will have happened. And that's a chapter closed. We have had the flat for 30 years, and have enjoyed it a lot. 

With the money of the sale, we intend to do some travelling and spend the rest on renovations of our home here in Dendermonde. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Only positive news

We're already in the middle of October! By now, I finally seem to be recovered from my surgery early in August.

Although it was a minor surgery (I went in around noon and was back home early in the evening), it took some time for every wound to heal and every function return to normal. I was forbidden to move a lot the first days, could not lift things or help around the house. 

I only began to resume my normal day schedule at the end of September. From then on, I could leave the hosue to do some shopping (nothing heavy). I resumed cleaning two weeks ago. Moving around furniture and such takes some energy, which I did not possess before.

For the rest, I took my second booster shot last week (so did Christine) and am now protected against covid. 

We haven't been away after Newbury, due to my surgery, but now we are looking forward to a whole series of upcoming trips. At the end of this month, we are spending a weekend in Antwerp, mostly to see a concert in Het Sportpaleis. Then, during the Christmas holidays, we are going to Milan and from there to Scuol in Switzerland. In 2023 we begin the year with a trip to Iceland, then comes a trip to Egypt, afterwards one to the Netherlands and to England, another one to Albania and Morocco. And most likely, we'll be travelling to Australia at the end of the year.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Decision taken

A bit sooner than expected, we finally decided to sell the flat at the coast. In the course of the past two weeks, we got several phone calls from a real estate agency, who seemed very much interested in acquiring our flat to sell it. This is quite unusual. Normally it's the person selling who goes to the agency. 

We suspect something else is going on, and when we are right, the flat will soon be sold. Let me explain: in March, during the general meeting of owners (which is an obligation) a new owner suggested to 'top up' the building. It is now 7 stories high, but can go up to 10. When the general meeting agreed, they would not only build three new layers of flats, but also isolate the roof and the outside walls, and fix up the corridors and the hall. Remember, this building is from the 1960s. There was a lot of discussion and nothing was decided.

Since March, several flats in the building have been sold (and in a short time). We suspect that the ones who want to top up (who own a building company) are silently buying up as much as they can and thus raise their say-so in the general meeting. When you own half of the building, no one can stop you. 

So we finally decided to go ahead with the plans. If someone pays the asking (which is a lot higher than Christine has dreamed) we'll have a tidy sum to spend on travels and renovations at home. Because that's what's going to happen next. We'll fix up our house in Dendermonde as good as possible, so that we can live comfortably for the rest of our lives. 

We need new furniture in the living room and dining room, want to make dressings in the bedrooms, need to place new doors and windows in a material that needs practically no upkeep (pvc or aluminium), need to paint the outside walls front and back, want to change the bathroom... Also could use a new terrace.

So we heve some pretty exciting times ahead! And by the way, I'm feeling bit by bit better after my surgery and hope to be as before before the end of October.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Death of an icon

Yesterday afternoon we heard the news of Queen Elizabeth's passing away. She was the longest reigning queen in the world, and only Louis IX of France reigned a bit longer than she. 

I must admit I was not all that surprised. When Prince Philip died last year, I expected her to follow not much longer. They'd been together for ages, and it often happens with older couples that when one spouse dies, the other will soon follow. I remember seeing her so lost at the funeral, sitting there all on her own in the pew. And when I saw the last picture of the queen, meeting Liz Truss, I noticed how blue her hands were and how much weight she had lost. Not a good sign.

(Mind, if losing weight means coming death, I'm not in a good situation either. I need to gain weight urgently - but all my functions are still allright and I still have my strenght.)

Now the world has to get used to King Charles III. And Queen Camilla. The man is already 73, so he won't reign for ages, like his mother. I expect that the crown will be handed over to Prince William, just like it happened here in Belgium. When King Baudouin died, his brother Albert took the throne, but after some years he abdicated and handed over the crown to his son Filip 

All of us grew up with Elizabeth being the Queen of England and we learned how to sing 'God Save the Queen' at school, during our lessons of English. I know that song better (and also France's La Marseillaise) than our own 'O dierbaar BelgiĆ«'. It will be getting used to having a king now. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Slowly recovering

Yesterday was the first day after my surgery that I was able to leave the house for a walk. I must admit I felt a bit tired afterwards, though. Today, I've gone outside as well, doing some light shopping. I am forbidden to lift heavy objects for a while and also to exercise too much. 

It's now three weeks since the op. The surgeon said I should give it at least 6 weeks to make a full recovery. I'll be happy when that happens!

Curious, though, that a relative small op causes more problems than a major one! Five years ago, I underwent surgery because my right kidney (along with a big tumor) had to be removed. All went well, I spent a short week in the hospital, and when I went home I felt fine. 

Now I could go home the same day, but the aftereffects take a lot longer. 

It makes me less fit, quicker tired. That's the reason why I'm slacking up here in my blog. Hopefully all will get better in a week or two!