31 Dec 2011


Antonio and Rosa

Yesterday in the News I heard this incredible true story which happened in Italy.

The story begins in the early 1930, in Naples, when Antonio, a young soldier, fell in love with Rosa, a young florist. A love at first sight and they married in 1934. They lived happily together, had many children and this could have been the end of this love story.

Unfortunately, the couple that had lived the perfect love ever since, and had produced five children and many grandchildren, was shaken one morning in 2002.

It was when Antonio found a love letter written by his wife in the 40's. It was in their bedroom's wardrobe, and was adressed to somebody else and not him. He asked an explanation from his wife. The poor woman thinking that 60 years later, this old romance would no longer count, confessed it all. Yes, Rosa had had another man in her life.

A big mistake ... to have confessed!
Antonio, mad with rage, left the marital home immediately to find refuge at his eldest son. It took him several months before he agreed to return to his wife and trying to pick up the pieces of their broken couple. A task which turned out to be impossible.

Almost 10 years later, with constant daily fights, these grandparents who had spent their entire lives side by side decided to go to court in Rome. They filed for divorce after 77 years of marriage. In 2012, Antonio will celebrate 100 years and Maria 97 !

30 Dec 2011


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We said good bye to grandson Toby and his parents and drove back to Brussels/Waterloo. Next time we will see him he certainly walking alone, he is nearly ready ! There was no traffic at all on the highway and in about 2 h we were back home and were not welcomed by our cats, who slept all peacefully all over the house with an apparently full belly. My neighbor had taken care of them, so we were not missed at all !

A still life

2. The weather was awful it drizzled and it was grey, but I had to go out to do some shopping, our fridge was empty as our bank account ! I don't know what happened but lots of things were missing in my usual super market, so I had to go to another to get what I needed.

3. We had eaten so much over Christmas, that we just wanted to eat a Pizza ! The afternoon I spent on the phone and the computer, talking to my friends and reporting our Christmas and answering virtual Christmas cards we got.

4. A classmate from the painting group had invited me for coffee, it was the first time I went to her and fortunately I have my Madame GPS, otherwise I would still turn around today. She lives in a corner of Waterloo I had never been in all these years I live here.


She has a very nice appartment and also a very friendly dog, a golden Retriever named Charly. She had baked an Apple cake and we chatted the whole afternoon and discussed how we would spend the New Year's Eve. She is alone and one of her girlfriends too, so I thought I invite them the more we are the more we will have fun.

5. I did some cleaning as my cleaning Lady went home to Poland for Christmas, now Mr. G. has to fly over the floor and the cats are not allowed to loose one hair. My catsitter neighbor kept me 1 h on the phone, complaining about her 49 year old daughter who had been "thrown" out by her partner for the 3rd time in 15 years and and always moved in with "Mamma". Apparently she is critisizing everything her mother does and there are verbal fights every day. But now she goes back to him again because he wants her back. I told my friend that her daughter is like a boomerang, he throws her out and she flies back. Claudie my blogfriend once told me that our street makes her think of the "desperate housewives" !

29 Dec 2011


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

Last week I wrote a post about the history of our 68 old handmade Italian Nativity scene, which had been in our attic since 1997 when it was used for the last time.

This year we saw it again under the beautiful Christmas tree our son had put up.

It looked very similar to how Mr. G. had set up his Nativity scene, he got when he was 2 years old.

and it is still very beautiful. He missed his little river the bushes and the lake with ducks. I think it is the only item of his childhood he really hangs on deeply.

The parts in detail.

One year old Toby didn't really realize yet what it was, and we both had a little bit the blues, because our traditions had changed too. We always had put the gifts under the tree at Christmas Eve and started at 5 pm with a drink while we unwrapped our gifts before we had our Christmas supper, so our little son could already play with his new toys.

This time it was in the morning, while we had a cup of coffee and little Toby didn't know with what to play, because he had got a kitchen from us and a tricycle from his parents, but both had to be put together first, which took quiet some time. But then after his morning nap he could start to cook and bike.

While Daddy puts the top of the kitchen together (with a microwave ... please !) Nonno Mr. G. helps cooking. Then he made a tour on his new tricycle.

He really loves his kitchen !

28 Dec 2011


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Bikes in a private garage belonging to houses in Amsterdam

26 Dec 2011

OUR WORLD Amsterdam-Ijburg

To celebrate Christmas with this little man, we went to Amsterdam/Ijburg which is also a part of

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Helps you to remember what you have done on the weekend of 24 December
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This year Christmas was on a weekend. Saturday morning we went to Amsterdam. In the afternoon we had a brunch and after one year old Toby's nap, we went for a walk through the neighborhood. It's a real nice district of Amsterdam plenty of canals and the beach is at 10 min walk.

Unfortunately it was very windy and therefore very cold, we had a warm drink in a nice café before we went back home. When Toby was in bed we had our Raclette and then put all the gifts under the Christmas tree to be ready for the next morning.

Here is a little collage of Nonno G playing with Toby, Toby was very chic with his bow tie. Of course he was very intrigued looking at all these colorful parcels.

The afternoon the two men worked on putting up the kitchen we had bought for Toby and then he played with that for the rest of the day.

Tomorrow we go home then I have a little more time to write.
I hope you also had such a nice Christmas as we had !

25 Dec 2011


We arrived without any problems in Amsterdam at our son's, there was not a lot of traffic on the road.

The Christmas tree and the Italian Nativity scene was waiting when we arrived

and little Toby doesn't know yet what Christmas means !

If I have a minute today I'll post a few pictures, otherwise "see" you on Monday.

24 Dec 2011


While you are reading this I am sitting in our car, driving to Amsterdam to celebrate Christmas in the new house of our son in Amsterdam.

It will be the first time.

For little Toby too, because last year he was just one month old.

to all of you !

23 Dec 2011


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. When I arrived for my acqua gym, I had a nice surprise, I was the only one, all the others had a cold ! So I had a private gym ! Not only for the body but also for our tongues because we chatted a lot during the exercises !

2. While everybody rushes to get the last Christmas shopping, I stayed lazily home and did computer stuff and watched TV.

3. Unfortunately my nose started to run again and I was afraid get my cold back. So I stayed inside again while it rained and stormed !


Tradition became now that we have a "Pierrade" on Christmas eve, because you can also use it as raclette. For those who don't like meat there is the cheese and for the others they can grill their meat, fish or scampis on the stone on the top. So I went to get the cheese because they have a special one here in Belgium which is already cut into appropriate slices, although we go to the cheese land, Holland !


We had our last painting class before Christmas and New Year, our class was nicely decorated and the entrance of the retirement home too. We had a long coffee break and exchanged our plans for two year's end festivities.

to all of you !

22 Dec 2011


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
A little history :

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223 at Greccio, Italy. Traditionally, the main focus of Christmas decorations in Italy is the Nativity scene,presepio in Italian. The Nativity Scene is usually set up before Christmas, but baby Jesus is only added on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday our son sent us this picture showing one year old Toby, our grandson looking for the first time at the Nativitiy Scene and the Christmas tree.

The Nativity scene belonged to Mr. G. who got it from his aunt "Zia Maria", the sister of his father. He was 2 and it is now 68 years old. It is handmade and when you display it properly it takes the space of a dining table. When he was little his father added bushes out of moss and cotton representing snow, and aluminium paper as rivers. There was no Christmas tree. Families only had nativity scenes to celebrate Christmas.

The first thing what he picked up in Italy after our marriage was his beloved Nativity scene, called "Presepio" in Italian. On our first Christmas in our new flat we had to compromise with my (German) huge Christmas tree from floor to ceiling and his (Italian) big village. Fortunately our living room was very spacious but still he couldn't put up all the figures and houses, the way he was used to when he was a child. He had to squeeze it under the tree. Everybody coming on Christmas admired his "Presepio".

When our son celebrated his first Christmas he loved the tree and the Nativity Scene. Each Christmas it was taken down from the attic and displayed under the tree. This lasted until 1997, when the nativity scene was displayed for the last time. From this date on we celebrated with our son in London or we went on holidays on Christmas.

Now that our son has his own house where he lives in Amsterdam with his little family, the first thing he took along from our attic, was the Nativity Scene now for Christmas for little Toby.

It certainly will be quiet emotional for Mr. G and me to see our "Presepio" after 14 years when we go to Amsterdam to celebrate Christmas together. It certainly will bring back lots of memories.

21 Dec 2011


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Thinking of new recepe creations (my son in the kitchen)

19 Dec 2011

OUR WORLD - Waterloo & Victor Hugo

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For the 150th birthday of Victor Hugo the famous French writer the city of Waterloo had organized a lot, as he had lived in Waterloo for a while to write Les Miserables.

There was a presentation of the Miserables at the feet of the Lion hill standing on the Waterloo battle field, expositions, visits and lectures of his works were made. Amongst other expositions, our painting class had been asked to paint a picture with the theme of the Miserables, which was not an easy task !

Victor Hugo 150 years

The cultural center of Waterloo, where the exposition took place

some of our works

the one in the middle is my painting. I painted hungry Cosette the little orphan who shares her food with a cat.

Clothes from the 18 hundreds

how children saw the Miserables and the Waterloo battle field

Portraits of Victor Hugo (I think he would have appreciated, he loved children)

I liked especially this one, would fit very nicely in the entrance of a home

to all of you !