10 Dec 2011


Since I wrote the post English versus American I learned a lot about this very commun place which everybody in the world, even Kings and Queens, Princesses and Princes use .... a toilet.

According to Wikipedia , a toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement, often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory.

The WC refers to the initial letters of Water Closet, which, despite being an English language abbreviation, is not in common use in English-speaking countries - but is widely used internationally.

It depends where you are in the world. You have to know what to ask for :

"The washroom, restroom, bathroom, lavatory, toilet room, toot or loo, comfort station, necessary room, John, ladies' room, men's room, latrine, lavatory, powder room, privy ...

Honnestly why would I ask for a comfort station, when it is not comfortable at all to sit there in silence or a restroom unless the toilet is incorporated in a bed, or for a John, when I don't have one, and a powder room, when I don't use powder anymore or at least not there, where it is used for babies.

Follow these signs ?

But if there are none, for what should I ask ?? I want to be polite and not make a mistake when I only have to go for a little wee-wee ?

9 Dec 2011


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. After the usual Monday's acqua gym, I needed to fill up our fridge, and to buy some bread for a cheese fondue. The afternoon I spent with "tidying" up my computer and made backups on my external disk.


We checked the kitchen I had bought as grandson Toby's Christmas gift and opened the box. Fortunately we did before taking it to Amsterdam, because it was damaged!

I had to return to the store, which is quiet far away from home and had it exchanged. I didn't want to buy anything more but then but ...

I found this cute breakfast set in felt. Of course I couldn't resist and bought it too.

On the way back I stopped at Ilona's and had a cup of tea. She had bought a very cute ceramic nativity scene and had also started to decorate her house.

3. I realized that I had all my Christmas gifts the only one I had forgotten, maybe because I see him every day, was Mr. G. I didn't have to rake my brain to find something to buy, which of course I cannot tell, it's quiet easy with him, he always needs the same stuff.


Looking for some outside decoration I found these climbing Christmas fathers in the "Stock store" where they sale nearly everything from shampoo to buddhas coming from shops with too much unsold stock or which had to close. When I arrived, there was just a load of Christmas decoration still in cartons which they sold for very cheap. I sent all my friends who are in need of Christmas decoration there.

5. In painting class we celebrated a future great great grandma, she had brought cakes and champagne for this event, unfortunately I forgot to take some pictures. Useless to say, that we didn't paint very much.

8 Dec 2011


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

Although English was the origin of the today's American, with the centuries there are a few differences in the languages now. For example :

Eiderdown - Before Brits started to sleep under duvets, they would cover their sheets and blankets with an eiderdown. Similar to a comforter it does not have a removable cover and is just there to add extra warmth and to look nice.

En-suite - If an American looks at Bed & Breakfast listings in the UK he might see reference to an en-suite. This is the bathroom and means that it is connected directly to the bedroom and therefore not shared.

Bathroom - Again, the clue is in the name. In a British house, you will find a bath in the bathroom. (In smaller houses there may also be a toilet). So when an American asks for going to the bathroom - he is not answering a call of nature - he is going for a bath ! Always causes problems when Americans visit the UK.

Toilet - For Americans, the Brits are not so shy about their use of the word toilet. In fact, it is perfectly reasonable to ask for the toilet in the most classy of establishments. An American visitor asked for the bathroom, shortly to return complaining there was no toilet there. Of course there wasn't ! That is in the toilet ! For some reason, it's also called a restroom although nobody is resting in one yet!

Couch - Sofa for Americans. America has some of the largest furniture in the world, yet the only sofa too small to make love in, is called a Love Seat !

Garden - is not the vegetable patch or the flower beds. The garden is the yard. Americans may think it was odd that Brits spend so much of the summer sitting in the garden!

In one anecdote, a young man, in the course of a passionate courtship, tells his American girlfriend, "I'll give you a ring tomorrow." All he meant was that he would call her by telephone. But she understood him to have offered betrothal, and the relationship didn't survive the misunderstanding.

Then there's the hotel that failed to understand an English guest who called to say he had left his "trousers in the wardrobe." Translators had to be summoned before the hotel staff finally cottoned on: "Oh, you've left your pants in the closet. Why didn't you say so in the first place?"

The English drive on a Motorway, while the Americans use the Highway which is exactly the same for a car. And if your car has problems the English opens the bonnet, while the American opens the hoot.

7 Dec 2011


more participants here

Little explanation :

Our grandson Toby living in Amsterdam with his parents also celebrates St.Nicholas as his Dutch mother was used to since her childhood.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas' Eve (5 December) is the primary occasion for gift-giving, when his reputed birthday is celebrated.

In the days leading up to 5 December (starting when Saint Nicholas has arrived in the Netherlands by steamboat in late November), young children put their shoes in front of the chimneys and sing Sinterklaas songs. Often they put a carrot or some hay in the shoes, as a gift to St. Nicholas' horse. (In recent years the horse has been named Amerigo in The Netherlands and Slechtweervandaag in Flanders.) The next morning they will find a small present in their shoes, ranging from sweets to marbles or some other small toy. On the evening of 5 December, Sinterklaas brings presents to every child who has behaved him- or herself in the past year (in practice, just like with Santa Claus, all children receive gifts without distinction). This is often done by placing a bag filled with presents outside the house or living room, after which a neighbour or parent bangs the door or window, pretending to be Sinterklaas' assistant. Another option is to hire or ask someone to dress up as Sinterklaas and deliver the presents personally. Sinterklaas wears a bishop's robes including a red cape and mitre and is assisted by many mischievous helpers with black faces and colourful Moorish dress, dating back two centuries. These helpers are called 'Zwarte Pieten' ("Black Petes") or "Père Fouettard" in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

The myth is, if a child had been naughty, the Zwarte Pieten put all the naughty children in sacks, and Sinterklaas took them to Spain (it is believed that Sinterklaas comes from Spain, where he returns after 5 December). Therefore, many Sinterklaas songs still allude to a watching Zwarte Piet and a judging Sinterklaas.

5 Dec 2011

OUR WORLD - La Pomme

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Once a week I have lunch with a girlfriend and we have two favorite restaurants. Once is called "La Pomme" (The Apple) and the other one is the "Jardin d'Asie" (Asia Garden)

La Pomme was an old farm house which had been transformed into a kind of Pub. They fortunately had kept most of the original features, which is not an evidence in Belgium.

The restaurant from outside, the color is not so my taste, it looked better in white as it was before. There is a big terrace and garden behind, where you can eat outside.

It is nicely located an just in front of the Waterloo "Office Park", therefore during lunch time it is always packed. The food is very good and the portions huge for Belgian standards, I think they adapted the portions to the American and English once as there are many of them working in the office park.

The following pictures give you an idea how cosy it is inside. There is also an open fire which makes it even more cosy when it is cold outside.

An old washing machine as decoration

the Hamburgers are almost that huge !


Helps you to remember what you have done on the weekend of December 3
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1. What an awful weekend, at least weatherwise ! It rained cats and dogs, the wind blow and whistled around the house, in short it was a weather to hang yourself ! Unfortunately I had to go out to the pharmacy, because Mr. G. had ran out of caugh syrup and he is still caughing that the walls tremble. As he cannot smoke his mood is accordingly bad. Therefore I became deaf and let him blat like a goat. I should have taken a picture of the pharmacy which was so crowded as if every medicine was for free. The ideal place to catch some microbes.

Fortunately I was very busy with the creation of a new logo for the ex "Photo Hunter" meme, which I decided to continue under another name "Saturday's Photo Hunting" as the host of the Photo Hunters had to stop, because of lack of time. This meme is very well liked, each week there is another theme, so I also made a list of themes for the next two months. If you want to join in it's on my Photo blog KEYHOLE PICTURES where you can leave your link in "Mr. Linky"

Quickly the day was over and ended with a "Midsomer Murder" where Inspector Barnaby solved 4 murders. Then I went to bed and read another crime story. The funniest thing is that the main criminal had done his studies at the "Belliol College" in Oxford where I had stayed for 4 days in August ! Fortunately we weren't there at the same time, as he had already murdered 5 people.

Sunday wasn't better and nothing could convince me to put my nose outside, although I had planned to help a friend to buy some Christmas decorations, but she too prefered to stay home.
So I started with the creation of our Christmas card 2011, which took me almost the whole afternoon, but now it's done and I did a nice card to send by email or mail, which I only do for one person ! Otherwise we prefer to call those who don't have an email.

My cats should model for Christmas, but they were not always cooperative, everybody knows that models are moody.

We watched a little bit TV, had supper and then I returned to my book. Mr. G almost slept the whole day and now he feels a little better.

4 Dec 2011


Talking with my son yesterday about Christmas trees, he told me that they wanted to rent one this year. I had never heard about renting a Christmas tree, but finally found it not a bad idea. You keep it the time you want and then when Christmas is over it will be taken back and be planted again. This really intrigued me and I found out that it is also done in the UK. (rent a Christmas tree) Maybe in other countries too. Then I also found that you can adopt a Christmas tree, so you are sure to get each year the same tree. (Or at least you should)

With the renting system you get each year another tree. Which is maybe better then always the same. I also think it is not very practical if you want to have a big tree, because it has to be in a pot and I suppose and that must be quiet heavy.

Fir plantations for Christmas

It's also bad for the Christmas tree plantations, for them if nobody buys a tree anymore they can close their business. Christmas trees are not anymore choosen in the woods as it was before, because then there wouldn't be enough left and if you steal one you get a fine of course.

Children, animal and nature friendly are the artificial Christmas trees. Nowadays they are so well imitated that you can hardly see the difference. They also became very expensive in the last years. But it's only a one time investment, you can use it for years. My friend Chantal since 20 years has the same fake Christmas tree, because she had two little boys and a cat and soon the grown up boys will also have kids and she has now two dogs and a cat.

A fake tree also has the advantage to never loose the needles and it is not dangerous if ever it falls. No harm done with needles.

We always used to have a real Christmas tree, just because fake once didn't exist. But when our son was grown up and we had 3 and then 5 cats, I bought a middle sized fake tree which is very nice and we use it since at least 8 years. Nicely decorated you don't see the difference.

This one is a fake Christmas tree quit big, 1.85 m (73 inches) for the price of 79 € (106 $)
The real once also become very expensive each year. Therefore more and more people I know prefer to buy a nice fake one which they can use for years.

Some people miss the fir smell but for that too, a solution has been found, there are sprays with fir odor ! Not so sure if this is necessary because everybody is rather concentrated on the good smell coming out from the kitchen !