31 Dec 2012


Helps you to remember what you have done on the weekend of December 29. If you participate please put the little logo on the top of your post and leave your link.

Finally I had finished with household and my photos and had time again to vistit my friends.

Ilona gave me this cute red bonnet, which comes on purpose as I will spent the New Year with my friend Claudie, an ex blogger, in the South of  France at the Côte d'Azur. It's sometimes windy there and I always need to cover my head against cold or heat. We chatted about Christmas and with her little Christmas tree, lots of candles and in front of her stove, we had a nice cosy afternoon.

On my way back home I took these pictures of Waterloo's Christmas decoration from out of my car, while driving, there was such a traffic that I had to drive very slowly.

I also brought an USB stick to Nicole with the video sketches I had made in Egypt.

Charly was very happy about my visit as I had brought a little Panetone to eat with our coffee. She had a lot of fun with the video, where in a sketch she plays a mother whose son was shot ! I didn't know that she was such a great actor !

On Sunday morning when I woke up, I could hear the rain falling in buckets and it didn't stop the whole morning.

So I prepared my backback for tomorrow morning when I take the plane to Marseille in the South of France, to spend New Year's Eve with my friend Claudie (who doesn't blog anymore) in the sunshine at the Côte d'Azur !

It was quiet a challenge to pack, because I was not allowed to exceed certain mesurements, 50cm x 20 x 40cm (19x8x16 inches) which is not very much for winter clothes and your handbag included. Finally I managed it without sitting on the bagpack, but I have to wear 1 T-shirt, 1 pullover and two cardigans under my coat ! I will look like an elephant. But as soon as I am on the plane, I take the cardigans off and put them in my backpack ! It's only for the check in. Otherwise I would have to pay 50 € ! Ryan Air is cheap but has a lot of extra fees !

The rest of the day I spent on the computer and on the TV,  due to this awful weather there was not much to do. From time to time I checked how far they were with dismantling the Christmas tree in Brussels (see post below).

at 9 am


and at 6 pm, the place was empty !

When you read this I will probably sitting in the plane on my way to Marseille !

30 Dec 2012


After so many protests against this "Christmas Tree" standing in the middle of the beautiful Grand'Place in Brussels, the city decided to dismantle this monster before the celebration of the New Year's Eve. Their excuse was that it could be dangerous because of the fireworks. The reality is, that they fear that people would destroy it so big was the anger against this thing which had nothing to do with a real Christmas tree. The responsible for Brussel's tourism,  the "échevin" (municipal councillor) Philippe Close, apparently was the founder of this great idea, had wanted to "modernize" Brussels. Apparently he was the only one who loved this tree !

So on Saturday morning I switched on the video camera of the Grand'Place and watched how Brussels "beautiful" Christmas tree was dismantled

They started shortly after 8 am.

I saw some workers climbing on the "tree"

Around 9 am, the "bedsheets" which had covered the metal boxes had disappeared from the top

It went quiet quickly

at noon, it was only a scaffolding and more and more people started to gather around it to watch this event !

Then came a truck "Creative Audio & Vision Solutions" which solved the problem of the vision of a Christmas tree.

at 5 pm it was almost done, and the workers stopped.

This morning the scaffolding was still standing, and I will watch from time to time when this nightmare is finally gone, and for the first time the Grand'Place will be without a Christmas tree on New Year's Eve !

This shows that when it comes to traditions, politicians shouldn't have too much phantasy ! 

28 Dec 2012


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

This week of course was full of events which I can't even number so my Favourite 5 will be from
one to five in two parts !

On Monday we expected our son with family who arrived from Amsterdam around 1 pm. Father Christmas was hidden in the trunk of their car with lots of gifts and while they emptied the car  2 year old Toby immediately had recognized that he was in Nonno's and Nonna's house.

First thing he wanted was to make his rounds on the terrace, followed by cat Arthur, who, strangly loves toddlers ! Toby decorated our French windows with little "cars" stickers assisted by Arthur. After a brunch he had his afternoon nap, while we all four played Father Christmas and put the gifts under the Christmas tree.

There were lots and lots of packages, and I had glued pictures of our faces on the parcels so he could recognize to whom the gift was destinated. And then he arrived with a big smile and discovered the colorful boxes under the tree. While we had an apperitif with little snacks the unpacking started !

We had explained to him what he had to do, he took is job very seriously and distributed meticulously the gifts looking first at the photo.

Of course he pulled out the biggest once first, which what a coincidence (!!) were with his photo ! With Mamma's, Papa's and Nonna's help he unpacked his gifts. Arthur also wanted to help !

When finally we had a big mountain of paper laying around and all gifts were unwrapped,
we started our Christmas Eve meal. Smoked slices of Salmon on toast, while Toby had his main course.

Then we made a pause and he played a bit

But he got quickly tired, it had been so exciting, he was ready for bed ! Therefore the "official" Christmas pictures with Papa and Nonna, were "perfect" !

When he was in bed, we started the main course, a Pierrade which is a raclette underneath to melt the cheese and above has two plates, one in stone and one as a grill. So we had all kind of meat and cheese, which everybody prepared himself and I served a salad and jacket potatoes with it. It's fun and it tastes good !

And as dessert we had a rasperry ice cream "Bûche de Noël" litteraly translated it means a "Christmas log".

Full and happy the young parents started to built up Toby's new Garage and a little train station.

Daddy tried, but Mamma was far better in assembling and screwing the parts together and took over the job !

On Christmas afternoon we went to the huge Christmas market in Brussels (around 210 stalls)

but first we had a look on the ugliest Christmas tree of the world on the Grand'Place. The market was so crowded that it was hard to see the stalls and it was really too annoying for Toby who only saw legs, and when he was sitting on Papa's shoulders he could see everything even more then we did, but he wanted Mamma. So we carried a loud screaming Toby through the crowd !

A Brussels' wafel calmed him down for a while, but finally we returned we had seen enough. Once on the sidewalk where he could run on his own legs, he was a happy little boy again.

In the evening we had our traditional Christmal meal, a turkey filled with prunes, chestnuts and Armagnac which was really delicious, and before as a Starter Scallops.

Our son keeps to traditons and had ordered the traditional "Bûche de Noël, which is made with chocolate mousse inside. Toby prefered Mama's fish plate to the turkey !

Now to be honnest I didn't do all this cooking ! I just bought it in my favorite "Deepfreeze" shop !

After his bath, Nonno read a story to Toby before he went to bed and so ended Christmas.

The next day, they left after breakfast, and we rested the whole day ! I had to sort out hundreds of pictures so I had enough to do.

The week ended in terrible rain and I took the opportunity to clean the house and then I just watched TV and blogged a bit !

27 Dec 2012


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

The fir has the advantage, that it stays forever green. No autumn can change its color and no winter makes it to a naked tree, it is stubborn like a mule, it remains green, whatever season. The wood of most firs is considered unsuitable for general timber use, but the fir is not only giving a green spot in the leaveless woods but it became very popular as Christmas tree !

The Germans were the first once to use a fir as a Christmas tree with predecessors that can be traced to the 16th and possibly the 15th century, in which "devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.". Today the Christmas tree is used by everybody who wants to decorate its home, the cities decorate their streets and the shops use it to attract clients to buy gifts and also food ! Christmas trees apparently make people think to load their stomacs with lots of special food, with the disadvantage, that you are full for the following week !

In Britain, the Christmas tree was only introduced in the early 19th century, but the custom hadn't yet spread much beyond the royal family. Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with the custom and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas. In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote, "After dinner... we then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room... There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees...After her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, by 1841 the custom became  more widespread throughout Britain.

Several cities in the United States with German connections lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree: Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House, while the "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Pennsylvania, which recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821 !

Nobody cares anymore about the origin or history of the evergreen tree and how it became a Christmas tree ! The very first once in Germany were only decorated with apples and nuts, while today they are sometimes overloaded with glittering stuff of all kind, with balls, sweets, and fancy decorations. The real candles (which are still used in Germany) were replaced by electric little lamps or candles on a garland.

In countries where no firs are growing, artificial firs were invented and stand amongst palm or other exotic trees unusual for us Northern people

Cities all over the world want to have the biggest and most beautiful Christmas tree and it became a real competition.

I am not sure which country has the most beautiful tree, but sure is that this year in Brussels, they had the ugliest one ever standing on the Grand'Place ! 

This "Christmas tree", even lightended looks awful !

and very different from the simple once used at Victorian times !

25 Dec 2012


In my part of our world it rains

and rains

and rains

and rains

With all this water even our Christmas garland has lost some lights !

Christmas markets are also suffering from the rain, impossible to go somewhere and take pictures other then of the rain.


24 Dec 2012


Helps you to remember what you have done on the weekend of December 22. If you participate please put the little logo on the top of your post and leave your link.

Saturday it rained cats and dogs the whole day ! It was just awful, we had to keep on the light as it was so dark outside. No way to do anything in the garden where I wanted to put some Christmas decorations. It had been raining since my return from holidays, so I waited for the last day in the hope the rain would stop !

I decided to not put my nose outside and switched my plans. I cleaned and prepared our guestroom for our son and family. And then I did some Blogwork. I thought the Photohunter themes are more or less always the same words and need some changements to make it more interesting for those who love to photograph. I googled for inspiration and questions, which you should answer with a picture. Finally I had the list for the whole year 2013. If you are interested have a look here "Themes in phrases" on my Keyhole Picture Blog.

Fortunately in the evening we had our monthly theatre this time the play was "Scrooge" from Charles Dickens. First I was a little suspicious about the play when I saw only a desk on a carpet on the stage. Indeed there was only one actor ! But he was great !

He told the story of the sour and stingy Scrooge a cold-hearted, tight-fisted and greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things which give people happiness. His emotional transformation was the result of supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.The play (also a film)  has become a defining tale of  Christmas. It was so well performed that I could see the cold and icy streets of London, the people in rags and hungry and Scrooge himself in his bed when Marley and the ghosts visited him. It was a real pleasure for your phantasy.

Sunday morning I had my little chat with grandson Toby via Skype

He was in a very good mood and apparently learned somthing new .... unless it is a pure coincidence, to stick out his tongue to his Nonna !

This is not Father Christmas without beard and only half dressed,  but Mr. G. who after a bath crossed the street to feed Chouchou the neighbor's cat, because they went away over Christmas and New Year. Fortunately in our street you can do that without being taken for a psychotic, just escaped from a madhouse.

We finally managed to hang our Christmas garland in the hedge between two showers, and only noticed then that most of the little bulbs didn't work anymore. We have to buy a new one next year.

With the bad weather I hadn't been able to take the fake flowers out of the pots which I had put in in October, but ever since it rained or I had no time to do that, so we will have a front yard with blooming flowers, a Father Christmas and Christmas lights. Why not, in some countries it's normal.

To all of you !

22 Dec 2012


The world was supposed to end yesterday ! I thought I have to dress myself very elegantly, not to arrive in heaven or hell without adequate clothes ! But I forgot and I woke up in my pajama. The house was still standing and my street too. Even Internet worked and I realized with great relief that Australia which should explode first,  and which was supposed to be floating into million pieces in the space right now, was still there ... with Internet !

My cats had shown no sign of a special event, as they usually do when a thunderstorm comes up. The neighbors' dogs didn't show any sign of excitement either. Only some people went mad !

In the small Turkish village of Sirince, which was supposed to survive the Apocalypse because of a "positive fluid" hundreds of people were looking for a place to survive,  outnumbered the population of 570 inhabitants. But apart from the bustle of media and some 500 policemen deployed as a precaution, the town was calm and the old Greek houses tastefully renovated remained untouched !

Also a village in France, Bugarach, was supposed to escape the final destruction. The authorities expelled Thursday a handful of people trying to get to the peak.  Access to the peak and its caves were barred and the access to the village was filtered, hunting and fly over the mountain was forebidden,  hundreds of policemen were mobilized ! And nothing happened !

So our good old mother earth is still turning around the sun although in some places like mine, the sun doesn't show it's nose since a couple of weeks and is not floating in million pieces in the space ! 

Are remaining some hystericals hidden in their bunkers with tons of food for the next 10 years, while I go only shopping today ! I didn't want to waste money if the world would disappear on Friday !

The place to be for the next time !

21 Dec 2012


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. The city of Bastogne, paid a special tribute to the victims of Tuesday's shooting  in Newtown. It was an initiative of the mayor of the municipality as Bastogne maintains close relations with the United States since World War II, because so many American and Canadian soldiers died there.

26 oak trees on behalf of the 26 victims of the massacre were planted by school children of different schools in the "Bois de la Paix". The place was made in Bastogne for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. It was so sad to see the children who planted the 26 oak trees and who manifested their sadness about the little American children..

2.  Mr. G. was not lucky his car battery gave up it's soul and he just charged it a little with the help of my car to be able to go to the Opel garage, where he got a new battery. Nice Christmas gift and a hole in the wallet !

3. Since my return from Egypt I badly needed to go to the hairdresser, because I looked like a witch without broom.

the beauty salon was nicely decorated and while my hair was washed I had a nice view on the angels and the moose !

4.  Each year Waterloo city invites the senior citizens for a Christmas party in the city hall. This time a Russian group would give a concert with Russian christmas songs. I went there with my neighbor, thinking that Russian Christmas songs are certainly very nice.

We were greated by the major and other "important" people, I prefered to pose with Father Christmas ! He looked the best !

The concert was very disappointing, there were three guys playing Russian instruments (besides the accordion). The bariton singer had a beautiful voice but sang all kinds of songs which had nothing to do with Christmas, like the "Figaro" etc. The only Christmas song he sang was the German version of "Silent Night" !

After the concert we all were invited for a glass of "Champagne" and cookies and as Christmas gift we got a very dry brioche with a little marzipan Jesus, and two Belgian chocolates. I don't know if they had a contract with the dentist, or if the brioches were from last year, they were not eatable unless you want to loose your teeth. Sign of the economical crisis ... start to save money with the seniors.

5. Much better was the Christmas party of our painting class ! One "girl" had prepared herself this wonderful filled bread. We call it "pain surprise" which means "bread with surprise".

The brave girl had got up at 6 am emptied the bread and made little sandwiches of all kinds, cheese, salami, ham, smoked salmon etc. It was delicious

We all enjoyed the sandwiches and the Champagne which was served with it. The always present doggie Shania, was hoping for sandwiches too, but prefered water to the champagne !