6 Dec 2013


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. The week started "nice" ! At 3 am I caught a very surprised cat Pookie, carried her downstairs and locked her in the guestroom. She had to have dental surgery and therefore an empty stomach. The rest of the night I didn't sleep very well, I was worried about poor Pookie. I had foreseen a lot of traffic but there was nothing and I arrived 15 min earlier. On top of that the vet was 5 min late and I remained for 20 min sitting in my car with a singing cat ! Even the radio didn't help. When the vet finally arrived and had opened her cabinet I stayed with Pookie who after a shot started slowly to fall asleep. Then I hurried home, changed for Aqua Gym, picked up Dominique and fell exhausted in the warm water and swam a few rounds to destress. As usual after gym we had a lot to discuss around a cup of tea, and then I went with Dominique to the vet again to pick up Pookie, but she was still deeply asleep and the vet suggested that I should come around 6 pm, when she would be awoken.

The afternoon I spent with creating all kind of Christmas stuff, cards, labels, headers etc. things I love to do.

Then I went again to the vet and found a very alert Pookie singing in her cage ! I payed the bill, not too much my vet is a very generous woman. In the car I let Pookie out of the cage and she didn't say a meauw anymore, she looked outside. Arrived at home, as soon as she jumped out of the car, like an arrow she went upstairs immediately to her food bowl and gobbled down a whole bowl ! All my worries had been for nothing, when I think in which state we humans come back from the dentist after having one molar and two teeth pulled out ! I think I don't need to make a description.


My autumn season basket didn't last very long, as we switched from summer almost immediately into winter and it was time to change my basket for Christmas time. After some researches I found the decoration in a plastic bag together with the Easter stuff. Here you see the result. Fortunately I didn't put an Easter bunny in the basket by mistake.

3. We want to do a New Year's party at Dominique's so I went next door and we made plans. Everybody should bring their drinks and one plate. Then we will make a cold buffet. And to avoid that we have 3 times the same salad or cheese plate, we decided who has to bring what. We discussed how we would arrange the table for the buffet and the seats around the open fire, the decoration and what we would do to spent the time cheerfully until midnight, with some funny New Year's games. Now everything is settled, at least for New Year's Eve.

4. After a few days of sunshine the rain is back and the temperatures dropped to freezing point. I digged out my winter coat and put the spring and summer jackets and raincoats away. In the afternoon I went to the Charity shop for battered women, to see if there was something interesting to buy.

When I went inside, a Saint Nicolas was sitting in a corner and I thought what a nice decoration ! Suddenly the decoration moved its head and it took me by surprise, I was so startled that I jumped a step back and the people around me laughed, the Santa too ! I didn't find anything and as Nicole lives nearby I stopped there and we had coffee together. It was dark when I returned home and I took some pictures out of the windshield when I got stuck in the traffic ! The white spots are raindrops !

My son sent me this picture, apparently Toby is less afraid of St. Nicolas then his grandma !


The retirement home where we have our painting classes once a week, was nicely decorated for Christmas and the ladies had made themselves all kind of little things for sale, like napkin holders, knitted bonnets, Christmas tree decorations, scarfs, Christmas cards and paintings. I bought two Christmas decorations.

In the afternoon a storm arrived, and when I look out of the window, I see the trees bending down, dangerously and I heard that at the coast waves of 6 m ( 20 feet) high are expected !

5 Dec 2013


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

In Germany where I used to live before moving to Belgium, together with my parents we often went on a walk to the cemetery, not because we had somebody laying there but because it was like a park with benches, beautiful flowers and bushes and even a little playground for children.  It was very family friendly and the kids played hide and seek between the grave stones.

When we moved to Belgium I thought the cemeteries would be the same and one afternoon after school I went with a friend to a nearby located cemetery expecting a beautiful park. What a disappointment ! At the entrance there was a guard who looked at us suspiciously, he probably wondered what two giggling girls are doing in a graveyard. We were 15.

The cemetery  was completely different to the once we were used to, there were no trees no bushes, no flowers not even a lawn.  All graves were side by side  in narrow lines covered with grey slabs, sometimes in marble or granite. Some of them had some awful looking fake flowers in a vase on on the graveslab. The whole cemetery was surrounded by a high wall. We got the impression as if people were afraid that the death would all come out ! The whole graveyard looked a little spooky but we found it rather funny.

We walked  through the graves and looked at the pictures of the people who were buried in their graves with the slabs on to avoid that they would come out. That was rather fun. Suddenly we found a kind of basement with steps to go down which we did.  There we found a room  with little drawers all around looking like safes in a bank. We had no idea what that was but there were pictures to look at too.

From far away we heard a bell ringing several times in the cemetary but didn't pay attention. Then we had enough of this spooky place  and it also became dark. We decided to go back.

Of course we got lost and couldn't find the exit, so we stumbled between the graves and tried to find our way out. As it was a quite strange situation and we found it rather funny and laughed and giggled all the way long. Finally we saw street lamps and the exit.

Now we wanted to go out, but the gate was locked. Nobody was there, the guard had disappeared ! We started to call people on the street, but nobody payed attention they just walked by.  At that time I only spoke little French and wasn't able to explain our unfortunate situation.

Finally an elderly man, came to the gate and asked what happened. We tried to explain that we were locked in and couldn't get out ! He laughed his head off said something, and disappeared. It was hopeless ! Later we understood, because he came back with a policeman.

And now our adventure really started. While we were behind the bars,  the policeman tried to get hold of somebody of the commune, but of course at that time all offices were closed in the City Hall. Finally he found somebody but this person didn't have the keys for the gate. Another policeman arrived and other people gathered around us and we felt like in a zoo ! Everybody started laughing when they heard our story which a German speaking man had translated to them  and one lady gave us an apple ! I asked for an orange. They all talked together where to find the key to get us out. The gate was far to high to climb over not to speak about the wall.

Finally a breathless guy arrived shaking a bunch of keys ! He looked them through, found the right key, opened the gate and we walked out. We were greeted with laughter and some people even clapped their hands. The two policemen rather amused took us both to the police station. With the help of a German speaking policeman, we made an official statement, how and why we got locked in and we told them that we hadn't payed attention to the ringing bell, which announced the closing of the cemetery. We simply hadn't known what it meant ! They didn't call our parents and let us go with a big smile. After this adventure we didn't visit a Belgian cemetery anymore !

Just to give you an idea

Today I am thinking of some German tourists who, in each country visit a cemetery and take photos and they don't understand why other countries find this use quite strange and rather disturbing !

3 Dec 2013


For once the sky was blue and ideal to make some photos. So I went photo hunting. My target was Christmas decoration in my town.

On the market I found just one flower stand with some Christmas things

The light garland which the city had put up all along the main street looked rather poor in the sunshine. Hope it looks better when it's dark.

Only the flower shops had done some effort. These were the nicest on the main street.

The big Christmas tree which usually is standing in front of the old church which once has served as hospital to the wounded soldiers of the Waterloo battle, wasn't standing yet.

and nobody in our area had any decoration either !

Apparently I am not the only one who isn't in Christmas mood.

2 Dec 2013


I visited an exhibition in Waterloo of a photographer who had taken pictures of "hidden, unknown places in Waterloo". This made me curious and I wanted to see which hidden places I had missed in the 38 years I am living here.

The result was very disappointing, not only were the photos not especially good, but the "hidden places" could have been in every town, like a tree, or a sculpture or a prairie and some houses and even the public swimming pool ! It took me not even 10 minutes to go through the whole exhibition and thought who sponsored this girl ? She must be a daughter or a family member of an important Waterloo council member. There is no other explanation. Fortunately on my way back home I found a nice gift for Christmas.

In the afternoon the sun came out and Ilona and I decided to go for a little walk. She lives in the Flemish part of Belgium, but only a few km far from me. There some houses were decorated for St Nicholas the real Santa Claus. It's a big celebration also in the Netherlands, especially for the children, as it is more celebrated then Christmas and the gifts are given by St. Nicholas, together with his assistant the Zwarte Piet (which means black Peter. This decoration was at her neighbor's house.

As it was quiet cold we went to the little wood nearby, where she just greeted her "private" tree, where she goes when she wants to think or when she is sad and needs some comfort. The fresh air did us good, and we returned home to have a cup of hot tea and watched the flames in the oven.

I had ordered this "Bleigiessen" (lead pouring) set on Internet and 3 days later it had already arrived. It is for New Year's Eve. I have wrote about this German custom here

A few years ago I had bought a special lamp, for light therapy. Light produces vitamin D which is necessary to keep your mood steady. This year I needed it again, we had the darkest November since 30 years, with only 28 h of sunshine. Normal would have been 66 h. They spoke about it on TV as many people suffer from seasonal depressions because of light insufficiency.

But on Sunday morning the sun was shining and I went to the Waterloo market, where I found an Advent's wreath and some decorations for it.

This year I am not up at all for Christmas celebrations, but for once Mr. G. complained that we didn't even have an advent's wreath with the four candles, which have to be lit one by one on the 4 Sundays before Christmas (another German tradition). So I spent the afternoon with making up the advent's wreath and together we also put a light garland outside in the hedge. That's enough for the moment.