2 Jan 2015


1. On Monday I had to drive my neighbor to a hospital in Brussels to get her monthly shot in one eye, and feared that we couldn't go, as it started to snow again a little bit.

Our street also looked quite slippery, but once out and on the road to Brussels there was no snow left. While she was busy with the doctor, I did some shopping for New Year's Eve. When I came back she was a little depressed, because on top of her Macula she now has cateract too and has to have surgery. But she is amazing, she doesn't loose here good mood and even made fun of herself when I had to lead her to her house !

The card I had created for Waterloo city Social services had been printed and sent out. I can't deny that I wasn't a bit proud !

2. The next day I was busy with shopping for our New Year's Eve and in the afternoon I prepared a huge bowl of pasta salad with vegetables and chicken. I also bought some Röstis (little potatoe pancakes) and Blinis which I put on a plate together with Tarama and Tatziki the Greek spreads and Guacamole to put on them.

3. Together with Mr. G, we prepared the living room for the New Year's Eve festivities ! I rediscovered long forgotten plates and glasses, there were more than enough !

4. At 8 pm our guests arrived all with a plate and a bottle of wine or Champagne

The table was just big enough for all this food, Chantal had made a Tiramisu we kept in the fridge for desert. Rosie did some survey but then disappeared and Pookie checked the bottles. In the pictures above you can see the Röstis and Blinis with their spreads and then the whole buffet ! We were 7 and I had never thought that we would eat nearly all of it, there was not much left ! 

Charlie Nicole's Golden Retriever and Marianne's Kiwi were also part of the party, as there is so much firework going on in the city, they couldn't be left home alone, they are so scared ! My cats didn't bother, they slept on the beds only cat Arthur came to sniff at Charlie, was disgusted by his smell and returned to bed.

The whole evening we were eating, drinking chatting and laughing a lot ! From left to right there is Vivienne my neighbor, Pierre, Mr. G's friend, Nicole, Marianne, Pierre's wife and Chantal.

I forgot to take a picture of the Tiramisu, we never thought that we would eat it all, it looked as if it was for 20 people, but it was so good that everybody served himself twice and Charlie cleaned the plate ! The party lasted until 2 am only interrupted by the New Year's wishes and then everybody returned home. They had some troubles as the cars were frozen and the street very icy, but everybody arrived home safely.

5. My friend Claudie from the South of France should arrive at 6 pm in Brussels, but once more the trains are late. This time nearly an hour ! So now I am on "standby" because I don't know yet if I have to pick her up in Brussels or in Waterloo. There is only one train per hour ! And the government tells us to take "public transports", I think the politicians don't know what that means ! Loosing a lot of time is apparently no problem for them !

more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1 Jan 2015


Letter : G

In Germany it was normal to have a walk on a graveyard on a Sunday even if nobody is burried there they know. The graveyards I knew were very beautiful and looked like a park. I remember the one I used to go with my parents on Sundays, just for a walk when I was a child. There were a lot of trees, plants and bushes, banks to rest, and even a sandbox for children, a lot of flowers and the graves very well taken care of. It was not unusual that children ran around the graves or played "hide and seak" behind the grave stones.

So when we moved to Belgium in 1959 I thought the graveyards would look the same and one afternoon after school I went with a friend just for a walk and to have a look on Belgian graveyards. Already at the entrance the warden gave us a suspicious look, he probably wondered what two young giggling girls are doing on a graveyard.

Of course the graves and the whole yard were completely different as the once we were used to, there were no trees or any green grass or bushes, all graves were covered with grey stone plates, sometimes in marble, without or with artificial flowers. It all looked sad and grey.

So we went from grave to grave to look at the old photos on the gravestones and then found steps leading into a crypt, containing little compartments just like safes in a bank. From far away we heard a bell, several times but didn't pay attention. Then we had enough it was really too spooky in here and it got already dark. We decided to go back.

Of course we got lost and couldn't find the exit, so we stumbled between the graves on the grey gravel and tried to find our way out. It was a quite strange situation but we were not afraid of any ghosts coming out of the graves, we even found this very funny and laughed and giggled all the way long. Finally we saw street lamps and the gate. We wanted to go out, but the gate was locked. Nobody there, the warden was gone too ! We started to call at people on the street, but they just looked at us with big eyes, thought probably we were joking or were mad and just walked by. We couldn't even explain our situation because both of us spoke very little French at that time !

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

To get us out of our unwanted prison, the policeman tried to get hold of a somebody of the municipality, but of course all offices were already closed in the City Hall. Finally he found somebody but this person didn't have the keys. Another policeman arrived and other people started to gather around the gate and we looked like prisoners behind bars ! They were all laughing and one lady gave us an apple ! I asked for an orange. They discussed together where to find the key of the graveyard gate to get us out. The gate was far to high to climb over it and the cimetary was surrounded by a high walls too as if people were afraid that white dressed corpses would want to get out !

Finally a breathless old man arrived shaking a bunch of keys ! He looked them through, one by one, found the right key, opened the gate and we walked out. We were greeted with laughter and "ahs" and "ohs" like long lost friends and some people even applauded ! The two policemen found it less funny and took us both to the police station. That was the first (but not the last) time I had been in one. We had to make an official statement, how and why we got locked in and we told them in our poor French, that we hadn't paid attention to the ringing bell, and that we also didn't know what it was ! They didn't inform our parents and let us go and
this was good, because knowing our fathers they would have been very upset with the policemen and the warden of the graveyard and not at all with us, because for them a graveyard was an open place to walk around and enjoy ! If only they would have known how the Belgian graveyards looked like ! We had just arrived in Belgium.

Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

31 Dec 2014

30 Dec 2014


For the first time since two years we had snow in Belgium and the sun was shining on the white landscape. I drove with my car to the bus station where I took the bus to Brussels.

Many people had the same idea, as the roads were not cleaned and therefore it was dangerous to drive.

The first part of my bus trip took me through the woods surrounding Brussels. From Waterloo, where I live it is only 15 km far.

In the city there was nearly no snow left at all

But on my way back home

I took some pictures through the windshield of my car from the surroundings where I live.

On the way to our street


and here is how our street looks like

In the afternoon I had this nice view sitting on my sofa and looking out of the window !

more participants here

29 Dec 2014


We were happy to be home again, and when I opened the shutters I saw that it had snowed !

Not much yet, but it was a beginning ! How lucky we were that we didn't have any snow when we went to Amsterdam on Wednesday ! Later in the News we saw the mess on the highways to Amsterdam it had snowed more and there was a terrible traffic jam around Antwerp.

Our son had offered us a framed picture for Christmas, on which we are now fixed for the eternity.

Mr. G hang it in the entrance.

Here we are, the Godfather and his wife ! The picture was taken in April.

After lunch it had snowed more and more and I had this nice view from my sofa into the neighborhood, and then into the garden, where my little cat statues had white hats !

In the afternoon I wanted to buy a tablet for Ilona, the same I had bought for Mr. G, but this tablet had had such a lot of success that there was none left ! I have to wait til January, so I continued my way to Nicole, where we exchanged our Christmas celebrations experiences and ate some cake which had been left by her daughter. She had a nice Christmas together with her son, wife, daughter and grandson with girlfriend. 

While we chatted Charlie lay happily between us and wasn't very interested in our conversation. On my way back, it had snowed even more and I was happy to return home without any problems, because as usual when 3 snowflakes fall, the traffic in the whole country breaks down !

My tigh, shows now a modern art tattoo, a big blue spot, it still hurts a bit when I move. I still think how lucky I was that I hadn't broken anything while I fell down 4 steps in my son's house.

When I closed the shutters before we went to bed and had opened the window door to aerate, our cat Kim wanted to go out, saw that white stuff and ran back into the house again. She probably had forgotten what snow is, the last time it had snowed in Belgium was 2 years ago.

On Sunday it was freezing cold, - 5°C (41 F) but a wonderful sunny weather. I wrapped myself into several layers and took the bus to Brussels to the Midi market. The case for Mr. G's tablet which I had bought was far too big, so I brought it back and got a smaller one. I also bought some fruits and roasted chicken breast, unfortunately there was a very cold wind and lots of stands missing. They probably were unable to drive to Brussels with their trucks as the streets were slippery and full of snow. Nothing had been done as usual, and on top it was Sunday.

After an hour I thought I would freeze to a statue and took the bus back home.

Part of the bus ride goes through the woods and it looked really very beautiful. Waiting for a bus to come was another story, it was so cold !

From the bus station I drove home with my car and took some pictures of our street through the windshield !

The rest of the day I spent watching TV and then at my computer, observing people with kids and dogs walking through our street, some Daddies pulling slides behind them.