16 Dec 2016


1. The first week after my return from Egypt's sunshine went by. My sprained ankle is a little better at least it is not swollen anymore and I can put on shoes !

Arthur keeps me company when I lay on the sofa !

2. I looked like a witch, only the broom was missing, although it would have been very practical to float through the rooms instead of walking on my hurt foot !

Therefore I went to the hairdresser. I was not the only one who had this idea, because I had to wait an hour until it was my turn. But we chatted together and the time went by quickly and now I have a new head.

3. The monthly lunch menu in the "Lunch Garden" was steak, chips, salad and vegetables. Nicole and I thought it was a good idea to have lunch together and of course Charlie too, who waited if a piece of steak wouldn't drop from the table.

In the Carrefour store

After lunch I had a snail walk to the computer department to look for a new little travel laptop. My fall had been so heavy that my computer which hang in a bag over my shoulder broke in two ! That's probably what saved me from further injuries besides my ankle. Of course in this case the insurance doesn't interfere, and asking something from the Egyptian airport would be a a waste of time ! There were many to choose from, the "hybrides" tablet/PC with a keyboard, I didn't like, they were far too heavy and then the tablet would be the cover of the PC and each time you have to fix the two together. Anyway for the moment I don't need one, so it was only a market research.

Looking at all the Christmas decorations made my heart heavy. This year it will be the first time that we will celebrate Christmas Eve and Day alone. My son wanted to come on Christmas day at 5 pm but for me Christmas is then over and how to explain to a 6 year old little boy, that Father Christmas doesn't come through the chimney in the morning but late afternoon or even evening, as they want to go to my DIL's mother before. We were surprised, because they celebrate St. Nicolas much more than Christmas, and we had thought that Christmas was for us. Never mind. The only thing to do to get not too much hurt is building a wall around your heart and each time you are hurt you put another line of bricks.

4. I had bought Karkade tea for Ilona and brought it to her. She had a little Christmas tree and her living room was nicely decorated. As I am not at all in Christmas mood, I forgot to take pictures.
We talked the whole afternoon about the year's end festivities ! For many it is not a joy but a chore.

When I drove home I saw the Waterloo Christmas tree in front of the church for the first time.

5. In our painting class we also talked about Christmas. Many are alone because either they have no family or the children prefer to celebrate with somebody else. The reactions are all different. One wanted to go to bed, one said she would buy a bottle of Champagne and drink it alone, one thought about going dancing, I thought everything in life has a first time, and in our 47 years of marriage it will be the very first time that we are alone at Christmas Eve as a couple. Before we celebrated with my parents, then with my parents and our son, then with him and his family and now alone. Mr. G. nevertheless insisted that I do a Christmas decoration, at first I had thought to do nothing at all.

Our painting room was nicely decorated with a Christmas tree and Father Christmas at the wall.

Quickly our good humour won and we laughed about Helene's (in the red apron) creation, because she wanted to give it a name and we hesitated between "murder",  or  "menstruation" ! That's why we laughed that much !

more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

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14 Dec 2016


Neighbourwatch on the beach

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1. Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate.

I prefer people by far and certainly not tasks, or maybe people related tasks !

2. December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls Day...do you own/wear pearls? If you're a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a 'pearl of wisdom' with us here today.

Yes I have two pearl necklaces. One I inherited from my mother. I don't remember when I wore them last time ! 

3. Speaking of pearls...oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest-have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little?

I loved oysters, raw of course nobody cooks them here, with a bit of lemon juice in its shell. I  used to eat 12 on Christmas and 12 on New Year, until the day I had a bad one and got so sick that I can't see oysters anymore !

4. Time Magazine has named President-elect Donald Trump Person of the Year. Let's take presidents and presidential candidates out of the mix for a minute. If a political figure had not been chosen who would you name Man or Woman of the Year for 2016?

If Trump had been chosen I would choose Lady Gaga !

5. The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 has been announced, and it's a vibrant green aptly named-greenery. Your thoughts? Is this a color currently in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in this shade for the new year? Click here to see the color.

Vibrant ?? I find it dull and cold ! Green is a cold color in painting, I don't like green at all except in nature, there I love green.

6. Today I've had too much__brain raking !

7. Share a favorite lyric from a favorite Christmas carol.

Rockin around the Christmas tree
At the Christmas party hop
Mistletoe hung where you can see
Everybody tries to stop

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Christmas becomes more and more commercial, under the Christmas trees you find envelopes with money, or you get a link to buy on Internet.  Nobody wants a surprise gift anymore. I noticed that everybody is complaining but there is no choice. Lots of people do it. It's so easy, you don't have to run around and look for a nice gift you just pull out your wallet and pay. On the other hand you don't get gifts you don't like or which don't fit.  I always remember a toaster I got from my mother, which I had asked for Christmas for my red kitchen. She choose a green toaster with pink roses ! Unforgettable ! Wouldn't have happened with an envelope ! 

13 Dec 2016


Since 2008 each year I go in November to Hurghada at the red Sea in Egypt. Before we used to go to Sharm-el-Sheik, but most countries don't allow this destination anymore since a few years because of terrorist attack risks. So many faithful tourists used to Sharm el Sheik which was far more elegant, more beautiful and very much appreciated by divers have now moved to Hurghada ever since.

Hurghada was once a fairly small and unimposing fishing village, located next to the Red Sea and boasting a number of superb beaches. Today, the resort of Hurghada is almost unrecognizable from its past life and has grown to become the most visited tourist destination in the whole of Egypt, with more than 100 different hotels, many of which line the shoreline. Famous for its superb diving opportunities, Hurghada is especially appealing to those with little experience of scuba diving, who come to marvel at the underwater reefs and awesome marine life.

I always stay in the same hotel, the Sunrise Holiday Resort. It's cosy although big, has everything I need to resource myself and prepare me for the winter. I call it my "health cure".

So this was my world for the last 2 weeks I only came back on Saturday night.

View on Hurghada

The hotel

Fire escape steps

Water pipes smoking corner

The swimming pool

The beach

Inside the lobby little private spaces

Entrance hall and lobby on 3 levels

Last year the Christmas tree was there, many guests stay over Christmas and New Year. The hotel is booked out.


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12 Dec 2016


Our 2 weeks holidays came to an end, we had to pack, we did it in the last minute !  As every day we went by this very friendly cook who made scrambled eggs or other eggs for the guests.

He was proud to pose for my picture !  We stayed the whole day at the beach, and enjoyed the see view for the last time. In the evening we played again scrabble, this time Chantal won, usually it always was Nicole, she is a real gambler !

The day of our departure arrived and we decided to spend the morning at the swimming pool which we had never done, because we preferred to stay on the beach.

At 10 am the animation team woke the last still sleeping guest with a cock-a-doodle-doo and a song to which they danced.  Then they went off to the beach to wake up the others or interrupt them in their rest by screaming in all languages, "Good Morning, Guten Morgen, Bon Jour and some other languages.

The every days program was after the wake up a "belly dance" lesson for the women. It was the first time in the 2 weeks we watched it.

Some were very talented, others stiff like a stick.

Then came aqua gym, but I didn't like it, it was more out than in the water.

We had to leave our room at 12, but I got an exception I could keep my room until two which was very nice so my friends could move their luggage into my room and later dress and be ready for the bus which took us to the airport.

Each day on the way to the restaurant was a painter sitting in a little open room and painted the guests or their animals after a photo. He did it very well. After all these years we knew him well and always chatted with him.

In the next shop with handbags, I was surprised to see the prices in English pounds, that had never happened. Dollars yes, Euros too but pounds ?  I was really curious and asked. The answer was rather funny. He said that the prices were in Euros. I told him that the Euro sign does look different (€) yes he said I know, but we run out of labels ! I laughed, such a thing would have been impossible here.

And then the bus arrived, Nicole checked our luggages and off we went to the airport. And there the controls started ! The first was a ticket and passport control at the entrance to the airport. The menacing looking armed policeman checked every passport meticulously. Which took time. We had priority as Chantal had to wait for a wheelchair. When he took my passport and opened it a 10 € note flew in his face because it was quite windy ! People laughed and he suddenly too, he just couldn't keep serious, while I ran after my 10 € note !

Finally we were inside had to go undressed, dressed, undressed, dressed 3 times, shoes off, shoes on, shoes off, shoes on, finally I walked barefoot ! Our passports were controlled 6 times exactly, even at the door of the plane ! And then my misadventure happened. A truck had arrived with a lift to lift up Chantal's wheelchair. The truck wasn't close enough to the border of the sidewalk and of course I stepped in the gap with my already weak foot and sprained it again. My fall apparently was very spectacular, because everybody was surprised that once they had picked me up I stood and walked  on the lift platform. I felt a bit dizzy, but managed it to my seat in the plane. My foot got big like a balloon, fortunately Nicole had painkillers in her purse ! I had put all medicine in my suitcase !

After 5 h flight, we finally arrived in Brussels, were picked up by an electric car, for Chantal and this was very good for me, because I could hardly walk. Mr. G was already waiting, loaded the suitcases in the car and drove us first to Nicole. Her daughter had taken care of Charlie and had brought him inside her house, so as soon as she opened the door, he run out and was so happy ! We petted him and then Chantal's son arrived to pick up his mother.

The first thing I did was taking care of my swollen foot, fortunately I still had all the medicine from the last time.

Now I am back again, it's grey and cold and when I wanted to open the shutters it was still dark at 8.30 pm. In Egypt at 6 am the daylight started until 4 pm. Mr. G. had taken good care of the spoiled cats, killed my orchid by watering it too much but otherwise the house is still standing.

Our town is full of Christmas decoration, but I am not at all in the mood ! Christmas is not fun anymore for lots of us. My friend celebrated with her children on the 24, then the 25 then the 26, this year it should be the 27, because nobody has time, with these patchwork families, they have to go to fathers, mothers grandfathers, grandmothers etc. If only one could celebrate together that would be so much easier for teverybody. Nicole has decided that now it's enough she doesn't celebrate Christmas on a 27 !

In our hotel many single women stayed for two or three month and included Christmas and New Year, at least then they are not alone and it is cheaper than at home.

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