2 Jun 2017


1. Ilona had to return to her mother's apartment to start to sort out what to give away and what was for sale. After that she came and we sat on the terrace and chatted, it was still a beautiful weather. I also was busy with my new smartphone, to find out other functions !


Each year the city organizes an excursion for the senior citizen. This time we went to the Ardennes to visit the Abbey of Orval. The departure was at 7 am and here we are on our first stop having breakfast around 9 pm. We all got coffee, or tea and a huge croissant.


Two hours later we arrived at the Abbey, an impressive building and inside the ruins of the old one. I will write a separate post about this beautiful place.

On our way back we stopped in Bouillon and had an hour to walk around. It is a very typical Ardennes city. I had been there already years ago but didn't remember very much.

4. Just one week ago the gardener had pulled out all weeds in our red gravel, but weeds are like boomerangs they come back as soon as you turn your back. Therefore I made an eco-friendly mixture out of white vinegar, salt and chlorid and poured it over the gravel. If now a weed dares to show up I will shoot with a gun ! After that I was exhausted and rested behind a crime story.


After our painting course, Nicole, Ilona and I went to the Jollywood restaurant and could eat outside. It was very good and it was also good for Ilona who feels now all the stress coming out from her mother's dead.

After lunch we went to her mother's apartment and gathered 5 big bales with clothes, bedlinens, kitchen and bath towels which I will bring tomorrow to the charity shop for battered women and loaded them in my car, because Ilona's is too small. It was strange to be in this apartment without her mother. There are so many things to get rid of ! She had a beautiful collection of semi precious natural stones, which are now for sale.

more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

31 May 2017


1. What makes you feel accomplished? Explain.

When I have a day when I go on an excursion and see many interesting things, and can take good photos, or see an interesting exhibition etc

2. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Tell us why.

I think I would invite the mayor and two responsibles for city planning and ask them why so many old historical buildings have been destroyed and why more and more houses are built causing traffic congestions and green spaces eaten up ! 

3. Do you have a great burger recipe? What's in it? What do you like on a hamburger and where is your favorite spot to order one out?

I seldom eat an hamburger and never made one. When my son was little it was a treat to take him to McDonald's but ever since the last hamburger I have eaten must be at least 10 years ago !

4. What's the biggest anxiety producing thing you do on a regular basis?

 Difficult question, because I have nothing really which would produce anxiety, except not to find somebody to clean our garden ! 

5. This is the last Hodgepodge of May. Tell us about your summer plans.

Beginning July I will make a coach tour around Ireland, from Dublin to Dublin. In August perhaps I go to France and England and end November as usual to Egypt. 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I am thinking how to write a nice article about an Abbey I have visited yesterday and what I have to do this afternoon. 



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29 May 2017


On a very hot day I said good bye to my friend Ilona's mother who had become my friend too. She fell asleep forever at the age of 93. She had asked to be incinerated.

In Belgium incinerations started in 1963 with just one Crematorium in Brussels. But as the number of people who wanted to be incinerated increased by around 50 %, it was not enough anymore. So for the Brabant Waloon region a new one was built and opened in 2011.

It is located in the middle of the countryside near a little town Court St. Etienne. The building is very modern and completely neutral. No religious signs whatsoever nowhere. Each person can decorate the room he gets for the ceremony just like he wants. In this case it was very simple 3 rows on each side and a place for the coffin in the middle. On the opposite walls hung a screen on the wall which showed a slide show of the whole life of my friend.

The architect had done a real masterpiece, the building is simple with an easy access and decorated in a very neutral nearly cheerful way.

On the walls everywhere colorful paintings on grey/white walls

The ceremony, Ilona, and her sister held a short speech, there was no priest although my friend had been very religious. As Belgium is catholic and nothing else, in the last years she had enough of the catholic religion and stopped going to church. There had been too many scandals. She preferred to have her own religion and this was also respected in the ceremony. A female deacan spoke some short Bible texts and a prayer. The music was a French chanso. For a 93 year old lady the service she had asked for was really very modern, nothing of a classical funeral ceremony ! After the ceremony family and friends had coffee and sandwiches.

These three pictures show the beautiful surrounding. Some people prefer to keep the ashes in an urn and this is the cemetary

There are the fields for the ashes

and the only spectators are cows.

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