Sunday, 4 December 2011

Whoops, November just went.

We had a lovely visit from the girls, despite the weather and the short duration of the stay. Both Coralie and Tatiana managed to come over without any Sterling whatsoever, so when we went shopping I had to forward money to them. They were as surprised as I was to see christmas decorations up in shops already as well as hearing the faint jingle of christmas songs, but apparently it's quite normal over here in mid-November. Since their departure back to Brussels, I have noticed some absolutely dreadful decorations going up, and neighbours appear to battle with one another as to who gets more lights on their houses. The kitsch - it's so bad that it's somewhat amusing.

Unlike Crewe's christmas lights. Oh dear. The turning on of the lights in town was at the end of November and, well, there's not much I can say apart from where are they, surely that's not it? The inside of the market centre has been nicely done, but they do like electric blue christmas lights. Electric blue isn't really a colour that I'd associate with this time of year, but hey ho, this is all a learning experience. I'm not sure what I'm learning, but I'm definitely experiencing something.

We've given decorating a temporary break as we can't really start on the dining room until all the rubbish from Richard's house is properly boxed or put up on eBay. As I wait for that to happen, all sorts of things that we thought were fine are now proving the opposite. For example, the day I went to clean the bottom of my wardrobe. I removed a pair of suede shoes to find that they were going moldy. The wardrobe was a made to measure one and is fitted against an exterior wall although there is a hole in the back of the cupboard allowing me to get to the sockets there. The wall was wet. Great. My first thought was condensation which appears to be correct as ever since I have been airing the room more thoroughly on a daily basis, the wall appears to no longer be wet. I need to find large supplies of silica gel now.

The living room has a damp streak from the ceiling to the picture rail. What is causing this is anyone's guess, but at least it hasn't got worse. Since I have started airing the room, the condensation has cleared up on the window sill and patches of mold have appeared around the skirting board. Water has leaked down the side of the bath to the kitchen ceiling causing a pretty, damp patch.

I'm not a fan of new houses, but at least in my last house, I had been the only owner since it was built and so knew of any problems (the bloody shower), but this house is old and needs more air bricks.

I am trying to introduce birds other than just starlings and sparrows into my garden without blowing my budget out of proportion. Bird food and feeders have turned into quite an industry here whereby you can enter shops entirely dedicated to selling such stuff. I was hoping that Richard would bang together a bird table for me as I am not going to splash out on an elaborate bird feeder hanger thing. If anybody has an idea on making a cheap mix of sunflower seeds etc to attract smaller birds, I'd be very grateful. That feeder is empty within two days as it stands. I don't like hanging the feeders off my apple tree either, but there's no where else, really.

And that really is all. I've applied for a couple of jobs, found out that I was entitled to the Belgian chomage for up to 4 months after I moved over here - IF I'd signed up over here straight away. Thanks for telling me, Belgium - I did ask if there was anything I had to do when I moved here and was told "nothing".

I do know that I have to sign up at the Belgian Embassy, something that I've not yet done. I'll get around to it, after all, now that Belgium has a government, it may count.

What for is a good question.


Anji said...

Yucky blue lights seem to be the fashion here too. They don't flash with rhythm and drive me nuts.

Is it colder in the Uk than Belgium?

Zoe said...

Ewwwww - and they love kitsch here, too. Than can be fun, as long as it's no where near me. I think it's colder here than Belgium, but it's debatable.

stuart said...


If it is just condensation and not some sort of water leak or penetration then a dehumidifier might be a good idea. Probably cheaper than lots of silica gel over time. I've recently got one and it's amazing how much water it pulls out of the air overnight.

Zoe said...

Stuart - I have thought of that - but they are expensive to run. Maybe when I have a job.

Z said...

I was in Brussels at the beginning of December 14 years ago. I have never been so cold. I had to keep going to the cinema to warm up. Mind you, I have never been to Crewe.

lom said...

All our feeders are hung in trees, it gives the birds some shelter. Pets at Home are reasonable for bird feed and you can make fat balls very cheaply from kitchen scraps like bacon fat, chopped up fruit, bread, grated cheese, all mixed together with beef dripping/lard. They love it.

Anonymous said...

The blue lights? perhaps it's a Jewish thing. Here in the western US, we see some Jewish fams putting up blue lights at Hanukkah.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Makes me think, I must always, always live in a country that has sunshine most of the year. I'm afraid of the cold eeek.

Anonymous said...

The bird feeder:
- take a couple of empty milk/yogurt cartons
- fill them with your own mixture of peanuts, sunflower seeds and any other seeds you want to use
- melt lard and pour it into the cartons
- let them cool properly before ripping/peeling the cartons off
- use some wire mesh to wrap the fatty seedsausages
- string or wire for hanging

Zoe said...

Thanks so much, Anon :)

Tilly said...

My inlaws use a dehumidifier too, just a couple of hrs a day. Got to be cheaper than throwing away mouldy clothes...?

Zoe said...

True, dat, Tilly.....

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