Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A Celebratory Beer.

A celebratory beer

Thanks to thecatofstripes for helping me with my Flickr issues. The beer was actually in celebration of the receipt of the keys to my house last Friday - so it's thanks all round.

I have rather a lot of spare underlay going free if anyone's interested.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Keys! by zoeinbrussels
Keys!, a photo by zoeinbrussels on Flickr.

I'm going to be slightly busy these coming weeks as the floors are to be done, the wallpaper has to be taken off, my stuff will come out of storage as walls are painted and so on.

There is a lot to be done to make it my home so the exciting results of the Worm Charming Championships will have to wait a bit.

In the meantime, if anybody knows how to get your pictures up to your Blogger account from Flickr, like ye olde days, do let me know.

It's making me cranky as it don't work no more.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Charming with chop-sticks....

Some people will try anything.....

Via Flickr:
Richard is taking on these Championships very seriously. Here he is trying a method using chop-sticks. (It didn't work.)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Worms and Pies.

Earlier this month we visited Wybunbury to watch the rather strange, annual Pie Rolling, or Wybunbury Fig Pie Wakes which was taken very seriously, including one little boy chasing after his pie after he had let it go to roll rather sadly not one metre from where he was standing.  After a while the judge let him take it back as he obviously thought it was meant to be eaten, while other participants rolled their pies made from water, flour, figs and apple with quite some force to see how far down the road they would roll.  Or in many cases, wouldn't.  Fortunately, the rain held off and I was given my first taste of the madness that goes on in this country which admittedly, turned out to be rather a fun afternoon.

This Saturday is another annual bit of bonkers, none other than The World Worm Charming Championships, the rules of which have been translated into 30 other different languages which just goes to show how seriously this is taken.  Richard decided that he would take part this year and succeeded in obtaining a plot.

The next move was to buy a garden fork, something that I will need in the future anyway and so we went to Wilko's, chose one and I then nearly speared a rather young baby with it, much to the horror of the baby's mum.  Richard is presently practising sending vibrations down the garden fork using a wooden stick on which he has sawn several notches.  As he sits out in the garden trying to entice worms out of the lawn I can't help but wonder.

Would you put red sauce on a baby, brown sauce - or no sauce at all.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Motor coordination challenge of the day

Z (cleaning teeth): Ow...
R (in shower): What have you done now?
Z: Almost poked my toothbrush in my eye.
R: How on Earth did you miss that mouth?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Curious Opening Hours of Shops.

After almost 2 months in this country and several 'Bank Holidays' I am still confused by the fact that supermarkets stay open until really quite late, are open on Sundays and even 'Bank Holidays'.  Gone are the days when I'd realise that the weekend was to be preceded or followed by one or two 'Bank holidays', thus having to remember to buy enough food to cover the days when the shops would be shut.  Life has been simplified as supermarkets just don't seem to shut here and food can be bought on any day of the week, and I have even heard of supermarkets that are open 24/7.  When I moved to Belgium, shops here still shut on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays - it takes a bit of getting used to.

The other thing that I simply don't understand are 'Bank Holidays'.  All public holidays, apart from the odd exception, fall on a Monday - even if that isn't the day of the holiday - and invariably get called a 'Bank Holiday'.  I had to look up the reason for this as it's a bit of a bugger when you've been spoilt in a country which, should a holiday fall on a Thursday, for example, bridges the gap to the weekend by taking the Friday off too.  This only happens if you have an employer who enjoys this relaxed attitude to the workplace, ie: most employers in Belgium - or at least, in the offices where I worked.

But simplifying my life is good, however confusing.  Now, I'd better go shopping.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Gourmet food.

Not having had fish 'n chips since 2008, a delicacy that is hard to find in the Heart of Europe, I was delighted to have this fine meal served to me a few weeks back, even if we did have to go and get it ourselves.  The fish 'n chip place where we collected our dinner had been awarded prizes for being so good and just the smell of chips being fried up next to the battered fish soon had me drooling as I watched the rather pale chips being served up.

A girl in front of us had an easy order so was served up first.  She had ordered chips and cheese.

Chips and cheese.

I thought I had misheard until I saw the woman behind the counter get out a large container of grated Cheddar cheese and pour a generous quantity into a polystyrene pot, put the lid on and tucked it in with the chips before wrapping the bundle up.  I looked on incredulously as no one - no one - eats chips with grated cheese on as a meal.  It simply isn't right.

We got home to enjoy our own meal of fish 'n chips, with malt vinegar, as you should, only to find that the chips had only been fried once and were pretty awful for some innocent victim who is used to a decent sized chip, fried twice and only after she has made her order so that they are piping hot and crisp.  Moving to England is proving difficult after having lived 25 years in the Land of Beer, Frites and Chocolate. The fish, however, melted in our mouths and was well worth the money, but in all seriousness, the chips should have been binned.

Richard, however, informed me that chips and cheese is totally normal around here, "not that disgusting mayonaise that 'you' lot smear all over your chips."  He further went on to tell me that chips and curry ia also a delicacy here, as is chips and gravy.

Chips and gravy?  Tell me it's not true.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A legal Alien.

Before moving over here, somone gave me a helpful list of all the things to get done before you leave Belgium, and when.  One of them was contacting the Commune to let them know that you will no longer be living in the country as of the date you leave and the other involved calling the Belgian (or British - I forget now) Embassy to let them know that you will be moving to England.  It was then that I found out that I was moving to England as an 'Expat' seeing as I have Belgian ID and as far as the Belgians are concerned - am Belgian.  Through and through.

Admittedly, people have never really understood which nationality I am (half English, half Belgian - by marriage) as I wasn't born in England and have spent very little time here previously - apart from 9 horrible years in boarding school and holidays dotted around the world.  Some people enjoy that nomadic way of life, but I certainly didn't so was happy when I finally found my roots, albeit not in England.  So after 25 years living in a country that I was - and still am - happy to call "home", I had to move and then decided living in England to be a good idea.  But I hadn't realised that I would be moving as an 'Expat'.  It all seems so wrong.

When I am eventually installed in my new house and have paid off a few bills the woman at the end of the phone has instructed me to contact the Belgian Consulate in Manchester (I think - all this seems to have happened months ago) to let them know that I'm here, shove some bills under their noses as proof so that they can issue a new ID card with my new address.

In Crewe.

Well, if I can travel around as before, using my ID card, then it's much cheaper than having to buy a passport.

The day I need a passport to travel to further shores outside the EU will be the day I can afford to buy one, so in that respect, it's not such a bad idea.  No doubt I shall still be sent Belgian election forms every two years, but it's a fair price to pay to avoid the horrendous expense of a passport.

So hi England.  I'm a furriner.