2 Jan 2016


We had a very nice New Year's Eve at Nicole's !

Although we were only 5, we laughed the whole evening. Chantal had suggested to play a game she used to play in France on New Year. We all had to prepare a little gift for each person. Then for example I thought of one of my gifts and the others had to guess what it was ! It was very hard to find out what Nicole meant with her gift but finally by asking all kinds of questions, where to use it, the size, the material etc, one finally found the solution, it was a sponge ! Besides that we had a question and answer game, which was very funny, Chantal got the question "Are you wearing a slip ?" and asked Mr. G. for an answer and he got the answer card "Only on Mondays" !

Everybody had brought a plate, I had made a pasta salad with seafood, Chantal a Tiramisu and Nicole the starters. We ate and played and Charlie took care of the gift paper which he tore into thousand pieces !

We almost missed midnight ! But then poor Charlie suffered ! He was so afraid of the noise, he trembled and wanted to hide himself and started to dig the tiles. As he just had a nail operation we feared that he would hurt himself. Finally he sat between my legs and each time there was a boom, he put his head between my knees and I squeezed his ears, so that he couldn't hear anything or at least he felt sure. That was so funny ! Fortunately the fireworks didn't last too long.

At 2 pm we left and returned home, everybody happy with our New Year's Eve.

Despite the fact that the firework in Brussels center had been canceled, many people arrived anyway, just to show that they were not impressed by the terrorist threats.They wanted to celebrate as usual

Nobody was angry about the police controls and showed everything they wanted to see before entering the Grand'Place

There even the soldiers posed for tourists or people and there was a very cheerful ambiance.

The mayor was booed because of his decision. The Belgians just didn't want to be cowards. And nothing happened only the usual incidents of trouble makers.

1 Jan 2016


From number one til four my days were all the same ! It seems as if a Tsetse fly has bitten me, because I am so lazy that even picking up a hair ball from the floor is too much !

Nothing is going on, the streets are empty and you get the impression that everybody is in a starting hole and wants to jump into 2016 !

I only bought some champagne and made a pasta salad with seafood for New Year's Eve.

But before the huge Brussels Christmas market will be dismantled on January 3rd, I wanted to see it because new stalls and places had been added. It took us 3 1/2 h of walking around to see the 230 stalls and we didn't even see the whole market ! There was still an unseen place left, which will be for next year, because we were really tired. I went with Ilona and another friend and it was really beautiful. Despite the terrorist level n° 3 on 4 (again) there were many people and the police and soldiers were so discrete that I saw 3 policemen and 3 soldiers and only because I payed attention !

I will show this beautiful Christmas market in another post.

Meanwhile I wish you all

31 Dec 2015


This week is rather special, I feel as if I am on holidays without being on holidays. After Christmas people are running around to get rid of unwanted Christmas gifts, too narrow clothes (or too large), smartphones and tablets etc. In Belgium there is only one Christmas day, the 26 is a normal day and all shops open. Therefore there were many people in the center.

I had nothing to change only food to buy. I met with Nicole for lunch and then we had coffee at her home. Charlie greeted me with enthusiasm !

Ever since Nicole has fallen on her knees and has a muscle contortion under her ribs, (first they thought a rib was broken) she has difficulties to hold big Charlie on a leash. It hurts when he pulls a little bit and if he would see a cat it would be the catastrophe !

So she was walking very slowly and Charlie trotted besides her, not very happy when suddenly three about 12 year old boys approached and asked if they could help and hold Charlie's leash. Nicole was so surprised by the kindness of these boys, and  of course agreed. The boys walked Charlie and Nicole walked slowly behind, keeping an eye on them. They didn't want any money, Nicole had offered them a little bit for buying chocolate or something. I found this really very nice such things don't happen so often.

I observed in town that there are a lot of Miss Marples walking around and checking the prices in the shops. In Belgium "Sale" is only allowed twice a year in summer and now in winter from the 1st January on. Some of them have paper and pencil and write down the price of an item they like but wouldn't buy because they will wait for sales ! Some shop owners increase the prices before Christmas and drop them to normal after the first with a big label "Sales" ! Apparently some people think that when there is a sign "Sales" it is automatically cheaper !

Therefore the shops are full but nobody buys anything, the big rush will be on the 2nd when people storm the shops to make a bargain ! I saw many winter coats or jackets which hadn't been sold due to the unusual warm weather.

Sales !

Linking to What happens in your surroundings this week ? and Warm heart Wednesday

29 Dec 2015


If you are living in a country where houses and streets are decorated for Christmas, where you see Christmas trees on every corner and beautiful decorations everywhere, then please don't go to Amsterdam because you will get a nervous breakdown !

We went on Christmas day to the Amsterdam center, because there should have been a light festival and a Christmas market.

To park in Amsterdam is a luxury ! 35 € (38 $) per day. We found a parking space but even on holidays you have to pay. At least in Brussels on the street you don't pay nothing on holidays and Sundays.

During walking for a while, I tried to find some Christmas decoration and to take pictures, but there was nothing !

The promised lights on the canals weren't there. (Today I read that it had been canceled)

The Christmas market was a few stalls, nothing to do with the German Christmas markets or our Christmas market in Brussels with 230 stalls ! It was very disappointing !

It had started to rain and it was very windy so we had a coffee in a cute little bar, where it was cozy and warm.

and going to the toilet besides the steps this cute cat was sleeping on a chair and everybody could pet him.

We were happy when we arrived home and it was nice and warm and the Christmas tree was shining !

Conclusion Amsterdam is certainly a beautiful and interesting city but not for Christmas ! It must be the only capital in Europe which has such poor Christmas decoration.

more participants here

28 Dec 2015


It took some time to wrap all the gifts which Mr. G. then put in our laundry basket. He loaded the car and off we went to Amsterdam, celebrating Christmas with our son and family.

The laundry basket for another purpose !

The highways to Amsterdam were nearly empty and we arrived after 2.30 h with a coffee break just for lunch at our son's house. The laundry basket had to stay in the car of course, as grandson Toby believes that Father Christmas will come during the night and put the gifts under the tree.

Toby and I were asked to color the table cloth. We did our best, but it was impossible to color all the Christmas trees, animals etc. but we had a lot of fun !

Then he showed us how to make designs with these little tubes on a round or a star plastic pattern. This little boy of 5 has such a lot of patience ! I helped him by sorting out these tiny tubes per color.
So the afternoon went by rather quickly. Outside it rained and it was quite windy.

In one corner of the living room stood this very beautiful Christmas tree, with the handmade crib from Mr. G. He got it when he was two years old and now it belongs to his grandson. This creche is 72 years old and still very pretty.

On Christmas eve for  supper we had a Pierrade with beef and chicken pieces, fish and cheese. You cook everything yourself and it is served with Broccolis, salad and baked potatoes.!  Toby's mouth watered in front of the "buche de noël" (Christmas log) and the Dinosaur's too ! We chatted and listened to Christmas music and I danced with Toby and then he danced with his mum; We had a lot of fun ! We didn't go to bed late because we thought we have to get up early as Father Christmas would appear ! 

Our son took this picture of the three of us for the family album

And then Mr. G. was asked to make a picture of the young family. What a procedure, he doesn't like to take pictures in the first place and this enormous camera didn't make it easier. It was so heavy that he had difficulties to hold it and to find the button. Son and grandson tried to help, while I took these pictures and laughed my head off !

The next morning Toby discovered with surprise all the gifts under the Christmas tree

He distributed the boxes and packages and unwrapped his gifts ! He was a real happy little boy ! He started to play with everything a little and then picked out one Lego and put it together in no time !

The breakfast table was beautifully set up by our son and we had a nice breakfast together after having unwrapped all our gifts.

In the afternoon we made a little walk through Amsterdam city, unfortunately it rained and it was windy. So we didn't stay very long.

Our son is an excellent cook and had prepared a very special plate for Christmas instead of the traditional turkey. Once Mr. G. had mentioned that he was fed up to eat always turkey on Christmas. So we had seafood, it tasted delicious. It was served with risotto and spinach leaves.

My DIL had made a special desert and I liked it so much that I emptied the bowl ! Normally I am not so for sweet things !

On Saturday we returned home, this time the sun was shining so much that it was difficult to drive ! Fortunately I had my Madame GPS to show me the highway exits. We arrived just for lunch and were greeted by our cats. My neighbor had taken good care of them.

Sunday we didn't do anything but spending a very lazy day !