Tag Archive | Belgian

Word Scramble

Some of you may know that I am an exiled Fleming / Belgian (pick which ever means anything to you) in England. This is not usually very relevant, I have learnt the language as any immigrant has an obligation to do and I pay my taxes. My children barely speak Dutch anymore. Now the holidays have finally arrived I am simultaneously exchanging emails with my family about Christmas preparations (they will be coming over here) in Dutch and trying to write a blog post. My brain is doing strange things to me, mixing both languages and coming out with creations that would probably appear absurd to you good readers. To me it makes sense though, I understand it all. That lovely Ciney Blonde I’ve drunk to ease me into the holidays will not have done much to unscramble the language area in my brain, I suppose. It seems to free-associate better though. More connections than clarity.

Now might be a good time to play multi-language scrabble with my kids: any language goes, as long as a dictionary can prove the word exists. Or with anyone else who cares to join. Husband hates it: he pretty much only masters English. But, we all have stuff to get done. I shall have to leave you with a picture of my lovely Belgian beer paraphernalia instead:

Ciney Blonde

And here’s some Belgian humour for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OIJRMqYAA0

Belgium, googled

21 juli Nationale Feestdag

Google’s idea of Belgian-ness in honour of Belgium’s national holiday today! Thanks google

Signs that I’m in no-man’s land

The banners are coming out: the UK is gearing up for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then the Olympics and the Paralympics. We are finally having summer weather as well so everyone is coming out of hibernation; the festive spirit is spreading like wildfire (in these otherwise sodden lands). As I was driving through a street newly decorated with union jacks it hit me: I am still a foreigner here. I have been here 11 years, and I am still a guest.

My clues?

I stand by and watch the flags go up and feel only curiosity: fancy that, the natives are putting union jacks up everywhere. They’re really going to town on this.

When the olympic torch was lit and sent on its way around the country I watched with detached amazement (it was on the TV news or I would have missed it). How can people get so effusively emotional about something as mundane as a flame being lit? Husband says I am being mean: of course it’s a big deal! I don’t get it. So he asked whether I would feel different if the Olympics were in Belgium. Uhmmm… ponder that one … maybe, a little bit. Not sure, actually. Would I deck the halls to celebrate King Albert’s umpteenth jubilee? Uhmmm… probably not. The Belgian royal family just doesn’t do pomp and circumstance anything like the British – they’re awesome. And when I was last in Belgium I felt like a visitor there at times.

People at work are plotting where to position themselves when the olympic torch is passing by the office in 6 weeks time. All I can think of is: what day, remind me? Oooh, must arrange to work from home that day. Too crowded, I’ll get stuck in traffic.

My sense of identity is blurring. I may as well accept it and play the foreign / visitor card to suit me. Put on the vacant apologetic smile, and I can probably get away with whatever I like under the guise of “that’s what we do where I come from / where I live”. That worked a dream when I lived in Denmark many moons ago. My friends and colleagues would nod understandingly, and not comment even when they thought what I did was really weird. If I play my cards well I may be able to duck under the radar this summer, get some downtime while everyone is distracted. I’ll make a plan.

How much is too much?

More is always better! Never too much of a good thing! I am finding that these are just slogans sly sales people fling at you. I had no intention of experimenting, it was put upon me. Poor me. Allow me to explain why this is plain wrong:

It was my birthday not that long ago (celebration of another year’s wisdom won), and my parents had sent me a HUGE box of fresh chocolates from a local chocolatier. Heaven! I told the rest of the family in no uncertain terms that they were to be very very nice to me if they wanted me to share. Always a bonus. There is no better chocolate than Belgian pralines, I absolutely love them. You select a few and enjoy them ideally with freshly brewed black coffee. But you can’t possibly eat half a box, they’re just too rich. So I stash the box, carefully rewrapped, with the Belgian beers (Tripel Karmeliet and Westmalle mostly) in the garage. The perfect storage temperature for both this time of year. They’ve been there a week now and there still is nearly half a box left. I have enjoyed a few every day of the week, and they don’t nearly taste as heavenly as they did anymore. They are still in mint condition, but my palate is going stale. I am beginning to consider sharing.



Thank you Blondgirl008 for awarding me the Versatile Blogger Award! I only started blogging a few weeks ago and feel like I am still trying it out, playing around. I am so chuffed with the recognition. So there you know the first fact about me, which I am surprised to learn myself: I am vain! I did not have myself down as vain at all, I am way too cool for that. Was, obviously.

It seems odd that anyone might want to know anything about me. I am but the messenger, there to entertain you with stories and observations. But one must play by the rules, so I shall throw you a few herrings:

I wish I could travel more. My list of places to experience before I die predicts a long life. I can’t wait for more experiences like spending time in the Masai Mara. The space, its very own rhythm, the intimate confrontation with the cycle of life – there is nothing like it.

I have a bit of a green thumb. Don’t judge me, I give you honesty. The greenery calms me. And it doesn’t talk back.

I function better with regular doses of Belgian chocolate and the odd Tripel Karmeliet or Westmalle beer, chilled to cellar temperature.

I don’t have a cellar. I cool my beers in the garage in winter. In Summer I turn to white wine or lagers.

I love my Mini. It truly is a go-kart. It makes me feel I drive a supercar when really it’s only got a small engine and fits inside a Landrover Discovery (we tried, kind of).

I have recently cleared my driver’s licence of the burden of 2 speeding tickets – partly thanks to the Mini: it gives me an unreal sense of speed.

I would like to share the versatile blogger award with these blogs:


Per Alia


The insanity aquarium