Sunday, 1 February 2015

Snow is fun if your hands are not cold

It snowed now and then a little bit in Belgium but melted each time...except above 500m. There it is slowly accumulating to 20-40cm. Yeaay, all ski runs we have in Belgium are open . 

Luckily enough the neighbors had already shoveled the entire driveway we share together but we still had a little fun out at our parking spot where we piled up the snow half a meter high. 





We walked to the nearby village and then pulled Kabouter via the Ravel (old railway) bike path in his sledge. We still had to drag a trace for him. He loved the hobbling at first and even kept his gloves on for a short while.

But then as usual the gloves had to come off (and after we put them on again, they went off again)
and then of course he was touching the snow
and then of course his hands were cold
and being in the sledge was no longer fun at all.

But a transfer back from the sledge of daddy's belly stopped the crying after the while and we got home after a lovely walk with a sleeping kid. 












Saturday, 31 January 2015

Music Flashback: Anola Gay

Some music immediately triggers a flashback down the memory lane and will forever be linked to some images, memories, events.



I have already told about my high school Latin teacher little H. and her complete lack of authority causing all of her classes to be anarchy & chaos in this post.  The chaos in her classes was legendary, but little H. was also a very sweet lady. 

As already stated in the old post as well, she was our home room teacher in grade 10.   For that matter we gathered once per month with the entire class for a class room lunch where we were entitled to stay inside and eat in our room  and discuss any class matter that needed to be discussed.   It was always fun not to have to go to the canteen and to be all together without any class mate going home for lunch. 

With little H. we always put some music on (even in some of her classes... we even organized sing alongs in her classes).  On one of the lunches on a glorious spring day, Enola Gay started playing. 

"Ha, did you know you can dance the Hucklebuck on this rhythm"
"noo, really?"
"Yeah, look"   and M. in our class started to jump around, pointing her foot tip right right and then left left ...   Little H. was right away interested and her face lighted up.  Much to our surprise she showed interest to join in.   I'm always in for a stupid line dance as well and in a minute we were 5-6 lined up in between the desks.  We lacked room.

"Can't we go outside, hey , let's go to the orchard, we can plug our radio in into the 'garden classes'".

With that argument even the cool kids in our class felt like joining in our little dance plan.   And so we all moved with the radio to the garden, we opened the window of the nearby classroom and we lined up in a few rows under the blossoming trees.

Right foot tip to right right 
Left foot tip  to left left 
right knee to the back back
left knee to the back back 
right knee to the left left 
left knee to the right right 
right foot kick left left
left foot kick right right
turn and jump/clap


repeat in all directions

We must have looked awfully silly (as one does when dancing the Hucklebuck)  when we got brutally interrupted by the principal's secretary who burst in to that garden classroom check where the noise and giggling came from.  No students were allowed in that area over lunch break. 
"Oh  I thought you were here unsupervised"
"No no, we're just dancing"  Little H. replied.

And so we did, a few more rounds.  I'm sure OMD never would have thought high school kids dance the hucklebuck on their hit. 


Friday, 30 January 2015

Coming back from Friesland: The closure dike & Hoorn

We woke up last Sunday with unpredicted rain...bleh, it didn't really make me very enthusiastic to get ready for a lot of visiting. Fortunately the rain would pass rather quickly.

This time we drove over the Closure Dike  during day time but still in heavy clouds.  We took a stop to profit a bit more from the view being at the 7,5m high 32km long dike, closing off the Wadden Sea from the created IJsselmeer (formerly a sea inlet).





Then we stopped at the Hoorn , a historic port at the IJsselmeer part of the Dutch East India Company. 














Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Made in Belgium: Stromae (updated)

5 years ago I blogged here how I heard Stromae for the very first time on the radio.  I predicted the hit of the year and I was right:  "Alors on danse" became a big number 1 hit in over 13 countries (mostly French-speaking regions) . He promptly won 6 Belgian music industry awards as newcomer.

In interviews Stromae revealed that he was afraid to be a one-hit wonder.  There was quickly a new single "Te quiro" but that wasn't exactly a new hit. For long he toured the world on the succes of "Alors on danse".   And then it was log silent.

In the spring of 2013 all of a sudden social media exploded because some people had filmed him completely drunk & hung over at a tram stop in Brussels.  Video here.
A week later he released his new single "Formidable" with a video clip of him....acting completely drunk in Brussels. Ha, it had all been part of a big launch plan. This guy knows how to play the game!  Stromae was a hype again and right with the timing of our national soccer team that was doing great in its selection campaigns for the upcoming world cup in 2014.   "Formidable " was immediately adopted as the theme song by the supporters (despite the the quite sarcastic & negative text of a break-up).




In the fall of 2013, he surprised me again with his genius trans-gender appearance his his clip & live performances of "thus les memes".   Genius, what a genius!





Since then, anything Stromae does becomes an international hit. And I love his music! And his weird style (although I wouldn't exactly buy any of the clothes of his clothing line now. They look great on Stromae because that's how he is but we don't really need to all start dressing like him, do we. But his socks are uber cool, that I must admit).

 

 The official supporter's song of the Belgian Red Devils team at the world cup soccer.

 


Original post here

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

70 years




Friesland: Leeuwarden & Franeker

In the past weekend we explored not only Harlingen, but also 2 more of the 11 Frisian cities:  Leeuwarden and Franeker.    When in Friesland in the middle of winter, it's not really the best timing to take the ferry to the islands and go bicycle riding, so we'll reserve that for another future visit one day in the summer.   Renting a boat and discovering the Frisian lakes is on the agenda then as well.
But during our short stay this time we concentrated on the small picturesque historic cities for a stroll and a snack. That was more than good enough.

In Leeuwarden, the province's capital was more people on the road than in Harlingen...but more quiet that the latter was impossible.  We managed somehow to park at 200m from the tourist office but missed it completely and then strolled a bit blindly through the old city.  In all honesty, I had expected more of the city.  Although clearly much bigger, with a visible business quarter etc, I don't think there was more to see than in Harlingen, except for some pretty good musea that we chose not to go into with Kabouter.

So after a fairly short visit to Leeuwarden, we returned and went to the city of Franeker.  After a short lunch, we walked a self-guided walk through this historic university city.  After that it had been sufficient visiting for Kabouter.  After 5 min in the car he was a sleep, but we only had to drive 10 min....Obviously he woke up and didn't sleep anymore once in the room.   After playing for a while, we went out back in the city for another dinner.

Leeuwarden









Franeker








Monday, 26 January 2015

We are sitting together

Sometimes he sits down on one of the 3 stairs that separate our living room and kitchen.
The stairs are just the right size for sitting for him at the moment and he tries that with a big smile:  

 up and down, 
up and down , 
wiggle legs, 
smile

Some of those moments I join him on that stair and I go and sit next to him. He looks sideways and breaks open in a huge smile.   He looks around if Jan is around, giggles as if he wants to say "look at us sitting here on the stair".

up and down, 
up and down , 
wiggle legs, 
smile 

And then all of a sudden he runs off, in search of new adventures.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Friesland or freezing land : Harlingen

Friday afternoon we took half a day off from work to drive before the announced black ice/snow that night  up up north to Friesland in the Netherlands.  We had booked there a small B&B hotel.

Whereas I had spent multiple get-aways with my family in Friesland visiting friends there   (my parents did a school exchange with a frisian school every 2 years and had made very good friends in the exchange process), Jan had never been there.


We had not really made a lot of plans beforehand as it was a very short stay, roads could be dangerously slippery (at night), I had a nasty cold and of course we always need to adapt our travel rhythm to Kabouter.     But we left in time, Kabouter slept well on the road, we didn't hit traffic around Amsterdam and with one short pit-stop we arrived at our destination nicely a quarter to six. Very comfortable to get into our room, get some playing time with our little man that finally got released from his car seat and then explore the city in the icy cold.    We found a nice eatery with a child corner  but we bravely stated we'd come back in 20 min after another walk to the beach.  ...well, we regretted that decision already by the end of the street.  The wind was an attack of little ice knifes into our faces.   Kabouter didn't understand and cried but we had to continue to the next spot where we could descend from the dike  (not far...but if the wind cuts your face, each step is too far).   So we quickly returned to the eatery for our dinner  to enjoy our food in the warmth :).


The next morning we woke up to a white landscape...not much, but just enough to have transformed the world.   Also as predicted, the sun came out and the world warmed up so roads in the sun were quickly snow free, whereas spots in the shade remained slippery.  But we enjoyed another stroll through the picturesque little town, this time in day-light and enjoyed the typical Dutch "grachten" full of boats.