Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our mirror garden shack

What to do with a mini city garden where you have to store bikes, bbq, garbage bins?
What to do with a mini city garden that you want to "enlarge"?
What to do with a mini city garden if you want to add a modern touch to it?

Well....a long time ago we envisioned a garden wardrobe with lots of squares (repeating theme from the living room cupboards) but with smokey mirrors.   My handy father-in-law (who also made our wonderful basement staircase) started designing and welding.   Due to many reasons the project got a lot of delay but this weekend the installement in our garden has started and it's immediately a huge difference. Wooohoo, so exciting!

So what do you think?

(we'll fix the grass after all those works are done)


This week I got to participate in my first Western European IT meeting since being in my new role, meeting the IT managers I work with but whom I only knew by e-mail or phone so far. Even better was the fact that the meeting was hosted by our Swiss colleagues:   hotel with gorgeous view on lake and snow white mountains, raclette in the evening, ....  I told my boss I am really enjoying my new job like that and that this meeting has set high expectations for the next meetings to come.  The answer was swift and clear "Well, you've simply joined at our peak". :p  So I guess I'll prepare myself for the next weeks and months in the office again ;).

But the peak can be taken quite literally as we took the opportunity for some "high-level" team building. That quite beats being in the office!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Made in Belgium: Arid

One of the most remarkable voices in the Belgian rock music is the one of Jasper Steverlinck. His band launched some succesful albums at the beginning of last decade, after which Jasper started a solo-career and worked on voice acting in animation films.  But in 2008 Arid recorded a new album and now they are totally back :)

You are - 2002

broken dancer - 2010

een hart van goud - 2010  (a tribute cover from/for Will Tura who turned 70)

Me and my melody - 2000

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lovely spring walk

Today we went for a walk between the Botrange and the German border...a vast area of woods and moor lands/fens with very few other people out there.

This little black lake has already been featured here.

Some snags in a rare part of the woods with beeches

The highest level of forestry activity I've seen around here over a year.

At the highest point of our walk (620m), we had a nice view of the valleys down below. We live a few km in front of that little tower at the horizon in the middle, more down in the Warche valley. Can you spot our neighbour cat :p?

A monument for Russian war prisoners put to forced labor in these woods by the German occupier.

My  name is Camouflage

Jan's favourite cows, some sort of highlanders that are more and more bred (again) here at the highest point of Belgium where the winters are pretty harsh.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring's around the corner

Spent a lovely afternoon at my parent's place and we got to enjoy the first warmth of the sun this year. It was actually quite nice already out of the sun!

Now I'm back in the Ardennes where it still freezes at night, so enjoying the fire going. 
By the way, the moon tonight was absolutely spectacular! I took about 2 dozen messed up pictures, even from a highway parking lot but they really do not show the reality.  Afterwards I heard that the moon is the closest to earth in many many years and looks therefore 14% bigger and closer than usual.  It really looked like a huge ball just next to the road. 

Only in Belgium

Jan made some fabulous "boulettes de Li├Ęges" tonight and I drove to the village to get some fries to serve along.  So when I left the local fries shop with the package of deliciously smelling golden goodies and drove back, I noticed there's a police check-point next to the road.   They signaled me to stop so I pulled to the side of the road.

P:  "Good evening, can you show us your driver's licence, car registration, car insurance, ...."
G: "Yes of course."
[pulling my driver's license out of my wallet and handing it over, then grabbing the booklet holding the other documentation]
P: " just got fries."
G: "Euh yes indeed." [while browsing through the folder trying to get the right papers out asap]
P: "Oh well your front light is broken, you must get it fixed as soon as you can, but you can go home now and eat your fries"
G: "My light?????  Really, I hadn't noticed(*)....sure ok. Do you still need my papers?" [waving with my booklet with half pulled out documents]
P: "No that's ok, have a nice dinner"

Ha, never underestimate the power of Belgian fries!

(*) seriously with that moon out, I had not noticed !

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Made in Belgium: Red Zebra

Time for another classic that survives generation after generation.  For a long time I didn't know this post punk-group was Belgian. Perfect to dance on an a traditional party in the middle of the night jumping around in little circles until you are completely out of breath and dizzy but still putting a finger up "I can't live in a living room".
Apparently the group split at the end of was news to me that they still existed :p.

Can't live in a living room - 1980

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Birthday party

Last Sunday we sang happy birthday for my youngest nephew at a cute little birthday party. Cake, balloons, lots of new toys, family & friends, cards that make music, a yummy buffet.... all the ingredients for some good fun.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Busy & tiring but fulfilling weekend

The goal was to get the entire bathroom painted and I succeeded . Hurraaaaaaaay

but there was time for some visiting friends , some short walks ... and literally crashing on the sofa

Good night

Friday, March 11, 2011


Just spent 4 hours on the train, to  leave Amsterdam and the Dutch on a sunny afternoon, cross Flanders, cross Wallonia to get out in German-speaking Belgium. Ha, feels like I've just travelled for days and passed through half of the world. But really it was just my evening commute for this week .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Made in Belgium: Clement Peerens Xpl...

Some groups start off as a joke in a popular radio program "Het Leugenpaleis" where one of the comical sketches were centered around "Clement Peerens", a non-polical matcho from Antwerp, who was a self-proclaimed pop expert who vented his opinions on his colleagues of the music industry. 

However if the participants are that good and that professional and they get the idea to form a real group around the gimmick, then success is guarenteed. Especially if the radio program gets transformed in an comic tv show full of absurd sketches "het Peulengaleis".  The spin-off music band  has already released 4 CD's full of music with high cultural titles such as  "don't you think my ass is too fat in this skirt"   "Come one give me that remote control" "fair bitch"  .   Hahaha, fun, absurd to go and see them and yet so professional (all are professional mucisians in other bands  eg Bart Peeters, Ronny Mosuse, Hugo Matthijsen, ...  You can never have too many parody bands :). Too bad most of my readers don't understand the Antwerp dialect

Vinde ga mijn gat

Gef da kaske na eens hier

dikke lu - 1994

Monday, March 7, 2011

aaah there we are again

Remember that we (Belgians) were officially gone

Well fortunately they got it sorted out: the 10.839.905 of us are now back, all counted and approved, and apparently we've never be gone anyway. yeay.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I sort of knew my planning was a bit too ambitious though...

Due to the unexpected visit from my brother-in-law and his family, I didn't quite make my planning but I have enjoyed the sudden occasion to go out for lunch with the extended family and enjoying a lovely meal in the sun behind the glass in the restaurant.

Nevertheless I still made my goal to finish the bathroom with glassfiber paper all round, ready to get painted next weekend, while Jan is trying to make the attic in a usable place. And that primer on the tiles which didn't happen anymore...oh well, that'll be next weekend as well :p. The important thing is that things keep changing. 

My bare walls since yesterday, enjoying the lovely sun

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Just a perfect day

After an exhausting week full of changes, meeting new people and juggling 2 jobs (getting a hand-over and giving a hand-over) , long hours and a mind that felt like exploding

After hardly seeing Jan in 5 days

I finally arrived in the Ardennes last night and I got to sleep in
...and I was woken up by Jan who dropped my favourite neighbour cat who had come over for a visit on our bed
...and I had a long lazy breakfast and some surfing time in the sofa
...after which I tackled the bathroom  further.  After the styrofoam had been gone, it was now time to attack the different layers of harmed & ugly wall paper underneath. And the walls that were still lacking the faintest bit of paint now got primer so they are ready for a fresh start tomorrow.  Big papering & painting plans ahead :)

...after a nice stonegrill dinner it is now time to retire next to the fireplace

Aaah a perfect day :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Made in Belgium: The Confetti's

At the end of elementary school we were all taken over by a new hype:  New Beat. We were all dressed in fluorescent colored T-shirts, lycra shorts and stuck bright smiley pins everywhere we could.  And we were all dancing to "the Sound of C".

Little did we know that this "New Beat" was in such a degree commercialized by the Confitti's that all top DJ's no longer wanted to be tied to this style. Belgian DJ's had developed this style in the mid-80ies by pitching records to a lower speed.  But we kids were oblivious to what was happening in the clubs....the pins with smileys on the contrary were pretty popular.  And we liked the funny looking tall Peter Renkens from the Confetti's.  And we were so proud that a Belgian music style took over the least for a year or so.   Then Belgium and the rest of music moved on to house and other types of electronic dance music.  And fortunately the horrid new beat fashion never came back either.

This is the sound of C

C in China