Monday, April 30, 2012

It really is that easy to hypnotise a chicken

Ever seen on tv or on youtube how to hypnotise a chicken? If not you really must search for it on youtube, it is hilarous.'s so easy to do.  I just tried last weekend.

1. Take a fairly calm chicken that is approachable (unless you want to get scratched)

2. Put it down gently, try to lay the legs backwards so it's belly rests well on the ground
3. Keep it's head low to the ground
4. Draw a line on the ground starting from it's nose further away from it.
5. Back off and watch a sleeping chicken

6. Pick up the chicken and put it back on its legs before your public starts to worry about "and now?"  and see how it wakes up and walks off

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Communion party inventory

A good traditional communion party in Belgium needs the following ingredients

1) a child who just did his/her first communion: check

2) Food    ...and more food   and some more followed by desert  : check

Traditional icelamb

3) Family who preferably bring a lot more kids along: check

Nieces that show up in the same dress totally by coincidence

4) A great location: check

5) Room to run around and play outside for the kids : check



5) Sun is optional but a real plus, especially after a horrendous stormy fall week



Friday, April 27, 2012

Supporters on tv

Oh yeah, forgot to tell that at the race Liege - Bastogne - Liege last weekend, we were on tv :)  . Down there on the right bottom , with my purple rain pants on. Funny to see that afterwards.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

How the Dutch government is trying to fill it's budgetary deficit in a creative way

It's was already clear for a while but since last weekend it's now all over global newspapers:   the Dutch government has a big problem with budgetary discipline and sticking to the rule in the Maastricht treaty (made under Dutch presidency) to keep the deficit below 3%.    Quite ironically, since last year they criticized all other European countries on this point.

Even though their government crashed , they must have found a creative way to find some money:  Let's send the Belgians some faulty fines and charge administration costs!
Yep yep, you should have seen my face when I opened a letter from the leasing company yesterday evening. The letter claimed that I could clone myself and drive around at too high speed in Utrecht while I was also waiting for the carpenter to come with new windows a few 100 kms further.  And this clone was amazingly driving around already at 7 AM, something the original version would not easily do.

Anyway...a fine for a traffic infringement I did not commit , which I could contest while remaining responsible for the administration costs. yeah right.

So this morning I phoned to the number mentioned on the document
"In which city do you want to be" was the confusing greeting I got on the phone.   Euh I'd like to be in Sharm el Sheikh but that seemed rather irrelevant at the moment. 
"excuse me I have received a fine and .."
"in which city"
"I belief there is a mistake and would....
"in which city"
"ah...a fine in Utrecht"
"on the highway or not"
"well, I don't know the place on there"
"highway or not"
"must be city center somewhere"
"ok, I'll connect you"

[yes thank you for your help, I hope someone makes you smile today to lighten you up]
I explained in Utrecht the reason for my call, received a new national phone number 'specifically for foreigners that call for fines' , got reconnected to Utrecht because surely this was a local police fine,   got redirected to a different department who might consult the file  and finally got the question "which file number?"
Half an hour later I got the confirmation that it was not my license plate on the picture and that I'd receive a correcting document in the mail.  Spelling my address with my Flemish Dutch alphabet seemed to be a bit problematic but I am currently hoping to get mail from the Netherlands by the end of the next week.

But do remind me in 2 weeks that I might need to file an official complaint after all within the never know when the Dutch are seeking new sources for money  ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Made in Belgium: Malibu Stacy

When I started this "Made in Belgium" series 2,5 years ago I painfully realised I knew little or no bands from Wallonia.  Blogging about Belgian music did widen my radar when listening to the radio and discovering new things that turn out to be Belgian too.    I really really appreciated the "La Musique fait la force" program on Studio Brussel and Pure FM last February , a rare joint bilingual radio program broadcast on both sides of the language border that splits our little country.  Fabulous concept, should be repeated much more frequently.  So much more new cool bands to discover and taste more off.

Malibu Stacy is a group I heard then.
Malibu Stacy is a group from Liege. They wan the Concours Circuit, a sort of Wallonian Rock Rally? , in 2004. So what do you think? Should we get to know them better in the north?

Razorback - 2011

 Los Angeles - 2006

Monday, April 23, 2012

Liege - Bastogne - Liege

The cycling spring classics are almost over and the tours will start in the coming months.  But today was one of the last major classics in Belgium: Liege- Bastogne - Liege conquering the slopes of the Ardennes...and very appropriately coming by nearby us at 20 kms.  In fact the Tour de France in 2010 followed the itinerary of this classic.  And then it's always fun to go and see them ride by at 10cm from your own nose and catch the atmosphere.

This time we went to Stavelot village and climbed the next hill after the cyclist come from Wannes a few kms before.

Stavelot Abbey

Stavelot Abbey at the Amblève
The well known climb there "Cote de Stockeu" was painful to walk up, let alone to race it  up by bike.

The monument on top of the Stockeu honoring Eddy Merckx, our biggest cycling champion. The list of victories listed is impressive: eg 5 times Giro, 5 times Tour the France, 3 times word champion, ....and also 5 times Liege - Bastogne - Liege.

The advertising cars were rather pathetic  and the crowd was still pretty thin but by the time the race approached it was getting better and more and more public took place along the tiny climbing road.

Listening to the radio
When the helicopters approach and the nearby horses get nervous, you know they are coming!

5 leaders a few minutes ahead

the pelleton with the favourits on top: Andy Schleck seemingly pushing someone aside, Philippe Gilbert 3rd row

And by the time they disappeared the sun disappeared again and we just made it down the hill with the crowd to reach the car when it started to hail. We could warm up at home in front of tv to watch the end of the race.  Unfortunately our favourite Philippe Gilbert couldn't show his top level .

And now we've got July 1st written in our agenda when the Tour the France will pass by even a few kms closer to our home again , through Malmedy.  Yeay.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Whimsical April

"Let's fix the fence now first, now that it is dry"
...[everyone getting his jacket and dirty shoes]
"Oh we'll have to wait, it just started to rain again"

A few hours later I'm cruising in my car under a beautiful sun with some music on. 
... until to my left it looks dark grey with a big rainbow.

And then the road turns out to be wet splashing drips on my screen from the previous cars which were riding in their own little rainbows with the bright sun behind me.

Red flashlights warn me an accident on the opposite direction with a car parked  in the opposite direction on the highway.   Only a few kms further some more cars seem to have unsoftly touched each other with more deployment of firetrucks & ambulances. Yikes, that wet road with blinding sun in their direction seems scary.

Huh, was that snow in the middle of the road? I am imagining things. No, no I don't, there is white stuff on the right as well. Definitely more white now, even in between the lanes.  Ok can't be snow, melting hail then.  Doesn't make me feel good to be driving towards that dark grey sky ahead.

When I finally got home and just was inside, we had a snow shower.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Made in Belgium: The Pebbles

As a little girl there were popular Soundmix shows & Playback shows on tv...the predecessors of the "Idols" and "..has talent" and other international formats.  I loved to watch.

There was always someone in the jury and I always wondered who the hell Fred Bekky was and why he'd be an expert in music.   Only later on I discovered that a classic old music hit "7 horses in the sky " was in fact a Belgian hit and that  Fred Bekky was part of the Pebbles.   Lyrics & Music of this huge hit on his name.

7 horses in the sky - 1968

Sunday, April 15, 2012


A few weekends ago I was painting at my parents home, refreshing their office room. And everyone knows that paint doesn't stick properly to the walls unless there's some good music.  It turned out to be the top 99 of the 90ies hitparade that day.  Man man man, what a combination to guarantee a day of flashbacks.

Amazing how you can grow up in a decade of music....from happy smooth pop sounds and tween celeb crushes ( Berre Bergen van de Kreuners, Michael Jackson, Vanilla Ice) very light dance music when I started to get interested in going to parties and practiced secretly dancing in my room in front of the mirror (Haddaway, Culture Beat, Ace of Base, ...)  while I mocked the naieve young girls that clinged to those ridiculous boysbands (Good Shape, Backstreet boys, Get Ready) .  However to be cool, I claimed my sister's tape collection and (re)discovered the 80ies classics. After all, none of this weak commercial stuff could ever beat the early LP's from The Cure, David Bowie and U2, right?
Once at university I could still enjoy some loud & commercial beats (2 Fabiola, Gala, Milk Inc, Sash!, Fiocco) during parties, but I really was into folk with some developing interest in rock/alternative music (Alanis Morisette, K's Choice, Liquido, Faithless, ...).  Good taste comes with age right :)

It was funny that while painting and hearing all this music my mind flashed constantly to camp dances, school lunches, homework in my room, birthday parties from friends, vacation in Spain etc... So cool how music triggers memories and indulged me all day in a huge flashback to my teenage & student years. We completed the weekend theme with a dinner with an old elementary/high school friend of mine whome I had not seen in years.  Fun!

Jan started scanning old pictures last Friday. Promptly I needed to do so too. Another thing I've been wanting to do for so long but never happened.   Unfortunately a bunch of negatives seem lost which makes it more labour intensive, but my trip through California , Nevada & Arizona have been done.  Oooooh all the memories, the fun, the stories.  I miss the gang and the good times.  Can't belief it's been that long already!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Made in Belgium: Sioen

Frederic Sioen seems like the most sympathetic neighbour boy who will pull out his guitar at the local barbecue and will turn the party in a fun but cosy party. Isn't cruising like the perfect song to doze off in the garden?

He's also known for his social interest, having organised the 0110 anti-racism concerts in Belgium at Oct 1st, 2006 after some racist murders  These concerts brought out thousands of people in simultaneous concerts in all Belgian cities with live tv broadcast.  After that he went for Oxfam to South-Africa and since then he sometimes collaborates with mucisians from Soweto.

Over the last years I thought it had grown silent around Sioen but now in 2012 he's completely back. yeay.

 Cruising - 2003

No conspiracy at all - 2007

 I'm not ready to love you like I do - 2012

Bad bad world - 2012

Automatic - 2009

Monday, April 9, 2012

Last weekends local wild life

  • We saw 2 deer this weekend of which I have no pictures.
  • Then this little fellow crossed our path : can you see what it is? it was quickly hiding in the leafs

A European wall lizard??

  • Then these 3 friends are "praying" above our valley constantly and we can watch them from our windows. It's tail makes me guess it's a red kite and some friends that are more knowledgable on wildlife, confirmed.