Crissay-sur-Manse: June 6th, 2000

Friday, 19 December 2014

Signed, sealed and delivered

You may have wondered where I had gone to. Nowhere! I've just been terribly busy. My mother's upcoming move to her new service flat requires a lot of red-tape. And then there is my job. As I mentioned before ... no peace for the wicked!

Let me fill you in on what happened since my last post.

We signed the lease on the flat on Dec. 5th. We were handed the keys and last Friday I visited the flat with a decorator who will freshen up the walls with a new coat of paint. Apart from that, I've been dealing with the paper work: future fire insurance, electricity, water and telephone bills ... contacting the moving company, getting the required boxes, buying some new furniture, because the old stuff won't fit in or is too old (outdated) to move into the new flat. Measuring up windows to see whether the existing curtains will fit in the new flat ... etc.

The living room. 
We brought in the chairs today so that the decorator
has something to sit on when he eats his lunch.

Not to mention: keeping my mother happy and motivated. She's looking forward to her new place, but I can feel that she sometimes feels sad and anxious. The new flat is full of electronic gadgets, most of which are rather puzzling ... even to me. I try to reassure her, telling her everything will be fine and that she will be very happy there. Remains the fact though that she has lived in her house for the last 65 years. She moved in in 1950 as a young bride and never had to pack up to move to another place. Being 'de-rooted' at the age of 86 must be quite upsetting.

The living room, kitchen and hallway.
On the left, the door to a very spacious bedroom.

I'm posting some photos of the flat now that is still empty. I may be posting some more when the paint job is done. After that, I will respect my mother's privacy. So there will be no photos of the final result.

Monday, 8 December 2014

No peace for the wicked

I've just noticed that I haven't posted on this blog since November, 22nd. Shame on me! Especially as you've been writing such nice comments and even e-mails with useful and much welcome advice. Please accept my sincere apologies.

So much has happened since I last posted. First of all, there was the fact that my mother 'won the lottery', by gaining access to this wonderful Service Flat. But more about that later. As I mentioned before, we received the good news on Tuesday, November 18th - after a first refusal the day before. You can read all about that here.

Then, on Thursday, November 20th, I went shopping for a new car. I had two dealers/brands on my list ... just for this first visit. There was bound to be a second shopping trip ... Until I came across this beauty ...

Don't worry about the radiator grid. It's in perfect condition.
The distortions are due to my poor photo shopping skills. 

The photo above is one of the car as I saw it on that very day. It still had the previous owner's license plates on it, So I tried to blot it out using Photoshop (unsuccessfully, I admit). 

It's a Toyota Yaris Hybrid. It has two engines: one that runs on electricity and the other on petrol. It's a 2012-built with hardly 30,000 km on the meter. From a first owner. It's exactly what I was looking for ... the Hybrid feature, I mean. A brand new was over my budget. This one was and is perfect though; model- en price-wise.

I bought it right there and then and picked it up on November, 28th. I've been driving around in it ever since and it's a real beauty. Last Thursday I had it fitted with winter tyres, because some snow has already fallen in several parts of Belgium. Not where I live. Yet, my mother tells me she can feel it in her bones ... a sign that snow is coming. Or maybe she's just getting cold feet about the upcoming move?!

A move, implying that I have some very busy weeks and months ahead, but I'll keep you posted as much as I can. 

Note to Bob: I'll soon contact you by e-mail.

Saturday, 22 November 2014


If my longtime memory serves me right, 2014 must have been the dullest year in my life ... until two weeks ago. I didn't have a proper a holiday. I did take the odd week off, but never went anywhere. I think the highlight of the year was my birthday in April, which I spent with my English blog friends Veronica and Sue. We visited Leuven, had a nice lunch, climbed the clock tower of the university library and did some great beer tasting.

For the last two weeks, though, I feel like being caught in a vortex. All of a sudden my mother is entitled to a service flat. And we have to start planning the move and everything that comes with it: decorating, packing and all the red tape that comes with it. And I'm not even mentioning the actual move, which is planned for the first week of February. And then, I will have to start thinking about the house, remove the excess furniture and putting it up for sale.

And then there is this other matter that needs urgent attention!

Since last year I have been toying with the idea of buying a new car. My little Corsa is 8 years old and the automatic transmission has been playing up lately. I had the same trouble 5 years ago when the car was only 3 years old. At the time the repairs cost close to a 1,000 euros. Worth every cent as it was a relatively new car. Today, the car itself is worth a mere 2,000 euros ... so spending another 1,000 on repairs is not sensible.

I have had different cars in mind. Yet, lately I have become interested in an Hybrid (electric + fuel) car, considering I spend a lot of time in traffic jams, where a Hybrid is an very economical solution. However, the price of a new Hybrid is well over my budget. 

So, last Thursday we went car shopping and our local Toyota dealer was first on my list. Toyota has a longstanding (excellent) reputation when it comes to Hybrid cars. Before walking into the showroom where the salesmen where hovering around like vultures looking for unsuspecting prey, I told myself to be sensible and not get excited or carried away by unnecessary gadgets and accessories.

more to come ... I'm sure