Crissay-sur-Manse: June 6th, 2000

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Journée du Patrimoine

Today is the 'Journée du Patrimoine' - 'Open Monumentendag' in  Flanders. This yearly event was established in 2001. I think it's a copy of the 'Journée du Patrimoine which is a recurrent event in France. 

I remember being in France in September in the late 80-ties and 90-ties, visiting the Tour the Vetz and the Château de Pierrefonds in the Champagne-Ardennes region on one of these 'Journées'. It was fun and free! I think I still have some photos of those two visits. Paper copies, of course ... no digital cameras in those these ... I'll try and find them for you.

In the meantime here's a scan of a 1914 postcard of a castle that used to be the pride of our village before it was burned down by the invading German army in 1914.  What a shame!

The photo was published in our local newspaper a few days ago. I didn't recognize it as one of the two castles/manors that are still standing. So I showed it to my mother, who immediately knew where it used to be ... although she never saw it in real life, because it was torn down after the fire. By the time my mother was born (1928) the grounds on which it used to stand, had been divided into small building parcels. Today it's a nice quiet street featuring some stately villa's and ... a 1970-ties apartment building.

**** Update: I posted the above while preparing Sunday lunch. In the meantime I've been over to my mother's and guess what she has come up with since I've shown her the newspaper clipping yesterday:

An 'eye-witness' photo of the damaged castle not long after the fire...

Sorry for the poor quality. Even my brand-new scanner isn't up to the challenge of bringing an almost 100 year-old picture back to life.

And a photo of the chateau in its full glory ...


Monday, 8 September 2014

Leuven - the end (for now)

Okay, it's time for me to update you on the rest of my Leuven trips. Let's start with the most recent one, the one with my friend and colleague F. After a short shopping spree, we ended up on a sunlit terrace offering a splendid view of the 15-16th century town-hall. 

We were in luck with the weather. I think it was the only morning in August that it didn't rain and that the sun was nice and warm. We both had a summery Mojito cocktail. I usually don't drink cocktails, because I find them too strong and the mixture of different types of liquor doesn't really agree with me. But I do like the occasional Mojito. This one was particular nice and refreshing as it contained only the slightest 'soupçon' of rum. A lot of fresh mint and crushed ice... perfect. F. had a Mojito too and we enjoyed sipping it, discussing the latest office gossip ... Ahhh, that's what girls like best!

A delicious Mojito. 
Do you like cocktails? And what's your favourite?

After our drink we had lunch at my favourite Leuven restaurant, Kokoon. To F., it was a new experience and I think she enjoyed it. By half past three, we decided to call it a day. F. had to work the next day - I had the rest of the week off - and she still had some household chores to see to. I accompanied her to her car and then made my way to the bus-stop, where I ran into an elderly couple who lives nearby. In the sixties their daughter and I used to walk to school together and it was really nice catching up on the latest family news on the bus-ride home.

A typical Leuven street scene.
During the academic year scores of students on bikes are crossing this street.
This was August after all.

Back at my mother's, I gave her a full account of my day out while she unwrapped her shopping items. All the time I was crossing my fingers, as I know that she has some pretty fixed ideas on what she wants. To my surprise I got a straight A! She particularly liked the warm, sheep-skinned lined slippers I bought.

Well, that's all about my recent trip to Leuven. I hope to return soon for some more shopping and photos to share.

The former post office. Today a beauty-store!

In the meantime here are the last photos in the series of my trip to Leuven with my English friends V. and S. I hope you'll enjoy them.

April 2014: Beer tasting - three different flavours, from mild over medium to strong.
Can you guess which was the strongest?

Medieval street view, not unlike Canterbury.In the background, the famous Leuven townhall. 

V. and S. sitting on the 'Kotmadam's' bench.
Click on the link to learn more about the 'Kotmadam'.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Sand in my hair ...

With a title like that, you'll probably think that I'm at the seaside. We have a beautiful 60 km long shoreline here in Belgium, with nice sandy beaches and dunes. It's very popular with Belgian and foreign tourists, even when the weather is autumn-like like last week.

But that isn't were I got the sand in my hair. It happened right here, on my doorstep. Just have a look at this:

Looking up from the balcony.

On Tuesday morning, when I left for work, a huge truck loaded with over-sized Meccano pieces was parked across the street. When I got home in the afternoon, our facade was hidden behind an intricate scaffolding structure. For the last three days nimble men have been climbing up and down carrying high-pressure water-guns. They are sandblasting the bricks, bringing back to life their original 1990's colour . 

You're fine as long as you stay inside with the windows firmly closed. When you go out, however, you need an umbrella because the sandy water is dripping through the holes in the metal foot plates. I learnt the hard way and got my first sandy shower on Thursday. Yesterday I avoided another shower by taking the required umbrella. My car got a load of it too. I bet its new spotted look will attract a lot of attention in the underground car park at the office on Monday.

The sandblasting job should be done by Tuesday. After which we can start cleaning up: washing windows, taking the car to the car wash ... In the meantime I'm curious to see the final result, when the scaffolding will have been removed. I suspect that by Wednesday, life will be back to normal in our spic-and-span apartment building.