The house owners have returned, and my hideaway in the Belgian countryside is once again full of noise and life. It was quite nice to be greeted with the same hugs and kisses as the friends of the family – they’re very warm and affectionate with their greetings over here. I’m now sitting nervously in a corner of the living room as chaos happens all around me, just waiting for someone to exclaim in horror about how sad and droopy the house plants look, and feeling a bit out of place. Yep… it’s time to move on.
Belgium has been a nice experience. Mostly, it’s been seemingly endless days of tranquility, peace to do my work, long walks in the forest, and more mosquito bites than can possibly be my fair share. The occasional lunch in the village with a strong, rich Belgian (coffee, that is), excursions to a few cities, trips to the local market, and a couple of nice leisurely dinners and drinks with new friends. The wildlife is varied: I have witnessed the awesome power of mosquitos, been stung by two bees, patted a deer that came right up to the garden fence from the forest, been attacked by large, armoured bugs, had my finger almost severed by a parrot, and most recently discovered a family of moles – in addition to the bees – under the lawn.
I’ve seen a real Waterloo sunset, taken in the carpet of flowers at Brussels’ Grand Place, observed a Manneken Pis parade, eaten Belgian chips whilst walking down sunny cobbled side streets, driven on the right hand side of the road, been to a pool party with an international flavour, and learned to listen out for complicated train announcements and then scream for help. Unfortunately, my attempts to learn the language have been futile. I can now make the throaty sound that is required for the letter “r”, although I suspect that I sound like I’m choking when I do so, and I must leave my efforts at that.
Next stop: Rotterdam. If you have any suggestions about where to go, what to do, things to see, leave a comment – otherwise, be prepared for me to miss all the apparently obvious things and report back with stories about small, peeing statues again. Your choice.
Personally, I like stories of the small, peeing statues variety…