An early night, as in anything before midnight, means I'm almost guaranteed an early morning.
5am and my mind kicked into gear, with remarkable clarity, driving me out of bed to escape the court hearing I seemed to be hosting in there.
Downstairs I made the usual selection, choosing between the Dutch-speaking Radio Nostalgia, and something similar in French. I take that forgranted now ... rarely wondering how a life would be lived in a country where radio was once again heard only in my language.
In Genova I slip easily into a routine that involves a glass of sparkling water, an espresso and a crema-filled pastry at breakfast. Here it's quite different. My coffee machine doesn't come close to making good espresso. My brioche becomes a couple of slices of a particular bread, covered with butter and peach jam. And the view is of the dining room and lounge here, as opposed to that piazza called Matteotti.
Soon there will be the chaos of an extended family going in different directions, each of them with their different needs. Dutch mixing with English, 'cereal or toast', an Earl Grey for him, water for her ... bicycles being rolled out the front door from their week-day resting place in the hall.
Then sometimes it's me rolling my bike out. Miss 10 and I ride through the massive park nearby, cycling to a school much closer than her previous one. We ride through the park, and then under the massive motorway that cuts our section of Antwerp city off from the centre. Sometimes we hold our breath as we pass under it but it's pointless I know. I see the brown air is all over Belgium when I fly from this country. As one of Europe's hubs, pollution levels are high.
It's almost 7am as I write this. Soon people will wake and, as something different, electricians are due at 8am. Something about the power company changing fuses ...
And so it begins ...