So yeah ... it's snowing again.

I took the photograph on 13 March but looking out from my window today, the scene is exactly the same. 

March 20, 2013 and it's snowing.  As I set out across the city on the school run at 7.20am it was all about the umbrella, the correct amount of layers to protect us from the wet cold rain.  On the return, lost in a book on the tram, I looked up and discovered that 'outside' had turned into yet another horrid snowy winter's day.

To try and break the misery that is Antwerp this winter, Gert and I disappeared over to France, to the summer playground of the Parisians ... on a cheap Sunday night deal last weekend.  It rained but I was on a roadtrip and has always delighted me.

Although ... he had fallen on ice last week and sprained his wrist.  Slowly slowly he is healing.  The roads here are lethal in snow and ice, especially the shiny new bricks they've laid on the round-abouts.  He fell crossing the one near home.  We were talking on the phone at the time, and I was feeling particularly miserable after making a freezing cold, roadwork-infested, cross-city trek.

There's nothing quite like hearing the Belgian bloke crash to the ground and lie groaning while seperated by  more than a few kilometres.  I arrived home just in time to head off to A&E with him.  Oh yes, that was a long day.

I suspect I shall be giddy with delight when the temperature goes up and the snow finally stops because it really is Spring.  And rumour has it that these 2 hour city treks will be over as of the Easter holidays.  I really need them to be.  Antwerp, and its current mania for both roadworks and house improvements that seriously impede any progress along the pathways and tramways I take, is a bit like having my own seriously dark and snow-filled cloud over my head at all times.

And so, on that happy note .... tot straks.

Winter in Antwerp ...

These mornings, returning from the 7.30am school run, I stink of the pollution that's out there in this city. 

It was -10 celsius today, with frozen snow everywhere, and the 100,000+ per-day highway that cuts the city in half was roaring with traffic from all over Europe.  My hair and my skin stink of the fumes.  It reminds me of Istanbul on its worst polluted days, that city of 14 million+ but here there are no sea winds to blow the hugely polluted air someplace else.

They tell us that the weather will continue to hover around minus 10 overnight, rising to zero celsius, if we're lucky, with some more cold-cold coming over the weekend.

And so it is, winter in Belgium.  I might just concentrate on those photographs taken back in New Zealand.  This plant was spotted down in the garden of Christine's parents ...


Winter in Antwerp ...

It has been difficult to return to this European winter ... return from swimming and wading at various beaches all over New Zealand.  Difficult to return from a country where you squint in the sun  ... to a country where the sun makes an occasional appearance.

Difficult ... yes.  Very.

But I filled my life with projects, as is my way.  And they're all EXCITING.

And there are lots of projects because other people are so interesting however ... there's only one of me and this attempt to not miss New Zealand has become a nightmare of a workload. 

I have 5 major projects.  These last two days have been spent, head-in-hands oftentimes, as I recognise that I might have over-committed myself, in ways that I seem to specialise in.

Each project is brilliant.  Some have been underway for a while.  Some involve 1,000s of photographs I have yet to process.  Others are future plans that excite the hell out of me.

Anyway, here's a glimpse from the other day when I wandered into the city in search of boots for the snow.  I found these boots and they were cheaper than the price listed here ... half price in fact. 

And the guy that sold them to me was the nicest guy.  We chatted about the countries we come from while I shopped for my boots.  A huge thank you has to go to him because shopping in Antwerp isn't always fun and the people aren't always friendly.  When I find the receipt, I'll come back and tell you which shop I bought them in ... so you can pop in too.

And so it is ...

Snow has arrived here in Antwerp.

It's cold, damn cold.  I woke at 3am and padded through the house, trying to work out if I could turn the heating up.  It goes way down at night. It was 14 celsius inside ... it didn't feel quite right. 

It's snowing again as I write this meanwhile a tram derailed over on the Leftbank here and it's a little messy when it comes to getting past Central Station on Tram 5.  But I need more Nespresso coffee capsules, just till a delivery can be made.

Sigh.  I'm going to get snowed on. 

In good news, my voice recorder arrived in the mail today.  Interviews can happen again.  I lost mine in New Zealand and was so sad.  I am so careful with my equipment, so very careful usually.

Anyway ... outside just now.

A New Post on the Antwerp page

There has been a real sense of storing impressions ... of really looking, as I walk city streets in these days before flying back home to New Zealand ...

This is the opening to a new blog post I wrote for Fans of Flanders, and posted on my Antwerp page but even as I write this here, I'm thinking maybe I need to create a New Zealand page.

I'll leave you with another image from New Zealand photographer, and good friend, David Wall.

Must finish packing ... tot later.


View from the MAS Museum, Antwerp

I went out into the city searching for beauty today.  It had started well this morning ... there was blue sky and sunshine but I moved too slowly and voila, by the time I left the house, it was grey.

A few weeks ago, I had made one fast family visit to Antwerp's relatively new MAS museum and had found myself wondering whether the top floor might not feed my need for a view.  It's not bad but, by crikey, it's flat here.