Wiinter has finally arrived. I've been trying to ignore it, despite preferring that the seasons come and go in a natural way, however ... minus 20 celsius is simply rude.
And I wouldn't know about -20 celsius (reached due to a -11 frost the other day and combined with windchill factor) but I sometimes get to do the 2 hour-round-trip that is getting Miss 7 to school this year. 4 trams and some brisk walking. A trip that involves a leather and sheepskin coat that weighs as much as an adult polar bear (my estimate in terms of weight) and multiple layers, with hiking boots, hat, gloves, and a scarf.
Tomorrow we have to be out the door by 7.30am and this morning, the radio weather people predicted a temp of -20 celsius. I'm not excited about this. I arrive home completely drained by the freezing cold bleak cityscape. As I write this, at 9.31am, I checked in on my old blog and the weather there ... it's still -11.
I phoned Gert. He works in one of the old guild houses in the city ... the pipes are frozen there. They
have no water. He's a bit glum too.
However,the sun is shining. The heaters at home are working. I did pick up my camera in an attempt to ward off thinking of the fact I have to race across the city later this afternoon. I did see some nice light outside. It's the view out the window behind me, here at my desk.
Yes that is snow.
Yes really, many Belgian home owners don't clear snow from the pavements outside their house.
Yes, walking anyplace here at the moment is increasingly treacherous as it freezes and freezes.
Well yes ... Monday is feeling kind of challenging, actually. I'm here trying to write myself into a better mood. It's not working, is it :-)
My very first newsletter is due out tomorrow. If you would like to take a look, leave a comment and I will forward you a copy. The first is going out to Everyone I know ... just that one time, then you are welcome to subscribe if it seems like something you would like to continue receiving.
And now ... to work. Tot ziens.
Nina’s Ornamental blog is the place I wander to when I’m in need of that feeling I found in New Zealand.
I used to live in this funny little cottage with huge windows on the edge of a harbour, and I had a beach for each mood back in Dunedin. And there was a creek my Labrador and I ran away to when we lived in the mountains beside Fiordland National Park. Lake Te Anau did just as well.
There was a tiny road that twisted and turned, taking us to a small bay in Marlborough Sounds while we lived on the Airforce Base in Blenheim, and there once was a place where the mighty Clutha River flowed into a smaller quieter side-stream and that became ‘our place’ while we were living in Cromwell ... although some days we’d throw off our responsibilities and race through the Kawara Gorge to visit the Arrow River in Arrowtown.
My dog was a wanderer too and travelled all over New Zealand with us. She died at 16.
I always had a special place and a dog in New Zealand. Here, in Belgium, I miss the wild peace of home. Just ‘being’ in Nature is far more difficult, perhaps because Nature is much less powerful by virtue of so many centuries of ‘civilisation’.
I’m looking for a golden labrador crossbred with some kind of sheepdog because I’ve had labradors since I was 9 and the best was a crossbreed.
Meanwhile I couldn’t resist parking my bike and taking this photograph because the scenery on the way from the new house to the old apartment is nothing to sneeze at ...
Tot straks from Belgium.
I had passed by Cafe Stanny on the train as I travelled to and from Brussels city, and I have slid by it via the Number 8 tram so many times but I had never quite managed to step off and visit its red and welcoming friendliness.
Today, I had no destination in mind, I was simply escaping a really bad day and so there was nothing to lose as I climbed off Tram 8 with my small travelling laptop.
Cafe Stanny’s lunch menu is diverse enough to offer something for everyone, with soups, breads with a range of fillings and things I can’t quite remember. I chose a most divine bacon and onion omlette for lunch and it came with a soft brown heavily-grained bread that was delicious.
The music indicates good taste (an important criteria when wandering, laptop in hand). The atmosphere, now that it is summer, is open door with benches both inside and out. The staff were friendly and the decor lovely - appealing and a tug on the strings of memory for this kiwi so far from home. A deep blue bar/counter with stools, and stools along the high tables at the two large windows in the front.
Back in winter, I remember being attracted to the warmth of Cafe Stanny’s red exterior and the promise of its fogged up windows, clients bicycles piled up outside calling to me in but I was rushing, always rushing through that stretch of the city between here and there, I never made time to detour a little.
Cafe Stanny’s is lovely, a new favourite of mine but come see for yourself.
It’s at Stanleystraat 1, 2018 Antwerpen, located on the Tram 8 line and close to Berchem Railway Station ... seen from the train on the left side as you pull into the station (I think).
You can’t miss the red.