This past week has been so restful. Koos and I have been at the little house in Westdorpe, and to be honest I have no clear idea what we've been doing apart from sleeping, painting windows and doors, walking and (for me) writing. Nothing has been particularly rushed, and we haven't been very far either. To Ghent a couple of times, once to a second hand furniture shop, and the second time to follow the waterway through Ghent as part of the research I needed for my writing. On both occasions it rained as it has been doing for most of this month, but we didn't mind at all.
On Friday we went further afield on a memory lane trip to La Louviere, south of Brussels. For some reason this old mining town next to the canal with the famous ascenseurs (boat lifts) has a deep and lasting place in our affection. It rained again, but we didn't care, and walked along the peaceful, disused canal, loving every dripping moment. We also have a tradition of buying shoes there (go figure that one!), and returned to a favourite shop where the proprietor was expansively French, wreathed in smiles and bonhomie and smoking shamelessly in his shop. In fact, the no smoking bans in the rest of Europe seem to have escaped the Belgians as everyone seems to smoke everywhere..ironic considering most of the legislation comes out of Brussels.
On Saturday, we made further inroads into village life by going to the neighbourhood barbecue, which far from being the provincial village bash that one might expect, was great fun. The people from our dyke village were warmly welcoming and we soon got chatting to a small group of lively, interested and interesting people. Then there was good rock music and dancing, plenty of smooth red plonk and the end result was a great evening. When we left, everyone waved cheerful goodbyes and we felt thoroughly accepted.
Yesterday, we finished painting the front door and window frames of the house a rich and glossy dark green and cream, accompanied by cheerful commentary from our English neighbour, who claimed that watching us work was the most relaxation he'd had all week.
The front of the house as it looks now. Still the fascia board to do all round, but it looks so much brighter
Just a reminder of what it was like when I first saw the house
Extreme close-up of the front door. I love the colour combination now. It looks so much classier than the dismal brown it was before
We'll be here for the rest of this week. Tomorrow I'm going on a mission to Brussels in search of a bedroom cupboard for the house, having discovered that second hand furniture in Belgium is of a better quality and cheaper than it is in Holland. I'll also be winding myself back into work gear during the week as I have some big projects starting in September. However, on Friday, I'm off to London for the day to visit my brother who had a brain aneurysm a few weeks ago and is still rather unwell as a result. It was a shock to us all, as he has always been so fit. The doctors say it will take up to a year for him to be well again, so I'm hoping to take him so good cheer at the very least.
Take care all of you until I am back in Rotterdam. xxx Val