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Can You Smell The Snow?

Today I plucked my winter coat out of the closet, I already dug up the old scarf on Monday. We've had a couple of very nice and warm days lately - in conmpensation for the most dreadful summer in Belgian history - but now autumn is definitely here.

I made good use of those warm and dry days to fix the roof of the annexe, or rather, I built a new timber roof over the old one and covered it with EPDM foil - despite advice from a couple of friends not to, but I didn't like the other options and with the winter coming I had to move fast.

So now we can enter the cold season with a roof that doesn't leak. I also added another layer of insulation for good measure, so it'll be warm and cosy inside.

Ice Ice Baby

Belgium is slowly thawing as this new ice age comes to an end. The danger of breaking a leg on the slippery ice and snow on the streets and curbs may be over, but these - ever so slightly - warmer temperatures bring their own perils.

Such as ice, ice cold drops of melting water falling from melting icicles. They may look innocent, but they come equipped with laser guided targeting systems that home in on that itsy bitsy little spot of bare skin in your neck, barely reachable from above between your scarf and woollen hat.

They never miss, do they. Yesterday I got hit on my way to the train station, and to the surprise of many baffled onlookers performed a wild Cherokee rain dance all through the Rue de la Loi in Brussels.

I so much very very heap lot hate it when that happens!

Frozen Feet For Haiti

I've been outside all day, collecting money for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. I've been at home for a couple of hours now, but I'm still cold. If I accidentally touch Mrs.B's feet with mine during the night, she'll jump clean through the roof.

Drugged Out


Next Monday I’m leaving for the ‘We’ll-Be-Democratic-When-We-Feel-Like-It’ Republic of Congo. So what better time to get a pneumonia, or a severe cold? However, it could also be a life-threatening case of allergy. I really can’t tell: I’ve got a dry throat, runny eyes and a runny nose, which all indicates to an allergy. But this morning I got up with the cough of coughs. With a cough like this, I should become a chain-smoker. It would be a shame to have lungs like these without ever having smoked.

Between opening my eyes and making my lunch, I sounded like a Russian Trans-Siberian diesel train that missed out on its yearly maintenance and overhaul for the last 40 years. Then it got somewhat better, in that I could breathe for three minutes at a time in between these retching spasms. People on the bus looked at me.

So when I arrived in Brussels’ Central station, I dove into the nearest pharmacy and bought me a nice big bottle of coughing syrup. At work, I carefully read the prescription, to find out what the absolute maximum dose was before actually falling into a coma and dying. It said: ‘an adult person should take no more than 3 to 4 doses per day of 15 ml.’

After the first dose of 22ml I felt pretty Ok. Lo’ and behold: it worked. Not that the coughing stopped outright, but I was able to work.

An hour later my coworker started to throw angry looks at me, so I took another dose.

Yet another hour later, I felt it was time for a third dose. I started to note a happy, rosy mood coming over me. Work was suddenly less unpleasant (I had been checking accountancy records all morning).

After the fourth dose, I started to feel groovy, man. You know, when you’re going for stuff and shit and then you go like ‘whaaoow dude’ and everyone’s like totally hip man?

My productivity started to suffer after the fifth sip of syrup. Luckily, it was dinner time and my lunch absorbed some of the drugs. But then the cold turkey hit me. I needed another shot.

By the end of the afternoon, my cough wasn’t improving anymore, but I got a hell of a headache on top. I thought about taking an aspirin, but one addiction a day is quite enough.


The other day, when I returned home from work, I had to sneeze.

Really hard...


The lamp post I was standing under flickered, and then the light went out.

This cold is killing me.

2009 Sucks

It's freezing cold, temperatures here are dropping as low as minus ten (°C). It snowed during the weekend, and the streets are covered in grey slush while the sidewalks have more in common with ice rinks. I have to risk life and limb every morning to get to the bus stop, where I wait until my nose drops off and icicles hang off my ears for a bus that is always late. On Monday, I had to play Super-bus-passenger and come to the rescue because all the traffic in the main road to the train station got blocked.

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