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Well Done


I spent the day on the roof of the annex again. It wasn't raining - probably for the fifth time this summer - so I got my gear together, scrambled up and forced everything through the teeny-weeny window that gives access to the roof. Getting up there is like finding your way through the birth canal all over again.

I'm building a new roof over the old one, because the old one is not as much a flat roof as it is a landscape with lovely dales and rolling hills. Unfortunately, the babbling brooks that descend from these hills stream in the wrong direction, right towards the house instead of to the rain pipe, which is convienantly located at the highest hill of them all.

So I spent the day laying out the foundation for the new roof, which I'm happy to say will now be sloping down away from the house towards the point where the rain pipe will connect. The revolution starts here!

That revolution also started with a serious bit of forced labour, because I had to lower heavy bags with pebbles that were on the old roof to the garden. I used a rope and balanced on the edge on the roof in the only corner where I had free access to the ground, the rest being surrounded by the ground level roof of the 'veranda' and the terrace. Good thing the neighbours are used to this sight, or they might call the police and fire brigade. 'The man next door is going to jump!'

Once these two metric tonnes of pebbles were out of the way, things were easy peasy. Unfortunately, the sun was desperately trying to make up for its long absence during these past few weeks. So by mid-afternoon, my brain was steaming in its own juices - despite the fact that I wore a cap. The roofing was also becoming sticky from the heat. So all in all, much fun was had by yours truly. By the end of the afternoon, the headache that I'd woken up with was back with a vengeance.

Then I was summoned to come down for dinner by Mrs.B, who was clearly very cross because she had to spend all day in the garden playing with the kids and feeding them biscuits and fruit and cool drinks - you know how hard summer afternoons can be - while I was having fun on the roof. But you know me, I'm not the one to keep all this pleasure for myself. So next weekend, she can do the roof.

Return To Africa

It's been almost a year since I've last been to Africa, so high time to get back before I get detox symptoms. And I desperately need some sun and heat, this grey winter weather and the cold and the rain is really getting on my nerves.

Although we did enjoy the first few pre-spring days this week. Last week we took the boys to the Zoo (just for a visit, we took them back home) and although the sun was out, it was still a winter sun. But it was very nice, although I almost managed to leave my backpack behind, WITH the video camera, when Wolf slipped and hurt his mouth.

Today we had a really nice sunny day, at times it got really warm. Not Africa warm of course, but spring is definitely coming. We made a nice walk through Antwerp, just strolling without the need to run from one store to the other. People enjoyed the first warm weather in a typical Belgian way: they 'did a terrace' and had a drink outside in the sun. Wolf gobbled down a giant ice-cream; it took me half an hour to get most of the chocolate from his face and then he still looked like he'd put his face into a bucket of mud. We went to look at the ships sailing on the river Scheldt, but we only saw one. And then it was time to head back home.

Tomorrow Mrs.B and the kids will bring me to the airport, Wolf is looking forward to see all the aircraft. Mrs.B on the other hand is looking forward to a breakfast with American pancakes at the restaurant at the very beginning of the check-in lines. And I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to my little guys, because I know I will miss them terribly in the next two weeks.

Warming Up

In a trough coup d'état, spring has taken hold of the capital, occupied the television station and set up road blocks on every crossroads in town. The change is so sudden that I'm sweating in my thick winter coat and my three layers of sweaters every time I poke my nose out.

The sudden change in temperature has some funny side-effects. Wednesday was really a nice day, so I decided to make a walk during my lunch break. But when I came at Brussels' Warande park, it was as if someone had organised an impromptu marathon. The whole park was full of people jogging, sprinting or walking at a leisurely pace in sports clothing pretending to make an effort. There were so many joggers that they had to queue at some places, hopping on the spot like maniacs.

It was so funny, these people looked so... desperate to me. I've got a long history of hating to run. I think it's a tragically boring way to get around or to loose some kilos. Whenever I'm late for something or when I have to be some place really quick, I always try to teleport myself by sheer strength of will. Only if this doesn't work (it generally doesn't) I'll resort to running.

So I did the sensible thing and walked to the city centre to bask in the sun on a bench and enjoy the smells, sights and sounds of Brussels in early spring.

Sniff That Air

The weather has been lousy for the past couple of weeks and although the weather man promised us blue skies and balmy temperatures, this weekend brought us more grey weather and showers. But there was a glimmer of hope on Sunday afternoon, and now spring really is here.

The sun was shining brightly today. On the way home I noticed fresh buds on the big trees, while smaller plants bring a first spray of fresh young green. Crocuses and Narcissus radiate their white and yellow colours, while a myriad of other flowers pop up their heads and open up to the sun.

I took a deep breath of spring air, and in the back of my nose I could feel a familiar inkling.

The allergy season is about to start.

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