Settling in

We had a quiet week last week. Apart, that is, from the visit by a trio of aging punk rockers and film writers cum apple tree pruners coinciding with the weekly rehearsal of the Slugs, one of Binam’s bands. Dinner for eleven was entertaining, and a real insight for us into how the batiment works. Dee and I did some work in the mornings, went for walks in the afternoon to clear our heads, and had a wee excursion to Ikea Anderlecht for a bit of anticipatory nest-building (we have planned our next kitchen, well a girl can dream…)

23012011353.jpgYesterday (Sunday) we drove to Brussels and met Dorothy, Hilary and Bel Simpson for a drink in the Chaloupe d’Or on the Grand’ Place. They are in town as part of Dorothy’s big birthday celebrations. We were honoured to be part of that, and I was especially pleased to be able to buy Dorothy a drink in the Chaloupe in belated reciprocation of her introducing me there to the delights of kir royal many, many years ago. It was lovely to see them, to sit round a table and just blether. Actually I fear Dee and I did rather too much blethering, on account of we think we have quite a lot to blether about at the moment. Hope we didn’t bend their ears too much, and sorry I didn’t take a better picture 🙂

Afterwards we behaved like tourists in Brussels on a wet Sunday afternoon and went to the Musée des Beaux Arts. Dee and I finally managed to see the Fall of Icarus together, and had our minds a wee bit blown by some of the other paintings by the older and younger Pieter Breughels. ‘They must have been taking hallucinogens’ commented Dee on beholding the Fall of the Rebellious Angels, a ghastly and fascinating montage of metamorphosing creatures. Wilf later confirmed that they were apparently inspired by rotting rye which contains a substance (ergot) which was later synthesised as the basis of LSD. Clearly the Old Masters knew a thing or two about herbal medicines as well as suffering (see Auden). Breughel paintings of Flemish life in the 16th century depict a society of mainly small, deformed, crippled people, abject poverty and scatological filth, one long drink-fuelled party overseen by stern pillars of established religion, and a frantic scrabbling for absolution, redemption and restored health. Ah, the march of progress…

Today we have been back to Brussels to visit Wilf’s dentist and replace a filling lost to a caramel in Obernai before Christmas. Beware free gifts in shops because you pay for them in the end, with or without an E111 card.

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