Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A few loose ends

My first day off work! Next year, I go straight into my new job for six weeks or so, and then a long break in New Zealand - seems just about perfect! First, a few words on stuff I haven't blogged about/follow-ups. Yesterday I actually looked at the stats page of my blog and the post with the most hits over the last week was the last day of my trip to Ukraine in 2011. I ended up looking back through my whole trip and really enjoyed the walk down memory lane. So it's a reminder to keep blogging even if it feels like I'm the only one reading it...
  • Edinburgh: One thing I forgot to say last time was how marked the differences were in security between Edinburgh and Brussels. How quickly one gets used to seeing armed police and soldiers everywhere you go! It seemed really strange to me to see the Christmas market, for example, without armed (wo)men standing guard outside. I don't know how I feel about that. As we saw in Paris, it doesn't have to be a big, well-publicised event for it to be targeted. The Sydney siege was in a Lindt chocolate shop of all places. But I suppose it's more about reassuring people they can still go places like the Christmas market and the Grand Place than anything else.
I got a few more photos from other people's cameras - my birthday brownie
I had to take a photo of a photo since I don't have a scanner, so this is not the best quality. I feel I was tricked here because Caro said "let's really go for it with the photo, none of this namby-pamby stuff" and then those two do incredibly photogenic cute little scared faces, and I'm the marauding hell demon next to them
That wasn't my only cake of the weekend. I'm so excited!
Pre-dinner silliness
C&C and our indian feast

  • In "look how fancy I am" news, the other week I was invited to a party at an Ambassador's residence! I didn't exactly cover myself in glory while I was there. It was pretty crowded, so while trying to skirt around some people I managed to walk into a massive lampshade and then while trying to fix the shade I had knocked askew, I tipped my (first and undrunk) drink on the floor. That wasn't too bad, I think only the girl right behind me saw. But then the Ambassador came up to us, introduced himself by his first name and asked when the choir was going to perform. I totally didn't recognise him and (politely) said I didn't know, maybe he should ask that guy over there. Then he (nicely) said he was the Ambassador and wandered off. Oops. So this is more "why I shouldn't be invited fancy places". It was fun seeing everyone's party frocks though, and I talked to the Ambassador's wife later, who was very nice.
In Grand Place after the Ambassador's party

A fondue sandwich. What an age we live in!

Jules at the Christmas market
Light show in the Grand Place

Panorama at the Grand Place
  • See how I'm not wearing a coat there? I do tend to run hot, but it's definitely unseasonably warm here. The coat has only come out on a couple of occasions, with most days getting into the low teens or at least double digits. It's like winter in Auckland! Way back in October, we even had a day in the beach at Ambleteuse in France. It was sunny and about 16 degrees, we couldn't believe it. I don't know if it's going to suddenly get cold next year, but so far it has been incredibly mild. I still can't believe the photos below are from October in northern France though!
The beach at Ambleteuse

People on the rocks looking for mussels

A feast of wine and local cheese
video
Catching shrimp and playing with the timelapse function on the iphone

That's about it, just counting down to a few days in Luxembourg for Christmas and then a quiet new year to recharge the batteries. Merry Christmas all!

13 comments:

  1. Okay, 1) who are we kidding, why on earth would you know what your ambassador looks like? and 2) why would he think you knew when the choir was performing? I strongly feel the awkwardness there was not your fault.

    Though I like to think I'm a faithful reader of your blog, I totally get the journal-like role a blog can play. Mine helps me remember a lot of things that I would have forgotten over the past years had I not written them down. I guess some people are capable of doing that in a private space like a journal, but I am not. I need even a limited or imaginary audience to get me doing it regularly.

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    1. Ha ha, to be fair, I was singing in the choir, but I'm not important enough to know things like what time we go on ;)

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  2. I misread one of the pics, I thought it said Jules ate the Christmas market haha!

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    1. I tried to! I work 5 minutes from the Christmas market, so I've had quite a few lunches there ...

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    2. What's going on? How did you get reply rights?

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  3. Lovely photos. Your blog is such a nice way to store your memories. xx

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  4. I think when the Christmas market first opened there were more police than other visitors there.

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  5. I would definitely try a fondue sandwich. Sounds messy though.

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    1. It was much less messy than anticipated!

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  6. Your marauding hell demon look is cool!

    Even before the terrorist attacks this year, UFM and I used to comment on how different policing is in the UK compared to France (and I think Brussels is similar to France). UK bobbies on the beat don't carry guns at all, while in France you see all this weaponry. It's definitely a different image and a different relationship.

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    1. Definitely, same thing with NZ (no guns). I've acclimatised, but it took a while.

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  7. Who is that shrimp frolicking in the sea?

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    1. I don't know, but I caught him and took him back to Brussels with me.

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