Monday, December 14, 2009

Sun 13 Dec

Had a really nice weekend with our first visitors from back home (you know who you are). The Grand Place has been turned into a Winter-Wonderland with Christmas trees, lights, and traditional markets, along with a very small heart-shaped ice rink. Looks fabulous at night.

Me and C put up a few notices around the centre with the hope that we can meet some locals for an English/French language exchange. Have chosen places only frequented by trendy middle-classes. Although one place we popped into looked like a pick-up joint, or at the very least we walked in on a singles convention. Everyone was sitting alone and smiled and said bonjour as we walked in. They were probably just being friendly and it says more about me than them that I'm suspicious. Anyway, got my first text this evening and we're meeting someone this Saturday!

It's turned very cold all of a sudden. Looked at the forecast for the next week and it's not going to get above 0, even during the day. At least that means we finally have some blue sky and sunshine. A dry weekend has put paid to virtually 5 weeks of non-stop rain. Still, this is the time of year I begin to suffer. I'm just not built to survive in these temperatures.

Booked a couple of days away in Cologne (or Koeln as it's spelt here. No wonder the website drew a blank when I kept using the English spelling) for just after Christmas. Will be my first trip to Germany. Am intrigued by Germany. Have heard a lot of very good things about the place.

And when booking a train ticket to a neighbouring country, you get the internal return journey in Belgium free of charge. Now, can you ever imagine our pathetic excuse for public transport running such an intiative?

Went to a free concert at our local church this evening. A very good turnout. But, I don't think I'm being too cruel when I say it was the worst concert I have ever been to. For a start, the music was so morbid. Piece after piece were dark, sombre, and rather depressing. Every one was accompanied by the montonous and laboured sound of the organ, doing its best to make a bad song even worse. At times, the music wasn't even in key.

But, the highlight of the lowlights was the soprano. Now, she was hilarious (unintentionally!). I was in stitches every time she came on stage to perform. She must be the first soprano ever to decide that she should act out the words she sings. For example, she used her fingers to indicate 'trois mots,' and gestured behind to indicate going back 'a la maison.' She also added a little jig and strange facial expressions to her routine. God, it was funny. Well, so thought me and the kids in the row in front.

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