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Flick ([personal profile] flick) wrote2016-10-07 02:54 pm

Here are some things

We're back from our holiday, where we climbed belfries, went to museums, bought lots of chocolate and pate and other tasty things, and generally had a nice time (other than Monday afternoon, which was stressful and yuck). We even had pretty good weather, just a little damp at the start and a little chilly at the end. Eurotunnel was pretty horrible going, pretty chilled coming back. We were surprised, in both Bruges and Ghent, by how tricky it was to find some breakfast (we tend not to bother with hotel breakfasts, because we don't eat enough breakfast for it to be good value).

In Bruges, we stayed at the Duke's Palace Hotel, which claims to be the only 5* hotel in Flanders but so, so wasn't. It was nice, but not that nice (bit of a saga for housekeeping when we asked for different pillows, torn belt loop on the bathrobe, mysterious high-pitched whine that started at 2am and kept Mike up all night (although they did send someone out to fix that ASAP when we told them about it), about five things on the room service menu). The spa was nice for unwinding, though.

In Ghent, we stayed at Hotel Harmony, which was very nearly as nice, in a smaller and more modern way, or at least will be when they've actually finished the refurbishment: at the moment, there are random glassed off areas containing nothing but small piles of plaster dust, and things like that. Also, no bedside tables in our room. Also also, not a hotel for people who like to sleep in the dark. Quite apart from the automatic light in the loo, which came on blindingly as soon as you opened the door (whether or not you had the master light switch off and the key card removed from the thingie by the door) and was just nicely aligned so that it shone across the bed to make sure you were *both* wide awake, the room had a fancy (and surprisingly easy to use) wall panel to control the lights and heating, and it was in fact bright enough to read by, until I covered it with a box. (Oddly, on the second night we were there the wall panel dimmed as it was presumably supposed to. We'd also had them take the light bulbs out in the loo, so it was much more slumbersome. Other than the mozzie that got me nine bloody times.)

There are lots of wind turbines in Belgium, or at least it looked that way from the motorway. Most of them were just sitting there, looking like wind turbines, but there were a few that were cunningly camouflaged so that they blended seamlessly into the surrounding countryside:

I especially like the subtle gradient effect.

When we got back, Jo was very pleased to see us, as ever, and we were very pleased to see her. While we were away, as well as the stuff that she'd told me about by text message, GB smashed into the chain that goes across his stable door and pulled the fixing out of the wall. I'm really quite gobsmacked by this, and the only thing I can think of is that she left him on his own in there and took Bugsy away to be exercised. Because, you know, that wasn't just what I told her to never do. I've complained to the agency, and said that we don't want her back. I'm still not sure if she just didn't pay attention to the instructions (about this and about the riding) or if she decided that she knew better, but I'm leaning towards the latter given that when we got back she kept making 'helpful' suggestions about things we should do differently. Anyway. No harm done, other than to GB's doorframe. Girl Who Rides For NVNDN came and rode him for me in the week, and I jumped on for ten minutes last night: he seems to be ok.

(Oh, reply to my email to the agency: terribly bland "we're very sorry to hear about that, here, have someone different". I wonder if they'll actually say anything to her?)

At the Canterbury Food Festival a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued enough by the stall for Freddie's Flowers that I signed up to give it a try. Every week, they do up boxes of flowers that will look nice together and send them out to their subscribers (I think in London they deliver them themselves, mine came via DPD), although they're very flexible about how often you have them (you can set it on a week-by-week basis up to six months in advance). The spiel is that their flowers last up to a fortnight, because they buy direct from the farm. Because we were away last week, my first box has just arrived and I'm quite impressed:

I do like having flowers in the house, and there's not much that's pickable in the garden at this time of year.