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♥Oct. 7th, 2016 // 02:54 pm
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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).

Hotels )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.
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♥Jul. 24th, 2013 // 07:47 pm
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Weather: do not like. Had enough now. Actually had enough about a week ago. Really hope it stops soon, as we're, y'know, moving house next week. Eep.

I have been terribly slack about posting. The previously mentioned has something to do with that, but other factors include:
- having a slacker husband who's now only working a couple of days a week and so is Underfoot (it's fortunate that we're about to move into a new house with more rooms, really)
- going up to Ripon and York for a few days, for a family thing and a break (nice, but how come York has no restaurants? It has masses of pubs-that-do-food, but even seemed under-supplied with chain Italian places. Lovely hotel, though, with a nice restaurant)
- going to the Kent Country Show, where it was hot. We didn't actually buy anything, although we did collect several leaflets from sellers of potential house things
- making pizza, with the gels from work, on a day out / social type thing. I keep trying to quit, on the perfectly reasonably grounds that tomorrow is the last day I can possibly go into the office, but I don't seem to have managed it yet. Must make more of en effort, tomorrow
- going to two events that could reasonably well be called garden parties: one fannish, involving the talking of toot and the discussing of gossip, the other with the future near-ish-neighbours, involving lots of people asking 'and do you hunt?' (more, we suspect, as a way of making conversation with the random strangers, and a general test of views, than as an actual request that you go along)

GB continues in his usual way, added to by the fact that he doesn't much like the heat. The Baby is being a bit of a naughty bugger lately, added to by the fact that I don't like the heat either and so haven't been riding him and making him behave. He had the farrier on Monday; we weren't there, but he was apparently a little shite and broke two tie-up strings. There may be walloping in his future.

The house move is going reasonably well, we think. I've made contact with the horsey neighbour, which has in turn lead to arranging farrier, muck removal and hay; the delightfully named Igor The Builder is digging things up and laying concrete in the stableyard this week; I've spent an absolutely fortune on my credit card over the last few weeks (to the extent that I had to do a transfer mid-month to clear the balance for more spending), but bewilderingly (and pleasingly) haven't had any Security Phone Calls; and I do in fact have the spreadsheet of doom: you can't actually be surprised by this, though. It has been Entertaining arranging everything so that it gets delivered on Day Zero (which I will spend doing the last of the packing wile Mike sits in does various odd jobs around the new house).

Last week, we did actually get a delivery here: 224 boxes.

photo 1-1

As of today, the pile has gone down rather, and the bathroom (not the one we actually use much) and spare room are looking like this:

photo 2-1
photo 3

Did I mention that it's too bloody hot...?
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No France At All

♥Jun. 3rd, 2012 // 04:10 pm
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Luxembourg has much more topography than I thought it would.

Our hotel, the DoubleTree, looked like a Soviet tower block. Trip Advisor had remarked on this but said that the newly refurbished rooms were lovely. Ours wasn't either lovely or newly-refurbished, and had what I very much hope will turn out to be the worst mattress of the trip.

Business hotel, so bloody SwissCom. Not refurbished, so not enough power sockets to set up the airport, so offline overnight.

We had dinner in the hotel, it being late and out of town. It wasn't nearly as good as the descriptions on the menu, but it was ok and the local wine was good. There was a smoking bar! Indoors, and everything! While I was in there, after dinner, two twenty-something Chinese guys came in, ordered cognac, looked around at the few, quiet people in the bar and wistfully asked the bar man if it would get busy later. When told that this was busy for a non-week night, they drank and left.

(This agrees with the size and emptiness of the restaurant, which does make you wonder. I mean, if your hotel is, say, half refurbished, and your expected occupancy for the night is, say, less than fifty percent, doesn't it make commercial sense to put your guests in rooms that are less likely to make them resolve to never visit again?)

Sunday morning in Luxembourg was decidedly grey and wet. We read the Wikipedia page about the city and decided that it wasn't exciting enough for the weather, so off we headed to Belgium instead. Belgium was also grey and wet, surprisingly.

We stopped in Ghent, had a wander in the intermittent drizzle and some lunch, and then headed on to Bruges. At which point the (rather elderly anyway, and frankly struggling with having has a map of northern europe stuffed into her brain) Sat Nav died. This meant I had to map read, which is something to generally be avoided, but we got to the hotel eventually: the Hotel Ter Duinen, which seems nice and has parking, which is a bonus around here. Still rather grey, but I dare say we'll go for a wander in town after Mike's finished reinstalling the Sat Nav ("I seem to have set it to Finnish...") in the hopes that that will fix it.
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