Sunday, January 06, 2013
Now that Christmas is behind us (although some of it appears to be lingering around my midsection), and New Year's has passed (heralding in another 2 months of writing down the wrong year on all letters, forms and applications), it’s time for the next feestdag of the Flemish calendar – that of Driekoningendag, or Three Kings Day.
On this day, children in groups of 3 dress up to represent the kings and proceed from house to house. They sing special songs for the occasion and are rewarded with sweets or money. Koningentaart is prepared – a puff pastry cake filled with frangipane – and a coin or bean is hidden inside. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the coin is “King/Queen for the Day” and gets to wear the crown. Some people open the doors and windows to let in good luck for the year.
We’ve just got back from a costly 3.6 mile walk – encountering several kings along the route who lightened hubby’s wallet to the tune of quite a few euros!!! Well, you can’t really say no, can you?
I was hoping to have an epiphany of my own to share today but no amazing sudden realisations have flooded my mind. However, something that I truly believe in (and may have been an epiphany at some point in my life) is that we can make things happen by being positive. Being positive doesn't mean that bad things and negative feelings never happen or even that a little self indulgent sulking isn't a part of my life. It's knowing inside that you can make things work out no matter what obstacle you’re met with – eventually, by working at it. Being negative is powerful and can give you power to not try anymore. It robs you of your power to succeed in other areas. When I indulge in negative thinking, I spiral downwards and it feels like I have a mountain to climb. It's easy to think at these times that there is some force working against you. There is – it’s yourself.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
A couple of days ago, my sister was lamenting about how nice the weather is in Belgium compared to home, clear blue skies and lots of sun despite being a wee bit chilly. It was the kiss of death - yesterday we awoke to grey dampness and it hasn't stopped drizzling since.
Today was the last day of her stay. We went out for a "last run together", covering a steady 2 miles (2013 streak intact ). A quick shower and breakfast then we headed into Antwerp.
We collected daughter's friend (of aborted sleepover fame) on the way, thankfully fully recovered from her jippy tummy, and hit the outdoor ice skating rink. It's the last weekend it's up so we wanted to make the most of it. The girls stayed on a bit longer whilst the grown ups enjoyed a beaker of gluhwein. We had a late lunch in our favourite pizza restaurant then planned to walk around the shopping area for a while, but the weather had turned decidedly mizzly by now so we decided to call it a day and return home.
I've just got back from running my sister to the train station. She has a couple of hours journey to Schipol airport before catching the plane for the short hop over the Channel back to Lincolnshire. I hate goodbyes, but I'm getting better at them! I'll miss her - we're very close and she does make me laugh (and do more exercise than I normally do) - but I'll see her again in about 6 weeks when I visit my parents.
We are now musing.....tossed on the horns of a dilemma! School starts back on Monday, accompanied by early get-ups. Do we set the alarm tomorrow and have a practice, or do we make the most of our last chance of a lie-in and wake up naturally when we feel like it?
Friday, January 04, 2013
We didn't have the best night's rest. My daughter had a friend sleepover who waited until 11.30pm to announce that she wasn't feeling too well and promptly rushing to the bathroom. She was bundled into the car and swiftly deposited back home. By the time I got back - having admired Brasschaat's Christmas lights, which I hadn't seen in the dark up until then - I was quite wide awake and the rain pounding on the velux windows ensured I didn't nod off until almost getting up time.
Hubby, sister and I between us made each other feel that we really had to go out in the damp drizzly murk for a 5 miler this morning. It was still nearly dark at 9am . I was really pleased to run the whole way, even past the house and up the road to get to the required 5 miles, 5.14 by the end, within the 59 minute time target. That's a run every day this year so far. That makes me happy and smug. And the moon is that tiny bit closer .
Later we were going out for a late lunch to a lovely pub that used to be a windmill. Chris drove us the 16 km it took to get there, only to find it closed. After a bit of consulting and combobulating, we agreed to another pub. 1km from home. So Chris drove us the 16km home, past the house and onto the pub. It was worth it - the steak was most heavenly and juicy and thick and tasty. Logged on the food tracker and still within calorie range for today .
Lynda has now taken my daughter for a walk in the dark, bribed by the promise of speculoos chocolate on the way round. It's great having mad aunties to stay.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
I'm enjoying having my husband home for the week, daughter on school holidays and sister visiting. The house is alive with laughter!
Today we got up to rain, so decided to visit the local shopping mall. The sales started yesterday. They are Big News in Belgium as by law they are only allowed to have sales twice a year, in January and July, and they are proper sales with really good bargains to be had. We went into my favourite store and I was "delighted" to find the jumper and coat I was wearing had both been reduced by 50%
We all got some bargains but didn't stay too long as it was mega busy. We joined the mad scramble to negotiate the way out of the carpark - scary driving here, even in carparks. On the way home, we called in the local grocery store to buy ingredients for a "special cake" that my daughter and her friend were planning to make. Did I mention I have a special birthday coming up?
Lynda and I went for a quick walk - we have 1000 miles to log this year so every day counts. It was grey and damp but I enjoyed the fresh air. On the way round, we came across an elderly lady knelt on the path, meticulously arranging some large red berries that she was pulling of a nearby shrub into a pattern on top of a drain cover. She was taking up the whole pavement so we had to walk on the road. As we carried on our way, we came across several of these "arrangements"
along the side of the road. Goodness knows what she was doing.
Another 3 miles ticked off our journey to the moon. Diet a bit hit and miss - too many meals out whilst I have an Important Visitor - but there will be time for knuckling down when everyone disappears again next week.....
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