Apr 152012

One thing that was always nice about Brussels was the quantity of free culture on offer, usually paid for by the city. (There are benefits to high taxation.) These are videos of Clowns et Magiciens sans Frontieres, a troupe of clowns who play to audiences all over the developing and developed worlds. They were really excellent.

Apr 052012

It’s strange to be back in Brussels. In a lot of ways it was a really happy year here – like being a student again, full of new things and new people, a new language to speak, new coins to get used to, and lots of drinking, fun and activity. But it was also a rather unhappy year in other ways – recovering from a break-up, acclimatising to a new career, a work environment that was difficult at times, and the fallout from my life having disintegrated. I was moving forwards, but I had gone backwards. And I felt like I was treading the same path for a second time. Read full post >>

Oct 032011

Leaving a place is always interesting.  While things are changing around you, you look forwards and backwards in time, trying to read the direction you have been coming from, to get some kind of clue about where you might be going next. Living here hasn’t all been easy, though everything looked different after I got the new job.  Until that point, my frustrations with my current job were magnified, and it seemed as if the job hunt was going to be endless.  And while it’s a commonplace (because true) to say that what you will miss the most is friends, I actually think also that there’s something about Brussels the Read full post >>

Sep 272011

John and I have been saying since roughly 51 weeks ago that we were going to go and watch some football while we were in Belgium.  We finally got around to it yesterday, and saw Anderlecht vs Beerschot.  Anderlecht are the giants of Belgian football.  Beerschot, whose nickname is ‘the Rats of Kiel’, were formed from the merger of Beerschot and Germinal Ekeren, and the only reason for that sentence being there is so I can enjoy Flemish names again.  The game was fairly routine in the first half, with Anderlecht taking a comfortable lead – great for the fan, not so for the neutral.  But it came alive in Read full post >>

Mar 192011
Sack the proofreader

This is the lovely Jardin Botanique, in the shadow of huge glass skyscrapers on the peripheral ring road, just on the northern edge of central Brussels. Like a lot of similar projects from the early nineteenth century, it was built on waste land, in this case a plague pit. In the recently-improved weather we’ve been having, it’s really agreeable, with children running around the topiary pretending they’re in a maze, and the squat greenhouses, which are now a cultural centre belonging to the francophone Community government, presiding over the lot. The information boards complain that the present garden has been spoiled by the skyscrapers and office blocks erected more recently Read full post >>

Mar 162011

I’m not sure why I’ve been away for so long.  I’d say I haven’t had time, but you can always make time for things when you’re motivated, so let’s just say I haven’t had the motivation to blog for a while.  Things have certainly been busy, especially at the weekends; since the start of February every weekend has been taken up: I’ve had the family visiting and went to an excellent gig with my sister, two weekend conferences in the UK, and friends visiting Brussels for the last two weekends.  Things have felt as if they are starting to settle in with work, as well; the report I’ve been writing Read full post >>