Posted by: lucylastic | August 13, 2007

Another one bites the dust, (weekend, that is).

It’s ages since I travelled by Eurostar, but I was pleasantly surprised by the experience this weekend – even in the (not very) ‘cheap seats’ there was plenty of leg room and lots of storage for bags, cases etc  The food and drink in the buffet were very decent (I.e. Belgian) quality and the train departed exactly on time and arrived promptly at it’s destination – proving that timetables aren’t difficult to stick to, as long as you invest in the rolling stock, maintain the lines and staff appropriately.  Even better, the Belgian beer at the other end was chilled and went down very easily!  The variety of Belgian beer is amazing – with lots of fruit based beers – featuring raspberry, strawberry and other berries, which are very palatable on a warm summer’s afternoon in the ‘Grand Place’ at Brussels or in the smaller, but still ‘grand’ town square at Mons – a town I had never visited before but which didn’t disappoint, with it’s cobbled streets, old town walls and cosmopolitan air.  If fruity beers are not to your liking, then there are lots of ‘blonde’ and ‘brune’ beers to try – worlds away from fizzy lager and warm bitter back in Britain.  Not content with sampling commercially available beer, my lovely husband made quite some inroads into our host’s stock of home brew – supposedly 5.4%, but apparently quite a bit more potent if the memory loss the following day was anything to go by!  There are lots of jokes about Belgium being boring and there not being any famous Belgians, but I found it a very mellow place – the drivers were courteous, the public spaces clean and tidy – quite Germanic looking in a lot of ways AND the sun shone – so it can’t be that bad can it?? 

A weekend away has meant that I haven’t really been watching the news or managed to catch up with current affairs, but I did see that Tony Wilson has died – aged only 57 – of a heart attack and battling kidney cancer.  As a ‘northern lass’ Tony Wilson featured large in my life for many a long year, first as a presenter on the tea-time TV, ‘Points North-West’ and then as founder of the legendary Hacienda Club in Manchester – where I only got to go once it was way past it’s heyday.  The Hacienda had a chequered history, but also laid claim to lots of ‘firsts’, like being the scene of Madonna’s first ever UK TV appearance in 1983.  Tony was also very into interior design and décor and was one of the first people to embrace loft-style living in a warehouse down at the Manchester docks – his self designed home was featured on a number of TV shows over the years and was always a place that made me want to go and buy my own loft immediately.  Of course, Tony was a ‘bit of a lad’ in his youth – and personified the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.  Whatever the ins and outs, I am sure he’ll be missed ‘up north’ where he still lived and worked in the music scene.  Lots of the bands he signed up went on to become huge – like Joy Division and New Order and the Stone Roses.  See more about Tony at http://www.rte.ie/arts/2007/0813/wilsont.html 

I am enjoying my Z3 very much indeed – and am ‘getting the hang of it’ insofar as it is a much heavier car to drive than my Chrysler PT Cruiser – which I still like very much indeed.  I have forgotten that BMW’s have that funny accelerator which is anchored to the floor and found it rather strange the first few times.  Let’s hope the sun keeps shining a bit longer!

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