Friday, 30 October 2009

World Blog Surf Day - Aller Heiligen (All Saints Day)

Hi and welcome to my first attempt at a World Blog Surf Day participation. For anyone who does not know what this event is about, a whole bunch of us expat bloggers post on the same day on the same theme. The Theme for this particular event is Holidays and Celebrations. Each blogger links to the next blogger on the list and thus it gives the surfer the opportunity to travel the world through the participating blogs. My thanks to Sher of Czech Off the Beaten Path for organizing this event and for those of you who use that Twit thing Karen of the blog Empty Nest Expat is reporting the event on her Twitter account, emptynestexpat.

A Flamingo in Utrecht
is the blog on the list that follows this one. It is the blog of Alison who is originally from the USA and is now living in The Netherlands (Holland)

Aller Heiligen (All Saints Day)
or Chrysanthemum day (as I like to call it)

Of course, All Saints Day happens in the UK but it is not really of much note there. In Belgium the first of November is a public holiday and is the time when people remember their loved ones, family and friends that have departed this mortal realm. In the run up to the day people visit cemeteries on mass clean, polish and generally spruce up the graves of those whom are no longer with us and leave potted Chrysanthemums on or near their graves.

For those that have recently lost loved ones this can be an important part of the grieving process but for others it is a chance to remember a person who is gone. The atmosphere around the cemeteries is surprisingly up beat, in the period running up to the day, people bump into and chat with others that they have not seen for a while and the whole feel is that of a community event. whilst I visited cemeteries, to take photographs, a few people asked what I was doing, when I told them all where very approving of my motives and some shared stories of the persons whose graves they where tending. All in all it seems to bring back to life the memories of those who are now gone. The cemeteries are very busy at this time of year.


These plants are everywhere at this time of year. Local authorities replace the annual bedding schemes with them, people have them outside of their doors and garden walls and of coarse many shops have great colourful displays of what they have for sale. Literally millions of Chrysanthemums are sold in Belgium at this time of year, there are many plant nurseries that produce large amounts of these and some produce nothing else and their entire production is dedicated to this event.

From the Grandest of tombs

To the humblest of plots

You will find the same level of care and chrysanthemums will be left. It is strange how something that you would think may be a somber occasion, can create such a feeling of community and have such an up beat feel. I think this is symbolized by the normally grey and sober cemeteries turning into a riot of colour. It is a time to celebrate and remember the lives of the departed, not a time to weep.

For the next blog in the chain for this event click on the link below

A Flamingo in Utrecht

If you find the link chain broken, there is a full list of participating blogs in the following post link

World Blog Surf Day Link List


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Art from Pieter Driessens - And some news on World Blog Surf Day

The art of Pieter Driessens

As described in This Post there was an art event in Flanders a couple of weeks ago. I did not get to as many exhibitions as I would have liked to because of circumstances beyond my control but I did get to see the work of one part time artist and am sharing it with you now.

A selection of sculptures
indoors and out

Pieter himself with one of his indoor pieces

World Blog Surf Day News

The final arrangements for this event has been announced in this post World Blog Surf Day Link List on the blog Czech Off the Beaten Path. I will be taking part and the event will be reported on Twitter by Karen of the blog Empty Nest Expat.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Gallo-Roman event Wervik, The Gauls, October 2009,

The Gauls

The following clip is of the Gauls at the Gallo-Roman weekend in Wervik. It shows some of the craft work displays including wood turning, chain mail manufacture, wood carving and cord making. The clip ends with some Gaulish warriors displaying their martial skills.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Saturday Curiosity Box - The Poppy Appeal

The Poppy Appeal

It is coming up to the 11th of November and Remembrance Sunday and so this weeks Saturday Curiosity Box is focusing on The Poppy Appeal that goes along with these events. This happens in many countries and if yours is one of them I hope that you will support the relevant organization for your country or country of origin but as I am English I am focusing on the work of The Royal British Legion. Please help support the troops that help keep us safe, once their duty is done. After they have been to all the bad places of the world, it is the responsibility of the rest of us to help look after them.

Wear Your Poppy With Pride

For more information on the Poppy Appeal and The Royal British Legion, please click on the following links

The Royal British Legion - Homepage - Welcome to The Royal British Legion - Caring and campaigning for the serving and ex-Service community

The Royal British Legion - The Poppy Appeal

An example of the type of work that the RBL do

Daniel served in the Army for 7 years as a loader operator of the battle tank 'Challenger 2'. In March 2003, his tank was fired on. Daniel was lucky to survive, but two of his comrades were killed outright, and he himself was left with severe shrapnel wounds to his face and jaw, as well as significant hearing loss.

Since the incident, Daniel has had to undergo over 20 operations, including skin grafts and plastic surgery, to try and repair the disfigurement to his face and body.

It was whilst organizing a Remembrance service for his two comrades that Daniel discovered that he was eligible for Legion assistance. Since he got in touch with us, we have helped him obtain the War Disablement Pension he deserves, and also helped him to pay for a much needed special moisturizing treatment for all his skin grafts.

Recently, Daniel said: "Before I approached the Legion I had no idea that they could help young ex-Service people like me. Now I look at the poppy in a new light, knowing the lifeline that it provides to Service leavers like me".


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Gallo-Roman event Wervik, Romans and Gauls, October 2009, a photo post

As promised, some photos of the Gallo-Roman event that I attended in Wervik. These photos are of both the Gauls and the Romans.

A Roman soldier on the march

This Gaul wood turner was very good
I watched him working for ages

Flying the flag for the legion

Home life of Gaul women

It was amazing how advanced some of the Roman technology was

Some Gaul warriors having a barny

If you want to see other posts in this series, follow the links below.
Gallo-Roman event Wervik, the Roman Army, October 2009
Gallo-Roman event Wervik, The Gauls, October 2009,


Monday, 19 October 2009

Gallo-Roman event Wervik, the Roman Army, October 2009

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Gallo-Roman reinactment event in Wervik. This is the first of three posts about this. The following clip is of the Roman military reinactors Showing off some military drills, battlefield tactics and uniforms and equipment from several different eras of Roman history and types if Roman soldier.

Infamy, infamy. They've all got it in for me
(sorry couldn't help myself)

If you would like to see other posts from this series, please follow the links below.
Gallo-Roman event Wervik, Romans and Gauls, October 2009, a photo post
Gallo-Roman event Wervik, The Gauls, October 2009,


Saturday, 17 October 2009

The Romans are coming - A useful tourist site - And a funny clip

The Romans are coming

I attended a Galo Roman weekend two weeks ago, in Wervik and that will be the focus of the next posting series. The first post will be a clip of the Romans, the second will be a photo post and the final post will be of the Gauls.

A useful tourist site

Welcome to Visit Flanders! - This is the portal to the official tourist site for Flanders and will be added to the Info Websites list.

Some funny slip ups with a great piece of music


Thursday, 15 October 2009

I'm Back!

I know that this blog only has a few regular readers but those of you that do visit here regularly will have noticed the break in my normal posting. The problem was a broken modem but I have a new one now and normal posting will resume with The Saturday Curiosity Box. My apology for the unexpected break in normal service.


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Geraardsbergen (Grammont), St. Bartholomew;s church, September 2009, a photo and video post

This, the last post in this little Geraardsbergen series, was going to be of photos of the inside of St. Bartholomew's church in the center of Geraardsbergen (Grammont). As usual though, my little camera did not get on too well with the insides of a church (I am starting to think that it is an atheist) and the photos are not that brilliant, they certainly do not show how beautiful the inside of this little church is. So I have added a short video clip at the end of the post.

The photos


Monday, 5 October 2009

Geraardsbergen (Grammont) Manneken Pis outfits, September 2009

The outfits of the Manneken Pis in Geraardsbergen

The Manneken Pis in Geraardsbergen like the Manneken Pis in Brussels has had lots of outfits, that it is sometimes dressed in. The statue and the area around it are currently undergoing renovation and a new museum is being prepared to display the outfits. some are still viewable in a display behind the desk at the Geraardsbergen tourist information office, I did my best to capture these in the following clip.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Saturday Curiosity Box - A bloging event and an art event. Pro street racing in Romania

Czech Off the Beaten Path - is the blog of another expat living in the Czech Republic (added to blog list, on the left hand side of the blog), it's owner has organized a blog posting event, for expat bloggers, that will be taking place on the 31st of October and I will be taking part this year. You can read more about it in this post World Blog Surf Day Topic is.....

On the 16th, 17th and 18th of October amateur and professional artists all over West Flanders will be showing their work. Hopefully I will be able to get to some of these exhibitions and will post about them here. There is a website advertising this event (In Dutch only I'm afraid) which you can visit through the following link Buren bij kunstenaars.

Pro street racing Romanian style

These guys cracked me up.