Monday, 30 July 2007

La foire du Midi

Tonight, I paid a visit to Brussels' annual Funfair.
(Some people like to call it a carnival, I've always called it a funfair)

My story goes like this:

As a kid - when we used to come over to Brussels for holidays, Madeleine and Albert (kind of second grand ma and pa) used to take us to the foire du Midi. It would be a night we'd look forward to for ages. (Later, with price inflation, the fair became very expensive so we were introduced to Walibi and the love of rollercoasters began)

I have loads of memories of my trips to the fair, but when I go back today, each stall and every smell triggers off a memory I thought was long gone.
And ok, the music,lights and prices have changed, but the "carni" feel is still there as much as ever.

Tonight, we did try out a couple of the thrill rides (Some classics as fun worthy as ever, others just plain painful). But we actually had the most laughs in the hall of mirrors, the fun house and a sodding glass labyrinth! (We'll just skip over the 4-breasted woman, won't we, John!)
I hadn't shot a rifle pellet at a bobbing balloon for ages!!!

It's funny; tonight I was standing there 23 (oh-my-god) years later, in the exact same spot. And I felt like a kid again.
How some things change and others stay exactly the same!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen...

It's really late and my alarm will be going off in the next four hours. Off on holiday. And I can't wait. More about that when i get back.

John has just posted (about bloody time!!) and i am still laughing now. I've often thought this man to be a master of wit, and it comes out ten fold when he writes. (Though unfortunately, you won't be able to see any of his pics, because you have to be a myspace user!)
Anyway, for those of you that were at the housewarming, THIS you want to read!
And for those of you who weren't, enjoy the fine writing style!

Unlikely I'll be able to post while I'm away but I'm sure the other two will keep you entertained!


... (Even ramblers need holidays!!)

Friday, 13 July 2007

When ISPs merge

I found out a couple of days ago that UPC has been bought by Telenet (And no, no direct links to these guys).

I discovered this, not by email from UPC, nor by letter (although I am told one was sent) but by checking my webmail and being directed onto the Telenet webmail site (in dutch) and subsequently needing a full 10 minutes to log in and understand what the hell was going on.

UPC's webmail was actually quite good and allowed most services that other web based clients offer. Telenet's , however, (for the lack of a better word) is shit. I can cope with not having any clear distinction between read and non read emails. I can also cope with it not saving my settings for longer than one session and I can also almost accept the rrrreeeeaaaalllllyyyyy slow (initial) loading of the Inbox (28 secs).
However the lack of Sent Items, Trash and Junk folders renders this webmail unusable. Their automatic spam filter is non-existent and there's no way of adding one.
It seems (as I was told by both UPC and Telenet) that to solve this I must use a Mail client (Outlook, Mail or other) to be able to do what I want with my emails. This is all great when you have only ONE computer, but experience has shown that it can be very annoying to need an email and not be able to access it because it's no longer on the server, or if it is, I can't access it.

Anyway, moving on.

I am told by both that all the features (ok, then obviously webmail does not come into these) will remain identical until 2008. (I have already been asked by Telenet if I would like to subscribe to their Welcome package which includes Internet connection and phone line - I do not have a land line and I do not wish to get one!)

I hear most of you cry "Just change your ISP". I would love to, but my problem is this.

I specifically chose my address and have remained with UPC to keep it. I have been told by Telenet that I will be able to have the same email (replacing @chello by @telenet of course), but when I asked them to confirm this in writing, I was simply told "We can't do that Madame". Not reassuring as when have we, as Belgians, ever been able to take as truth what is said by a Help desk employee.

But I'm now starting to think that a change in inevitable. So the search begins to find a new ISP that will give me the same connection speed, an equivalent download limit and at a decent price.

Ok, rant over, almost... Just so sick of decent (but by no means perfect) companies being bought by larger ones and the service becoming second rate and us, as consumers, having no choice in the matter. IT SUCKS.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Life is fine.

This thought came to me this evening.

Amidst all the stuff that's going on in my life at the moment - you know, those times when you feel you're in the wrong lane but you can't figure out how to get back into the right one without bashing a few bollards along the way (no, I'm not having a premonition, J) - I've hit a really good patch !

The ending of this job is actually coming at a pretty good time.
Right at the start of the holidays!
Just what I need: to take a breath, smell the roses and enjoy life for a bit.

So tomorrow, I'm off up north with two of my friends for a day of driving, expensive food, lots of queues, mental orange kangaroos and ... oh yeah... rollercoasters!
I know to most people this is quite sad. But I can't wait.

(I think I'm starting to sound like one of those coaster fans from the States wearing flag covered sweatshirts! Sexy.)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

The housewarming

So I'm sat here At My Computer on Sunday afternoon with a strong dose of caffeine in an attempt to kick start my body after a somewhat short night and (I think) a relatively small amount of booze and green tea. My (17) closest friends were there to help baptise the flat and I feel we did a pretty good job of it.

It's a well known fact that when you are hosting a party, you don't really have a lot of time to sit and talk to your invités. I spent most of the evening going from the sitting room to the kitchen, checking in with the English speakers at the booze and food table (who thought this was a very good place to camp out). The office was also visited on a regular basis as one of friends thought she'd like to stock up on my TV show collection and burn a couple (yes 10, Audrey) of DVDs. :)

Another friend made "capiranhas" for everyone for most of the night, he has discovered a talent for cocktail making, though sadly I did not get to taste one.

Two others thought it was hilarious to arrive at about 11.30 and ring the doorbell claiming they were the police answering a call for noise disturbance. I rush down the stairs to find them pissing themselves on the doorstep. Hmm .... very funny! :)

The friend specialised in "Wellness" proceeded to go into my bedroom and tell me that when it comes to Feng Shui, my room is a mess! Turns out having your head pointing East is not good, neither is an open wardrobe (that's being tackled today), electrical cables running behind the head board and my sister's wicker err... sculpture (dead wood). Let's not even mention the art I was planning on putting on the wall. I have decided that, apart from the wardrobe doors, I going to ignore his comments until bad things happen.

And then there's the Indian, Australian and the Irish who camped out on my sofas providing the laughs and stories (and sarcastic digs) until 5 this morning. The sun was coming up and I had to chuck them out so we could all get a bit of sleep!!

So today I have the task of going around flat with a yellow and blue and white bin bag to clean up! Ooops almost forgot, the bottles need to go in yet a different bag (my blue bags clearly state that no glass is to be put in there!!). I've also to find a place to stash all the booze and fizzies that are left over until the next "gathering".

Not a very content worthy post, granted - but I wanted to keep a trace of it while it was still clear (OK, kinda cloudy) in my head.

A very good night! (though I'm sure my upstairs neighbour can' t have thought the same.)

Sunday, 1 July 2007


I've decided not to write a third version of this post.

I direct you to John's post of our rooky flight on the Vertigo.
You can always check Simon's view of the day too to get another perspective.

I'll just end with this:

It's a good ride, and I think with practice, the swinging could be synchronised and it would add greatly to the enjoyement of the ride. The lift bit reminds me way too much of Dalton though which will make absolute certain that I will NEVER set foot on the vertical tower again.

And my day will be remembered for other things besides the Vertigo:
• the absolute soaking we got on the log fumes - including J's decorative and somewhat confusing "wet" marks on trousers);
• the discovery that I have a talent for blowing things up;
• the Turbine still rocks!!! (even with mysterious smoke in tunnel). For those nostalgics amoung you, check out what Turbine looked like when it was still the Sirocco.

The countdown begins D-8...