The Belgian Pony Express rides again

Wait, oh yes wait a minute mister postman
Wait, wait mister postman

Mister postman look and see
If there's some books in your bag for me.

I didn't actually sing it to him, as I wasn't home when he came round. The man fitting a new fuse box was however and accepted the parcel with books I ordered on Tuesday. Unbelievable. They were shipped from Charleroi to Brussels. I could track the package up to Brussels where it arrived at 3.03 pm.
And then it took another 3 (!) entire days to get from Brussels to here.
Needless to mention it ended up in the b-post distribution system. Maybe the ponies pulling the van went on strike or something.

Art since 1900 by Foster, Krauss, Bois and Buchloh is now part of my library and weighing down the shelves as we speak (Hardcover, 704 pages).
Also the first professor to actually include photography as an art form has recommended this one as a starter book: Photography. A Concise History by Ian Jeffrey.

I'll plunge right into the reading. Next to my lovely hot stove. I fired the thing up this morning, as the electricity has been cut off for the fuse box thing so I don't have any heating during the day. Mouser is also right next to the Franco Belge. The weather still hasn't decided if it wants to turn into spring or remain winter.


Hidden Village Secrets

This village we've moved to has just revealed one of its most deadliest secrets to me this evening: There is a second hand bookshop not more than three miles away which specializes in art history books.

I was looking around on teh intertubes for a book that is frequently referenced at uni (because professors tend to promote force their own books to on students). Vlaamse Meesters: Zes Eeuwen Schilderkunst by Hans Vlieghe, Cyriel Stroo, Hilde van Gelder. The book is always missing from the faculty library and you cannot loan it from the central library.
And I can't really be bothered to photocopy around 80 pages from it (which is compulsory reading this semester). This thing is pretty expensive and costs around 85€ (new). I found one at just 23€. Joy. It is in pristine condition.

And I will be browsing the shelves of that bookstore very soon.


Christchurch Basilica

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Barbadoes Street, Christchurch.
Hit for the second time an earthquake.

Photo Credit


Diggin' in the dirt

Well, not really digging. More like ... pulling out stuff with a car. Much easier, faster & better on the back and elbows.
Yes, I'm a lazy gardener.
Dr Livingstone pulled out some stumps with long roots I'd previously shorn all branches off. They annoyed me beyond anything while I was studying. Every time I looked up from my books I was confronted with the ugly bushes. They just had to go.
So today the car was deployed and tore the suckers out. It went very smoothly. Middle Teen™ keeping an eye on things from the boot.
Then she found some may bug larvae and I had to re-bury them. Didn't know they take about 3-4 years to make the transition from egg to bug. These were about 5 cm long.
I still need to take a picture of the -somewhat- finished feature. I'm re-using some vase/jug ornaments left in the garden by the previous owners. I'm going to sow some rock plant seeds. They do really well without having to put too much effort into growing them. (Suites me down to the ground). I like nice and colourful flower carpets.
The packaging says can't sow it untill March. So I'll post some pictures next month.


Peeping Tom (cat)

Mouser is keeping an eye on everything and everyone. Loads of people about in their gardens and what not during weekends now the weather is getting slightly better. It has to be surveyed at all times. And the best way to go about it is to peer through the bushes into our neighbour's garden. While sitting on a concrete fence support. And then looking surprised when caught on camera and acting like Picturesque Puss™.


Speshul Lolcat Cookies™

Pounced on Mouser when asleep and managed to bundle it in the cat carrier. Off to the vet in the morning. Yearly core jabs plus the one kitteh had never had before: Feline leukemia virus.

Apparently there is a very high rate of it here in the neighbourhood, so Mouser must be protected at all costs. The vet said Velvet Claws would feel a bit under the weather for one or two days because she would be making anti-bodies to the virus.

And I have to put Mouser on the Speshul Lolcat Cookies™. Bought a bag of the crunchy munchies. Kitteh only gets 30 grams in the morning and 35 grams in the evening. So no more wet food or special treats for my darling kitteh.
Methinkst Velvet Claws will tare the place apart before noon.

Of course, kitteh obligingly ate all of the carefully measured munchies yesterday, but today Velvet Claws is not having any of it. The portion remains sniffed at and untouched.
So Mouser decided to have brekkers al fresco this morning. A nice juicy mouse to start off the day. Yum.
And then kitteh reproduced stomach contents in the living room. Yuck.

Mouser is currently hiding under the couch until food preparing noises start to emanate from the kitchen.


Belgium World Record Holder Government Formation

At midnight Belgium is the World Record Holder. We have gone 249 days without a government after elections.
Although some caution should be exercised. Nepal is right on our heels waiting to snatch the record from us...

I haven't been blogging these last few days because I was all tense, waiting for my exam results.
Finally, an Tuesday at 6.33 pm I got an email saying I could check my results online.
Yeah, right. Me and thousands of other students waiting to find out. Like that would work.
Of course the server crashed big time. Only around 7.35 am Wednesday morning I was able to see them.
And one result was missing too...
But now all is well. The missing grade has been retrieved.
It was as expected, all straight A's except the history of history one.
But I will probably be using a special joker card to eradicate that grade and not have to retake the exam. I'll just wait and see what happens during the exams in June. If all is well and I think I can do even better I will retake it. But not sure at the mo.


Basement Cat infiltrates heaven

Mouser is still exploring the new house in every possible way. I have to open doors which are normally shut now to keep the heat in the rooms. Yesterday evening kitteh got access to the spare rooms, used a slatted frame as make-shift stairs (which I had put upright against the wall) and proceeded to climb up some cupboards. Then it did the whole Basement/Ceiling Cat thing.

Possible captions:

Tonight, Basement Cat is watching over you.

Your soul will make its way to Basement Cat.

or, alternatively, my favourite so far:

Basement Cat has infiltrated heaven.


Remind me of Big Love and shopping

Dr Livingstone went on a trip to IKEA last weekend on the way back from collecting Middle Teen™. He bought me a black board with a box of colourful chalk.
Now I can write down stuff I need to buy when I go down to the shops. I'm not very good at remembering that kind of stuff. Like sand through the hourglass.
I hung it next to my desk in the kitchen. First thing Middle Teen™ and the Dr did when they got home was draw on the thing. Don't understand why they drew turds on it. When I asked the reply went along the lines of: I wanted to use the brown chalk so I drew a turd because it's brown.
Hmm. Very grown-up.
Needless to say, I do not like turds in the kitchen, so I wiped them off the board but let the hearts stay on. I drew the small one. Dr Livingstone drew the Big Love.


Money to burn

Looks like the town our little village belongs to has got money to burn. We got an invite to attend a welcoming ceremony for all new inhabitants.

Program consists of:
- meeting some no doubt corrupt politicians.
- listen to boring speech by the mayor (who was cleared in court for fraud and replaces the former mayor who was convicted for corruption at the same trial)
- small do with food and drink
- have a walk around the town with a city guide
- upon return to city hall: another drink
- a nice surprise for the whole family (says on the leaflet).

I think we'll give it a miss. I've met some of these political animals in the past for trumped up media purposes.
The mill where I work as a volunteer is owned by the council and it is in dire need of repairs because they do not maintain it.

But that is another post...


This picture makes me happy

Little elephant Tuluba having a splash at Vienna Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn).


Handbag hell

Woke up very late this morning, still no ample rest for the wicked.
Beautiful sunshine outside, first time in weeks. Hmmm. I'm a completely different person when I've got my lovely sunshine.
My mother in law was here yesterday. I had to got the mill around noon, so I didn't see much of her. And I'm not saying that as it's a bad thing.
She'd brought everyone presents. Dr Livingstone got a cork screw.
'Great mom. Thanks. I'll just put it with the rest of the cork screws.'
I got a book with pictures from post-war Antwerp. And the most trashy handbag you can imagine.
Luckily when I returned from the big bad mill, she'd already left by then. My dear Dr. Livingstone persuaded her to take the handbag with her.
A pensioner came round to drop off some wood for the stove. We can use it right away, it's nice and dry.
The house was all warm and cuddly when I got back, a whopping 21 ºC.
Which, by our standards, is excruciatingly hot. People always tell me thats way too cold, they always have the heating on at least 23 ºC. Meh.
I'm curious if the little stove can keep the living room warm if it's -10ºC outside.
Right. I'll be taking my second cup of coffee down in Dr. Livingstone's workshop.
I have people to write and telephone calls to make.


All done

Finally had the last exam for this term. Art from Ancient History is history.
I had to give an overview of floor decoration from Bronze Age up to late antiquity (4th century) and discuss the Mycean Atreus tholos-grave. It went very well. This was the final day of the examination period. I think the professor might have seen around 120 students up till now. She commented on my answer on the floor decoration I was the first to mention something the rest had all not thought about.
And now, for my next project...
Cleaning the house. It is still caked in dust from the installation of the new stove.


Monuments vs King Kong

While I was studying for my Preservation of Monuments exam I was looking at some World War I propaganda posters. The destruction of Ypres and my university library resonated across the world back then and sparked a wave of disgust at how the invading German troop were destroying Belgian identity through monuments.
The rape of Belgium, as it was called by the British, was used in different media.
I found a US recruitment poster where in the background you can see the silhouet of the destroyed Ypres cloth hall. The gorilla is holding a log saying 'Kultur'.

What struck me was the King Kong-ish appearance the poster had. And this an odd 15 years before RKO's King Kong first hit movie screens back in 1933!
So this a very interesting reference to a poster which would have been found all over the US and a generation would have identified how awesomely horrid this King Kong must be. So a very clever use of images which can spark a sign of recognition.


Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

So far I've waded through the Minoan and Cycladic times, the Dark Ages and the Geometric period.
I still need to look at the Archaïc, Classical, Post-Classical and the Helladic Periods today.
And tomorrow I have to do the Romans. From Etruskan to Constantinian times.
Bleh. I do like to look at all the pretty pictures of nekked bronze men, but I can't seem to distinguish pottery from different centuries.
The exam on art of the Ancients of Mumu is on Saturday. I need to work hard to get everything done on time. I should start right now, instead of blogging about it.
If I don't hurry up some snakes will be crawling out of the sea and drag me back to teach me a lesson.