Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.

Mouser's bed-in protest seems to have speeded up the negotiations, the formateur announced they had reached an agreement on the budget up till 2014.
Eerily enough, the press photo's show a vaguely familiar scene.
I seem to remember someone sitting in the middle being crucified a short while later.


Bed-in protest for quick Belgian government formation

Bedroom eyes. My bed has eyes. Pretty scary ones too.
Oh wait. It's not monsters. It's just Mouser having a little bed-in protest for a quick government formation. We are currently 531 days without one after june 2010's elections. I think we have broken all intergalactic records by now.


The White Room

Yes! The room is completely white now. But just not quite white enough. I think I should add another layer just to have it absolutely right. Light was failing before I could see it dried out. I do not want a hint of pink shimmering through!
And I have to paint the door too... But I need to buy another kind of paint first. And lift the door out of its hinges. And then sand the door down. It's an oak door, and extremely heavy. My guess is it weighs almost as much as myself...


Polly Filler

No time to waste yesterday (I sound like an 80's Greenpeace slogan). I hurried back home to finish up filling up some holes in the wall. We're redecorating our former bedroom. This will now become an office and those hideous pinkish colours just have to go.
Unfortionatly Dr Livingstone put pollyfilla on some silicone leftovers and I can't fix it. There are bulges as huge as Mount Everest and I can't overlook them now I know they're there.
We put the fugly wardrobe on the internet and two Belgo-Turkish Copts came and dismantled it for us for free. Dr Livingstone heard them speak, he asked in is usual tacktful way: "What kind weird language are you two speaking?". The answer there came 'Hebrew mixed with a local Flemish accent.'
Apparently there is no Hebrew word for 'upper overlay'. You learn something new everyday.

Today is D-Day. The silicone is going around the edges of the ceiling, tiles and door and then the first lick of paint will be put on.
It is going to be an all-white office, with a simple cupboard with sliding glass doors. The same kind we've got in the livingroom.
Hope it'll be finished next week.

For your entertainment I've put up some 'before' and 'after' pictures of the wall where the brownish wardrobe was standing.
And also a picture of the very dubious shades of pink that are currently on the walls and screaming out loud to be covered with a nice and safe colour of pristine white.

Small book gems

I managed to contain myself and put most of the books back I had picked up.
I walked away with just two!
One of the books is a guide to the South Kensington Museum. It is a catalog printed in 1897 and sold in the museum in that same and the following year.
It is in pristine condition and lardered with funny ads, nice crisp ground floor plans of the Science and Art museums. A true gem at only 3€.

And then another surprise as I unearthed a catalogue of the Salon d'Anvers of 1855. I worked on the Salon on 1843, I bought this as a little memento. It feels like I stole it from the archive and now treasure it like some art thief who steals for pleasure.
A stamp on the inside does tell me it once belonged to the collection of the Antwerp city library. I should wrap it in some protective paper, the back is half torn and it is an annoted page. This rare thing set me back just 10€, so I stayed below the 20€ threshold I had agreed with myself.
And I managed to save on a train fare this morning, as the conductor failed to show up. So I have permitted myself to spend an extra 3,90 + 7€, if I have some more time to spend idle amongst volumes of knowlegde.


The Irony Elephants are back

I was trying to remember the title of the Agatha Christie novel I am currently reading. It has the word 'elephants' in the title.
So my memory come up with 'Elephants never forget'.
A good title by any standards, but not a novel by written by Agatha.
The book I am really reading is called 'Elephants can remember'.
It is obvious that ze little grey cells are not what they used to be...


Books & Boots

I could not help but linger in front of the disgarded book section in the faculty library.
I picked up yet another book for some public transport reading. This time I found a neatly bounded hard cover volume (all black, no letters on the cover). It is called The Battle for Modernity and neatly groups the social movements and denominations in Europe since 1830. This is volume 10 in the Kadoc-studies series. It should give me some extra background info or some little sparks for new ideas for my big paper I'm writing on and should be due around June.

And I went on a double shopping shoe spree when I headed over to the store to get some copy paper.
I bought two (!) pair of boots (the kind Dr Livingstone likes) and a new wallet.
That'll be enough for the rest of the decennium me thinkst (shoe-wise).

Tomorrow there is a book sale at the University Central Library and I might browse around...

Looking at the title of this little blog post; would that be an idea for a bookshop come shoe shop? A walhalla for the educated woman? You already have these coffee-bookstore things.
Why not shoes and books? I think I have just coined the brand name right here and now. Books & Boots. Oh wait. My google-fu just came up with the Richmond Walking & Book Festival 2011.


Moar Books

I'm all keyed up for the book sale on the 23rd and 24th. I picked up a leafled as I was leaving my faculty library on Thursday evening.
The Central University Library is selling off their double or irrelevant volumes. Maybe I can unearth a little gem. Who knows. I must however agree with myself on the maximum amount I am willing shall allow myself to spend.
There is no place for new books. And actually no money come to think of it. I think the only ones I am allowed to buy are the ones we can chuck into the fire to keep warm this coming winter. Those stupid petrol prices keep going up. Where's a good recession when you need really need one?


A scolarly day

I had a lovely day today: all my time I had today was spent immersed in books, history, architecture and paper writing.
I feel elated and don't really know why.
The train ride was spent by further reading the Loving Frank novel, the connecting bus ride was the same.
The an architectural theory lecture on a fascinating architect I seem to have a faint memory of having seen some of his work: Juliaan Lampens. His puristic concrete architecture has a very Japanese feel to it when seeing '70's grainy pictures of the house he built in the late sixties/early seventies.

Then I dashed to the next lecture on Costume History. Don't know why but the professor just had to mention he heard a rumour Kate Middleton is pregnant. Makes you wonder what strange pre-occupations these academic scolars have...
Right. I missed professor emeritus Guy Delmarcel's book sale on the 4th floor of the faculty building during lunch hours.
I did manage to buy a book at the library sale (a steal at only 1€!) on Religious experience and aesthetic experience from professor J. J. Aerts' personal library (known for his psychological-anthropological approach toward literature and authors).

Then I spent a couple of agreeable hours finishing up a paper on the Pavilion of Catholic Life at the 1935 World Fair. Fascinating building designed by little know Belgian architect Henri Lacoste.
Will blog on that building in a seperate post.
Then I had to attend another lecture at half eight on Gothic churces in China. Again fascinating stuff.
And to top it all off: I found a book I had ordered on the doorstep. Luckily it hasn't rained today and this time the postman didn't try and stuff it all the way down the letter box. My guess is it was non too flexible and decided it would be best if he just left it out in the open instead of putting it in the car port where it would be safe in case of rain...

The book in question is Ingenieurs en Architecten op de drempel van een nieuwe tijd (1750-1830) by Dirk Van de Vijver. I'm hoping to get some inspiration out of it

Anyway, I'm growing sleepy and just waiting for Dr Livingstone to come home. He's had a decorator in and paint the walls of the workshop all nice and white.


Loving Loving Frank

I'm really loving Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. I was sucked into the book and nearly missed my train stop on the way back home this afternoon. I'm half way through till now.

A man came to measure up the windows and front door. He's making us a quote for new ones, which will save us quite some money in a couple of years. We want to have the whole house isolated so we can cut the costs on heating and so on.
We're doing it in phases as we still haven't won the lottery or found a duffel bag stuffed full of euro's on the doorstep left by an anonymous philantropist...


Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

The lecture finished ten minutes early on Monday so I managed to pop into the book shop on my way to the bus. I was looking for a Boudewijn Büch book on Goethe, but they didn't have any.
On my way out I skimmed a row of fiction novels and found a very cheap copy of Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. It's a novel about the love affair between Mamah Borthwick Cheney and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
It was recommended to me as a little light reading by a professor of architectural theory.
It'll last me a couple of bus rides I guess.
I'm have a hard time concentrating on reading school stuff because of all the pointless banter all around courtesy of all my fellow passengers.


A little friend

An unlucky Jay flew right into our double glazing and was quite dazzled by the experience. I picked him up, to steady him, Dr Livingstone said I was no good and took him with his bare hands to keep the poor bird warm and recover from the huge smack and woozy feeling.

It sat quite stil and did not fight or struggle to free itsself rom his grip. He then sat down in the garden and stroked it. Its eyes were alert, its pupils reacting to movements and it seemed all ok. No serious concussion, maybe the bird experienced a slight headache, but it seemed fine.
It flew out of Dr Livingstone's hand and perched on the chair next to him and then flew, not in a complete straight line I might add, into a nearby tree. It struggled to perch on a branch but then flew away reassuringly.


Train (ed) dog

My grandmother is in hospital after a fall. She's having surgery on Monday to mend her hip. She was quite comfortable in hospitable, her leg in traction to keep the break nice and aligned for the surgeon to fix it.
I visited her Saturday, the train on the way there was packed with people.
All of them speaking different languages. The guy with the dog was talking Japanese on the phone, in front of me a Tunisian living in Brussels was speaking English with two Turkish girls studying marketing and engineering, behind me some Germans were either arguing or having a normal conversation (sounds alike in tone of voice to me). Across from me two Russians students, behind them Polish folk, and behind them very loud Spanish people.
They were all talking, everything went crescendo. It was very hard to concentrate on the reading material I had brought with me. If they were talking languages I can't understand, then I would have managed but I just gave up after 1,5 pages and nodded off. I slept the whole ride just up to the terminus.
The dog belonging to the Japanese guy was sprawled on two seats and seemed to be all relaxed and comfortable.
Right up until the train conductor janked him off.


You are all remembered

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends.
The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

World War I was known as the "war to end all wars" because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused.


Presentation Time

At the university today I had to give a presentation on the Antwerp Salon of 1843. It's an exhibition much like the more famous counterparts held in Paris.
It went well, had positive feedback and a few laughs, which is always good. It was great fun researching the subject. I love the nineteenth century. It's so alike today, but yet so different. And the newspapers are always a bundle of laughs.
Art critics are very very harsh when it comes to reviewing some art works. 'He could have saved himself the trouble. What a waste of paint'-kinda stuff.
Some quacks have very big advertisements claiming to -among other things- cure most known diseases.
Which is interesting.
And false.

Meh. Need rest now. No more blogging today.


Mock Pantheon

I had the most boring lecture this morning. I've never known anyone able to give such an uninspiring lecture on Dante and his Divine Comedy.
So I had some amusement staring up at the ceiling of the auditorium. It's located in the former Jesuit College. The neo-classicist auditorium was built in 1824 after a design by Hensmans. It's a kind of mock Pantheon. Less ambitious in being semi-circular. Here's a blurry picture I took with my phone out of boredom.

Hey! I almost sound like a real student!


Stasi HQ

I firmly believe we have the world's most nosiest neighbour. As soon as even a leaf falls on the driveway, she's out lurking behind some shrubbery or peering out from behind the drapes.
She doesn't know we can see her. Especially when it's dark outside and her livingroom is lit up like a Christmas tree. We can see her staring silhouet.
Dr Livingstone is now even playing with this. When we come home from work or uni, we need to stop in front of the gate to open it. Now he stops just a few meters in front of their house and waits until he sees the curtain shift.
Even when we got up a couple of Sundays ago to watch the F1 (the circuits at the other side of the world have inconvenient tv hours) we got to hear: "You guys were up nice and early today. I saw the woodstove burn."

It's even infected her slow son. When we're out stargazing, we can see him fumbling about in their garden ajoining the chicken shack. He thinks we can't see him, but he carries a small torch with him.


It's like living next to the Stasi headquarters.


Four basset hounds and a concrete mixer

Rude awakening this morning around 6 am. Some truck with stuff in it for concrete flooring started up just a couple of meters from our doorstep. At that time I was just in the middle of a dream. I was riding the bus to uni and a lady next to me got up to give room to another lady getting on the bus with four basset hounds. They all jumped up on the seat next to me.
Then I woke up.
I'm guessing what might have happened next. Possible scenarios:
1) Hounds slobber all over me and I'd have to change seats.
2) One of them bites me.
3) One of them comes and sits on my lap and I can't seem to shift it because it is staring at me with that über-sad look.
4) The bus has a head on collision with a concrete truck jumping a red light.


Books! Blogging! Blimey!

Hello everyone!

I've been out of the blogging loop for some time. I've hardly had time to gasp for breath once in a while.
I'm back at university, I've had a spell of heart trouble, we've been doing all sorts around the house, we've been busy at the workshop etc. etc. etc.

Best to start blogging again once in a while.
And my first post in a long time will be about ... BOOKS.
How could it not be?
I had a spare half hour before my next meeting for a talk I'm giving with two fellow students, so I strayed into a bookshop.
I got away with:
1) Barry Pitt, Zeebrugge: Eleven VC's before breakfast. A book on the Raid on Zeebrugge in 1918.
2) a book on Belgians in Somalia during operations in the early nineties
3) a book on an evolving borough from the mid 19th century up till the 70's
3) The bedside book of chemistry by Joel Levy. A book on -er- chemistry. I know, I'm a freak.
4) Michel Peeters, Beelden voor de massa: kunst als wapen in het Derde Rijk. A book on art and how it was used as a propaganda tool by Nazi Germany.

I did manage to update my LibraryThing now and then. Which I also other books too that are compulsory reading this semester.