Ph'lip ya for real.

The Belgian Postal Service has released a commemorative stamp for the 'trone swap' as it is literally translated. AKA: the abdication of Albert II.
Here's the original stamp as it will be sold in post offices across Belgium:

Here's what it actually should have looked like if it embodied the full spirit of a trone swap:

Thank you. I'll be here all night.


Make jam, not war

A perfectly heart-shaped sweet strawberry. It had to be captured in a picture and broadcast to the world.
Sweet love for everyone!


For scale's sake

The courgette plant has been supplying us with humongous vegetables for a couple of weeks now. Tried all kinds of recipes to keep enjoying them.
To give you an impression of the kind of copious amounts we have to deal with on a regular basis: here's a photo to clarify. I added my garden glove for scale's sake.
We currently have two plants doing very well and not likely to stop growing as of yet.
We are strongly considering planting just the one next year!


No cue for cats

The only difference between the two pictures is that there are no people cueing to see Mouser on top of the Waterloo Lion's Mound.


Press Conference

This weekend it's the F1 Belgian Grand Prix.
I was looking at some pictures from the press conference on Thursday and came across a funny one.
I just couldn't resist adding a few text captions.
It's probably a bit obscure if you're not following F1.


Chicken salad

Second cookery entry of this blog:

We made some more salad...
For good measure, and variety, I changed the recipe slightly.

- 150gr of couscous
- 2 slices of chicken filet

- fresh peas
- fresh beans
- fresh tomatoes
- fresh courgette (about a quarter, thinly sliced)
- fresh mint
- fresh rosemary
- olive oil to unstick the couscous
- some lemon juice
- some drops of balsamico vinegar
- curry power & chicken herbs to bake the chicken

It wasn't too bad, first time I had made couscous. It's so simple. 160ml hot water for 100grams of couscous. Just add the water, let rest for 8 minutes, done!


Mouser mushroom

Mouser is waiting for the garden gnomes to come home from a hard day's work down in the diamond mine.
Oh wait. They were dwarves. And they lived in a cottage.
Come to think of it: What did they actually do with the diamonds they found?
Is that ever explained? Do they just keep them in a vault and leave them there?
This is one of those story lines which should have been explored in the sequels.


Not popular

Judging by the reaction the same national newspaper receives from it's readers online, working for the government isn't very popular, despite reports there was a considerable increase in people wanting to apply for jobs.

In an article written for the Biz section (Biz as in short for Financial News, not Showbusiness -_-) sporting the title "The best and worst government jobs" it lists some boring stuff about boring jobs.
Anyway, in a bold font at the end of the article it says: "Should you think about applying for a government job, press the 'respond' button at the top of the page on the right."

...says the voice talking to the hand.

Subs on holiday

The subs of of one of the national newspapers are on a summer break and monkeys are filling in for them once more.

These gems were in the paper's online edition last Sunday:

First up is National News.
It reads "19 people dead in traffic accident in Egypt."

Second one from Wednesday's edition in Foreign News:
It reads: "Magnetic field of Sun about to turn."

You can't get any more foreign than that.
What happened to the Science News section by the way?


Sweet Mouser

Look at sweet little Mouser, playing nice.


Headline hegemony part 2

I've been following the World Championships Athletics in Moskow on and off for the last couple of days.
Today the Borlée brothers were running their semis.
One of them didn't make it.
Incidentally one of our national newspapers sported two pictures next to each other.
The left hand caption says: "Firstly, point to what's going wrong" where the 'loopt' could be interpreted as 'running' when translated literally.
Right hand caption says: "Jonathan Borlée through to WC final, Kevin eliminated.

I can tell what's going wrong. He's on the phone, not entirely focussed on his race. Kids these days. Can't go without their cell phones for 5 minutes these days...




I've been roaming around the garden since the weekend before last with my camera. It was a very long time since I snapped some wildlife and I went in headlong. There was a butterfly counting weekend, so we made ourselves useful. We've not too good at naming the insects so I took pictures, we compared them to others on the insecternet and hey presto; some eight different species popped out:

Polyommatus icarus (which I hoped would have been the very rare Adonis butterfly (Polyommatus bellargus).

Autographa gamma

Gonepteryx rhamni

Pieris rapae

Colias crocae

Celastrina argiolus

Maniola jurtina

Aglais io

This was more than I had expected to see in the garden.
Looks like the combination of wild flowers, a veg garden and a manicured garden with a lawn, herbs and the surrounding fruit trees are a very good combination for attracting all sorts.
What a difference compared to where we used to live. We realize what an unhealthy environment that was, notwithstanding we were in the middle of greenery and fruit trees too. But it just shows that all those pesticides they used on the fruit trees and the farmland were a complete disaster for the fauna over there.


Summer wild flowers

I'll treat you to a picture of my lovely summer border full of wild flowers and gladiolus which have finally brought forth up to five different shades of colours.


Garden delights

I was taking a break from my studying, and chanced upon the beans Dr Livingstone had sown a while back. I thought it was still just some greenery with flowers, but they are already sporting a huge amount of beans.
So as you might have already guessed, this is what we will be eating for the following couple of days, with come courgette thrown in for variety.

Much against my will, this entry will look like a cookery blog for once.
We're having a lovely salad this evening made with fresh ingredients from the garden:
- 1 red paprika
- 1/2 cucumber (from our neighbour)
- about 20 large pole snapbeans
- 1 tomato
- rosemary
- basil
- mint
- dill

And for extra spunk: pasta (farfalle), one carrot, balsamico vinegar, olive oil and some ground black pepper.


Fresh from the garden

We have been harvesting our own vegetables for some time now. The courgettes are incredible. This thing yields us a fresh, humongous piece every other day. We've been racking our brains how to prepare it. Fried, cooked, raw. We've make courgette smoothies and courgette soup.
So they're a big succes. We only planted two of them, just in case one would die or something, but against all odds it went fine.

Also the pumpkin plant is bringing forth huge pumpkins. It is slowly taking over the front garden, creeping along unnoticed. Until we eat everything in the fall.

And of course the lovely strawberries are a special treat. Once I plucked a whole bowl of them. They went down with some yoghurt.

We've also been giving away fennel, sharing bundles of raddish and Dr Livingstone has been eating lettuce in copious amounts over the past weeks. He had planted too much and everything was ready to eat at the same time. He bought some new seedlings for harvesting in 2-3 weeks time and also some rhubarb. Yum!

I also managed to harvest a handfull of green peas, haven't cooked them yet.

And our F1-tomato plant and the cherry tomato plants are giving us 2 to 3 small tomatoes a day. It will be pasta all the way for rest of the week I think.

More to come as summer progresses!


Summer blogging break

I haven't been updating the blog of late, as there is so much work to do at the shop, in the house, with the studying, in the garden.
I promise I will make some time and post some garden pictures pretty soon. I will leave you with a picture of Mouser's share of hard work.


Teh winrar!

We are the hottest place in Belgium today. We win hands down.