Thursday, October 20, 2005


I'm sitting in the very classy antechamber in Brussel-Zuid, waiting for the Eurostar to take me to Londoninium, where much Fun awaits. It's another lightning trip: leaving on Monday arvo, stay for a couple of nights, back on Wednesday. So while I was waiting in line to check in, three English travellers pushed in front of me - not that there was any hurry - and then proceeded to complain about the 'shambles' that Eurostar is. We reached the passport control together and they just beat me because I had a couple of Japanese in front of me. Then we had a half an hour wait before the doors even opened to get onto the platform :-) But that's half an hour of Bilge writing time!

It's been all systems go in the last two weeks, but things are gradually falling into place vis a vis the Move. I have much to do when I get back, but a tenant has been found for my place I think, and I can leave my furniture with him. Yay! I also cleaned about a quarter of another room, which leaves just one and three quarter rooms to go. So much dust, so little time.

I saw Nochnoi Dozor (Night Watch) in a late late session while the Flemish Film Festival was on. It's a Russian film, dubbed 'the first Russian blockbuster' and it had Flemish/French subtitles so I could at least follow what was going on. Brief plot summary: Light versus Dark, all vampires/shapeshifters and other assorted weirdos on both sides. But there's been a truce for a while, until things start to change. It's set in modern Moscow and there's a boy who has to choose between Light and Dark, and supposedly that will tip the balance in favour of one. But it's not so easy, because Anton, a vampire who chose the Light, tried to murder the kid before he was born (long story), so the kid feels hard done by and chooses the Dark. OK, so I gave away a bit of the plot there, but there's gunna be three movies so it's no big deal, you can wait for the next one.

I liked it because it was Russian and therefore different. The cinematography was great - lots of closeups of stuff, and it was fairly bleak. Surprisingly, not too many people got massacred. The plot was a little weak but at least the usual stereotype of Light = Good and Dark = Evil didn't really exist. The Dark guys weren't that bad and the Light dudes weren't that good. Herendethereview.

I met up with Reinhard for a coupla drinks on Vrijdag avond, and that was entertaining. His shop is going well and he's selling a lot more pies, so good on him for getting the massage across. I'll probably stay with him for a couple of months next year and eat pies. We went to a cafe just opposite his shop, then moved around the corner to a "Trendy" place called Igor a bit later. It was so "Trendy" that the name of the bloody cafe wasn't even on the building. You had to look across the canal where it was strung up in neon lights. Jeez, I thought the place was called "Vedette" but that was the name of the beer that they served. Not bad beer either.

The cafe was a bit weird though. It's only been open a week and it's supposed to be the place to go if you want to be Seen. I wasn't sure about that as I normally go Incognito, but it was worth a look-see. It was a biggish place but there was no advertising on the walls, so it was quite plain. It was all done up in wooden paneling, but some maroon had made everything uneven and asymmetrical in the name of being "Trendy". Even the floor had little ramps everywhere, meaning that once you had imbibed sufficient alcohol, you'd probably trip over and crackabone. The seats, tables, everything were uneven, and so were the bar staff. They were very surly so after one Vedette we called it a night, or an early morning by that stage.

I've been building up the mileage base without going too hard for the last two weeks, and that should knock me into shape for Oz. It's been awesome weather too: 20 and sunny most days, apart from a bit of mist. On Thursday I went to Knokke along the Leopold kanaal, which is a really nice ride. I got good pics of the 'cathedral of trees' that runs along most of the bike path - see below.

On the weekend, I just did the bunch ride both days. Saturday was a little harder, and I think there were four Aussies in the bunch at the start, along with Gab(ke) Reid, who is getting fitter again. We were fairly average on the Trap Op (5'38 on Saturday, 5'30 on Sunday), but that was fine by me. No need to go into the red too much at this point of the proceedings. The sprint on Saturday had to be aborted because we would have run into a number of horses that were milling in the fog about with 150m to go. Sunday was nicer weather and we had a bunch of over 30, which is amazing for this time of year.

Finally, and by no means the most trivial thing of this bilge update, the pure, sweet waters of Gent have been poisoned!!!! Yes, our water supply has been contaminated by some canal water in Dampoort, apparently. No idea how that could happen, but anyway, we have to deal with the consequences. Everyone has been advised to go to London or drink bottled water. I am doing the former because I didn't want to run out of beer.

More later...

A spot of fishing
© Jeff Jones

Closer to Gent
© Jeff Jones

Cathedral of trees
© Jeff Jones

Somewhere between here and Knokke
© Jeff Jones

Pithy caption
© Jeff Jones

Glorious Knokke
© Jeff Jones

Glorious Knokke again
© Jeff Jones

On the way home, near Knokke
© Jeff Jones

35 km to go
© Jeff Jones

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