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Friday, May 30, 2008

Birthday Boy

Guess who celebrated his first birthday today?

Birthday boy  

A very happy birthday my sweetheart, from your daddy who loves you very very much and from mommy who has almost forgiven you for tearing her lower half apart in the middle of the night one year ago.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Heavy Goods Vehicle

A collection of random facts:

  • Wolf is almost one year old, and we’re having a giant big fun birthday party next Sunday. A garden party, if the weather permits (weather forecasts are rather bleak at the moment).
  • Before the weekend, there was one metric tonne of ex-chimney lying on the roof of the annexe. There was also one point five metric tonnes of bricks, cement and dust lying in the two rooms upstairs that one day – knock on wood – will be a solicitor’s office and a bathroom.
  • Next Thursday, all the bits and pieces of our new central heating system will be delivered. Everything will have to be stacked into those two rooms that two days ago were warehouses of dust and debris.
  • Before the weekend, our garden looked like a dumping ground for industrial waste, the only thing that lacks is a rusty car wreck sticking out of the building waste.

So I slaved like a maniac the last couple of days, in a ridiculous attempt to haul everything to the recycling park. During the weekend, it’s only open on Saturdays from 8AM to 4PM, and you can be sure there are endless cues. I managed to drive up and down three times in one day. Every time, the car was jammed with big bags of stone, concrete and dust (Oh, the dust!) to the point were the wheels were less than an inch away from the wheel bays. This is gonna cost us a fortune in shock absorbers.

But after two days of hard labour, the results are there: all the bricks and mortar are gone, together with most of the dust. Although I left quite a bit throughout the house – we’ll have some cleaning up to do before the guests arrive. And the garden actually looks a bit like a garden now, with patches of green showing up between the decorative mounds of broken up concrete. And I cleaned up the two rooms I’m working in so that we have a place to store the radiators.

I, on the other hand, feel like a pudding with lumps.

Posted by Bart at 9:27 PM
Categories: Home Improvement

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bedtime Story

One morning not long ago, we were – ehm – exploring the realms of tenderness (as couples with babies do once every four months or so). We were foolishly spending some time on foreplay. Foolishly, because every minute counts when you've got a two-feet-terrorist about to wake up and scream for food any moment now.

Mrs.B. moaned, but unfortunately not because I was doing such a great job. 'Your hands are like sandpaper', she snapped. It seemed I was almost scraping away her skin. Some people, who like to dress up in black leather and latex may think that's very erotic, but Mrs.B would have none of it.

It seems I'm taking that rebuilding-the-house thing a bit too serious, I'm turning into a regular bricklayer. But at least now I know what that tube of lubricant is for.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Wolf on the swing

If it were up to Wolf, he'd spend the whole day on the swing. Either a real one, like in my sister's garden, or a live one - sitting on my hands and swinging between my legs.

Posted by Bart at 8:34 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Friday, May 16, 2008

World Class Photography

I've been discovered! My pictures have reached international acclaim! My work will be published! Can you believe it?

I got a message last week from a kind lady, asking very kindly if I would be so kind to let them use one of my pictures for a booklet. They found these pictures on my weblog of a native woman in the Amazon rain forest of Ecuador preparing a local alcoholic drink know as chicha.

Ecuadorian woman making chicha

The booklet is about the dangers of alcohol abuse and there will be a part about the history of alcohol. It's an initiative from the Foundation for a drug-free world.

Sheila, the woman who contacted me, is a photographer herself and she said she liked my pictures very much. So naturally, my ego inflated to the point where I had to agree to send her the pictures asap. I won't get any money for this, it's just for the honour and in the knowledge that this will be the first step to becoming a Magnum photographer.

Oh, and to the people who've known me during my college years: the fact that I contribute to a publication about the dangers of alcohol is no reason to start sniggering, giggling, laughing behind your hand, laughing out loud, guffawing or mass histerical laughter. Thank you.

Posted by Bart at 9:09 PM
Categories: Framed

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bumper Car Against Car Bumper

After almost twenty years of driving without any car accidents (close calls don’t count as they prove I’ve got great reflexes), the inevitable has happened. I’ve had a car accident.

Miraculously, there were no fatalities. And it’s a good thing no-one got catapulted through the windscreen and crashed violently into a traffic sign, because even thirty minutes after the crash not a single ambulance was in sight. The fire brigades of Antwerp and the neighbouring communities were nowhere to be seen. Not even a single helicopter to verify if there was any danger of huge explosions.

Incomprehensible, since we were both driving at some three to five kilometres an hour. I tell you we were very, very lucky.

It happened on the parking lot of the new DIY-superstore that opened recently when I was in Congo. I must say that the organisation of that parking is very confusing. Not that I was confused, with my superior navigation abilities, but the guy who bumped into my car sure was. While I was backing out of my parking space, he realised that he was driving into the wrong direction. So he too backed up to be able to turn left into another corridor. It was then that both our cars collided with a mighty ‘bump’.

He was one of those Mercedes-driver-types, all sunglasses and professional business smiles and so on. He thought he could handle typical working class people like me, with their boxy Renault Partner cars and their dirty finger nails. But I would have none of that. Despite the fact that I was still very much in shock because of the dreadful accident, I made him put everything on paper. I made an excellent drawing of the situation and I got him to sign and everything, with his real name.

But alas, woe to those who are married to lawyers, for they shall burn in hell. Mrs B took my ‘waterproof’ description apart with a professional appetite. ‘There’s not even a date on it! You didn’t draw the other cars! Weren’t there any signs showing the direction you should drive? And why didn’t you get any witnesses to describe what happened! You didn’t even wrote what happened in your own words, are you mad!?

I mumbled something in my defence, but she would have none of it. So I staggered to the cupboard to get a glass. I needed a cool drink, but instead I was bombarded, with a teacup that landed squarely on my head.

There’s only so much that a man can take, so I grabbed that cup and slung it right out of the door into the garden. Luckily the door was open, otherwise we would have a back-door with a teacup shaped hole in it.

So now I have to convince the insurance company that I creased my bumper in a car accident and that somehow, that teacup got in the way and got crushed in between the two cars. Otherwise, I have to pay for that cup myself.

Posted by Bart at 9:23 PM
Categories: Miscellaneous

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Undead

No, I'm not dead yet. I did take three local flights with a Congolese airline, so the odds were against me. And I had an encounter with a Black Mamba, one of the most poisonous snakes in the world and one with a very bad temper at that. It's the only snake that will actively pursue you to bite you, where other snakes would try to get away from you as fast as they can. So it's a good thing I didn't actually meet it face to face: we drove over the poor thing. Still, I didn't get out the jeep to offer my excuses; it looked really mad.

I've been back home for a week now, and I took a couple of days off work to have a good rest. And what could be more relaxing than breaking down a brick chimney? The wheather has been unseasonably fine for the time of year, with temperatures reaching well over 20°C and not a cloud in sight. What better time to make a big gaping hole in your roof? I hope I did a good job of closing the gap and making it waterproof, because thunderstorms are expected for the next couple of days.

Posted by Bart at 9:18 PM
Categories: The intrepid explorer

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