Jazz

I love Brussels – especially during Jazz weekend – and it was great getting away to rest my sore neck!
We had the usual panic in getting away despite Phil only finding two shoes at the last minute – which should have been fine but one was a trainer and one wasn’t. We eventually managed to find footwear, car keys, etc and got to the Ashford with not quite enough time to use the cheap outdoor car park.
We got to Brussels and made the usual trek from dingy streets into the splendour of the Grande Place. We go a different way every time – following Phils innate sense of direction. This is fine except that if I ever go there on my own I will not know where the hell I am as we have never been the same way twice! It was very, very hot, and we decided to see if we could leave the bags at the hotel first, which was on the other side of the town, so by the time we had left the bags and got back to the Grand Place we were certainly in need of a drink. We passed the gloriously named Dickfish restaurant
but ate in the Falstaff restaurant. It is so beautiful and the food is good.
We went and booked in at the hotel – I hadn’t realised that we were going to be in the posh club rooms as it was a package we had booked through Eurostar – but we got sent up to the 25th floor (aaghh!!) to book in at the special club desk.

Our room was the size of a small country, and there was a present of a candle holder beautifully wrapped up on the desk, and slippers!!! (yes, I am a sad cow who is bowled over by simple things)

We were on the 18th floor – I had to use mind over matter to cope with that! We had a rest and then went out to hit town just as the sun was beginning to go down.

We went down to St Catherines Place and got a seat near to the front of the stage – nobody was playing but there was Frank Zappa playing over the loudspeakers and it was all hot and lazy and the waiter was goodlooking and everything was wonderful.

Then the band came on…… well, actually they were OK, but couldn’t make up their minds whether they were jazz or reggae.
We walked on to the Grand Place which was absolutely packed, we managed to squeeze in at the back and catch the last couple of numbers. The band were good – called the Peas Project (?!) – there were about 10 of them, all thoroughly enjoying themselves, as were the crowd! Despite everyone in the audience going crazy and shouting for more they only played one encore, and finished at about 2245. We walked back to the Crowne Plaza hotel opposite ours as two years ago a really good jazzband had been playing there – the Dixieland Ramblers- and luckily they were back again. We managed to get seats for the second set and really enjoyed it.
They didn’t finish until well after 0130 and when we got back to the Sheraton the main door was locked and we had to ring the bell and ask to go in!
The next day we had breakfast in the club room on the 25th floor
I am definitely not made for high rise living.

We walked through the Botanic Gardens and both posed.


We did our usual aimless wandering around – past the Royal Dog shop and through the Sablon looking at the antique stalls. We saw a very good Hiphop band and then went back to the hotel for a rest. There was a box of chocolates in the room – might not be cut out for highrise living but could definitely get used to staying at the Sheraton!

In the evening we went for dinner to our usual Italian restaurant where we met a very nice Englishman who was working in Brussels for 3 months.We finished dinner and went to the Grand Place only to find everyone packing up – just like last year we had misjudged the time and missed the main band. We walked back to the Crowne Plaza to see the Dixie Ramblers again who were as brilliant as the night before, they played the best music of the whole weekend. They enjoy playing so much it really comes through in the music. We had to ring the bell again to get into the hotel once they had finished!

Sunday we just went walking – the fantastic thing about Brussels is that you can be walking down the most rundown street and then all of a sudden you come across fantastic buildings – like this square. This was a town hall.

These were the buildings and view opposite.

We walked back to the centre of town after having a beer in a tiny cafe and came across a half marathon – went into the musee d’art (just to use the loo!) and came out to see the street absolutely packed with runners. We went for a meal at the Hungarian restaurant in Sablon, and at the end the rather luscious owner came out and insisted on taking our photo on the stage where the musicians play in the evening.

So I took hers with Phil. He was a bit blurry but she looks good!

I don’t think a visit to Brussels is complete without a visit to the Mannequin Pis – although Phil disagreed and made me fight through the tourists on my own. It was worth it as he was wearing clothes!

We walked back to the hotel to collect our bags and then went back to the station and back home to the pouring rain in England.

One last sign!

Jazz

I love Brussels – especially during Jazz weekend – and it was great getting away to rest my sore neck!
We had the usual panic in getting away despite Phil only finding two shoes at the last minute – which should have been fine but one was a trainer and one wasn’t. We eventually managed to find footwear, car keys, etc and got to the Ashford with not quite enough time to use the cheap outdoor car park.
We got to Brussels and made the usual trek from dingy streets into the splendour of the Grande Place. We go a different way every time – following Phils innate sense of direction. This is fine except that if I ever go there on my own I will not know where the hell I am as we have never been the same way twice! It was very, very hot, and we decided to see if we could leave the bags at the hotel first, which was on the other side of the town, so by the time we had left the bags and got back to the Grand Place we were certainly in need of a drink. We passed the gloriously named Dickfish restaurant
but ate in the Falstaff restaurant. It is so beautiful and the food is good.
We went and booked in at the hotel – I hadn’t realised that we were going to be in the posh club rooms as it was a package we had booked through Eurostar – but we got sent up to the 25th floor (aaghh!!) to book in at the special club desk.

Our room was the size of a small country, and there was a present of a candle holder beautifully wrapped up on the desk, and slippers!!! (yes, I am a sad cow who is bowled over by simple things)

We were on the 18th floor – I had to use mind over matter to cope with that! We had a rest and then went out to hit town just as the sun was beginning to go down.

We went down to St Catherines Place and got a seat near to the front of the stage – nobody was playing but there was Frank Zappa playing over the loudspeakers and it was all hot and lazy and the waiter was goodlooking and everything was wonderful.

Then the band came on…… well, actually they were OK, but couldn’t make up their minds whether they were jazz or reggae.
We walked on to the Grand Place which was absolutely packed, we managed to squeeze in at the back and catch the last couple of numbers. The band were good – called the Peas Project (?!) – there were about 10 of them, all thoroughly enjoying themselves, as were the crowd! Despite everyone in the audience going crazy and shouting for more they only played one encore, and finished at about 2245. We walked back to the Crowne Plaza hotel opposite ours as two years ago a really good jazzband had been playing there – the Dixieland Ramblers- and luckily they were back again. We managed to get seats for the second set and really enjoyed it.
They didn’t finish until well after 0130 and when we got back to the Sheraton the main door was locked and we had to ring the bell and ask to go in!
The next day we had breakfast in the club room on the 25th floor
I am definitely not made for high rise living.

We walked through the Botanic Gardens and both posed.


We did our usual aimless wandering around – past the Royal Dog shop and through the Sablon looking at the antique stalls. We saw a very good Hiphop band and then went back to the hotel for a rest. There was a box of chocolates in the room – might not be cut out for highrise living but could definitely get used to staying at the Sheraton!

In the evening we went for dinner to our usual Italian restaurant where we met a very nice Englishman who was working in Brussels for 3 months.We finished dinner and went to the Grand Place only to find everyone packing up – just like last year we had misjudged the time and missed the main band. We walked back to the Crowne Plaza to see the Dixie Ramblers again who were as brilliant as the night before, they played the best music of the whole weekend. They enjoy playing so much it really comes through in the music. We had to ring the bell again to get into the hotel once they had finished!

Sunday we just went walking – the fantastic thing about Brussels is that you can be walking down the most rundown street and then all of a sudden you come across fantastic buildings – like this square. This was a town hall.

These were the buildings and view opposite.

We walked back to the centre of town after having a beer in a tiny cafe and came across a half marathon – went into the musee d’art (just to use the loo!) and came out to see the street absolutely packed with runners. We went for a meal at the Hungarian restaurant in Sablon, and at the end the rather luscious owner came out and insisted on taking our photo on the stage where the musicians play in the evening.

So I took hers with Phil. He was a bit blurry but she looks good!

I don’t think a visit to Brussels is complete without a visit to the Mannequin Pis – although Phil disagreed and made me fight through the tourists on my own. It was worth it as he was wearing clothes!

We walked back to the hotel to collect our bags and then went back to the station and back home to the pouring rain in England.

One last sign!

A weekend that was a bit too exciting..

Started off promisingly enough – spent Friday and Saturday gardening and cleaning as Phil’s mum and stepfather were visiting on Sunday. Jill was babysitting for some friends of ours who we go dancing with – Carol and Mark. She loves going there as as well as the fan club of Murray and Eliot they have a huge trampoline that she can have a go on.
Mark drove us down to Tenterden where we were going to a 1940S dance – it was a good night out – I even got invited to dance by the class swot which was scary – but dont think I did too badly. I wanted to take photographs but when I took the camera out the screen was broken – so no more photographs for a while.
We stopped at an Indian restaurant on the way home as Carol wanted chips – so all the calories expended were put back on in a glorious burst of bhajis and samosas.
Cynthia and Ken arrived earlier than expected on Sunday and we spent the morning chatting and looking at the garden until Phil came back from doing a bit of overtime at work. We had decided to take them out for dinner instead of sweating over a hot stove and in the end went to a pub in Crouch ( a village I had never heard of) as the first pub we went to was too posh to take the stilton off its beefburgers for Jake, and the second was closed for some reason. The pub was very friendly and fantastic value for lovely food – we had 4 roast beef dinners, scampi and shepherds pie and a round of drinks for about £45. Only problem was the parking – a tiny car park which meant double and triple parking and a huge shuffle around every time anyone wanted to leave.
Kens car was well and truly boxed in, and Phil left Jill and I waiting for him to get out while he went down the road a way to turn our car around. I had just got into Kens car and Jill was just about to when Phil came back and she – extremely luckily as it turned out – ran back to get in our car as her radio was in there.
We set off back home – Phil going first and Ken following. We got to the Seven Mile Lane crossroads- which is where a country lane crosses an extremely fast straight and busy road. Phil saw a gap and went over and turned right – and Ken followed seconds later without stopping and checking to see if anything was coming – straight into the path of a 4×4 doing about 50mph. If we had been two feet further out I think somebody would have been very badly hurt – as it was the other car clipped Kens car on the front quarter and spun it, and both cars ended up in the middle of the road. Ken got out OK, but Cynthias seat had been torn loose from its moorings and slammed against the back seat – if Jill hadn’t gone back to get in our car one of us would have been sitting behind her. She was badly shaken and couldn’t move. All I could think of was phoning work – went straight into professional mode of ‘two vehicle RTC one casualty…’ but I wouldn’t like to hear the tape as I am sure I wasn’t making much sense!
Jill and Jake had been turning to see if Ken had turned into Seven Mile Lane and saw it all happen – so Phil pulled in further up the road and ran back – Jill says she has never seen him run so fast! He said that he was frightened he wouldn’t have anyone to shout at any more!
We ended up having 3 police cars, two ambulances and a paramedic and two fire engines – only needed the helicopter and we would have had full house.
Everyone was very efficient and so nice. Cynthia had to be cut out of the car – she was badly bruised by the seat belt and they were a little worried about her neck – but after a couple of hours we were let out of hospital.
They stayed the night with us and I drove them back to Hemel the next day, leaving them in the capable hands of Cynthias sister Mary.
We were so so lucky – I was fine the next day but the whiplash has now set in and I hurt!!!

A weekend that was a bit too exciting..

Started off promisingly enough – spent Friday and Saturday gardening and cleaning as Phil’s mum and stepfather were visiting on Sunday. Jill was babysitting for some friends of ours who we go dancing with – Carol and Mark. She loves going there as as well as the fan club of Murray and Eliot they have a huge trampoline that she can have a go on.
Mark drove us down to Tenterden where we were going to a 1940S dance – it was a good night out – I even got invited to dance by the class swot which was scary – but dont think I did too badly. I wanted to take photographs but when I took the camera out the screen was broken – so no more photographs for a while.
We stopped at an Indian restaurant on the way home as Carol wanted chips – so all the calories expended were put back on in a glorious burst of bhajis and samosas.
Cynthia and Ken arrived earlier than expected on Sunday and we spent the morning chatting and looking at the garden until Phil came back from doing a bit of overtime at work. We had decided to take them out for dinner instead of sweating over a hot stove and in the end went to a pub in Crouch ( a village I had never heard of) as the first pub we went to was too posh to take the stilton off its beefburgers for Jake, and the second was closed for some reason. The pub was very friendly and fantastic value for lovely food – we had 4 roast beef dinners, scampi and shepherds pie and a round of drinks for about £45. Only problem was the parking – a tiny car park which meant double and triple parking and a huge shuffle around every time anyone wanted to leave.
Kens car was well and truly boxed in, and Phil left Jill and I waiting for him to get out while he went down the road a way to turn our car around. I had just got into Kens car and Jill was just about to when Phil came back and she – extremely luckily as it turned out – ran back to get in our car as her radio was in there.
We set off back home – Phil going first and Ken following. We got to the Seven Mile Lane crossroads- which is where a country lane crosses an extremely fast straight and busy road. Phil saw a gap and went over and turned right – and Ken followed seconds later without stopping and checking to see if anything was coming – straight into the path of a 4×4 doing about 50mph. If we had been two feet further out I think somebody would have been very badly hurt – as it was the other car clipped Kens car on the front quarter and spun it, and both cars ended up in the middle of the road. Ken got out OK, but Cynthias seat had been torn loose from its moorings and slammed against the back seat – if Jill hadn’t gone back to get in our car one of us would have been sitting behind her. She was badly shaken and couldn’t move. All I could think of was phoning work – went straight into professional mode of ‘two vehicle RTC one casualty…’ but I wouldn’t like to hear the tape as I am sure I wasn’t making much sense!
Jill and Jake had been turning to see if Ken had turned into Seven Mile Lane and saw it all happen – so Phil pulled in further up the road and ran back – Jill says she has never seen him run so fast! He said that he was frightened he wouldn’t have anyone to shout at any more!
We ended up having 3 police cars, two ambulances and a paramedic and two fire engines – only needed the helicopter and we would have had full house.
Everyone was very efficient and so nice. Cynthia had to be cut out of the car – she was badly bruised by the seat belt and they were a little worried about her neck – but after a couple of hours we were let out of hospital.
They stayed the night with us and I drove them back to Hemel the next day, leaving them in the capable hands of Cynthias sister Mary.
We were so so lucky – I was fine the next day but the whiplash has now set in and I hurt!!!