I have become obsessed with cows. Every morning, they are the first thing I look for and just before I go to bed, I take one more peek outside to see where they might be. It's is a bit odd, I admit, but Dear Daughter told me that she does the same thing. The herd that grazes in the pasture beyond our backyard fence have quickly captured our attention and although we have not yet named each one, I am sure that is only a matter of time.
We are now settled in our new house in Belgium; new to us but in fact, the house is almost 80 years old. It is quirky but has a lot of character. I am sure that it has a bit of history to it but all I know is that the owner and his wife lived here for many years. Once she passed on, the house was too big for one person. So, he moved into a nearby apartment and rents the house to "Shapians". That is what we are called here...almost as if we are some sort of alien and I guess to many we are. Shapians is the nickname for those individuals who work at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe). Each time, we visit the installation, we try to identify the country of the soldiers hail from based on their uniforms. It has become a bit of a game and there are some really wacky uniforms out there!
Back to the house...the phone is supposed to work today and then I think that we will be officially settled. It has been a very simple process, quite frankly. This was the first house that we looked at on the day we arrived in country. Wanting to get settled quickly, it fit all the major requirements. The kitchen is ancient (46 years old - except the appliances) and really tiny but I have already managed to cook some pretty decent meals. Our large, main room is quite rustic with dark, tiled floors, a wood-beaed ceiling and wood burning fireplace. The house has a warm, cozy feel to it and we have all (including the cats) settled in quite well in a short period of time.
|Looking a bit plain at the moment - need to get out the flower boxes|
|Our main salon|
We have nicknamed the house, "La Maison De Neuf Souches D'Arbres" or The House of the Nine Treestumps. Driving in from the main road, you can quickly spot our backyard as these treestumps provide the border of our backyard to the pasture. As much as we watch the cows, we also look each day at the trees, hoping to spot new growth, which will promise a more pleasing view next year. Less than half a mile away is a nice cafe and grocery store, where we purchase our daily baguette. The main area of town is just a mile away and we have already visited several good restaurants, a fantastic chocolate shop (it is Belgium, you know) and the twice a week market. We have a train station with direct service into the main station in Brussels and this weekend, we plan to make the 25 minute trip.
|Terrasse and yard...and treestumps|
|The newest members of our family...the cows!|
Because of the move, we have not been able to travel much but we have managed to visit the city of Mons, the capital of our province, twice. On Sunday mornings, they host an incredible food market and evidently, a flower market as well. We have not yet found the flower market, which everyone talks about but the food market is a real treat, which no one discusses. We have instituted "no-cook Sundays" because of all of the delicacies that we find each visit. Last week, we feasted on oriental appetizers which we purchased from this sweet old Vietnamese man - an assortiment of spring rolls, shrimp beignets, little triangles filled with curry chicken and wontons. We loaded our bags with all sorts of produce for the week, ripe cherries and strawberries, huge heads of lettuce, green beans, peppers, zucchini and of course, tomatoes. Following the market, we headed to the Grand Place for a drink and eventually, lunch. It was a slow, lazy Sunday afternoon and felt...just right.
Schools starts a week from now and life will get back to its chaotic normalcy. But for now, we are enjoying the quiet lifestyle and watching the cows...