A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Tasty Yorkshire Blonde on Sunday...

On Sunday we drove to a little North Yorkshire village for lunch at a friend's pub.
Sunny Sunday.
Beautiful autumn colours.
I decided to take a few photos of this peaceful place.

For a fiver, I would!
Wouldn't you?

On Sunday most English villages never come alive till after midday. This Sunday everyone was granted an extra hour's sleep, the clock having been put back for the winter.

The Black Horse is a typical village pub which the locals visit when there is nothing on the telly worth watching.
Some kind of a social club. The people are so friendly that before you finish your first pint, you know just about everything there is to know about them, the pub, the village and the rest of North Yorkshire.

Then out of the corner of my eye I spied this tasty blonde. She had a bit of a Belgian accent about her. Not as genuine as a Leffe maybe but she did win Miss Yorkshire 2007...
Tasty, very, very tasty!!


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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Antwerp Market...

Last Saturday after breakfast I headed for the market, just round the corner from the hotel. It was still quite early and just like in any other market around the world, the stall holders unfolded their wares and began laying them on display for the thousands of customers who would later amble up and down along the aisles, admiring, touching, feeling, trying and sometimes buying...

Juicy pomegranates awaiting to be plucked. A spoonful of sugar and a dash of orange blossom...

So many necks to adorn with bling...

The police, vigilant as ever prevented this prospective thief from walking away with a coat.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fairytale Belgian Wedding...

A beautiful wedding in magical Antwerp.
The groom was Belgian.
The bride... Well, the bride, such a marvelous concoction. Originally Romanian, grew up in Sweden with her mother and Syrian stepfather. Moved to Spain where she met her husband to be.
So you can imagine the international guest list! People from Sweden, Romania, Belgium, Chile, Norway, England, Syria, Spain, Algeria...

My foreign languages had never been so extensively used. The groom's 93-year-old grandmother did not need me to translate into French the Spanish conversation I had with the bride's mother in the back of one of the wedding cars. "J'ai tout compris..." she said.

Saturday, the civil ceremony at Antwerp Town Hall was in Flemish. Only the groom and his family laughed at the registrar's jokes.

Sunday, the religious service was held in Romanian at a beautiful Antwerp chapel.

A beautiful castle on the outskirts of Antwerp was the venue for the most lavish reception I have attended.

Gorgeous Venitian masks awaited the guests.
Every table was called after a masked character. Ours was Harlequin.

The menu was written in many languages telling the guests about the warm goat's cheese salad wrapped in smoked salmon, the marriage of veal and crayfish tails, mascarpone with red berries among other things... Champagne flowed and flowed.

The cake was out of this world!

We partied to live music into the early hours of Monday morning.

One of the highlights of this perfect weekend was meeting Daphnée for a beautiful meal on Friday night. She came all the way from Brussels for this long-awaited blogmeet.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Safety in numbers...

"On days like this I'd rather be a lifeguard in a carwash..."


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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Radio Gaga....

Whenever I am in Spain I try to listen to the Algerian Channel 3 French Radio, from just across the Med, as it reminds me of my student days and my weekends at the beach.

Last Wednesday I sat on our porch just after midnight, listening to a phone-in. The guest was a local potter who was being interviewed about his work. The guy knew what he was on about as most of his family has been in the pottery business since the turn of the century.

Every now and then someone called. But invariably, most of the calls were of the type:
"Can I wish Happy Birthday to so-and-so?..."

Short of people interested in the subject of pottery, the presenter asked how the callers were enjoying their Ramadan evenings.
"With friends and family..."

After half an hour of listening to silly phonecalls the bottle of red Rioja that was keeping me company decided that I should call the radio station just to remind the listeners that the subject in discussion was pottery.

The researcher asked where I was calling from.



"Spain... Espana..."

He recovered from his shock and put me on hold.
Within 15 seconds I was LIVE on Algerian Radio, talking about Algerian pottery...

"Why is it that little is known about Algerian pottery whereas its neighbours, Moroccan and Tunisian are very popular in Europe?"
The guy had the right answer:
"Lack of tourism..."
We waffled on for something like fifteen minutes and then the presenter asked a question that nearly made me choke on the wine...
"So how are you enjoying Ramadan in Spain?"

For what seemed ages, I mumbled and fumbled for an answer... but before I could finally think of a lie, the phoneline got cut off.

The following day, Thursday, it rained so much that golf was out of the question...

I enjoyed my rest very much and am back at work dreaming up my next escape which is not that far off... A Belgian wedding...

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