Wednesday, January 21, 2009


As I mentioned yesterday, I was in Brussels over the weekend. Never been before and while it is interesting enough, it is not somewhere I would rush back to, being rather dirty and possessed of some of the rudest service staff I have ever encountered. Still, the main square is very attractive and worth seeing:

Grand Place

I was there to meet up with Janos and talk about jewellery things, which we did endlessly and we also went to the flea-market, which would have been better, but it was raining. The best bit about that was all the scrap metal found between the paving stones and not the stuff on the stalls!

Brussels Booty

Only two of these pieces - the escutcheon at the top and the handle next to it - were bought. The rest were all found in the pavement cracks!

I found a most intriguing shop in the very beautiful Galleries Royales St. Hubert:

Galleries Royales St. Hubert My Sort Of Clothes Shop

Even cultural centres are not immune from the flea-market curse of bad art:

Kitch and Krap

Where I bought a waistcoat and copped the MOST attitude I have ever copped in my life. Now, my spoken French is not the best, but it is not the worst either: the incredible rudeness of the woman in refusing to understand my requests was breathtaking. I would have been offended but she was quite horrible to a Belgian couple who were also in the shop and I understood that without even understanding everything said! So, you might be wondering why I still bought the waistcoat... well, I'll post a picture of it later in the week.
I know, I'm weak.

The e-book, reader or whatever it is going to be called is brilliant. I used it extensively over the weekend. There is something about it that makes it easier to read than a book. I can't work out what it is. Since I got it, I've read:

  • The Two Destinies by Wilkie Collins: one of his later books. Not his best. A bit too tied up with supernatural nonsense for my tastes.

  • The Child of the Cavern by Jules Verne: set in a mine in Fife, more proto-science-fiction from the master of the genre. Enjoyable though not as fantastical as his better-known work.

  • Michael by E.F. Benson. Better known for the "Lucia" books, this is Benson's first novel, set at the start of the first world war. It is exceptionally well-written and the characters are good but it is marred somewhat by a highly unbelievable turn of the plot towards the end.

  • My Man, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. Classic Wodehouse!

  • Grand Hotel Babylon by Arnold Bennett. I downloaded this to read simply on the grounds that the dish "Omelette Arnold Bennett" was created after Bennett wrote the character "Rocco" in the book, based on the actual chef at the Savoy, Jean Baptist Virlogeux. Though it has to be said that Rocco is none to complimentary a character, Virlogeux created the famous dish in honour of the writer. Anyway, from omelettes to literature, this is a great little period "caper" about wealthy socialites, murder, kidnapped princes and the like. Well worth reading.

  • Back to the workshop and as everything is working, it has been a great couple of days. I finished "The Seventh Terrace" pendant:

    The Seventh Terrace 13

    And started work on the "Four Cocktail Rings of the Apocalypse" again.