Eurodan in English

December 30, 2006

Natt över land och stan, sovande hus...

Greetings from Stockholm!

Yes, once again it's nearly New Year, and it's becoming a tradition for me to head north. I'm here in Stockholm until Wednesday of next week, and already I can feel myself relaxing into my none-too-strenuous Swedish routine of getting up late, doing a little light shopping and then meeting friends for a 'fika' (a coffee and a chat) or a drink.

Needless to say it's very, very dark in Stockholm at this time of the year. I'm writing this in my hotel room at 1515, and it's already an advanced twilight outside. The sky will soon be inky blue, and then quite black.

Last night flying into Bromma airport was truly spectacular. The night was completely still and clear, and as we flew over Stockholm (including right over the Globe arena), you could see everything magically lit up - even the lights in people's windows as we approached the runway. It was truly a heart-in-throat kind of moment.

But then, as you know, I need no further convincing about this place. I love Stockholm, and it seems to love me back.

Posted by Eurodan at 2:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 28, 2006

Christmas at home

Even for a quite well integrated ex-pat (as I claim to be), Brussels can be rather like a university town, in that the vast majority of one's friends and colleagues go home for the Christmas period. The town suddenly feels quite empty, and your circle of friends is whittled down to the Belgians you know and a couple of hardcore hangers-on.

This year I was one of the hardcore hangers-on, as it was my turn to host the family Christmas celebrations. A couple of my sisters (and my twin's husband, Glenn) stayed at my place, and my dad and eldest sister stayed at a hotel just around the corner.

It was quite hard work looking after everybody - (Pashleys like to eat, you know!) but it was also a lot of fun, and went pretty much without a hitch. But I'll be happy if I don't see another supermarket again for a while!

And thanks very much to my twin for her expertise at making Christmas dinner - I couldn't have done it without you!

Now it's time for the second phase of the holiday - New Year in Stockholm. I'm leaving tomorrow night, but taking my laptop with me, so there may even be some blogging...

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Posted by Eurodan at 1:20 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Winter wonderland

This is a picture of the street just outside the building where I live. In normal times, the street is a bit fancy to say the least, with agreeably arty boutiques, shops selling retro bric-a-brac and a cosy chocolatier-cum-cafe. Think Covent Garden if you know London.

But just now, with the onset of Christmas, it's really excelled itself, I think. These enormous plastic balloons strung between the eves of the houses are lit all evening (and night as far as I know), and really serve to work against winter depression, providing a real illusion of light in the sky.

And as for the big orange 4x4 parked outside, no - it's nothing to do with me. It belongs to VTM, one of the main commercial TV channels serving the Flemish community. And what it's doing there is anybody's guess... After all, I'm more of a state broadcaster person, myself... ;-)

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Posted by Eurodan at 7:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2006

Reports of the death of Belgium are somewhat exaggerated

Regular readers of these pages will know that I have more than a passing interest in the constitutional affairs of this country, with all its remarkable, painstaking, face-saving compromises, its linguistic oddities and its irresistible "what-ifs"...

But today the public television service of the French-speaking community, the RTBF, caused quite a stir by airing a fake news broadcast announcing that Flanders had unilaterally declared its independence, heralding the end of the country as we know it.

The idea was to stimulate debate, and produce an exciting "what-if" style documentary to breathe life into what otherwise can end up as a rather static studio-based discussion with the same politicians saying the same old things. The sort of drama-doc the BBC likes to produce, you know - what if we run out of fuel in the middle of a cold-snap, that kind of thing.

The thing is, in true HG Wells War of the Worlds style, lots of Belgians thought it was for real, and brought the telephone switchboards of the RTBF to its knees with alarmed phone-calls.

And even worse, I missed it. And it's just the sort of programme I'd have loved to have seen. I don't suppose anybody taped it?

vlklein.jpg

Posted by Eurodan at 10:38 PM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2006

Lucia

When you live in Brussels you can mix and match cultures on a whim, in much the same way as finding the right shoes to go with an outfit.

On today's menu was Swedish, mostly, with bits of British and Flemish thrown in. Highlight, though was the Swedish Lucia Concert in one of Brussels' palatial central churches.

The choral concert was charming, with the almost pagan-like procession of girls clad in white dresses holding candles, led by an older girl with a highly dangerous-looking crown with candles on. It was a great success, even if the Swedish presenter chose to speak French, English and Dutch but not a single *word* of Swedish to the mostly Swedish audience... typical!

In attendance was a large part of the Brussels Nordic community, as well as a number interpreters, translators, swedophiles and other hangers-on like yours truly.

And afterwards, we even managed to get invited to an after-party to drink copious amounts of Swedish Glögg (think mulled wine with cloves) and eat traditional gingerbread.

You would have to have a heart of stone not to find it all very romantic, somehow... but then, that's really why I came to Brussels in the first place I suppose...

Posted by Eurodan at 8:20 PM | Comments (1)

December 3, 2006

Yorkshire Airlines

Thanks to my friend Leigh for sending me this link. I sometimes rather miss my home count(r)y, and this little film brings it all flooding back. Next time I travel, make it Alan Bennett class for me, please!

Posted by Eurodan at 1:02 PM | Comments (0)

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