And Then The Sun Came Out…

By - October 9, 2006 (Updated: November 28, 2014)

Well, the countdown is on. The Mathesons arrive next Tuesday, so I only have eight days left to get the house in shape. Phase one of the cleaning started yesterday.

Andrew cleaned the bathroom while I cleaned out the cupboards in the kitchen and the lazy Susan… Remind me NEVER to install one of those when I build my dream home (in the South of France… or maybe the Bahamas). It was a total ass to clean. Then we both were on litter box duty (everyone’s favorite job). And Andrew also mopped the kitchen for me.

This week, while Andrew is on the road for work again, I’ll be washing, dusting, vacuuming and cleaning my windows like a good little Dutch lady. Thank God we have company at least every four to six months… My house would be a disaster otherwise.

So as I procrastinate from my to-clean list, I thought I’d update with a slightly more uplifting post than those of late.

Friday I took Belgium’s shortest train to Antwerp (and I mean shortest in the number of cars … not speed). It had three cars – one was first class. For those of you who have never traveled on the trains in Belgium, most trains have at least a dozen cars or more. The Brussels/Antwerp route is very busy. I’m not sure what the train Gods were smoking on Friday, but there were a lot of unhappy passengers.

Things weren’t all good on Di’s side either. But we met up without a hitch and the rest of our day was fine. I do feel a rant about art galleries coming on. It’s been building for some time and I feel it’s about ready to be written.

Andrew drove up to meet us for supper and Di took us to a fantastic Tapas bar called El Pintxo, which I will have to add to my restaurants list. We filled up on good food and wine before heading home.

Andrew got his usual end-of-quarter cold from being run down, which he lovingly passed on to me. (Today I have a lovely scratchy throat). Saturday we ran errands but he was more or less out of commission for the evening.

I did manage to drop off the film that has been languishing in my fridge all summer. There are six rolls still staring at me from Euro Tour 2006 begging to be scanned. I don’t think I will ever catch up.

But back to the good news… Sunday it was sunny – all day! (I know… a novelty for Belgium and I hope this doesn’t get Helen and Bill’s hopes up…) Andrew drove me and my bike over to a shopping centre parking lot so I could try it out. The only people around were learning to parallel park and from the looks of it were in no position to be laughing at me.

I post this for my neighbour and her daughter who have been laughing mercilessly at my trepidation. It was warranted really, and without their good natured pestering, the bike would probably still be un-ridden.

Please give me a cool name.

I took her for a few spins around the lot just to get used to driving her. It’s not a true Granny Bike because it’s grey and not black, but it does have the basic shape. I have a whopping three gears (and a bell and a light). It’s very different from the mountain bikes I am used to because you sit much higher. The seat is almost at the level of the handlebars, where on my old bike it was lower. No wonder people here have better posture.

Once I got a bit used to her I decided to drive her home. Andrew circled around a few times to make sure I was ok, but I made it home without incident. I did manage to find a few thigh muscles I haven’t seen in a long time. Now if only I can find the ass I once had that is now carefully packed in protective padding…

I have decided to take submissions for a good bike name. Preferably an old lady name (she is an old lady bike). So send away and the winner will get fame and … well, that’s about it really.

On to other good things… I found my yoga class I had been seeking and the best part is I can go anytime. I discovered a website that posts a new yoga class everyday – an hour long – for free – online. I’ve done two so far and they are very good. I’d still love to find a real class but I think this is the next best thing. If you are interested, check out

So, I’ll try to fight off the blahs with activity. With that said, the cleaning awaits…

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 1 day ago


  1. Comment by Andrew "The Driver" Matheson

    Andrew "The Driver" Matheson October 10, 2006 at 12:41

    Bring on the Mathesons! France never made it to the Harbour (although we did learn french)… so it’s time the Mathesons brought the Harbour to France! Well, David’s been in France for a while, so I guess it’s not a new thing… but we’re going to drive through more of it! It’s going to be a blast… I’m definitely looking forward to winding mountain roads once again! Let’s focus our thoughts on nice weather (maybe a little snow in the mountains, of course) and encourage Alison to take lots of beautiful pictures to post here!

  2. Comment by Alison

    Alison October 10, 2006 at 15:16

    Drew – A week from today… (right now we’ll be picking them up at the airport)!
    Christina – You really should – the bike and the yoga. I’ve done yoga for a few years now and it really does help your flexibility, aches and pains and even your mental state. Try some of the beginner classes and I think you’ll love it.

  3. Comment by christina

    christina October 10, 2006 at 15:08

    Three cheers for getting on and staying on the bike! I’m still working up my courage. And the yoga link is GREAT! Thanks so much for posting that. I’ve been thinking of giving it a go as well.

  4. Comment by Alison

    Alison October 12, 2006 at 17:51

    If she was green I’d go for Olive for sure. I like Elsie but I’d always think of your mom Ame 🙂 Sophia or Sophie is up there and I really like Evelyn. My mom also sent me a list and from those I like Josephine and Viola (but she probably should be purple for that one). Any more suggestions?

  5. Comment by amy

    amy October 12, 2006 at 16:16


  6. Comment by Jenn

    Jenn October 12, 2006 at 17:47

    She looks like an Evelyn to me 🙂

  7. Comment by Alison

    Alison October 13, 2006 at 14:45

    Cheri – I didn’t say I went mountain biking… I said I ‘had’ a mountain bike 🙂 Are you implying that I wont ride the new bike?

  8. Comment by Alison

    Alison October 13, 2006 at 15:27

    Christina – If it wasn’t for the waffles I wouldn’t need the bike 🙂

  9. Comment by cheri

    cheri October 13, 2006 at 14:41

    You never told me that you go Mountain biking.
    I think your bike is cute! Maybe you should use it as a decoration in your yard with some flowers growing around it.

  10. Comment by cheri

    cheri October 13, 2006 at 14:50

    Silly girl…of course you will ride the bike!
    I think you should call it Van Damme, or Hildi.

  11. Comment by christina

    christina October 13, 2006 at 15:25

    Van Damme. LOL. Or maybe Belgian Waffle?

  12. Comment by Lieve

    Lieve October 13, 2006 at 20:36


  13. Comment by dARK sIDE dAD

    dARK sIDE dAD October 13, 2006 at 20:41

    Yo Yurup … gettin’ close! Thanks for the reminder … as soon as I’m finished here I’ll pack the white gloves … and … I can reach higher than you … and I will!
    “Jar Jar Binks” comes to mind, after all he waited on us in Liverpool, but, being a cheesy kinda gal maybe something like Brie or Blue or Cheddar … pick a favorite!
    Sounds like Mario Andrivingfool is feeling frisky or has been cooped up too long … just as long as we see the mountain rather than be the mountain I’ll be thrilled. Can’t wait …
    Lots of love … dARK sIDE dAD

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