It’s been a long time, and it will be a little time yet. I’m just writing this to remind me how it is done,
Trump will Dump words and Stump off in a Grump.
Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, March 23, 2016: The European Union was first brought into being to “safeguard” world peace. Today, the employees of the EU in Brussels were told to cower in fear in their government buildings while Islamic Jihadists once again terrorized this city whose population is already nearly a quarter Muslim. Practicing Muslims […]
I visited Belgium last week for the day. It was a trip that I had planned some time ago, and then re-planned when I realised that I had bought the wrong ticket. My original plan was to travel to Brussels on the Eurostar, and then potter around there for the day, but I bought a ticket to “any Belgian station” by mistake, and at the suggestion of a Belgian friend I went to Gent instead…
As with my Paris trip of two months ago, I got up in the middle of the night and caught a train to London so early that I arrived before the rush hour. I was in plenty of time at London St Pancras International to catch my train to Brussels that left a few minutes before nine in the morning.
I spent my first Euros on the train, on a breakfast of porridge and coffee. (By the way, I managed to run through 100 Euros that day…and I’m still not entirely sure how :p ) The journey is roughly two hours, and there is not a lot to do but to sit back and enjoy the scenery, and of course the wall of the channel tunnel, until you get to your destination. I did notice that in France and Belgium there are numerous wind turbines generating electricity, and I did try and get a picture of some, but when I tried taking the pictures…well, let’s just say that it’s difficult to compose shots when one is travelling away from your subject at nearly 200 miles per hour!
We arrived in Brussels on time and then I went to find my train to Gent. Dutch is an absolutely fearsome language to listen to or speak I believe, but reading it wasn’t a huge problem and I found my way to the train platform ok…only to find that the train had been diverted to a different platform!
Eventually I caught the train, a service to Bruges, and arrived in Gent about 30 minutes later. Pausing only to take a picture of the gorgeous entrance hall I went out into the street. My original plan was to catch a tram to the city centre, but the sun was out, and anyway I couldn’t work out where to buy a ticket, so I opted to walk. It’s perhaps a mile to the centre of town, and I walked up a road lined with historic industrial buildings – offices and the like. Eventually I got to the centre, and, after taking more pictures of the historic court house, I wandered along one of the canals to find…an English bookshop! I went inside, and my first purchase on Belgian soil (apart from a 50 cent fee to use the public toilet in Brussels :p) was of a book written and published in England!
More pottering ensued. I went further into the centre, and bought some chocolate from a shop near the Cathedral. And then, having bought lunch, it was time to head back to the station (or so I thought – I arrived back in Brussels too early).
I walked back a different way, and came across the regionally important Gent Museum of Fine Arts. I went in and had a look round, and I must say…there are rather a lot of nudes featuring in European art! I found the Belgians very friendly, and they talked better English than many Brits…and as a case in point, I was asked to store my backpack in some lockers in the basement of the art gallery. Well, I couldn’t work out how to work the self service lockers, and I asked someone who was only too happy to help.
I left the art gallery and headed back to the station. The weather had turned a little, and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere in the rain. I took more ducks and geese at a park, and went back to the station to catch the train back to Brussels.
When I got back to Brussels I realised that I had arrived too early and went for a meal at a burger joint. After that…having spent 20 Euros on fine chocolate in Gent, I bought more chocolate at the branch of Carrefour situated at the railway station.
Finally, we were allowed to queue to go through passport control, where I encountered the friendliest border guard I have ever seen, a Belgian, and there was time for more shopping before we boarded the train back to Britain.
I took a number of photographs, but well…today, a week after my visit to Belgium, there were a number of terrorist attacks on Brussels, and so I would like to share just one, that I took in Brussels, as a mark of respect and solidarity with the people of that city. It’s of a display on the wall of Brussels Midi station featuring one of Belgium’s more famous citizens – Tintin.
(1) The House of Lords
What’s that you say? ‘Surely you mean the House of Commons?’ No. The House of Lords is the sexier chamber, full of gold and red leather. It’s where the Queen goes to make her speeches. You go in through the same public entrance, but turn right at the centre of the building to head off to the Lords. There are plenty of steps, or if you can’t manage them a lift. Once in the ‘Stranger’s Gallery’ you are expected to be silent – and photography is definately not permitted.
(2) The National Gallery
Entry is free (except for special exhibitions) and there are more than enough pictures to spend your afternoon enjoying. A useful attraction for people who have made the trip into London by train are the free toilets!
(3) Kew Gardens
Blooming expensive, but once you are there you have several hundred acres of gardens to enjoy.
(4) Wigmore Hall
Small and cheap (for London, anyway) concert venue. The building is absolutely gorgeous.
(5) London Monument
Monument to the great fire of London that has a viewing platform at the top. Entry is only a couple of quid – a bargain when compared to the nearly £30 cost of a visit to the Shard.
(6) British Library
Generally us ordinary mortals don’t get to go into the reading rooms, but the British Library has several exhibition spaces where it’s possible to see treasures including copies of the Magna Carta.
(7) Hampstead Heath
Hundreds of acres of parkland owned by the Corporation of London, but to the north of the city. Great views of the city from it’s highest point.
(8) BBC Radio Theatre
Venue for some of the BBC’s live radio programme recordings. You have to book to see a show, but tickets are free.
(9) Tower Bridge
For a small fee it’s possible to visit high walkways. The Corporation of London have recently installed glass floors, and if you go at the right time you can watch the bridge being lifted – from above.
(10) Supreme Court
Based across the road from parliament the Supreme Court is in a gorgeous Edwardian building.
Actually, to be fair, that should read:
Right-wing American Cowardice
As the world knows, there is civil war raging in the Middle East, and consequently millions of people are fleeing their homes. Obama has said that he will allow 10 000 refugees into America, and in typical form, the American far-right have voiced their opposition to his plan.
I wont rehearse the arguments of such “people” as Ben Carson or Donald Trump except to say that their argument is that these scared frightened refugees are, according to the opponents of Obama’s plan, actually ISIS insurgents in disguise.
These “people” say that allowing refugees into America will turn America into a dangerous country. Well, I have an answer for them. Wayne laPierre’s hundred million “good guys with guns” will keep America safe. After all, they have done a sterling job with America’s home-grown “terrorists”, right?
According to Nationmaster the homicide rate in France is 1.3 per hundred thousand head of population. (Actually I think it is a little less, but I’m feeling to lazy to look up the figures.)
In America that figure is 5.
So America is already dangerous – far more dangerous in fact than the country that was attacked by ISIS terrorists a few days ago.
Could the number of guns in America be a problem? Well, according to some Texan politicians – yes! The law in Texas is that pretty much anyone can buy a gun.
But these Texas lawmakers have a problem with people who speak English with a funny accent and have brown skin owning guns. They are quite happy with “white” Americans owning guns (after all, there is that hundred million strong army of “good guys with guns” to not deal with the bad guys), but when it comes to foreigners, and especially foreigners fleeing a war-zone – well…
I can see you disagreeing with me on this point, that it is nothing to do with “safety”, but everything to do with racism, so I’ll just share this one last snippet.
Rupert Murdoch thinks that only “proven Christians” should be allowed in. Rupert made his home in America and even took American citizenship in order to be allowed to buy some American media companies. Yup. Murdoch is a hated “economic migrant”. You couldn’t make this up.
Excellent! We should not have baths because we’ll probably drown. Showers are out too because we will slip and fall, Crack our heads open and die. We shouldn’t have a child because he could get very sick and die. We shouldn’t enter into relationships because our partner could end up being psychotic or abusive. We should […]
“Obama to Allow 10,000 Migrants Into U.S. Despite Paris Attacks” – http://wp.me/p3bMSz-2tF
Six states refuse Syrian refugees | TheHill – http://wp.me/pPq4K-1O7
I’d like you to read the following, and then come back:
We need to exterminate these people, right? Kill every last one of these animals? Get rid of this death cult forever? Kill them all – not just the perpetrators?
Why not? I’m merely proposing the same action here as that proposed by far-right racists after the Paris attacks.
Oh, you don’t think that my proposal is acceptable? (For the avoidance of doubt, it clearly isn’t)
Then you must surely condemn the racist abuse being thrown against the Muslim community. Unless you are a hypocrite, of course.