Today we went on a boat trip around the canals of Bruges. Very different to Venice, v calm and quiet, with overhanging trees, and swans taking their cygnets on morning outings.

Afterwards we went to a Saturday flea market – drove us crazy, all the things we wanted to buy and couldn’t because of luggage limits on the flight home. Every kind of knickknack at ridiculously cheap prices – including fabulour brass candelabra (we really want a nez candelabra). I bought a leather helmet, medieval soldier style – – I always wanted one, don’t know why – and even more out-of-character, I bought the Livre de Mobilisation that belonged to a Belgian soldier at the end of the 19th century. I am so much NOT an antiquarian, but it fascinated me, the worn pages with all the details of Private Van Hoolenbeck’s enrolment, duties and requirements for a soldier in the Belgian army – even a separate folded paper with his final discharge – and all in an old goatskin binding. A real treasure for just a few bucks – I had to have it.

What else? We’ve learned to adapt to a shower recess so tiny it would challenge even an astronaut in a space capsule.

We bought some evil-smelling black drawing ointment for Aileen’s toe. Tonight is Aileen’s belated birthday dinner night, this afternoon we’re just listening to the canal waves lapping outside our window counterpointed by the loudspeaker voices of multi-lingual commentary from the canal tours going by.

Only 3 more days left after today, alas!   Cheers,   R


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