We went to the horse parade last weekend. The Princess was crabby but the horses were fun. Thierry has posted some excellent pictures. If you want to know even more about this Belgian extravaganza, you can have a look at the homepage.
I have found a website that suggests Belgium is a conspiracy. Who knows, maybe it’s true.
The following, from the Economist, made me laugh. I should try to get out more.
“Among the many consequences of the European Union’s current troubles, the fraying Benelux axis seems to have generated little chatter. For years Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg have sought to operate as an informal alliance within the EU. The three smallish nations, sandwiched between France and Germany, have often shared interests; they have always met before EU summits to co-ordinate their position. The hope was for Benelux to be as big a player as the French, Germans or British are individually.
But it is increasingly clear that the three countries have different agendas. The Belgians (and Luxembourgers) are still passionate European federalists, drawn to the Franco-German position on everything from the Iraq war to the future of the EU. The Dutch, by contrast, are increasingly drawn to the Atlanticism, free-market policies and anti-federalism traditionally associated with Britain. They underlined their new-found Euroscepticism when they voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed new EU constitution. This vote provoked a row with their Belgian neighbours. Karel De Gucht, the Belgian foreign minister, blamed the vote on the Dutch prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, whom he called a cross between Harry Potter and a rigid little bourgeois. The enraged Dutch recalled their ambassador from Brussels, prompting Mr De Gucht to make a hasty, if unconvincing, apology.”
And note that someone is always trying to upstage you, you decide to have twins and then Claire and Laurent do too. On the plus side, I see from the cascade of Pampers vouchers in my mailbox that the hospital has received my room booking form for September. Doubtless official confirmation will follow.
And today’s final random thing. I have a friend who is half Belgian. She was talking about paying taxes. She cited the example of a friend who is a dentist and pays all his taxes. The Belgian revenue always slap him with a big fine on the basis that he can’t possibly have declared everything. “But” says my friend “he has and I’d believe him too because he’s a really odd person”.
on 02 July 2005 at 08:45
OH, very good..
on 02 July 2005 at 09:33
Well I did always suspect that you and the Mr were ‘brainwashed using psychotronic mind control, psychotropically enhanced beer, and neurolinguistic programming into believing that they are Belgians’ – but it’s great to have confirmation.
on 02 July 2005 at 15:48
He’s good that Jack.
About time I moved to Amsterdam – sounds as if the country is getting interesting.
on 02 July 2005 at 15:51
Bobs, I thank you for the only words of affirmation I’m likely to get around here…. 😉
on 02 July 2005 at 16:12
No worries Jack.
Erm, reading the wonderful news source that is “Hello” are there no European royalty who aren’t pregnant or just given birth?
Is it some competition? or new form of Lotto?
on 03 July 2005 at 19:20
Locotes – and you were right.
Bobble, I know. JD, note words of affirmation.
Bobble, I know, they’re all at it, lucky old Hello.