Public House 12, Brussels

Bit of a result. Was in Public House 12 over the road from the Brussels office and got chatting to the landlord. About 3 years ago I was in there with Wayne one afternoon for a couple before heading to the Eurostar. When it came to paying the guy (name of Shen) said the credit card system was down across Brussels and it was cash only. I didn’t have any cash so he let me have the beers for nothing. 

6 months later I was back and reminded him that I owed him for the beers. He remembered exactly what we had and where we were sitting. I settled my debt. So chatting with him today I recalled the occasion and he said he periodically told that story to customers. 

Winding the clock on a minute or two I asked him where I could buy a branded bar sign for the shed. He said you couldn’t buy them but he had a stock of them in his cellar at home and I could have one of them. Wow. Not wow, fantastic. He is going to choose one for me. I just need to figure out how we get it home. 

Public House 12 is my fave pub in Brussels. Not because of what I’ve just written. Just because it is a great pub, which is why we go there.

Bloke in the LNER lounge wearing shorts fair play. He is on the phone. ‘Got here at seven thirty but the effin lounge was shut. had to find a coffee shop. it was effin freezing’

he is off up north to his mam’s

train delayed!

Somewhat chaotic boarding. A couple of kids sat at my table in coach L when I arrived. Saving the table for their mum and dad who were putting the cases away (and blocking the doorway for ages whilst they did so). Turns out they were meant to be in coach J not coach L. Stressed parents”will sort cases out later”.

A recovery day in prospect having been on the move for the best part of the last week. Woke at 7am and went down to make the tea. A simple breakfast of two slices of buttered sourdough toast with Denise’s homemade orange and lemon marmalade. Yum.

It is minus two outside, an appropriate temperature for the season. The shed however is a toasty (geddit) twenty one degrees and a good place to be on such a morning. The view outside is a crispy white mingled with browns and greens.

Having been busy for the last week or more there is much to do in the house. Pete the decorator has been in and mirrors need replacing on walls, lampshades put back and so on. I also need to get the Christmas tree lights up. Twill be done. On earth. The output from Pete’s labours has of course been good despite my questioning the choice of battleship grey elephant’s breath as the colour.

We are less than a week away from the winter solstice. That feels good. We will no doubt be slaying a wild boar and roasting it on the campfire whilst we all huddle round to stay warm. The solstice also this year coincides with the annual carol singing sesh at the Morning Star. What’s not to like? 🙂

Been a busy day and productive. Now it is dark and the mood lighting is on in the shed. Slipping into the evening…

The choir of King’s College Cambridge entertains in the kitchen. Feels right. The singing has the correct balance of expression unlike some cardboard renditions that were featured in a Sunday news item earlier. 

Onions are being chopped. Tea is brewing. Breakfast options decisions delayed. All is well. Our kitchen is the biggest room in the house which is as it should be. The shed has similar dimensions but that is not in the house and is different.

Going to do a booze run this morning. I ordered the Pol Roger from Majestic Wine Warehouse yesterday. Was quite a bit cheaper than in Waitrose. They were out of stock in Lincoln but had 96 bottles available in Grantham. Wossgoinon Grantham?

I say “booze” run but I have two items on my shopping list: vegetable oil and booze. The former is needed to fry the chips for tomorrow night’s meal. The latter covers a multitude of options. With seven adults in the house for the holidays we will get through significant quantities of sauvignon blanc, shandy, and sherry. Or similar.

On this occasion I am going to take the haute cuisine approach to chips as espoused by highly regarded chefs. This will involve parboiling the chipped potatoes and keeping them overnight in the refrigerator. Tomorrow morning they will receive their first fry and then finished off in the evening shortly prior to serving.

There have been occasions in the past where we’ve had to hang around waiting for the chips to cook. Not this time Raymond. The cognoscenti list beef dripping as the appropriate fat for cooking but that not only isn’t practical but probs quite expensive. You can buy it in small pots in Fosters. I’ll think about it. Trouble is we don’t have chips that often so it wouldn’t really get used after tomorrow. We do have some in for the roasties on Christmas day.

You are in theory supposed to cook the chips at two different temperatures. This feels like a bit of a faff but I have just ordered a cooking thermometer with next day delivery. See how it goes. Wasn’t expensive and it will come in handy for the bbq and to check the beef on Christmas Day.

The choir has moved on to “Joseph Was an Old Man” by Sir David Wilcox. Not heard it before nor of Sir Dave. Heard of Joseph obvs. Can’t say it has stuck in my mind. If I heard it again I probably wouldn’t recognise it. I assume his mates used to call him Dave. I certainly will henceforth. Already have.

Outside, the stark beauty of the frozen back garden has been replaced by the dull soggy brown that is more prevalent at this time of year. It is why people head for a bit of winter sun after Christmas. The UK is usually more miserable than not in the first three months of the year.

Anyway I trust your days will be merry and bright. Not so sure about the White Christmas.

Ciao amigos.

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