Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The reason for my visit to Belgium?

The chocolate and waffles (and indeed pizzas!) were lovely but there was another reason...

This...


is Formula 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I was there for the Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Circuit Spa-Francochamps!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regular readers may have spotted that I am a big Formula 1 fan, along with my kids and more recently my husband.  I have loved the sport since I was a teenager, and used to go to Grand Prix with my brother.  Then came marriage, kids, mortgage etc, etc, and it is a long loooooong time since I could go to a race.  Each race weekend we would sit glued to the TV to watch the practice, qualifying and the big race itself.  And this year, we were finally able to go back to see the real thing.  And it was AMAZING!!!!!

Lots of beautiful cars to look at, here is our favourite, the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen (more of him in a moment):

 
A few hairy moments for some of the drivers, but thankfully everyone emerged safe and sound, but perhaps with slightly bruised egos:




The track itself is beautiful and very dramatic, very hilly in places:


We were able to walk the track after the race (7km!) and took a picture of the Ferrari teddy leaning in a casual manner against the barrier:


We were also allowed into the pit lane on the Thursday, and met some of the drivers - first off, from the Red Bull team, Sebastian Vettel, the current 4 times World Champion:


He was very modest, took a lot of time to talk to the fans, a very nice chap!

Then, Daniel Ricciardo, the eventual winner of the Grand Prix, who was very bubbly and entertaining (I might just have to adopt him as a nephew)


Then to the driver we have been supporting as a family for over 10 years, the 2007 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen:


A much quieter chap than the Red Bull lads (he is often nicknamed the Iceman for his cool and calm manner) but he stayed out the longest of all the drivers, making sure that he could sign as many autographs as possible, a very patient guy as there were so many people there!


We had the most fantastic time imaginable, if you are not into cars or motorsport I can understand that you might find this all a bit strange!

Of course we are back to watching the races on TV again now (Singapore this weekend) but the memories we have of this fantastic sport in a fabulous country will always remain.  Would love to go again next year!

Have a lovely evening, Helenxx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Beautiful Belgium

Good morning everyone, hope you are well and enjoying a lovely weekend.

One of the reasons I have been away from Blogland over the past few weeks was due to a lovely 5 day trip to a European country I had never visited before - Belgium!  Such a lovely place, the people were so incredibly friendly and helpful.  For example, when asking directions in incredibly broken schoolgirl French, the lady being asked (who was just standing outside her house smoking a cigarette) didn't speak much English, but signalled us to wait, went next door, called a guy out (who was in the middle of eating his dinner) who, speaking perfect English, helped us with directions in the most courteous way possible.  The landlady of the little flat we rented for the duration of our stay ignored our impossibly late arrival (Sat Nav - brilliant for main roads but didn't show the side roads!) as if this was the original plan anyway, and welcomed us so very warmly and with impeccable courtesy. 

We stayed in a little town called La Roche en Ardenne - so pretty, but with a very harrowing history, having been all but destroyed in the Second World War (part of the Battle of the Bulge).  The townspeople honoured the British and American soldiers who liberated them - on every street corner we found memorials, plaques and tanks (this one has been restored as it received a direct hit and all inside were killed)


More memorials...



This is a memorial to the many civilians who lost their lives...


Hard to imagine now, the grief and desolation that engulfed this pretty, friendly little town...




Our accommodation was simple, but simply ideal...


Lovely garden and terrace, complete with a wood burning oven...




Friendly neighbourhood pets...


Little kitchenette and comfy living room...



Lovely views of the town from the window...


However, we did not spend that much time in this charming place, as we headed each day to somewhere else in the Ardennes...


Beautiful isn't it?  But we weren't there for a woodland holiday.  No, we were there for something quite different...so, lovely readers, where do you think we were, and for what reason?

Hopefully back soon to reveal all!!

Have a lovely Sunday, Helenxx

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie...

That's amore!!

Totally Moonstruck by the Supermoon this evening...


Wow!!!!

Have been on a bit of a blog break due to a short holiday and then back to work with a vengeance, as well as medical appointments.  But hopefully, all being well, will be back soon to share where I have been and what I have been up to!  Hope that all is well with you and yours.

Helenxx

Monday, 18 August 2014

Harvest

On a recent walk, it was so lovely to see the fields in their golden glory awaiting the harvest...





and we were lucky to find a harvest of our own - blackberries!


I was surprised to see so many already ripe...



Couldn't resist eating some as we were harvesting, one to eat...


...one for the box!


Lovely blackberry shrub, full of autumn promise, blackberry and apple pies and crumbles, Blackberry and apple streusel cake, blackberry jam, lots of yummy ideas sprang to mind...


Have you been out picking blackberries yet?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Slip sliding away...

...towards my favourite season of all, Autumn. 

Over the past week or so, the evenings are starting to draw in. Lamps and candles are lit at around 8pm, I am loving the scented candles particularly.  I have a real thing for Yankee Candles, they are the best I have tried (and trust me, I have tried many!!)  Mornings are chilly and misty, with the sun low over the horizon until about 7am.

I am now back to work, although the students won't be back for another couple of weeks, so have had the chance to get a little ahead of the game so to speak.  But driving to and from work, I have started to notice little, tiny signs of autumn being just around the corner, not quite in view as yet - but the summer is slowly but surely "Slip Sliding Away".

Yesterday, DH and DD decided to go for a stroll in our local Outwoods, nothing too strenuous as I am still recovering from illness that started back in May (and that took a bit of a grim turn last week when I was sent for some urgent tests at hospital which to my great relief and gratitude, came back clear.  Still more tests to come, but these are for things that wouldn't have such a bad outcome).

And of course, a gentle stroll means lots of opportunities to stop, look around, reflect on the beauty evident all around us.  At first, the woods looked still pretty much in summer mode, but on closer investigation, there really are clear signs of autumn.

Fungi popping up after the recent rains...




leaf-strewn pathways...



autumnal colour starting to peep through...



mellow fruitfulness...



the berries of Lords and Ladies...


promise of things to come soon on one of the forest information signs...


beautiful birch bark...


so much beauty, if only we stop for a minute and look around us.

Have a lovely Sunday, Helenxx