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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Flanders Folly

Went to the tapas bar again. Very much the A-team in: both Spanish girlies (including Agent DVD's favourite, the one with the tight miniskirt), the blonde Baltic one, The Balkan manageress in an impossibly tight pair of beige trousers) and a brand new Brazilian girl with good cheekbones and a cute ponytail, who is probably the most impressive of the lot. Hooray for Britain's liberal employment rules: more needs to be written about the positive aspects of European immigrants. Glad I wrote a nice review of the place for Square Meal yesterday.

Unfortunately, I was accompanied by the florally named A. A Belgian (which says it all, really) working for a large international organisation based in a European city which is also associated with an unpleasant seasonal vegetable.

I had an ill-considered fling with this particular vegetable during a mind-numbingly dreary conference in a Dutch seaside town a number of years ago. It was one of those towns that used to regularly appear on Jeux Sans Frontières (one of General de Gaulle's odder ideas -along with the EEC) in the sixties and seventies.





The so-called "international judges" of which, Gennaro Olivieri and Guido Pancaldi, used to drive my father into apoplexy, due to their "typically European" biased decisions which always seemed to favour any bunch of "frogs, spics, dagos or krauts" above the poor old British.

Anyway, I was in this particular JSF venue during the first week in November. The hotel was the Dutch idea of a five star establishment (i.e. like the sort of British seaside resort three star hotel which host trade union conferences) and so, to escape the hundreds of other equally trapped delegates, I bravely set out on a walk along the promenade. It was like stepping out into an industrial sand blaster. The force eight winds whipped the sand off the dunes and scoured the skin from your face in seconds so you looked like those weird plasticised anatomy exhibits that that sinister German parades around the world.
I raced back to the hotel only to collide with A who had been trying to find me all day (she claimed). It turned out she had been sent to dig the dirt by her implacable vegetable masters (like Jedi broccoli-actually more like the Trade Viceroys from The Phantom Menace). I made the mistake of having lunch with her in the only restaurant we could find not infested with other delegates which overlooked a sea that looked like the Roaring Forties in June. She was then my inseparable buddy for three long days, quickly suggesting we go for a swim in the "clothing optional" pool and other far less subtle suggestions involving cream, I seem to recall (what is it about the Low Countries and dairy products?).

The problem was that she actually had a fabulous body and was rather pretty but, unfortunately, she also had those eyes where you can see the whites all the way round. If eyes are the window to the soul then hers were a window into hell. Never mind, she went like a Belgian bunny and the most significant problem was solved by adopting a "doggie style" approach (her posterior was much more pleasing to the eye than her face).

Five (or six) years later she has tracked me down in the office and is madder than ever (I thought she was coming over next week-unreliable as well). She made it quite clear this evening that she was up for a "fun night" tonight but not being entirely sure what Belgians consider fun (probably something to do with bicycles, chips and mayonaisse) I made my excuses and left. I have no doubt that she will send me an e-mail tomorrow. I must not let on that I actually have to be in the city of Christmas veg in September or she will use Interpol to track me down.




I was discussing this (Belgians, that is, not doggie-style euro madwomen) with P at work today and the conversation got around to the "name 10 famous Belgians" party game so beloved of my sister (who actually lived in Belgium and only seems to be intermittently odd as a result). Of course fictional Belgians don't count so that torpedoes most people's first choices.He had never heard of this game (but then he has spent a disproportionate amount of his career involved in weapons of mass destruction) but being a good researcher, however, he soon turned up a few websites including the definitive http://www.famousbelgians.net/. Of course, hardly any of these Belgians are famous at all and the site shows a complete lack of irony about this (another defining Belgian characteristic).







There is one very fine Belgian product we need to celebrate on these pages (other than the saxophone) and that is Ingrid Seynhaeve who has posed for some lovely pictures for Sports Illustrated and other continental publications who are less worried about the necessity for swimsuits. Here she is patently not by the North Sea in November.




Here she is demonstrating another fine Belgian posterior. I don't even dare think about her and doggie-style.. She'd probably be nice with turkey, gravy, little sausages and bacon rolls, however. Goodness, that gets me on to thinking about I from Turkey who I saw again this afternoon. But she is a ramble for another day..and a discussion of a quite different part of the anatomy.

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