Summer Rain, Naked Cyclists and Pigeon Poo

It was unusual waking up to the sound of rain this morning. Despite the Belgians’ protestations of near-constant bad weather here in Brussels, I have found it generally quite clement for the past few weeks (if not months), and, far from feeling cheated out of summer, as I have felt countless times before in the UK, I actually feel it’s going rather well (am touching wood as I type). And precisely because it felt such an anomaly, I didn’t mind bringing the rain mac and umbrella out of retirement for the walk to work, nor did I let the rain act as a catalyst for the onset of Monday blues.

Weather aside, life in Brussels continues to delight and surprise. This weekend I took a friend to the Marolles quarter, one of my favourite parts of the city, with the aim of visiting its famed market. Embarrassingly in almost eight months of living here I’ve never made it to the market before, and with row upon row of beautiful antiques, ornaments, bric-a-brac and clothing it didn’t disappoint. We lost ourselves entirely for a good hour and a half, browsing the stalls and making good natured deals with the vendors. By the time the stalls were beginning to close and our tummies were starting to rumble their expectation of lunch, we were laden with bags of clothes, fake fur coats and leather boots (ten euros for a pair of boots! TEN!). We then had lunch at one of the cafes on the square before taking a stroll into the centre via the skate park, where we stumbled across a mini festival complete with brilliant female DJ. In the Grand Place we even came face to bum cheek with a group of naked cyclists!

Yesterday my fiance and I (we got engaged in March but that still feels strange to say!) chose to make the most of the afternoon sunshine with a stroll around Chatelain. Half way through we stopped at a road side café and ordered drinks. Shortly after they arrived, however, a pigeon who was clearly suffering from serious digestive trouble flew over us and deposited the contents of its bowels onto our table. Fortunately we were only slightly covered by this surprise excretion, but our beverages were less lucky, and needed replacing by the bemused-but-sympathetic bar woman. I remember being told in my childhood that being pooed on by a bird was lucky, but I wasn’t feeling all that lucky when it happened!

Summer rain, naked cyclists and pigeon poo – life may be calmer here than in London, but there’s rarely a dull moment!