The square is surrounded by Brussels’ Town Hall, nearly forty guildhalls and other beautiful buildings from the 14th to 17th century. The 110 by 68 metre Grand Place is also home of the Flower Carpet, a bi-annual event featuring the creation of a colorful carpet design using more 700,000 cut begonias.
La Grand Place has been used as a town square since the 12th century (then called ‘Nedermarckt’), but also played a negative role in the history of the Belgian city. In the 16th and 17th century, hundreds of people have been executed on the town square for various reasons. Witches and protestants were burnt at the stake, while rebellians and other villains were decapitated. Needless to say that the the current role, as the bright center of Brussels, is much more positive.
Brussels Town Hall is one of the Belgium’s finest civic buildings. Not only because of the numerous sculptures adorning its walls, but also because of its perfect proportions and the incomparable beauty of its tower, the spire of which is topped by the archangel Saint Michael, Brussels laid the foundation stone of the magnificent Gothic edifice in the spring of 1402. In 1695, when the city was bombarded by Marshal de Villeroy, the Town Hall was destroyed by fire.
Atop the spire on the square tower body, stands a 5-meter-high gilt metal statue of the Archangel Michael, the patron saint of Brussels, slaying a dragon or devil. The 96 meter high tower is in Brabantine Gothic style.
The facade of the town hall is decorated with numerous statues representing nobles, saints, and allegorical figures. The present figures are not the originals. The Grand Place was bombed in 1695 by the French. The damaged townhall had to be reconstructed.
After our sagas of the previous week, culminating in our Saturday morning adventure we set off for the 39th party. The party was a joint celebration for the coming of age of (21 and 18) of two sibling children of friends of ours. The party was themed, everyone had to turn up in fancy dress depicting the year they were born.
Before I go into details of the party I need to recount a tale that I forgot to include in my ‘Week of Challenges‘ post. On Saturday morning before the gas fitter arrived, Mr C was sitting working on his computer when he heard a large bang on the window. He went to investigate and found a dead bird on our back lawn with a slug near to its beak. The poor thing had obviously misjudged flying angles after capturing lunch.
Getting back to tales of the party… We drove to collect a friend before making our way to the party. As we arrived to pick up our friend the heavens opened with a torrential downpour so everyone leaped into the car to take cover!! The only problem was the Zulu shield, part of our friends costume was left leaning up against the side of the car… As soon as it was safe to do so, Mr C leapt out of the car, grabbed the shield which was too big to fit the car comfortably and manhandled it into the space. Unfortunately the downpour had diluted the water based paints on the shield leaving paint stains all over the car, which had been valeted earlier in the day!!
Once the shield had been secured we set of on our way to the party. We arrived to see a gazebo and well thought out themed sections for the birthday celebrants. A barbecue was set up at the far end of the garden. About 30 minutes later the sky darkened and we saw a spectacular sky and sheet lighting in the near distance. The weather front of wind and torrential rain hit quite soon after that. The party goers retreated inside bringing in the chairs, tables and drinks table complete with drinks whilst four brave people manned the corners of the gazebo before taking off the legs to bring it to ground level and safety.
The rain did not stop play, the food was cooked on an indoor grill and the party carried on successfully indoors.
Unfortunately I have no photos of the event (apart from iPhone photos of the cakes). I chose to leave my camera at home thinking there would be nothing of interest to photograph…
I will leave you with the outfit I chose to wear to depict the year that I was born
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.
Just over a week ago, early on Friday morning Mr C learned that one of his closest friends had passed away suddenly the previous evening. It was difficult to take in the reality as the friend was only 51 and always so full of life. This left us both a little sombre over the weekend.
On Saturday we ordered curtain material to replace the living room curtains to co-inside with the fitting of a new curtain track. On Sunday Mr C was celebrate his birthday so we went out Warwick where we visited the Lord Leycester Hospital which houses The Queen’s Royal Hussars museum and the Warwickshire Yeomanry museum. Mr C had planned on visiting Warwick Castle but I was not so keen on the idea. Whilst it is still a castle it has been turned into a theme park. Theme parks are not at all my thing! We did make our way to the castle shop to see if it had a good book selection related to the historical period of the castle. It did not, so I waited outside in the courtyard watching some of Britain’s finest wandering around.
I had to go back to work on Monday but Mr C had the day off and had volunteered to cook a roast lamb dinner. I was relaxing in the living room whilst Mr C was popping backward and forward to the kitchen attending to the meal. Mr C poured two glasses of sherry and brought me one and returned to the kitchen. As he did so there was a loud bang, a small exclamation followed by silence…
The cooker had shot out a large blue flame and had unsurprisingly stopped working taking out the cooker circuit with it. Luckily the rest of the house electrics were working fine. But what were we to do with a half cooked dinner? The gas part of the appliance was still working although obviously we had to resort to matches to light the rings so the veg were cooked on the stove top and the roast lamb and potatoes were taken around the corner to a family member for them to complete that part of the meal in their oven. The neighbours must have wondered what Mr C was up to ferrying a roasting tin to and fro in his car!
After a previous accident when the grill in the top oven was left on with the glass door shut we decided it would be more sensible to have a new one rather than repair the old one. Whilst all this was going on a replacement cooker was ordered for delivery on Friday.
The cooker arrived yesterday but unfortunately it couldn’t be fitted by the company who delivered it because the electrician had not yet been to check out the electric circuit. The reason for this was the cooker was unexpectedly delivered at 7.30 in the morning!! The electrician turned up, checked the circuit and everything was fine. A gas fitter was booked for 9.30 this morning. He arrived on time and connected the gas supply to the cooker and started to test it out. When it came to turning on the main oven it made a horrendous racket. There is something wrong with the fan. After several phone calls between the supplier and manufacture the best arrangement they could come to was that a repair agent would come out next Friday to see if it could be repaired or if it needed replacing. Another seven days without a cooker!!
Whilst all this was going the curtain fitter turned up early to fit the curtain track. The fitting mostly ran smoothly although he had forgotten that the track was being attached directly to the ceiling and not to wooden batons, which were to be removed. That was soon sorted out and it looks very nice. Now we just have to wait for the curtain material which was supposed have arrived this week but is nowhere to be seen…