We went to Ghent.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 22 September 2018

So my lap top got rained on, well poured on more like. So I had to contact the insurance company and agree to pay the first 100 pounds excess. And then I waited and nothing happened. So I called them and they said all was good and gave me a coupon that I had to print off on Jim's computer because my laptop got wet.

I drove to the industrial estate, past TKMaxx, past John Lewis past Toys Are No Longer Us and went into PC World.

I must admit I was spoiling for a fight, expecting there to be a glitch. The only glitch was me and my passive aggression that frightened the boy salesman so much he called for help.

After ten minutes I walked away with this new MacBook Air. 799 quids worth of clean keys and functioning apps.

I had forgotten what it was like to work on a machine that does everything its meant to.

I did not, however, take it to Ghent with me, or Gent as the Belgians put it.

My nephew bought me and the old git a Tues-Friday holiday.

The Sat-Nav took us across country through Goudhurst, past Sissinghurst, you try saying that wearing a mouth brace.....no I don't have one I just thought it would sound funny with a mighty brace.... Past Tenterden, towards Ashford and then along the road to The Channel Tunnel.

We waited in a line of cars, then took our place on the train. Read the read outs in English and French, then opened our windows, put the car into first gear, the hand break on, and off we went.

Thirty five minutes later having gone under the Channel with our picnic box of salad and all number of nibbles, we drove out onto the continent,

"Wont be this easy after Brexit" said the Yorkshire Remainer.

Right past Dunkirk, past Oostend, or Ostend as we spell it, and into G(h)ent.

The canal was being cleared and the road outside our special place was being dug up, but Caroline took our bags and we turned left and left and left and drove down into an underground car park. Bay 13.

Kwaadham 52 was a piano showroom. A showroom with fancy, grand pianos, and an organ, and some delicious upright Joannas all lovingly standing in their space. Books of music on the window sill. I played Bach on a Boudoir grand, Scarlatti on a Steinway and tried to reach the pedals on the organ.

We were 46 stairs up in the air. A beautiful room with a beam, two separate duvets on a big bed, a tv, two windows opening onto the bulldozer, and a lovely big shower.

Unpacked our vitals, and had a wander. We decided to stay in and finish our salad . Bought some Belgian ham and beer and ate round our antique dining table in our antique room, two old antiques enjoying their breakaway.

At 7.00a.m. on Wednesday the bulldozers ballsed up our doze. After washing and grooming we skipped down our 46 stairs and sat amid the pianofortes. Cheese, bread, rolls, girly coffee with milk and big man coffee with three shots. Granola and snipped fruit, fresh yoghurt and little pots of fresh butter for our bread with soirees of salami.

Off we went out into the rain. Churches, art exhibitions, and chips and cherry beer by the canal. Back for a snooze then out for a really good Vegetarian meal.

Apparently Ghent is one of the most veggie friendly cities around. It's also pedestrian friendly and people mad. Cars come a long way down the list.

Up the 46 stairs to heaven, reading and bed. I finished reading A MAN CALLED OVE, cried so much I had to sit in the bathroom to blow my nose and not wake the snoring man from Morley.

The sun was out, and then the bed started shaking. The scientific 'oosbind told me its because the clay Ghent is built on and the timber framed buildings are not conducive to working men. I thought, however, that when the bed started shaking at 7.00 the old git was having a seizure, but it turned out to be the pneumatic drills outside.

Down those 46 dancers to more of the same. A continental breakfast that would keep us hearty until a little lunch.

We had a wander, went to the mustard shop in the square and brought several jars of Ghent mustard for our spicy friends, then we took a canal boat ride. Lazily drifting past houses and breweries, the female guide lolling me into a quiet snooze. Out we jumped and wandered round to MAX, where a waffle is the size of The Daily Telegraph and a coffee costs twice as much as a pair of plimsolls. And thats where we had our first ( and only) altercation. The miserly man from Morley decided he would not, under any circumstances, spend nearly twenty quid on a pancake and cuppa, I said we were on holiday, he wouldn't budge, my mouth went the way of a sour lemon and we didn't talk for about ten minutes.

Then we decided life was too short so we wandered off to the castle. Paid our entrance fee for two old people, nobody asked to see identification, and off we climbed, round circular staircases, past chain mail, up to the turrets where we looked out at Ghent, and then down the spiral staircase to the piano in the square, mounted on a wooden structure. Quatre Mains, our very address, had donated one of their pianos for the world to play. and they did, and so did I. The 'oosbind holding the phone took a video, and no I am not putting it on facebook.

Back up the 46 stairs, both of us complaining since we'd used up all our juice circumnavigating the bleedin' castle.

I changed - yes I wore trousers not me dunggies, and we walked to a fancy place near MAX. No arguments, we'd booked a table. And so my Yorkie Boy sat opposite me. we ordered Mussels and chips, beer and Chervil soup. A little contraption was stuck on the side of the table for our mussel pan lids, like a babies high chair. Our discarded mussel shells were chucked into the mussel pan lid. Himself had them in wine I had them in garlic and cream. And so we slurped out way to nearly bed time. I admit I could not finish me molluscs, and believe me I tried. I couldn't even finish me frites, which was a shame. You know when you wait so long for something and then when it turns up you're incapacitated.

We ambled back to Kwaadham 52, I've written a really good review on Trip Adviser, took to our beds and overslept because, unlike the UK, the road work had been done so efficiently, and neatly, the only sound was our leaping out of bed so as not to miss the continental fare down the stairs. I say leaping!!!!!

Breakfast was cheese and coffee, two little biscuits and a bit of Bach on a Fazioli Grand, then into town for a final shop. More mustard, a beautiful succulent from the cactus shop on the corner, And then into our car. It took just under two hours to get to the Tunnel Sous Manche. We had a booking for 7.20 but we wanted to get home. We changed our crossing, eating English plums I'd brought over from our kitchen, slices of ham and some oatcakes. Sat in the car and watched the screen until the letter B came up. Then we took our place in the queue.

We left bang on 2.40. No picnic necessary so we played scrabble, and before you could say triple-word-score we were back in Blighty.

On went the sat-nav, through the Kent Countryside, home by 5.00. the cat ready for a cuddle, the mail piled on the kitchen table, the dates for Radio Sussex put on the board, and all our pots of mustard lined up on the dresser.

We were sent to Ghent it came and went, what a time was spent in Gent.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.