Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2021/11 Moments November 2021

Brussels, Belgium; Leuven, Belgium; Ypres (Ieper) Belgium; Passchendaele, Belgium; Thieu, Belgium; Mons, Belgium; Toronto, Ontario

Boulevard Anspach
Boulevard Anspach: On All Saints’ Day, exited De Brouckère metro station and started walking south. Looking back northward, surprised to see so many people out enjoying the clear skies on a public holiday, with many large retailers open for commerce. Historically a street built covering the River Senne between 1868 and 1871, it was only in 2012 that the road was closed on Sundays from vehicular traffic, finally become car-free in 2015. Electric scooters seem popular, nimbly weaving around pedestrians. (Boulevard Anspach south of Rue Grétry, Brussels, Belgium) 2021110
Restaurant Zain Al Shaam
Restaurant Zain Al Shaam: Healthy Syrian-Lebanese plates of (i)mixed kebabs and (ii) vegetarian, in central Brussels, complemented by appetizer of pickles, pita stuffed with a spicy filling, and a coconut-pistachio flan. Restaurant was busy when we arrived, leading us to the table by the door where many takeout orders were picked up. Could be the best meal that we’ve had in months, freshly made and served in person. (Restaurant Zain Al Shaam, Bouldvard Anspach, Brussels, Belgium) 20211101
Les Riches-Claires Centre Culturel
Les Riches-Claires Centre Culturel: CD release for “About Time” with #MartinSalemi on piano,#BorisSchmidt on bass, and #DanielJonkers on drums (reflected on the piano). We walked up to this small venue by the community library without tickets, and found almost the last seats in the house in the front row. Great show with live jazz, all acoustic in a traditional trio. DY and I might have been the only non-Francophones in the audience, it’s hard to pick up the jokes with only 50% comprehension. (Les Riches-Claires Centre Culturel, Rue Riches-Claires, Brussels, Belgium) 20211101

Parc du Cinquantenaire: At #Bright.Brussels CUBE^³ by #OferSmilansky + #AntoineGoldschmidt, unnatural object with transparent sides lit from exterior, and then internal streams of light. Pensive soundtrack accompanies color changes in a 10-minute cycle. Moderate crowds of visitors in the dark, unfortunately rainy, but we equipped for winter. (Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels, Belgium) 20211104

Rue Maria Malibran: Sidebar crafting break became full participation at CSRP Institute meeting. Friend at distance in Finland had asked travelling friend to act as courier for butterfly rubber stamps to Brussels, since physical points of connection are so rare these days. DY typically keeps occupied as systems research meetings continue, and casual crafters are welcomed. (Rue Maria Malibran, Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium) 20211105
Rue Maria Malibran: Sidebar crafting break became full participation at CSRP Institute meeting. Friend at distance in Finland had asked travelling friend to act as courier for butterfly rubber stamps to Brussels, since physical points of connection are so rare these days. DY typically keeps occupied as systems research meetings continue, and casual crafters are welcomed. (Rue Maria Malibran, Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium) 20211105
Place Dumon
Place Dumon: Shopping for artisinal white boudin (pork sausage with raisins) and black boudin (blood sausage with truffles) at the Saturday market, amongst the larger variety of vendors than Tuesdays or Fridays. Walked by more stands to find Chinese cabbage, and then looked into the “dead bird” store with partridge and quail in the window. (Place Dumon, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels. Belgium) 20211106
Rue Maria Malibran
Rue Maria Malibran: Wrapping up first #CreativeSystemic Research Platform Institute Symposium and Annual General Meeting. In-person attendees in Brussels, virtual attendees in Shanghai, Singapore, UK, Italy, and on a train in the Netherlands. The first year of starting up a new institution is a lot of learning, processes should be ironed on in future years. (Rue Marie Malibran, Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium) 20211107
Heilige Geestcollege
Heilige Geestcollege: In foreground, work bike for delivering kegs of beer. In background, a historic site of the #EuropeanPhysicalSociety, including the office of #GeorgesLemaître who first in 1927 developed the theory of the Big Bang, consistent with an expanding universe. Wth the history of the University of Leuven dating back to 1425, and closures during period of French and Netherlander rule, the Catholic University from 1835 was French-speaking, until a split in 1970 changed the institution to a Flemish (Dutch) language institution. (Heilige Geestcollege (Holy Ghost College), Naamsestraat, Leuven, Belgium) 20211108
M Leuven
M Leuven: Featured show @M_useumLeuven of British land artist #RichardLong , with multiple sculptures inspired by his walking along the landscape of Bristol. From foreground, Quiet Skies Circle (2020), Basalt Ellipse (2000), Black White Green Pink Purple Circle (1998), and on the wall Hands of Clay Circle (2021). Spent most of my time with the temporary exhibits in the modern wing, lost track of my fellow travellers while exploring the extended permanent collection since the 1800s in the older neoclassical building. (M Leuven, Leopold Vanderkelenstraat, Leuven, Belgium) 20211108
Menin Road South Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery
Menin Road South Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery: In advance of Remembrance Day, visited the graves of WWI soldiers identified and recognized at Ypres. Found a row of headstones with a maple leaf insignia for a group of Canadian mounted riflemen. Signed the visitor’s registry, the preceding signature was 2 days ago from someone more local. Drive was 90 minutes west of Brussels, approaching the border to France. (Menin Road South Military Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery, Ypres (ieper) Belgium 20211109
Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917: Experienced a replication @MMP1917 of a bunk room in the dugouts burrowed underground by WWI British soldiers, after the Belgian terrain had been totally denuded of trees and buildings from bombing from 1914 to 1917. The museum route later led us outdoors into trenches, where the variety of construction styles varied earliest from simple wooden planks to later corrugated iron from the British corps. The more contemporary historical descriptions of the war show reconciliation, as the death toll from all sides was so great. (Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, Zonnebeke, Belgium) 20211109
VUB - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
VUB – Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Neon lettters for “Ab Chao – LaMouseion’ @VUBrussel by @KoenVanmechelen (2021) refers to “From Chaos” plus Mouseion in ancient Alexandria, encouraging the young to thing about systems and laws in a new society. Egg on top of building has a sibling hatching across the courtyard. Signs read “Fertility comes from outside” and “Le Bonheur du monde”. Wooden planters host a flower meadow to encourage pollinations by bees. (VUB – Vrije Universiteit Brussel Humanistic Sculpture Park, Ixelles, Belgium) 20211110
Abbaye de la Cambre
Abbaye de la Cambre: Duck pond south of the chapel, in the Maelbeek valley, with the site originally founded in 1196. Buildings were destroyed in the religious wars of the 1600s and 1700s, and rebuilt in 18th century. Repressed during the French Revolution, the buildings after the abbey closed were used for a military school, and occupied by Germans in WWI. In 1921, a group moved to preserve the abbey, and started reconstruction in 1924. In 1953, the property was designated a historic site. (Abbaye de la Cambre, Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium) 20211110
Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift: The 73-metre difference between the Meuse and Scheldt rivers led to the world’s tallest lift in 2002, before the Three Gorges Dam was built at twice the height. We also saw one of the four heritage Boat Lifts on the Canal du Centre, at Thieu from 1917, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. A boat lift has a chamber containing water than is elevated up or down, as compared to a canal lock where the water level rises and falls. (Ascenseur funiculaire de Strépy-Thieu , Thieu, Belgium) 20211111
Strépy-Thieu Boat Lift: The 73-metre difference between the Meuse and Scheldt rivers led to the world’s tallest lift in 2002, before the Three Gorges Dam was built at twice the height. We also saw one of the four heritage Boat Lifts on the Canal du Centre, at Thieu from 1917, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. A boat lift has a chamber containing water than is elevated up or down, as compared to a canal lock where the water level rises and falls. (Ascenseur funiculaire de Strépy-Thieu , Thieu, Belgium) 20211111
Beaux-Arts Mons
Beaux-Arts Mons: In the style of the #FernandoBotero exhibition, concave mirrors show a situational portraiture that is proportionately exaggerated. We were amused at the rounder, fatter figures shown for humour or political criticism. One Colombian satire reinterpreted the double portrait of the Duke of Urbino and his wife, by Piero della Francesca. (Beaux-Arts Mons, Rue Neuve, Mons, Belgium) 20211111
Square Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Square Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Map of outdoor art works didn’t prepare us for the height of #DavidMesguich (2019) #LucieEtLesPapillons in stainless steel, of a young girl with broken scissors in her hand that will not harm the butterflies. Arrived in this French-speaking town on Armistice Day, with carillon bells ringing from the Belfry of Mons every 15 minutes. Passed by the Collégiale Sainte-Waudru, an uncompleted church dated back to 1450, considerably quieter than the Foire d’Automne carnival on the Granc Place. (Square Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mons, Belgium) 20211111
Museum of the National Bank of Belgium
Museum of the National Bank of Belgium: Tour with audioguide in building originally designing in 1872 for Union du Crédit de Bruxelles (UCB), with glazed canopies in the style of the nearby Saint-Hubert galleries. The architecture was restored in 2007, and the museum was closed from 2017 to 2021 to move from a building one block away. Learned that exchange trading first started in Brugges circa 1415 at an inn of the van der Beurse family, that derives to the word Bourse in modern-day trading. (Musée de la Banque Nationale de Belgique, Rue Montagne aux Herbes, Brussels, Belgium) 20211112
Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert
Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert: The earliest covered shopping arcade dating back to 1846 now features many chocolate shops and high-end retailers. No security detail in sight, as a crew of children clambered aboard the art installation of @MiaFlorentineWeiss of “Love & Hate, 1+1=1” that has toured more than 20 countries in Europe and the USA in 10 years. The ambigram sculpture reads as Love on one side, and Hate on the other side. (Galeries Royales Saint Hubert, Galerie du Roi, Brussels, Belgium) 20211112
Comics Art Museum
Comics Art Museum: Smurfs originated in Belgium circa 1958, but only crossed the ocean into animated features in the 1980s. We have previously visited these characters, as well as Tintin and Nero. This visit was to the Slumberland bookstore, to check out the broader selection of comics available. (Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, Rue de Sables, Brussels, Belgium) 20211112
Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport: Saturday is a long travel day. Woke up at 6:30am for 10am flight, will have a connection in Montreal around noon, should be home mid afternoon with a 6 hour time zone change. After 2 weeks in Belgium, just started getting used to time zone change. (Brussels Airport, Belgium) 20211113
Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport: Long travel day got longer, as pilot reported cracked windshield as plane was taxiing for takeoff. No gates available, so boarded bus back to terminal. As an experienced flyer, I phoned Air Canada and spoke with a nice agent who has confirmed our seats for tomorrow. EU rules should cover lodging, so we’ll be in line to ask about vouchers. (Brussels Airport, Belgium) 20211113
Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport: Next day, second try to fly Brussels – Montreal – Toronto Island. Had restful night in Sheraton on Air Canada vouchers, easy check-in this morning. (Brussels Airport, Belgium) 20211114
Alexander the Great Parkette
Alexander the Great Parkette: With the sun setting at 4;46pm, sights after work are mostly in the dark. Businesses on the Danforth illuminate sidewalks, and this public fountain is not the hangout popular as in the summer. Dry weather allows bicycling, but near-freezing temperatures discourage long rides. (Alexander the Great Parkette, Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20211123
South Riverdale Community Health Centre
South Riverdale Community Health Centre: Self-portrait on last day of @MGHToronto @ETHPnews walk-in Covid-19 Outreach Centre @SRiverdaleCHC for booster Pfizer vaccine, followup from 2 Astra-Zeneca jabs just over 168 days ago. Short stroll from home, no wait to enter the building at the rear entrance. Supply is widely available, a pharmacy could have been an alternative source. (South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Queen Street East, Toronto, Ontario) 20211127

Lakeshore Boulevard East at Booth Avenue
Lakeshore Boulevard East at Booth Avenue: Stand of oak trees in Tree Protection Zones boxed by @TOtrees with orange plastic fences, Leaves still on the branches, plants may have been surprised by snow in the 4th week of November. Optimism in the permanence of trees, while the East Harbour Flood Protection Landform continues, just to the north. (Lakeshore Boulevard East at Booth Avenue, East Harbour, Toronto) 20211129

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