Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Monday 10th April 2017

It is an usual feeling to wake up on a Monday morning and not be at home. Sadly, the hotel only seems to have 400 tog duvets, so it was a night of broken sleep, but I felt OK, and looking outside, although cool looked like it was going to be a fine day.

After getting dressed, I go down for breakfast to find about 6 people patiently waiting. I wait with them for a couple of minutes, but it was ten past opening, I go an knock on the door, and the waitress opens up and lets us in. I say waitress, she just takes the empty bowls away as its self service, but still good. Jimmy arrives and so we chat about work and beer. As blokes do, really.

Oostende is very quiet at half seven in the morning, especially Easter week, but that will change as people wake up and feel the need to go to the beach. But I am off to work, and arrive in one piece and without incident, which is always nice.

And being in the office means I am focused on work, for a change, and with much to do, the morning slips by in a blur.

It came then as a disappointment to have salad for lunch instead of a bbq or sandwiches. The warehouse guys especially was disappointed, and reminded of that with each mouthful.

Somehow I work the afternoon through, helping out making a huge vat of chili, enough for 30 people, so the guys when they came ashore had something to eat and could just go home and relax. Once the last of the vessels comes in and they are fed, it is quarter to six, and that is nearly 11 hours done. Phew, rock and roll.

My old friend, former colleague and now customer employee, Steffen, arrived in town the night before, and we had arranged to meet. So at seven I am waiting outside the casion, but he is nowhere to be seen. Turns out he has gone for dinner first, meaning I would eat alone, like a billy-no-mates.

Ninety eight I walk along the main street to Den Bottljle, or whatever its called, order a beer and a bowl of Flemish stew, which everyone had recommended. As I wait for my meal, he arrives along with his colleague, a big armed Pole, who I could hardly understand. I get them a beer, and we talk, and then my meal arrives.

Reninge Bitter Blond My new minion arrives, now christened T Rex has he seems to have short arms, anyway, he buys everyone a beer, some kind of mad 10% stuff served in oversized wine glasses. He buys himself another, then the other two get rounds in, but I decline. They are getting loud, and so I think t is my signal to beat a retreat.

The Blue Hour They are disappointed, but then I think they will have another beer to help them get over it. I walk up to the promenade, walking along among the dogwalkers and joggers, as away to the west, the sunset fades and night creeps over from the east.

I pass on a nightcap, and instead follow the Arsenal game on the BBC, as I couldn't find on TV, and they losing 3-0 to Palace, means it wasn't a wasted evening at all.

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