Tuesday, 29 January 2019


Brussels protesters
Our special Christmas present from Edwin was a surprise trip to Brussels. He suddenly produced two tickets and said we’d need to get away after my radiotherapy was over. He even booked a fine hotel for us. We didn’t know then that Ann would have had her cataract operation two days before. Now she is wearing dark glasses and can’t read anything but at least we should enjoy a couple of quiet days.  We are flying BA from Heathrow. Terminal Five is very up-market, they’re playing Mahler mood music in the toilets.

In Brussels, we did enjoy a very quiet day on Saturday, the constant rain allowing us only to explore the local side streets. The restaurants are all heavily meat pushers; the choice of vegetarian was limited, and combined with gluten-free for Ann, almost non-existent.
Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule

On Sunday, the afternoon brought a brief gap in the rain, allowing us to escape and look for the Bronte presence in Brussels. We walked from the hotel towards the Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule which Charlotte as Lucy Snowe attended for confession and mass as described in Villette. En route (I am getting back into my French), we were caught up in a mass protest rally and herded by the police—who would not let us leave the crowd—away from the Cathedral. We had had no warning there was to be a protest - but 70,000 people were marching for the environment, and like it or no we were part of the protest. Ann wondered that, when they finally split up after the march, how many would go home in their diesel cars to a Sunday roast? The best way to save the environment is from individual actions, not calls to governments, such as to go vegetarian.

Commemorative plaque to Charlotte Bronte
We finally escaped down a side road to find a plaque commemorating M. and Mme. Constantin Héger's school and the site where Charlotte lived in Brussels - but the plaque is all that is left.

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