Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hautrage Happenings

Observations and musings on goings-on in and around the village:

We realized last week that we are in the middle of the summer church season. What that means is that some of the village churches in our commune (Saint-Ghislain) which normally remain shuttered most of the year get to host Mass for a month in the summer. July is Hautrage's turn, so today I attended Mass at Saint-Sulpice in our very own village. It was only the second time I'd seen the interior of the church. That's a shame because it's a very pretty church - stained glass windows, beautiful wooden altar, tasteful statues, and a working pipe organ.

On a different subject, we had noticed earlier in the week a hotel barge, called L'Embrun, moored at the quai down the street from us. After googling it, we learned that it sails out of Liege and one can rent a cabin or two or the entire barge for various periods of time. That was intriguing. Then yesterday we started seeing signs reading "'Seven' boot" pointing toward the canal. [Boot is German and Dutch for boat.] We tucked that one away in the back of our minds as we headed down to the village to drink a beer in the tent erected for the Belgian national day celebration.

Today we exercised different exercise options, David opting for a bike ride and me for a walk. I headed toward the canal and walked past L'Embrun, which was teaming with people, including one fellow with a large video camera. Hmm...I returned from a different direction and saw what looked like a film crew shooting a scene down the street from our house (for those of you who have been here, at the corner house, where the goats live). Turns out as David was coming back from his bike ride he had to wait for them to finish a scene before he could go past to get home. We speculate it's a university project or perhaps an indie film being made.

Back to the celebration in the village: tonight is the bal sous les lampions (ball under the lanterns or something like that) with music by an orchestra. The ball is preceded by a barbecue, which here means an aperitif, a slab of meat and frites. We thought about going but couldn't scare up anyone to go with us. Next year for sure.

Tomorrow the celebrations continue, as 21 July is Belgian independence day. At 11:00 there will be national aperitif and the laying of a wreath at the war memorial in Hautrage. Although it's a SHAPE holiday, as US civilians we still have to go to work, but we're toying with the idea of saying we have to leave in time for the ceremony.

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