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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Brussels Sprouts & Bakewell Tarts


This week saw me off on a jolly with work to Brussels, after the company merged with a dutch one.

Arriving by Eurostar on Thursday we arrived at the hotel already a bit worse for wear after drinking the buffet cars stella allowance for the week. We met our (extremely sober) dutch colleages and were 'treated' to a tour of the shite hole area of Brussels...

Along the way we stopped at 3 different restaurants and had seperate courses in each

The tour started off with the local council estate, evidently the people here had all filled in survey forms stating they were fastidious and willing to maintain their properties to the highest standard

The woman in the top floor lied, it was a crap hole

After starters the next stop was the local hospital, evidently built for the local influx of leprosy. Throughout the night you could hear ambulances around the town, so can only suppose there were limbs falling off all over the place

We managed to approach a more civilised part of the town by dessert, then proceeded to hit the Irish pub (nothing irish about it except there was a guiness sign) to sample some of the famous Belgian beers. We carried on sampling till 4am then spent another hour trying to find the hotel as the tour guides had now ditched us

Despite the amount of ale we drank I think the UK side of the company managed to retain their stiff upper lip and I don't think out dutch counterparts noticed the effects of alcohol on us

Here is our MD who lasted until 1am

The next morning was a geo game which involved us being split into groups of 5, given a GPS and a pda, then thrown out to the city to find the local landmarks. Nice idea, although after 8km of walking my nice floral Doc Martins had rubbed off a layer of my feet, and I was ready for the leprosy hospital

So a few scenic pics taken during the game

We then stopped for lunch, and afterwards me and my colleague, Chris, didn't take it quite so seriously (mainly due to the tins of bacardi and coke we had drank at every newsagent along the way) and left the Dutch CEO in our team to go off and find the rest of the landmarks while we dawdled behind like school kids at the end of the day.

The game finished at 4pm, and in a scene very similar to 'back to the future' we raced round the corner having completed the game, just at the clock struck 4pm (the clock wasn't wrong i just forgot to take the picture earlier)

We waited for the rest of the groups to return, and then with baited breath got the results of who had won. We did, which resulted in us all getting a wind up torch (similar to a poundland bargain). The dutch CEO was particularly impressed and I'm sure was mortified when he got home and realised he had left it on the table at the bar...

After buying an extra drink and promising the others we would be on time for the return train home, we had to run across brussels and just managed to get the train with 2 mins to spare

Got home late Friday night with the knowledge I had to be up early, as I was camping in Bakewell on Saturday morning.....


Set off to meet the rest of the gang on Saturday morning, arriving at Bakewell at 10am in Tillie. Temporary break in the rain so got pitched up pretty quick and me and my trusty mutts were in Bakewell for 12pm

As it was only 1 night camping, and the lovely summer forecast was torrential rain and strong winds, I threw in 'Alice', the 3m bell

First off I needed to exhaust the mutts so decided on a walk on the Tissington Trail. Brilliant idea in retrospect, where better to take Homer who HATES cyclists on a cycle route, perfect!

Parked up Tillie and walked back 3 times with pooh bags before we finally set off

Rain was a mixture...of showers and torrential..

Took pics of fields and cows as there is nothing else but fields and cows (except cyclists)

and some weeds

Homer did enjoy trying to bite the ankles of everyone who rode by though. At least he will never need a brace on his teeth, he can adapt the bicycle clips he ate to fit

Was going to do a circular route, but after talking to a couple and being told it was boggy, soaking and uphill, we decided to turn round and go back for tea and cake instead

Drove into bakewell to stock up on biscuits and rubbish

After spending half hour in the co-op car park shouting abuse at everyone and trying to get Tillie to fit in a parking space which I would be able to get out of again (harder than it sounds when steering a sherman tank), I went for a look round Bakewell.

Reason for all the traffic was a dance festival, so everywhere were groups of dancers, ranging from high pitched japanese wailing, to grannies in irish dancing outfits.

As I walked along there was a group that made me look again, with black greasepaint on their faces and the brighest most lurid outfits ever (i loved them) and little bells hanging off everything...

They introduced themselves as the Captain Pugwash Morris Dancers and were dancing in honour of the black pig. The main man announced Master Bates, Seaman Stains and the rest of the crew, then they did their jiggy stuff

Wooohooo, I want the outfit (the purple tights and flashy tail coat jacket woman had a brill outfit) and be able to bash people with sticks tooo! So I just need to lose about 4 stone and learn how to hit people with sticks and I have found my new vocation

Bakewell is pretty little place, especially because there are loads of cake shops

Back to the campsite then a few beers round the firepit. I think Andcow may have been partaking in alcohol before she ever pitched the tent, as she explained she had angled the centre pole to go with the lay of the land....

I'm not sure if it was alcohol, a trip to specsavers needed, or she was in fact pitched on the North face of the Eiger, but that tent pole is never right....

The usual conversations round the campfire ranged from exotic recipes (in Fiona's case this was cheese accompanied by bread, unheard of in Northern parts evidently), european old woman in toilets, smokys kettle, dogs and grapes and tax returns.

Homer was thoroughly bored by now and still trying to solve the mystery of 'where did the bag of caramel nibbles go?'

Doogle the dog, even more bored than Homer tried a few self portrait shots on the camera..i think he was aiming for a more abstract photo...

Next morning went for a walk with smoky and Ella to somewhere (forgot name of place, it was somewhere near Youlgreave). After pulling up on the hill to speak to smoky I realised Tillie's handbrake was a bit rubbish on the incline. Sat for about 10 minutes telepathically calling smoky to get out of her car and come and speak to me before I rolled backwards and took out her front bonnet. Eventually she got out and we agreed to park up

Was very nice anyway and we followed the stream along with the rest of the population of Bakewell

Doggy paradise

Homer playing his 'trip the human up' game

Someone spilt cornflakes all over the floor here, so it was a particularly interesting part of the walk for Homer

Nice spot for swimming (at your own risk, disclaimers everywhere)

We carried on as far as the cows, then turned round in case they ate us

Walked back the same way, then drove Tillie back avoiding every motorway possible

Will be risking another trip in her this weekend, am off to Hay on Wye...

PS: Tillies new name badge came in the post very nice!


  1. OMG now I see the problem with the pole! I'm glad I already know this worked out ok!

  2. Brilliant!! Your work collegue looks a laugh. Great pics.

    Tillie's name badge is pretty cool too!


CRAFTY POST - My revolting conservatory-camping-store-room, really needed a makeover....

Finished!  So I get asked, where do I store all my camping kit? The answer is