Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, July 09, 2024


The weather forecast would have amused even the most sceptical person.  “Sunny conditions expected around 9:00 pm” it cheerily announced, right beside a little graphic that made it quite clear that sunset would be at 9:59 precisely, so you’d better get the chairs out and be ready.

Every hour before that there was one of those funny little “wind” symbols, which are a good indication that one should not venture outside with an umbrella or even a hat that isn’t firmly tied down.  A bit of investigation showed the forecast gusts would be around 65 kilometres per hour, which is somewhere around the “gale” category on the Beaufort scale and in the end we were pretty pleased with our decision to stay right where we were in downtown Tornai.

When the morning dawned clear-ish and windless, we had second thoughts about staying, but it was not long before the gusts came exactly when and as forecast and we settled in for a day of watching the slow procession of passing ships while surrounded by an assortment of washing hung in every corner of the boat.

There are a few pastimes which some describe as  being like watching grass grow, and watching washing dry is one of them.  Therefore we took the opportunity to sneak out for a few little necessities and to check progress on the Notre Dame Cathedral, which has been under constant renovation since our first visit, fifteen years ago.   

It’s not World Heritage listed accidentally, although every time progress appears to be underway, an even older part of the building is discovered.  There’s some thought that it may even have  some bits from the fourth century under those footings, but so far the impressively identified fifth century parts are winning the age race.

Like all renovation jobs, this one just keeps getting bigger, and without the budget of the better known Notre Dame, progress seems to be at about the pace we like to travel, which leaves us to wonder if we should move tomorrow, or join the cathedral team and simply down tools for one more day.


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