Brussels Women's Club

Passport February 2024

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 PASSPORT – February 2024 

Committee Update – February 2024 

By Carmel Delaney 

Happy February! 

We have been busy planning lots of interesting events for the upcoming months. Our charity organisers, Carol and Jo, have put together a terrific year-long agenda to help raise money for Mbedza and Scale dogs, our two chosen charities for 2024. Our themed lunches are off to a great start with a sold-out Burns Lunch in January, and a Chinese New Year Lunch planned for Sunday, 11 February. With the restart of the Crafts Group on 30 January, all our classes and other activities are now back in action. We look forward to seeing you soon either at the Clubhouse or at one of our events! 

Your Committee, 

Alka, Carmel, Carol, Gillian and Lilian 

Membership renewal 

By the time you read this, our 2024 renewal period will be over. Thanks to all who have renewed; we look forward to an exciting year ahead with you. If you missed the deadline and would like to sign up for a 2024 membership, please sign up as a new member by clicking here or going to our home page at https://brusselswomens.club/ and then click on Membership, Join. 

New Members 

We are happy to report that 7 new Members signed up in January. 

Weekly News 

We hope you are all enjoying the new look of the Weekly News. We’ve received some very positive feedback. If you’d like to add your feedback, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page if you are reading this online or email us at info@brusslswomens.club to let us know what you think. 2 

Upcoming events 

The Clubhouse is back in full swing. Please check the online calendar for all that is happening in February. Click here for the full calendar. 

Chinese New Year Lunch 

Get ready for another delicious Chinese New Year Lunch and celebrate the Year of the Dragon at the Clubhouse on Sunday 11 February. Sign up early so you are not disappointed. The link to reserve your spot is here. 

Tech support with Carmel 

These sessions will be run once a month. Please watch the Weekly News for the date and sign up online. Bring your computer, tablet or phone, or just stop by to listen in on the topic of the day. 

Clubhouse Coffee on Tuesday 27 February 

Join us for the ever-popular coffee morning and catch up with friends and meet new Members. These coffee mornings are growing every month – come and join the fun! 

Charity Walk 

The first charity walk of the year will be on Thursday 15 February. The 8 km walk will be followed by an optional lunch. You don’t have to walk to join the lunch! 

Recent events (January) 

The Opera House guided tour of the Workshops was another excellent trip out. We were fortunate to have Abi, the same guide as we had in November. Eighteen people enjoyed the afternoon visit despite the snow, and many stayed for drinks afterwards. We look forward to repeating this tour in a few months for those of you who weren’t able to make it this time. (See report below) 

The Burns Lunch was a great success, once again! A huge thank you goes to Stuart for preparing his famous haggis (traditional and vegetarian). We were treated to a bagpiper for the festivities, and it was a sold-out event, with every seat filled. (See report below) 

The first Events Planning Team/Area Coordinators meeting of the year was buzzing with positive energy. We debriefed the Christmas Fair and are now planning the Spring Market (Saturday 23 March). If you would like to get involved in any way, please contact Gillian at gillianscott.email@gmail.com – it’s a lot of fun and very satisfying! 3 

BWC Golf 

Notice of Annual General Meeting 

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of BWC Golf will take place on Thursday 14 March at 19.00 at the BWC Clubhouse, Rue au Bois 509, 1150 Brussels. 

  1. Apologies for Absence 
  2. Minutes of the last AGM 
  3. Matters arising 
  4. Captain’s Report 
  5. Secretary’s Report 
  6. Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of Accounts 
  7. Election of Officers and Committee for 2024 
  8. Any other business 

Barbara Briggs 

Honorary Secretary 

E-mail: barbaralbriggs@gmail.com 

Feature 

From the Weird to the Wonderful – Street Entertainment in Belgium 

By Ann Englander 

For a relatively small country, Belgium has a remarkable number of street entertainment events which take place every year. Even a small selection of events in Wallonia makes mind boggling reading. The giants of Ath, the Bathtub regatta of Dinant, the Carnival of Bears near Namur, the great bonfire of Bouge and not forgetting the festival of fairground entertainment in Namur and the famous orange-throwing Gilles of Binche near Mons. 

Around Carnival time (this year on February 13), there will be hundreds of processions with participants from all over the country dressed in bizarre gear, the most celebrated of which is the Carnival of Aalst where Prince Carnival is elected and duly honoured. The idea was initially to let your hair down big time after the fasting period of Lent. Fasting may be a thing of the past but post-Lent celebrations are as popular as ever. 

Apart from all these goings on in February, there are also hundreds of parades and street events throughout the year. One of the most famous is the gentse feesten or Festival of Ghent which usually takes place in July (9 – 28 July in 2024). Music, parades, puppet shows, theatre performances and of course huge amounts of food 4 

and drink all readily available in the street. This is a great festival for the people of Ghent but others come from all over the world, some to perform and others just to enjoy. 

Another relatively recent phenomenon is the Murga or street parade with music and theatre. These are performed by amateurs all over Flanders and often include the participation of disabled people. Recent examples are a living depiction of Van Eyck’s painting “The Lamb of God” complete with an Adam and Eve that leaves nothing to the imagination and a Flemish version of the tale of Annie Oakley. There are also professional troupes which perform in the streets with magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, giants and even tap-dancing turkeys! 

Check out the next amazing street event via Google by typing in street entertainment in Belgium and enjoy the ride. 

Walking with the BWC – Something for everyone! 

By Carol Humphrey 

If you haven’t been on a walk with your fellow Club Members lately, perhaps you will find something to suit you below. Enjoy a chat, a stroll, a workout, a coffee, a lunch- there is something for everyone on one of our walks! We offer many Club sponsored walks (free) and also a full calendar of Charity walks (each one for €5 which supports our Charities). 

Every week: We have 2 forest walks: 

On Mondays, Carmel Delaney and Alison Lawrance lead a group on a 6-9 km brisk forest walk which takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. The meeting point is in Jesus-Eik. Optional coffee/lunch afterwards at De Bosuil café. More information here 

On Wednesdays, Carol Humphrey and Alison Lawrance lead a 6-8 km walk in the Foret de Soignes, starting at 10 am and ending before 12. Optional coffee at the Sonian café afterwards. More information here 

Every month: We offer a variety of additional walks: 

Gentle Walks with Jo – walks led by one of our Charity Coordinators, Jo Ley, of no more than 3 km, at a slower pace than our Monday and Wednesday walks, and with (optional) coffee afterwards. Locations vary. We are delighted to say that the walks have never been more popular. This is a Charity walk and your €5 contribution goes to support our Charities. Sign up here for the next walk on 12 March. 5 

Gentle Walks with dogs – walks led by Sophie Ellis-Retter of +/- 5 km, with (optional) coffee afterwards, various parks in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. Walkers with and without dogs welcome. Check the online calendar for upcoming dates. 

Exploring Brussels on Foot: started by Carmel Delaney in 2022, these walks explore a new area of Brussels each time and end with a lunch. In 2023 we explored hidden paths and gardens in Woluwe St. Pierre, Cinquantenaire Park and sculptures nearby, highlights of the Tours and Taxis neighbourhood and the area around the Bourse in Central Brussels, the lovely area around Uccle, and also Woluwe St. Lambert. Guest leaders last year included Carole Jenner and Sue Bird, who put together very interesting walks in areas that they know well. The first of these walks in 2024 will be on 7 March (sign up here). If you would like to help with these walks, or volunteer to lead one, please contact Carmel at ccdelaney@me.com. 

Charity Walks: in addition to the Club sponsored walks, we have a series of walks around Brussels organised by our Charity Coordinators, Carol Humphrey. These walks take place throughout the year, approximately once a month, some on weekdays and some on weekends. The next walk is scheduled for Thursday 15 February. The €5 fee goes to support our charities. 

In addition, we have the stand-alone Charity Walk: The Brussels 20k – every year in May, Carol Humphrey puts together a team to participate in the Brussels 20km. Each walker raises money and gets sponsors, and all proceeds go to BWC charities. 

Stay tuned for further details in the coming months. If you would like more information, please contact Carol at humphca@hotmail.com or 0477552096. 

Library 

Book Review / New Books 

1989 

For fans of Val McDermid, 1989 is a real treat. From the very beginning of this book the author grabs our attention, setting out a scene that is packed with intrigue but the significance of which we will not find out for a very long time. It’s a murder, but in very slow time. 

We know what’s coming, but not the who, or why. Allie Burns, journalist, and her partner, Rona, are likeable characters now living in Manchester. The story is set with a backdrop of Lockerbie, Hillsborough, the Aids epidemic, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Although these very real, very memorable, headlines inform the story, with the exception of the AIDS crisis, they are not the focus of the story. The blending of real-6 

life events, with a fictional investigation that puts Allie in great jeopardy as she journeys behind the Iron Curtain, helps us to become fully engrossed in the story. 

B.P. 

Time to check-out the four new titles added to the shelves this month:- 

  • Murder in an Irish Book Shop by Carlen O’connor 
  • Something to Hide by Elizabeth George 
  • Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory 
  • The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell. a sequel to The Family Upstairs 

Golf – Lady Captain’s Report for January 

Golf was a distant memory at the beginning of January with all the rain that had fallen – Empereur Golf Park registered 60 litres of rain per square meter in the first week of January! However, we continued to meet as our social events continued. Fifteen ladies were at the Clubhouse for our first gathering of the year to raise a glass to usher in 2024. It was a good opportunity for everyone to catch up after the holidays. Not only was the company enjoyable but the food that I cooked for the assembled Members was judged delicious. The menu consisted of two couscous dishes, one meat and one vegetarian followed up by an apple crumble using Bramley apples from my garden. 

After lunch I was persuaded to remove my apron in order to present trophies marking a number of golfing achievements in 2023. Congratulations to the winners – Tyrell Brodie, who won the Evelyn Lawton Trophy by getting 3 strokes taken off her handicap over the qualifying period, April to September. Janice Meanwell (Cat II) and Lynette Boydell (Cat.I) picked up the Kay Robertson Trophies with a total of 139 points each. Finally, Alison Ralph and Lynette Boydell were awarded the Birdie Cups, with 4 birdies each. Janice distributed the new 2024 Fixtures Card, printed in a pretty pink colour. We are all hoping for less extreme weather in 2024 and, therefore being able to play more fixtures in 2024 than in 2023. 

Guided Tour – Brussels Opera House Workshops 

By Jenny Hulme 

It was a cold and windy Saturday in Brussels when a group of eighteen Members, husbands and friends met for the second visit to La Monnaie/De Munt. We had already toured the Opera House and its backstage facilities, and now we were to see where the hard work behind the scenes takes place! The Monnaie is so lucky to have 7 

the huge building behind the House itself, where a great number of people work, to produce the scenery, costumes, shoes (yes, they make their own!) and store much of their equipment. Everything needed for each production – 6 operas each season! – is produced on the premises and the calendar for the season is settled some years in advance. We were taken through the various floors by Abi, our excellent guide, who explained very clearly what went on in each area. As you can see from the photos, we had a wonderful visit! 

Burns Lunch 

By Doreen Blow 

Just one day early, BWC celebrated Scotland’s own National Bard, Robert Burns, with a Wednesday Themed Lunch (24 January). The menu consisted of the traditional Haggis, with vegetarian Haggis as an option, and whisky sauce, served with neeps and tatties, followed by Cranachan – a delicious creamy dessert with oatmeal and fresh raspberries. 

Our thanks were given at the end of the meal to Stuart Cummings, the expert chef, ably assisted by his wife, Catriona, and David Galloway who was somehow persuaded to be bagpiper of the day. Both gentlemen looking resplendent in their highland kilts, sporrans and all, paraded the Haggis to the accompaniment of the pipes. Stuart then gave the address to a Haggis (written by Burns to convey his love of the Scottish delicacy. (Full text, worth a read, can be found on: https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/address-haggis/ 

A great event enjoyed by Club Members and their Guests. Thanks are due again to Stuart, Catriona and David, and also to all the volunteers who manned the desk, cleared tables, washed-up, etc. etc. without whom this special lunch would not have been possible. 

Recipe 

Onion Tarts with Goat’s Cheese 

(As contributed by Christine Morley.and published in the Club Cook Book 2005) 

Ingredients 

Pastry 

175 g (7oz) plain flour 

65 g (2½ oz) butter 

25 g (1 oz) goat’s cheese or Cheddar cheese grated 8 

Filling 

3 onions, finely sliced 

175 g (7oz) Goat’s Cheese 

2 eggs, beaten 

1 tbsp single cream 

50 g (2oz) hard goat’s cheese, grated 

1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon 

Salt and black pepper 

Oil for frying 

Method 

  1. Rub butter into flour, stir in the cheese and enough cold water to make a dough. Knead lightly, put in a polythene bag and chill. 
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C/375F/Gas 5. 
  3. Roll out the dough and cut into 8 rounds with a 12 cm pastry cutter and put into bun tins. Prick the bases with a fork and bake in the oven for 10-15 Minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C/350F/Gas 4. 
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions over a low heat for 20-25 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Stir to prevent them from burning. 
  5. Beat the goat’s cheese with the eggs, cream, grated goat’s cheese and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper and then stir in the fried onions. 
  6. Pour the mixture into the part-baked pastry cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. 

Serve warm or cold with a green salad. 

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