Brussels Women's Club

Passport October 2023

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 PASSPORT – October 2023 

Mega Brocante – 21 October 

By Gillian Scott 

It’s that time of year again – time for our Mega Brocante on Saturday 21 October from 10:00 – 14:00 at the Clubhouse. We are keeping to the same format as last year, with the Brocante on two floors plus our non-stop café: 

– on the ground floor, there will be tables rented by members (€10 per table), who give 10% of their takings to the Club – the rest is theirs. If you’re interested in renting a table, get in touch with Carol Jones at carol@pandora.be as soon as you can. Don’t delay – the tables go fast! 

– on the first floor, there’ll be tables with items donated by members and all the takings will go to the Club. This part of the Brocante will be led by Catriona Cummings – catriona.white38@gmail.com – who will be calling on you shortly for your assistance in setting up (on Friday afternoon 20 October), running the stall on the Saturday and clearing up afterwards. Most importantly, we need your donations for the tables. However, please DON’T bring your donations to the Clubhouse just yet – we have very limited cellar space. We’ll let you know in good time when to bring your donations in. 

We’re also looking for volunteers to walk around the local area distributing leaflets in the days leading up to the sale. If you’d like to volunteer, please get in touch with me at gillianscott.email@gmail.com 

And, last but not least, come along to the Clubhouse on 21st October and grab yourself some bargains! 

LINK: https://brusselswomens.club/mega-brocante-21-october/ 2 

Christmas Shopping in Aachen 

By Lilian Eilers 

Yes indeed, we’re off to Aachen again for some serious Christmas shopping on Thursday 7 December! 

Every year before Christmas, the squares and streets around the magnificent cathedral and town hall in Aachen are transformed into a paradise of coloured lights, festive sounds and seductive smells. Its Christmas market is loved far and wide for its special and authentic atmosphere. 

The stalls are stocked full of little trinkets mixed with must-have gift purchases. Ceramic houses, Christmas spheres, nutcrackers, scarfs, and of course Aachen’s famous Printen cakes are just some of the items on sale. 

Other baked Christmas goodies include “Domino Stones”, gingerbread, “Spekulatius” and marzipan bread. These are distributed all over the world by Aachen bakeries. However, at the Aachen Christmas Market, they’re oven-fresh and taste particularly delicious. 

So join us this season for a magically festive market in the medieval streets of Aachen! 

On Thursday 7 December, we’ll be leaving from the BWC Clubhouse roundabout at 08:45 for a 09:00 departure. We’ll leave Aachen at 17:00 to arrive back at the Clubhouse around 19:00. The fee is €25 for Members and Guests, and €35 for Non-members. 

Before Monday 27 November, please register via our Online Calendar to secure your seats, as this has always been a popular excursion! Your payment will guarantee your seats. Please note that if you cancel after Monday 27 November, we will not be able to give you a refund. 

Looking forward to seeing you! 

LINK: https://brusselswomens.club/aachen-christmas-market-excursion-2023/ 

Charity Voting for 2024 

By Carol Humphrey 

It is that time of the year again when BWC starts the process of selecting a Belgium-based charity and a developing country charity to raise money for in the coming year. To date, BWC members have chosen some great charities where we can really 3 

make a difference, so if you know of a worthwhile charity that would greatly benefit from some additional funds, do please nominate them. Members will work hard to raise as much money as possible for their cause. 

Nominations close at midnight on 5 November. Here is the link to the nomination form: 

https://forms.gle/wfLasAHMUESwBDMu8 

Once all nominations are in, the voting form will be sent to all Club members with a closing date of 10 December. The winners will be announced in January’s Passport. Thanks for your participation in this important event. 

Art Gallery 

By Kathy Whalley 

As from the 13 October we are lucky to host an exhibition of the paintings by our wonderful and talented watercolour teacher, Molly Tchokanova. 

Molly says: 

“I think I was lucky to have a father who was an artist (professional, oil paintings). 

Drawing and painting were occupations from my childhood years. Then with school 

and university I had a break but came back to drawing and painting afterwards. 

I cannot remember in how many exhibitions I have taken part in, how many paintings 

were sold or given as presents, but I can say that it is through art that I met many interesting people and went to interesting places. 

I painted many portraits, but they went to the persons who ordered them. 

I used to paint outside in cold and hot weather, was able to stay painting under the electrical light until the middle of the night, but with age, I like my comfort and prefer painting inside. 

The photos are of my niece Eléonore, an icon at the Berlaymont School in Waterloo, and an etching of a castle in Scotland. I have also included a step-by-step set of photos to show you the development of a watercolour painting of the cathedral in Chartres. You never know when you will meet inspiration!” 

Molly now studies printing and engraving so she is producing some gorgeous etchings and engravings. 

She is hosting this exhibition for her special big birthday and will show her recent work as well as watercolours, acrylics and prints. She wants to show that she is still “alive and painting”! 4 

We are hosting a Vernissage (preview) for Molly on Sunday 22 October from 16.00 to 18.00. Please come along to admire her beautiful work and celebrate her birthday. Everyone is welcome. 

Photos – LINK: https://brusselswomens.club/art-photo-album/ 

Feature 

Weird and Wonderful Belgian Museums – From Strawberries to Underwear 

By Ann Englander 

There cannot be many places in the world which has as many unusual museums as Belgium. From frites to sewers, from potatoes to bricks – they all seem to underline the quirkiness of the birthplace of the absurd. 

Even the interactive museum of the City of Brussels on the Grand Place housing the many outfits of Manneken Pis is somewhat avant-garde. 150 costumes of the famous statue are on display but there are about one thousand in storage. The lucky boy gets 20 to 30 new outfits a year. He has a change of clothes four times a year when his “fountain” is switched off and the man in charge climbs a tiny ladder to disrobe him. I was once witness to this little ceremony. While fitting the manneken with a new outfit, the pressure built up and when turned on again, the curious tourists standing in front were doused with water! Sometimes, on special occasions, the water is replaced with wine. 

The Underwear Museum, which used to be housed in Brussels, has found a new home in Lessines, Hainaut. It displays the underclothing of famous people which were worn at least once by the person in question and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. It was started by Jan Bucquoy, a well-known Belgian artist, filmmaker and anarchist who justifies his choice by stating, “If you are scared of someone, just imagine them in their underpants. The hierarchy will fall and you will see that this is a person like any other. We are all equal, all brothers.” 

Ever heard of a brick museum? This was a new one for me too but a group of women from Antwerp visiting the BWC told us about it with great enthusiasm. It is actually located just outside Antwerp in Boom. Bricks are among the oldest building materials in the world going back 7,000 years. The first bricks were found in Jericho. The museum not only shows visitors how bricks are made but also how the poor brick workers lived. Bricks were used extensively to build dwellings for the Belgian population after the devastation of the First World War. 

Another unusual but very Belgian museum is the Frites Museum in Bruges. Frites (Belgian not French Fries) are highlighted in this museum which is unique in the world. Not only do visitors get to taste these gastronomic delights, the museum also 5 

displays examples of ‘frites kot’, the stalls selling frites all over the country. There are of course many other museums devoted to foodstuffs in Belgium including a potato museum, a strawberry museum, a chocolate museum, a jenever museum, a chicory museum, etc. And not forgetting the recently opened beer museum in the stock exchange building in Brussels. 

Last but not least is the even more unusual sewer museum. The sewer network under the Brussels region is nearly 1,900 km long. This museum tells the story of when, why and how the sewers were built, describes the sewer workers job in this underground world and explains the city’s water cycle. One visitor said it was really interesting “despite the smell”. 

Golf – Lady Captain’s Report for September 

September was a bit of a mixed bag weather-wise. We started with a choice of two competitions on, a rather hot, Monday 4. We were invited to play in the Rotary Brussels Vesale charity competition, while eleven of us enjoyed the Golf Park Tervuren 9 Holes competition followed by a picnic. Lynette Boydell was first with 14 points and Joyce Poliakoff came a very close second with 13 points. 

Friday 8, again another hot day, saw us at Ravenstein, always popular with our members. Alison Ralph and Laraine Alder were very generous sponsors. Category I was won by Janice Meanwell with Carol Jones coming second. Category II was won by Boff Muir with Suzanne Hogedoorn coming second. Janice also won the Longest Drive. No one won the Nearest the Pin, although Alison got a birdie! 

On Tuesday 12, seven of our members played nine holes at Avernas in good weather. Veronica Trestour was first with 20 points, Tyrell Brodie was second with 18 points and Carol was second with 17 points. 

The annual Jane Morffew Memorial was played on Friday 15. We started early with heavy dew on the ground and a bit of a chill in the air. However as the day progressed the sun appeared and conditions improved. Tyrell was first and was awarded the trophy. Laraine was the Runner Up. Sybil Beaton won the Longest Drive, Janice won Nearest the Pin and Lynette got a birdie. 

On Monday 18 we were at Golf Park Tervuren which Myfanwy Van de Velde had generously offered to sponsor. We started to play under white clouds and a bit of sunshine though not too hot. I believe that the first flight were just finishing the ninth hole when, as Cricket Commentators say, ‘Rain stopped play’. It was a thunder storm! The last place to be in a storm is on a golf course. Play was abandoned, we were soaked to the skin so everyone went home to dry off and warm up. 6 

Thursday 21 saw four of our ladies playing in Le Quadrangulaire with members from Falnuée, Pierpont, LLN. Some of the Falnuée ladies were in the winning team. Janice, Céline from Pierpont and Brigitte from LLN came second. Carol Jones, our Lady Captain, received several gifts. The BWCG presented an orchid to the Lady Captain of Pierpont. Apparently a hare was seen dashing across a fairway – probably seeking cover as unfortunately the match had started in a light drizzle which then developed to heavy rain so the competition was ended after nine holes instead of 18. Our ladies had the foresight to have taken a change of clothing. 

We are due to play at Rigenee on 29 September so fingers crossed for decent weather. 

Charity Walk 2023 

The Coast Walk from Middelkerke to Ostend 

By Pat Gerrie and Carol Humphrey 

On Friday 1 September 8 stalwart walkers, who were not put off by the weather, took the train to Ostend and then the tram to Middelkerke. It was rather wet to begin with but then the rain eased off and we enjoyed the day out. Seeing the comic character statues again was a delight, and a discovery for those who had never seen them before. We highly recommend other Club members to take the train and enjoy a day at the sea in this particular area. We loved the photos taken by Viviane, especially the subtle pastel colours of the sea and sand. Lunch at l’Opera before returning home was much appreciated. Photos – LINK: 

https://brusselswomens.club/charity-album-2023/ 

We look forward to taking part in the last walk to support the 2023 charities, and to putting our feet up! 

Wellington Museum Visit 

By Jill Clarkson and Eileen Chiles 

On Friday 22 September, a small but intrepid group of members met up in Waterloo for a splendid visit to the Wellington Museum, organised by Area 5 Coordinator Jill Clarkson. 

Due to a power cut in the museum that day, everyone was allowed entry free of charge. 7 

Since Jill’s last visit, the museum’s premises have been extended to include the building on its northern side (previously a bar). Part of this accommodates a gift shop and a temporary Egyptian exhibition, as well as a photograph of the late Queen Elizabeth and the late Duke of Edinburgh being greeted by the late Baron de Callatäy, all backed by a document signed by Her Majesty. 

Apparently Anna Fletcher’s late husband had donated letters written by Napoleon to the museum. Unfortunately they were not on show, but we were assured that they were being safely kept in a storeroom. Lord Uxbridge’s prosthetic leg was still on display, though not the tools used to remove the remains of his own leg. Jill: “I believe that the systems of pulleys etc are still used in prosthetic legs today.” 

Even without light, the museum visit went well. Eileen Chiles found the visitors’ book particularly interesting. One of the entries read: “Greetings from a former lifeguard’s man and his friends from England. Very well presented, keep up the great work. Bob, Robert and Pete, the Life Guards (household cavalry) 1st the Queens Dragoon Guards”. Eileen: “So we were in good company!” 

Another visitor wrote: “Thanks Napoleon, you sold us a useless piece of land, an American.” Eileen wondered what this meant and found this online: The Americans thought that Napoleon might withdraw the offer at any time, preventing the United States from acquiring New Orleans, so they agreed and signed the Louisiana Purchase Treaty on April 30, 1803, (10 Floréal XI in the French Republican calendar) at the Hôtel Tubeuf in Paris. 

A morning outing appreciated by all! 

Tea and Talk, Songani Centre, Malawi 

By Carol Humphrey 

Although a very wet day outside my Mbedza Tea & Talk was well attended and great fun. The talk allowed me to reminisce about my marvellous trip to the Songani HIV Testing and Counselling Centre, Malawi, a core project of Mbedza UK. The Club raised funds for this project in 2022. Not only that but I got to share the other Mbedza projects: tree planting, energy efficient stoves, a day nursery and secondary education for orphans, that make such a difference to the lives of the local people. 

The Songani Centre as well as being an HIV testing and counselling centre is also a Community centre with a well-used library, a rare resource in Malawi, and where lessons are offered to local women to learn how to sew so they can earn a living. The “Textile Team” also make washable sanitary kits for local schoolgirls. Textiles made by the textile team in Songani were on sale at the Tea & Talk and proved very popular. 8 

Club member, Sue Bird, associate director with special responsibility for the Songani Centre was on hand to talk about the Centre and ask me questions about my trip which was great as it felt more like a chat than a presentation. 

The audience were very engaged asking me a lot of questions about my visit, in particular whether I thought the money collected by the Club for Mbedza in 2022 had been well spent on staff salaries. A resounding yes was the answer. The staff are very committed and absolutely key to the success of the Songani Centre and its valuable work in stamping out HIV. Without our donations, the Songani project would have struggled to pay its staff. 

We had a lovely Tea, and if the noise in the clubhouse was anything to go by everyone seemed to have a jolly good time. Special thanks go to the dream team of volunteers: Eileen Chiles, Jennifer Dombroskie, Constanze Schomburg Kuhn, Sue Mullen who all worked very hard to make the occasion enjoyable. Jennifer, Constanze and Carol Jones provided delicious sandwiches and cakes which went down a treat. 

I came back from Malawi full of enthusiasm and admiration for the work done by Mbedza, in particular the Songani Centre and will be proposing the Charity for funding by the Club in 2024. If you wish to ask questions about the Centre please do not hesitate to send me an email on humphca@hotmail.com. 

Photos – LINK: 

https://brusselswomens.club/charity-album-2023/ 

(See Recipe – Creamy Roasted Leek and Cauliflower – on next page.) 9 

Creamy Roasted Leek and Cauliflower 

(As served by Jane Kalim at the Clubhouse on 13 September) 

Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side dish 

1 cauliflower (+/- 800g) divided into small florets the size of a ping-pong ball 

3 medium leeks cut in half lengthwise and then into1-2cm crescents 

½ teaspoon cumin seeds, or more 

2-3 tablespoons olive oil, or more 

100ml crème fraiche 

150ml double cream (ie 40% fat) 

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, or more 

125g punchy strong Cheddar cheese, grated 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Pre-heat oven to 200°C. The key to this recipe is that the oven be hot, so if you are not completely confident that your oven reaches that temperature, crank it up a few degrees and keep a watchful eye on the pot. 

Put cauliflower, leeks and cumin seeds in a large metal casserole with a lid or in a roasting tin, coat with the oil and give the whole lot a good jumble (I do this the night before). Cover tightly with foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes (I cover with foil and squeeze the lid down on top). 

Take out of oven, remove lid and foil; the leeks will have wilted and the cauliflower will be soft and creamy, edges may have browned a bit here and there. Give everything a good stir. 

Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. Spoon over crème fraiche, double cream and mustard and a healthy grinding of salt and pepper. Using a big spoon, mix everything together so it looks like a snowy mountain range. Sprinkle over the cheese and cook for further 20 minutes until the top is perfectly golden. 

Note: Recipe from “Take One Pot” by Georgina Fuggle, book donated to BWC by Ginny Caldwell 

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