Sunday, 7 September 2014

Unexpected visit

Field where ashes of Julia Neetens were scattered
So there we were, enjoying the warmth, the dryness, and the sunshine of Guardamar, when Elise's mother, back in Belgium, takes a turn for the worse and we have to make a hasty way north. We thought we'd take a few days to drive the somewhat more than 2000 Km that separates Guardamar from Heusden (Oost Vlaanderen), and our first night was spent in Jaca, in the north of Spain, just before the French border. The next morning, however, we received a message that Elise's mother had suddenly become a lot worse. By the evening we had arrived at about 500 Km from our destination, so we checked again, only to learn that she had died earlier that same day. She was 90 years old.

We arrived at our apartment in Belgium at close to midnight and the next morning started arrangements for the cremation, clearing out the room in the home in which she stayed, and initiating the necessary legal procedures. The cremation was held one week later at the Westlede Crematorium in Lochristi. The next day, my own mother, who had been showing signs of illness for several days, had to be taken into hospital. She remained there for two-and-a-half weeks. She came back a few days ago, but requires help, so we have arranged for assistance in the form of home-nursing and home-help (shopping, ironing, laundry…).

In the interim, we have had a large triangular window in the apartment replaced. Its double-glazing seal had perished and air was getting in between the individual panes of glass, causing condensation and discolouring.

The exercise was carried out by the company De Grom of Erembodegem and it was both spectacular and successful. The team of some eight men worked well together in horrible conditions (it was pouring), removing the old window and placing the new one with hardly any damage to the surrounding structure: only the tiniest piece of plaster was knocked out of the surrounding sloping ceiling and this I was easily able to fill and paint over.  De Grom's achievement is even greater when you realise that the apartment is on the second floor. Here's a series of photos, showing the removal of the old glass and the placing of the new. Look carefully, and in some of the photos you can see the rain (pijpenstelen is how we describe it in Dutch, "pipe stems").

Lorry, crane and suction caps

Old window pushed into apartment, ready for turning and removal. It was here that the small damage was caused by the corner above the chappie's hand to the right of the picture.

Old window-pane pushed right into the apartment and turned, ready for removal.

And down it goes…

New glass brought into apartment ready for turning and placing

Set in place. Well done!

We really would have liked to keep the window free of the two "decorative" wooden bars that can be seen in the photo of the old window, above (very first photo). Unfortunately, however, community regulations regarding the "aesthetics" of the buildings in the complex, insist that the bars be in place, so a few days after the event, when the glass had dried completely, the bars were replaced and a beautiful panoramic view was destroyed. Here's a photo of how it could have been:

Rain? We've been in Belgium for over four weeks now and have seen rain on just about every day. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, as there must have been at least one day on which it remained dry all day long. But, really, dull, grey, cold, wet, that's just about all we've experienced. And when there is a bit of warmth, it immediately becomes humid and close (doef and horrible). No wonder people here say they don't like the heat! Let's hope we shall soon be back in Guardamar…

No comments:

Post a Comment