An eventful weekend

Much happened this weekend. Because many readers have fantastically short attention spans, I’ll break my report up into clearly marked sections.

Is my laptop hard drive defective?

My laptop has done this once before: after the laptop is switched on, the hard drive refuses to start. It’s usually very quiet, but definitely audible at startup. This weekend before we left for Belgium (more on this later) the laptop decided it was time for the “the hard drive can’t be bothered to start up” trick again. No amount of restarts, reboots, hard drive reseats (yes, I do mean “reseat”) and cursing seems to remedy this. When I returned today (i.e. after almost 4 days of rest and relaxation for both me and the hard drive) it started up without a hitch.

I haven’t been able to find very much information on the Toshiba MK3018GAS hard drive and its issues. Maybe I’m just lucky to have that one special hard drive.

A toothbrush. I am.

We spent this weekend in the south of Belgium, in a little town almost in the middle of nowhere. Yes, it has its own frikking website.

In anycase, Tenneville is in a French-speaking province. My French is atrocious on the best of days, so I had the pleasure of some extremely entertaining conversations with some of the native francophones. I am glad to say that during the weekend, simply because no-one speaks a word of English and one or two exceptions can manage a few phrases of Flemish (i.e. Dutch), my French glands got so much exercise that I experienced a significant improvement.

I will definitely take more time to watch TV5 and one day I shall do my erstwhile French teacher proud!

Ardenne ham and abbey beer

Everybody knows and accepts that Belgian beers rule the earth. Those who don’t are profoundly stupid. It’s also widely accepted that the better Belgian beers are made by monks in their abbeys. Bless their souls. This weekend my beer glands transcended to the next level of consciousness as I imbibed the Trappistes Rochefort Numero 8.

Just to demonstrate that some people are endowed with unfair amounts of kharma, I was having some of the finest hams in the world whilst sipping this divine beer. You can do the same: just mosy on down to La Roche-en-Ardenne (close by Tenneville) and walk into a suitable charcuterie. Work with the waitress on the rest.

Water is wet

To conclude an already perfect weekend, we kayaked down l’Ourthe (the river running through La Roche). The bastards at the kayak place conveniently forgot to warn us about that last rapid. We succeeded in shooting over the thing without overturning the kayak, but took so much water that not capsizing actually became an academic distinction.

The Belgian Ardenne

… is highly recommended. Go there. :)

Post Scriptum

It struck me this weekend to what an extent 21st century technology has permeated our lives. I telephoned my mother whilst lying on a grassy hill in front of the house that we rented in Tenneville. When my mother answered, she explained that they were on a mountain top on the southern-most tip of the African continent. The fact that I could hear a crystal-clear reproduction of her voice more than 10000km away and communicate with her in real-time on a cheap consumer device is quite astounding, don’t you think?