Take A Closer Look

I’ve been complaining for a while about the lack of open spaces in my town, here in Belgium. There are plenty of places to ride a bicycle, or to play with kids, but almost no free green zones to sit and relax, or to make a picnic. The only places I know are camping/beaches, but you have to pay to enter those spaces, and near the channels, but the grass is usually to tall to sit on.

I live in an attic flat. So, right at the top of a two floors buidling, with crooked ceilings and ceilling windows. Quite romantic and pretty, I must admit, but not completely perfect when the heat strikes. In all fairness, heat isn’t exactly a huge problem here in Belgium, but during the summer it can reach up to 37ºC, and this week the temperatures lingered between 25ºC/30ºC.

I can open the windows, of course, but it’s hardly enough (not too mention all the mosquito bites I have to endure, those bastards manage to pass through the tiny holes of the windowscreen) and since I don’t have a terrace, I would like to be able to find a place to sit outside once in a while.

Today, for the first time, I decided to take a leap of faith and drive my car around, in search of a nice place in the neighbourhood where I could stretch my beach towel and read my book, or write. I packed my computer, my journal and my kindle, a bottle of water, and walked to the back of the building, where the garages are.

Before I opened the car I could predict the heat that would great me, because I had left the car parked outside, in the sun. As the heat striked me and I tried to gain courage to get in the car, I looked ahead.

The building – only two couples, and myself, live here – has a common garden. A gardener comes by about twice a month to tend to the garden. In all honesty, I had considered before using the garden to sit outside, because all neighbours have a terrace so they don’t use it, but I felt shy. After all, it is a common garden, and the neighbours could see me sitting there. Was it okay to sit there, since no one else used it? Well, I found that out this afternoon.

I locked my car, picked my stuff up, and laid the beach towel on the grass, next to a tree that shadowed me from the sun. It was perfect.

I spent the whole afternoon there. I even chatted with a friend because – go figure! – my internet connection was still accessible from there.

Not only did I have a perfect place to sit and read, I didn’t even have to leave the building. No need to spend fuel or go in search of the lost open garden.

Guess where you’ll find me Tuesday afternoon?




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