Fainting in Coyles An occasional letter from the
Heart of Euroville
Thursday, June 19, 2003
A little story of Belgium The street on which I live is a nice little street, it stretches from the opulence of the European Quarter to the Arab/Turkish ghetto of St Jost ten Noode. On days past I have watched from my eyrie as groups of Turkish youths have celebrated football success by charging down the street waving kebab knives looking for Englishmen, (I hid) but I digress.
My own landlord lives downstairs and is an Assyrian Christian from near Van, his family have colonised this house and others near by. They have recreated a little piece of rural Turkey in which to live and I have much to be thankful for. The quantities of relations of all ages who pour in and out of the house at all hours provides the best security money can buy. At odd times during the day my wife is summoned to the door to be handed wheels of fresh hot bread, stuffed vine leaves and all sorts of foodstuffs. When annually I am summoned to attend the rent increase announcement salted yoghurt drink and slices of cucumber, crisp and cool are proffered. (OK so he tries to increase the rent every year by 50% but every year the processes of haggling bring it back down to the legal maximum of 2%.
Looking out over the street a couple of weeks ago however I noticed a new phenomenon. For there had been painted, and admittedly in an incredibly amateurish fashion, a disabled parking space. It is rarely used and remains empty while the streets are a log jam with eurocrat’s beemers. Last night as my wife parked our van one of the younger in laws waved us over and patiently explained that we could use the parking space whenever we liked.
So here we have it private initiative is alive and in Brussels, in a community spirited fashion.