Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – Belgium, Ireland, 1997 and Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion

Celine Dion

It is 1997 and after 18 months in Belgium, David was asked to head up a cable television company in Ireland and by the October he was back in Dublin. I remained behind for a few weeks to finish out our rental for our house, pack everything up and deal with the rather rigorous final inspection by our landlord who was to be accompanied by his lawyer.

In Belgium at that time, not sure if it is still as draconian, landlords will make every effort to retain your deposit, usually a month in advance, to the extent of bringing legal backup.  We have even filled the tiny holes left when removing pictures off the wall and the place had been cleaned from top to bottom. In my own defence my neighbour whose French was fluent accompanied us on our inspection. Everything was passed as acceptable until we went into one of the single guest bedrooms. Having checked under the beds, the lawyer noticed that there was a brown patch the size of a walnut smack in the middle of the back of the white door to the room.

There was much tsking and tutting.. and notes were made. I explained that I had not made that brown mark on the door and that it must have been there before our tenancy. We had little occasion to use the room and had never inspected the back of the door. I was looked at as if I had committed the most heinous of crimes and the landlord declared that it could not be possible as the house was perfect when handed over.

This resulted in me expressing my own opinion on the matter in more French than I realised I had at my disposal. “Monsieur, do I look stupid to you? If I was going to paint a patch on the back of a white door, I would not have used brown paint, that would have taken a moron.’

With much glowering and conversations held to one side, they told me that there would be a deduction of about the equivalent of 70 Euro made to repair the door. There was a very frosty adieu from both injured parties.

I had decided to bring my car back with me. For those of you who have been following these memories you will remember that I shipped my Mercury Topaz back to the UK from Texas in early 1987. My car in Belgium was a BMW convertible 316i, and I drove across to the ferry in Holland over to England then onwards to North Wales and the ferry to Dublin. A fine adventure and gave me plenty of practice with a left hand drive car on the other side of the road.

On arrival in Dublin our worldly belongings went into storage and we stayed with my father-in-law for a few weeks and looked for a house to rent closer to David’s office. We settled on a lovely Georgian house in Sandymount, close to the sea and settled in for six months as we house hunted.

It was the start of the Celtic tiger years and house prices in Dublin itself were prohibitive. But we had the time to find just the right place.

Our social life was busy and we met a lot of very interesting people at company functions. We had our first Christmas back in Ireland and it was great to reconnect with the family again.

1997 was also the year that we completed the Anthony Robbins Life Mastery with two trips, one to Aspen and the other to St. Thomas. Following on from the Firewalk weekend, I never did cross the burning coals, although David walked across 40 feet of them!

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – Belgium, Ireland, 1997 and Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion

3 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – Belgium, Ireland, 1997 and Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion

  1. Landlords, dear God save us from them. Tony Robbins, now there’s a blast from the past. His ‘how to make a fortune’ books and television series in America comes to mind. Celine Dion, wow. Worked with one of her record producers around the time he was also producing one of her records, in Los Angeles, and his fabulous vocal production. He also worked with Mariah and Whitney. You have had some fun. Fab.


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