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

I did however lose 80lbs of my 150lbs by early summer 1997, enough to be allowed to climb to the top of a 60 foot telegraph pole and jump from the there towards a trapeze… We were on safety ropes but when I stood on the top of the pole and balanced carefully, I looked down to see just one puny man holding onto the end of way below me.. I shouted down to add another man to the rope which they did. I then shouted ‘Geronimo’ and jumped. I missed the trapeze and ended up being lowered to the ground and I am sure that I met those two men on their way up as I descended!

It spurred me on to lose another 60lbs by the time we left for Ireland with just the last 20lbs to lose when I got there.

Size Matters which had begun life as a journal to record my return to a healthy weight and the programme that I designed to lose the excess pounds, was now in manuscript form and during 1998 I would begin the process of finding an agent in Dublin which would lead me down dead end alleys for the next two years.

Then a surprise from Belgium, when a letter and a cheque arrived from our former landlord. It was most apologetic and stated that on questioning, his wife admitted to having removed a hook from the back of the bedroom door in question, and forgetting to paint it over! I can only imagine that he had returned home, outraged at my assumption that he or someone entrusted to the care of his property would be so moronic to paint a brown patch on a white door…oops.

To be honest the music of 1997 passed me by as I relied on my albums and tapes rather than the French and Dutch radio programmes. And when I look back at the charts of the year they seemed to be filled with one hit wonders and people that I have never heard of since. There were obviously artists such as Elton John, Puff Daddy and Faith Adams, The Spice Girls and Will Smith with Men in Black. But who were No Doubt with Don’t Speak, Chumbawamba with Tubhumping, Hanson with MmmBop, and No Money with Where do you go? Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion did well with Tell Him and I have selected that track to share today. Courtesy of skv90s

Buy the track: Amazon

Next time we find the perfect house in the Meath countryside, I would meet Sam our lovely collie when he was 3 weeks old and we would settle in for the next five years in our new home.

Thanks for tuning in … Sally.

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

  1. enough to be allowed to climb to the top of a 60 foot telegraph pole and jump from the there! Allowed to? I might have been prepared to climb up it and climb back down – no way could I have launched myself into space. Kudos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great memory to share with all of us – I love how you use music from an era to help set the tone for a great memory like this…I was lucky enough to meet Barbra Streisand several times, including walking her across our Emmy Award set to ensure she didn’t trip on the lighting cables. She was very pleasant and professional as always, especially because I made sure to pre-set the interview space so she was facing in her favored direction!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – Belgium, Ireland, 1997 and Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Good intentions by Grandmas, Bird Watching and Halley’s Comet | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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