Every last Sunday of the month I tell you about what I’ve been up to over these last weeks for my blog series Reflections. In today’s episode a flashback to October!
The stubborn cold/flu virus that got its evil clutches on me from mid-September still lingered on for the first couple of weeks of October. I’m finally feeling a bit better again and truly hope I’ve had my share of germs for the season. Because of this silly virus, this month was a bit quieter for me with slightly less adventures. But only slightly less of course.
First stop: SynthFest Sheffield
The first weekend of October hubby and I made it back to Sheffield for the annual SynthFest, a chance to meet up with fellow synth and analog modular enthusiasts and have a look at the latest gear on the market. We also unintentionally made an appearance in some of the online video coverages which was quite funny to discover. During that weekend we were also lucky to catch a live performance by the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble (with Will Gregory from Goldfrapp) as part of the annual Sensoria Festival. While the first part of the concert with their interpretation of classical music played on synthesizers was interesting, I found the second half more engaging as they played music I was more familiar with such as John Carpenter’s Escape from New York theme music. Considering that used to be one of my favourite films whilst growing up, that moment was my personal highlight of the concert.
Kicking and punching for charity
On Sunday 14 October I joined almost 200 other participants for a 4-hour body combat (fitness class that combines elements from various martial arts) marathon in York Hall in east London, one of the most famous boxing venues in the UK. The sports event was organised in memory of the late fitness instructor Chris Cerclay who died so unexpectedly two years ago from a heart attack. On a Monday I saw his Facebook update asking friends for venue recommendations for his 60th birthday party a few months later and the following Sunday I read the shocking message on his timeline that he had passed away.
During the event we honoured Chris with a fist and a tear, a fitting farewell to a generous soul who cared about charity and people in need. All the proceeds of the events will be donated to the British Heart Foundation.
In memory of Chris Cerclay
Across the Channel
Last weekend we jumped on the Eurostar to Belgium for hubby’s live performance at Festival Solair in Antwerp, a cultural event which proceeds go to the charity foundation Ninafri for a drinking water project in Niger.
Funny how I hadn’t been to Antwerp for years and now visited this beautiful city twice within two months! I wrote about my previous Antwerp trip on my travel blog Miss Travel Clogs. You can read my travel story here: City Trip Antwerp: Get Your Culture Fix on a Budget.
During my previous visit I discovered the picturesque neighbourhood of Zurenborg which is considered to be the city’s, or possibly even the country’s most beautiful area. Last week we got to peek inside one of those amazing homes as we met a lovely couple during hubby’s concert who happened to live there. Curiously the area of Berchem right next to the elegant Zurenborg is one of the city’s main street art hotspots. We were told that this used to be an alternative area, mostly popular among hippies, which explains why this location is chosen to host the annual street art and graffiti festival Meeting of Styles, organised by the Aerosol Kings.
Traversing Belgium and the Netherlands by train
After an incredibly sunny weekend in Antwerp, I hopped on a local train to the Netherlands. As always, every minute of my week in the Netherlands was filled with social get-togethers for which I travelled many kilometres across the country.
One day my mum and I visited my brother in the city of Heerenveen (most famous for its ice arena Thialf, host of many international ice skating competitions) in the most northern province of the Netherlands. Another day I visited my bestie in the picturesque city of Den Bosch, or ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the birthtown of the world-famous painter Jeroen Bosch, internationally also known as Hieronymus Bosch, about whom I wrote in my article Bosch500: A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Prolific Painter Hieronymus Bosch.
And by the time you are reading this, I am probably recovering from a way too gezellige (fun) afternoon with friends in the city of Tilburg. It was in this vibrant and culturally rich city where I spent my last years in the Netherlands before I moved to the UK.
Volunteering for the elderly
If you think my week in the Netherlands was just one big party with friends, then you’re mistaken. I also joined my mum at one of her many volunteering activities and assisted the local team of the Dutch foundation de Zonnebloem who organise events for the physically disabled and elderly.
How I experienced it? I absolutely loved it! Not only did it obviously feel good to help create a wonderful and memorable afternoon for 40 people who can’t leave their homes that often, but more than that, their stories and warmth actually enriched me. I got to talk to so many inspiring people who lived whole lives already and from whom younger generations could learn so much. Such as the impressively fashionable 94-year old lady who became a vegetarian and started to study natural medicine and healing in the 1950s, way before the term ‘vegetarian’ was as well-known and popular as it is today. I am hoping to visit her many times in her home where she still lives on her own, and learn more about her fascinating life.
In October I also wrote the following blog posts
- The Dutch Girl Tales #7: Heimwee: my monthly Dutch-language blog post (each first Sunday of the month). This month I wrote about homesickness.
- Rocktober Special: My Most Memorable Rock and Roll Moments: in celebration of ‘Rocktober’ I shared three of my funniest and memorable anecdotes from rock concerts and festivals I’ve attended. They are quite funny so give it a read if you haven’t done so already!
- I Got 99 Problems, but the Free Paper Ain’t One: an account of a very bizarre interaction with fellow train passengers. This was unfortunately not the first time I found people’s behaviour utterly rude and unnecessary (and such incidents aren’t limited to the UK either as I experience them so often whenever I’m back in the Netherlands too), but I found it quite telling for today’s society and felt I had to get it off my chest.
More October-related articles
October is of course the month of Halloween! In recent years I’ve written two articles related to this ‘spooky’ event:
- Interview with Writer and Film Critic Kim Newman, who specialises in horror and the fantastic
- Alternative and Arthouse Halloween Film Tips, I’m not good with horror films anymore so these films (except for one) are more scaredy pants-friendly alternatives!
- Bock Beer Festival Utrecht, October also marks the arrival of the seasonal bockbeers. These special beers are so popular, they organise special festivals and events all over the country where you can sample the evergrowing varieties.
What did I watch this month?
Clearly not as much as last month when I had some sick days and spent whole days on the sofa, sleeping and watching films, but still some good recommendations for you here!
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Eh, perhaps chose something else…
Not sure about these, but quite entertaining
I have no shame to admit I quite enjoyed these!
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Better Call Saul Season 4
My favourite October Posts on Instagram
Picture of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona taken last month but edited and posted on Instagram only recently.
What did your October look like?
Feel free to share a little anecdote or tell me about something you’ve done or seen!
Until next month,