But the breakfast... Oh, the joy of a European breakfast with its crusty baguettes, freshly-baked pastries, racks of preserves, curious plates of meat and cheese, and amazing herb-crusted baked tomatoes. We ate keenly, and without control!
A post-prandial constitutional took us back into the old town, to see, by day, what had made us so happy by night. The sky was deep blue, and the moon, which had been enormous and low in the sky as we turned in yesterday, was still visible.
The city was just waking up. We’re told it’s a very socialist part of Belgium, but that it’s also quite catholic, so none of the shops were open, apart from the odd bakery or tabac. There were a few confused-looking people milling around who, one assumes, had been drinking through the night. We were stopped by an Irish fella who told us that he DID have a house to go back to, but wasn’t sure which direction it was in. He then quizzed us about Brexit and seemed very confused when we said that neither of us had voted for it.
The rest of the day was spent in a monastery in the middle of Leuven, where Fiona was doing two sets of material from her album, Postcards. She’s found a way to interpret the tracks by using loops and samples, which means she can perform them live. Each one of her postcards is inspired by another place in the world. Moscow, Brighton, Antwerp, Denton, Dallas, Paris... they’re amazingly trance-like, and, in places, somewhat soporific. I drifted off into a rather glorious dream-world during one number!
It was a little strange to be in a room filled to the brim with images of Jesus. Neither of us are friends with that particular chap and Fiona was forced to perform right underneath a crucifix, complete with the big fella screaming in agony. Nice.
There was an extended break between sets, which gave us time to chill in the cloisters and I had a lovely nap by a lavender bush. I’m not sure there’s a monastery in the world which doesn’t have lavender in it. Or mead.
Fiona’s second set went down a storm. It was standing room only, and many of the people who had seen her first set returned. She played beautifully.
I was particularly proud when she apologised to the audience for Brexit: “I promise you that no musician voted for it.” Her voice cracked with emotion as she said the words, and I felt her pain. In fact, my eyes began to prickle with the shame. In a post-Brexit world, will Fiona and I be able to pop over to mainland Europe to play at a music festival? Like hell will we. Will Nathan be able to pop over to mainland Europe and be paid to run knitting classes? Like hell will he. He already can’t be paid to work in the USA. It makes me feel so sad.
Returning to the UK this evening I have no idea if I am able to get from Kent back to London because of various train lines being closed down for “planned engineering works.” So we cut ourselves off from Europe, yet we can’t even get around our own country? We’re such desperate twats.