© 2007-2008 - All content of this website is Copyright of Martine Y. Moeykens
Coffee time in Trish's garden 1980, I think - Asa, to the left, Jasmin was somewhere too. This is one photo of a series taken by Eugene. The Italian coffee pot 'Bialetti Moka Express stovetop Espresso maker' was a must together with 'Nicolas Mosse' pottery cups and saucers.
It is all about 'good quality and genuine relating' with 'good quality food' and 'beauifully handcrafted ustensils. Thus creating genuine human warmth to carry us through the rough patches of life.
My eldest daughter, Jasmin, named my new range 'Ruby' as she cooker is red enamel, the proper colour for a tool which is regulating the heat and hot water in our home!
Trish has been my friend since 1978, probably November, I am not too sure. We met in the 'La Leche League' in Dun Laoghaire, Co.Dublin; at the time I was expecting, Jasmin, my eldest daughter. My English a the time was appallingly bad, which meant that I only understood a few words in any conversation. Most of the time I had no idea what people were talking about; but Trish, being a generous person genuinely helped me to understand the Irish culture and made me feel totally at home and at ease.
Trish is a brilliant cook and breadmaker so our friendship has been centered around good wholesome homemade cooking followed by good strong coffee tinted with lively conversations, a sharing of common grounds and gentle debates.
Eugene is Trish's husband and is equally a very good friend; our common grounds are technical, learning HTML & CSS, and artistic, mainly photogaphy. Eugene took many photos over the years of his family life and of his friends and maybe someday he will be recognisd for his talent. He was a cameraman with RTE during his working life and that must have shaped his photogaphic view of all things. Their son, Asa, is also a brilliant phographer but maybe needs some encouragment to believe it. I have a series of 4 photographs which Asa took in Paris, his favourite city, and he has totally captured a particular mood. (pending permission to reproduce a thumbnail of pics.)
Both of them have been invaluable friends over the last 29 years, wow, I just realised how long I have know you both! Thanks for being my friends!!
Eugene took his picture of myself pouring the hot water over the coffee; I had no proper espresso machine at the time but Trish remedy to that and gave me my first 'Bialetti coffee maker' for my birthday that summer. The kettle I am holding belonged to my granny, who was also my godmother as is usual in Belgium.
I have only replaced very recently my granny's kettle for a model more suitable for a range cooker. This kitchen has changed a lot since 1983 (24 years ago at time of writing) and now has as a centerpiece a brilliant 'cooker, central heating system and hotwater system' all in one, the 'Brandon' range from the Waterford Stanley range cookers . In the left column I am frying pancakes on the new stovetop.
I had my friends Trish and Eugene, their two adult children and their daughters partner, over for lunch today. The food I prepared was lovely and appreciated, as there were a lot of mmmmmm....in the kitchen as people filled up their plate with the buffet style serving and started eating. Trish, my very best friend who is an expert at making different types of bread, appreciated my spelt/rye/strong white wheat flour bread with sunflower seeds immensely.
As a dessert we had chocolate squares/rectangles (? :) ) with absolutely delicious chocolate thick cream (Belgian chocolate + cream) produced by Trish. Again the room filled with appreciative mmmms.
My foundest memories of Trish are looking at her kneading the dough for the bread in her tiny kitchen and later on tasting the bread at the table in the north facing dining room while having conversation about everything under the sun.
My daughter Oonagh who is 10 years old came into the sittingroom and soaked up the atmosphere of the adults talking...
What struck me, were her comments later on about the type of conversation we were having. She noticed that the conversation went from one subject to another quite freely, and that the conversation changed as people picked out things that were happening in the room for instance when she came in with her Harry Potter scrapbook.
I thought about it and said well that's the kind of conversation adults have and then she and I realised that she wasn't used to that kind of flowing conversation from the significant other adults in her fathers family.
This kind of conversation is what I learned at home from my parents, and there is no limit to the subjects.
What struck me too is that there is no gossip or judgemental attitudes during those conversations and that everybody in the room was automatically given the power to add their bit to the whole, everybody's opnion was taken into account.
Trish and Eugene a warm and heartfelt thanks for being my best friends for the last 25 years; you helped me to understand the English language but also you helped me gain some clarity in my sometimes clouded vison of life and foremost you always understood me for who I am.
- To see people for who they are without judging or critisicing is an art, I gladly learned from you both. -
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This is my coffee filter which belonged to my grand-parents, Seraphin Melaert and Yvonne Hawaert. I love using family heirlooms, it somehow connects me to my Belgian-ness, a culture which I still belong to and carry inside me like a package of homeliness & warmth and multi-cultural acceptance.
The Belgians are a bit like the Irish that way, we integrate new cultures and learn from them, add to our culture what is useful. All in all the balance of racism versus integration favours on the side of integration, well anyway that is my view and I stick to it! :)
The old tablecloth in the picture, I saw as a child in my grandmothers appartment, it has an old handsown rip in it; I remember my grandmother sitting in her 'salle a manger' by her apartment window mending clothes by hand. She probably mended that tablecloth which now is used in the summer for my gardentable.My grandmother whom I called 'Marraine' took me to the beach in Blankenberghe on the Belgian coast while, my grandfather, Bonpapa or Bonpi, as I called him was having a cafe filtre at the 'Petit Rouge' hotel on the 'digue' or promenade. I have a fairly vivid memory of sitting in the sand with her and playing. Most of all I remember walking with my grandparents on the digue in Blankenberghe every afternoon before we went down to the town to buy the daily groceries. I have very fond memories of those peaceful summers spend away from the busy city of Gent, where my grand-father had his business 'Librairie & Papetrie S.Melaert' on the Koningin Elisabethlaan near the Sint-Pietersstation.