It’s that time of the year again, when we up sticks and head out to the British School. Some people complain about this, because they miss the boggy home turf of Parc 50e, and the threat of falling into a midfield puddle and finding a short cut to Australia. Ah, the thrill of danger. Others are disappointed that the GAA season is almost over, the evenings are getting longer and they have to haul themselves all the way out to Tervuren.
Naturally, I beg to differ. Firstly, the journey. Anyone who has ever travelled on Tram 44 to Tervuren during the day knows that it whisks you out of the city and into the leafy suburbs, via a dark verdant forest. Through the trees, you can catch a glimpse of cars on surrounding roads but for the most part, the tram is alone on its route. Imagine this during the late autumn/winter. You could press your nose agains the window and wouldn’t see anything. Trees, animals, birds, axe-murders, anyone or anything could be out there, looking back in at you (one of my biggest fears, along with icebergs and being lifted). It’s the same healthy tingle of fear that I get from walking alone in the woods around Glenville, even though I have known every nook and cranny since I was a little girl.
And then you emerge into Tervuren, a little Flemish enclave with a thriving expat population out on the edges of Brussels. On the stroll to BSB, the Museum of Colonial History is on the right. If you have a chance, pay it a visit. The new wing of the museum is finally acknowledging that Belgium didn’t exactly have the cuddly friendly reputation in Africa that Leopold II would have described. The artefacts in the rest of the museum pay testiment to that fact. The cafe is wonderful, with the smells of African food and drink wafting to meet you as you step into the central courtyard. If, like me, you make the journey only to find that the museum is closed on Mondays (even bank holiday Mondays), you can loll around the beautiful and surprisingly extensive gardens (I should mention that the weather has been spectacular on both my visits).
So to BSB. Oh the luxury – toilets, changing rooms, showers, flood lights, a clock on the side of the building, no gigantic puddles…it’s the little things in life. Sure, the winter is looming, Maastricht is only around the corner, the cold night make our breaths visible, our skin sting and our lungs burn, but there is a special feeling.
Being in BSB reminds me of the start of the year, when training starts after the winter break and the astro turf is still frozen. Stand back and you can hear muscles screaming and see a haze of sweat and steam lingering above the players. You can smell the anticipation and excitement. No-one knows what the coming months will bring.