Isabelle and Tom

Aalter-Brug to Schoorbakkehoeve: Wednesday 19 July 2017

“Excuse me, do you have any idea where we might be able to camp around here tonight?” Unhesitatingly, casually, without any pause to reflect on negatives: Isabelle, “You can stay in our garden.”


We followed a horse drawing a cart carrying two pairs of identical twins and two sisters.

Invited to drink with everyone at the table.

Space made in the garage so we didn’t have to camp outside – there was talk of a storm, which didn’t happen, coming.

Invited to join them for dinner. It was no trouble: the food was already prepared.

“Would you like to use the shower? Here it is, and there are two towels. And here’s the toilet.”

“Would you like an aperitif before dinner? Whisky and coke? Rum and coke? Gin and tonic? Something else?”

Conversation with a friendly, open, young family and their friends in the beautiful garden of the beautiful house they are renovating on the banks of the Ghent-Brugges Canal. With a menagerie of chickens, geese, sheep, horses, the runaway dog and the curious cat: “What’s in this tent? Let me in! Let me in!”

“Would you like another drink?”

“Would you like to try this?”

Interesting talk. Interesting people.

More good people.

As the night drew to a close: “Let me show you the code to the house, so you can get in if you need access during the night; for the toilet, for a shower, for something from the fridge, food from the kitchen, water from the taps. Oh, and there are crates of bottled water, beer and various other things. Feel like at home.”

“Sorry to keep repeating this, but thank you so much.”

“It’s normal. If I were doing such a journey, I would like it if people did the same for me.”

It’s normal.

We’re strangers.

The world is not a scary place … if you’re not afraid.


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