Danny Breslin

How it is…

Swearing in Flemish

Where was I? Oh yeah, still in Ieper. Ok, so we came away from the Menin Gate and decided to listen to the discontented growling emanating from our collective stomachs and get something to eat. We went back to the same place we had eaten lunch because it was handy for our hotel and the food was good.

We sat down and were served by the same waitress as earlier. After deciding what my uncle was having I went for the fish, we all went for the beer. Ah Belgian beer, let me count the ways which I love you. We filled our bellies but stuck around after eating to have a glass or three more. The waitress brought out our latest order before realising that the barmaid within had given her the wrong glass sizes, we wanted large not small for crying out loud! She uttered a Flemish word that may not be considered entirely appropriate for the service industry (I don’t speak Flemish but I asked her a bit later to translate it into English for me – trust me  you don’t want to know) and disappeared inside to sort the order out. When she returned she apologised for the mix up and assured us that she had given the barmaid a good telling off, “I told her that you would like large beers, I said to her ‘come on, they are English for God’s sake!'” My Uncle looked disgusted, “Ah now, come on!” he remonstrated. He turned to me and said “I’m bloody Irish!”

“No need to tell me Unc, tell her,” I laughed.

We returned to the hotel sated and happy. There were quite a few people in the hotel bar but a table was available so we took it and decided on a last taste of Belgium’s finest before heading up. There was quite a large crowd from Belfast in there; youngsters of both sides, Catholic and Protestant, brought together and shown the battlefields. Some hope of maybe influencing a new generation of attitudes towards each other by showing them the carnage war can bring. I’m not sure whether it will work, one can only hope it has a lasting effect and a new level of dialogue between the two communities can be reached, but as far as I can see conflict is alot easier to maintain than peace – who can be bothered to love the other when it’s so much easier to hate? Do these youngsters from The Falls and Shankhill even know why they live in a divided city? Are they still fighting a battle that took place 322 years ago?

My uncle got into conversation with one of the group organisers who admitted that it had been hard doing this trip and keeping them all in line but he hoped that it would be worth it. I hope so too. I made my way up to my bed with a belly full of beer and more than a few things to think about. I’ll think about them tomorrow, but for now to sleep perchance to dream.


November 29, 2012 - Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , ,


  1. Back in the 70’s & 80’s Scotland, (my Mum’s clubbing days!) a bloke’s chat-up line to a lady they liked the look off would be “what team do you support?”. The answer would nearly always be “Rangers” or “Celtic”, so from that the bloke could work out what religion the said lady was, and if it was the right religion for him, he would no doubt offer to buy her a babysham.

    Mum would answer “Dumbarton”. She had no time for it.

    My Grandad, Jimmy Dines, wasn’t interested in any bigotry type nonsense either. Half-irish, my Grandad never missed a Sunday church service at the Catholic church. He liked his bowls too, and became the first Catholic to captain Renton bowls club, which was mainly a Protestant club, very proud of my Grandad for that.

    Massive shame the religious divide still exists in some places, in 21st Century Britain.

    Comment by jamiejlg1986 | November 30, 2012 | Reply

    • Scottish lads? They were trying to find out the girl’s religion so they wouldn’t have to buy her a drink – oops, ethnic stereotyping!

      Comment by Danny Breslin | December 4, 2012 | Reply

  2. You really are a great writer! You’ve got the keen ability to tell stories in a smooth, easy, and entertaining way! I honestly enjoy reading! 🙂

    Comment by Beauty of Freedom | December 4, 2012 | Reply

    • That is such a kind thing to say, I’m really touched by that. Thank you for reading my blog and I am so glad that you enjoy it, makes it all worth while. I hope you enjoy my book: “Me & Gus on the Roof of the World,” when it comes out, if I ever get it finished.

      Comment by Danny Breslin | December 5, 2012 | Reply

      • Lol…you’ll finish it! You probably just need a good kick every now and then to get it done, but ‘Im sure you’ll finish lol!

        Comment by Beauty of Freedom | December 5, 2012

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