There’s a beautiful little village (the local’s call a ‘city’) in The Ardennes called Monthermé. Above is a photo that gives an idea of just how decent the place looks. Generally, I prefer places you can get lost in. It’s pretty much impossible to get lost in Monthermé, yet it has a certain style of its own. A bit of a fusion of ‘man-made’ and nature working together.


It was there that I spotted the ‘Jacques Brel Room’. Brel is an artist I’ve grown to like. I believe his lyrics are up there with the greats. The translated version of ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ has been made famous worldwide. Here’s the original version in French. Sublime or what?


Across the nearby Belgium border there’s a place called Chimay where the Trappist monks in the monastry there produce a beer so horribly strong it tastes like I imagine lighter fuel would taste – for the record I’ve never tried ligher fuel. Whatever, there in Chimay I stumbled across a shop called BUT SPORTS. I am presuming that in the local Walloon dialect, what we would spell it as ‘BUTT’, the Belgians seem to economize on the letter count, just using the one ‘T’ – I could be wrong about that. Having seen the sign I had little choice but to investigate what types of ‘Butt’ sports they promoted. I had presumed they must sell stuff that had some association with sports where the ‘Butt’ plays a significant part. Sports like cycling. Without a ‘butt’ on a saddle cycling would be an impossible thing. Then there’s Formula One. Not blessed with a ‘butt’ Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t have a chance in hell of lifting the Driver’s Championship. The thing was, inside the shop, yes they did sell racing bikes, yet what left me in a state of mild confusion was that they also sold boxing gloves and table tennis bats! Odd. I left the place fearing for my life.


Back in France, in a town named Sedan, there is the biggest castle in all of Europe. It looks better from the inside, by the way.


On the streets of Sedan, I spotted this ad for the local beer, ‘Coq Hardi’ – enough said.


Back in Charleville-Mezieres, France I felt more at home again with a bit of local madness. You can’t help liking Charleville-Mezieres, a town where dreaming and swooning a bit is a local pastime.


They major on posters in Charleville. Talking of dreaming, here’s the title track to my ablum ‘Dream Rescuer’ for anyone who hasn’t heard it yet, I hope you like it.

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  1. Mazing post Lord George and I do love that version of If you go away.

    1. Zoolon says:

      Thanks, Shey

  2. aruna3 says:

    Wonderful experiences at place of belgium’s border n sedan.

    1. Zoolon says:

      There’s nothing like a bit of surreal to help with creativity.

      1. aruna3 says:

        True ,dear!! But see with attention that d stone too talks.it is only a thing for feelings.

      2. Zoolon says:

        A talking stone – something else or what?

      3. aruna3 says:

        You have show me the sculptures made by soil or stone.if I would be there then seeing those-I talk with them.may be sing or write a poem.it all are depended our imagination.at last ,makers of those too have any imagination and work hard to make those.for example ,I ask those scuptures”where are you belonged from;have you only a silent statue or thought of love by form………..”am I saying right dear!!Plz reply.

      4. aruna3 says:

        Hey zoolon!!have you understand my thoughts on stone?Plz reply soon.

      5. Zoolon says:

        A girl at school gave me a moon stone once. Maybe I’m immune, yet it seemed an odd gift. Stones, I think are things that make me see the power of the sea in moulding them. I live by the sea, always have. The sea talks if you listen; tells you what mood it’s in if you look. It was a most interesting point you made, Aruna – thought provoking.

      6. aruna3 says:

        Thanks dear.all things of inspire our imagination.

      7. aruna3 says:

        Error in replying myself

      8. aruna3 says:

        Hey zoolon!! Sea talks if we listen.right.bt it inspires us to sing,to create d new rhythm if we hear n see its waves as your guitar.

      9. Zoolon says:

        That’s what they call ‘sound art’ Aruna.

      10. aruna3 says:

        Yeah.dear!!you are right.absolutely right.

      11. aruna3 says:

        Dear zoolon.still now have you that moon stone who was given you by a school girl.?

      12. Zoolon says:

        I still have it, Aruna.

      13. aruna3 says:

        I have too think that the stone is keeping with safe by you.dear zoolon!! You are so much lovely and kind person. Always keep that near you because that stone is blessed and strength for you.you are lucky one.

      14. aruna3 says:

        Dear zoolon!!this is not your real name.zoolon means perfect and serious.who has give you this lovely name?plz reply..

      15. Zoolon says:

        I didn’t know the meaning. I gave the name to the business as Zoolon is my alter-ego. My real name is George Alexander Blamey-Steeden. That’s quite a handful!

      16. aruna3 says:

        I know your real name but zoolon is wonderful.

  3. aruna3 says:

    But dear zoolon!!odd thing are d other side of same coin of life.i means-odd n even are attractive n with each other.it depends on our attitude.

  4. Lol a lot of cyclists have very attractive butts. I suppose they build up a lot of muscle in that area 🙂

    1. Zoolon says:

      Whereas, hang gliding does little for the butt.

  5. Herman says:

    I’ve been in all the places you mentioned, except in Monthermé. Thanks for the tip. Living in Belgium it should be easy to visit this town…

    1. Zoolon says:

      He with the one functioning eye seems more concerned with driving his car than travelling right now. Odd.

    2. Zoolon says:

      Thanks, Herman. I am a great fan of Belgium.

  6. Seems like a nice trip over all. Are you there with your parents? If so, please give them my regards.

  7. George, beautiful music, such a very beautiful voice! Love the photos, it’s been a while since I was in Fr. or Belgium…it’s beautiful too.

  8. Great post!

  9. inesephoto says:

    Loved the excursion, your narration and your sense of humour. Thank you for the Jacques Brel video. Song of my youth.

  10. sdtp33 says:

    Have you heard Scott Walker’s version of “Amsterdam” (written by Jacques Brel), released early seventies, I think…worth checking out.

    1. Zoolon says:

      Thanks. I have the album by Scott Walker thanks to my dad. It was he who got me into his work. Davod Bowie did a surreal version of Amsterdam as well. I think I still like the original, it works better in French – I accept that that is subjective though.

  11. aruna3 says:

    All things of universe inspire us.

  12. I love your photos, like a walk through favorite places, from page to page in a book, always a little sad when the cover is closed. xxxxx

    1. Zoolon says:

      Thanks. I can’t call myself a photographer but I just try to take shots that aren’t 100% generic.

      1. They’re not, trust me. 🙂

  13. The Chimay beer bit made me laugh. Here, to some, it’s considered “high quality” and suggests a refined taste. I know your opinion now… I enjoyed listening to ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ and was not previously familiar with it. Thanks for the excursion 🙂

    1. Zoolon says:

      I was told that the Chimay beer is top notch. I think my problem is not liking any beer, so you can imagine what a taste of this seriously strong beer did for my taste buds!

  14. Chris White says:

    What a fabulous post and a genuinely nice blog. Also … just clicked …
    are you Mike Steeden’s son ?

    1. Zoolon says:

      Thank you. For my sins, I am his son. The old boy is nearly well again, and should be back blogging soon. His knackered eye now works. I think he is reluctant to give up his eye patch.

  15. Chris White says:


  16. Love!!!!!!!

    1. Zoolon says:

      Thank you.

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