A few days ago, we had the honor of receiving the visit of our first Afro British fellow European citizen. For how atypical this description may seem, what a privilege and indeed a pleasure it was.
Mister and Misses Thronhill stayed at our B&B as she had to attend the open enterprise day in Ostend for the flagship of her employer, the world widely known dredging company Démé, the Goliath, lied at anchor in the harbor of the city at the sea, for the public to visit.
During their breakfast, our guest allowed us to get better acquainted and so it came to pass that they told their love story. A young Flemish girl working as a purser meets a cook originating form the British West Indies Island of Grenada on a cruise ship criss-crossing the Caribbean Sea. Hardly a match made in heaven at first glance but the keen observer could see quite the contrary.
Rarely did we have the pleasure to witness such a degree of complicity within a couple. Be it with regard to the many topics respective to society at large that carried their interest as when and if talking about trivia. Repartee, subtlety and humor being the common denominator in their conversation game. For only happy people can tell a tale together without interfering in each others points to make and arguments.
But foremost were we agreeably surprised by the open mindedness of these heartwarming people. Fed up with the, sometimes harsh working and living conditions of the crew on these cruise ships, they decided to come and live in her motherland Belgium. Needless to say that this move had some less pleasant side effects for the child of the sun that Mister Thornhill was, is and always will be.
The weather for starters of course, and the fact that in his perception our North Sea needs uncountable amounts of bleach before even deserving the its denomination. But what will remain with us is the general observation that in his day to day reality he came to the conclusion that people din’t smile. And of course, when you come to think about it, the gentleman is so right. In our everyday interaction with our fellow citizens, we actually rarely smile. Somewhere over the ages we have lost the habit of encountering each other with an open smile. And why don’t we,was the question.
Why don’t we indeed?
Perhaps because our smile doesn’t split open the dark skies as Mr Thornhill’s smile does. The smile of a man with a warm heart , very much in love with his wife and patiently waiting to retire together in Grenada. Blue skies and white beaches for ever! But, for the time being, breakfast in Ostend. It kinda made us sad that such a colorful human being is confronted with our Nordic inhibitions.
We can only hope we were able to convince Mr. Thornhill of our wholehearted welcome and the charme of our city at the sea. Hoping that, one day, Mr. and Misses find their way back to Villa Les Paquerettes,, we remain, with a smile by the way, thankful for a much appreciated visit of our very special love boat people.