Bond in Belgium

James Bond in Belgium


The Name’s Bond…

September 2022

It turns out there was someone. A Belgium chap who looked like all his Christmases had come at once. On getting out of the car he hurled a million questions at me.

As always this was in perfect English and I did my best to answer, even though I was tired and hungry. J jumped out the Cerbera and went into the hotel to find out where everyone else was. Turns out they were in the bar, we were in the right place but the carpark was deep underground, and around the corner.

I finished answering the questions, guided the T350 out and M blipped the engine a few times for the benefit of our newest TVR fan. It was still raining as we edged onto the street, avoiding the pedestrians who frankly looked like they’d rather walk over the bonnet than wait.

The car park was indeed just down the street. We inserted the TVRs again through the narrowest of passages, completely disregarded the assigned parking spaces (to pick those we could actually get out of the cars) and proceeded to unpack all our junk, like we’d done every night before.

We then headed up to the reception where J got the keys.

It was then we realised what time we had to get up. The Chunnel was booked for half ten the next morning, we were three hours away. You’re meant to get there an hour early, plus any contingent for traffic and needed to have showers, get packed and have breakfast. Doing the maths left us with a sinking feeling in our hearts. We’d need to get up at 5 am to get to the terminal in time.

We agreed to ask Ben if he could punt the time by a couple of hours. It was our last night and the thought of having to get up that early, bearing in mind we had a 300-mile journey to do after we got to the UK just wasn’t appealing to us.

Ben got on it straight away, and the good news was we could get the half 12 chunnel which meant a later start AND we could get a coffee in the Eurotunnel building if we made good time.

In his itinerary, Ben had made a few suggestions about where to eat, and given we were in a metropolis of near 700,000 people there wasn’t a shortage of eateries.  I suggested we went with the closest option, a curry house called Namaste. Now I love curry, but it doesn’t always love me back. Having had a quick look at the menu I was satisfied I could probably have something not too hot, and therefore not subject whoever was in the car with me the next day to 12 hours of hell.

We agreed to meet in the bar and head out.

On getting downstairs I was confronted by J wearing a Tuxedo. My heart stopped, so D hadn’t been joking when he’d mentioned dressing up smart when I was packing. He must have meant it for the final night of the tour! And there’s me standing in a day-glow jacket and combat pants…

Thankfully M and D hadn’t packed theirs, it had been a joke and J just wanted to dress up. We headed out.

Liege was still offering its best impression of a rainforest, with the rain now hammering down. The hotel, I assume regularly having to deal with the weather had left a number of large, high-quality umbrellas by the door. We stopped for a quick photo and head out into the night.

We must have looked an odd bunch to the slightly drunk customers of Namaste already eating. Four Brits piled in out of the rain with bright yellow umbrella’s and one of them inexplicably translated everything into German (even though we were in Belgium) and wearing a tuxedo.

Luckily for us, Namaste was one of the few places we’d pitched up to while away that had seats for us immediately.

As we bumbled past tables, J waved at a group and says “we’re here all night”. If Belgium was expecting Daniel Craig, it was getting the TVR equivalent.

The group ordered some beers, and then food. The waitress refused to join in any banter or conversation, then broke the news they’d run out of Jupiler lager (which we’d fondly Christened ‘Duff’ during our stay) to which D erupted in mock anger and the manager was called over. The manager, with the most un-Belgium and un-Indian name ever, Eric proceeded to join in the faux disaster drama and reassured D that their backup beer, Kingfisher was just as good.

By now the waitress looked like she wanted to go home.

We finished our food, drank our Kingfisher and returned to the hotel where the rest of the TVR crowd were busily and industrially getting drunk on their last night of freedom.

Liege Station at Night TVR Tour

I decided to grab the camera and head to the station to get some shots. I was a little wary of taking £10k worth of camera equipment out with me in an unknown city at night, but also figured nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Luckily, it had stopped raining by now. The streets were wet and most people were safely tucked up in bed. I set about getting a few shots of the station with half an eye cast over my shoulder to make sure no one was approaching.

I did get a couple of fellows wander over, but giving them the once-over told me they were fine. Smartly dressed and genuinely curious the German chaps joined me in taking photos for a bit and bid me a friendly farewell.

I decided it was probably pushing my luck to stay any longer. Down the road, a bus had puked a bunch of young Belgium chavs into the street, and their shrieks of laughter and screams along with the general vibe suggested they’d not be as friendly. I headed back to the hotel where the TVR party was in full swing, with the remaining group trying to rid the hotel of any remaining alcohol.

After a polite but brief chat to a few of a group I headed upstairs. The day had been very long, with too many traffic jams, the thrills of the Nurburgring and a big meal to end on.

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