Sunday, 30 April 2017

Just another dog

I try and talk to my son about the newly composed Magritte themed opera he is playing violin in.

E: So is there singing? Speaking? Dance?

Child: Yeah

E: Is there a story?

Child: (Incredulous stare) Huh?

E: I mean, do you know what the story is?

Child: No cos it’s in Dutch (sarcastic lift to delivery)?

E: What actually happens?

Child (sighing): There’s a giant coffin with, like, a bowler hat on.

E: AWESOME THEN WHAT

Child: I’m actually going to bed now bye

I suppose I will find out on 6th May.



I try to communicate with my other son, on a school trip

Child leaves, alone, on foot, at 5:30 am. I instruct him he must tell me when he arrives so I know he hasn't been abducted.

Several hours pass

E: Have you been abducted?

Further 2 hour interval

Child: i haven't been abducted

Several days later

E: You ok?

Several more days later

E: Assuming you're still alive, do you know when you get back?

Time at which school party supposed to return comes and goes.

E: Shall I order you a pizza?

1 hour after putative return time

E: HAVE YOUR WHOLE CLASS BEEN ABDUCTED??

Doorbell rings, it is child.


(incidentally, he has just told me he "doesn't care" what we have for dinner or what cake I make/purchase for his birthday and I think my heart is a bit broken)


My dog is a misogynist (or he just doesn't like me)

I have realised gradually, unpleasantly, how very much my dog prefers my husband to me, despite the incontrovertible fact that I am the only person in this household who walks him and feeds him (dog, not husband, quoique).  He also prefers my older son to me, but at least my older son occasionally looks up from watching videos of morons playing video games to throw his plush measles toy, so that seems more justified.

Evidence #1: when we go out for a walk, me, husband and dog and I cross the road to eg. throw a bag of shit away (picking up shit = another thing that is mysteriously a job that only I can do), Ouipette is wholly indifferent to my momentary absence. However, if husband moves even fractionally away from us, Ouipette loses his shit, refuses to move and stares around wildly and inconsolably until husband returns.

Evidence #2 despite not really liking being stroked, Ouipette will submit to lengthy strokings and ear pullings from husband in the evenings. If I attempt to stroke him, he moves away, coldly, much like a teenage boy.

E: (outraged) You're a SEXIST, Oscar, you fucker. This isn't how I raised you!

Child: The thing is, Dad's the alpha, isn't he. You're just ... another dog.

#patriarchy



If you don't know what it is, it's probably a deer

Yesterday we found this list (scroll down) of authorised mammals you can keep as pets in Brussels and wow, I am excited. Bison? Or a spiny mouse? A gayal looks cool too. If anyone can work out what an "ynomys social" is, I would be fascinated to know. Would I like it? I'm not sure about the "social" part.



I have put up my March reading, btw. The Ariel Levy is especially great.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Things I would have tweeted if I were not on a Twitter break

(obviously some of them would have required several tweets and hopefully some of them I would have thought twice about bothering to tweet, though I can offer no guarantee of that)

1. Whatever is currently growing, flowering, pollinating, shedding in Brussels needs to take a long, hard look at itself before my throat closes up entirely.

2. I'm beginning to think Gap is knowingly exploiting me and my weakness for its "Girlfriend Twill Stripe Chino". Having fallen hopelessly in love with said trouser and having started to stockpile it in a range of colours, Gap has started to torment me by sending me special discount codes just after I order a pair. Look, it says, today you get 30% off! 35% and free shipping! 20%!  45% AND A A PONY! ACT NOW OFFER ENDS AT MIDNIGHT! Soon there will be no space and no money left in the world, just me and a massive pile of fairly ordinary trousers, into which I will be weeping. It's chinos for dinner again, kids.

3. Further Gap Girlfriend Twill Stripe Chino thought: these trousers, which are tight but not skinny jean tight, reveal to me by their fit that my left leg is fatter than my right leg. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE, they do the same exercise and consume the same foods. Maybe it is for the same reason that my left foot is always scaly and dry and my left ankle always swollen, things I attribute to a random mystery accident in 2005, where I woke up one morning with my left leg black with bruising up to the knee and no idea how it happened ('had you possibly been drinking?" the doctor enquired delicately, but I truly hadn't). I think I must have fallen off a high heel and not noticed because I was functionally insane in 2005, running on citalopram, shopping and miso soup. Anyway. My left leg is still fucked, it would appear.

4. Shape of every week: Monday galloping eye-popping anxiety, Tuesday still anxious, Wednesday tired and resentful, Thursday whispering "I hate everyone" every couple of hours, Friday morning just saying "fuck everything" out loud over and over whilst eating piles of things covered in butter, Friday afternoon, blank staring.

5. Dreamed that I caught eldest child red handed using a drug that my subconscious decided to name "Bio-Huff". BIO HUFF. Is that ... organic solvent? How does that work, subconscious? My subconscious is a dick.

6. Having time to worry about whether you are facilitating the patriarchy or are merely entrapped by it or both is probably the definition of not having proper problems to worry about (this is referring to myself, obviously, I'm hardly in a position to criticise anyone else's preoccupations).

7. Phrase "cheery picking" seen in document I am currently editing is extremely pleasing. See also phrase "salty and sweat buffet" spotted on an Instagram post.

8. SOMEONE REALLY NEEDS TO EXPLAIN THIS TO ME THX


Also pleasing in that Wikipedia entry:

"By 1884, Gauguin had moved with his family to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he pursued a business career as a tarpaulin salesman. It was not a success: He could not speak Danish, and the Danes did not want French tarpaulins."

I love Wikipedia entries. Anne Demeulemeester's claims her father was a "chicory professor"

9. More pleasing adventures in agenda writing:

"Het Zesde Metaal had their fourth album 'Calais' coming out last year and we were stunned! Even though they are singing in West-Flemish dialect, which is practically incomprehensible for the biggest part of Belgium and the rest of the world, everyone feels it, that folky music. The electronic elements on the new album are a real enrichement."

10. Jami Attenberg All Grown Up - started at 11pm, had finished by 8am next morning (and I slept quite reasonably between those hours too). SO GREAT.

11. Level of sleep deprivation where you call hail "gail", spell October "Otobre" and can't remember what the name of the cutting tool used in conjunction with a fork is = the stage at which you should probably step away from your writing based tasks for the day.

12. Four hours of Dutch class entirely on vocabulary relating to electrical appliances = at least 3.9 hours too many, but now I could probably write trilingual manuals for Van Den Borre (vous avez bien choisi) if all my work dries up.


That's it for now. More thoughts as I have them. I am feeling oppressed by the need to update the Reading page, because I have done MOUNTAINS of reading in last 2 months, so you can look forward (or not) to some extremely succinct reviews.

Oh! Also, I sent all the winners ("winners") their books Tuesday last week. Some of them have even arrived. Are you one of the lucky ones? Or has Bastardpost sent your prize to Bermuda?

Friday, 14 April 2017

Horse! Shops! Prizes!


Hello! Here is a small horse with no context whatsoever. He was very friendly, even when I insisted on putting my arms around him and inhaling his horse scent for fifteen minute stretches without his explicit consent (I gave him some carrots though).



Elderly

The Easter holidays are proving interminable, again. I think I’ve just become monstrously intolerant and misanthropic with age, which means that the sight of giant lunking unwashed teenagers in pyjamas staring at screens for 10 hours a day (WHAT, what am I supposed to do, take them to a museum?) is increasingly irritating to me, especially when they appear around 2pm and quiz me on food options as if I were their sodding concierge-slash-butler. F is just back from ten days in China (China! In my day we hitchhiked to Filey, ate seagulls and slept on a bench, etc etc) with no internet, so I don’t feel too bad about him filling his eyes with crap. L went to Majorca, though I think he just lay around looking at YouTube for a week as he would have done here but with slightly better weather so he should probably be smited with scorpions into some improving activity, but I simply can’t be arsed. Also, I have work to do and cannot be spending my days smiting and catering (Smiting and Catering: A Mother's Lot).

The foregoing meant that our trip to Yorkshire last week was sans enfants, which was an interesting glimpse into our future. Good: no aggro, negotiating, complaints, demands for expensive steak in pubs and no difficulty in getting out of the house at 8am. Bad: tendency to wear fleece unchecked by teenscorn and that airless feeling when all the (bad tempered, obstreperous, but also very funny) youthful vitality is gone from the room and it’s just … us? We’ll need another dog, for sure. We do still seem to be broadly compatible, which is a relief though there may be a disparity in energy levels, there were lots of conversations along these lines:

Spouse: What shall we do NOW

Me: Sssh, why so loud, I thought I’d just do some sitting. In silence.

Spouse: I’ll just go and take something to pieces then and HIT IT WITH A HAMMER.

We also drank a lot of gin and walked up a lot of hills, and I read a mountain of books, which was ideal (will update book page soon). Getting home has been melancholy, though at least Hillary has been contained for a fortnight so we came home to a sprinkling of actual grass in the backyard, which was both welcome and surprising.


Retail

One of our agreed-upon activities (this is always shaming to confess in front of Prog Rock who lives the life of a holy hermit, existing only on lentils, Sainsbury's Basic Range apples, Le Monde Diplomatique and Russian literature, but we face up to our grossly acquisitive nature bravely) was to go to the York Designer Outlet, yet again. The Designer Outlet is a very strange place and you feel like the worst dregs of end-stage capitalism as you walk around it, mindlessly consuming, but if you can take the guilt and self-loathing, it has some excellent stuff. 40% of my wardrobe comes from the Margaret Howell outlet and I also found my favourite Paul Smith silk swimmers blouse there.

Margaret Howell proved very disappointing this time (in the sense that everything still cost an actual king’s ransom and I could not justify buying any of it), but I got what I THINK is a nice fine grey wool coat from Jaeger (RIP), because I am 130 years old. It was 112 pounds reduced from 350, which seemed a pretty decent reduction, though whether I will ever wear it remains to be seen. I would describe it as “dressing gown style” if this can be described as a style (it can’t).

The past

I went to the funeral of one of my former teachers from Quaker school whilst in York (one of the loveliest, kindest, sunniest men I have ever met, his coffin was papered with pages from the Guardian because he was an avid reader and did the crossword every day) which was sad, but also fascinating, since many of my other former teachers were also there and during silent meeting for worship I was able to look around the room and try and work out who was who. They divided into: wholly and entirely unchanged and changed beyond all recognition but were all delightful. The maths teacher said she recognised me because I "still stand in the same way" and one of the English teachers said she recognised my hair which is interesting since it is not the same hair at all, and indeed not even mine. It was nice, generally, to be in a Quaker environment again. They are extremely sound and gentle and kind, and being around them taught me to sit still for hours on end, something no one else in my family can manage for more than three minutes before dismantling the remote control and fiddling with its battery case until murder is the only reasonable option.

The present

It is Good Friday which is not a holiday in Belgium so I am waiting for comments on a piece of work whilst undressed giants slump around me and I have just realised that due to some horrific miscalculation and despite having carefully bought a packet in M and S in preparation, I do not have a single hot cross bun. I am going to have to compensate this evening with my newly acquired Yorkshire tea gin, which I believe is the beverage our saviour would favour if he happened to be around and looking for a stiffener in spring 2017.

Competition time

My book came out in paperback while I was away and I have just taken delivery of twenty copies, which seems somewhat overkill-y, and is probably more copies than have actually sold, so shall I do a small giveaway? If you would like a copy, I will give 8 of them away to the first people to comment and tell me why they would like one (dough scraper, door stop, filling for wet shoes), though obviously I am not going to promise Bastardpost will actually get it to your house, this is frequently too much to ask from my postal nemeses.

Excited? I bet you are. If you want even more of me, I have a piece in Red this month about how all my friends live in the computer.



Here is the dog looking superior in the N Yorks sunshine. I can tell you he wasn't looking at all superior 24 hours earlier when he was on a terrible comedown from the sedatives we give him to survive the ferry crossing. We had to wrap him in a towel and leave him on a chair in the kitchen until he recovered, looking for all the world like Whistler's mother. I did not take a picture of that because it seemed cruel, but now I slightly regret it.

(Important question: do other people cheat their Fitbits? I need to know)

Friday, 31 March 2017

Polyanna



Ok, in the spirit of reframing the steaming heap of terrible that this week has been (Brexit, release of Ru Paul's Drag Race s9 to UK but not Belgian Netflix, Xanax-necessitating school stress, 2500€ surprise social security bill, series of professional badnesses mainly still unresolved, culminating today in happy news of a contrôle fiscale) I am going to tell you some GOOD things.

1. All four tortoises are now eating! I have had an extremely stressful time with the females, who were very disinclined to emerge from hibernation and who have required daily baths, Reptoboost, much coaxing with varied foodstuffs and constant putting back under the heat lamp as they shuffled off to do their best to die, yet again. No such issue with the males, who emerged from hibernation, spent a month in our bathroom slamming themselves repeatedly against their food dish demanding more leaves, then were sent outside where they have indulged in a non-stop carnival of fighting, eating and attempted same-sex shagging. I will not draw any conclusions about male and female characteristics from this, no I will not.

2. I made both millionaire's shortbread and fudge brownies this week and both were successful and now my trousers are very tight, but I'm supposed to be being positive so no more of that, even though Tuesday is evil gynae weigh-in time and I am reasoning thus "if I just literally don't eat ANYTHING between now and Tuesday it might be alright", then filling my face with foods and planning tonight's pizza.

3. I am very much enjoying Birdcage Walk even though it is frequently making me think how awful it would have been to be a woman in the 18th century (or indeed any time pre-antibiotics). March reading has generally been quite good, I will update soon. I also found S-Town fascinating even though it was very upsetting in parts (and this makes interesting points about it that also struck me when listening).

4. My skin has improved, so now Frau Antje can wear it if she wishes (better skins are available).

5. We are going to Yorkshire next week with zero ingrate children, just the dog and, in my case, a huge pile of books. This is wonderful (except that I accidentally took on some work that I didn't actually want and will have to do on my holidays - SORRY, I know that is not good, but it's preying on me). I am looking forward to: lunch in the Wensleydale Heifer, lambs, birthday lunch with my surrogate sort of not mother, buying 800000 Yorkshire Gold teabags, Betty's (and particularly Betty's easter display), seeing my sister, maybe a trip to the Margaret Howell outlet shop and hours and hours of just staring at the moor, some bleak and bracing trudging.

6. Parts of the garden are starting to recover from Hillary assault and my current hen Alacatraz arrangement seems to be holding. It was 22°C yesterday and almost as warm today and I can feel my grey, lardy carcass relaxing slightly as the spring takes hold. Look, this was last weekend as we waited for yet another orchestra rehearsal to finish, all wild garlic and these white flower things and tiny red squirrels dashing around:


And this was just some random tree in the street, but I like it



7. B sent me an email this morning whose entire contents was the phrase "MEXICAN PENIS SEAT"

8. This cocktail



was delicious and after it and another one of its ilk I only felt about 38% like crawling away to die the next day, which at 42 is really the best one can expect.

9. I got this guy framed, finally:



And he fitted into a standard sized frame so it was (a) immediate and (b) cheap, also (c) everyone who works at the Schleiper framing department is filled with bonhomie towards their fellow men, making it a particularly delightful and let's be honest, unusual, Brussels retail experience.

10. I could watch this armadillo unrolling (also courtesy of B) infinite times and not get bored.

I encourage you to tell me of your own small good things in the comments but if it's a stunning writing related success KEEP IT TO YOURSELF, we don't need your sort round these parts.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Grievances

I don't have much time, so I'm just going to do some complaining. Please join in in the comments. You know it feels good.

1. My skin is terrible again and I can’t leave it alone. There are two adolescent boys in this house and they BOTH have fewer spots than me, how can this possibly be? I even bought some of the face stuff various of you recommended when I was last moaning about my skin, but it seems to be making everything worse. Or that might be the amount of Dairy Milk I am eating.

2. I have sinusitis and feel like I am underwater, except also the water I am under is magic water that has the power to make you REMARKABLY STUPID.

3. My new chicken water thingy is terrible, an awful design, which keeps emptying itself and sending me into puny, toddler-style impotent rages. Whilst I was mid-rage this morning, a crow ate one of the eggs I had left on top of the chicken house.

4. I have committed at some significant expense to do a thing with my family when really I wanted to do it BY MYSELF. IN SILENCE. Much more cheaply.

5. I left my bank card in the ticket machine at the cinema on Sunday and with 4, above, currently on my credit card have no means of obtaining cash.

6. On aforementioned cinema trip I also accidentally went to see the wrong film and was too British to fight my way through the row of pensioners to get out and go and see the right film (La La Land). The film I did see (M et Mme Adelman) was described by Le Monde as “un ratage spectaculaire” and “une funeste erreur” (spectacular failure/grave error). A great afternoon altogether.

7. I have some work now but it is the real chore kind that makes me want to watch videos of giant cockerels, or clean eating bloggers making salad, or do my VAT, or anything else at all, really.

8. Having lost the Tamagotchi of Evil (Fitbit), I sunk into terrible non-walking, Dairy Milk eating habits for a week, but I have now found it again. Which is … good? I suppose? But I quite enjoyed my lapse into #fuckit torpor and not being nagged to do 250 steps an hour. It is genuinely alarming to me how susceptible I am to the commands of my tiny wrist overlord. I will be fuck all use in the rebellion against our robot masters a few decades down the line, indeed, it looks like I will be a massive collabo. Oh, self-knowledge, you are a dubious gift.

9. Is this streaming eyes and nose scenario hayfever, already? This despite the fact that back yard is still a barren chicken ravaged wasteland, from which no pollen can be emanating.

10. I ate so much rhubarb crumble last night that my groaning, bloated stomach STILL aches. This is bad in and of itself, but also my visit to The Mean Gynaecologist is fast approaching and TMG insists on weighing you and commenting sternly if you have had the temerity to gain any weight (which CLEARLY, I have, I was quite slim 18 months ago when I last saw her due to insanity, now I am at the high point of the #fuckit curve). Rhubarb crumble binges are not the way to deal with this. I sometimes wonder if I should just refuse to let her weigh me, but I find authority figures irresistible and she is very tweedy and authoritarian indeed.

Ok, your turn.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Return

Jesus Nathan Christ, it’s been an age. I got very busy (bread and butter stuff, nothing wildly prestigious I can boast about), then about 2 days ago all the work vanished (I mean, I finished it, they didn’t take it away).

Have I taken full advantage of this hiatus to exercise, enjoy the sunshine, dig the “garden” (Hillary's implacable giant claws have dealt with that) or work on personal projects about which I am passionate? Have I pitched my plucky, creative arse off? Have I fuck. I have been sitting, allowing waves of unease, worthlessness and envy of my more successful peers to build up, whilst watching unnecessary television on catch-up. At least, then, I should update this weblog, especially since I am on a train, without access to televisual entertainment and the only remaining work I have in the pipeline is so awful I need several days more procrastination before I can even contemplate it. I found myself nearly clicking this link, which tells you all you need to know about the state of my head:



What Has Been Happening

1. I had to have my lunch 5 metres underwater



This was wild. I am not one for water, or exercise, or peril, but it was pleasingly mad. Basically, my British desire not to make a scene was the only thing between me and screaming panic, but it worked. This is how you conquer stuff, I suppose, by being too embarrassed to admit you are actually scared to conquer it.

2. Continued adventures in sweet dough
Much more importantly - I bought a 99 cent dough scraper and it has changed my life. I am all about yeast baking at the moment (sweet stuff, who gives a shit about bread, there are good bakers in this town) and my GOD, the sensual pleasure of the dough scraper, it is almost as good as my salad spinner (remember that other minor joy of recent months). So far I have made two sets of chocolate chip brioche and enough cinnamon rolls to propel myself into a Scandinavian diabetic coma (like a normal one but with better light fittings). If you have other suggestions for enriched dough crack products I could try, I am all eyes (and dough scraper).

3. Visa try-hard
I have made repeated trips to the Chinese consulate to obtain a visa for my xiao erzi who is going on a Carrefour Voyages trip with his grandparents at Easter. The trip is a reward for the past nearly 5 years of Tiger Educating he has imposed upon himself (currently 299 characters for the next exam, of which I have retained approx 2). The Visa Centre is in the arse end of nowhere and the experience is .. well, I think it played to my strengths in craven approval seeking/teacher’s pet paper wrangling. I assembled so many pieces of paper the woman on the desk kept waving them away. Despite my try-hard efforts, I was not successful first time, no one was. I arrived at 9:30 and by 9:45 all of the 15 people that had been waiting with me for the visa centre to open had been turned away for one reason or another. There was a strong sense of comradeship among us, until we all had to queue up again for the same window with our new, improved paperwork. On my return trip to collect the visa, the woman in front of me was getting QUITE LITERALLY one hundred and nineteen passports back. I know this because she counted them all out in front of me, slowly, as I fantasised about the best way to murder her.

4. I have watched television.

I have particularly enjoyed:

Mutiny - ridiculous, ridiculous show in which a gang of basic blokes try to recreate Captain Bligh’s voyage across the Pacific somewhere (don’t make me be specific). I am experiencing strong feelings about the patriarchy currently (see below) and I confess seeing blokes doing utterly ridiculous, risky things and GETTING PUNISHED BY THE ELEMENTS for it is very pleasing.

This Is Us - This is my Friday lunchtime treat on catch up, though I have a major beef which is, what the fuck is it with all those men and their thoughtful romantic gestures? I have NEVER known a man to act in this manner and suspect if one did, I would find it profoundly alarming. The expression of a man faced with a need for spontaneity, surprise or romance should be one of blank, elemental panic, surely. It is not very surprising though, since everyone in This Is Us is profoundly good. This should be tiresome but is in fact restful and restorative, like a field full of gamboling lambs (auto-correct would like “gambling lambs”, which I would also watch the hell out of).

The Crown - Yes, years after everyone else. Oh lord, I have such a crush on Princess Margaret ("Margaret Rose", my mother's first husband, who sort of idolised her too, used to call her). She is perfection.

Elementary - It is a continued struggle to find things that all my family will watch together - Kimmy Schmidt, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, Breaking Bad have all been successes, other things have crashed and burned miserably. This is our latest effort - L is positive, F covertly looks at his phone throughout, husband either says who did it in the first 3 minutes or falls deeply asleep (or both) and I spend the whole time distracted by Lucy Liu’s INSANE WARDROBE (decorative ties! playsuits! massive white bell bottoms at crime scenes!) and the gor blimey fake Englishness of the British characters, yes, even though played by British actors. Rhys Evans, I am particularly judging you.

A Very British Hotel Listen, the Mandarin Oriental is hardly my first choice for "very British", but I will not quibble because this programme is BRILLIANT, particularly the terrifying concierge, François-Xavier, who runs his exclusive fiefdom with the steely determination of an organised crime syndicate, but with considerably better grooming.

5. Fillon-watch
I have watched the convulsions of the French elections with great interest and even greater confusion. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about this, I simply note how gripping (and awful) it is.

6. Wimmin thoughts
I have been experiencing some strong negative feelings about the patriarchy for reasons that are unclear but may well be to do with my age/the somewhat oppressive nature of midlife bleh-ery/the state of the world/living in a house full of males, inc. dog and younger tortoises who were released briefly into the garden to take the sun and instantly started both fighting and trying to have sex with each other. My patriarchy sulk mainly takes the form of muttering, occasionally rising to ranting, usually in the basement in front of a pile of washing (this as you may recall is my soothing place). I feel I was insulated from the patriarchy in my childhood by the relationship between my mother (main breadwinner) and Prog Rock (most other stuff). I think I just thought everything sort of worked out rationally and fairly, despite spending all those years in Oxford and then the City. I was blind. This is not a complaint about my particular batch of males, I should say, who are fine, really, just about… I don’t know. The structural fucked-upness of everything. I’m 42, it’s about time my consciousness was raised, I suppose.

7. Vegan darkness
On a lighter note Mrs Trefusis came to visit and I made her come to the mad hipster vegan cocktail bar/restaurant. What I really mean by this is that it used to be a cocktail bar, but now - without really telling anyone - is has apparently become a restaurant where you can accessorily get cocktails, but where it will be heavily suggested that you eat vegan foods at the same time. The cocktails were delicious, still, but the rest is deeply eccentric. I recounted our whole 5 course menu to my spouse who paled in horror at the litany of dehydrated bean crackers, raw beets, various pastes and non-dairy "creams" and a supposedly sweet “tatin” made of a South American tuber I strongly suspect was actually a variety of potato. The oddness of the whole experience was compounded by a nearly 2 hour power cut, which meant vegan foods were sprung on you in the darkness in an even more alarming manner.

ANYWAY, this has not stopped me being desperate to try this: because I do actually love vegetables and so on, but of course my spouse is vehemently against the whole sordid business. Any Brussels dwellers (who don’t wish to kill me and wear my skin, though frankly it's presumptous and fanciful to imagine anyone would want that, my skin is in no state for wearing by anyone but me) fancy it?

8. I have finally made a 2017 Reading Page and uploaded January and February which were Not Impressive. Not the books, my reading habits, which were lazy and predictable. Book group is Ferrante-ing this month, so I suppose I had better knuckle down and try to rectify my 2 years of Ferrante-fail.

9. Oh, also my hideously deformed child (as M correctly calls my book) is out in paperback on the 6th of April. Here is its new incarnation:



If anyone can bear to stick up an Amazon review or, I don’t know, buy a copy for someone, that would be a sop to my continued sense of creative and commercial FAILURE.

On this happy note, percentages:

95% Som Saa anticipation (M and I are having a long-overdue Whining Whilst Eating Summit in London tonight).
5% Fuck everything.

You?

(PS I know you only really come for pictures of ouipette, so here are two, one fabulous, one despairing.




)