Hello. I have been back for ages (well, since Saturday, it just feels like an eternity), but was immediately sucked into the post-holiday maelstrom of overdue bills and overdue work and overdue washing and renewed lamenting at the builders. Also, until today when I despatched F to NerdCamp (the Jeunesses Scientifiques or Scientific Youth, which sounds faintly terrifying, or like a post-punk band), the children had no gainful activity with which to occupy themselves (L still doesn't, he hasn't dressed or washed for 3 days, I think he is turning into a sort of pre-pubescent Father Jack Hackett: "JUICE" "MINECRAFT" "SNACK") and instead spent their every waking minute being complete dicks towards each other. It is awful to be back, I am not going to try and spin this positively. You'd expect nothing less from me, I know.
And this (view from house):
And this (house):
To the usual Uccle reprobates, exploded binbags, pervasive aroma of chicken shit, upside down wallpaper, misnumbered invoices, godawful November weather and seventeen irate letters from the social security.
House still looks like this, but with more builders and a gathering atmosphere of impotent fury:
Memorable holiday incidents:
1. Accidentally roofie-ing the dog. We gave him the vet's recommended dosage of sedative to deal with twelve hours in a metal box on the Hull ferry, but when the time came to put him in the metal box, his legs had given way entirely. Even on arrival, he was stoned out of his tiny mind and staggered around the house in a state of loopy, paranoid confusion, running from room to room, collapsing into chairs then throwing himself out of them, peeing on curtains, burying under covers then emerging wild-eyed, a state which continued until the next morning. He did very much enjoy the rest of the trip - rolling in unspeakable things, chasing rabbits, climbing hills, and we did not give him the recommended dose on the way back. He is fine, well inasmuch as he is ever fine, ie. he is morose and unfriendly and spends his every waking moment plotting to get onto the sofa from which he is banned.
2. Arrival of a HERD of tiny ponies in the field down the road including 8 ridiculously little tiny pony foals and two exceptionally curious and friendly tiny ponies even closer to the house who would come for hugs and carrots. I have no pictures, sadly, perhaps because I was hyperventilating every time I went to see them.
3. Knitted garlic in the window of the Leyburn hardware shop (along with a knitted bike, Tour de Yorkshire oblige):
4. The dog attracting the close attention of a curious herd of bullocks and not noticing until the last minute. He was begging for sandwiches as we sat on some rocks and did not notice he had been cornered by a rapidly encroaching semi-circle of fascinated giganto-bovines. In this picture he is juuust starting to sense that possibly something untoward may be happening somewhere? He did not actually react until one of them touched him with a vast damp muzzle, whereupon he scrambled onto the rocks faster than a rat up a drainpipe and with less dignity.
This goes down in the annals of unfair amusement at the expense of my domestic animal (big, fat, annals those) as one of my favourite pictures of the weepette:
5. Ant and Dec live at the Leeds First Direct Arena, the boys' "treat" for the holidays (that, and a much anticipated trip to Poundland). Twerking. Castleford tattoos. Foam fingers. Keith godawful Lemmon. Indescribable. Best enjoyed completely half-cut on regularly replenished warm gin and tonic in plastic cups. I will give Ant and Dec this: they are impressively energetic and amiable and can eat a family sized packet of crisps between the two of them in less than a minute.
6. My favourite passage in all my holiday reading (of which a great deal more in the next post, when I will compare and contrast Eimear McBride's A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing and Hilda Boden's 'One More Pony'), regarding Sarah Bernhardt's menagerie:
7. Regular encounters with these guys, usually on the road and having to be removed, politely, giving the giant horns a wide berth:
(Note more typical Yorkshire August attire here, including fleecy hat)
8. An eccentric but delightful meet up with ex-Brussels, now Edinburgh, much missed friend B and his husband in Pickering at a pleasant if wholly dysfunctional pub.
Otherwise our two weeks passed (for me at least) in a delicious haze of gin, Dairy Milk and crisps, vicious vertical bogs, dead and dying things (bird, sheep, rabbits, the electricity), long naps, hours of reading and peace, total peace (even the landline was down this year). Returning to the viciously awful state of the world has been grim and the temptation to surf the internet looking at cheap dilapidated barns enormous.
Three positive things about being back, just because it is good for the soul:
1. Can resume vital for emotional well-being regime of daily light complaint with M.
2. The cheese shop reopens tomorrow.
3. It was briefly quite beautiful this morning and at least I don't have as many sulky teenage children as the family of swans I saw at the Ixelles ponds this morning:
Have you been away? Would you like to fill the comments box with your lamentations at your return? I have missed you!