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.




)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Brief, sunny

1. THE SPRING CAME

Spring is here, A Sa Pa Ring is here.

(temporarily)

(ssssh, I'm going to scare it away)

We've had two days of the most exquisite sunshine and warmth and I have enjoyed one of my top five favourite (and rare in Belgium) things: watching the menagerie in the sun. I LOVE chickens lying down in the sun, scaly legs and wings extended for maximum vitamin D, utterly peaceful for a few minutes out of their busy schedule of SCRATCHING THE SHIT OUT OF WHAT USED TO BE MY GRASS, ARGH HILLARY or the dog seeking out a warm patch on the floor, then lowering himself carefully onto it. The tortoises, who are currently in our bathroom, are just out of hibernation and mainly concentrating on eating everything in sight, but that is also pleasing to watch.



2. HOWEVER THE SUN IT BURNS
There have, however, been some problems, most notable among them being my face. You may recall that a few posts ago I was giving it all this "I've stopped using any kind of beauty product and it's made absolutely no difference," in a slightly smug way. It turns out that what was in fact happening was the winter, when the ambient light levels in our house hover somewhere between stygian gloom and pitch dark. The arrival of the sun has unfortunately revealed a starker truth: FUCK. I look like a disappointed camel. Or possibly something Lord Canarvon dug up in the Valley of the Kings, but didn't bother bringing home because it was too degraded. It's bad: blotchy, scaly, lumpy, spotty, dusty, all the bad words that end in "y". I had an actual work meeting with an actual person outside my home on Wednesday and was forced to confront the hideous truth in the process of attempting to look like a human woman you might ask to do copywriting. It involved a lot of 6 year old concealer and some light whimpering.

Any suggestions? Yes, I know I used to write a beauty blog, but that was years ago and indeed, I am still using the dregs of products I was given free back then, 5 years ago. What can I use that (i) does not cost €1000, (ii) will not give me spots (iii) has some chance of de-Ramses-ing me?


3. Sabotaged by own child
Vignette from Belgian family life:
Accompany F to town hall to get his ID card done (a year late, what's a year between friends, eh). Lady on desk refuses his photos and sends us to get new ones done. Knowing the town hall photo machine, I set off on a mad dash around nearby shops to try and assemble the necessary €6. Get back. Queue up for machine. Finally get in. Machine cash option is BROKEN and it now has a new, shiny card option which it never had on any of my 413 previous visits. Curse. Complete administrative drudgery, return home, tell T about photo machine saga, whilst handing over unnecessary sweets purchased for change. T, in mild amusement, "oh yeah, my mate broke that machine this lunchtime trying to get my ten cents coin out of it." Gngngnngngngngn. Basically, I have been screwed over by MY OWN MONEY.


This entirely pointless post merely to say: I have put the December reading up. I done it quick, loike, because otherwise it would never have got done, so don't be expecting any insights. It wasn't a great month, intellectually speaking. I think I spent most of it sick or asleep. I also have January ready, but since that will require creating a whole new page and last year that process nearly gave me a nervous breakdown, let's all enjoy December for a few days. Remember December, when we thought that 2016 was the biggest pile of rat shit imaginable? A time of innocence, my friends. Any reading recommendations from you chaps?

(nb. I have added up and I read 87 books in 2016, of which 28 (32%) were by men. I don't know why I think this is interesting, but apparently I do. I suspect that's a higher percentage of men than usual (checked, yes, 22% in 2014 and 27.5% in 2015. DAMN YOU, PATRIARCHY))

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

I do some stuff Pt II

Manneken Paradise

I owe you the Manneken. You hunger for the Manneken. DO NOT DESPAIR. HE IS HERE.

Here are some lovely Manneken outfits I discovered at the new Mannekmuseum (that is not its name).


Interesting foreign outfits









Pope chic

Terrifying Belgian ones


Waaaah


Excuse me, you have a church on your head



Indescribably sinister

Pared down Céline style chic courtesy of Estonia


And Ireland? Really? Is this the best you can do? 


Manneken Daniel O'Donnell

I also got to meet the man who is the Official City of Brussels Manneken Pis Dresser. He is the thirteenth official to hold this office and, quite surprisingly to me, he was a normal human man. The Manneken Pis has a Manneken Pis Dresser outfit, which is meta, but also pleasing. 

Here are some other Manneken Pis outfits that are not all on display: urologist, condom, welder, donkey wrangler, Japanese firefighter, chimney sweep, Romanian shepherd, cleaning lady and pêcheur de crevettes à cheval. God, I love this country. 

Condom (crocheted) might be my favourite, btw: 



Further protest

The need to protest is sadly undiminished so we went again this weekend. I got L on banner making duty:




My friend P's banner was excellent: 


But I think these guys stole my heart: 


Yes, indeed. 

Dutch
I have started my new advanced Dutch class. Almost in the class is better than me and one girl is so good I don't even understand why she's taking lessons. Obviously, this is making me absolutely furious and determined to keep up. We have been talking about child rearing (opvoeding) for two weeks and there is one really dark, funny woman who keeps telling us how awful her children are in broken Dutch. I want her to be my friend. 

Baking
Even though it was terrifying, I made chocolate chip brioches with my 10 kilos of chocolate chips (not all of them, that would be silly) at the weekend. The dough was a thing of utter terror and would not rise or do anything a dough should, nevertheless, it did somehow become brioche, eventually. I have bought fresh yeast and watched Richard Bertinet do dough magic and I am ready to try again this weekend with a better recipe, because apparently I need to get even fatter. 




I don't think I have anything else to relate, except that I accidentally drank a Korean alcopop on Saturday night and am still regretting it. I really will update the reading page soon, that is a (craven, empty) promise. 

Did you read Zoe Williams on dogs? It really made me laugh. I bet the comments are a fright. 

Percentages: 

30% still dressed like a mime
15% nose spots
15% super late payment rage
10% Working my way through an amazing care package of Dairy Milk and Walkers Cheese & Onion
10% on a minor administrative roll
10% THE SUN! WARMTH! Oh, it's gone now
10% Literally henpecked


You? 

Monday, 6 February 2017

I do some stuff Pt 1

It has been so long that I have had time to DO STUFF. Yes. Stuff. You heard me. Brace for primary school style "what I have been doing" realness. I mean, don't expect excitement or anything, I haven't been undercover in a drug cartel or learning parkour and this is not high quality blogging, but I'm trying to get back into it. With that in mind, let us proceed.

1. I protested



The Brussels President Garbage Fire protest was non-ambulatory. We all just stood outside the opera house while some drumming ladies did drumming and held some candles and shuffled around in a "down with this sort of thing" kind of way. However, the minute I arrived I started crying at the mere fact that people had turned up and were standing around together, making a stand, old hippies, students, children, middle aged woman, etc etc. People are mainly excellent. I'm holding onto that. Apparently we're doing it all again on Sunday (I might make a sign this time).



2. I attended two - two! - exhibitions
Lovely street photography from William Klein, marred by the fact that there had been some kind of classic Brussels fuckery at the ticket office, which meant that the sole employee was on the phone and ignoring the giant queue. Cue near-anarchy/riot/total breakdown of queue discipline, well-heeled bruxellois making a run for the unmanned exhibition door.



The second exhibition was the amazing, amazing Icons of Modern Art at the Fondation Vuitton, as a late birthday present of sorts. Lord, it was beautiful, the room full of All The Matisse is worth the ticket price alone, it's bloody ravishing (Julian Barnes in LRB wrote a really good interesting review of it) Packed though. The roof was the only almost calm spot and a number of small spats broke out over the lavatory queue and other matters.




The chaotic timed entry system also meant we had to spend 2 hours wandering the Jardin d'Acclimatation, a good contender for Most Depressing Attraction in Paris (Especially On A Rainy Week Day).

Welcome to your terminal decline which will cost you €38 and your will to live

As well as many closed fairground rides in garish colours, wholly unchanged in the 12 years since I last went, they had about 7 pissed off hens, a gang of feral peacocks, hanging around thuggishly:



and, sorrow of sorrows, a BEAR, still. When I went there regularly with my tiny children when we lived in Paris they had a bear and it seemed like a mad 19th century throwback even then. Poor bear. We had to drink a great deal of consolatory wine in a bad Jardins d'Acclimatation restaurant that smelled of drains.

Despite the fact we went all the way to Paris, I had no time whatsoever to buy any decent cakes, and had to make do with a very ordinary flan. We did witness two thoroughly Parisian engueulades (street shouting matches) though, so I knew I was in Paris. On the way back, my husband, who is wired 100% differently to me, made us run through the security screening and illicitly sneak onto the train before the one we were booked on, meaning I spent 1h30 writhing in an agony of IN THE WRONG SEAT and DOING A WRONG THING Britishness.


3. I failed to save a rabbit
"Oh look, a baby rabbit," I thought to myself, heading to the metro last week and took a picture, then, only about 20 minutes later, did I think that perhaps a shitty little patch of scrub ground by the metro was not the greatest spot for a baby rabbit. I went back with a shoe box and lurked around for half an hour in the dog shit like a mad person trying to find it, but failed. Poor rabbit. I am sorry I was too dozy to save you. I hope someone else did.



(I confess also to a degree of relief, because Satan II is the last thing this household needs right now. Hillary the hen remains impossible to contain in any kind of hen house and spends her days scratching the last pitiful remnants of grass off our scrubby back yard, shouting at me and shitting luxuriantly on my back step. The tortoises have been de-fridged and are in the bathroom scrabbling like fuck. The dog is, well. The dog is just the dog and disapproves of everything, as usual and is wishing fervently we would all fuck off and die).

4. I passed my Dutch exam
94% schriftelijk, 98% mondeling, this at least means I can legitimately nag my children about their Dutch results, not that I need any enabling to nag. As of today I swapped to intensief which means 4 hours of Dutch each time. Four hours! We talked about: hangovers and awful children, both subjects I know something about.

M: Are you a Master of Dutch now? You will live forever in a Renaissance penumbra. When are you coming home?

E: BRB once I've forced my way through the tram door with this MASSIVE RUFF and these brocade pantaloons.

I was sufficiently emboldened to ask for tickets to the botanic garden and give my post code in Dutch yesterday (oh yes, we also went to a botanic garden, it's all go round here). The problem with learning Dutch is that all Dutch speakers are so fucking brilliant at other languages they don't need to put up with your pitiful, stumbling attempts at their language, so this was the first time i had gone beyond 2 words. I managed a full SIX words without the man on the till reverting to another language.

5. I bought 10kg of chocolate chips from Colruyt 
I'll be honest, I didn't really think this through. I have been looking for good choc chips for a while, for brioche roll/cookie purposes and a bloke told me you could get Callebaut ones in Colruyt, the legendary Belgian discount supermarket. I did not realise they would be in such vast quantities, or that it is horribly easy just to take a fistful on one's way down to empty the washing machine and that soon you become fat and spotty and have to dress like a plump mime (today's outfit). Whilst buying the chocolate chips, I dislodged an avalanche of 5 kg bags on my own head, giving myself a split lip which I consider a strong candidate for Most Belgian Injury of 2017.


6. I am "Kinshasa Production Crew"





Obviously (and sadly), this did not mean I went to Kinshasa. However my translation client won an award for his fantastic video and I made my whole family watch the awards show SHOUTING "I KNOW HIM I WORKED ON THIS" despite my contribution being, frankly, ridiculous. I grab any shred of kudos where I can.

7. Other
I have also unblocked the toilet 700000 times (the road safety armadillo toy is still causing havoc with our cistern).
I read many books, but failed to update the reading list. This will be speedily rectified.
I have written many things to order, none of them very impressive or glamorous. I did write a guide to explaining Brexit to young children, which I quite enjoyed. My own children found it painfully, tragically unfunny.
I have enrolled in a proper research library (in the hope of eventually writing something else)! It was like being back at Oxford in my first year when I was so scared of not knowing where to go or what to do and being shamed that I just sat paralysed in my room until lovely William showed me where I could obtain books. There was no lovely William this time, just some really dusty index cards and long dark corridors and an immensely complex system involving exchanging various plastic disks and a flashing light. I have made some progress in 22 years, because I was able to go up to the desk and declare my total ignorance and ask for an explanation. No one was particularly helpful, but it felt like progress anyway.

Most excitingly, I visited the brand new Manneken Pis wardrobe museum. More of this in my next post. With pictures, oh yes.

You? Any excitement? As you can see from the foregoing, the bar is low, so low.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Adulthood audit

So I have been forty two for a while now. The big stuff is as ever: I have nothing you could realistically call a career and not a whisper of a pension, except whatever it is I pay €360 a quarter to some emanation of the Belgian state for (unknown, but it says "pension" on it, I can't see this translating into regular aperitifs with a small dog on my lap in the bar of my choice in 30 years, but I live in hope).

I had a book published which in some secret part of my soul I thought would change my life, but it did not do so in any way other than to make me even more grateful for my kind friends who bought it and reassured me it wasn't totally shit and pointless. Also, it didn't change my life for the worse which might have been the case, so I'm basically ok with it all.

I have played some role in ensuring my children are still alive and in possession of a full complement of limbs, though apparently not the ability to leave their socks anywhere other than on the table. Hillary the Hen has escaped from every prison I have devised for her and the dog still hates me. Bilan mitigé, as they say in French.

What, then, of the small stuff?


Adult behaviour

I think I now have a “signature style”, of sorts. Basically, it involves dressing like a 40+ heterosexual man. Shirt, usually. Jumper, always (today I received my newest purchase which is an actual man's jumper, black, fine gauge cashmere and it is the plainest, most perfect thing in the world). Jeans/plain comfortable trousers. Trainers/flat shoes. The end. I also have a 40+ heterosexual man’s grooming regime, ie. no grooming whatsoever, beyond basic hygiene necessities. My skin looks exactly the same as it did when caressed lovingly with snake oil unguents 2 x daily. I don’t really know what to think of this.

Also (this cannot be included under "style") I own a high performance, expensive waterproof garment and wear it with pride in appropriate circumstances, which are numerous in Belgium.

Exception to grooming, above: I also have a "signature scent": Frédéric Malle Portrait of Lady (crème de corps, not actual scent) in winter, Terre d'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche in summer.

I indulge in regular non-disastrous baking, including with yeast. For instance, I made salted caramel brownies yesterday. God knows why, I have an exam on Thursday and a limited grasp of how to use passive sentence forms in Dutch, there were clearly better things I could have been doing. The recipe was stupid but they tasted ok. You can’t really go wrong with that much fat and sugar.

I always have the following in the house: scissors (5 pairs, 3 large, 2 small), envelopes of three different sizes, a selection of greetings cards, both European and Belgian stamps (my stamp profligacy is legendary), packets of tissues, dog shit bags, nail clippers.

I know where all the important paperwork (passports, birth certificates, health insurance docs) is and I’m not telling anyone else in case they move it.

I go to the dentist regularly (only because of a recurrent stain on one of my front teeth that needs to be removed at least once a year to avoid descent into Shane McGowan territory, but nevertheless, I'm adding it to the positives list).

Haven't lost a mobile phone for 2.5 years and a wallet for 4.

Learnt how to darn properly.


Non-adult behaviour

Have not applied darning skills to any of my mothbastard eaten jumpers since learning, instead preferring to just put them in the freezer and hope for the best, removing as required to wear,  avec holes.

There is something in a small dish covered with silver foil in the door of our fridge that has been there for, ooh, at least six months and I am too scared to look inside. I will probably end up just throwing the dish out without taking the tinfoil off.

This post-it note has been on the landing for months:


(isn't that wallpaper good though. It wasn't even very dear)



These are the Christmas decorations in the corner of the sitting room and I have lost the will to do anything about them. Whatever. *limp shrug*

We still eat off robot motif melamine plates dating from our gigantic children’s infancy.

House still smells of fish, from the time I accidentally melted a fish oil capsule on our toaster approx a month ago.

Home first aid kit/pharmacy consists of following: 800000 Nurofen, 18 long-expired French remedies for long-forgotten gastric ailments, some dried up worming syrup, my tiny, beloved, extremely well-hidden stash of Xanax dating from my summer 2015 mental health crisis and a bottle of Reptoboost (tortoise vitamins).

Still only cook 6 things (pasta with peas, spring onions and lardons, pork fillet with mustard and pilau rice, dhal, pasta with béchamel and spinach, pasta bolognese, old el paso). 3 takeaways a week, every week.

I would still far rather my life partner intuit my needs and desires from tiny body language cues, passive aggression and talking to him inside my head rather than actually expressing said needs/desires out loud. Obviously.

3 years late getting a mammogram.

Repeatedly overdrawn. Only consult online banking in extremis. All non-interesting post still sits in pile at bottom of attic stairs until I get angry or anxious and hide it in my desk drawer.

Signed up for some kind of stupid heating insurance thing last month because the woman kept calling and I couldn't work out how to say no.

Still using the same towels that were pensioned out of my dad’s holiday cottage business as too worn in 1997.

Found out I was paying for a safe deposit box (don’t ask) unused since 2008 last week.


How are you doing, adulthood-wise? What do you consider your greatest adulting achievements and failures?