Sunday, 23 November 2008

Stop laughing, Canadians, I can hear you

Now then. I had a Plan for today. I thought it up in the small hours of this morning between tooth grinding bouts. It will be fun, involve toy mutilation, help Pochyemu get her thesis written and will teach you more than you could have ever imagined you wanted to know about Belgian politics. However it will not be happening today due to the whole of Belgium grinding to a halt due to snow! A moderate dusting of snow! It must signify the apocalypse. Let all the roads be filled with swirling masses of over-cautious Belgian drivers settling in for the night with their blankets and speculoos biscuits and thermos flasks of terrible coffee! Let Johnny Halliday be airlifted in to entertain the displaced hordes! Helicopter drops of waffle ration packages and beer!

It was, undoubtedly, one of those days I think we will all remember. Not, necessarily for the morning trip to the deserted black light mini golf which I would not necessarily recommend as a fun family day out (oh, the places you'll go, etc). But in the grey, ordinary afternoon we went to the circus in a strange far flung field in the shadow of the Atomium. That wasn't necessarily the day to remember part either, though I don't think I will forget in a hurry the ponderously underwhelming display of four large cows walking in a circle and stopping to graze on abandoned candy floss. We spent two hours in a brightly lit tent to a soundtrack of pumping europop, with the CFO muttering "Seventy euros" in shock and Fingers' pointy arse bones sticking into my knees like knives as he asked me querulously every two minutes "when it will END, I don't want any more, how many more minutes, too much music, I'm hungry, why don't earrings hurt". In fairness, some of it was rather wonderful, and a lot of it was oddly affecting and made me quite weepy* and Lashes, at least, sat with his mouth open in wonder as children are supposed to do in the circus, and even Fingers conceded that the three motorcyclists racing each other in vertiginous circles around a ridiculously small spherical cage were "très fort" and there was an elephant which remains an astonishing, almost miraculous sight everywhere, but especially in suburban Brussels.

The most memorable bit was that at the end we all shuffled out and the sky had taken on that strange reflected luminescence it gets in a snowstorm and there was that peculiar quality of silence snow brings and it was like those fantastic days when you wake up and open the curtain and the world has gone WHITE. Beautifully, magically white. And it was still snowing! Ok, North Americans, I can hear you sniggering from over here. Yes, and you Scandinavians, and all the rest of you that get proper snow. Shut up, ok? Let us enjoy our paltry covering. And all around us small children oohed and aahed and scooped up snow and put it down each other's necks and stuck their tongues out for flakes and the sound of 400 people looking at something a little bit wonderful echoed around the car park.

After that, we were stuck for two hours in jams and on blocked roads, slithering around and pushing other cars and going backwards and swearing, while the spawn chorused unhelpful things like "you PROMISED we could build a snowman!" "a promise is a promise!" "Are we nearly there?" and "I tried to pee in the Coke cup but I missed!" and waved a stolen flashing light-up stick thing from the circus in an unhelpful fashion. After various heroic exploits we found somewhere to abandon the car and struck out for a tram, across the frozen steppe. It was tremendously exciting. Especially since the trek didn't last long enough to get old, and because the tram arrived promptly and whisked us back home fast enough to make a small snowman in the garden.

Then, because perfection isn't supposed to last forever, or even a whole afternoon, the CFO and I had a bad tempered squabble but we decided to pretend it didn't happen and watched and commented rudely on Antiques Roadshow together in a conciliatory fashion. Magical, memorable Sundays don't happen that often.

How was yours?

* I think because of reading this not so long ago, which is rather magical itself.


Fat Controller said...

My sunday? Well, I spent the early part of it putting the snow tyres on the car. Just as well, because in the afternoon it started snowing here as well and I was able to drive at normal speed, with a certain smug satisfaction.

lisa in san diego said...

hmmm, i hate to even say this, but my sunday is roughly 75 degrees, sunny and clear. my daughter is running around in shorts. i may make a pina colada (though probably not).

to make up for the above, i am doing a little work from home (curse you, legal overlords!).

ptooie said...

I'm in Ohio. I only smiled at the snow comments. It was 17 degrees (F) on my way to work today, 43 on the way home. I am still in my stupid walking boot with toes hanging out. (2 more weeks.)
I sniggered at the trying to pee in a bottle but missing.
My Sunday was a not bad at all 10 hours of work, with a surprising number of phone calls- we're looking into buying (building!) a new home, so husband called about budgets and options, mother returned my call about down payment assistance, and aunt just happened to call.

word verification is vaccula, which seems like it would be more comfortable over at Mominatrix...

fourstar said...

Hang on a Fair-trade cotton-picking Euro-minute. Black light mini golf sounds utterly fantastic!

Fluorescent golf in the dark? Where is it? How long would it take from South-East London, by car, allowing for toddler comfort breaks and the inevitable sat-nav confusion i.e. "I thought /you/ put it in the bag?"

Jaywalker said...

Fourstar - ooh, five hours maybe? But seriously, don't. Buy the franchise and set one up in South West London if the urge doesn't subside.

Persephone said...

I spent Saturday at a Singalong Sound of Music (younger daughter has been fixated on the movie since the beginning of the summer, so only the sheer loopiness of the event [imagine a family-friendly Rocky Horror Picture Show] saved me), and Sunday weeping copiously at a Quaker meeting. No, the two were not connected. Here, in Ottawa, it's kinda been too cold to snow. I'm not laughing at you; I'm trying to unfreeze my lungs....

La Belette Rouge said...

I love your snow man. I hate those perfect and overly self-confident perfect snowmen. They are so, well, self-satisfied. I take comfort in seeing the kind of snowmen that I could never make that they will melt. Mwah-ha-ha!!

Jaywalker said...

Belette - it's poor, really isn't it. I even lost the special miniature Macdonalds carrot I had been keeping in my handbag.

Oh, also, Bob lives here too. If you know what I mean.

Persephone - oh dear. Not even a peacock tapping on the window to lighten the mood? I hope it was cathartic anyway.

Lisa - the overlords are in overdrive here too. Gah.

Ptooie - vaccula? I might find a use for that..

Z said...

One of the best moments of my life was being driven down a busy street in Madras and seeing an elephant stopped outside a shop, peering through the window. As was his rider.

Yesterday - very jolly. Family get-together and my granddaughter was wildly excited by building snowmen.

La Belette Rouge said...

The word vaccula in Greek means "envelope/ or bribe." I only know 6 Greek words and that is one of them. What does that say about me?

And, dear E, I am so sorry you know Bob.

Red Shoes said...

an elephant stopped outside a shop, peering through the window. As was his rider.

What a fantastic mental image that creates!

Snow! In New Orleans, we do not get snow, EXCEPT for the one time, Christmas Day, 2004. It was astonishing and lovely and magical. Snow in the palms and on the banana tree leaves. Snow in the bayou!

I don't miss living in Indiana, when the winters would make me feel so cold, that surely my bones would shatter in my body and my ears would snap off my head. Snow got old fast there. Pretty through December and after that, just tedious and angry making. Getting it in rare patches makes it so much more able to be appreciated.

Your snowman is adorable.

Léonie said...

That is an excellent snowman. Did you just abandon the car face down in a ditch?

My Sunday involved getting a 06.30 coach from Manchester to London, to run a party for unbearable six-year olds who ripped bits off my dress, pulled my hair and popped balloons near my face.

What I would have given for an elephant to show up.

Pearl said...

Hmmm. My Sunday (which I blogged about) consisted of bravely overcoming a hangover.
I persevered and have lived to tell about it.
p.s. It snowed in Minneapolis as well, although we appear to be fresh out of elephants.

Parisgirl said...

I have nothing, no nothing, but admiration as you can see from my latest post. I feel "unfit mother" is an offence under European Trade Description laws. Non?

Completely Alienne said...

Your sunday sounds wonderful - and mine? I had lunch with a friend which was great. Then I went home and found Attila still hated me (she wouldn't speak to me before I went out). Eventually I had to shoulder barge the bathroom door open to get her out because she had been locked in there for ages. It turned out she was getting worked up about preparation for her french oral (her default mode is 'I can't do it, I am not going to school again'). So after she had cried her eyes out (and I had bawled out Lenin for laughing at her) we spent time going over the french presentation so she started to feel better then I coaxed her into doing her art homework and now we are friends and I have to do french with her every night till her exam.

Kids are such hard work sometimes. And my wv is yeablerg. What a fantastic word - that is exactly how I feel right now.

nappy valley girl said...

Here, the snow that you had quickly turned into the nastiest, coldest type of rain. We entertained the Littleboys with trips to Topps Tiles and Ikea, as we have builders coming next can see how the day is panning out. But once they had gone to bed, we had a bottle of wine and watched 'I'm a celebrity, get me out of here....". Bliss. God, my life is exciting.

Jaywalker said...

Z - I am not surprised. It sounds wonderful. I fear I am not getting a baby elephant for my birthday, but it is not for lack of trying.

RedShoes - snow in the bayou. Do you have photos? It sounds amazing.

Léonie - yes, pretty much and then the CFO and Fingers, who are basically the same person different sizes, were both awake all night worrying about the car. Sigh. Not enough elephants in Manchester, I agree. They should at least bring back that giant paper one that paraded around London a few years ago, no?

ParisGirl - you'll note I didn't mention Saturday when I spent the day on the computer snarling when the children came near me, so I think I'm safe. Your day sounded horrid. Best stay in. Some vélibeur would only have splashed you with slush.

CA - You don't fill me with hope for the next ten years. I'll stockpile gin and hope for the best.

NVG - oh lord Topps Tiles and two small boys. It should get a ring of hell all to itself!

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