Ill-humoured trip to Waterloo "Kids Fun Factory" ("I don't WANT to go!" "Moi non plus!" "Well NEITHER DO WE but we're going so shut up and enjoy it"). I imagine them squeezing the fun into children with a giant industrial sausage filling machine. Soft play is supposed to wear your children out. It certainly wears something out, but I think it was my patience this time as the CFO twitched around on his laptop and I did his proof reading ("Er, this thing here 'Freshhole'. Do you perhaps mean 'threshold'?") and the children begged for coins and feigned death and lay, wilting on the floor. Look! See the fun! It's almost palpable, no?
Inevitable trip to Macdo on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Waterloo ("Noooon! Pas Macdonald! We want Queeeck!" "Don't like it!" "Well NEITHER DO WE .. "etc etc). Several terrible close encounters with my arch-nemesis, ketchup, leave me a shuddering heap of neurosis. In an impressive, but ill-advised economy drive, the man on the next table orders fifteen special offer €1 cheeseburgers and sits contemplatively working his way through them. The CFO toys with his Filet-O-Fish and looks pained as children crash into his chair. The spawn flick pieces of plastic crap and straw wrappers at each other until one of us cracks and buys ice cream. It's the wrong kind. I eat it.
Trip to the pet shop with Zoe. Half of Brussels is out there on its Sunday outing, buying diamanté collars and rhinestone studded skull and crossbones neckerchiefs for their rattes. The pet shop smells bad. It is full of liver flavoured cat treats, bird shit, smelly sad puppy dogs and DOG NAPPIES; punters eating burgers. We weigh up shoplifting Zoe's birthday tortoise to avoid the queues, but decide it probably has a security tag secreted somewhere about it. Stare in wonder at the garden gnome in a decorative glass cage.
Remove assorted reptiles from Lashes' pockets. Find Fingers who has mistaken another woman for me and is hanging on to her leg grimly. Go home. Clear up dog shit in the yard with a children's trowel. Lashes goes back to watching You Tube Japanese cookery demonstrations. Fingers hits his friend over the head with a length of wooden train track. I shout. It makes everyone cry. We watch more tv. The dog craps in the corridor and bites a hole in my jeans. I call him a shithead. The CFO sits in the kitchen with Oscar on his knee looking simultaneously wretched and censorious. His attempts to elicit sympathy from the children ("Je suis TRES malade! Taisez vous!" I am very sick, shut up) are greeted with blank stares and renewed squabbling. Bagels for dinner again. Remove dog's muzzle from Lashes' mouth. Wrestle shrieking children into pyjamas. Wipe bottoms. Locate toothbrushes under pile of dirty laundry. Consider wisdom of vodka. Decide in favour. Spot dank, algae ridden fishtank on way downstairs. Am I imagining pleading glances of pontypines? Shudder. Shut door.
It isn't supposed to be like this, right? There should be board games, and roast dinners, and bracing walks, and bike rides and cake baking and tousle headed children around the crackling fire poring over their stamp collections. Somewhere, something has gone horribly wrong. Send in the crack squad from Easy Living! I need a women's magazine life makeover.