First the introspection, later the photos (so far I think the wishlist is weepette porn, themed cake, street urchin children, Damien and shoes. Correct?) .
I started this blog a year ago, not because I was unhappy, or lonely, or had anything particular to say (though at times this year all those things have been true), but because Belgium seems to me endlessly funny and surreal, and I wanted to share it a bit more widely. Also, I rarely get to speak my mother tongue at home, and had started muttering to myself on street corners. Belgium has not disappointed and the blog has been an endless source of joy for me. High points:
The Village Fête and especially Jen from Cakewrecks judging the cake competition. I can hardly wait for this year's fête. I have great plans. We are going to whup the Guardian's substandard fête this year, I can just feel it. Peevish is planning her campaign to retain her All Fête Champion's ribbon.
My first and greatest blogcrush, Mimi Smartypants emailing me (yeah, ok, after I harassed her stupid BUT STILL).
Confessional. All of it, all the time.
Taunting goats with a magnetic penis loop with Antonia, my second greatest blogcrush.
A thoroughly undeserved mention in the Sunday Times Top 100 Blogs (thank you India, I owe you riches beyond the dreams of avarice, Claude François routines and lunch Au Vieux St Martin)
"She sounds really funny this woman" from Grayson Perry (even though this compliment was basically stolen from Katyboo and not deserved at all). I might have it carved on my tombstone.
Most important of all, every day, some comment or email making me laugh. EVERY DAY. It's no surprise I post everyday because you are my secret vice, my treat to myself, my repeated indulgence; you are WONDERFUL. How did I manage without you? Liberty London Girl and Mrs Trefusis, Mothership, Sue and her dreaded fountain pen husband, and Pochyemu and the lost capybara, Red Shoes, Katyboo and Alan Measles, and Lulu's curtain pelmets made from dehydrated frogs, and Helena's menacing bee, Vanessa's brownie pan and all the rest. Bath Bun even lives right round the corner (and yes BB, the White Night does sell batteries) and Juci offered to cook me dinner at my wretchedest. Zoe has not yet managed to kill me, but frequently tries. People have helped me decode the mysterious jaw of the wrench in the shower, given me tips on weepette training, showed me the darkest contents of their fridges. I even have a secret document where I keep my favourite comments and I opened it up today. I have been feeling a little melancholy (birthdays do that to a girl) and it was so cheering. You are funny and weird and insanely, blushmakingly complimentary.
You even stick with me when I veer away from the travails of child wrestling, domestic revoltingness or Eurotedium. I have talked about grief and madness and bulimia; about abortion and relationship crises. You have said things - compassionate, wise things - that I hold in a corner of my heart and will not forget.
This has been a GOOD year, despite the shaky state of affairs with the CFO and it's mainly thanks to the blog (and, of course, the absence of death or madness in my immediate family, in itself notable given recent history. Oh, and the weepette). So thank you. Thank you Belgium, thank you spawn, thank you Cassandra who needled me to start a blog, thank you Guy Verhofstadt for being so cake-genic, thank you my very own gay child wafflebébé, thank you Dinosaurs, thank you everyone. Thank you, thank you all, I'm sure I've forgotten to thank so many of you ...
[Jaywalker is escorted from the stage weeping snottily, and shouting 'I still have to thank Nathan! And Damien! And Tragicanon, and the moths!']
If you would like an over-emotional Gwyneth style thank you in the comments, don't be shy, just ask for one. I have lots of gushing still to give.