The sun has been shining all day as a demonically clever and careful surgeon did my brother's brain biopsy without incident. He's in ICU recovering sore and battered with a set of deliciously toxic wafers in his head, and we can all breathe a little easier, momentarily.
London in the sunshine is an odd proposition - it has caught at least half of the city out and they are suffering in opaque tights and rain coats while many of the rest are in equally ill-advised vest tops. The South Bank where I find myself, twitchy and paranoid at crossing the river (to the land where, so we North Lononders tell each other as we gather together to worship at Centrepoint, man eating dragons roam free), is bizarrely festive, with The Perpetually Present Mariachi Band (says Antonia when we share a cupcake in the sun and ideas for new Mills & Boon series combining the evergreen popularity of tweed, moors and doctors with our new emphasis on necrophilia) serenading groups of Italian youths with matching rucksacks and some really hideous street performers making me want to claw my own eyes out. At least my ridiculous packing looks a little less outlandish with the temperature grazing 18 degrees and I don't look quite so much like a refugee from a Newcastle nightclub with pimply blue bare legs and high heeled lilac sandals. I seem to find it impossible to remember what season this is but I feel sure it is not 'dress like a crazed slut month'.
With no childcare or huddling duties for the afternoon and Frank not allowed visitors for a couple of days, I manage to walk across a good swathe of London, from Westminster to Waterloo, then across to Covent Garden, up Neal Street, Seven Dials, Charing Cross Road, Oxford Street and back on the tube to Notting Hill when an incipient blister starts threatening. I am doing magnificently at the not shopping until I reach Magma when it all instantly goes wrong and I flit around distracted and enchanted by the Rob Ryan cards, make your own monster kits, perpetual calendars, Japanese soft toys, light fittings and am almost incapable of leaving without sweeping the whole shop into my suitcase. My suitcase is giving me some concern anyway, since I appear to have bought 10 books so far and counting, and only read one very short one (this). On top of the five pairs of shoes I brought with me plus the laptop, I don't see getting back to Brussels in one piece as an easy enterprise.
Getting back to Brussels, apart from the obvious and manifold delights of the boys ("have you found our present yet? Fingers wants the Ben 10 alien set and I want the Pokemon Ouistisinge marble shooter HAVE YOU GOT THE PRESENTS no, don't want to talk we are watching Oggy and the Cockreeeches HAVE YOU GOT OUR PRESENTS") is not a prospect filling me with much joy. This week is moving much too fast, galloping away from me as I try and hold onto every scrap of it. I feel a bit torn. Actually, who am I kidding, I feel ripped into shreds at the thought of leaving. I know it isn't quite yet and I still have lunch with The Internet's Most Glamorous tomorrow and even when I do go, it's only two hours on the train. And yet, and yet. I know all the reasons we live in Belgium and I know it was very much my decision, but OUCH.