Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Weeds from my Belgian garden

Snippets only today. We can call it the Belgian Waffle caveman diet, where you must make do with what snippets you can forage whilst waiting for me to bring home a gigantic mammoth. I really have no idea where I thought I was going with that analogy, but I think we can conclude, nowhere good.


1. I have lost two tortoises.

They are out in the back garden somewhere, for sure, but where? Since Fingers helpfully watered the garden into a swirling maelstrom of dogshit and earth and crushed greenery and stolen socks (damned weepette), I am even less inclined to ferret around in there with my bare hands in search of well-camouflaged tortoises than usual. What to do? At times like this I wish we had gone through with the CFO's initial idea of putting a Jack Bauer style tracking device on their shells, or, more low-tech but also effective, putting a 50c coin on their shells and using Lashes' metal detector to locate them. It is raining. They will be in semi-hibernation, and when, or if, I ever find them, they will look like this again:





Stupid fuckers. I rather love this photo. I love the obstinate way the tortoise continues to sleep even after I have unearthed it and carried it inside and taken its photo, laughing manically. And the filthy, filthy little legs. I feel a sort of kinship.



2. I am going to London

In normal circumstances I would be dancing a joyful techtonik air around the room about this, twirling my arms in stupidly solemn and hilarious ways and singing warbly songs about bagels and Liberty. But I am going because they are cutting a fuck off big hole in my brother's head for another biopsy, so instead insistent darts of fear keep shooting through me. Not for the operation itself, but for all that the next few months, possibly years, will hold. It's unthinkable. But I am going over doing what prog rock says humans must do at times like this, and "huddling". I will play with my niece and nephew and hopelessly hug people and make tea and maybe stew (shitty, awful stew that looks like credit crunch soup and makes them all cry). It's useless but it's better than being useless from afar.

I do have a firm date with The Internet's Most Glamorous (Mrs Trefusis, Liberty London Girl, Mothership, and India) while I am over there and am hopelessly applying streaky orange fake tan in preparation. I found the body brush behind the desk in the hall; it looked like Oscar might have been chewing it, so I am giving that a miss. I am still trying to find my Vanessa Bruno dress which was last seen hanging on the door in the cellar for reasons that remain obscure. Life FAIL. Sartorial FAIL. Tan FAIL.

3. Interviewing: another skill I do not have

I have interviewed six people in the last week. It's tragic. If they are good I just make happy, stupid faces at them and forget to ask any questions but instead tell them about how bad I am at my job. If they are bad, I want to put them out of their misery, maybe with a cushion applied gently to their face, my own face or both of us. Just to Make It Stop. Since that isn't allowed, I believe, I answer all the questions for them.

"So, do you have any experience in a legal environment? No, you don't, do you but I am sure your stamp collecting will be a great help in having the necessary administrative skills. Who needs law anyway? Ha ha!"

Ghastly. I know I should not fear the silence, but I do. I never want to do this again. I will just say yes to stamp collecting guy to make it all stop if necessary.

4. $1 million? We can manage that can't we?

Did you know that for $1 million the Chinese government will rent you a panda? I paraphrase slightly, but I am sure if we were to go to them with the money and a reasoned proposal for sharing the panda between us, they would be amenable. We could totally look after it. I mean, how hard can it be? A nice big blanket, a tree and lots of bamboo. Easy. The deadly M sent me this article. I think she spends her days and nights looking up 'animals to explode Emma's head' on google. I also loved the phrase:

"Baby pandas in the nursery must be frequently handled and rolled from side to side, like bread dough; otherwise their intestines can become flattened or distorted".

Surely, SURELY that must be the best job in the universe? I challenge you to think of a better one.

30 comments:

Gabriella said...

Re: Rolling the baby pandas. I would like that job, please. Now. Much better (and less soul killing, surely) than wrangling scientists.

The Subtle Rudder said...

I'll see your baby panda and raise you an infant gorilla.

Just this morning I began devising Plan G, wherein I chuck my career in high-tech wordwankery to become a gorilla keeper. I cannot get enough of baby apes: http://thesubtlerudder.com/?tag=gorilla

(Also, WV was "paltegri," which must mean some scant amount of integrity. Sufficient in these parlous times, I suppose.)

Iheartfashion said...

I am uniquely qualified to roll the baby pandas.

pinolona said...

I'm going to quit languages and become a panda-roller.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Best of luck in London, mind you don't poison the family with the credit crunch eel pie, and good luck with locating the tortoises - Tortosii? The Holy Tortoise TM hasn't gone AWOL, has he, dear JW?!

Mya said...

There was a tortoise in the audience at The Crucible watching the snooker final - he looked quite similar to yours. Does he wear a Burberry stetson?

Hope London isn't too yuck. You'll be able to visit Boots...and neck gallons of Golden Syrup. Hurrumph.

Mya x

Z said...

I love interviewing. I ignore the best qualified candidate and go for the interesting one. It never fails.

Best love and wishes to your brother and to you.

The 50ps on the tortoises is a good idea. Do it. When you find them. I think I will attach 50ps to lots of things.

katyboo1 said...

Enjoy the bits of London that you can and huddle the bits you can't. I am very envious of the good bits, and wildly sympathetic about the bad. I send my blessings, wishings and thoughts of cheezus in a good way to you.

Sent you that Hilary Mantel book today by the way. It is massive. Expect a postman with a hernia to turn up soon.

How long does one have to roll a baby panda for before its intestines become more hardened to life? God, no wonder pandas don't do a lot of procreating if they have to worry about squished intestines as well as the bamboo shortages.

Pochyemu said...

Good luck and best wishes for your brother and his family. You won't be useless, I'm sure they'll be really happy to have you there to share the load. The children especially will be pleased if you bring a panda along with you, just for fun. Hard times call for baby pandas, don't they? It's only natural. Fingers crossed for you all.

sue said...

I hope everything goes well for your brother, your stew will be welcomed whether you think so or not. Next door painted an orange spot on their little fucker, he got as far as my slurry tip of an excuse for a back yard once but the cocker spaniel petrified him. *swirling maelstrom of dogshit and earth and crushed greenery* is my favourite phrase in the whole world ever and I promise to use it instead of 'the somme' when referring to my back garden. Would also like to apply for the job of panda rolling, as am more than qualified, I can roll a cig with one hand, my uncle taught me and he was driving at the time. I really believe I am the strongest candidate for this position.

Jenny said...

Lots of good wishes to your brother.You won't be useless-just being there will be enough.I do like the idea of rolling rotund pandas,although I fear that the ensuing panda farting would not make it the most ideal job.

westendmum said...

What great cake i-see-ing where the urchins are getting their creative talents from.

westendmum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
westendmum said...

I'm such a mucker. Loved your post about alopecia, sorry I missed the first one, which I have now read. You SO need to be published in a book type thing, come on London Ladies... I've scanned but so far come up with you looking like Bambi or rather like a tortoise, the wig's not that bad is it love? The GR has gone bald in the center of one of his eyelids and that's a trifle alarming, so God only knows how you feel. Wonderfully brave. I've got colitis and quite often poo my pants but I guess that's no consolation to you. So sorry to hear about your brother, everything crossed for him. Hope all goes well.

redfox said...

Best of huddling. I know that I would find your presence a comfort under the circumstances, and hope that the act of huddling will comfort you some in return.

James Fallows is quite right about the tremendous cuteness of pandas in quantity. It's really the only way (via photos, as I do not live in China) that I can appreciate them properly, as their terrible idiocy re: mating among other things gets in the way of pure panda love for me. I must admit that the panda-rolling job is great, though, and should promptly be made the subject of a set of Japanese stickers and stationary.

redfox said...

Oh, westendmum, I just read your comment and must say: it's a consolation to me! How could it not be, when you put it so perfectly?

tragicanon said...

i am drunk.. but i will contribute my bank balance to the panda.. you are already -£2000 pounds.. well done!!!!

Lisa said...

I hope all goes well with your brother. The Prog Rock Stepdad really is a good guy for looking after the family and keeping you all glued together, isn't he?

Wife in Hong Kong said...

Why oh why does the thought of you meeting up with those lovely London ladies make me feel insanely jealous, like being excluded from the in-crowd at school, when in fact I should be sending generous positive thoughts about your brother? Please accept the most generous thoughts my mean and envious mind can muster right now. But get this, I can see the Panda House of Hong Kong's Ocean Park as I write. There are baby pandas to be rolled but 300yds away? Jealous? No, nor would I be.

mothership said...

I can't believe there is a panda rolling job! Next you will be telling me that there is a shortage of highly paid lion cub nuzzlers. It's all too much..
I am so sorry about your brother. I had no idea this was why you would be in London. Hopefully the LUNCH will be a bright spot, not least of all because your dress, whatever it is, is bound to be more glamorous than mine as it will not be covered with a tide line of snot and it won't come from Target.
(and this assuming I have ANY clothes left after the Jesusita fire that is raging near my house as I write)

Metropolitan Mum said...

A better job? Sushi roller. At least it doesn't poo. I bet panda babies poo big time, yuck.
I want you in a book, too. Or the audio version of it. I could put you on my ipod and sit with the baby in the nursery, listening to you. Could you please speak in one of those baby-lullaby-high-pitched-voices? Maybe this is a brilliant business idea: grown up content covered in baby lullaby style... Do you want to buy my idea?

Chantal said...

Sorry you are coming to not so merrie England for such a horrible reason. Hope you get a few afternoons in Liberty and/or [insert favourite park here], as the weather has so far been behaving itself.

I realise you are a busy Waffle with proper IRL things to do and propr bloggers to meet, but if you find yourself in Islington or Clerkenwell in need of coffee I will be only too glad to run away from my desk. Don't go to the Angel Boots though, it's crap.

In the meantime, I prescribe cakes and panda-rolling, stamp-collecting assistants and 50C tortoise collages.

xx

Jessica K said...

I am sorry about your brother, but also am another one consumed with jealousy about your London meetup, especially with Mothership. I predict a hilarious lunch with a lot of wine.
You have described my back garden perfectly, except with waist high grass occupied (hopefully not) by rabbits and moles.
I say hopefully not as our Ridgebacks tend to hunt and kill and bring me the carcasses.

Tania Kindersley said...

So very sorry to hear about your brother and the hole in the head. I went through similar thing with a very dear friend and remember vividly the feelings of helplessness and fury. My technique for dealing was: hurling around as much blatant love as possible, black gallows humour, and a lot of chicken soup. He is still with us, so something worked. I am sending you all good thoughts through the blogosphere.

Elsie said...

The lunch of the Internet’s most glamorous will be like the Algonquin Round Table, only wittier and more lovely. I am not hiring but firing - someone I interviewed last year, who has gone rogue and is writing curse words on the office files and spitting in the trashcan. She also is propositioning people when she answers my phone, including my children’s pediatrician, who thought she was me…Wishing for the best outcome for your brother and family.

So Lovely said...

Awfully sorry about your brother. That must be very hard. The lunch will be magic though, having spent time with LLG, she's wondrous. The other "girls" sound like a hoot too.

reen said...

Hoping that the huddling works its magic for you and your family. Sign me up for the baby panda rolling, a check (cheque) is in the mail.

WV is Amtmor, which to me sounds like a perfect name for a town in England.

bevchen said...

I want to roll baby pandas for a living! It would be way less mentally exhausting than translating stuff.

Jaywalker said...

Gabriella - please tell me why you feel this role would suit you. Where do you see yourself in five years? Still panda rolling? Or rolling other things?

Subtle - damn. baby apes, so prehensile. mmm.

Iheart - all the candidates said that. Why should I pick you to roll my pandas?

Pinolona - I will need a CV and covering letter.

Woman - no, HTTM is fine. His holy light guided me to him (hiding under a plank).

Mya - Boots, sweet home of expat consolations... Let me know if you want anything.

Z - maybe you could do it for me?

Katyboo - you are lovely. Book! Hurrah. I would hope they need a LOT of rolling. Enough to employ all of us.

Pochyemu - do you think if I asked the Chinese government really nicely?

sue - oh, I really like The Somme. We could swap names! Your qualifications are indeed impressive. I think you are on the shortlist.

Jenny - no, even that doesn't put me off. I live with four males. how could it possibly be worse?

Westendmum - I worked with a guy who if you ever said something like that would say "THAT WOULD ONLY HELP IF I HATED YOU!". He was a psycho.

redfox - I am almost sure they already exist. Surely? get it together Japanese stationers.

tragicanon - at this rate we will have a panda almost, why, yesterday! Thank you! Keep the negative balances rolling in!

Lisa - and he's coming this weekend. Watch out for an updated reading list and words of taoist wisdom.

Wife in Hk - ok now we are ALL JEALOUS. Can you see pandas? can you can you? steal one. go on, the internet dares you.

mothership it will be a high spot. Very very high. We can compare stains (not that I believe you)

Metropolitan Mum - I don't think my voice is that nice. Can we have Alexa from Flotsam? She has a GORGEOUS voice. Your baby would love it so much.

Chantal - I would LOVE to see you. Yes! Belgium comes to Chantal instead of the other way round.

jessica - I think they might need to put me on wheels and wheel me back to brother's chiswick. I am very bad with alcohol. ah well.

Tania - it is a grim horrible diagnosis. So glad your friend is doing ok.

Elsie - wow. You have MAD INTERVIEWING SKILLS too to end up with psycho crazy cursing propositioning woman. I can only hope I do as well.

So Lovely - thank you, Lovely. It will be a total treat. I can't wait.

reen - we will huddle for all we are worth. Thank you for your contribution towards the Belgian Waffle Panda. We will need a name for him/her! Start thinking.

bevchen - yes. I told you, best job IN THE WORLD.

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