This is going to be a recycled tweet post. God, I try and avoid these, but the dog is sitting folornly downstairs after a day of neglect surrounded by furry creatures it would like me to throw and it is SO PATHETIC I can't ignore it much longer. It's an enduring mystery to me how something so stupid can be such a master manipulator. It knows even I cannot resist the combined might of a pathetic doe eyed stare and a red plush parakeet clenched poignantly in its jaws.
Ha. However I have just remembered the moment earlier today when I came downstairs, as if summoned by a premonition to find the weepette's sorry, bowlegged form standing shamefacedly over the scattered remains of a whole Peyton & Byrne coffee and walnut sponge and suddenly the iron has entered my soul.
Gah, where was I? Yes! Quick, utilitarian post recycled from Twitter, sorry sorry.
1. Priorité aux imbéciles
It has not been a proud day on the roads of Belgeland. Well, not the ones I have been frequenting anyway. A parking ticket this morning, closely followed by a 'driving into the face of incoming traffic' moment with attendant screaming swearing meltdown (how many of those did I predict? I think I might have already exceeded my total). Then! This evening, la cerise sur le gâteau, leaving General Franco's house to find my car flanked by two police officers and a furious, incandescent, bug eyed man whose garage I had ENTIRELY INADVERTENTLY parked in front of.
Yes, I have the brain of a small vole behind the wheel. It always seems miraculous to me that I am allowed to drive at all, but then I am allowed to parent and then didn't even make me take a test. Hmm.
Thankfully the bug eyed man was so extravagantly abusive that the policemen took against him. One of them took me aside and said in an undertone "I'm going to pretend to take your details, but I don't like that man's tone, so I'm not actually going to give you a ticket. Though.." he qualified with a particularly solemn nod "if he is Well Connected or if he knows the Bourgmestre (mayor), then it's out of my hands". Wow. I didn't even have to tread on the children's toes to make them cry pathetically.
2. Pauvre petit escargot
Fingers and I took a feeble little trip (YES IN THE GODDAM CAR AGAIN) to the bookshop where the notorious "Half a cock" came from. Whilst I know Moitié de Coq is a little divisive, it is a very lovely bookshop run by a very lovely man full of rare and beautiful books. Fingers, however, was a man on a misson.
"I want the book about the snail with the large shell".
The man frowns, thinking about it for a moment.
"Ah! La maison la plus grande du monde? The story about the snail that wants to have the biggest house in the world, so he grows a larger and larger shell? And then, eventually, his shell gets so big it's too heavy for him to move?"
He holds my gaze at this point and lowers his voice slightly.
"And he starves to death?"
I stare at him wide eyed.
"Not that one, Fingers, surely?"
The man gets it off the shelf and shows Fingers. Fingers nods firmly.
"Yes. That one".
And in half an hour of browsing and story reading and bright, slightly desperate parental suggesting, he cannot be deflected. I would expect nothing less from him, it must be said.
And so it came to pass that I now have to read, possibly every night for some weeks, the - admittedly beautifully illustrated - story of a snail who starves to death because his shell is too heavy for him to move.
3. Well played, hippies
The hippies who run the organic veg stall at the market gave me someone else's shopping this morning. This is entirely in character. The CFO maintains that they are perfectly normal people, but when they come to work on the market they have to put on their uniform of shapeless sludgy knits, drop crotch loon pants, ratty white dreads and tie dye. They must also have to smoke industrial strength cannabis for several hours before their shift starts because they are seriously, seriously vague.
It is annoying and slightly fascinating at the same time. Whilst I have no vegetables, and no apples, I have FIVE punnets of strawberries (and two strawberry eaters in the house), 2 grapefruits, a kilo of unripe apricots and 10 kiwi fruits. Somewhere in Brussels a similarly frustrated person is wondering what to do with 12 apples, 4 bananas, 2 cucumbers, 2 red peppers, a cabbage, and 2 punnets of blueberries. It's an interesting break from the routine (will I become someone who eats grapefruit? Is this going to revolutionise my fruit purchasing habits?), though I can't see how on earth I am going to eat all those sour, tasteless apricots, and I can't quite decide who came off worse.
I suppose that some of you, kinder and more domesticated than me, will want to tell me what to do with the apricots, and there will be talk of light stewing, and compôte, and clafoutis. You might as well not bother, I can barely lift arm to microwave right now and I have had a small hillock of the strawberry mountain and the remains of the cake that Oscar destroyed for "dinner". My bed sings its insistent siren song to me at all hours of the day and night and nothing is quite so appealing as lying face down on it drooling slightly into my pillow. I mean, are you coming over to make me clafoutis and frangipane tarts? Because if not, the apricots are staying right where they are. Hmph.
Do help me, however, with what we should all do tomorrow. Ideally something where I don't push my luck with the parking gods any further and if there is scope for small cups of coffee and big naps, so much the better.